Posts tagged Customer relationships

Come On, Get Happy!

Jason Training Employees at Bal Harbour ShopsI get asked a lot about how I always seem so happy. The answer is simple: I love what I do and who I do it with.

OK, the dry cleaning and rug & drapery cleaning business admittedly isn’t the most glamorous… But my team is. No matter the industry, a business is ultimately about the people. As a team, we make each other happy… what’s more glamorous than that?

When I first started Sudsies and Rugsies, I spent a lot of time finding others who share my vision and caring passion. Having a commonality in our emphasis on integrity and character makes it authentic and easy to work with one another. Together, we’ve created a culture, a real community, where we thrive on helping each other and our clients. Even when one of us is having an off day, the smiles and support from the other members transfer back that positivity.

Want to know what else keeps me happy? Giving people a purpose, myself included. It’s not enough to just be surrounded by great people; the group should serve greatness too. I enjoy helping others, not only by providing them a position within the company, but also by ensuring that they receive every opportunity to learn, grow, and be empowered to find their highest role. It could be sending them to continuing educations seminars, providing leadership guidance, or granting them the freedom to get creative when assuring that the client has that above-and-beyond experience that bonds them to both the person and the brand.

So there you have it, my secret to happiness. Yes, it first has to come from within, although helping others also find a piece of contentment is what sustains an overall deep satisfaction for all… The best way to jumpstart your own journey to happiness is simple. Smile!


WE THE PEOPLE

Looking into the heart of what makes a business great.

Blazer with an American flag and a Sudsies smiley face.

Ask anyone what kind of business they’re in and you’ll get a lot of answers: sales, finance, retail, medical, government, technology, real estate… it could go on and on. The truth of the matter is; however, that no matter your industry, the answer is all the same.

We are all in the people business.

For example, at my company, Sudsies, we don’t stress that we are dry cleaners or clothing caretakers. Sure, that’s a big part of what we do. But at the end of the day, we answer to our clients. A shirt isn’t going to appreciate a crisp pressing, its wearer does. We can provide the cleanest clothes (which we do), conquer the toughest stains (we do that too!), restore beloved items to their original glory (once again!), and more. None of that means anything though if the client isn’t happy.

What is it exactly that makes a client happy? It’s the experience. A great product is only a tiny part of the equation. What if I could offer you the greatest product on earth, but to get it you’d have to be inconvenienced, hang out in a dingy environment, and put up with a grumpy attitude from the staff? Maybe, just maybe, you’d consider repurchasing once again only because this product was so great, but eventually you’d get tired of the negative experience and probably move on. Besides, there are plenty of great products out there. It’s the overall attention to the people that make a difference.

Think about what your customers want, as well as what they might want but just don’t know it yet. Most want that great product, but wrapped up in convenience and a positive environment. You need to have those too, but the critical factor is the relationship. They want to know that you have their needs and well-being in mind. The easiest way to communicate that is with a smile. People are individuals, which means you may need to adapt your service style. Some want to be chatted up, others may just want to get their product and go… it’s up to you to gauge how you connect. Regardless of the personality, you need to communicate that the door is always open for them to express their expectations and desires and that you are always ready to happily serve.

Most importantly, being in the people business is not just about your external audiences. It has to start from within. How can you expect your own team to serve with enthusiasm if they are not experiencing it themselves? Think about the work experience and how to breed success, while making it enjoyable for them. Success, happiness, and purpose equals the ultimate sustainability equation. It breeds a positivity, a culture that employees simply cannot help passing onto their clientele.

Now try looking at your professional role in a new light. Start with people, and consider how you have the opportunity to make a difference in their lives, with exceptional products and experiences. I bet your career outlook just got a whole lot more interesting.


Give Some Summer Lovin’

I guess the adage “time flies when you’re having fun” is really true, as Summer always seem to speed by so quickly. Just one month left before it’s back-to-school for the kids and back-to-the-grind for us. Hopefully, you are able capture quality time with a family vacation, but this time of year also presents the perfect opportunity to reconnect with our professional family.

Think of all your advocates: contacts, mentors, loyal customers, etc. While they have contributed to your business tremendously, have you done anything recently to return the support? If not, this is the month to do so. Understandably, it takes enormous time and effort to build and grow our business with varying meetings, tasks, and initiatives tugging for our attention, but it’s also important every once in awhile to stop and recognize our successes to date… and how we got here. I suggest reaching out to these people to show your appreciation. It could be a loyalty rewards program, scheduling that lunch you’ve been talking about doing for the past six months, or a simple note to say hello and thank you. In business, money may motivate, but people are the true resource in helping you achieve your goals. Plus, it’s the human connection that makes work enjoyable and worthwhile.

Express your gratitude, then pay it forward. Find a promising up-and-comer or a start-up with a compelling mission and lend your support. We all need a little help sometimes, even if its just advice and guidance. Miami Beach is an inspiring background in which to pursue a dream, and this city’s success and sustainability relies on its community working to help one another realize these aspirations.

I hope this summer leaves you refreshed and ready for the upcoming high season. Remember to enjoy and take advantage of these quieter moments, for they can be just as valuable as career peaks. In the meantime, we at the Chamber are always available and happy to help you make the right connections.

At your service,

Jason Loeb

Chairman

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Pride in customer service.

Recently, I had the pleasure of taking a private tour of the Zappos headquarters in Las Vegas and gaining insight from their team leaders. I had not personally used Zappos’ services (my wife does enough damage in the shoe shopping department), but I knew they were renowned for their customer service. During my visit, I realized that it was way more than customer service for this company, but a true desire to connect with its clientele. One tale described how a Zappos representative spent nearly six hours on the phone with a customer, carefully understanding and addressing her needs to find the perfect shoe for an upcoming occasion. That’s serious care, but one of many examples of the company living up to its mission of providing the best customer service possible. Making it even more astounding is that Zappos is internet-based.

The experience reinforced for me that it’s not simply about customer service, but employee service. Mission statements and core values aren’t created because they sound good to investors – they are meant to be enlivened. This includes a core focus on your company’s most important assets: the people. As with any asset, you must invest in them:

*    Training: People do well when they feel confident. Whether new hires or teaching existing personnel new tasks, allot extra time for in-depth training that covers your company culture, job specifics and a variety of other scenarios in and outside their formal job scope. My employees undergo as much as 90 days in training, but I assure you, the added experience ensures them success from the moment they hit the ground.

*    Education: Training shouldn’t end at orientation. Provide ongoing education via seminars, workshops and industry conferences. Demonstrate that you are interested in their professional growth by offering promising employees opportunities to attend management/leadership programs. Daily, never pass up an opportunity to reinforce the company values – hold morning meetings to set the tone for the day and provide positive reinforcement.

*    Empowerment: You’ve spent the time and money training and educating your employees, now it’s time to let them thrive. When people are allowed to make their own decisions, they are more invested. Your employees are the front-line to your customers: you need them to come up with quick and relevant solutions tailored to the individual client. 99% of the time, they’ll make the right decision, and in those rare instances they do not, don’t get upset or strip them of their empowerment, but work with them to understand alternative solutions.

*    Interest: I can’t say it enough – business is personal. Take a genuine interest in the development of your employees. They know your business as well as you, and in some ways more. Find out what’s working and find out what’s challenging them in achieving optimal job performance. Demonstrate your loyalty and your employees will do the same.

Indeed, customer service is easier boasted than delivered, but reflect back to Zappos. If a company entrenched in an impersonal industry can touch its clients, so can any organization…You just have to touch your employees first..