1. Customer Service Feature Story
It Is Time To Recession Proof Your Business
I am probably one of the few business owners that actually like a recession, in some cases, prefer it over a booming economy. I know that may sound crazy, but when you really consider the advantages and disadvantages of both a great and poor economy, a poor economy can be extremely advantageous to a strong company. The coronavirus and the recent impact it has had on the stock market is not what has me thinking about the potential of a recession. Nor am I predicting we are about to be in one. However, a good company should always be ready and prepared. Have you recession proofed your business?
A significant percentage of companies that hire The DiJulius Group for customer service consulting are those who have gone through incredible growth the past few years and now need to fix their company’s customer experience. They have lost their way, strayed away from their core values, and need to regain the soul of their original startup.
Nothing Ruins a Company’s Customer Experience Faster Than Rapid Growth
Rarely does a company go through rapid growth without having their customer experience suffer significantly. As a result of a booming economy, companies experience rapid growth and need more employees. This makes it an “employee market”. An increase in job opportunities causes an increase in employee turnover as employees seek and get “better offers”. There are currently more jobs than there are unemployed people.
Imagine your company growing, expanding, and needing more employees—a lot more, maybe hundreds more. How picky can you be when you need 400 new employees within the next few months? Locations have to be opened. Demand for your product and services is exploding. The pressure is on to get people hired and trained (at least somewhat).
This is where most companies start compromising on whom they hire. Even worse they may start fast-tracking new employees through training. That’s a mistake. What has always made you unique are the people you hired, how well they were trained, and the great customer experience your company delivered. If you give in to compromises, you will have high turnover, low morale, and your customer experience will be so inconsistent it will become a liability instead of your strongest competitive advantage.
As a result, companies are compromising by keeping underperforming employees and hiring new employees that they typically would turn away. The higher percentage of new employees always leads to a dramatic decline in customer service. Growth + high turnover = businesses trying to serve more customers with less people. Not a good combination.
Growth is great when done right. But don’t succumb to the growth trap. You can’t compromise your hiring, training, and the customer experience your company delivers. Getting hired at your company should be extremely hard. It is only fair to your existing employees that you stay extremely selective on whom you let in. People need to earn the right to be a part of your culture and legacy. Your goal should be that every long-term employee considers their decision to join this company as one of the best decisions of their life.
A Recession Is A Terrible Thing To Waste
There are hidden opportunities found in preparing for a recession. The success stories of the past decade were born from the great recession (2007 – 2009). Companies that were forced to reinvent themselves, out of desperation for survival, and creatively found new revenue streams and opportunities by revisiting the fundamentals that they focused so heavily on during the early years.
Reinventing Yourself – We all enjoy it when the economy is booming, which I like to call the “busy bus.” At times it seemed like new business would just fall into our laps, with very little effort. As a result it made many companies content and overconfident. They lost focus on the fundamentals of business such as their culture, employees, customers, and the experience they should consistently provide.
Working Harder – Success should be hard. It should require long hours, creativity and sleepless nights. Obtaining new business should be about researching the company and the decision- maker’s hobbies and interests. Keeping existing customers should require touching your customers on a regular basis, obsessing about their satisfaction level, and genuinely thanking them for their business.
New Revenue Streams – This is where the biggest opportunities have been reported already. Businesses having difficulty selling their stale product and services have invented new revenue streams with many times lower price points, but many times more profitable. Companies have been able to go deeper with existing customers and acquire new business. More importantly, they provide solutions to customer’s needs. These new revenue streams, which would have never been created in normal economic conditions, now represent a larger percentage of their revenues.
Fish when the Fish are Biting – Good times camouflage poor strategies until it is too late. Examine your staple products, services, and peak times to ensure you are positioned to take full advantage when the fish (your customers) are biting.
Customer loyalty is every company’s greatest asset in any economy
Experience is your marketing – Providing an experience versus making a sale, means quit going after new business and focus on the customers who are trying to give you more of their business. Go deeper with them, build stronger relationships, anticipate their needs, follow up, say thank you spontaneously, and fix it. Fight for every customer.
Staff “buy in” – When there is speculation about an economy turning, that is the best time to act and make the necessary changes. Educate and remind your employees about what happens during a down economy. They may have been a victim of the great recession or definitely knew someone that lost a job or had to take a significant pay cut. Employees become more willing to cooperate, band together, and make sacrifices to step up and fight the future of their company and their careers.
A recession is like a business enema
Less Competition – Even A Turkey Can Fly In A Tornado. When demand is up, leadership becomes more focused on optimizing sales and can become careless about the details. Even poorly run businesses will flourish in a great economy. The American Customer Satisfaction Index reported consumer happiness dropped in 2017 and has not risen since. Now when the economy softens, the tornado stops, and a lot of turkeys start falling. Poorly run businesses are exposed and eventually go away. Which means significantly less competition for the businesses that have survived, and an opportunity to pick up market share.
Employer Market – The current rate of employees quitting is the highest it has been in the last 13 years. When the economy slows, the pendulum swings from an employee market to an employer market. More talent becomes available for existing businesses to choose from and they can build their culture on purpose versus adding warm bodies, like many have done recently.
Efficiency becomes back in style – If you act as if a recession is coming, you start finding more cost-effective ways of trimming fat, reducing down time, increasing staff productivity, eliminating positions and people who you were compromising on. These are things we all should have been doing all along.
Whether the recession is far or near, best to be prepared for it and benefit either way.
*Related – How To Make Employee Pay Irrelevant
2. Client Best Practice
Having “Term Limits” for your CX Steering Committee
Shared by Jess Pischel, Customer Experience Consultant of The DiJulius Group
Al Serra Auto Plaza, an auto dealership in Grand Blanc, MI, has chosen to consistently rotate their Customer Experience steering committee members with some new emerging leaders. This has allowed for new team members to engage in the project from a new lens and provide a fresh perspective. Each steering committee member that “retired” was able to elect an emerging leader in their department to take their place.
3. Short Video You Need To Watch & Share With Your Team
Watch this two-minute video on the distinct competitive advantage the CX Leaders have over their competitors.
4. Quote Of The Week
“If you waste a lot of time with high-maintenance employees,
you end up neglecting the quiet unsung heroes who deserve your attention.”
5. Resource To Help Take Your Customer Experience To The Next Level
Announcing the Speaker Lineup For The 2020 Customer Service Revolution!
We are so excited to announce the incredible lineup for the 2020 Customer Service Revolution happening on October 7-8 in Cleveland, Ohio. We have selected the most amazing lineup of experts to ensure you and your team can continue to disrupt your industry, be the brand Customers cannot live without and make price irrelevant. We will be announcing more event speakers in the coming weeks.
You can check out full details about each speaker and the Customer Service Revolution here.
*Check Out Highlights from the 2019 Customer Service Revolution
Register by March 31st and save $1,000 off each ticket for the 2020 Customer Service Revolution