Posted tagged ‘entrepreneurs’

Step Away from the Business

May 17, 2017

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It’s vacation time again. Regrettably, it’s a sad truth that many entrepreneurs and business owners are reluctant to take time off. Their hesitancy exists for a variety of reasons including not feeling comfortable releasing the reins to someone else, an inability to unwind, or simply failure to plan for a vacation. But you know that taking the time to step away from your business can have many benefits.

According to a survey conducted in 2015 by Office Depot Small Business Index, 66% of small business owners struggle with taking vacations and when they do, the majority stay connected to their business in some way. Today’s technology – smartphones, tablets and laptops – contribute to continued connectivity. The upside? It can keep you connected with your business. The downside? It can keep you connected to your business. In some ways, it’s good for the small business owner to take advantage of that connectivity as long as they control the dosage.

Still, it’s crucial that the small business owners take vacation and disconnect from the demands of growing and maintaining a viable business. Here are a few of the benefits of taking a vacation:

  • You reduce stress which equals lower blood pressure, improved heart rate, a boost to the immune system.
  • You Improve family relationships – connect with your spouse and kids while you create lasting memories.
  • You experience improved creativity.
  • You add new experiences and break the routine.
  • You meet new people.
  • You gain a new perspective on life and your business.
  • You set an example for your employees so that they will take vacation.

These are compelling reasons to take time away from your business in the form of vacation. Making vacation a part of your yearly planning may be one way to ensure that you will take much needed time away from the day to day of running your business.

If you are still finding it difficult to take time off, here are a few suggestions to make it easier to create a better work/life balance:

  • Make your vacation plans early and complete all the steps to getting you to your destination.
  • Prepare your staff and your customers for your absence.
  • Add your vacation days to an out-of-town conference or business meeting; take the family with you and once the conference or meeting is over, devote time to them.
  • Plan at least a week of exploring the vacation area.
  • Schedule retreat/spa activities to help you unwind.
  • Check in with your designated staff at a designated time and then disconnect from technology.

Your work and your personal life must be balanced. It has been proven that taking regular vacations gives you a healthier, more positive outlook on life. In short, it’s good for you; it’s good for your business.

How do you step away from the business? Do you plan a vacation or do you spontaneously take time away from the business? Which works better for you? Share your insights and experiences.

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5 Common Customer Complaints Tied to Customer Service

July 30, 2014

open sign MGD©Customer service is the bulwark of any business, but it is especially important to the small business owner. Unfortunately, there are common customer complaints that can point to the need to pay attention to your customer service.

Answering customer complaints can be crucial to your business. At the risk of sounding trite, it goes without saying that people must like your service in order to continue to do business with you. One unhappy customer would have no immediate effect on the big guys out there, like Coca Cola and the Ritz Carlton, yet they put tons of money into their customer service protocols. One unhappy customer for a small business like yours can put your business in jeopardy. Can you afford not to pay attention to customer complaints and customer service.

Whether you are a solo entrepreneur or whether you outsource your customer service activity, you must keep customer satisfaction in the forefront. One lousy customer experience and negative, unresolved customer complaints can have a domino affect and seriously damage your ability to attract new business.

Listed are five of the most common, general complaints customers have about a business. The information can aid you in your business service delivery and help you provide exceptional customer service.

1. Difficulty reaching a live person. Sometimes you even wonder if it’s by design that there is no prompt or cue on the phone for speaking to a live person.
2. Overzealous, turned absentee, clerks. Clerks trailing you in an establishment but are nowhere to be found when you have a question or you are ready to check out.
3. Failure to return phone calls and failure to acknowledge or return emails.
4. Hit or miss customer service. You cannot afford to have an “off” day. Your customers need you paying attention and helping them to find a solution to their problem, even if you refer them to the best outside resource.
5. Failure to follow through on promised actions. If you told your customer you were sending a refund, send the refund quickly; if you were to send a follow-up email, send the follow-up email. Act quickly.

Wowing! your customer should always be your goal. Have a great product and have customer service to match that service and you are more likely have a successful business.

Competition for services or products is keen in this global business arena. Customers have a choice. Good customer service can insure that your customer is happy with your product or service. I don’t need to tell you what happens when there is poor customer service, when your business is guilty of the customer complaints listed: your business will suffer, if not today, certainly in the long run.

Be Exceptional!

Audrey

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