April 15, 2009

Developing People ... Inspiring SuccessTM 


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   Volume 6, Issue 4   April 2009   ISSN 1556-3820

"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome." 

--Anne Bradstreet (1612–1672), British-American poet

Note From Regina 


The snow is finally melting and the world around us is undergoing its annual transformation once again. Have you noticed the trees budding, the birds singing and the sun shining? Many of you must have because you indicated that your current outlook on the economy was ‘shifting’ when a whopping 83% of you chose the movie Transformers in our most recent Red Ladder poll when asked which movie conveyed your current outlook. While only 12% of you chose Little Miss Sunshine (upbeat) the good news was that just under 6% of you chose Titanic (sinking).

Take time now to relish the new beginning that spring affords all of us. Figure out what you want or need to transform – your attitude, your job, or some other area of your life – then do it! We’ve had a long winter season (in every respect!) and now is our chance to approach work and life with renewed vim and vigor.

As it relates to the work environment, it’s now more important than ever that we realize we are all responsible for the customer’s experience – even if customer service is not in our job description – when it comes to customer satisfaction and retention. Read this month’s feature article for Three Ways to Wow Customers With Outstanding Service When Something Goes Wrong – Even When It’s Not Your Fault.

Until next month! 

Regina Barr

P.S. Take this month's short poll and tell me your view on networking as it relates to building relationships. 

   Feature Article

Three Ways to Wow Customers with Outstanding Service When Something Goes Wrong – Even When It’s Not Your Fault!

According to a survey by Customer Care Alliance (CCA), only 16% of customers felt satisfied by the service received when they had complaints, despite efforts by the company to improve customer relations. Further, 73% were so unhappy with their encounter with a company when they had complaints that they experienced ‘customer rage’, a term coined by CCA.

In the current business environment it’s important to preserve customer relationships if we want our bottom line to thrive. That’s why we need to recognize that everyone within an organization has an impact on customer service – not just those with customer service in the title – and that we either enhance or hinder that experience.

Here’s a case in point. My business travels recently took me to Longview, Texas. To save my client money, my travel route took me from Minneapolis, Minnesota to St. Louis, Missouri; from St. Louis, Missouri to Dallas,Texas; and finally from Dallas, Texas to Longview, Texas. I know. You’re tired just reading that, right? To top it off, I was delayed several hours during the last leg of my trip due to a line of thunderstorms that had grounded all flights out of Dallas. Being conscientious, I called ahead to let the shuttle service, Errands for All, know that my flight was delayed and that I would be late. I was told not to worry that they would be waiting for me when my flight landed.

By the time that I arrived in Longview, Texas, I was tired, hungry and feeling out of sorts. As promised, my driver with Errands for All, Jeff, was waiting right outside the door to collect me and my baggage. However, imagine my delight when Jeff said, “Mrs. Barr. Welcome to Longview.” Then asked, “Are you hungry?” I smiled thinking that I was ready to chew my arm off but said instead that I was starving. Jeff said, “I’m glad to hear that. I figured you would be hungry and I picked up some Texas barbeque sandwiches for you.” What could I say? Wow! My flight delay and my hunger certainly weren’t Jeff’s problems but he sure provided outstanding service above and beyond the call of duty. Do you think that I’ll use Jeff’s services next time I’m in Longview? You bet. Do you think I’ll tell a few friends? Just my entire newsletter subscriber list!

So if you want to stand out for your customers, here are a few tips:

1. Be there for your customers. Times are tough and we are all working hard to get by. So, if your customer comes in at a minute past closing time, don’t roll your eyes and slam the door. Instead, give them a break and deliver the service you provide whether that is accepting their dry cleaning or completing a financial transaction for them. At a minimum, they will continue doing business with you. Some may even return the favor in the form of referrals. If nothing else, perhaps one day they will cut you some slack when you need it most.

2. Make things right for your customer when you do something wrong. Never play the blame game or point fingers at someone else. When you point fingers, remember that there are three fingers pointing right back at you. Instead, take responsibility and figure out what you can do at a minimum to make things right. Steak served cold? Offer to prepare a new steak and make it a priority in the kitchen. The bank lost a customer’s application? Find a way to recreate it with a minimum of inconvenience to the customer. Even better. Ask the customer how you can make it right for them. You might be surprised at how simple the solution might really be.

