Customer Service is Killing Your Business – What to do about it.

Posted by wallycarmichael on June 4, 2019

BCustomer service is a pretty hot topic in my circles right now, and can make or break your business. Consumers have little patience for lousy customer service and easily get tired of waiting in long lines, trying to get a live person on the line, going through an interrogation to return something or trying to communicate through a language barrier.

If you provide them with a simple, efficient, pleasant experience they will revisit your business over and over. More importantly, they will tell everyone they know!

True story:

Since my family likes to spend so much time at the parks in Orlando, FL. and we have a 2-3 week road trip coming up, my wife and I decided we should hire a crew to take care of our lawn.

So we hired a company that we thought would be great because they are a well known brand with beautiful trucks and we see them around the community often.

My expectations, based on their flyer, was a nice clean mowed and trimmed lawn. All areas blown off, beds weeded and nice tight edges.

The first two weeks the team did an OK job, by my standards. But what I liked about this team is they asked me if they could move our trampoline, potted plants and other small items away from the walls so they could care for those areas. I of course agreed and thanked them.

On the third visit, we were not home. I came home to patches of uncut grass in the front and against the walls. In the back, they had not moved the trampoline, hammock stand or any of the items against the wall. They just cut around everything and it seems they just did the bare minimum.

I called the company to see if they could come back out to finish the job.

I was told, the team that did the first two services were not supposed to move anything. She said it was a liability issue. And the team that did the last service was a different team.

Well that was obvious.

The service we paid for, also stated the flower beds would be weeded. What I thought that meant was they would pull the weeds from those areas. What they meant by “weeded” is simply spray the beds with weed killer and let the dead brown weeds lay on top of the mulch. Which is where they also blew the grass clippings.

Needless to say, I canceled the service. If I have to go out and do any work, after a paid service, what’s the point in paying for a service? This is true for any service.

There are three secrets to good customer service. The first one we’re going to conquer is knowing exactly what YOU want.

You are the captain of the ship and the visionary for the future of your business, so you need to have a clearly defined plan for your business and that includes customer service. There are three main goals you need to consider:

  1. It needs to be easy for your customers to do business with you. You can do this with advertised discounts, kiosks, your website and other technology based programs to help them shop.
  2. Doing business with you needs to be a warm and pleasant experience. Your staff has to be knowledgeable, approachable, warm and patient. Your customers need to feel like they are getting a good value for their time and money. Perceived value goes beyond the price of the products and extends to their shopping experience. I will say, the lady I spoke with at the lawn care service company was courteous and knowledgeable. It was the work they were willing to do that did not sit well with me as a customer.
  3. Change your mindset and ask yourself “How can I NOT afford to do these things?” This shouldn’t be a question of expenses, but making and keep happy customers. What do you feel this lawn care service should do, if anything, to retain customers like me?

With these thoughts in mind you also need to take a few things into consideration when deciding on the actual programs and standards you’ll put into place.

  • Share your customer service vision with the rest of your staff.
  • Connect your incentive programs and bonuses directly to customer service.
  • Monitor the level of customer service your staff is putting out.
  • Know when you can ignore what your customers want.
  • Continuously focus on your vision and goals.

Now, that you know what you want you can starting thinking about how to meet those wants and create a positive customer service experience.

If you’re having a hard time deciding on what you want, the tools, resources and coaches in our FREE test drive can help you define the wants and needs of your company in relation to customer service.

Nurture Your Business so it Grows Big and Strong

Posted by wallycarmichael on May 28, 2019

In our last post I shared with you the first three of the 7 specific areas you need to consider in your franchise prototype process. Here are all seven again:

  • Primary Aim
  • Strategic Objectives
  • Organizational Strategy
  • Management Strategy
  • People Strategy
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Systems Strategy

These 7 areas will fine-tune your plan for the ultimate level of success.

By the way, have your even considered what that is to you? You should have written that down weeks ago. Go back and review that daily.

