Archive for May, 2011

Customer First Impressions Worth Re

Impressionable Impressions and Memorable Memories

After 2 ½ weeks holidaying in our North West I come back with memories that will likely last as long as I do. These recent memories will travel down my hippocampus and will be stored in my prefrontal cortex (yes, I looked it up!) and will be recalled upon whenever the appropriate trigger is fired.

Similarly, we all have entrenched memories of our experiences dealing with business. I’m confident that you can easily recall a particularly bad or unpleasant experience as a consumer. Equally, or perhaps with a little more effort, you can remember an exceptionally good or enjoyable one.  These good and bad experiences often start from the first point of contact and spiral upwards or downwards from there.

The key is that ‘normal’ is rarely memorable. Giving customers an OK, average, and satisfactory experience is a safe way of avoiding being filed in the bad experience brain folder, but equally you will not wind up in the folder of great experiences customers will tell others about.

And because there is so much ‘normal’ going on out there, you don’t have to go to extremes to be different and memorable. From a different greeting – e.g. “Hi, thanks for coming in. How can I help you today?” Through to sending a note and small gift a week after a purchase thanking the customer for their business. It costs very little to be different and memorable and I have proof that the payback is worth it.

And yes, I know customers can make things difficult at times. Just yesterday I received the greeting I love to hate of, “Are you right?” and being the professional smartarse I am, I responded with “No, but my doctor told me that the pills would help”. And the experience went downhill from there.


Jeff Austin

Actual to Ideal
Close the Gap

Accountability for Success & Failure

Business is great! Whose fault is that?

In late 2006 I was asked to coach a large an outbound sales team who were experiencing a four month slump in sales revenue.

To get to the potential causes, I asked them ‘What are the reasons when you do hit your sales targets?’ On the whiteboard I noted the answers they enthusiastically called out… ‘We follow up leads’. ‘We ask good questions’. ‘We serve our existing clients well’. ‘We use our sales time well’…

I then asked the reasons behind when they missed their sales targets over this 4 month period, and these were their responses. ‘The market is flat’. ‘The promotions department are not running any good specials’. ‘The election has got people spooked’ ‘There’s been supply issues’…

Looking at the two lists, I clarified, ‘So, when things are going really well, that’s your fault right?’ The word ‘fault’ threw them a bit, but they agreed that yes it was. I then asked, ‘And when things are going pear shaped that’s not your fault…right?’

An uncomfortable silence engulfed the team as they looked at the conflicting lists. To their credit, they soon understood when I broke the silence by saying ‘Guys, you can’t have it both ways. Responsibility isn’t a part time job!’

If you or your team are patting yourselves on the back when things are going great (as you ought to), but there is collective finger pointing when things go sour, please consider this. A business that instils a culture of ‘accepting responsibility’ when things are good and bad means they have the power to replicate the good and the power to fix the bad – because both are their fault. A business whose people do not accept responsibility (or do it part time), render themselves Powerless!

Yours in prosperity and fun

Jeff Austin
Actual to Ideal
Bunbury Business Coach