“This year, let’s resolve to make better bad decisions”. ~Anonymous

It’s the New Year, and that means we make resolutions that we sometimes keep for as long as a day, a week or (if we are really determined) even a month. And then it’s back to the same old same old. But this year, you promise yourself, will be different.

While many of us make personal resolutions (i.e. go to the gym, stop smoking, stop making New Year’s resolutions, etc.), how many of you make resolutions as far as your business life is concerned? Do you vow to show up on time for meetings, be nicer to your co-workers or stop stealing other people’s food from the breakroom refrigerator?

If you are an owner, executive, manager or supervisor, what are some of the changes you would like to see in your business in the coming year? What are you willing to do for your customers, as well as your employees, to make sure this is the best year ever? What changes are needed to keep your top talent as well as your top customers?

To help get you started, here are 17 resolutions you can make that will keep your customers (and employees) coming back. It’s all about the repeat business. Start with just one, and see what happens.

 

1. Review and study the customer journey and experience. How easy is it to do business with you? Can a prospective customer easily navigate your website? How can they get in touch with you? Is contact information readily available on each page?

 

2. Speaking of contacting customers (and employees), get back to them when you say you are going to. Make sure you return a phone call, answer an email and get them the information you told them you would. In other words…keep your word. It’s called “integrity.”

 

3. Learn people’s names. That goes for internal as well as external customers. It’s the sweetest sound someone can hear.

 

4. Be polite. Use “please” and “thank you.” Smile. Look people in the eyes when you talk with them. Train your staff to be warm, caring and compassionate.

 

5. Find ways to get feedback from your guests, both positive and negative. What are you doing right, and what is something that can be improved? And then act on that feedback.

 

6. Monitor social channels to see what is being said about you. Make sure you respond if necessary.

 

7. Use technology to improve the customer experience. Whether it’s online ordering, chatbots or widgets to determine wait times, technology is developing in ways to make the lives of your customers and employees easier and more efficient.

 

8. Create a company culture that makes your employees want to come to work every day. Make it fun and inviting. For example, here are the Zappos Family Core Values.

 

9. Continually train your team in Customer Service, and what it takes to deliver More Than Perfect® Service. Make sure everyone knows why customer service is so important and what it means to them and the business. Training is not a one-time course. It is an attitude that starts at the very top.

 

10. Treat your employees the way you want them to treat your customers. Empower them to make decisions and handle the majority of questions or concerns. In my experience in the hospitality industry, “Happy teams make for happy guests!”

 

11. Get rid of the people who are not living up to the standards of the company. Look at your hiring procedures. “Hire for attitude, train for skill”.

 

12. Be consistent. You should be delivering a high-quality product or service every time, not just some of the time.

 

13. Recognize and reward great service from your employees. There are many ways to do this. Time off, a plaque or certificate, gift cards, a special lunch or dinner, a write up in the company newsletter, or a simple handwritten thank you note. The list is endless.

 

14. Create a bulletin board that celebrates your teams’ successes.

 

15. Review the policies, procedures, and especially the principals that guide your business in terms of dealing with customers and employees.

 

16. Get involved with your community. It’s great for morale as well as the bottom line.

 

17. Make sure you, as an owner, executive, manager or supervisor are responsible, accountable and take ownership of your actions. Motivate your employees by your actions they can emulate.

 

These are just a few of the resolutions you can make to ensure the success of your company. You can even brainstorm with your team to get their input as well to determine what small changes you can create to make their lives and the lives of your customers better. Showing your teams you care about them, and want to deliver the best product or service for your customers will go a long way to making sure this will be your best year yet!

Paul Rutter is a customer loyalty, repeat business and customer service expert, a keynote speaker, corporate trainer and business author. He has had the unique opportunity to live with his customers and co-workers for months at a time traveling the world, and shares his experiences with land based businesses. For more information on More Than Perfect® Service, contact Paul at Paul@PaulRutterSpeaks.com, follow him on Twitter on @RealPaulRutter or visit him on Facebook/PaulRutterSpeaks.

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