Posts tagged customer experience definition
I'm In Love With Lima, Peru! 🇵🇪

Business Operations

MY Business Is Out Of Control… Ahhhhhhhh!!!!!!!

On a recent business trip to Lima, Peru I had my eyes opened by opportunity both for South American businesses and me!

I’ve spent my entire life involved in business from being born into a big business, to traveling the world showing other business owners what we did to become so successful in our own business.

Recently Carl from Lima, Peru reached out to me for some help with his operations in his business. Carl had a unique business and very niche too, which I love. He has a bar in the centre of Lima that creates the perfect Pisco Sour, but his business was driving him crazy. He was working all day and night, constantly fixing problems in every area of his business.

Enjoying A Pisco Sour With Carl

Enjoying A Pisco Sour With Carl

The problem that Carl’s business had and in fact almost every business worldwide has, is that they have put no time into the actual operation of the business. 

Here’s the problem… running a business is bloody hard work, there is literally a ton of different things to do. How on earth is anyone expected do view every area of their business? It’s almost impossible. It’s actually not but it is very difficult. Unless you have someone showing you how to do everything.

You need to look at the business from a 50,000 foot view. How do you want it to run. 

Think about it this way, if this was a perfect world and perfect business, what would it look like? I have some good news for you, this is a perfect world and a perfect business if ‘we’ focus on making it that way. 

Then… from the 50,000 foot view, you have to zoom right in to the granular detail. 

So if when looking at your business from above you see how you want it to run, you then have to zoom into all the areas of your business to make sure it runs that way.

The way you do that is create a system on this. 

Now what is a system..? It’s a recipe of how to do something correctly.

If you try to bake a loaf of bread and forget a key ingredient, the bread is ruined. This is exactly the same with your business too. If just one step is missing from how your business should run, then at some point it will show its weakness to you by highlighting the problem. This can be a small problem, or this could be a huge bank breaking problem.

If you are not in control of your business, your business is in control of you.

You need to grab the ‘bull by the horns’ and get control of your business back. Do not sit there and wait for these problems to arise, hunt them down and tackle them head on by creating a bigger, better, more bulletproof system to make sure that never happens again. One of the ways that you can do this is to create a list of business operations for your business, if your business is big enough create a business operations department and a business operations manager.

This right here is the reason why so many business owners leave to go on vacation with a great running business, and come home to a total disaster. This is why millions of business owners never even go on vacation for the fear of something bad happening to their business while they are away.

Tip of the day…

Any area where you have a problem in your business is an area that is without a system. 

It literally is as simple as that. Where you have a problem or constant problems in your business, is where your system needs to be tightened up, even if that means completely redoing a newer and more robust system.

Every business that I deal with, there are systems and processes that need to be created or tweaked/changed. Often just by going through this process in every area of your business you’ll be surprised just how much better you can get your business running. I have done this with hundreds of businesses and the transformation is amazing at times. 

Not only that but you will be amazed where you see places where you can save money, and saving money in your business, is bottomline to your business. You may think how is this possible, however going through ‘a’ process of anything can show you areas where it can be improved. Often just improving one area of your business can release money that was unnecessarily going into expenses that can now go in the bank instead.

Technology… Last thing here!

Do not underestimate how technology can drastically improve the operations of your business too. Often whatever problem you have in your business there is either small business operations software to fix it, or an app or online support. Don’t underestimate the types of products and services out there to help you do what you do better and easier!

PS. If you too are a South American business reading this, reach out to me now. I have so many simple strategies you can implement now to change your business around. You live in a GOLDMINE! Why? Because hardly any business is run correctly, and this opens the door to you to literally clean up. Not just through what I’m saying in this article but social media not being used correctly, the dissemination of information not being done correctly, data gathering not being done at all. I could go on and on. 

Goodbye Lima… I will Miss You. Thank You For Reminding Me Of The Importance Of Business Operations

Goodbye Lima… I will Miss You. Thank You For Reminding Me Of The Importance Of Business Operations

I am always available to a one to one chat about your business and whatever problems you maybe having. Feel free to reach out to me directly on ian@IanHoughton.com

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I thought that I would leave you with some great photos of beautiful Lima!





Customer Service Vs Customer Experience (2019)

This article follows on from my previous article on customer service. When I was younger watching my parents grow their business, I saw how they perfected customer service and more than anything how important customer service is. I asked my father ‘why are you focusing so much on customer service’ he said ‘because it’s just a great way to run your business’. 

I sat there and thought about what he said and asked him ‘what do you mean because it’s just a great way to run your business?’ 

His answer I found to be quite profound and it impacted me for the rest of my life. 

He said ‘when you focus your business on customer service you get less complaints, customers are happier and you get less people wanting their money back, it makes sense to focus your business on this area’. 

Ever since then I have seen the power of service. However this is all about customer experience management, and managing your customers experience so how does all this tie together? 

Very simple… You use customer service to deliver the experience.

When you become a customer experience specialist, you look at every touching point with your customer and think of ways to create a positive experience for them. Let me give you some customer experience examples. A ‘touching point’ is a point in which you have contact with a customer, phone call, email, face to face, come to the office, meet in a restaurant or meet at an event etc.

What you need to think about is how can you create an experience for them and a positive one too that makes them think about you when they leave.

Every business you go to you receive an experience if you go to a restaurant you have set levels of expectation. You expect the food to be good, the restaurant to be clean and the waiter to be polite and responsive. Now when any of these areas do not meet your ‘set level of expectations’, you have a bad experience. The problem is almost no business puts thought into creating experiences and if they do, you get a bad experience and then they do nothing to make it right. 

