For people and companies there is only really one way to judge character: Watch their behavior in a wide variety of circumstances. Watch what they do when they’re in the spotlight, and watch what they do when they think they’re unobserved. Watch what they do every day, and watch what they infrequently do.
Somebody may speak eloquently about their respect for others, but if you watch them treat an Uber driver callously, you can lay a pretty strong bet about how they’ll walk their talk in other areas.
There’s a school of thought (going back to Aristotle) that suggests that personalities are an outgrowth of our personal habits. What we do on a daily basis shapes how we act, how we think, and who we are.
I’ve seen a similar truth in companies–the strongest companies I’ve worked with have required that their people adopt certain habits and they ruthlessly enforce the exercise of those habits. Perhaps more encouraging, I’ve seen companies make dramatic improvements when they adopt new (healthy) habits, replace bad ones, and encourage and enforce adoption of the new habits.
You’ve heard me harping about the power of my simple Pick-3 Process (which was described in my previous book, The Customer Loyalty Loop, and will soon be available as a service that helps make it drop dead easy for companies and individuals to use the process on a daily basis.)
Some clients tell me how this simple process has dramatically changed their business by creating new habits when it comes to customer care and growing revenue. For those who start and stick with it, the results are awe-inspiring. The reason it’s so impactful is it forces you to think about your clients every day. It forces you to interact with your clients every day. It forces you to learn something new, or do something positive for your business every day. It forces your people to engage in proactive sales, marketing, and retention efforts. And, it helps you avoid the ridiculous “Undercover Boss” face that is so shocking to almost every CEO who goes on that show.
But it’s not easy. The adoption of new habits, new tools, and new processes requires work. It often requires–sometimes harsh–enforcement for those who don’t want to play ball. I remember working with a client once where a handful of sales people I interviewed told me they were just trying to hold on a few more years before retirement. They could have been forced to adopt new habits, but nobody was willing to enforce the new state of the union.
My next book is going to be called Grim to Good: Why the Leap To Great is Impossible if You’re Not Consistently Good! All great successes in sales, marketing, and customer nurturing come from consistently doing the right things over and over again.
So often, in business and life, success comes from doing the simple things consistently. And doing the simple things can be hard. I’ve used the example before: Digging a trench that’s 50 feet long and 30 feet wide with a trowel is simple, but it’s certainly not going to be easy.
Each and every day we all face new levels of busyness that takes us away from the things we should get done, regardless of what else comes up. The beauty of something as powerful as the Pick-3 is it hardly takes any time at all, and if you can make it habitual it’s a lot like brushing your teeth. Do it, and your teeth will stay healthy and vibrant. Take a few months off, and you’ll have all kinds of rotten decay.
I once had a client whose company had tens of thousands of unique customers. He decided that he was going to consistently call 2-3 customers every day. He put the time in his calendar, and it was considered sacrosanct–nothing was to be scheduled in that 20-minute time slot. If he were dealing with customers in different time zones, he would reach out in a different way (perhaps a personal email, or he would write a personal handwritten note.)
He did it every single business day, without fail, for 75 days in a row. When I asked him about his experience after those 75 days, he explained how his results had completely blown him away. He learned of customer challenges. He generated new sales opportunities (one worth millions of dollars for his company.) He was given testimonials and referrals, and sometimes he just got to show his customers he really cared. Last time we spoke, he was still doing it.
It was a simple action, carried out consistently–without fail–on a daily basis. There’s no reason that your company can’t dedicate resources to doing the same thing.
Your Weekly Challenge: Pick one simple task you can do to foster and nurture better relationships with your existing customer base. Do it for the next seven business days. If you can’t think of one, allow me to suggest this: Commit to calling three customers per day and asking them what you can do for them to make their experience better. Send me a quick email when you’re done and let me know what you learn.