At Freelance World we’ve spent two years changing our culture to become client-focused. Everyone in our business understands that service is the key to everything that we do and that great service leads to happy clients, referrals and business growth. It’s really not rocket science, but why do so few businesses get it?
How often are you served by someone who continues having a conversation with their colleague and ignores you other than to tell you how much you need to pay? That happens to me in Tesco’s all the time (maybe its’ me???), Superdrug are good at it too as well as countless others.
How much does it take to engage with the customer, say hello and swap some words about the weather? That’s not hard is it, but you’ve got to WANT to do it.
So many simply take your business for granted. Well, hello! There is another way, and it’s not difficult. It doesn’t take years of training or thousands of pounds. It’s a decision that can be made in an instant and then drilled into the business.
We’ve had to get rid of people who were technically good at what they did, but who had no interest in the customer. They didn’t care. Sorry, but you’re not for us then.
I was catching up with some of my business magazines today and was reading March’s issue of Director, the IoD’s monthly mag. In there is a profile of John Griffin, the founder of taxi (think about this!) business Addison Lee. Addison Lee’s account billings in 2009 alone totalled £89m. Granted they’re in London, but that’s one hell of a lot of taxi fares.
I love how John runs his business. Here are a few quotes: –
“They’ve lost the plot he claims, turning his ire on the competitors’ drivers. “I look at them and think, ‘if that’s what we’re competing with, bring it on!’ It’s time they woke up and started doing customer service courses.” Brilliant, how refreshing is that!
“He is proud that 99.3% of all bookings turn up on time; his motto is “who cares wins“; he credits a 3% rise in bookings last year (when the market was down due to the credit crunch) to good service.” Remember, this is a taxi business!
“Service, he argues, is remembered long after price is forgotten. Which is why he’s so relaxed about his competition. “Even if I half-trot I’m overtaking them. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. And that’s what I am.”
Now, remember what John’s business does. It’s a taxi company. Not a high-tech, online web business. It’s a good, old-fashioned commodity business. We all use cabs after all. It just goes to show that you can apply sound business principles to anything and make a real, meaningful difference. It’s also a lot more fun, for both employees & customers to work in that kind of positive environment!
So what are you doing in your business to make a difference?