Focusing Where it Matters (July 2013)
It has been a while since my last newsletter. At least no one can complain that I am flooding their inbox! Here in Joburg we have passed the longest night but are entering what is usually the coldest month. The last few months have been a time of change for myself and my husband as we moved house (and office) at the end of May but could only move into the new house (and office) on 1 July. For the time in between we put almost everything into storage and stayed at a good friend.
This time has given me the opportunity to reflect once more on the challenges and joys of change. The uncertainties re where to move to and when, and the packing of well over a hundred boxes weren’t much fun, but the decluttering and donating of unneeded items to charities were. I discovered that as much as I could rationalise things for myself, my body’s physical responses were a little behind. But the moment when the team of removals guys cleared the first room of all its furniture my spirits lifted and I was swept up in the excitement of moving forward to a new adventure.
The first stage of that adventure is now over and as you read this we will be unpacking. It will be fun to reconnect with everything and to turn the new space into home! (To celebrate the new office and consulting room I have a special offer for you for July and August which is explained further down.)
Focusing where it matters
During our packing up exercise I made a trip to Westpack to buy extra boxes. These are stored up on a mezzanine level so I had to look for a shop assistant to get them down. The first lady I asked smiled and said “not a problem I will be with you in a moment”. Whilst I waited she spotted another assistant and called to her, she then turned to me to explain that this person would now be helping me. The new lady walked energetically towards me with a smile on her face as she greeted me and asked what I needed. She found everything, arranged a trolley and steered it over to a till for me. It was such a pleasure to deal with both these people and has ensured that Westpack becomes a store of choice for me. I doubt it was accidental that they were both friendly and willing to help. I expect that the store manager is working towards a culture of customer service with a smile. Probably not everyone will have got it as well as these two ladies have, but they alone are making a difference.
Last weekend we tried out a new Japanese restaurant in Rosebank. My friend had been there during the week and enjoyed the “two for one” sushi special. It turned out that this wasn’t available on a Saturday evening so we were teasing the waitress that this was no good. Whilst we were still deciding on our orders she reappeared with a plate of croquettes, compliments of the manager, to make up for missing the special!
On Monday night I attended a GIBS forum on customer centricity during which the presenter made the point that it is almost the only way left for businesses to differentiate themselves. I agree that it makes an enormous difference and in this age of ‘high tech’, ‘high touch’ becomes even more important. As humans we are craving more connection, to be recognised as an individual, not just a number, and to be shown some caring. But there is an even more important step for companies before focusing on customer centricity, and that is employee centricity.
The differentiator of excellent service is delivered by people, by employees. Whether they interact face to face with the customer or whether they perform background functions, they all contribute to the customer enjoying a good experience. If the employee doesn’t feel appreciated, doesn’t identify with a purpose and doesn’t have a sense of control, they will struggle to deliver that special customer experience. Zappos.com has a culture of happiness and a tagline of “powered by service”. Founder Tony Hsieh says “In nine-years we have gone from zero to $1 billion in gross merchandise sales. And the No. 1 driver of that growth has been repeat customers and word-of-mouth … I think that happier employees lead to happier customers, and happier customers lead to better business overall.”
Which South African companies do you think are getting this? What can you do to help yours to get it?
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Happiness at Work assessment and focus session – special offer for July and August
If you are one of those people who feel that you aren’t as happy at work as you could be, you may like to explore this further with me. On the ground research shows that if you are really happy at work you are over 400% more energised than if you are the least happy!
I am accredited as a Science of Happiness at WorkTM coach practitioner which means that you can now complete an online questionnaire to identify what is or isn’t bringing you happiness (satisfaction) at work and then we can explore ways of increasing your happiness (satisfaction) at work. To complete the questionnaire, receive a ten page report, and have a one hour focus session with me, costs R1400.00. For the months of July and August I am offering this at the special rate of R880.00. Call me to book your appointment and access the questionnaire.
Research shows that people who are happiest at work spend twice as much time doing their job well than those who are the least happy. This translates into an extra 100 days of work by each staff member per year!
I have some great new, practical, diagnostic tools to help identify the most important areas for us to work on within your company as well as to be able to track the ROI on the chosen interventions. If you would like the staff in your workplace to be more productive and effective give me a call.
Quote of the Day
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Anais Nin
My Little Black Book
I have two recommendations for today.
I was having problems with my car’s central locking not responding to the remote. At first I thought it was being jammed but then realised it was my car and not the car guard! A mechanic recommended I see Chris Bussey of Gemtron in Randburg. He was fabulous. I love meeting someone who really knows their field. Chris carefully identified the true problem and then efficiently fixed it – all in just over half an hour. If you have any vehicle security needs – remotes, alarms, trackers, immobilisers … call Chris on 011 793 5639 / 083 375 7549
Recently we went into Davenports (Craighall) to buy a new tumble drier. Over the years we have bought new and reconditioned items from them as well as had appliances repaired. We enjoy dealing with them because they give sound, expert advice. This time they told us we were better off having our old machine repaired. So for 20% of the cost of a new machine the old one is going great again! www.davenport.co.za