Even More Important News…

Arizion Ltd is delighted to announce that Gita V Langston (née Katbamna) has joined Arizion as a Director and business partner of the business.

Gita brings extensive experience of sales training, change management and organisational development (OD), including team and organsation culture in a FTSE 5 company, working with employees at all levels of influence and seniority and across the world.

Gita is a professional coach, mentor and an MBTI Step 1 Practitioner achat de cialis en france.

Important Announcement from Arizion

Geoff Langston, Managing Director of Arizion (customer experience development experts), has been recognised as the UK’s first customer service trainer accredited by the Customer Service Trainers Network (CSTN) and recognized by the Institute of Customer Service (ICS).

The CSTN said:

“We are delighted to announce that Geoff Langston is the first UK customer services trainer to have gained Customer Service Trainer Accreditation from the Customer Service Training Network. This accreditation confirms that Geoff meets very high standards in training, which includes assurance that the trainer is professional, up-to-date, is able to engage well with learners and ensure that everyone on their courses comes away from the course with the skills and knowledge to be able to improve their own customer service. Our accredited trainers also agree to self-assess themselves annually and ensure they use continuous professional development to maintain their high standards. What this means is that Geoff can be trusted to provide excellent customer service training.”

Geoff is also available to assess you or your customer service trainers either on an individual basis or within your organisation. Please contact Carol Pillinger, Quality Director of the CSTN for further details:

Email Carol

A Tale of 2 Continents

The UK and India have many differences including:

  • The weather (typically a lot hotter in India)
  • The cost of living (typically a lot lower in India)
  • Wages (typically a lot lower in India)

Another key difference, based on my recent visits, is the exceptionally good customer experience offered by the majority of service providers in India. There seems to be a real passion and pride to treat customers extremely well, whilst providing a great product or service.

For example, we visited a jewelry shop in Mumbai to buy a bracelet for our niece. The person that served us showed us a fantastic range of bracelets, relying on the quality of the goods and his knowledge of the product to make the sale, rather than giving us a sales pitch. He then took us down to another shop owned by the same family for a cup of tea and a chat where every member of the team was exceptionally pleasant and helpful, even though they knew we were not there to make a purchase. Whilst we were in the first shop, the assistant also did a small repair on another piece of jewelry we had purchased in the UK; this was done at no charge!

It doesn’t take much to guess where we will be going back for any further jewelry purchases next time we are in India.

I also had a pair of leather flip-flops repaired by a shoemaker and repairer; his shop was a small shed at the side of the road in the local village. The care, love and pride in his work that he showed as he made the repair was incredible to see and we went back the following day to get a zip on a handbag repaired.
Again, guess where I would go for further shoe and zip repairs in the future.

In both these examples, the work environment and tools to do the job were very basic, however the passion for serving was outstanding.

Lessons for us:

  • Adding value can be easy, low cost and fun
  • It is important to create an environment where people can do their best work
  • Empower your team so they can to go
  • A smile makes all the difference – easy, low cost (free in fact), and fun?

What can you do NOW to make a positive difference to your customers’ experience?

Top 10 Tips for Immediate Bottom Line Profit Improvement

1. Treat company resources as you would if they were your own:

  • Encourage team members to imagine how it would feel if they had to pay for their own materials/ utility bills/ travel costs etc
  • Explain current costs and the positive impact of reducing organisational overheads to team members

2. Encourage people to be more aware of the value of utilities:

  • Turn thermostats down by just one degree
  • Make turning off unnecessary lights a habit during the day and at the end of trade and consider investing in light sensors to automatically turn lights on and off
  • Only put enough water in kettles for a specific number of cups of tea and coffee

3. Recruit effectively:

  • It can cost up to half the annual salary of that role to recruit a new team member (this includes advertising/ interviews/ training/ administration etc) therefore ensure recruitment practices are robust
  • Ensure that you are clear about the job and person specification you are recruiting for
  • Train your recruiters effectively
  • Ensure you have a robust induction programme t is used consistently
  • Put regular reviews for new team members into your diary

