A True Rock Star!

I drove onto the rockery’s automobile scale so the staff could weigh my car before I added some flagstone pavers for my new garden paths. I carefully picked out 30 foot-sized flat stones so I could tend my plants when it’s muddy.

When I drove back onto the scale, a woman staffer looked at my car and said, “I’m taking it all in.” At first I didn’t know what she was talking about, but then realized she was looking at the red plastic “save the rhino” horn I’ve had on the front of my car since my 2014 visit to South Africa. I’ve added a tail out the trunk, and two black ears on either side of the windshield. I forget that this can be quite a sight. I told her I’ve made my car into the rhino-mobile to bring attention to the thousand rhinos killed each year by poachers. She nodded.

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Innovation to Help Engineers Get Closer to Customers

As a consumer, you may commonly hear yourself express your frustration with software, a website or an app. “What were they thinking?” you may ask when something doesn’t work as you think it should.

Some companies involve customers during the design phase, holding focus groups, talking to end users, or watching how customers use a product during beta testing. But few (in my experience), make a concerted effort to increase the designers’ understanding of current customers’ issues. SurveyMonkey has taken this approach as part of their customer-centric philosophy.

In a recent discussion, Jill Sonderby, SurveyMonkey’s Senior Program Manager, Talent Development, shared two programs that help engineers — as well as anyone in the company — have a greater connection to their customers’ experience.

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Help Others Be a Hero

I ordered new business cards 10 days ago, paying extra to ensure they would arrive in time for a conference I’m attending next week on Wed.
This morning (Friday) I received a call from a woman in Memphis saying she had received my business cards! I immediately called the printer, explained the situation and that I needed the cards by Tues. for the conference. The rep said their records showed my cards will be delivered later today. I said, great if they do, but what if I receive her order instead? The rep said he could see a image of the cards and they are mine.

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New project case studies available

We’ve just updated our project success samples/case studies to include some recent engagements. See if any of these might offer some new ideas for your challenges. Leadership/Management Increase senior managers’ leadership skills Develop management and leadership skills in technical leads/supervisors Enhance management/leadership skills through year-long Management Academy Encourage industry executives to share best practices Sales/Customer Experience … Read more

Do you know how you stack up against the competition?

www.SevillebyPepe.comOn a recent visit to Seville, my group of 4 friends engaged Pepe Muñoz (www.SevillebyPepe.com) to show us around on bikes and take us on a tapas tour. Pepe exceeded our expectations — we loved his humor, his insights, his perspective of life and his great English — so we hired him to take us to Alhambra, the famous castle 3 hours away. Then we asked him to take us to the airport the next day.

At our next stop, Lisbon, we also hired a private local guide, Joanne, based on the recommendation of our hotel. While Joanne was friendly and spoke good English, she wasn’t much of a guide. In retrospect, she was a local driver with a tiny bit of knowledge on the sites she took us to.

I outlined for Pepe how his services stacked up to Joanne’s so he’d know what stood out. I do this for clients, shopping their services as well as the competition, to know where they shine and how they could improve. Have you done this lately? If not, maybe you’re like Joanne, not knowing you’re missing out on referrals and repeat customers. If so, I’m happy to help you.

I thought you would like to see the comparison of Pepe and Joanne in the hopes there might be something you can extract to apply to your own business.

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Do you want to improve customer sat scores?

A manager of a large company contacted me because they wanted help increasing their customer satisfaction scores. Their bonuses were based on the customer sat scores and they’d missed getting one the year just ended. They wanted a longer-term solution than a short seminar. I suggested the Managers Discussion Guide Program, since it’s a monthly … Read more

Are you making it difficult to do business with you?

IMG_0926Rarely do businesses look at their processes with a fresh pair of eyes — a new customer’s eyes.

For example, I’m sure this city’s leaders and the downtown merchant association thought the answer to scarce parking was a 3-story garage. The merchants probably saw an increase in business for awhile, especially among locals.

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