As I sit here in cold Buffalo, NY… with 18″ + of fresh snow covering the ground, and freezing temperatures of 14 degrees, I sign onto a zoom call. A call that is filled with willing-to-learn, business owners and team leaders. Participants have cleared their schedules to be on the call, they grab a drink to have in hand, put up the “do not disturb” messages, let the rest of the team know they’ll be busy from this time to that time. My point? We prepare. We prepare to have uninterrupted time on these calls, so we can learn from each other and share any information we may have ourselves that will help others.
I don’t know about you, but I have been on countless zoom calls. Almost every single call I have been on I hear the host say the words “You’re muted.” to one of the participants… and myself at times too! How do we go from all the preparation for the call, to forgetting to do the simplest thing… unmute before we talk?
Why am I talking about zoom calls? Simple… Because I am challenging you to view your business through a zoom call for a moment. Bear with me, this will be fun. How much preparation do you do to ensure your customer experience is the best? How many times do you put yourself in your customer’s shoes, walk around to the front counter, or put yourself on the delivery route? When (hint, hint) you do this… ask yourself…What does the customer experience? Where are we lacking in your customer experience? How often do you bring outside consultants in? How often do you have training days for your team, no matter how long their tenure? My point is… if you are not doing some or all the above, your customers are going to say, “You’re muted.”
Are you muted? We all believe and try our best to take our blinders off and look to see through the lens of what our customer sees. However, at times we end up getting caught up in the day to day. Something broke (knock on wood), or someone called in sick and real-life hiccups take the front seat.
All these moving parts could equate to our customers wondering…are you muted? You’re not listening to me? I’ve expressed my concerns; I’ve expressed my issues or inconveniences and it doesn’t seem like it’s getting resolved. If we are not resolving issues in a timely manner with clear communication, understanding and efficiency…eventually our customers are going to have the opportunity to choose someone else… and they will. None of us want this. Every single one of you reading this right now do not want your customers to go a half a mile down the road and start using someone else. So, how do we go about making sure your customers continue to choose you…consistency and standardizing.
Do you have processes in place that give results of; above and beyond, informative, educational and convenient service? Whether the team member is 15 years in, or an hour and a half on the job? Are your customers getting the same great experience? The same great service? The understanding of why your company does certain things. Are you educating your team great enough, that it will result in your customers being trained right too? Again, put yourself in your customers shoes. We all have conveniences and we all have qualities that allow us to stand out. We all have ways to go about making customers feel as if they were the only customer. But, ask yourself… are we customer centric daily? Or is it just at times that we’re on top of our game?
We always need to keep an eye on what is going on realistically. The last thing any of us want is to have to reinvent the wheel when we have a problem. There isn’t enough time in the day for that. I’ve got news for you… there is always going to be a problem at some point of some sort. Down the road, tomorrow, within this time you are done reading this article. I am not encouraging issues; I just know they are inevitable. If you set up procedures, train to these procedures, and live by these procedures, every day… you will be able to make it out of the chaotic and not so awesome times with ease. Then, ultimately, your customer’s experience will be everything and more that you need it to be so they can continue to choose you.
Think about your operation as you’re towards the end of this article. Do you have backups or some cross training for the emergency moments? I know that it is difficult to find team members right now… and that is why it’s even more important to create and fine tune your processes…now. You will find the companies that have a standardized on boarding process, training, the understanding that training never ends, and consistent communication between team members, are the companies and teams that are not as rattled when hiccups occur. Why? Because they are prepared.
As you prepare and plan and recognize where things need work to ensure your success… Ask yourself “are you muted?” Is your customer really listening? Is their experience everything you need it to be every time? Allow 2022 to be the best year yet, put these plans into action… now! Last reminder… don’t forget to unmute yourself~