Anyway, today we are going to cover the last four franchise prototypes. And remember, we are not necessarily planning on turning your business into a franchise. We simply want to ensure you own a business that will give you the freedoms you desire, as apposed to owning a low paying job you work in 12 hours a day.

Think of constructing your business model like planting a tree. At first, it’s so small and weak. You wonder if it will even make it through the night. But, you keep watering, fertilizing and nurturing it. As it grows a bit, you have to prop it up with cable and stakes.

Your ideas will grow the trunk and each of these strategies will extend out as the branches of your now strong tree. Finding the perfect support staff, employees, vendors/suppliers and other relationships will make your tree flourish with leaves and flowers.

Management Strategy

The way you structure your management team is not only essential to your growth, your happiness, the happiness of your employees and, ultimately, your customers/clients. This strategy is results-oriented and doesn’t depend on the people, but the actual system that’s in place.

A management strategy is, in short, a set of standards that include goals, rules, a mission statement and other concrete things that tell your employees how to act, how to grow your business and tells your customers/clients what to expect.

These should all be in perfect alignment with your business goals and Vision Story. And they should be in writing. Your employees must have a vested interest in these goals and rules.

Employee Appreciation

You need to put together a people strategy that shows your employees how you feel about their job performance and dedication to your business. They also need to understand “why” they are doing specific tasks. This helps them to personally connect to their job, which in turn leads to better production and a happier workplace.

There are a number of strategies you can use to keep it interesting at “the office”:

  • Performance Incentive Programs
  • Contests that reward high performance
  • Employee of the Month
  • Performance/Holiday Bonuses

These are just a few of the ideas you can use. One of the best ways to appreciate your employees is by calling a meeting and asking them how they would like to be rewarded.

Think about it for awhile and put the best strategy into play. Keep it fresh and change up the strategy you use from time to time to keep your employees guessing. Once they get used to the prize, it’s time for a whole new approach.

You need to build a community within your company. There needs to be support, appreciation and respect. The more “at home” an employee feels, the better they will perform and the higher their level of loyalty.

Marketing Strategy

Marketing is, of course, essential to the success of any business, but it also must work cohesively with the other strategies you’re using. There are two major pillars of a successful marketing strategy-the demographic and psychographic profiles of your customers.

The psychographic tells you what your customers are the most likely to buy and the demographic tells you who they are, which can help you learn why they buy specific items. Without this information it simply doesn’t matter how good your business prototype is.

Systems Strategy

There are three types of systems in every business:

  • Hard Systems
  • Soft Systems
  • Information Systems

Hard systems refer to inanimate system or systems that have no “life”. Soft systems are those that could be living. Information systems are, of course, everything else, including customer data, product information, financial…anything with data and numbers.

The most important of all three systems is the soft systems because it includes the sales systems your business uses. In your sales system the two keys to success are: structure and substance. Structure being what you sell and substance being how you sell it.

All three systems are essential to the success of your business and while they all have their own very specific roles, they all must work together to get the job done. This also goes for your entire business development program.

I want to take a moment to recap on the ideas we went over through the business develop lessons.

An entrepreneurial myth, or e-myth, is an assumption that anyone can succeed at business with:

  • Desire
  • Some capital
  • Projected a targeted profit

There are essentially three key roles that need to be filled to set your business up for success:

  • The Technician
  • The Manager
  • The Entrepreneur

The four different stages of a business life cycle are:

  • Infancy
  • Adolescence
  • Growing Pains
  • Maturity

There are a few things we are going to talk about:

  • Business Format Franchise
  • The Franchise Prototype
  • Franchise Prototype Standards

There are three main areas of business development:

  • Innovation
  • Quantification
  • Orchestration

7 specific areas you need to consider in your franchise prototype process. Here are all seven again:

  • Primary Aim
  • Strategic Objectives
  • Organizational Strategy
  • Management Strategy
  • People Strategy
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Systems Strategy

We can help you work through all of these areas and give your business a jumpstart that puts you ahead of your competition right from the start. Use our FREE test drive and work with one of our coaches, plus gain access to a wealth of tools and resources.

