Setting up a mechanism for consistent feedback from your customers is a critical element of sustainable success.
It’s definitely the time of year to be reflective and contemplate what you could have done differently, should be doing better, and would like to be doing hereafter. In the spirit of such soul-searching times, I thought I would relate a recent experience I had with a prospective client whose success relies on repeat and referral business.
During the course of our conversation about how to increase sales, I suggested that Bob (not his real name) could build his business by implementing a follow-up survey of no more than 5 questions delivered electronically to customers shortly after their experience in his shop. Bob thought that would be a huge imposition to his customers. I suggested he ask his customers at the point of sale if they would be willing to participate, assuring them that the survey was very short. Again, he rebuffed my suggestion, believing his customers would never go for it.
Finally, I asked Bob if he felt it was an imposition whenever he was asked for feedback as a customer. He thought about this and said, “If I don’t care about the company, then yeah, I guess, I don’t really want to be bothered filling out a survey.” “So,” I said, “is this how you think your customers feel about you and your business?” I knew the wheels were turning then, and why Bob was so resistant to the idea of asking customers for feedback wasn’t about his customers’ feelings, but his own fear. And, I think he realized it, too.
What if the worst thing happened and none of his customers was willing to participate? Or, what if he got negative comments back? Either way, his customers would be telling him something he really needs to know, and that’s the key—knowledge. If you don’t know what’s preventing your customers from doing more business with you, how can you overcome it? Like any one will tell you, the first step to solving a problem is admitting you have one and this is no different in business.
Setting up a mechanism for consistent feedback from your customers is a critical element of sustainable success. The trick is in asking the right questions in the right way via the best system for your customers and your business.
For more information or to determine the feedback mechanisms and processes that are right for you and your customers, contact me today.
There is simply no place for ego when you are getting down to what's essential. Where simplicity is concerned, the creation is what matters not the creator.
In this clip from Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations the wandering chef enjoys a 15-course sushi meal from the sushi master of sushi masters Jiro Ono. Bourdain tells us that the diner must give proper respect to the chef and his creations by using no utensils and adding nothing to each item set before him. Watch the ease and simplicity with which Ono prepares each item. The entire meal, Bourdain tells us, is to be enjoyed in 20 minutes.
Not all sushi chefs will become sushi masters. But watching Jiro Ono I certainly saw some telltale signs all experts of simplification share:
Simplicity isn't easy.
Perhaps, the most obvious, but it still bares mentioning that this is a difficult thing to do and mastery doesn't come to every one—even those who have some ability in what ever field they may practice. Notice the calm with which Jiro Ono prepares each morsel. A true master isn't phased by the job at hand. She knows what to do, trusts what she knows and allows her knowledge and experience to guide her in wisely working her tools.
Simplicity requires focus.
To do this kind of thing well you must be able to concentrate on doing one thing at a time without distraction from without or within over and over again until you understand it from every possible angle and vantage point and have discovered the singular solution you seek each and every time. Some times it will feel very hard to do this, even when you have been at it a long time. Some times it will take almost no time at all.
Simplicity knows no master.
There is simply no place for ego when you are getting down to what's essential. Where simplicity is concerned, the creation is what matters not the creator. Even for Jiro Ono, while his diners may pay him proper respect by eating his dishes immediately and as prepared, the sushi master himself is but humble servant to his ingredients and tools.
A superior experience of something ordinary is what's extraordinary.
Jiro Ono has built his remarkable reputation on serving unadulterated sushi, in Japan no less, that is beyond compare. There's no flash, no Jiro Ono special sauce or outrageous concoctions. He is simply delivering the best possible sushi experience for true sushi lovers. When you are a master you don't need embellishments and gimmicks; like Jiro Ono, your ability to consistently provide an outstanding experience customers can rely on is your signature and it's one you can't buy or conjure up. Even better, unlike the most successful gimmicks, it has an appeal with true lasting power.