3. Exceed your customers’ expectations whenever possible. I know. You’re not in the shuttle business, right? And buying someone a sandwich for lunch or dinner may not be the right approach. However, regardless of where you work, whether you like it or not, you are in the service business. Have a customer that brings their dog in every week? Have some dog treats at your desk. An elderly customer who forgets their glasses every week? Have a pair of inexpensive readers in your desk. Take the time to figure out what you can do to exceed your customers’ expectations and then do it. They will love you for it and who knows? Maybe it will make you feel good too.

It’s easy to focus on those things that are not within your control. But the reality is that there are many things that are within your control. There are many ways that you can provide outstanding service and not only preserve but enhance the customer experience. I’ll bet you can come up with numerous ways to ‘wow’ your clients with outstanding service when something goes wrong, even when it’s not your fault. So, what are you waiting for?

Regina Barr is a former marketing executive and founder of Red Ladder, Inc. As CEO she helps organizations manage transitions, complete major projects, build strong teams and develop leadership talent. She is an executive coach, professional speaker, trainer, writer and media commentator who holds master’s degrees in business administration and human development. For more information, visit www.redladder.com or 651-453-1007.

Copyright 2009 Regina Barr, Red Ladder, Inc. 


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If you find value in this newsletter, I invite you to share it with others who can benefit. Please forward in it's entirety. You may also publish or reprint this newsletter as long as it is accompanied by Regina Barr's byline and contact info (below the feature article). Please send us a link to the article when it's published.

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About Red Ladder

Red Ladder, Inc. provides services for individuals and organizations with a goal of developing people and inspiring success. Regina Barr, Red Ladder’s CEO, holds a BBA, an MBA and an MA in human development. With over twenty years in the financial services industry, she has a broad range of leadership experience in product, sales, and marketing.

in this issue ...
  • Note from Regina
  • Three Ways to Wow Customers with Outstanding Service When Something Goes Wrong - Even When It's Not Your Fault! 
  • Speaking Schedule
  • Resources
  • What's New
  • About Red Ladder

Today's poll ...

When it comes to building relationships...

Take this month's short poll.

What's New ...

04/09 Regina Barr’s article, Riding a Runaway Train: Five Strategies for Developing a Sense of Control in Turbulent Times, was featured in the April issue of the Eagle Informer magazine. 

Here are some of Regina's upcoming programs  ...

April 21, 2009, Minnesota Treasury Management Association, Run It Like You Own It: Developing a CEO Mindset™, Seminar, St. Paul, MN

May 2, 2009, FWI New England District Conference, See Jane Lead™, Workshop

May 13, 2009 (8am CST), IABC MN Dial Up Your Career Series, Networking for Success™, TeleSeminar

May 14, 2009, FWI Minnesota District Conference, Hit the Ground Running™, Workshop

July 8, 2009 (12 Noon CST), IABC Minnesota Dial Up Your Career Series, Up is Not the Only Way™, TeleSeminar

September 9, 2009 (8 am CST), IABC MN Dial Up Your Career Series, Time Management for the Time Pressed™, TeleSeminar

October 2009, FWI Annual Conference, Hit the Ground Running, Workshop

November 11, 2009 (12 noon CST), IABC MN Dial Up Your Career Series, Pricing Integrity and Personal Value: What Are You Really Worth?, TeleSeminar

Preview a list of Regina’s five most requested programs.

Interested in having Regina speak or present a seminar or workshop at your next event? Contact us at: 651-453-1007 or .


Resources ...  

The Goals Institute has developed a series of simple, short, and inexpensive little handbooks that cut right to the good stuff you need to know and use. Why waste time and money buying a big book and reading theoretical concepts you will never apply? Instead, get solid tips and tools that you can use to get fast results. Hot off the press: 10 Best Tips for Closing the Sale and 10 Best Tips for Getting a Job.

What Our Clients Are Saying ...

"Regina has given me clear, actionable ideas and practical, useful advice which has helped me not only grow my business but take it to the next level."

-Kristi Pesek, Owner, Charbon Technologies

Copyright 2009 Regina Barr, Red Ladder, Inc. 
All rights reserved.

 www.redladder.com| info@redladder.com | 651-453-1007 | Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076