How To Keep Your Customers Happy

Customer satisfactions is your primary means to success. It costs more to find and develop a new customer then it does to ensure that the one you have is satisfied and will return.  Follow these step on how to keep your customers happy.

Make Customers #1
Make Customers #1

1. Ask your customers to rate you on your customer service.

2. Hold customer feedback meetings at least quarterly. Discuss issues, challenges, what they like and dislike, and how you can serve them better in the future.

3. After the meeting, take action on the recommendations.

4. When responding to a complaint, have the person or department that is responsible take action in the resolution of the complaint.

5. Communicate with your customers often. Use a company newsletter to  update your customers on products and services, issues you are working on, and any changes you are making.

6. Celebrate your successes and your customer’s successes openly. Have these successes published in your newsletter, throughout your departments, and in press releases.

7. Always celebrate your employee’s successes to your customers and to your other employees. This will let everyone know that you value your people.

8. Go above and beyond your customer’s expectations. Keep your word. Always deliver on time or earlier than expected and at a higher quality  than your customers expected.

9. Give your customers more than they paid for every time.

10. Have fun. Let your customers know that you enjoy what you are doing.

Keeping your customers happy is your first priority – they are you means to success.

2001 Gary Sorrell – All Rights Reserved.

Successful Daily Habits

Start each day with successful habits!
Start each day with successful habits!

Make it a successful  habit to end every working day by doing these things:

Clear you desk. Never leave your desk messy. Put everything in a file or to-do folder and in a designated spot. You will start each day off on a positive note. An uncluttered desk will also help to keep you organized and possibly prioritized. (You’ll get tired of seeing the things you haven’t finished in your to-do folder and finally do it to get it off your mind)

Reflect upon the day. Ask yourself some questions and evaluate yourself.

  • “Did I accomplish a goal today and did I record it in my
    goals accomplished journal?”
  • “Did I spend my time wisely today?”
  • “Am I moving closer or farther away from my dreams and
    goals?”
  • “Would I do anything differently if I could do it over
    again?”

Plan for the next day. Transfer your tasks in your daily planner, make a prioritized list of to-do’s, list the goal(s) that must be accomplished, etc. By planning for the next day today you will relieve stress and be prepared to be off to a fast start tomorrow. You will also create a routine of successful daily habits.

– Sorrell Associates

Misalignment can be costing 15%. What is it costing you?

Misalignment can be costing 15%
Misalignment can be costing 15%. What is it costing you?

What is misalignment costing your company?

 

 

What is misalignment costing you?
What is misalignment costing you?

We know of no company that has ever saved themselves into prosperity.  However, we also know of no company that has positioned themselves for long-term success without managing their costs, productivity and most importantly the actions that they take to give them an advantage in the markets that they serve.

In our experience, the primary obstacle is not structure, market conditions or financial pressure, it is misalignment …

•Misalignment of core processes with strategy

•Misalignment of recognition issues that reward activity but negate strategy

•Misalignment of managerial behaviors and attitudes with strategic direction(Inappropriate attitudes render long term success DOA)

•Misalignment of strategies, products and services with what customers really value

The simple logic is that today, misalignment can be costing your company as much as 15% of your gross sales.  Stopping only a fraction of this bleeding would improve your profits, employee and customer satisfaction, successful new product introductions and supplier relationships.  Your unit costs would go down and your competitiveness would go up.

We would like the opportunity to connect the above with your current business situation and to illustrate how our organization might become a resource to you. We unlike traditional consulting firms believe the answers to the challenges and opportunities facing an organization exist within that organization.  It’s our job to help you tap into this creativity and talent to get more from what you already have and fill the performance “GAP”s between your strategies, people, process and customers and where you want to be. Don’t let misalignment impact your profitability.

Charles Wilds – The SOS Group

 

Introduction to Risk Management

How is your risk being managed?
How is your risk being managed?

Risk management has become an integral part of any business model and processes as the organizations are going global and the market situations are increasingly becoming more dynamic. As per the ISO 31000 definition, risk is ‘the effect of uncertainty on objectives’. This ‘effect’ can either be positive or negative. Therefore, risk management can be defined as the process of identification, then assessment, and thereafter, the prioritization of various risks and minimizing, monitoring, and taking control of the probability and impact of such unfortunate events by coordinated application of all the resources, in order to maximize the gains from possible opportunities. Risks can arise from uncertainties which exist in financial markets, legal liabilities, project failures, credit risk, natural accidents, and disasters and even from deliberate attacks.