Stress-less Business Puzzle

Posted by wallycarmichael on May 21, 2019

You may have heard me say this before, this is the rest of the story.

Rather you’re just starting your business or you’ve been in business for 3, 5+ years, you must have systems in place to keep your sanity. You should have a franchise model or prototype for your business. Not that you want to franchise, expand or even sell your business some day. You must have a franchise prototype, otherwise you simply own a low paying job that keeps you broke and frustrated. Well, at least frustrated.

Let me ask you, when is the last time you took a full on vacation with the family completely unplugged from your business? If that’s not an option for you right now. Let’s make it an option in the next 12 – 18 months.

Hey, at least you can have the option.

The 7 specific areas you need to consider in your franchise prototype process:

  • Primary Aim
  • Strategic Objectives
  • Organizational Strategy
  • Management Strategy
  • People Strategy
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Systems Strategy

These 7 areas will fine-tune your plan for the ultimate level of success and fulfillment in business. In this lesson we are going to cover the first three.

Primary Aim

It’s essential in business development to set goals and see a vision for the future. This needs to go beyond the business and you need to think about what you want out of life.

What do you dream about?

How do you see your success unfolding? Knowing and understanding these things will give you the momentum to get started and the stamina to see it through.

Take a minute to write your vision story down. Be very detailed and specific, and put emotion into the process. Now make copies and tape your vision story your desk and bathroom mirror, make it your computer desktop and phone screen for a constant reminder of what you’re aiming for.

By the way, one of the first eClasses in my eLearning System covers exactly how to design your Vision Story.

Strategic Objectives

Strategic Objectives are essential in taking your business from surviving to thriving. All of these objectives should offer solutions for how to get to your primary aim. There are many things you can use to set strategic objectives, but here are a couple of the most popular:

  1. Money: Setting monetary goals is a great, simple way to see how you are doing at any point in the game. It’s easy to measure and easy to find adjustments to help meet this goal.
  2. Worthy Opportunities: When considering partnerships and other business opportunities you need to think about whether or not they will help you reach your primary aim. Those that will, are the best opportunities to seriously consider. If the opportunity will not help you reach your primary aim, you must decline.

The key in setting standards and goals is not to limit you or stress yourself out. You need to find some quantifiable systems you can use to measure your progress toward your primary aim.

These are just two suggestions, but make sure, no matter what standards you set, you are paying attention to the details, as these are two of the biggest keys to your success.

Organizational Strategy

The strength of your organizational structure can make or break your business, so it’s important to take the time to put together a solid structure for your business to grow from.

Generally a company is organized around the roles and responsibilities that need to be taken care of on a daily basis and the personalities that need to fulfill those roles.

No matter what roles and responsibilities you’ve defined for your employees, you must always keep your personal primary aim separate from your company’s primary aim or mission statement. Once you’ve identified the primary aim, vision story, for your company it will be easy to set up a position structure that will work.

Don’t forget to put together position contracts. Your employees should sign a statement of their roles and responsibilities. This helps keep them clear for you, the employee and other employees/vendors or other individuals. This one task is overlooked by almost every single company I have ever personally worked for, and those I’ve worked with. And it’s a game changer.

You can see how these areas all work together to build a solid structure on which to build your business. If you need help defining any of these areas, you can check out the resources, tools and speak with one of our fantastic coaches during your FREE test drive.

What do you feel is your TOP Business related issue?

I will personally work with you for a few weeks to fix that.

Wally

Business Basics are NOT Sexy

Posted by wallycarmichael on May 14, 2019

This, like other business related topics, is not a particularly sexy one. But sexy is just fun to look at. It does not make your business money. Well, not unless that is your business. If not, you need this nerdy info to grow your business and gain profits well into the future. You know, for your kids, kids. That would be your grand-babies.

Today I’d like to share with you the three keys to business development and how you can put the right bricks in place to build a solid foundation.

Some business owners have all the right bricks, while others have bricks they no longer need or are not ready for, yet. It’s my job to show what bricks you need right now today and where to place them.

