Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Getting what you deserve

I wrote a letter to Geoff Dixon (CEO of Qantas) a few weeks ago about poor customer service with his airline.

I fly a lot in my role as a consultant and trainer and am loyal to Qantas. Their frequent flyer program has helped keep me flying with them.

I had 3 poor experiences in 3 weeks and felt enough was enough.

I received a swift response from Qantas and was more than happy with how they dealt with my issues and concerns.

Biggest Mistake

The biggest mistake most consumers make when they are complaining to an organisation is they fail to specify what they are seeking as compensation.

There is no point in winging for the sake of it.

Specify what you are after.

A few things you should include in your letter

  • What you are seeking in compensation. (How to resolve your problem). Give them some options it will make their job / life easier
  • More than one thing you are complaining about.
  • What you will do if the issue isn't resolved
  • Highlight your potential Lifetime Market Value (LMV) to that business. eg: if you spend 10k ayear with a business and will be loyal to them for another potentailly 10 years your LMV is 100k. If they lose you in year 2 they have potentailly lost 90k of revenue

If you would like a copy of the letter I sent to Geoff just email Patricia@nrgsolutions.com.au and request the Qantas complaint letter.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Winning New Business

Next wednesday night, August 29th, in Sydney I'll be speaking at Microsoft to buisness owners and developers on how to win new business. Craig Bailey organises a user group and invites speakers to come address his group on a range of topics. Go to www.sbtug.com for more details.

There is a lot of garbage written about branding, stategic marketing and aligning your vision to the vision of your clients. My session want address any of that. It will be focussed on what works when it comes to winning new business.

What doesn't work

  1. Sitting in your office looking at spreadsheets and waiting for customers to call you
  2. Spending time with poor collaborators (technical term for bullshitters)
  3. Procrastination or blaming others for a lack of new clients

What will I be talking about

  1. The power of effective networking and the S.M.I.L.E technique
  2. Specialisation - deeper knowledge versus wider- where is your expertise?
  3. Getting advancements from a meeting as opposed to continuations
  4. High NRG levels and why they are so important to winning new business
  5. Exceeding the client or potential clients expectations

Hope you can make it.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Because I'm still making progress

I was asked the other day about the importance of product knowledge in your area of expertise.

That’s the most important thing.

If you don’t offer excellent technical skills and product knowledge then it will be very hard for me to recommend you to anyone.

If you want to develop a sustainable business you will very quickly realise the importance of the megaphone effect. Turn a funnel upside down, put it on your lips and it becomes a megaphone. That megaphone should be on your customers lips with them telling others about the experience they have had working with you and your company.

Invest an enormous amount of time in your area of expertise to become better than your competitors. Read, attend courses, speak to others, listen, visit sites, get a mentor and just keep going.

I recommend that professionals should think deeper rather than wider. Initially become an expert in one tiny little area, but aim to be better than anyone else in the world in that area.

A Great Real Estate Agent

Lets think about a great real estate agent. She should know everything about property in one or two suburbs. Recent sales, trends, time on the market figures, proposed developments, length of time for council approvals, demographic of streets, schools, bus routes, suitability of certain building materials, best plants to grow, types of customers buying in the area, history of the region, travel times to major areas, etc.

Now from my experience most of the agents I’ve seen can tell you only what you yourself can find at the click of a few buttons. That’s of limited value. Be different by offering more to potential customers, which means investing more time to deepen your knowledge. The rewards will make it well worthwhile.

Think continuous learning.

Pablo Cassals

I love the story about Pablo Cassals, the famous Spanish Cello player. Perhaps the best cello player ever. When he was in his 90’s he still used to practice the cello for 30 minutes a day. Someone once asked him why.

“Because I’m still making progress”

What's your X factor?

I gave a talk the other day in Brisbane to a group of young professionals (25-35 yr olds) on how to build your business network.

“80% of life is just turning up.” (Woody Allen)

Nothing could be truer in the world of business to business selling.

I gave the group a simple acronym that you can use to help grow your business network. It’s called SMILE.

S is for Stories

What’s yours? Where have you come from, where are you now, and where are you going? What’s your X factor? We all have one. I think your X factor can change over time, but we all have one. Mine is my quirky sense of humour. Use your networking and conversational skills to find out what other people’s story is. I spoke about Seth Godin (US marketing guru) and the Purple Cow. Are you a Purple Cow? Will people remember you or are you just vanilla, blending in with the masses? Will anyone remember you?

M is for Motivation

Why are you looking to grow your network? You tend to receive in life what you think you will receive. Be clear on your own motivation for wanting to network. Have a plan and stick to it. You’ll be amazed what can happen.

I is for Interests

Firstly don’t try too hard to be interesting. It doesn’t work. Be you, but develop yourself and interests over time. Read, meet interesting people and get out of your comfort zone. Change nothing and nothing changes. Find out something interesting about all the people you meet. Remember little things about them.

L is for linkages

This is my favourite. Help others by generating referalls for them. give them ideas and suggestions. Watch what happens to your business over time. Screen who you refer as poor referrals wont help your cause. Be seen as a source of contacts. Distance yourself from poor operators. Focus on spending as much time as you can with strong collaborators.

E is for Events

Attend a lot of them and have a plan at each event. Robin Henderson is the networking guru in Australia . That’s all she speaks on. Done it for years. She must have about 80 million contacts! She has some very good articles on networking on her site.

Think deeper rather than wider. Remember names (there are some simple techniques for this). Act like the host. Introduce people to other people. Listen, take notice and follow up.

For a full copy of my speech just email michaela@nrgsolutions.com.au and request the networking SMILE speech from August 1st, 2007.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Lost in space

I just spent 20 minutes writing a blog about efficient use of time and have lost the blog.

What the hell is all that about.

Shouldn't this stuff be very user friendly?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Is this for real?

I know nothing about serving food, but quite a lot about customer service. If I ran a cafe or a restaurant i would ensure that customers expectations were at least met, and hopefully exceeded every time. Last saturday I bought 2 baby cinos for my daughters and was charged $2 for each one. That's just stupid for 3 reasons.
  1. I'll tell lots of people how stupid it is to charge $2 for a thimble of milk with chocolate sprinkles on it (I'll also tell them the name of the cafe)
  2. I'll never go back to that cafe despite what ever else they can offer
  3. They had a chance to grab me as a lifetime customer, as the cafe is local, and they blew it due to their stupid pricing structure

Compare that with a restaurant in Melbourne who's pricing policy is to ask customers to pay what ever they felt the meal was worth. They've been going well for at least 5 years.

I'd offer free baby cinos and 2 for 1 coffee on certain days if i ran a cafe in a competitive area.

I think most cafe owners are stupid . Try this and see what happens with your customers.

1. Give them more than they thought they were going to receive

2. Ask them for advice on how the food or service you are pr0viding could be improved

3. Provide them with something over above what they were expecting.

It's not actually that hard.

Find out what customers want and provide them with a little bit more.

Watch megaphone marketing work for you.

That's your customers walking around telling everyone else how good your business is. We all do it when we see a good film or enjoy a great meal.