How is Your Customer Service?

When asked such a question, how do you answer it? Merely saying good or great is not enough! Instead, use metrics to stress your performance in this area.

Customer Service should be a strategic goal to make it a more prominent part of your company’s Mission. One should develop SMART metrics to track the progress of improvement towards this objective.

While your metrics can be related to internal benchmarks in providing customer service – such as wait time in answering phones, que time of service lines, speed in responding to client communications, timeliness in resolving issues, errors in shipments – also consider external measures of customer satisfaction.

How does the customer feel about doing business with your company? Is the client’s experience pleasant and rewarding? Measuring your customer’s experience is a critical part of evaluating your service levels.

Are you measuring your customers’ experiences? How? Should you? Every company serves customers in different ways; thus, the measurement metrics and process need to be customized. The important step is to start that process to analyze and improve customer service in your company.

Entrepreneurs – Do the Right Things to improve your Bottom Line!

Ravi Patel

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Viewing Labor Differently

A question for Entrepreneurs post Labor Day – how do you view your labor costs (employees)?

Are they a cost of doing business for you as they decrease your bottom line? When cutting expenses, is that the first thing you think of reducing?

For large labor intensive operations, this might be the case. However, Entrepreneurs might want to view this differently.

If you train your people properly and motivate them adequately, your employees could actually improve your bottom line by increasing revenues, improving productivity or even reducing costs.. View your employees as assets – invest in them to get better results.

It takes a different mindset to get the best out of your people. If you think of them as labor and an expense, then chances are that you don’t always get the most out of them.

Do the Right Things! Invest in your people and help them add to your bottom line.

Ravi Patel

Published in: on September 3, 2019 at 4:34 am  Leave a Comment  
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Letting Go

Entrepreneurs have fun starting and building a company. They are involved in all functions and cherish control over details. There does come a point in time when they have to let go.

Parents have a difficult time letting their children venture out on their own – from the first play date to leaving home for college.

Entrepreneurs are not so different. When their businesses grow and new management is required or when Entrepreneurs need to move on to other things in life, they have a traumatic time letting go.

Successful companies are not built on single individuals, but a strong organizational team of management leading the employees. The Entrepreneur’s role is to build the management team, inspire them with the vision, and let them execute the mission.

Enlightened Entrepreneurs accept the process of letting go gracefully, while some hold on by pretending to delegate management responsibilities but continually interfere.

Entrepreneurial company management is a fine balance between letting go and holding on.

Ravi Patel

Published in: on August 27, 2019 at 4:28 am  Leave a Comment  
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Is Cash an Issue?

Cash flow management is the most critical factor in an Entrepreneur’s ability to successfully grow a business. Yet more often that not, Entrepreneurs react to cash flow problems rather than actively managing this area.

Entrepreneurs need to ask themselves what metrics they are using to monitor cash flow. Are these the appropriate measures? How timely are such metrics?

What type of tools are Entrepreneurs using to manage and more importantly increase the available cash in their business? Are these tools continually refined to make them effective?

Entrepreneurs would be better served to proactively manage their cash flows, or at least monitor this important area if such management is delegated to others in their organization.

Ravi Patel

Published in: on August 20, 2019 at 4:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Listen to Critics

“I never learned from a man who agreed with me.” – Robert A. Heinlein.

Critics might be irritating to Entrepreneurs and might even get under their skin. Critics, however, can teach you important lessons. Listening to people who only agree with you might feed your ego, but you are not going to learn something new.

It is always important to weigh different sides of any issue to reach the optimal decision. If everyone around you only promotes one side – your viewpoint – you will never see the other side. Listen to people who don’t agree with you to understand differing opinions. You might even find those perspectives more useful than you own and it could lead to a better decision, product or service.

It is often better to accept good advice from critics than bad advice from your supporters. Just because someone does not agree with you does not necessarily make them wrong. Similarly, someone who agrees with you is not always right.

Entrepreneurs should accept good advice, no matter where it comes from.

