Start Developing Your Own Plan

April 10, 2012 by Susan Repka · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Business 

This blog entry was originally posted back in September of 2010 when our blog was just getting started.  We believe it’s a strong piece and one worth revisiting.  We hope you get something new out of it the second time around.

Start Developing Your Own Plan…

Tests to determine personality assessment or strengths and weaknesses have been around for many years. If you are like me, you have taken quite a few in your career by now. Either a current or potential employer or maybe you just wanted to know what you should do when you “grow up.”

What have you done with the results? The first few I received I sat down that very day and reviewed the document front to back. Agreed that yes, this is me. Put it away, never to be seen from again. I am sure I filed it, just don’t know where. I will probably run across it one day while cleaning up old files.

I know a few people who have read the documents and take the stand, this is who I am and therefore I can never be anything else. They use the document like a line drawn around them. There own private comfort zone.

The last results I received, I took a different approach. I have been noticing that the results have shifted slightly; however, two basic points remain the same. My greatest strength is that I am analytical, which in my case can also be a weakness. I can be so consumed with analyzing data, I never make a decision. This knowledge helps me in two different ways. I surround myself with staff that knows when approaching me with an idea, bring the data. After I have had a chance to review the data, ask for a decision. I need to move past analyzing to decision making.

My greatest weakness, at least for my job, I am introverted. I am very shy around new people. Add to that the fact I am hearing impaired. If I didn’t have to, I would never leave my office. However, running a non-profit organization that host 40 events a year, from a small educational encounter with 25 people to an expo with 1300, staying in your office is not an option. WBEA also participates in many of community partner events, and often I guest speak at those events.

I know that I have to network, so I put a smile on my face and get the job done. When it is over, I reward myself with some downtime. After a luncheon, 30 minutes of quiet number crunching with my door closed, makes my world back in balance. After Expo, we are talking a couple of days off without ever leaving my house.

The point is, I use the data to help me overcome my weaknesses. Maybe it is time to take your report out and start developing your own plan.


Customer Service: Get it together!

January 24, 2012 by Jennifer Emge · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Business 

“If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you
always put the customer first, success will be yours.”

~Ray Kroc, McDonald’s Corporation

Our world continues to become more and more fast-paced, digital, automated, and globally connected.  It’s amazing how easily we can reach people living in a different country.  We can hold a teleconference with business partners in Japan.  We can Skype with a friend in Greece.  We can tweet back and forth with anyone and everyone from anywhere and everywhere.

But as we all tend to lean towards technology to handle much of our daily business, one important aspect gets kicked under the rug: good, old-fashioned customer service.

We’ve all been in the situation where we’ve had a problem, called some 1-800-number, listened to the typical recording of, “Press 1 for questions about… Press 2 for questions about…” and thought, “I have no idea, none of those options solve my problem.”  So you pick one and pray for the best!  Then, you go on this whole schpeel about what your concern is, only to hear 5 minutes later, “Oh, I think you need to talk to someone in a different department, hold on.” AHH!!

While you might have a great product that you imagine anyone would love to have, or provide a great service that anyone would want, that alone will not keep your business afloat.

I’ll give you an example…

When my husband and I first moved to Massachusetts, we were on the hunt for a guest bedroom set.  We wanted a simple black headboard for the bed to match the other black furniture in the room.  We went to a local furniture store – which was pretty empty of customers at the time – and were approached by a salesman.  We said we did not have any questions yet, and wanted some time to browse.  The salesman ignored us and continued to follow us around the store.  We told him we were looking for something in black, but that again, “we’ll let you know when we find something” and again, he ignored our request and followed us around the store pointing out every piece of furniture that was black (as though we couldn’t figure that out with our own eyes).  He led us to the children’s department (even though the bed was to be for adults, not children) and proceeded to tell us that one of the headboard colors was black when it was very clearly blue (and not anywhere close to black).  He ignored our requests to be left alone – first mistake.  If a customer prefers to browse and is not comfortable with someone in his/her face, leave them alone.  He insulted our capabilities to find what we were searching for by pointing to everything black in the store – second mistake.  Finally, he outright lied to us about the color of a piece of furniture in a desperate attempt at a sale – third and final mistake.

The store very well may have had what we wanted, but it didn’t matter.  The customer service was so frustrating and obnoxious, we left.  Had the man in the end presented us with the exact piece of furniture we wanted at an extremely low price, we still would have left.

This example may be more sales-related, but I think you get the message…

Lesson: You may have your product offering fine-tuned and in a top-notch state, but if your customer service is below satisfactory – forget it.  Throw aside everything you’ve been taught about bagging a sale, and pay attention to your customers.  They will tell you what they want, and the sale will follow.

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