Re-Engaging Your Customers

When you are working with a client on a long-term relationship and they are not as engaged as they might have been, here are some steps to take to ensure they re-engage.

• Arrange for a special discussion in a different venue than your normal meeting place.

• Go back to their vision of success and why they want it.

• Connect your activities to the desired head and heart outcomes.

• Revisit the gap between where they want to be and where they are now.

• Given all the activities that must take place, re-prioritise and or re-sequence the activities and get a new commitment to proceed.

• Re-establish an agreement as to what you and they must do, and how you will manage a degradation of commitment.


You Don’t Have a Website?

Your website is the face of your company. The importance of a good website can’t be overemphasised.

If you think a website is not important to your business, you haven’t thought it through. Potential employees, investors, suppliers, customers and other stakeholders will all research your website before they contact you. You may not know what opportunities you are missing if you don’t have a website


Planning to Exit Your Business?

We all will exit our business at some point. If you are intentional about getting your business ready for sale or succession, here are a few questions and a major activity for you.

Start by working towards taking off three consecutive weeks. This means zero activity with the business. No phone, email, nothing. In doing this, you will be able to see how well your team does without you.

• Can they run the business day today?

• How about long-term?

• Can they take the business to the next level? The last question is entirely different as many leadership teams can run the company operationally but may not have the vision and/or experience to grow the company.

Can you take off three weeks? If not, what do you need to do to get there?

The next steps will be to think in terms of a six-month time frame and that your business is in better shape when you return. This adds significant value to the business because we know that businesses which are not dependent on their owner trade for significantly higher multiples of earnings than businesses who are dependent on them.  Achieving the goal of a six-months absence takes significant planning and taking advice from an external perspective.



Let’s set aside our nostalgia for the good old days when we could assure our businesses would succeed with a little more hard work. Allow yourself to appreciate, as a memory, the days when your business was well served by your personal effort and use of your natural talent or tactically applied skill. Today matters are a little more complex.

We need to lead and manage our entrepreneurial businesses with a crisp and well-understood vision. We need to commit ourselves to be continuous students of the complicated skills required to manage a team of people working toward a common goal.

As our businesses grow, we need to reserve more time and energy for the leadership and managerial responsibilities mentioned above. We need to delegate.

Let’s define delegation first.

Delegation is when a leader assigns a personally held task, project or responsibility to someone else while maintaining accountability. For this to occur effectively, a leader must define the scope of the responsibility, discuss how this task relates to the larger picture of your business (if required) and state clearly what success looks like.

Effective delegation assigns a team member in your organisation to be the tactical implementer or the “doer.” Meanwhile, you—as the leader—become the manager of the processes and standards of your business. Eventually, as your business grows and this delegation process continues, you may find yourself managing managers. These managers, in turn, will delegate tasks to their immediate staff. One day you will more than likely find yourself beaming with quiet satisfaction at the well-oiled machine of your team working independently to implement your vision and performing peacefully within the structures of a consistent, fair and inspirational managerial process.

You might be asking yourself, “Is this really necessary to build a sustainable enterprise?” The simple answer is yes.

I don’t believe it is necessary to grow your business to the size where you have managers of managers. However, I do believe it is necessary to grow your business past the limitations of the founding talents on which the business was created.

Hopefully, each leader reading this article can think of someone in your organisation who is amazingly better than yourself at some task or skill that your business requires.

What is the prescription for delegation?

• Is your current and future-looking personal leadership for your company producing a sustainably successful business? Make sure your vision is consistently tested for accuracy versus the constant pressures of a changing marketplace.

• Is your value proposition still valid? If not, your team is counting on your leadership for some adaptation that will keep your company completely relevant to your marketplace.

• Define the standards and structures that will define your employees’ relationship to your company. Everyone who accepts leadership and direction from others will perform best when they know what we as a company are trying to accomplish and what my role is to the group.

• Build the strongest team possible. Hire talented people. Empower them to exercise their unique skills and talents within the constraints of the company’s communally understood goals.

