Exclusivity

Offering exclusivity to your customers can be a great selling point and can encourage them to purchase now rather than later.

If you are able to offer your customers something that is highly valuable or rare then your customers will think that they are special and mean something to your business.

 Exclusive products and services

You may decide to include exclusive lines in your business that only you carry. These could be products or and/or services depending on your business type and what is currently in demand by your customer base.

If you hold exclusive lines of products and services your customer won’t be able to shop around for them elsewhere and hence will be obligated to return to your business if they feel it is worthwhile.

It is important to remember that it is only viable to have an exclusive line if it is profitable for the business and your customers are going to make full use of it.

 Scarcity and limits

If you regularly stock items that are rare or are difficult to come across, sharing this to your customers may help you get a sale.

If you provide limitations and rare opportunities to your customers then they are more likely to be motivated and act quickly to purchase what you have to offer. It is important that use this sales technique only when it is necessary as you don’t want your customers to be upset because they found the product at several other shops.

Clothes designers often use the scarcity or limitation technique and promote that their summer or winter lines are almost sold out and are unavailable anywhere else. This helps them to move the old stock for their new line and gain their customers attention.

Get in touch and ask us to conduct a FREE Business Evaluation Meeting and find out about our unique way of designing and implementing strategies to generate sustainable business improvement.

Dealing With Dissatisfied Customers

It is a fact of business that at some stage, you will encounter a dissatisfied client. Even the most systemised and efficient practice is not immune to the client who thinks you are not providing value for money. While introducing service standards and endeavouring to manage expectations will minimise the number of dissatisfied clients, it is important to ensure you have programs in place that allow you to take responsibility and resolve the issue to limit the potential cost to your business.

In this article we look at ways to identify dissatisfied clients and provide tips on how to effectively deal with their issues. Dissatisfied clients cost your business money. Not only does it immediately affect your bottom line, but dissatisfied clients can cost you potential new clients. Some researchers suggest that each dissatisfied client is likely to tell 8 – 10+ people about their experience and the more dissatisfied clients you have, the more people are going to have a negative impression about your business.

Dissatisfaction arises for a number of reasons but it is generally because a client does not perceive value in your service. “Value” is calculated simply as: Value = Quality / Cost. In other words, a client perceives value when the quality of the service is greater than the cost. Introducing client satisfaction surveys will help in identifying dissatisfied clients and give you a strong indication of areas of improvement in your business. While this will capture the vocal clients, how do you identify those dissatisfied clients who don’t bother to complete the survey or just “vote with their feet” and don’t come back? A simple way to spot dissatisfied clients is to pay attention to the signals you are given such as heavy sighing, avoiding phone calls and letters or making sarcastic comments. Clients who are reluctant to interact with you and your team members are often unhappy with service but are reluctant to say anything directly.

Unfortunately, while these clients are reluctant to say anything to you, they are not so shy in saying it to their friends and family who will also happily pass on negative press. To stop this negative publicity, it becomes even more important to clearly focus on managing client expectations at the start of each job. A complaint resolution process will deal with issues after a complaint is made, but you and your team can deal with issues of dissatisfaction before they get to that point. Your prompt action will ensure you recover the situation and will, in many cases, turn this dissatisfied client into a loyal one who will actively refer you new business. We use a simple process to deal with issues of dissatisfaction before they become complaints:

  • Deal with the issue as soon as you spot the clue
  • In a non confrontational way, ask the client if there is an issue e.g. “You seem a bit hesitant, what concerns do you have?”
  • Then take a L.E.A.P!
  • Listen to their concerns
  • Empathise with their issues in a non condescending manner
  • Acknowledge their concerns (and if appropriate, apologise)
  • Provide a solution to address their concern

Encouraging your staff to manage expectations and address dissatisfaction before it turns into a complaint will ensure you have happy clients who actively promote your business. Remember that a client who complains is a great reminder of ways you can improve.

Get in touch and ask us to conduct a FREE Business Evaluation Meeting and find out about our unique way of designing and implementing strategies to generate sustainable business improvement.

Increase The Speed Of Operation

This relates to both you and your supplier.

Try to work with people who are able to supply you with what you want when you want it. This may mean that they run on a just in time system or something similar.

When you are supplying orders or items to your customers you want to try and move it out of your business as soon as possible. Having items sit for a long period end up dormant and wasted money, so act as quickly as you can.

This also means that you will need to assess your lead times and order processes. The longer the lead time the more work you will have in progress and the more money you will have tied up in inventory. Set a system and make it flow.

Where possible ship as much as possible at any one time to your customer. This may mean sending them half now and half next week or sending the amount in full. You may increase your activities from twice a year to four times a year so that you are constantly moving toward reduced inventory.

