how are you making sure quality issues don't slip through the cracks?

How will you make sure quality defects don’t slip through the cracks?

Last week, I got a new package of toilet paper. The plastic wrap around it felt a little loose. And when I opened the package, I found out why. Clearly there was a manufacturing issue that resulted in one of the rolls being pretty narrow. Something was off in the quality control department and no-one caught it or someone let it through with an obvious issue.

A lot has changed in the last year. But standards in quality and delivery of service today shouldn’t be one of them. People will notice. Do you have processes and systems in place to alert you when something is off? How will you make sure quality defects don’t slip through the cracks?

you said what?

What? Why now?

About a week ago, I went to the grocery store. And there was a big change in the parking lot. All of the prime parking spots were changed to order online and pick up here. And they were all empty. It was strange. Through the entire pandemic, home delivery and order online and pickup were not an option at this store.

So, why now? After a year and a half of not having the option when vaccine coverage is getting better every day and we are on the verge of having restrictions lifted? And why make customers walk further to get to the store when they could have put the pickup location in a different spot without impacting so many people? And why not give customers the information about how to find and use the service?

Businesses make changes all the times. Sometimes they are obvious and sometimes not. The change sticks when people are better off. When their life is easier.

Are your customers wondering why?

you said what?

How well are you framing your questions and asks?

“Where are you?” he asked as we started our first meeting over Zoom. I’ve been asked that a lot and it is usually about where I am in my house. So I answered “my dining room.” And that’s not at all what he meant. He wanted to know where in the country I was.

It’s so easy to misinterpret what someone is saying because of the lens we wear. And that’s the challenge in leadership. Being clear and giving context to questions or asks makes all the difference in getting the response or output we are looking for. How well are you framing your questions and asks?

are you making it easy to do business?

Are you making it easy to do business with you?

It was a beautiful weekend, temperatures reaching 80 degrees. And that meant people flocked to the big box home improvement store to get items for their outdoor projects. The line stretched from the two checkout counters to nearly the back wall.

I just had a few items and wondered whether the lines were shorter inside. And they were. Actually, there weren’t any lines at all. I walked right up and was checked out instantly. I mentioned my surprise to the person checking me out and she said on nice days, the lines are always long in the garden center and short inside.

The situation made me wonder how companies help customers navigate their business. Are people available to help customers navigate their experience efficiently? How are roadblocks removed to make doing business easy? Do you look at where customers experience bottlenecks and reduce them? What can you do to make doing business with you easier for your customers?

how are you delighting customers?

How are you delighting your customers?

Over the weekend, I went to the local nursery. It is just up the street from where I live, but in a direction I don’t usually go, so I had never been there before. I pulled in and the owner came out and greeted me, helped me find what I needed and gave me tips for success in growing my new plants.

As we talked about the bare root plants and dirt, it became clear to me I’d end up with a huge mess in my car. As I live just a few minutes from the nursery, she volunteered to bring my purchase to my house at no charge. It was such a great experience, I’ll definitely be back.

Opportunities to delight customers come around regularly if you listen for them. And by adding the small touches you can guarantee they come to you next time first. How are you delighting your customers?

picture this!

Picture this!

Have you ever walked around and seen a lawn crew servicing a yard with poor results? Or painters painting a house, resulting in a less than ideal paint job. Or a crew fencing a yard with spectacular results. Or a landscaper transforming the entire look of a house.

If you put a picture of each of these results on the front of a brochure, which would you want to work with? If you put a picture of the results you generate on the front of a brochure, would they attract customers?

your emergency is not the same as my emergency

Your definition of an emergency is not the same as my definition of an emergency

The leak under my kitchen sink was not gushing, but did create a puddle on the floor when I used the sink. After checking with my neighbors for a plumber to no avail, I found one online that was well rated. And they offered same day service! So I called for an appointment, the first available time was two days later. Apparently same day was only available for emergencies.

That’s the thing. One person’s definition of an emergency is another person’s definition of the ordinary course of business. Understanding how each side views the situation helps to find a solution that works for all parties.

are you delivering what was promised?

That is not what you promised!

My dog knows each type of treat by name and where they are kept. So when I pulled a bait and switch on her, she called me out on it. She happily took the treat that was not what was promised. When she finished, she stood and stared at the cabinet where the promised treat was kept.

People don’t always advocate so strongly that what was delivered was not what was promised. Sometimes not living up to promises results in lost customers or lost employees. What are you doing to make sure you are living up to your promises?

right people in right place

What are your people telling your customers about you?

My refrigerator started leaking water all over the floor. So, I called to have someone come out and fix it. When he got here, he explained the design flaw that was causing the problem and indicated he could fix it, but it would happen again at some point. And the cost of the repair was pretty high. So, I asked him if he was really telling me it is time for a new fridge. He said yes.

Having people in your business that will give customers the full picture to make an informed decision is critically important. Those front line folks tell customers a lot about how you run the business, who you hire, how you incentivize them, and the values and behaviors you expect. What are your people telling your customers?

Poor substitutes aren't worth it

Poor substitutes just aren’t worth it

We all have products we love. And when they aren’t available, the search for a substitute is on. Like many, I’ve had that issue over the last year with Clorox wipes. And like many, I’ve been disappointed by the poor quality of the substitutes that have flooded the market. The contrast has highlighted why having a quality product is worth the money.

The same is true in businesses of all types. If your products or services are high quality, people will know that a poor substitute isn’t worth it. How are you positioning your products or services so people aren’t looking for a poor substitute?