There are many standards being developed for risk management by the Project Management Institute, National Institute of Science and Technology, ISO standards, and the actuarial societies. The definitions and methods to calculate risk differ from domain to domain. The definition of risk could be different for security and different for an engineering project. It also differs for different sectors. There are different standards established for financial portfolios, public health and safety, project management etc.

There are many strategies to manage risks which may differ from industry to industry. The different strategies include transferring the risk to another company, avoiding anticipated risks, implementing plans to reduce the negative impact which may be caused due to the risk, and finally accepting either some or all the consequences arising out of the risk.

Although there are some brilliant standards established for risk management that have increased the confidence and stability in the estimates and decisions taken to combat risks, some of these are criticized for not being able to show any improvement in either reducing such risks or in preventing them from emerging in the first place.

For more information on risk management and processes, visit Charter4. they offer information on ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 27001, and others.

Author: Jim Johannasen

Vendor Risk Management

Risk Managment - A game of chance?
Risk Management - A game of chance?

Vendor risk management is now a very important concept that needs meticulous planning. It is a necessity and also a policy that many companies are following for greater efficiency and profit.

There are many Third party vendors or direct company vendors are present in many industries including software, hardware etc. Today it is an integral part of business to manage information and knowledge, as it is the most important asset of an organization. Information security, legal documentation, trademarks, patents, copyright are some traditional and newly evolved concepts. Starting from design to concept today all can be patented or protected by legal documentation.

Today companies assess the brand value, customer information, internal customer satisfaction report, past and present client information before handing over non public information to vendors, like credit card details, bank information, even address phone numbers in mailing and calling lists, (PCI DSS Requirement 12.8 similarly requires covered entities to maintain a list of service providers with whom card holder data is shared.) To back up the institution’s vendor risk assessments in conversations with regulators and auditors, it is also helpful to keep handy files containing due diligence and audit reports on the vendors or summaries of such reports.

Vendor risk management is the process organizations analyze not only from the point of view of past experience but also in case to case basis that can be particular to the partnership. This is particularly important for companies that relates to data sharing and the outsourcing of business functions and processing. Vendor risk management is a standard practice today and has matured to an extent where some leading financial industry groups such as BITS have standardized the process significantly through their Standard Information Gathering (SIG) and Agreed upon Procedures (AUP) standards. The use of these standards or their derivatives helps organizations quantify the risk that may be involved with their vendors and then incorporate appropriate risk lessening techniques and measures to alleviate the risk.

Vendor risk management process helps organizations to operate in a mutually secured environment that encircles security of organizations information, customer data and also third party vendor’s operational security. It does not eliminate but certainly minimize security concerns involved in third party production of good and services, processing of information and handling data and process. This also enables the third party vendors to draw border line for their employees on basis of certain legal or agreed points within which they have to deliver and work. So it is mutually benefiting the principle organization and the vendor creating a secured platform of operation where both can deliver excellent product or service to their customers or interest groups.

Sushil Shinha has 5 years of exp in Search engine Marketing and Networking Business. Partner Plank is a platform for companies, Vendor Risk Management from different industries to create their own Partner Portal,handle and use web based collaboration to mange Partners on a single platform to increase revenues and enhance operational efficiencies.

For more information Please visit at: http://www.partnerplank.com.

Author: Sushil Shinha

How Safety Training Can Make Your Work Place a Nicer Place to Be

Safety In The Work Place

How safe is your work place?
How safe is your work place?

The purpose of safety training in the work place is to develop and encourage a safe environment for workers, management, family members, customers, nearby communities, suppliers, as well as various other members of the community and public in general who may be affected by the workplace environment. The benefits for business range from reducing insurance costs to saving lives. Regardless of the industry in which you work, an understanding of the safety issues relevant to your job can make your work place a nicer place to be. Safety is critical where working with heavy machinery, hazardous chemicals, repetitive activities for instance, but training can also be valuable in other occupations such as service station attendants avoiding assaults, for instance.

A good health and safety policy for the workplace should aim to: promote and maintain the highest degree of social, mental and physical wellbeing of all workers within the organisation; preventing ill-health amongst workers due to their individual working conditions; protecting workers from risks resulting from the type of work in which they are employed or exposed to and; ensuring staff are placed in a work environment suited to their psychological and physiological capabilities.