4. Review how and where you spend your time:

  • Complete a time log to highlight where, when and how you spend your time
  • Be honest with yourself about what changes you can make to improve the way you use your time

5. Learn when to say yes and no more constructively:

  • Consider each request for your time carefully and be prepared to say no to activities that do not add value to your business

6. Look after the paperclips:

  • Stationary costs can soon significantly add up, set a standard by re-using stationary as frequently as possible
  • Print all your documents double sided where possible
  • Use spoiled printer paper as scrap and note paper

7. Encourage and empower your team to feedback efficiency ideas and reward them:

  • Set up a process (or group) that reviews how your business runs with a direct line to feedback directly to the owner or manager of the business
  • Empower your team members to deal with minor complaints about services or products from your customers

8. Review your policies and procedures:

  • Challenge all your policies and procedures – why do you have them and what are they trying to achieve? Is it for the benefit of the organisation or for your customers?
  • Change all policies and procedures to be customer-centric

9. Re-visit your internal and external communication methods:

  • Review how effective your organisational communications are
  • Identify the most effective communication medias for your business and use a combination of them (including email; meetings; informal discussions; tele-conferences)

10. Put tips one to nine into action and review them regularly – both by yourself and with your team

and of course:

Deliver a consistently exceptional customer experience!

Getting Back to Work

Here is the first in a series of Arizion Top Ten Tips:

  1. Be ruthless with your e-mails – unsubscribe to newsletters, blogs etc. that you normally just delete without reading. Check that there is a valid reason that you have been copied in to an e-mail. Deal with e-mails regularly to keep the volume manageable.
  2. Review your goals and objectives – re-visit them to ensure that they are still current and you are making good progress towards achieving them. Identify the support you need and from whom you need it to achieve them. Put a regular monitoring process in place.
  3. Start exercising regularly – build exercise into your daily routines. Walk to and/or home from work, cycle to and home from work, have a lunchtime jog or power walk. Exercise tends to stimulate the mind and the production of positive hormones as well as helping keep you healthy and fit to enable you to perform at your best.
  4. Plan thinking time into your day – very often our best ideas come to us when we have “switched off” from our daily tasks and routines. Take 10 minutes out of your day every day t to sit in a quiet space, and let your mind wander, allow your thoughts to go where they will. You will be surprised at the ideas that “pop” out!
  5. Listen to your team and colleagues – very often the people we work with have fantastic ideas however, it is easy to get caught up in being so busy that we forget to use this excellent resource. Listening actively takes practice, so start practicing today.
  6. Minimise the time you spend at meetings and maximise what you get out of them – think about why you are going to a meeting and what value you can add to it. Do you need to be there for the whole meeting (do you need to be there at all?) or could you join the meeting for the agenda points where you can add value? What preparation do you need to do before the meeting, -who do you need to speak to and what do you need to read?
  7. Say no more frequently and thoughtfully – to meetings – to interruptions – to requests for your time – to producing reports and to more if these activities are unlikely to add value to you and/or your business.
  8. Say yes more frequently and thoughtfully – to meetings – to interruptions – to requests for your time – to producing reports and more if the activities are likely to add value to you and/or your business.
  9. Have fun! “Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life”. There are many other clichés including “this is not a dress rehearsal”; “we only get one life – live it”. However, the reality is that they are also very true. Feeling good emotionally is medically proven to be good for your health. Laughter and joy release endorphins and serotonins into our bodies and these improve your immune system and well-being.
  10. Have an autumn clear out – on, in, and under your working space – go through all the surfaces, drawers, and lockers and underneath desks. Identify what you need in the near future (keep it close by); what you need to keep for further reference (file it); and what you do not need (bin it). Like you are with your e-mails – be ruthless, you will feel great at the end of the process!

