JJ's (May '09) Tips in this issue:

1. How to Stand Out in the Crowd With Your Customers to Survive the Downturn
2. JJ's Favorite Quotes
3. Tele-Coaching & Tele-Mentoring

Use the following tips as training tools.

Present this situation to your group and brainstorm solutions together, or submit your own situation question to be answered in an upcoming newsletter.

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SITUATION QUESTION:
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The competition is stiff, the economy is in a downturn and everyone is scrambling to get business as usual. Business as usual just is not happening for most. Many of my clients are asking, “What else can we do besides cut expenses and eliminate personnel to survive?

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SOLUTIONS:
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This is an excellent time to take a good look at how you are doing business and what changes need to take place to help your company stand out in the crowd. You are probably doing more with fewer people so the ones remaining are probably stressed from overwork, uncertainty and a general fear of the unknown.

The first place to start is asking yourself if you and your personnel are easy to do business with on a daily basis. That includes all front line people representing your company or department. Hopefully, you have kept the most dedicated people who constantly observe how management people deal with customers’ problems and questions. The frontline learns from your example if you are a manager, but they also learn from each other and customers too..

The only time a customer complains is when they want to continue doing business with you, but are not happy about something that went wrong or the way you conduct business. If they can get what they want from your competitor, without much effort, they turn their backs on you and never bother to complain. Statistically, most just don’t bother. They vote with their feet and go elsewhere, and we never hear why they left.

Think of the places you spend your money, where you go back to over and over, and the places you will NEVER go back to to do business again. You can probably remember the latter quicker than the ones you frequent on a regular basis. Think back to why you won’t go back and why you will go back. It usually has a lot to do with the way you were treated by the personnel.

That is why it is important to constantly monitor your front line staff and occasionally work beside them to observe and listen to how customers are treated. This is also an opportunity to hear first hand how happy or unhappy your customers are, and if they find your company rules easy to understand and do business with you.

When I evaluate the environment with one-on-one confidential interviews with people working at a company, many frontline people tell me how their customers are unhappy with their company’s way of doing business. Sometimes they have expressed this to management, but often they have not because they don’t know they can be powerful to change rules with their feedback. They don’t feel it is their job or they have not been empowered by management to do so.

Managers must keep customers’ feedback coming back to management. Then they should keep their frontline in the loop as they examine their policies that are not working well for customers. It may be time to make your company or department more customer friendly. That is what customers want or they would not have bothered to complain.

Everyone in your operation should be on the same page with the way they deal with customers. They must all be empowered to listen to customers and give a “can do” attitude back, instead of giving resistance that customers often expect.

My husband and I are remodeling our house in the San Jose, California area, and after interviewing eight contractors, we finally chose one we felt had the right qualities of integrity, good reputation and experience in building large homes and remodeling. Most of all, he is a man and company with a “can do” attitude throughout his organization of sub contractors and employees.

This man’s company is easy to do business with, because he has high standards for his personnel and he motivates them to keep that standard with his own example. He empowers his staff to function with that “can do” attitude on a daily basis and it pays off over and over.

For four months we observed his people working on a number of houses in our area. Every interaction with his people helped us choose their company. They were consistently as good as the owner in marketing, sales and customer service to get our business.

Their owner contractor runs a strong operation and has not been afraid to eliminate people when they didn’t keep his standard. He is also eager to hear feedback and he acts on it immediately to keep customers satisfied. He is proud of his team and he knows that their next jobs are secured by the team effort of quality and responsiveness, which is especially needed during an economic downturn.

Oh, did I mention, he does not advertise or even have a booth at the home shows that we’ve attended. He puts his company sign up in the front yard of the homes he is building or remodeling, and people who have a need for his services stop to look and ask questions. His frontline people do the rest.

Are your frontline people doing the rest for you and your company? Are you easy to do business with, or do you need to make some changes?

Look at the downturn as an opportunity to create a more well-oiled team attracting more business. If your business is slow now, use the time to hone the skills of all levels of your staff down through the frontline. Feed them knowledge, a higher standard and empowerment. For those who do not fit with your new standard, weed them from your team. Now is the time to “feed and weed” your staff and hire qualified people who might have lost their jobs or are changing industries.

It is an exciting time to make changes and grow your people, and future business too.


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JJ's FAVORITE QUOTES:
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“Motivation is everything. You can do the work of two people, but you can't be two people. Instead, you have to inspire the next guy down the line and get him to inspire his people.”
- Lee Iacocca

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”
- Robert Collier

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”
- Aristotle

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Tele-COACHING & Tele-MENTORING
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DO YOU WANT TO IMPROVE in an area? Service? Sales?

* Motivation and growth of your people?

* Dealing with irate internal or external customers?

* Leading and Coaching your staff?

TRY our one-on-one Tele-Mentoring (phone coaching service) that is available
to business owners, executives, managers, supervisors and staff members.

Call for your FREE CONSULTATION now! 800 500-9656 or 408 445-1590

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EVALUATION OF YOUR ENVIRONMENT:
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Have you had an Evaluation of Your Environment lately so you could
receive suggestions on improving it? (It's like the doctor's check up, you
often don't know you need it, until after you've had it.)

http://www.jjlauderbaugh.com/about.html


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ABOUT JJ:

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JJ Lauderbaugh, CMC
408 445-1590 or 800 500-9656, 1716 Husted Ave., San Jose, CA 95124.

JJ works with companies that want to give exceptional customer service to increase sales, and with Directors and Call Center/Help Desk Managers who want to improve human performance.

She's an international speaker, trainer, facilitator and certified management consultant (CMC) on customer service management, specializing in performance improvement, call centers, up/cross selling and outbound calling.

For training resources, free articles, tips and streaming video, go to our web site at http://www.JJLauderbaugh.com

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Copyright and Reprints:
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Reprint permission is granted when the following credit appears:

JJ Lauderbaugh, CMC, JJ Lauderbaugh & Associates, 2007. Reprinted with permission from JJ's Tips, a monthly internet newsletter. For your own personal subscription, email jj@jjlauderbaugh.com.
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You can make a difference! Send your questions and comments as they are always welcome.

Thanks,

JJ