Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Oldest Secret to Success


By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, October 26, 2011

We live in a time of instant gratification - of that there is no doubt.  “I want it now!”

What do people all over the world do within seconds of something happening in their life; good or bad? 

They Facebook it, they Twitter it, they Linkedin it, they Plaxo it; you get the idea.  Am I saying the oldest secret to successes is technology?  No, not at all. 

The oldest and most forgotten secret to success is actually the second oldest and most forgotten secret to success – WORD OF MOUTH!

The logical question would then become, what is the oldest secret?  CUSTOMER SERVICE!   

Customer service is a forgotten practice.  Think not?  When was the last time you received exceptional and memorable customer service?  I’ll wait……. 

When was the last time you purchased an item and someone in the store actually said “Thank you, come back.”  It doesn’t happen.   

When was the last time the person helping you even made eye contact with you?  It doesn’t happen. 

It has been said that once a person, certainly not you, tells a lie, the second lie becomes easier.  The third lie becomes easier until you can’t tell the truth from a lie because it has become so easy and the liar becomes very good at it through practice. 

In my opinion, customer service, either good or bad, is the same.  If you practice exceptional customer service it becomes the norm just as poor customer service when regularly practiced becomes the norm. 

Have you ever been to a store where the attendant wore a telephone implanted in his or her ear?  When they waited on you were they talking to someone else on their ear phone?  Was the conversation even about business or was it about their personal life?  Tell me it hasn’t happened to you. 

There was a time when a customer who received poor customer service would write a letter to the manager of the business to complain.  Those days are gone!  Today, their voice is instant, their voice is forever recorded, their words are forwarded to others and your reputation goes into the tank all on the Internet.   

Do one thing right, without fault and you will be fortunate if your customer will tell 5 people about it.  Do one thing wrong and your customer will tell the world-wide web – instantly!  Once posted, it does not matter if the customer was right or wrong; the words are posted and remain posted literally forever. 

There is only one way to stop such actions being taken against your reputation and that is to provide exceptional customer service – always!  Not occasionally – always!  More importantly, when something goes wrong you must take action immediately, not later.  Later is too late.  You must stay on top of your business and respond to problems just as you would like others to respond to your problems.  Sound familiar – the Golden Rule! 

If a professional pollster conducted a survey and asked just one question, how would your customers, your database, your family, and your friends respond? 

On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being the worst customer service you have ever seen and 10 being the absolute best, how would you rate (insert your name)? 

If you think those folks would answer anything less than a 10, you are in trouble!  Do the math.  Let’s say the “average” is 7.  That means that 7 people may tell 5 other people and that would mean maybe 35 people find out about your quality service or product.  But that also means 3 people are telling the entire world about your less than adequate service.  Which would you prefer - 35 people or THE ENTIRE WORLD THREE TIMES OVER?  Can you be satisfied that 35 people have been told?  On the surface that would be a plus but is it possible that when the 35 are told by THE ENTIRE WORLD that your customer service sucks, they may to go elsewhere for your product or service? 

As in all businesses and especially sales, you cannot afford to have anything less than ideal customer service and that requires a change in mindset.  When was the last time you worked on your attitude because that is what customer service represents.  Your attitude is internal – your product or service is the external product of that attitude.   

Just about everybody will change the oil in their car to make it run efficiently and longer.  Few people change the “oil” in their minds.  How do you change your mental oil (attitude)?  You work at it, every day of your life.  It starts when you awake.  Are you going to be happy and have a great day or are you just waiting for the other shoe to drop in your life?  The choice is yours.   

Don’t think so?  Read about people who have or are experiencing real problems in their lives and how they best cope with them and you discover they do not consider themselves as a victim.  In many cases such people consider themselves as being blessed that the things that have happened to them actually happened.   

My unscientific formula for success is very simple: 

Fantastic Attitude + Magnificent Customer Service = SUCCESS! 

My unscientific formula for disaster is also very simple: 


            Less Than Stellar Customer Service = AN INTERNET CREATED DISASTER

Bad Attitude + Less Than Stellar Customer Service = OUT OF BUSINESS! 

Put it all together and this is my VERY unscientific formula: 

Great Attitude + Stellar Customer Service + Word of Mouth + Internet = A HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS LIFE! 

Personal happiness is defined by you.  Personal success is defined by you.  Your attitude is defined and developed by you.  Stellar Customer Service may be “developed” by you but it is interpreted by others. 

Word-of-mouth advertising is definitely created by others but encouraged by you by doing the right thing – always!  The Internet is what the Internet is, a media used by millions world-wide.  It can be used for good; it can be used for bad.

You will notice that it all, and I mean all, begins with ATTITUDE.  Do you have a plan to work on your attitude?  Really?  What is it?  Have you ever taken a course on Attitude?  Have you ever read a book on Attitude?  Do you work on your Attitude Habits every day (they are habits)?  Are you even aware of how others perceive your Attitude?  Are you sure?  When was the last time you asked?  If you are thinking “I really don’t want to know,” you know you are in trouble. 

The rubber meets the road between your ears, not beneath your feet!  Rubber, like your tires on your car, wears out and constantly requires replacing.  What are you doing to replace the worn out and maybe even flat “rubber” that exists between your ears? 

What would I recommend as a starting point; thought you would never ask: 

  • Read, study and practice The YES!Attitude by Jeffrey Gitomer
  • Read, study and practice Failing Forward by Dr. John Maxwell
  • Read, study and practice The Speed of Trust by Stephen M. R. Covey
  • Read, study and practice The Power of Professionalism by Bill Wiersma
If you have read this far, there may be hope.