You don’t need to shout about being customer-centric but it’s definitely good to talk

April 18, 2016 2:59 pm
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Business leaders often believe that there is a necessity in setting out a company’s values to ensure they cover every base. Portraying your company as a customer-centric organisation is no exception. But the fact is, many successful companies treat this as a given, and their values reflect everything else they pride themselves on being.

We could all name a handful of companies which always make us feel like a valued customer. These companies are usually also great at customer service. We can easily recall these experiences because they have likely led to us becoming a repeat customer for that very reason.

At Coriolis, by the nature in which we land our business, we must rely on our valued customer to become our advocate, with word of mouth and recommendations being key. The HBR reported that as little as a five percent increase in customer retention boosts profits by 25 to 85 percent, so this really isn’t an area anyone can afford not to invest in.

In many businesses, a disproportionate amount of time and resource is spent on acquiring new customers and not enough time on retaining existing ones. We can all think of an example of when we’ve been left feeling put out by our bank/supermarket/online content streaming service by an offer or promotion that’s only available to new customers.

There are infinite articles about how to develop a customer-centric culture, but on a day-to-day basis, try the following approaches for effective customer retention:

Listen – and don’t dilute your aim

Many organisations utilise surveys to get valuable insights from their customers. If you’re making use of surveys for customer feedback, do just that. Ask the right questions and don’t dilute the impact of your desire to improve by being opportunistic and including a bunch of questions for market research purposes.

Don’t be afraid to say sorry

Customer service industries were once categorically advised never to offer an apology as this meant admitting fault. From my own experience, sorry is the one word I most want to hear when it is warranted. Saying sorry shouldn’t be about admitting fault, it should be viewed as a declaration of empathy.

Keep in touch

Customer relationship management software, LinkedIn, and email marketing were all invented for this very purpose and prove invaluable to any business in maintaining a point of contact with your existing network of customers. Remember that 5% investment in customer retention could go a very long way…

In summary, ask the right questions. Respond to feedback. Develop a culture of customer care.

 

Written by Kayleigh Humphrey, Coriolis Ltd

Goya Goyo and take a Gemba walk

April 11, 2016 12:22 pm
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Would you like to super charge engagement with your change programme? Or drive momentum of a project and thwart inertia in your team? Do you want to stop being blindsided by snags and issues?

You can do all of these things and more with the application of one simple principle – “goya-goyo”. Not a complex Japanese process, nor an intricate technique to learn, goya-goyo is a simple way to demonstrate leadership behaviours from the shop floor to the boardroom.

Goya-goyo is a behaviour and it stands for ‘Get Off Your (let’s say Bum), Get Out of Your Office’. So simple, yet so effective.

Guess what? You won’t find the answers on your desk. Staying behind your laptop, hoping that problems don’t come your way is a sure fire way of making sure they do. Make structured visits to your team part of your daily routine, and issues will be pre-empted by honest conversations as staff engage and share their trust with you. You can call it a Gemba walk, or simply a walk around.

The attitude you take with you is incredibly important. Approach the shop floor with an open mind and looking to collaborate, and staff will feel empowered to share the real issues that they face on a day-to-day basis. On the other hand, if you arrive with a closed mind looking for faults and nitpicking, people will soon learn to tell you what you want to hear. Approach each conversation as a coaching opportunity – what can we learn from this, and what can be done next?

There is one big thing to watch out for when spending more time with your team face-to-face. Make sure you manage people’s expectations – just because someone has spoken to you doesn’t mean actions will be fast-tracked outside of current systems. Actions should still be prioritised through existing channels such as Airsweb, your daily control meetings and engineering logs. This will prevent the well-worn “I told management, and nothing got done – nothing ever gets done around here” attitude from derailing your team’s efforts.

When you make spending time coaching your staff an intrinsic, unmissable part of your day, good things will happen. Ideas will flow, and blockers will come to light, ready to be removed. Projects will retain momentum, and deviations from standard will be spotted and actioned. Work with your team to develop a structured walk around that works for you all, to create and sustain a culture of change.

The concept may be ridiculously simple, but it reverberates with what you know to be true – the truth is out there. Now, shut your laptop and goya-goyo…

 

Written by Bibi Rodgers, Coriolis Ltd