Wednesday, November 29, 2017

"Five steps to get people on board with big initiatives"/ customer complaints

Aug. 30, 2017 "Five steps to get people on board with big initiatives": Today I found this article by Brian Scudamore in the Globe and Mail:

Rolling out a new idea is tricky, but you can avoid major headaches as long as you have a plan and involve employees in the process

Imagine that herding cats is a lot like running a franchise network. We’ve spent three decades perfecting our systems, but it still takes constant effort and communication to keep a team of 4,000 people aligned. When we have to roll out new initiatives, things can get complicated.

In 2012, we decided to make our first foray into radio marketing. At first, not everyone could see the value – myself included. We’d always done our own PR, and our main form of advertising was driving around in our branded 1-800-GOT-JUNK? trucks. The way I figured it, why should we pay for expensive radio spots when we can advertise for free?

Many of our franchise partners agreed, but a few forward-thinkers convinced us that we had to embrace paid media to take our brand to the next level.

It took patience, strategy, teamwork and trust, and while it wasn’t easy, it’s been one of the most profitable business decisions we’ve ever made.

Rolling out a new idea is tricky in any organization. But you can avoid major headaches as long as you have a plan and involve your people in the process. Here are the five steps you must take to effectively introduce any new program.

1. Have a clearly defined strategy

To get buy-in, the key is to be straight-up about how everyone will benefit (and what they stand to lose). In the case of our radio campaigns, our goal was to reach local markets by maximizing the frequency, reach and consistency of our ads.

The benefit was massive growth and brand awareness; the potential loss would be missing out on this huge opportunity. But our plan wouldn’t work without the right person. We needed someone whose style matched our company’s quirky personality, so we found the Wizard of Ads (a.k.a. Roy H. Williams). His work isn’t loved by everyone. You know those over-the-top Spence Diamonds commercials? We hired that guy.

His magical thinking and proven track record perfectly matched what we were after, and once he was on board, he set a strategy we all bought into.

2. Prove it’s working – then keep on proving it

It’s one thing to talk about hypothetical results; it’s another to provide evidence of success. To keep people excited and moving in the right direction, you need to prove your program is working.

Several of our top franchises volunteered to be our guinea pigs and invest in a 14-week radio campaign. The ads took off unexpectedly fast, and, encouraged by the early success, our largest franchise committed to a 52-week test campaign. In its first year with ads, our Toronto franchise saw an increase in revenue we couldn’t have predicted.

Seeing those results, more and more of our franchise partners opted to launch their own radio programs. Now, we have more than 60-per-cent buy-in to the strategy.

If you’re testing an unproven plan, start small, experiment and validate your idea. A more clearly-planned start will lead to wider acceptance in the long run.

3. Continuous communication and training are key

In a franchise system with a million moving parts, communication and alignment are absolutely critical. To ensure we stay on the same page, we have a team in the field available to help our franchise partners adapt to major changes, plus weekly phone calls and newsletters.

By keeping the lines of communication open, we’re able to identify and react quickly to challenges. We have people designated as the main contact for new programs (such as our radio campaigns) to ensure a smooth roll-out for everyone involved.

Our hands-on approach to communication allows us to consistently monitor success and support our franchise partners when they have questions or doubts.

4. Be patient – change takes time

The success of our radio ads didn’t happen overnight; we almost called it quits a few months into the program. The Wizard calls this the “chickeningout period,” when people drop off even though they’re about to turn the corner.

In radio, it’s been statistically proven that if you hold on past 12 weeks, the program will take a turn for the better.

Whether you’re implementing a new hiring process or transitioning to new software, there will be times that you’ll question why you did it, and you might even want to give up altogether. Don’t! If you’re ready to quit, you could be on the verge of success.

5. Don’t listen to doubters

Our radio ads have inspired some very strong opinions. People either love the campy quirkiness, or they absolutely hate it. We get an endless barrage of less-than-favourable responses on our social media. Do we care? Heck no! Because what makes our ads annoying also makes them work.

No matter what, when you introduce new programs, there will inevitably be naysayers – employees and customers alike. But if you trust your instincts, take a risk and can prove your case, the opportunity for reward is more than worth the challenge.

"This is what happens when an angry customer complains": Today I found this article by Roy Osing in the Globe and Mail

Roy Osing is a former executive vice-president of Telus, blogger, educator, coach, adviser and the author of the book series Be Different or Be Dead.

Is dealing with customer complaints really a leadership issue? Absolutely.

Every customer complaint is disguised as an opportunity to improve the strategic position of an organization, as long as it is dealt with the right way.

Leaders should treat complaint handling as a priority. Service recovery is a loyalty builder.

If an organization recovers from a complaint exceedingly well, customer loyalty is enhanced. It's counterintuitive, but if you recover well, the customer is more pleased than if you had never made the mistake in the first place.

Complaint recovery means fixing the mistake fast and surprising the customer with what they don't expect.

When you have committed a service error, the customer expects their complaint to be rectified, but it must be done quickly.

If immediate action is not taken, the benefits of recovery are lost, and the customer typically broadcasts far and wide how disastrous your service is.

But even if the error is dealt with expeditiously, loyalty remains unchanged; loyalty is deepened only if the second complaint recovery step is taken – surprising the customer.

That surprise is the magic dust that leaves the awestruck, bonding them to you more than they were before the incident. Fixing the mistake fast maintains their loyalty level; surprising them pushes it even higher.

Complaint recovery is all about attention to details.

Remember these five best practices next time you're facing a frustrated customer.

1. Apologize, regardless of whose fault it is. Trying to blame the customer for the event won't get you anywhere. Apologize for the impact the event had on the customer. "I'm sorry for the inconvenience this has caused you" is a way to move forward into the recovery process without having to admit culpability.

2. Never quote company policy. People don't care about your policies, and telling them that they should have behaved differently will only anger them even more.

3. Never have the issue referred to a supervisor as a means of control; empower your employees to solve the problem then and there. This gives your employees currency in the customer's eyes and enables fast resolution of the complaint.

4. Never use common "trash and trinket" items as the customer surprise. People hate them. Develop a list of more personal surprise tokens that employees can choose from depending on what they learn about the customer during the complaint experience.

5. Have a real person standing by any of your self-serve applications. Complaint recovery cannot be suitably handled through automated systems. When is the last time you enjoyed being served by technology – like an automated voice-messaging system – when you had a problem with an organization?

If leaders make recovery from negative customer experiences a priority, their organization wIll most definitely stand out from the crowd.

Disgusted with The Globe
3 days ago

Bang on Roy - too bad these steps are even more alien to the public sector than the private sector.
2 Reactions

3 days ago

It is important to have a common understanding of what a customer complaint is. Too often what a customer believes is a complaint is not perceived as one, therefore not acted upon, by company staff and/or upper management.

3 days ago

Excellent approach but can we actually practice what we preach?

Joe Shlabotnick
3 days ago

"trash and trinket"?

3 days ago

The management of any thinking organization would have already adopted this strategy; unfortunately they don't think and treat their customers with contempt.
If any of their senior managers took the time to call their company's helpline with a typical issue their atitude would soon change. Or, perhaps they just don't give a damn because virtually all of their competitors are equally inept at customer service thus keeping "churn" rates within acceptable limits.
I have not found the public sector to be worse in this regard but often the same and sometimes better.

3 days ago

Do you think Calin Rovinescu the CEO of Air Canada is reading this?
1 Reactions

3 days ago

I have found the large Canadian companies like bell, Rogers, Canadian tire etc. etc. to be the worst at solving complaints. The only company that really solves any complaint or problem is Costco and on-line Amazon

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