Widgets Magazine

Invest in people!

My company has two divisions, residential and commercial with each obviously focusing on their respective markets. It,Aeos been a great approach for us that allows us to ride the sales cycles well. We,Aeove been able to utilize both divisions to ensure that my people are usually busy and working hard. Both divisions have their differences because each market segment is such a different animal. This applies to the products and solutions we provide as well as the approach we use with our clients and within the business.
This past month included a trip down to Dallas, TX to attend and cover CEDIA,Aeos Future Home Experience. This show has been one that we, as a company, have attended for roughly 6 years. Every time I attend this show my mind inevitably becomes incessantly focused on the residential side of the business for the few weeks following. Because of this, I,Aeove been studying some of our processes on that side of the business and over a discussion with our business manager/advisor something came to light that I found quite interesting.
We were discussing the differences between our clients on the residential side and the commercial side, specifically how our people on-site can better manage client relationships. Throughout the conversation, the traditional ,AeuThe client is always right!,Aeu came up and I got excited. You see, this is a pretty standard business moniker that customer service people always like to promote and one with which I actually quite strongly disagree. I actually don,Aeot just disagree with it; I think it,Aeos flat out wrong. Like absolutely wrong, incorrect, false,AexB6just WRONG. It does a disservice to you and more importantly, your customer. There is nothing worse than allowing your clients to continue to make incorrect decisions, based on bad information, just because they believe they,Aeore right. Unfortunately, we can,Aeot dictate to our clients what they should do; we can,Aeot make up their minds for them. But we can ensure that they have more than enough information to hopefully come to understand the reasons behind what you,Aeore saying. This isn,Aeot an excuse to be rude or disrespectful to your clients, but rather an opportunity to assist your clients in the best way possible. The whole reason we have an industry and a job is because what we do is complicated and requires a certain level of knowledge and understanding that most people don,Aeot always have access to or grasp. -*Too often we allow this ridiculous statement, “the customer is always right,,Aeu to enter a discussion where it has no place. It is our job to take the customers thoughts and wishes and create a solution that will best include these desires while ensuring our solution works properly.
A better statement that we,Aeove adopted is, ,AeuSupport our people so they can support our clients!,Aeu I,Aeove found that by ensuring we properly support our people, we can be more profitable, have a better work environment and, most of all, we can be certain the client is happy! Here,Aeos a few ways we achieve this:

  1. Train your people:

This is often overlooked, and many people who know me well will laugh at me saying this, but it,Aeos true. If you train your people and offer them every opportunity to learn and deepen their knowledge of what they do, the better your company will run. Training is so often thought of as something only required for newbies to the business, but it is relevant for everyone. I like to provide opportunities for my people no matter their experience or skill set, while accommodating for the fact that not everyone learns the same way. My personal favorite method is to pair up techs; send a newbie to the industry out with a veteran who is as excited for the opportunity to pass on some knowledge. Let them learn from a pro with a hands-on approach that a webinar or classroom situation may not always obtain. Train them better and they will have the knowledge to provide better solutions.

  1. Stand behind your people:

I know this one seems simple but you,Aeod be amazed how often people will quickly just toss co-worker in their company under the bus. The installers will blame the designer, who blames the salesperson, who blames the ownership. None of that helps the client or the management team. We have taken the attitude to care less about the problem and more about the solution of how to solve it. One of the best statements I,Aeove ever heard hits this point directly:-*,AeuIt,Aeos not about making right decisions; it,Aeos about making decisions and making them right.,Aeu In our business we don,Aeot dwell on a mistake when they happen. We do our best to get past the problem as soon as possible and work on finding a solution right away. Once we have the solution executed then we,Aeoll revisit the cause of the problem and do all we can to ensure we rectify the cause of the problem. By doing this we are standing behind our people and doing everything we can to help fix problems as they arise, as opposed to just passing the buck or focusing on assigning blame.

  1. Invest in people:

I find this to be key. When you invest in people, you are able to determine very quickly where you stand with that person. Normally, with most people, you can tell where they are when you invest into them. This doesn,Aeot just have to be financially, it can be time, knowledge, etc. We find our best employees respond better when we invest in their job/life skills and implement what we,Aeove invested. I,Aeove found that those who really take advantage of this value proposition with our firm last the longest and are our most profitable employees. People today are less impressed with simply receiving monetary gain out of a job, they want more. When you can provide that, you,Aeove given them an opportunity to grow.
All in all, we,Aeove found that when you focus first on your people, you don,Aeot have to spend as much time focusing on your clients because you,Aeore people are all focused on them for you. You have the ability to create an environment where customer service isn,Aeot just a training class but it,Aeos a way of life for your people. You allow your people to understand that it,Aeos everyone in the company,Aeos job to ensure that every decision they make is focused on what,Aeos best for the client. Invest in your people, it,Aeos the best investment you,Aeoll every make for your business!

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