• Watch your company’s delegation and accountability processes. In a growing company, just about everyone should be headed toward a slightly different job. The natural progression of delegation with accountability should best position everyone to contribute to their greatest potential. Please remember that as “doers” get assigned a blended managerial role or even a totally managerial role, they will more than likely need support. Superior “doers” do not necessarily morph into great managers without support. You will need to provide for their learning and transition.

• Require of yourself to be a “manager in training” forever. It is hard and complicated work. Be a role model of managerial excellence to your direct reports. They will make the connection to their own efforts.

• Delegate with accountability and the appropriate KPI’s  – never abandon. Communicate. Manage. Learn to manage even better. Enjoy the fruits of a sustainable and prosperous business.

One final point: I think the practice of quality delegation is way up there on the list of important markers of great business leadership. Making sure your vision is correct is the most important marker. There is always more work to be done than there are hours in the day. This truth is a constant.

A strong tradition of continuous delegation within our organisations is quite simply this: good for your business, good for the careers of your staff, good for you and your family life.

Lead On. Manage on.


5 Ways to Improve Your Employees’ Customer Service Skills  

customer service skills

You can have the best product or service imaginable, but the value and integrity of your business is nearly always determined by the quality of service you and your employees provide to customers. And while it seems unfair, you may never hear about the negative experiences your customers have, since many of them will simply switch allegiances to a competitor whom they believe (rightly or wrongly) can serve them better.

Protecting against such a possibility is a compelling reason to continuously improve your employees’ customer service skills. Also, by leaving the present state of customer service “just as it is” for too long often means mistakes go unnoticed, bad habits become ingrained, and before you know it, the “customer service differentiator” you’ve always relied on is no longer working in your favour.

Here are five tips on enhancing the quality of service your employees provide and thus keeping your customers happy:

customer service, improve your employees' customer service1. Make sure dedicated channels are always working. Every system you have in place for communicating with customers should be operating at peak efficiency at all times. This includes email, phone and the “Contact Us” function on your website. Conduct periodic tests of all available touchpoints so you’re confident customers can reach you when they want to.

2. Beef up your customer representatives’ “people skills.” Certain interactive personality traits are crucial for treating customers with the respect and dignity they deserve. It’s well worth the time and expense involved to ensure your customer reps exhibit these traits in all of their customer interactions. Here are essential traits recommended by the survey solutions firm SurveyMonkey:

  • Empathy and patience. Reps must be able to respond in a level manner to customers who are irritable, slow to formulate their concerns, persistent with repeated questions, etc.
  • Adaptability. The ability to react appropriately to whatever surprises customers throw at you is another quintessential customer service skill.
  • Communicating clearly. Ambiguous or misleading answers to customer questions only make a difficult situation worse. A customer rep needs to provide information in a clear and coherent manner.
  • Comprehensive product knowledge. A rep must be “informed enough to respond to most inquiries and know where to turn if the questions become too detailed or technical for you to answer.”
  • Handle angry or insulting customers. A good customer service rep can’t afford to feel personally insulted by an angry caller. The goal is always to rectify a situation and leave the customer satisfied with the outcome.

3. Be adept at using social media to serve your customers. The quality of a company’s customer service efforts is always being judged (and commented upon) on social media. That’s why it’s imperative to have at least one service rep dedicated to monitoring your company’s presence on Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and other relevant platforms. Their skills should include being able to engage respectfully with users who leave comments, so it’s clear your business values active interaction with its customer base.

4. Find ways to honour your best and most loyal customers. SurveyMonkey also suggests seeking out opportunities to provide “VIP treatment for your best customers to let them know they are appreciated.” No one ever wants to be taken for granted, and your loyal customers should be periodically rewarded in some way for sticking with your business.

Be open to feedback at all times. Perhaps the best way to fine-tune your employees’ customer service skills is by collecting all the feedback and data you can. Among the options for gathering such information:

  • Phone surveys
  • Email survey
  • A comments section on your “Contact Us” page

Consider offering an incentive to participate in your customer service survey, thereby increasing the likelihood of a qualitative response.

Just as you place a high value on continuous research and development, it’s important to always look for ways to enhance the service you provide your customers. Often, it’s the deciding factor in whether or not they choose to do business with you.

Think a peer advisory board could help your company–with customer service and many other topics? Find a TAB Board today!