Investing in yourself

How much did you spend on your last vacation?

How much did you spend on your hobby last year?

How much did you spend on work related education and training?

Too many business people aren’t investing in themselves when it comes to education and training and then wonder why they aren’t progressing as much or as quickly as they would have liked.

Whether it’s going to seminar/conventions, taking additional courses, subscribing to work related periodicals etc, if you aren’t constantly educating yourself you will find yourself falling further behind the competition.

The thing to remember is if you don’t regularly invest in your career, you wont have the money, in the long run, for the vacations or hobbies either

Have great day!

Lawrence
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Training

Let me start with the statement that some companies do an excellent job training their employees. Unfortunately, most don’t.

The good/bad thing is most of the time, we don’t notice how the lack of training is affecting our businesses. The reason we don’t notice this is because, in most cases, a customer/client has a negative experience due to poor training and never says a word (verbally) about the negative experience. Of course, their actions speak loudly as they never return but sadly, most of us never notice.

There are many reasons for not providing proper training, ranging from not having the resources to not having the knowledge to provide the training but I believe the number one reason for not providing the proper training is because we make assumptions.

We assume the receptionist will know how to answer the phone properly and will know how to use the phone system.

We assume the wait staff will know how to set a table properly and will know the proper order to serve.

We assume the assistant is on the same page we are on and thus must have the same priorities as us.

We assume the manager knows the proper procedures so there would be no need to discuss procedures, strategies etc.

Basically, we do a great deal of assuming and very little training.

Many companies have training and procedure manuals but if they aren’t being used and reviewed regularly, they are just wasted paper.

If you don’t have a set training procedure for your organization, consider starting one NOW. You can start small and grow as you go but get started. It can be something as simple as writing the “script” for how to answer the telephone properly. Then take it one step further and create a short video of the proper telephone answering process. This doesn’t have to be professionally shot, rather it can be done using a cam corder (or even a cell phone). Then have all personnel who answer the phones read the script, watch the video and then demonstrate their knowledge. It’s a very simple process that can make huge differences in the success of your organization.

It’s also important to understand that training never ends. Procedures must be reviewed, updated and reinforced/retrained.

The time and expense of training will almost always be recouped many times over and the expense of not providing proper training can never be recouped

Stop assuming and start training and good things will happen

Have a great day

Lawrence

Momentum

People frequently want to change the world (and if not the world, than their small part of the world) yet because they don’t know where to start, they end up doing nothing.

Rather than looking “big picture” start small. Get some momentum going, take the first step.

Take the first step, get the momentum going and see how much easier things get.

Have a great day!

Lawrence

Pricing

When the economy is down, there is a tendency to want to drastically lower prices in order to maintain market share (or various other reasons). The problem is, sometimes they lower their prices to the point where they aren’t increasing their numbers of clients but are reducing their revenues.

I ran across an example recently when I was looking on the Greyhound web site (for those of you who don’t know, I choose not to fly so I take buses when I travel). I was looking to travel round trip between Charleston WV and St Louis MO. The regular fare was $205. The 7 day advance ticket was $148. I felt this was a reasonable discount as the 7 day advance ticket is non refundable. However, they also offered a 10 day advanced ticket (also non refundable) for $46. Did they really need to discount this ticket so that it’s less than 25% of regular fare? Considering there is no way to fly or drive for anything close to this amount, couldn’t they have charged $89 or $99 for the same ticket?

Another example of discounting hurting the bottom line would be two free lancers I hired recently for some work. One quoted a very low rate and the other quoted a price that was almost three times as high. I gave each small projects to work on (the actual projects aren’t important for this example) and the lower priced one kept talking about wanting more projects in the future because she needed the money and how important this was to her. The more expensive worker just did her job (exceptionally) and didn’t “beg” for more business. While the less expensive worker had a lot of short term work, she never finished the project for me and wont ever get any more work from me (and probably wont get more from others either). The more expensive worker has already received two bigger projects from me to work on and most likely will get much more. She didn’t offer great discounts but rather, was able to concentrate on the particular project because she wasn’t having to do so many things for so many people.

Charge a fair amount, offer great products or service and the rest will take care of itself!

Have a great day

Lawrence

The secret to getting good customer service

At this time of the year, a lot of people will be calling customer service for things that were purchased over the holidays. These calls might be because of a missing piece, or something being broken or any number of possibilities. I’m now going to tell you the secret to getting things resolved as quickly and easily as possible.

First, I will tell you this works all year round and also works for services as well as products. It does NOT involve the following:

*Demanding to speak to a supervisor
*Yelling
*Cursing
*Arguing
*Threatening

Before I reveal the secret, I will tell you how I figured this out. Recently, I had a small problem with my PayPal debit card. I have read horror stories about dealing with PayPal customer service (everything from it being impossible to get their phone number to when you get their phone number it taking forever to speak to a person and if you do get a real person they barely speak english and are uncooperative as well). Well, I went online and found their customer service number (they
hid their number behind a link titled “Contact Us” who did they think they were dealing with, those bastards lol) and in less than 30 seconds, I was talking to a real live, english speaking person. I politely explained the problem and this customer service representative had the nerve to ask if they could put me on hold. I sat on hold for what seemed like hours (although it was only 25 seconds) and she came back online, apologized for the delay and explained what the problem was. It made perfect sense to me so I then asked what needs to be done to resolve the problem. She explained the process that needed to be done (which basically was for me to wait to receive something in the mail from them and then go online to activate) and then asked if she could help me with anything else.

This got me thinking as to my experiences when dealing with various customer service people. I can’t think of more than one or two times I’ve had anything less than a positive experience when dealing with customer service people. I don’t always get the resolution I want but am almost always treated fairly and with respect. A client of mine told me recently about her dealings with PayPal after she demanded to speak with a supervisor. She said the supervisor wasn’t understanding at all, wasn’t willing to see her side and the result of her encounter was she shut down her paypal account. Why did this client have such a bad experience and I had a positive one?

Now for the secret. Be polite, be patient and be detailed in your explanation and good things usually happen.

Understand that the customer service representative is a person and should be treated as such. It’s difficult for them to treat you with respect if you don’t treat them with respect. If you want them to be polite you should be polite as well. Realize that for a big company, they might be getting hundreds (thousands) of calls and there might be a need for you to hold a bit. While you might know exactly what the problem is, they don’t so if you are calling about a product, have the product ID and name readily available and explain in great detail what the problem is. In a large majority of the cases, the customer service person WANTS TO HELP YOU. Give them the information they need, be polite and you will be surprised at how well things go for you.

So, the secret is, treat them as you would like to be treated…shhh don’t tell anyone else because if everyone were to start doing that….who knows what might happen?

Have a great day!

Lawrence