Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Some Complaints Show You're On Course

Complaints are a common occurrence in business - and in Life.  Too often, however, we make the mistake of compromising our actions because of the opinions of others.  Someone gets upset and starts whining about what you are doing (or not doing) what point do you "cave in" and go along with their request?

There are two considerations when making this decision:  1. Does the "complainer" have your best interest at heart? and 2. You, and only you, are in control of your decisions/actions.

First, there is a group of people that you "serve" - whether customers, employees, or friends/acquaintances.  When dealing with this group, ask yourself whether or not their agenda is for YOUR (or your company's) mutual well-being.  If not, disregard them - and anything else that doesn't directly serve you or your mission.  The reason they are complaining is for THEIR benefit, not yours.  If they care more about themselves than your sustainable good health, then they are a "cancer" (an organism that sucks life out of you and causes damage as a result), so remove them - or, at least, marginalize their contact with you.  You will have a far better future without them.

In the same way, you'll hear your competition howl about how they don't like something you are doing.  Unless the complaint is about something genuinely unethical or illegal, the hidden reason for their complaint is that your action is hurting their business.  Good!  (Remember: They are motivated by you losing!)  Upset "enemies" are not a problem - leading your organization by what pacifies your competition is a BIG problem!  If you are upsetting your competition it is an indicator that you are doing something that is improving your business and/or industry - and distancing yourself from their attempts to take market share from you!

Secondly, don't make the mistake of thinking others control your decisions.  Yes, they may have influence, but only YOU dictate the rules of engagement!  If you find yourself consistently doing things that are unhealthy to you, then YOU are the one responsible for making the unhealthy decision.  Catering to the whims of others and allowing those who don't care enough about you to have your best interest at heart is a sure-fire path to pain, suffering, and regret. 

So view complaints differently.  They are simply information and not always bad.  In fact, they may actually show you that you are doing something right!

Think about it.  But more importantly, do something about!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

It's Showtime...At The Oil Change Garage?!

Have you ever gone someplace and had an experience that was so unexpectedly enjoyable, you couldn't wait to tell people about it?

That's exactly the kind of response you want consistently from your customers.

What is required to create this kind of experience?  Exceed expectations with pleasant surprises.

I just had such an experience at, of all places, an oil change garage

So, what is the typical expectation when getting your oil changed at a garage?  That oily/dirty garage workers drain the old oil and fill new oil into your car correctly for a fair price. That they are competent and efficient.  Pretty simple, right?

I just bought a used car and wanted to get the fluids changed.  I decided to go to the same place noted by the previous oil change sticker in the window.  I had never been to a Valvoline Express Care station, but thought they might be able to provide some additional insight about the maintenance history of my car.

When I arrived, I had the typical expectations.  However, they were radically exceeded from the moment I drove into the parking lot.  Here's what my experience was like: 

An attendant walked out to warmly greet me as I began to park in a parking space - urging me to pull directly into the repair bay.  He and the rest of the team were dressed in a clean/professional uniform.  He guided me into the bay and they began a non-stop banter and flow of information.  It was more like Seattle's Pike Street Fish Market (Google it) than any auto garage I've ever seen.  Shouts of "Showtime, Bay Three!", "Electric a go!", "Thank you, sir!" reverberated across the garage as four separate specialists rushed around conducting a full diagnostic of lights/signals and other fluids prior to changing my oil.  They brought up my car in their computer system (next to my car), shared the extensive service history, and provided insights about the options for service now and in the future.  They provided a full-service oil change with all the bells and whistles (including payment and receipt) without me having to get out of my car

In less than 9 minutes.

Yes, I was impressed.  But even though it cost a few dollars more, it was way more than worth it.

And plenty of other people know about them now.  I'm now an unpaid promoter for Valvoline Express Care.  All because they spent the effort on things that didn't cost any extra to provide buzz-worthy service.

So, what low/no cost things can you do to create a "Showtime" experience for your customers...and get them buzzing?

Think about it.  But more importantly, do something about!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Next Opportunity = THE Opportunity?

Question: How many times in Life do you get the chance to start over and create the life of your dreams?

Answer: Every time you wake up.

So, did you wake up today?  Good!  Then you have an opportunity to make some changes that get you closer to experiencing your dreams, hopes, desires, and purpose. 

The next question is: Will you?

Looking back on EVERY good experience in your life, you may notice something - that each time, it was a result of initiating action.  You'll also likely notice that most (if not all) breakthroughs came as a result of trying something more than once.

You never know when the next opportunity will result in being THE opportunity that realizes your desired goal!

So, consider this a reminder and an encouragement:

1. Get clear on what you really want out of Life.  Focus (and REfocus!) every day.
2. Be open to exploring and discovering how to achieve it.  Every day.
3. Have the courage to take that first step.  Every day.
4. Keep going.  Every day.  Until you are successful.

Yes, it IS just that simple (though not always easy.)

Think about it.  But more importantly, do something about!