There’s Always Room to Be Better

No matter how many years you’ve been in business, how many customers love you, what your financials and KPI’s indicate: you can be better.

If you disagree, I’ll invite you to visit your local Apple Store.  There, you’ll see best in class:

  • retail customer service
  • floor management processes
  • payment and receipting processes
  • upsell programs
  • staff training
  • customer loyalty

Understanding how Apple got there, and how you might adapt these inspirations will undoubtedly take you to a new level.

If you’re stuck or looking for a solution: spend half an hour with the best in class.

A New Model to Boost Productivity

workplace - scandinavian model worksheet

Spain recently announced a brave new national strategy to improve worker productivity.

The model was introduced during the pandemic, and is referred-to as the ‘Scandinavian Model’ – at its core is a belief that productivity will rise if working hours are reduced.

It’s only for full time employees, and Spain intends to – at least initially – finance the costs that companies incur related to program introduction, training, and other measures to improve productivity (presumably investments in technology as well).

Companies opting-into the program must assure a gender-representative cohort of their workplace.  Companies as small as 21 full time employees will qualify for the program (and up to 249 employees).

Apparently Spanish telecom provider Telefonica is taking the lead, and has offered its employees the opportunity to work a four-day week, extending a pilot programme that initially involved about 150 workers, but in exchange for a 12 per cent pay cut.

We think this is a great idea, and congratulate our progressive Spanish peers on developing this program.

The question is – could this work for your business? 

For more on this topic, please visit this article on EuroNews.

The Value of Mystery Shoppers

the value of mystery shoppers

Mystery shopping – the act of having someone pose as a customer, with the intent of gathering non-biased insight into the customer journey with your business – is a valuable undertaking.

The value of engaging a mystery shopper is directly related to two things:

  1. Your potential customer lifetime value (the higher the PCLV, the greater the need)
  2. The likelihood and social engagement of your customers (the higher the social engagement, the greater the need)

If you operate a business with a high PCLV, you should probably consider – at least occasionally – engaging a mystery shopper to give you insight.

If you operate a coffee shop – the chance of having highly socially engaged customers is likely high – pointing to the value of a mystery shopper even for a business with a low CLV.

If you manage a business with a high PCLV and customers with high social engagement…there’s no doubt about the value.

Here’s a real life case study:

I brought my car to a new dealer the other day for routine service, which included some diagnostic work (there was a noise in the dashboard that was increasingly concerning). Here’s how the day played-out:

  • The car was brought into service at 8:30am
  • By 11:30, I still had not heard from the shop about the level or type of repairs required – so I called, and left a message with the service receptionist
  • By 2:30, still no callback, and I began wondering: is there enough time left to complete whatever repairs are required? What exactly IS required? Why aren’t they calling back? What’s going on there? Did I make a mistake bringing the car to these guys?
  • By 4:30, I arrived, clearly annoyed at the lack of communication, but relieved that the bill wasn’t what I was expecting

In the end, I’d characterize the service delivery as a failure, and I suspect that the dealership would too.

For the owner of the dealership, the service management equation (at least for this customer) is:

  • = High PCLV (car repairs + periodic replacement car purchases) x socially engaged customer

Most people would agree that not returning telephone calls is a blatant service-quality misfire, but the question arises: ‘how often does this happen?’

A mystery shopper solves two things:

  1. It shines a light on service-improvement opportunities – big or small
  2. It keeps management and staff ‘on their toes’, and aware that the organization takes service delivery seriously, and links service delivery with business sustainability.


Great Service Doesn’t Just Happen – It Needs to be Managed

How bad service can kill your business

SMB’s often make the mistake of thinking that they have ‘great service’…usually because the business was built from scratch, often as service as a core value.

But, when the business grows, the ability to manage service as effectively as in the ‘old days’ can too-easily slip away.  Without a service-management structure in place, the gradual degradation of the original hallmark service that helped build the business is a likelihood.

How can you tell if this is the case with your business?

  • Take a look at your client list, and identify how many recent purchases were made from clients on your client roster from 5 years ago.  Any shrinkage above 10-20% is an indicator that even 5 years ago, you delivered so-so service.
  • Repeat this for each subsequent year.

As important, get a sense of what’s going on in your organization that you no longer have control over.  If you have drivers on the road, remote offices, call centres, etc, its possible that you’ve lost a measure of control over the quality of service that helped build the business.

The form below will give you a good sense of the key dimensions of what you’ll need to deploy a service quality management program in your SMB.

Deploy this survey form (below) to each of your staffers to get a sense of what’s really going on related to the delivery of service in your company:

We’re happy to talk about this important issue: