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You seek problems, you don't avoid them
One of the skills that make a great manager, is their ability to seek out problems and find solutions. This is even more important where customers are involved. The tip is to find potential problems and issues before they affect customers and find solutions before it influences customer service.
A great example of this is daily planning. For example, a food offer or bakery typically has a lunch hour rush every weekday and the manager's job is to do a walk around to search for potential problems before they happen. Preparation must be done in time. Some managers will purposefully avoid this or procrastinate so long that there is no time left to solve the problem.
So, you should realize that problems are not something to be avoided, but seek them out proactively, in time, so you can fix the issue before it affects customers.
Listen to what customers say
This management tip is so obvious, you would think everybody knows it. But, knowing something and doing something are completely different things.
When a customer approaches you, for whatever reason, some managers start thinking of ways to fix the customer issue even before they've heard exactly what it the customer is saying. We think that we need to respond with lightning speed and have all the answers at our fingertips. But, you get much better outcomes when you keep quiet and listen first to what the customer says. It is a sign of respect when you listen intently, and it's the best way to gain their trust. They say you must use your mouth and ears in the same ratio; listen twice as much as when you speak.
One customer per day (X calendar)
A lot has been written about the power of consistency. Consistency delivers results. This means that if you are able to consistently do something, whether it's healthy eating, motivating staff, listening to customers or adding some extra pizzazz to your promotion displays, you will reap amazing benefits.
A simple management tip is to get a calendar that shows an entire month, or even an entire year on one page, and put it up in the office. Then take a big red or blue marker and mark each day with an "x" or a tick mark if you've completed the task you are measuring. The point is to keep it going as long as you can, consistently. For example, one manager has done the following 2 tasks every day for 30 days and shared the results in one of our training sessions:
- Speak for more than 5 minutes to a random customer and really listen to what they say.
- Sincerely thank 2 random customers for their busines.
She was able to keep this going and track it on her calendar for more than a month and the results were incredible. She developed a much better sense of what customers are struggling with on site and came up with brilliant ways to fix small problems that were really irritating some customers.
Try it yourself. Start small and don't choose more than 2 or 3 tasks to keep track of. Keep the tasks under a few minutes so they are easy to do every day. Remember to indicate it on the calendar each day and try to keep it going for as long as you can.
The content in this article was provided by Ruan Schoeman, Co-founder and Managing Director: FUTURENT Consulting – a management consulting company.
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