Win a Book


Timpson’s
the shoe repair people, have a reputation for great service by listening to and looking […]

Read for 45 Seconds and Win a Book

ONLY 45 SECONDS TO READ THIS AND YOU COULD WIN A COPY OF RAVING FANS BY KEN BLANCHARD

Metro Bank – Tottenham Court Road London

Metro Bank opened the doors to it’s fifth store in Tottenham Court Road on the 18th March 2011. Modeled on the American Commerce Bank founded by Vernon Hill, Vernon has now moved this successful model to the UK.
The culture of the model is built around the customers, “who are at the heart of our business” to quote Dipak Varshani, store manager at the new store.

So far, all my personal experiences with Metro Bank have been excellent. Their approach is simply one of recruiting the right people, – people that smile and have a passion for customers, it seems as though their formula will continue to win happy customers and of course business.

What are your experiences with Metro Bank (or other banks)? EMAIL ARIZION to win a copy of Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard

While we are talking about banks, Chase Bank has taken technology to another level. They provide an APP that allows customers to bank cheques (do you remember what those are?!) using their phone without even visiting a branch. Have a look at the Chase APP at https://www.chase.com/online/services/mobile-banking.htm.

Make a difference today

Take a few minutes out of your schedule to listen to your paying customers and also your internal customers i.e. your team. They are very often the best source of new, exciting and innovative ideas.

And if you are a boss . . .

Remember people join organisations and leave because of their manager! Think now, about how much you know about your team members, what they are doing; how they are feeling; and do they have what they need to do their job well? Taking time to understand could be the best investment of time in your working week.

In Conversation with Geoff Langston

The next big thing in customer service?

Could it be “Brand Butlers”? More about this concept soon!

Over the last thirty plus years, there have been many trends in how we serve our customers; new approaches technological innovations, changes in terminology from customer service to customer experiences and so it goes on.

Some years ago, America was recognised as setting the standard for excellent service, more recently the Far East and Asia have been recognised for taking service to a new high with airlines such as Emirates and Singapore airlines delivering outstanding experiences for their customers. Having been fortunate enough to experience personally, both American and Asian levels of service during the last twelve months, I tend to agree with this view.

For example, I flew with Jet airlines, an Indian company and was treated to an exceptional journey from checking in to landing. The on-flight team was excellent. They were attentive, aware of customer needs, there was more space than I have ever seen in a standard class cabin, subtle lighting that changed colour according to the atmosphere they wanted to create (day to night/ meal times/ entertainment time etc) real cutlery and crockery and more, a lot of which was dependent on the staff! A fantastic experience with an airline I would definitely recommend and will be using again.

So, what exactly are Brand Butlers?

The trend following website www.trendwatching.com (One of the world’s leading trend firms, sends out its free, monthly Trend Briefings to more than 160,000 subscribers worldwide) first coined the phrase some time ago, and their most recent briefing provides an update on the latest developments in “brand butlering” across the world. They suggest that:

  • Simply offering excellent yet tried-and-tested customer service and support functions, or typical online features such as price-lookup or anything facilitating ecommerce activities. While excelling in offering these hygiene factors of course do contribute to an overall ‘feel’ of assistance for customers, we would qualify them as (after) sales support, not ‘butlering’.
  • BRAND BUTLER services typically do not replace top quality products and paid services: they go ‘over and above’. In most cases BRAND BUTLER services can/should only exist because they support your core (and hopefully outstanding) products and services.
  • Last but not least, as BRAND BUTLERS is all about relevance and service, this is not about gimmicks or entertainment for entertainment’s sake.

It will come as no surprise to many readers that Virgin Atlantic features on more than a couple of occasions in the “Brand Butler” briefing!

I suggest that you will find it useful and interesting to read the briefing, however, whatever new innovative approaches you offer to your customers, the real service providers are people. Even on-line service providers at some point have some human interactivity, particularly when something goes wrong with the product or service. People do business with people, and will go back to those people who provide excellent, consistent and reliable service.