If you've been reading my latest blog posts, you know I've started a series titled, The Old Rules of Business That Still Matter. (If you haven't seen the first two yet, you can click this to read Old Rule #1.
Right now I've got a total of 13 Old Rules I plan to write about, but I have to think that my list is incomplete! Do you have or can you think of an Old Rule that should be included? If yes, please send them to me! If I select yours to be included, I'll contact you to further discuss. Of course, you will be given credit, as well. Oh, and if by chance you send me one that's already on my list, I'll STILL give you credit!
I've had such great response to this, I plan to collect all of the Rules and publish them – initially as an e-book and ultimately as a real book. I hope to include many of you as contributors!
You can submit your Old Rule in a couple of ways. You can submit it via the Comment section below this post. Or you can send it via email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope to get a lot of Old Rules from you! And thanks for being a reader.
Old Rule of Business: You are in the business of solving people’s problems.
A couple of things follow from that, the first is the well known benefits vs features. The second is that you should make it easy for the right people to do business with you without causing them additional problems.
I couldn’t agree more about the level of courtesy we now face due to the disassociation of the digital age.
I come from a customer care background in that my parents used to own a village shop in a little village on top of the Lancashire moor’s in England were we were known to everyone in the village, and from there I eventually became a photographer on cruise ships, the main stay of that job was connecting with the passengers and running the photography shop so my customer care values are very much a product of my parents values and ideals. I am now a laboratory manager for a photographic company.
You are somewhat in a privileged position in the USA in that you have a great customer care ethos certainly where the retail and service industries are concerned, one of my major bug bares is the lack of good customer service and care in the UK.
Most people in the service industries here seem to think that they are doing you a favour and any dislike or complaint is a personal affront and not to be regarded as a problem they have to manage and put right.
We as a company are about to finalise our customer care plan, the main stay is to get the staff on board, as a manager or owner or boss of any company it is vital to realise that your best and most important asset is your staff, get your staff involved and on board with your ideas and you are half way there.
I believe that acting promptly to enquiries is vital, answering the phone in a short space of time, getting back with answers quickly and promptly even if you are only phoning to say we haven’t found out the answer as yet but we are ringing to let you know we are still trying to solve the problem, sending out quotes quickly, making courtesy calls to see how they and their business is going.
Offer help where and when you are able outside of your product range, we offer marketing help as we deal mainly with single independent photographers who have little or no marketing budget. This is something that we as a company spend money on already so we take the idea that anything we can do to help them grow their business will increase their business with us, so this type of help and advice we give free as part of our customer care service.
If you think about it there are often several things that you already utilise and pay for as a company that are not necessarily part of your sales product but will benefit your customers.
These are things that should be second nature to anyone who wishes to make an impression with and keep customers, the trick I feel is to adapt the face to face courtesy of old to the digital age, start e-mails with thank you for your enquiry or I hope you are well and finish them with if you should need any further help then please feel free to contact anyone of our friendly office team, these things do make a difference as the response e-mails testify to, I often get thank you for your prompt response, or just a general thank you e-mail in return.
This is not rocket science but it seems as you say that the art of being courteous is fast becoming a thing of the past as we all deal more and more on the internet and less and less face to face.
Here’s an “old rule” that seems to often be forgotten: thank-you notes! I was taught that these are important. And they are – both personally and professionally. We have always “made” Kelly (our daughter) write thank-you notes when someone spends money and/or takes the time to give her a gift. And though she has sometimes grumbled about it, I’m proud to say that when I asked her if someday SHE will make HER kids write thank-you notes, she said, “Of course!”
It’s the same in business – it’s the right thing to do. Not only that, I believe it comes back to you in the long run. All the “old school” books used to recommend personal thank-you notes. Now we have email, which is tempting because it’s quick and free, but it’s not nearly as impressive or meaningful as something get in the mail. And something you’re truly grateful for – someone’s business, their loyalty, a referral – deserves a “real” thank-you.
Not only do we send thank-you’s, but we’ve received some very special ones that stand out in my mind. It really is a nice feeling to be sincerely acknowledged and thanked!