Business owners very rarely look at how to improve customer experience and create a good customer experience, or as I like to say… outstanding customer experience!

Your customer experience strategy is the difference between your customer coming back to you or heading to someone else, them talking about you to everyone they know, or them not saying a word about you. The problem is that very very few businesses have customer experience training because most of them don’t have a clearly defined customer experience definition.

When my parents had our business we were masters of customer experience. Let me give you some ideas to improve customer experience so you can create a quality customer experience strategy. The importance of customer experience is the difference between creating a recession-proof business or a business that struggles.

Ideas to improve customer experience

My family owned a very large vacation resort. One day we had a client that was using the laundry facilities, as her clothes were being washed the washing machine broke right in the middle of the cycle. The lady walked into the office very upset ‘I’m in the middle of washing my clothes and the machine has broken, my clothes are locked inside and soaking wet’. 

We didn’t own the washing machines, a company placed them into our business and we split the money, so it wasn’t our responsibility and most businesses would wipe their hands clean of the situation here. However, they were our customer so therefore it was our responsibility and we needed to look after them. Here is what we did. 

We had our maintenance team remove the clothes from the machine, and then we took the clothes to the dry cleaners. Once the clothes were ready to be picked up, we placed them neatly folded inside her home on the kitchen table (we had to keep keys to every home for security reasons) with a bottle of wine, a bouquet of flowers a box of chocolates and a card. 

Our customer was over the moon that we did this for her. Here is the funny thing… what did that really cost us? Let’s say £20 for the dry cleaning, £10 for flowers, £10 for wine and £5 of chocolates and about £3 for a card. So we spent about £48 to make this customer happy, which if you look at it is nothing compared to the fact that she bought a vacation home off us for £85,000

Here is the really great thing when you improve customer experience strategy. Our customer told so many people what we did, it was all over our resort and everyone was talking about it, it cost us £48 to have all of our customers talking about us. So these are some great ideas to improve customer experience. 

Here is another example, and our families biggest story. 

In 1997 we had a colossal storm hit us. Now let me give you a bit of back story so you understand. In the UK vacation resorts are usually open 10.5 months of the year and they have to close down for a six week period. Our business like many other resorts opened up on 1st March every year. So the 1st of March is our busiest day of the year, everyone wants to come back to their home after the six-week break. However, this year about 8pm we were hit with a tremendous storm and our resort was FULL! 

The storm was SO bad we lost many homes, thankfully no lives but our resort looked like a bomb had gone off and the resort was destroyed. As I drove into the resort as everything was going on, I couldn’t get over the number of police cars, ambulances and fire engines. The place looked like a war zone.

So here is what we did. We rounded every customer up into the main building in our cars, and then we contacted all the hotels in our area, bus companies and taxi companies. We moved every single customer to a hotel for safety, this may sound easy but we had over 600 people standing there needing a safe place for the night. We contacted all the hotels that our customers were going to stay at and told the hotel that our customers have an open bar tonight. Now you may think ‘damn that's going to coast a fortune’ and it did, however, our insurance covered everything.

A few hours later all customers were in hotels and already a few drinks deep. For us, the work had just begun. We had to shut the resort down for three weeks to clean up when I say this place was a disaster I mean it was a disaster, vacation home roofs everywhere, glass everywhere, homes that had exploded because the wind got inside and blew them up etc. The resort was a total and utter disaster. 

Ok, that story is over. However here is what I want you to understand. Every single customer that we helped that night was so blown away (excuse the pun) with what we did for them, our city was amazed what we did that we literally became the talk of the town for months. We were the resort that went so far above and beyond for our customers that everyone even inside our industry was talking about us. We made the front page of the paper, we got more attention from people and news outlets that we sold even more homes. It was unbelievable! And all because we did the ‘right thing’ in the beginning.

We were able to turn a disaster into one of our singles biggest marketing plays we’ve ever had, and we didn’t even realize it. 

When you as a business come from a place internally of actually caring about your customer and you really show this by creating outstanding customer experiences for them, you can’t help but succeed. 

Now I hand this over to you, what have you learnt from reading this? What are you going to do in your business? What touch points with your customer can you create experiences?

I so often hear, what is customer experience and what is the importance of customer experience. My stories above are great examples of how you can blow your customers out of the water by doing what no other business thinks about doing. You should have someone in your business that is highly creative and give them this role to create experiences in all the different touching points you have with your customer. You can also create in-house customer experience certification and create customer experience jobs for your team.

I’ll leave you with one last thing before signing off, and this is powerful!!

Really good customer experience is created in that moment. What we used to do for all of our staff was give them a limit to spend on a customer should something ever go wrong. Here’s what I mean. 

We told every member of staff that you have £100 that you can spend without ever asking us for permission to put a customers situation right. So anytime a customer had a problem we made our staff think for themselves, and if they saw a way to fix the problem and they’re managing the communication correctly with the customer they can rectify that problem up to £100 to make sure the customer was happy. 

I have actually never come across a business that does the same. In fact, I often hear the ‘manager ruins customer experience because she doesn't like me and I can't get anything done’. When this happens it is time to replace the manager, you must all work in harmony together to achieve the same common goal.

In this article, I have given you, ideas to improve customer experience, how to improve customer experience and shown you exactly what makes a great customer experience. 

Please share my article around, like it and comment on it I need your support to help others. 

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