Tag Archives: customer service

An Unpredictable Place To Learn Your Business

As a leadership skills consultant I am often the one to be sharing a strategy or tip to help leaders grow. It makes sense that as the facilitator of a leadership workshop I roll out beneficial knowledge needed for leaders to advance in their careers. In turn, I attend conferences, take courses, read and talk to other leadership experts to educate myself on the latest trends and direction that leadership is moving. But I want to let you in on a secret about where I have learned the most about leadership: from my customers and clients. You read that right. My customers have taught me more about what leadership entails than any other source.

I actually learned about this strategy from my father, a consummate salesman. He sold his products with fervor and enthusiasm. He knew everything there was to know about windows, shades and rugs. Yet, he would tell me over and over again that he learned his business from his customers. How did he do this?

How can leaders learn their business from their customers?

SHIFT YOUR MINDSET FROM ME TO THEM

To learn about our businesses from our internal or external customers we first have to think differently. Before any workshop I commit to learning new or different perspectives from my participants. To remain open-minded we need to embrace the beliefs that:

  • We don’t know everything about our industry or field
  • Our customers live it so they possess strong skills and knowledge
  • No formal learning can be a substitute for real life challenges and successes
  • Our customers are wise, skilled and experienced

OBSERVE HOW THEY PERFORM AND BEHAVE

Using all our senses, we need to watch and listen to our customers’ words and actions. Carefully study how they use your products or services. Where are they performing well and where are they facing challenges? Sometimes we may think a customer is facing a dilemma but is actually feeling success with a particular product or concept. Rather than jumping to conclusions look and see what is their reality.

ASK CURIOUS QUESTIONS

To truly learn from our customers we often need to ask clarifying questions. Through the answers we can get a better understanding of what additional information we need to share or perhaps show them a better way to use a product. The better the question the more we learn and grow. Some curious questions could be:

  • How would you adjust how the product or information is used?
  • Why is this strategy so frustrating to you?
  • Is there a way to make this technique more impactful?
  • Can you explain your additions more clearly?

THANK THEM FOR SHOWING YOU THE WAY

Showing our customers that we appreciate their insights through our words or by recognizing them will go a far way in building a deeper relationship. When our customers feel valued they will continue to share their concerns as well as their positive feedback. All that information will help us learn a great deal about our products and services that will propel our growth and businesses too.

How have your customers taught you about your business?

Hit Your Creativity Button To Delight Customers

During a recent short out- of- town adventure, my leadership antennae went into high gear. Going into any new local, I am usually very excited and pumped to learn and recharge my batteries. It is a great opportunity to take time to just think and dream and plan. This particular trip involved heavy rains, flooding and thunderstorms. They were relentless and I was at a “beachy” resort. To add to the frustration, nobody at the resort seemed particularly caring or concerned with the needs of their visitors. Except for one amazing maintenance man. A true leader.

 When we initially arrived the conversation with an employee at the front desk sounded like this:

“Welcome… Continue reading | 6 Comments

Best Leadership Mantra Ever-“I’m Here For You”

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These past few weeks I have been working with a vendor to set up an online assessment for one of my clients. Although I have administered this assessment for a long time I never dealt with this vendor. I was uneasy at first to connect with a new supplier, but kept marching forward to see how this new relationship and process would play out.

As I delved deeper to learn the new system and see if it would work effectively for my client and myself, my anxiety began to grow. Every roadblock I hit I would contact the vendor with all my questions and errors. At one point I was calling them every day as… Continue reading | 6 Comments

Five Reasons Leaders- “It’s All About The Relationship”

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This past week I had conversations with two extraordinary leaders in the pharmaceutical industry. Both are sales reps and both are very successful for an important reason- their vision of leadership. For some leaders in sales their focus is about sharing the benefits and advantages of their product or service. They can’t wait to espouse the amazing attributes of what they are selling and jump in right away with that conversation. But these two pharmaceutical sales reps looked at their mission very differently.

“What a great team of sales reps we have!” one said. “I feel so lucky to have a manager who cares and sees my value.”

“When I… Continue reading | 8 Comments

Seven Ways Leaders Connect With Customers

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This past week I was placing an order for a client holiday gift when the unthinkable happened. I decided to contact the company by phone since the choices I wanted didn’t appear on the website. I set aside 25 minutes to make the call and place the order. The phone rang many times (ok it’s their busy season). When I finally got connected to a real person, they proceeded to speak over me and share some garbled information. I had ordered from them previously, but the individual on the other end could not find my file. This went on and on until they finally said, “I can’t help you. I need to find my supervisor.” And they immediately put… Continue reading | 8 Comments