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Steve Jobs – What I learned October 6, 2011

Posted by solutionsbconsultants in Business Improvement, Customer Service, human resources, Improving Personnel Performance, Internet, Marketing.
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Steve Jobs passed away on October 5th, 2011. It’s hard even writing this fact down – the loss is so profound. I remember when I was in training at Apple in 2002, Steve came into the Apple Café and the Director of our program freaked out, warning us NOT to go up to him or talk to him. So we all, myself included, passed on speaking to the fellow who has revolutionized and changed our life.

Crazy isn’t it?

I am an Apple. Having been on the platform since the Apple II (and I may still have it somewhere), I have taken a lot of grief from the naysayers. The detractors said: its a toy, no IT department would adopt it, you could buy three PC’s for the price of one Macintosh, it doesn’t run any good software, blah blah blah. Now look at Apple’s market share and even more importantly, the charged-up, ecstatic, crazy customers that love everything Apple.

It is sad that many people will just get it today that Apple is and will always be something special. Born from a dream by someone who was a college dropout and described as directionless, Steve pursued his dream with fellow entrepreneur, Steve Wozniac. Steve didn’t make computers, he created tools that let us extend our current lifestyles and imagination. Seth Godin made a great point in his blog yesterday when he challenged all of us with the call to action, “What are we going to do with it?” The “It” is this wonderful tool that Steve and the other great folks at Apple have given us.

Now we just need to do like the Nike commercial and “Just do it”!

P.S. if Steve Jobs chose to invent the elevator, it would have a touch screen allowing you to deselect an incorrectly chosen floor AND the door open and close buttons would work! The iElevator would let you select relevant content about the building clients or local events thus helping passengers avoid those unnecessarily awkward elevator stares. The floor would have a small section that vibrates to sooth tired feet. You get the picture. Soon everyone would look forward to riding in an elevator again!

P.S.S. No, I am not an Apple snob – I have a PC and use it – mostly for Excel and VBA. If I were to liken it to a tool, I would call it an allen wrench – very good for very specific tasks. But I don’t carry an allen wrench with me all of the time….. I do, however, carry a MacBook, Ipad, and Iphone 24/7

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Customer Service – Your Secret Weapon February 16, 2009

Posted by solutionsbconsultants in Business Improvement, Customer Service.
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One of my hobbies is home remodeling which brings me in contact with a myriad of building supply stores. Recently, I had some floor tiling questions – not only did the salesperson take me into a room and actually demonstrate what I needed to do, he called me a few days later to make sure I had no other problems. A few days later, I went into another location of the same chain and bought an expensive decorative tile and a couple of hand tools. The cashier bagged them all together. I asked her to wrap the tile up separately to prevent damage – she told me that there was no way the tile could be scratched or broken and handed me the bag. I, of course, took the decorative tile out, triple wrapped it and told the clerk that tile is as breakable and scratchable as glass.

My point is, in most businesses, it is your front line clerks, salespeople, customer service reps, accounting and billing personnel, the receptionist, the delivery guy, etc. who can make or break your business. Common sense is not doled out evenly among your employee population and you should have training, policy and procedures in place to ensure your customers are happy and ready to do business with you again. Your strategy should also include monitoring, secret shoppers and active feedback.

Solutions can help put the emphasis on service back into your organization thus reducing customer migration, improving retention, gaining referrals and loyalty. In today’s tough market with limited customers and funds, there is no better bang for the buck than focusing your staff’s effort on customer service excellence.

What’s in it for me? February 10, 2009

Posted by solutionsbconsultants in Accountability, Business Improvement, Customer Service, Improving Personnel Performance, Increase Profitability, Marketing, Travel Policy.
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I have had numerous requests asking “What can Solutions Business Consultants do for my business” In response, I have prepared a brief summary of what we do. If you learn anything from this post, it should be that we offer a complimentary initial consultation – let’s talk and discuss your issues… I have been known to successfully solve a problem or two on the phone call and if our conversation leads to an engagement or referral then we have a win-win situation we both can be proud of.

Businesses exist in a state of flux depending on 1) market conditions, 2) goals/objectives  of the company and the 3) internal and external processes the company employs to operate.

Business inefficiencies occur when #1, 2 and 3 are out of sync. My job is to help businesses redefine and understand the current market, modify goals and objectives to meet the challenges of the current market and then align the company’s processes making them more relevant and efficient.

To better understand the aforementioned explanation, I am listing recent categories of consulting business that I have completed. This should not be viewed as a list of services because every business is different and I will tailor my approach and execution dependent on your needs.

Business Development/Customer Intelligence: I assist businesses in understanding who their ideal customer is. Not all customers are born equal and profitability is key – minimum volume generation, product mix, sales/service support and infrastructure requirements all have to examined and possibly modified. Once the ideal customer is defined, it makes it much easier to focus efforts on new customer recruitment and proper servicing of existing customers. I show companies how to leverage this information to then go out into the field and develop new customers.

Cost Reduction/Expenditure Management: I assist companies in tackling and bringing their expenditures under proper management.  Expense control, vendor selection and negotiation, bid processes, travel policies and an intensive look at purchasing always results in a stronger organization and bottom line savings. Lenders and investor/shareholders alike are impressed with the results.

Website Analysis/Logic/Design and Search Engine Optimization: I assist companies in taking a customer-point-of-view analysis of their existing or proposed web-site focusing on simplicity of navigation, ease-of-use, goal maximization and sales effectiveness. Additionally, I focus on low-cost, no-cost methods of promoting your web site using social media, podcasts, key word/phrase selection, promotion and research tools.

Business Processes: I assist companies in tweaking their infrastructure processes to maximize staff utilization, customer experience, defining goals and objectives, creating business policies, correcting bad or faulty operations and more. . .

The best part about what I do is the diversity of the challenges- I have helped small companies, large companies, small projects, multi-departmental software implementation – the variety is endless, fun and productive. As always I look forward to our initial complementary consultation. Call me at 865-356-3575 or email me at steve@costavoidance.org