There are many reasons that safety training can make your workplace a nicer place to be; the first and most important benefit of this training is to save lives and prevent injury. When staff know that their health, safety and welfare are being looked after in the workplace, general morale and respect for authority improves. Morale is also improved by the fact that all employees participate in the training, encouraging mutual respect for the different roles within your business.

Another important thing to remember is that safety in the workplace means more productive workers. Safety training can assist in the reduction of unplanned leave due to health and safety issues caused by working conditions, if you have injuries and health problems resulting in staff being unable to work or with reduced productivity, this will cause a loss to the business and also places greater pressure on other staff members, making your workplace a less pleasant place to be. With adequate instruction, staff can work safely without having to worry about serious injuries such as back injury, which could leave them unable to work or perform daily activities.

An added benefit for business is that insurance costs for employers, can also be reduced, by providing evidence that safe workplace practices are implemented and monitored. These savings could be used to initiate safe work practice incentives within your company, providing rewards for teams that go a certain amount of time without an incident or initiate proactive safety procedures for instance.

The benefits of safety in the workplace are evident. Employee health and safety, morale, confidence and productivity increase while insurance costs and unplanned leave are reduced. Employees can feel safe and comfortable in their working environment and a safe and comfortable work environment is a much nicer place to be.

Are you looking for Safety Training for the employees of your business? Worksafe UK is a company that can help as they can offer you the advice for their safety courses. For more information on the company and how they could help you please visit the website at http://www.worksafe.uk.com/

Author: Harry Worthington

Do’s and Don’ts of Risk Management Sections

Risk Management

Risk Management - Are you covered?
Risk Management - Are you covered?

There is no better way to convince a potential customer that yours is the right company for the job than to demonstrate a true understanding of the risks the program will be up against and to come up with plans to mitigate those risks upfront. But in many proposals, the risk management section ends up as a missed opportunity to shine at best and a setback at worst. Rather than showcasing a real knowledge and understanding of the program and proposed solutions, the risk section falls flat or actually does harm.

It happens for two reasons. One reason is that many proposal teams fail to put enough time and consideration into developing a solid risk section. They assign one author to write it and then shift their focus to other work. What they do not realize is that great risk sections are usually born from hours of intensive brainstorming and input from every key player who truly understands the program. Instead, the process by which most risk management sections are written leaves little room for success. It is impossible for a single author to draw out and evaluate all of the program’s risks.

The second reason is that the wording of many risk statements fails to represent the company as an expert, and instead hurts the company’s chance of winning. Often risk statements tend to follow this train of broken logic: “If we fail to provide such and such (with “such and such” standing for something that is expected from any good company doing well in this line of business), this horrible thing will happen.” For example, “If no Customer Satisfaction Survey is established, there will be no feedback on Service Desk performance, which may lead to undetected systemic problems resulting in lower customer satisfaction.” Then, the risk mitigation strategy is to “Establish a Customer Satisfaction Survey.” This type of risk and mitigation statement reads like an exercise in shooting oneself in the foot. Essentially, it says to the customer, “If we do not know what we are doing and we fail to do what any decent company should do if it wins the bid, then we will fail.” Do not offer a risk like this and then couple it with a mitigation such as, “But we do know what we are doing.”

Consider another example where the risk is of “Equipment not identified early enough or critical equipment items not identified,” and the mitigation is something as rudimentary as “Ensure early identification of long-lead items.” Think about this from the standpoint of the customer. If the customer is choosing an expert logistics company, and one of your company’s key programmatic risks is that someone will fail to identify equipment in advance, what kind of image are you projecting?

The examples of “risks” cited above do belong in the proposal, but only as elements of the technical or management approach, and not as components of the risk section.

A good “do” for risks is to avoid representing as a risk anything that is within your company’s control as well as anything that any reasonably good company would do in this line of business. The kinds of risks you need to show in your proposal must be those external to the company’s own abilities to plan and manage the program well, or, in other words, those that are inherent to the nature of the job.

To drive this concept home, let’s use an analogy of a woman going through pregnancy and childbirth. Let’s say that there are things that educated pregnant women know to do to maximize their chances of success, such as going to the doctor for exams, not smoking, and getting good nutrition. Then, there are also risks that could possibly occur due to the nature of the process, such as any number of medical complications that are common to pregnancy and childbirth that could affect the cost (medical bills), schedule (carrying the baby to term), or performance goals (giving birth to a healthy child). If a woman were to put together a risk matrix for a proposal to become pregnant, documenting the risks of what would happen if she did not have timely medical exams or smoked would usually imply her irresponsibility. Documenting possible medical complications inherent to the nature of pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes, would demonstrate a thorough and thoughtful understanding of the risks.

