Thursday, March 24, 2011

8 Steps For Dealing With Burnout Blues

We've all been there - days when we feel that there aren't enough hours in the day; that we can't face another 'No', despite subscribing to the "Some Will, Some Won't, So What?" philosophy; that we can't cope with the emotional rollercoaster of keeping our loved ones "on-side" with our business plans.

Sometimes those days turn into weeks. Once they turn into months, it's really difficult to get back on track.

So how do you deal with the Burnout Blues?

I find the following works well for me:
  1. Remind yourself that you're not the first, or only, one to feel like this. I'm not the only single parent with unco-operative offspring, a partner who expects me to focus on them rather than the business, a 2 hour commute on work days, a job where I get 30 minutes at most to talk to potential team members during the day, a choice between retail business building or housework.
  2. Stop the guilt trips. The house/garden aren't perfect? You feel judged by others? Don't add to your misery by picking on yourself. Accept you can do what you can do and move on.
  3. Prioritise and plan. Add in blocks of time for everything that you are involved in. That includes housework, gardening, fixing the car, going to the pub, spending time with loved ones.
  4. Publish the plan.  Make sure your family know what you are doing and when. That way, they know just how busy you are and can make their own adjustments. They may even offer to help out in some ways.
  5. Give yourself a day off every week. As far as possible, make that a day off from the rest of the daily grind as well. No work, minimal household chores, get someone else to cook. When you're doing two jobs, you need to recharge your batteries or you'll burnout repeatedly.
  6. Set rewards, put aside some of your retail profits to pay for them. Caught up on your paperwork/housework? Sponsored or retailed to a weekly target? Make sure you incentivise yourself - treat yourself to a massage, buy that book/pair of shoes/DVD. Note, this is additional to any material goals such as "buy a new car/washing machine/tv".
  7. Re-motivate yourself. Listen to that Jim Rohn audio, read the self-development book you've been avoiding.
  8. Remind yourself that you're still learning. Nobody goes from Apprentice to Master in less than 7 to 10 years. Remember, it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master any skill.
What rewards would you set aside for yourself?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Hidden Cost of Poor Customer Service

What's the true cost of letting down your customers?

Statistics released in late 2010 showed that the UK average lost sales per customer were £248. In other words, if you upset a customer enough so that they never buy from you again, that costs the economy an average of £248 each and every time. That totals up to over £15 billion per year of lost revenue spread over the whole economy. The retail sector alone lost £1.2 billion through poor customer service.

That statistic prompted a certain fashion retailer based in the Midlands to do their own research and they discovered the true cost of poor customer service - and it's staggering.

For each upset customer, that retailer loses £20,000 of sales, due to the "pass it on" principle.

You get good customer service? You give the retail assistant a smile. You don't congratulate the manager on having a great team or staff member. You might tell 2 or 3 others, but hey, we're British, we don't evangelise advice on where to shop.

You get poor customer service? All of a sudden, you're an evangelist. You change you Facebook status, you tweet your disapproval, you go out of your way to warn people not to shop there ever again.

Negative networking in action.

How do I know this? My 9-5 job is with that fashion retailer.

What an opportune reminder to work on my integrity as well as my customer service skills in my own business.

How do you rate your own customer service? What is your approach when dealing with disgruntled customers? Do you feel you can improve?