Traveling through parts of Europe lately I noticed the slow pace with which everything was done. There was no one hurrying to help you in grocery stores. In fact, the cashiers sat behind the registers with barely a smile and you bagged your own groceries! Eating out was slow and deliberate. You could count on a good hour or more before you were even mid way through a meal. Drinks arrived slowly, food arrived slowly and so did the bill.
Many businesses closed for a few hours around the lunch hour. Some shops even had little hand written signs saying they would be back shortly. Is this good customer service? How do these businesses stay in business? Yet, it is the norm for these companies and they don’t seem to eager to change.
We all have to find our norm. The way we transact business whether we are the owner of the company or an employee that is taking pride in their area of responsibility. Taking on someone’s norm is not necessarily good for your business. Be aware of what others are doing and the reactions of their client base. Are their profits soaring while yours are falling? What could you adapt from these other businesses while still staying true to your core values? Things you may consider are:
- How quickly do you return phone calls? Do you see the red light flash and do nothing?
- Do you really listen to what people have to say or are you too quick to push your own agenda?
- Have you adapted your hours of operation to fit the needs of your customers?
- Have you trained your staff appropriately and given them the tools to be successful? Their success is ultimately your success.
- No you go the “extra mile” or do you stop short if you feel there is nothing in it for you. Remember you customers are looking for the WIIFM as well! (What’s in it for me)
- Do you do all that you promise you will do in the time you promise? Where can you adapt to be more realistic and not over promise and under deliver?
There is always someone around the corner doing things which may seem better, faster, cheaper, easier. Your job is to be innovative in your thinking and open minded to the fact that you just might have to change.