Ravi Patel

Published in: on August 13, 2019 at 4:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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Employee Attitude and Performance

Does your employee’s attitude have anything to do with performance? Of course, it does!

Employees with positive attitudes about themselves, towards the company and their fellow employees have the capacity to perform at a higher level.

So what could Entrepreneurs do to improve the attitudes of their employees?

It is important to have an understanding on how your employees feel about the company and their fellow employees. Using your HR department to conduct formal and informal surveys could help this effort. If affordable, it might be a good idea to have an objective, outside party conduct such surveys.

Supervisors should be sensitive to the problems faced by employees outside their work and how they might be affecting their performance. If the performance of an employees does not meet expectations, determine whether it is related to the abilities or skills of the employee or whether it is related to his/her attitude.

Entrepreneurs should use collected data to develop programs that improve employee attitudes thereby enhancing performance. It is by no means a one-time effort, but should be reassessed and revised  periodically.

Ravi Patel

Published in: on August 6, 2019 at 4:32 am  Leave a Comment  
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Gaining Respect

Leaders might accept not being loved, but they would definitely like to be respected. Entrepreneurs are not different.

Respect though is gained not by the title of a leader’s position, but by his or her actions, behavior, and consistency of decisions. Business leaders have to prove themselves to their employees to earn respect.

One’s position allows you to command and direct subordinates to do certain things. Having their respect will make them more willing and happier to carry out their tasks for you. In the long term, gaining respect of your employees builds lasting loyalty.

So as business leaders and Entrepreneurs do what is necessary to gain respect by how you treat people, make decisions, and carry yourself. If you respect your people, they in turn will do the same.

Do the Right Things!

Ravi Patel

Published in: on July 30, 2019 at 4:44 am  Leave a Comment  
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Verify What You Trust

As Entrepreneurs start building a solid leadership team for growth, they have to rely on and trust their key management personnel. But is that enough to ensure superior performance and growth?

While trusting the leadership to do the right thing, the Entrepreneur must also oversee the building of management reporting systems that independently verify the progress made by the company in established metrics. Such systems should have checks and balances to ensure that verification can be relied upon.

Trust is essential, but verification is paramount for long-term success. This is similar to a previous post on whether you should depend on people or processes. Trust is people based; verification is process based.

Entrepreneurs, trust your people but do have verification systems in place.

Ravi Patel

Published in: on July 23, 2019 at 4:27 am  Leave a Comment  
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Solution-oriented Culture

Don’t find fault, find a remedy – Henry Ford .

Entrepreneurs could learn a lot from this statement.

In our current blame-rich rather than solution-oriented culture, leaders (mostly political) often seek out whom to accuse of problems rather than find solutions. This behavior sometimes extends to poorly run companies with unhealthy culture and negative management practices.

It is perfectly acceptable for leaders to hold people accountable for their performance. However, it is not wise to continually blame others for problems. Entrepreneurs have to take responsibility for the issues facing their business and teach their managers to do the same.

More importantly, blaming others or even accepting responsibility does not solve the problem. Entrepreneurs need to create a culture where finding solutions or remedies to issues takes precedence over blame. Such a positive culture allows people to readily accept responsibility for decisions without having to face ridicule.

Do the Right Thing by creating a solution-oriented culture in your company and incorporating that in your Mission.

Ravi Patel

Realistic Expectations

Entrepreneurs get into business to develop an idea into something really big.

While putting together their Business Plan, they have certain expectations of how this idea will be commercialized and the Revenues and Income that the business model would generate.

Entrepreneurs hire people and have expectations regarding their performance. Similarly they expect clients or customers, vendors, other stakeholders will work with them in certain ways.

Entrepreneurs need to be careful about not having false expectations or hopeful wishes when they develop their Vision and Mission. All expectations need to be realistic, rational, and take into consideration the factors beyond the Entrepreneur’s control.

Having false expectations leads to unachievable dreams and disappointment. Moderate your expectations to be realistic, so that when your expectations are exceeded one has a reason to be jubilant.

Ravi Patel

Published in: on July 9, 2019 at 4:15 am  Leave a Comment  
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