Move stock out quickly and try to eliminate the holding process so that you are able to get your money in quicker and reduce the amount of inventory in your store. It will also ensure that the inventory is sold and moved out and won’t be sitting there in six months time.

To help increase the speed of operation you may need to implement marketing plans or give your customers incentives for purchasing/paying for the item in full and taking it immediately.

For instance a furniture shop may offer free trailer hire for their customers when they purchase. This entices the customer to purchase a large item such as a bed or lounge suite and take it then and there.

If you are a middle man such as the person between the supplier and the customer only stock a minimum. You should also try to implement a flow that allows you to almost immediately pass the stock from the supplier to the customer in one automatic swift move. This may mean accepting pre-orders and only holding display stock on your shop floor.

Reduce your lead times and work in progress. Only hold a minimum amount of stock. Work with people are able to supply you when you need it and eliminate timely measures that will slow your operation speed down and need you to hold endless amounts of inventory.

Get in touch and ask us to conduct a FREE Business Evaluation Meeting and find out about our unique way of designing and implementing strategies to generate sustainable business improvement.

Improve Productivity

Improving productivity means that you are going to be measuring the amount of output per unit of input from the business.

Defining this in a more understandable term, traditionally means that you are going to assess productivity by measuring the dollar value of output against each pound of input (labour and capital expenses included). This is the most common technique for measuring productivity but you maybe required to look at alternatives if this does not suit.

Improving your productivity is usually resolved by the implementation of new equipment and technology, however this shouldn’t be the only thing. Staff are a huge contribution to your business and without the man power or expertise you probably wouldn’t be able to run your business in such a success full manner, so improving your staff through training, team building, etc will assist in productivity levels.

You should also consider goals setting or aims for your business and the individuals employed by you so that everyone has something to work towards and a common achievement is being endeavoured.

Productivity at the end of the day relies on your systems and procedures so even simple tasks as filing will have a huge impact on future activities and the business as a whole.

You will need to continually assess your business activities and ensure that they are being managed to their full potential and staff are utilising their skills in conjunction with the methods in the best way possible.

Increasing productivity requires better management skills, effective and functioning systems and procedures, motivation and commitment from the team and overall dedication from all team members.

10 Steps to Help Increase Productivity in your Workplace

Below are steps that you may implement into your business to increase productivity:

Training

By ensuring the on-going training of your staff you will be able to ensure that the business policies and procedures are carried out and executed correctly. Training will also ensure that your staff understand their roles and responsibilities and have a fair understanding of your business and management expectations.

Time Management

Ensuring that your staff can time manage will help to generate a higher turnover in customers/services and hence produce a positive profit margin for the business. Time management will also ensure that the staff are working to their full potential and that a maximum number of customers/services are being achieved per day during their working hours.

Diary Management

If correct diary management is carried out in the business, it may help to attract new customers, as new leads are confirmed immediately and the very best effort is being made to ensure that new customers are being provided with the best possible initial service. By ensuring that diary procedures are run in an effective manner you will not only have a better turnover in customers/services per day but it will have a positive effect on profit for the business.

Code of Conduct

By implementation of code of conduct into your workplace it will ensure the ethical and behavioural matters and practices for all parties. It protects and benchmarks the way that the business acts.

Policies and Procedures

Ensuring that a Policies and Procedures manual is implemented into your business will help staff to understand their roles and responsibilities and generates a standard of practise throughout the business for all employees. It will also improve the effectiveness in the way that the employees are executing their tasks.

Phone Procedures

Creating phone procedures which are efficient and workable for both the customer and the operator will see a positive first impression by customers every time. It will also help the business to produce a positive outlay to potential and existing customers who will not only repeat his or her business but also possibly refer you onto someone else.

Performance Appraisals

Performance appraisals maybe implemented into the business to ensure that each employee is working to their maximum capacity and they are carrying out all duties and responsibilities accordingly. Performance appraisals allow the manager to keep control of their staff and ensure that the business is working efficiently and to the required capacity.

Job Descriptions and Responsibilities

Defining each person’s roles and responsibilities will ensure that the employees have a clear understanding of what is expected of them and where they fit into the whole scheme of the business. Job descriptions should clearly define tasks and responsibilities of the job role and be designed to a job role rather than to an individual employee.

Incentives

Incentives maybe given to your employees to help motivate and stimulate the employees to not only do well but work efficiently, providing a positive role model to other employees.

Job Satisfaction & Enhancement

You may be able to implement a rotation or job-swapping program, which may help to motivate and provide job enrichment and satisfaction to the employees.