Stuck in a loop

I’ve just heard Daniel Priestley speak about his book that shows how you can use books as an opportunity to speak to prospects … now I have a headache …

Yesterday I got a headache.  A really bad one, and I missed the second half of a very interesting day with the guys from Dent.

What interested me about the day was that it addressed a concern that I have in common with many entrepreneurs and small business leaders – that of growth – in particular, the right kind of marketing that leads to sustainable and positive growth for a business.

In their “Key person of influence” programme, Daniel Priestley has pulled together a very interesting set of activities which many entrepreneurs will already be aware of (if not already doing) but does so within a framework where they become aligned with the growth of the business itself.

This is important because most entrepreneurs don’t just do one thing.  Even if you’re working on one project or company NOW, that’s not the only thing you’ll ever do, and so you want the successes that you achieve to count both for your company (so that you can sell it or otherwise exit saying “look what I’ve done”) but also count for you personally so that your CV clearly shows your successful track record in building success.

I really like Daniel’s approach to this which is outlined in his self-published-“Key Person of Influence” for the simple reason that it highlights how you can do this kind of profile raising in a way that benefits both your current business and your own future career.  By aligning these powerful motivations, Daniel shows how this kind of activity can deliver maximum bang per buck.

Now talking of bang, back to the headache…

Because what Daniel was talking about in the talk that I went to after reading his book, was how to make your business successful by writing a book and then offering other content like events which you can bring people to … at which point it’s no wonder that I got a headache.

Well worth a read!

Are your interactions worthless?

Do you need to ask an external company how you are supporting your customers? If so, that’s a good indicator that you may be doing it wrong.

It’s a principle of agile that an organisation is best when motivated people work on something together – face to face.  But it’s a principle that’s routinely ignored when it comes to working with customers – and by organisations which should know better.  Last week I participated in a “short survey” about a particular product, not because I had a particular desire to share my thoughts with the company concerned, but because they were offering free money (well, an Amazon voucher).

One of the questions was: “You recently engaged with one of our customer services operatives. How effectively did they resolve your query?”.  Apart from the complete blandness of this question, something struck me.

Don’t they know?

I had the same experience with BT a few years ago, this was before the widespread adoption of cable TV contracts with phone connections and when BT was the monopoly provider of all domestic telephone lines, and the BT customer survey person asked “how many phones do you have in your house?”

In both cases, we can tell two really alarming things about these companies when we  this sort of question.

  1. They can’t or won’t look up this information themselves (in both cases their internal systems should have the answer)
  2. They don’t trust their own staff to do their job right.

The staff who deal with customers know whether they did a good job, and they know whether the customer was happy at the end of it.  So why on earth engage external companies to ask these stupid questions?

So here’s the takeaway.

If you feel like you need to ask an external firm to see whether you have a problem with how your front line staff handle customers, then you know that you have a problem with how your front line staff handle customers.

The problem may be that they don’t do it well, or that you don’t trust them, but either way, that’s a pretty big problem, because today, if you’re cut off from your customers, you will be killed off pretty quickly by an organisation that understands them and connects with them as a grown-up.