There are only three categories of risks that should be presented in proposals:

1. Risks caused by lack of information or knowledge about the project that could only be gained in the process of project execution;

2. Risks caused by lack of control or resources to deal with external events or authorities; and

3. Risks caused by lack of time to complete tasks sequentially and methodically.

If a company is bidding to perform a project at a facility where no site survey has been completed, an example of a good risk statement would be that the “Existing facility is not large enough to support the required number of personnel for the Service Desk function, which could lead to inability to provide the required services.” The mitigation would then be identifying an alternative to the existing facility in case the survey findings confirm this risk instance. “Not getting environmental licenses and regulatory approvals in time because of the issuing agency’s notorious scrutiny” is another example of a well-identified risk. A good mitigation could talk about expert bodies, relationships with the regulators and local authorities, and the ability to design and build in accordance with every possible standard.

It is critical to remember that the only way to come up with solid risk and mitigation content is to collaborate as an entire team, rather than tasking a single author. Even if there is no requirement for a separate risk section, risk analysis is still all-important. Discussion of applicable risks and mitigation strategies also should be included in each section, to showcase your understanding of the job at hand. In your brainstorming session, it is a good idea to have a mediator who can point out the holes and flaws in your risk ideas. A mediator will also ensure that you avoid the pitfall of inadvertently stating as a risk that your company is unfit for the job, and then stating for the mitigation that your company is – go figure – fit for the job. Make your risk mangement statements work for you, since they can be pivotal in convincing the customer that yours is the right company for the job.

——–
Olessia Smotrova-Taylor is president of OST Global Solutions, Inc, a Washington, DC Metro Area company providing capture and proposal management support and training to companies seeking to win business.

Author: Olessia Smotrova-Taylor

Organizational Change Management

Change Management Leadership
Change Management Leadership

Organizational Change Management

 

 

 

 

A colleague of mine says that people don’t mind change and they don’t necessarily fear it – but that they do fear what is required to make a change. So, in effect, when organizational change management is proposed and employees begin to have “fear conversations” (“I wonder what job moves are going to come about as a result of this. . .?” “Where is all this heading. . .?” ” What kind of shake-ups will there be at the top?”) what they’re actually expressing is a fear of how the change is to be instituted. Organizational psychologists are highly attuned to change constructs, to the organizational purposes that they serve, and the opportunities and advantages that they provide for organizations. For all the positive aspects that change provides, we nevertheless find dichotomized thinking about the change process, when we work with the employees of a corporation undergoing change. From one prospective, we find that the organization’s members endorse the end result of change and the advantages that this can bring. They can see, for example, that changes can offer greater efficiencies and improved and easier ways of doing things; increased corporate profits and a chance at higher salaries; a heightened competitive edge and greater market status advantage for the company. While acknowledging these benefits, what they talk to us about, however, are the actions and details that will occur between the time change is initiated and when the change has been effected – that is, the path that is to be traveled to make the change is of the greatest concern.

Because change is so all-pervasive in modern organizations, two of the most critical elements of leadership are initiation and management of change. Most managers have had limited training in the specifics of leading organizational change and have little idea of the ways that their employees perceive and experience change. And, yet, much of the day-to-day work of the manager involves addressing marketplace opportunities – most of which require change to the organizational structure and its employee functioning. The greatest determinant of the future success of an organization is the CEO and leadership team’s ability to address change by formulating and articulating a clear vision and carefully-crafted strategic reactions.

Change in complex organizations requires management of the interplay of emotions and cognitive processes. Managers, on the whole, lack the knowledge and background to deal with imminent and forced organizational changes. The modern, dynamic business environment requires large numbers of changes to be made during any given year, from an ever-widening range of change choices. Without training in this area, managers often resist change or avoid organizational transformation effort. When faced with the need to change, resistive actions on the part of the organization’s leaders can precipitate a process that results in rapid deterioration of the organization. Sound knowledge of organizational change processes, on the other hand, allows leaders to view change as an opportunity that can be guided and managed for greater gains.

From these two different approaches to organizational change – change resistance or change management – two differing belief systems emerge. The belief of the “change resistant” manager is that change will bring instability, upheaval, unpredictability, threat and disorientation; the “change embracer,” on the other hand, sees change as an opportunity — a chance for rejuvenation and innovation as well as progress and growth. In effect, the difference in the two approaches is a that of viewing change from a perspective of fear and anxiety, or from one of excitement and confidence.