I hear Ya! “OK, enough with the damn bricks already.”

There are three main areas of business development:

  • Innovation
  • Quantification
  • Orchestration

When done well, these three areas will help you build a solid foundation for your business. And a solid business will allow you to live your Best Life rather than spend all your time in the office. You want to hang out and connect with your family more right?

Let’s talk about each one of these for just a minute.

Innovation

Innovation should not be confused with creativity, which is the expression of ideas. Innovation is taking these ideas and putting them into ACTION. This is where a large amount of your focus should be in the beginning and even throughout your business’ entire lifespan.

Quantification

This, of course, refers to the numbers. We are talking about the value of your innovation. The best way to gauge this is by your customer response. Look for positive responses for what you are doing right and keep doing more of that. Look for negative customer responses to find out what you’re doing not so great and fix it. This will enable you to keep growing and progressing with the needs of your customers and business climate.

Orchestration

Once you’ve had a chance to find what areas are working, you can narrow down those areas and concentrate on making them your stand-out ideas. You shift your focus here to get the most out of your business and to meet the needs of your customers.

We can help you work through these three areas to put together your franchise prototype during your FREE test drive.

What do you feel is your TOP Business related issue?

I will personally work with you for a few weeks to fix that.

Yup, no charge. Hit me up.

Wally

Scaling your business requires a Franchise System

Posted by wallycarmichael on May 7, 2019

Have you ever considered how big you want your business to be some day? I bet you have.

I’ve heard it said that when you start a business, you should start it with an exit plan. Meaning, you should build your business so it’s ready to sell some day.

To many business owners, that’s like having a baby with the idea of putting him/her up for adoption some day. It simply does not compute in the young mother’s/father’s (business owners) mind.

So here’s a better thought…

Build your business as if you’re going to turn it into a franchise some day.

While franchising is not required to grow your business, a franchising system is. Let me explain.

In order for your business to grow, you must have systems in place. You must have everything and more listed below before you can even consider growing your business. These basic needs are required from day one for any business. That is if you want to actually make a profit some day, let along grow.

And rather you want to grow your business or not, having a franchise model in place will certainly make your life as a business owners so much easier.

Here’s a few things to consider about setting up a franchise system within your business.

  • Business Format Franchise
  • The Franchise Prototype
  • Franchise Prototype Standards

Business Format Franchise

The business format franchise came from an earlier model called the “trade name” franchise. The big change was in the rights. During the “trade name” days the franchise owner only had marketing right’s. Now franchise owners have owning rights to the entire business including systems. This has allowed for a shift in focus to go from the quality and name recognition of the products carrying the business to sales techniques that carry the business.

The Franchise Prototype

It was really the franchise prototypes that allowed for the changes to be made that help today’s franchises really shine with the techniques developed by the owners instead of the corporation. This can make a significant difference in the success of the franchise as the owner can custom tailor their marketing and promotions to the direct needs of their local target customers.

Franchise Prototype Standards

Now, the above being said, no one in their right mind would purchase a franchise if the parent company didn’t have a solid plan of action set up to ensure the prospective success of the business. So, there are a few standards that are put into place that helps jump-start the process of opening a successful franchise.

Build model of prospective customers/clients, suppliers, creditors and employees who will consistently offer high quality work.

  1. Build a user-friendly model that can be used by individuals of any skill set.
  2. Build a defect-free model.
  3. Build a model with Operations Manuals.
  4. Build a model that will provide guaranteed, consistent results.
  5. Build a model that encompasses the same branding in color, dress and facilities codes.

These are all ways the parent corporation makes sure their brand stays the same and in the front of the minds of customers. When you are purchasing a widely-known brand you will attract customers just for being you.

If you’re having trouble rapping your head around this idea, I have several training videos in my eLearning System that will go in much deeper detail.  

Take a guided tour of my system at Abundance & Prosperity Business Mastery eLearning System.

Then book a Live Business Breakthrough Session with me. I know I can find $10k to $50 or more in your business in just 45 minutes. Put me to the test.