Friday, May 27, 2011

Everything Speaks

This week a banker friend thanked me for something I said when I made a customer service presentation to his employees a year ago -  “Everything Speaks”.  To which I replied, “Don’t thank me – thank Walt Disney.”  Spend a day at Disney and you’ll see what I mean.  Everything is clean, well maintained, visually appealing and the customer service is the best there is! 

So I thought it would be a good time to remind you that if you own a small business to take a look around and ask yourself what “speaks” and the message you’re sending.

For example, if you own a restaurant and your restrooms are filthy, your tables are sticky, the glasses have lipstick stains on them and your staff is unfriendly – you are sending a message to customers that cleanliness doesn’t matter and will give the impression that your kitchen must be filthy too. Whether that is true or not - EVERYTHING speaks – and perception is everything.   No matter how good your food might be – you will lose customers if they are turned off before the food ever gets to their table.

If you own a service business you’ll leave a great impression if you clean up after yourself, and you’re polite and professional – especially if you’re going into peoples homes.   My brother fired a contractor hired to renovate his basement not because the work wasn’t good – but because he left a huge mess behind every day that disrupted the entire household.  EVERYTHING speaks.
 If you own or work for a retail business take a look around.  Is it easy for customers to get in and get out?  This time of year it’s critical to keep your parking lot and sidewalks free of snow and ice.   How does your space look, smell, is the music pleasing or blasting too loud?   Are you making every customer feel welcome and important the moment they walk in?   Customer service is critical – EVERYTHING speaks.

If you’re the sole owner in your business - YOU are your business.  EVERYTHING you do “speaks”!   Be careful about the impression you make with current and potential customers.   Watch what you say in public including what you post on Facebook/Twitter and how you interact with people even when you are not “working”.   Never bad mouth your competition or a customer in a public forum and steer clear of controversial issues!   Be a positive force in all that you say and do.  People want do business with people they like, trust, respect and who give back.  

EVERYTHING SPEAKS so take a look around and ask yourself if you are sending the right message to customers in all that you say and do!  

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