From our experiences in organizations, there is no doubt that confident managers deal with change management most effectively. To arrive at a point where they are poised and assured of handling organizational changes, managers will have devoted themselves to constant and continuous learning. Dedicated learners gain the ability to gather large amounts of current knowledge that allows flexibility to react with dexterity and skill to crisis situations. Learning managers also come to know the culture of their organizations, and, consequently, are adept at persuading and reassuring employees to follow their lead in instituting change propositions.

From our many experiences of working as consultants in organizations, the professionals in my company have gleaned the following precepts of managing change:

1– STRUCTURE AND POSIT THE CHANGE PROPOSITION WELL

Managers need to be able to clearly and completely describe and justify the changes that they propose. In order to prepare their employees for change, they need to have researched the topic well in order to be able to clearly delineate: 1) the reason for the change; 2) the proposed actions to be taken; and 3) the expected results. Good data to support the need for change are critical. The data need to be provided, along with sources for employees to find background and technical information for the proposed changes on their own. Providing information sources for employees encourages an informed workforce and also promotes the growth of an organizational population of learners.

2 — ANTICIPATE RESISTANCE AND REACTION

The manager should know the employees and the organizational culture well enough to be able to anticipate those who will be resistant to change. Preparations for emotional reactions to change can be accomplished by developing strategies for use in specific situations. Change scenarios can offer sound operational approaches for most circumstances. If there are departments or other “pockets” of personnel who are likely to resist the changes, the manager and his staff will want to work with these members either in groups, or one-on-one, as appropriate.

3 — TALK OPENLY ABOUT THE CHANGE REACTIONS

The manager, or an expert hired to assist with the intricacies of individual behavior in change situations, will need to confront employee fears and reactions to the change. There is a need to talk openly about plans for change and the actions relating to the change as well as to work with individual employees to assist them in addressing their concerns. As a part of this process, employees will need to determine “what’s in it for me” — this might simply be that the company, and they along with it, will prosper under the new directions. Once there have been discussions to promote greater understanding, employees can begin to think seriously about their roles in the change process.

4 — INSPIRE TRUST AND TEAMWORK

The focus of the work with employees during the planning and initiation stages of change will be on engendering employee trust and inspiring teamwork. When goals are explained well and management credibility and integrity exists, it will be possible to transform employee reactions of anxiety to an endorsement of changes. Trust and team building is a topic requiring lengthy discussion, as there are prescriptive processes that will need to be followed. To accomplish this phase of change, leaders will need to research the topic well; or, alternatively, employ experts who can guide the organization’s members through formal teambuilding and organizational development processes.

5 — ALLOW OWNERSHIP OF THE CHANGE PROCESS

The desired outcome for teambuilding is to have employees feel that they own the change process as well as the path that is to be traveled to secure the change. Great value is derived from the employee dedication and rejuvenation that comes from feeling ownership of the change process. When an employee is feeling in charge of the process and of his own fate, there is certainty that the desired change will be accomplished. This level of confidence also fosters inspiration, new ideas, and innovative ways of doing things that result in a high rate of overall achievement.

6 — LEADERS MUST LEAD

Throughout the change process, from the planning. . . to the introduction of change . . . to the implementation, the leader must lead. That is, employees must be convinced, in both words and actions, that the leader is fully behind the change processes. Members of the organization must be able both to know and to sense that the direction of change is well understood and highly endorsed by the leader, and that the leader harbors no doubts about the proposed course of action leading to greater organizational benefit and commercial gain for the organization. Good information about the organization’s position and the need for change, a clear plan for action, and absolute faith in the success of the actions to be undertaken will be interpreted positively by employees. A leader that proposes change must be certain of the commitment and skill in leading the change efforts. It is for these challenging change efforts that confident leaders are most needed.

In summary: A leader must be willing to embrace the organizational change management processes with clarity and enthusiasm; must have identified the need for change through avid learning processes; must be able to transmit a commitment to the change as well as to one’s employees throughout the process; must be willing to work with individuals, groups and teams to establish the right path to accomplish the change; must be willing to share the ownership of the change processes and to compromise and deviate, where needed, from the original plans in order to ensure that others assume important roles in the process. And, above all, the leader must exhibit the courage and conviction that engenders respect and confidence from others in the organization; that allays most doubts; and that inspires employees to greater levels of performance and accomplishment.

 

Author: Dr. Billie Blair