A duck and a dream

I had the pleasure of watching arguably the world’s best magician David Copperfield live in Melbourne recently. The magic itself was awesome...

17 reasons you should always carry a book with you

1. As someone who used to spend a lot of time waiting for real estate clients to show up – I know that clients / appointments / people in general are often late...

Reality Television your way to Success

I think I’m one of the only “motivational speakers” (not that I call myself that) who will openly admit that I watch television. I watch bad television too… even… dare I say it… reality television.

Where is the love?!

One of my businesses, Elephant Property, works in the notoriously under appreciated category of residential property management. The old adage in property management...

The power of the word

I’m quite distraught. I was eating my personal trainer approved afternoon snack of 12 almonds (my suggestion of 12 Tim Tams: not approved)...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What’s your Rider?

I was just browsing the website of Seth Godin, a great writer and speaker and I came across his “rider”. For those of you who don’t know, a rider is a term I’ve only ever really heard used by those in the music profession before. It describes what they need to have the gig go off without a hitch (ie: white lillys in the dressing room, ample Evian water, a certain type of guitar amp, 7 nubile virgins for the drummer, you get the drift.)

Seth, being a bit of celeb, is well within his rights to call his technical specs his rider if you ask me. Have a read of Seth’s rider here: http://www.sethgodin.com/sg/rider.asp

It sets expectations and his requirements beautifully and succinctly. It’s clear and there’s no room for confusion yet Seth doesn’t come off as spoilt or a diva.

Clearly Seth’s learnt from less than perfect experiences over the years and so now he’s had the forethought to set the expectations right up front to alleviate future frustrations.

If you could educate your clients with a rider prior to them signing up to do business with you, what would it say? And while you may not call it a rider, how could you put something in place that serves the same purpose today to stop your future frustrations?

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Test for the Taste

I had an amazing service experience last week.

A person was coming out to my house to quote me for an installation we want to have done.

At about five minutes to when she was about to arrive, she called to say that she was caught in a little bit of traffic with the rain and may be a couple of minutes late.

She then showed up just 2 minutes late and I was over the moon that she had called.

Her behaviour at our house was extremely professional, she asked great questions, made relevant suggestions and really knew her product. She was able to give us a very professional quote on the spot and told me she'd follow up with an email later that day which she did.

All in all - a fantastic service experience.

There's only one thing. Our interactions ended on a slightly funny note. Instead of a professional work email she used a hotmail email account and at the bottom of the email read: "Looking for a hot date? View photos of singles in your area!"

Now given that she'd provided such great service up until that time, this wasn't a huge issue for me - more of a giggle. But given that hotmail does this without you even seeing it, it'd be something I'd be upset about as a professional (and she was extremely professional!)

This is one reason it's a great idea to test out your entire sales process on someone - and get their feedback. This lady was sensational, but that last little thing could leave a sour taste in someone's mouth (especially someone who may not know that she didn't put this tag line on her emails!) and she may not even know it's happening.

How will you test yourself out today?

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Should I leave secure employment to start a small business?

Thanks to the number of people who asked me to blog on this topic. Starting their own business seems to be a dream for many, realized by few and realized successfully by even fewer.

So – if you want to start up your own small business, but you’re afraid to leave your secure employment… I say – that’s ok! In the current economic climate, having a respectful amount fear isn’t the worst thing – IF it turns into you doing more research, preparing well and being financially, emotionally and mentally ready to start a business. If it’s just fear for fears sake – and nothing more than a massive cause of paralysis then I’m not a fan of it.

I’m a big believer in doing things that stretch, but still fit into your comfort zone (bearing in mind that your comfort zone is different to mine, to the person next door to you at work and probably different to your partner, friends and family).

So – before you leave your employment to start your own business please consider:

1. Take 5 different small business owners (preferably in similar sized businesses to the one you would ideally like to run) out to lunch, coffee or cocktails. Get the low down from them on what it’s REALLY like to be in business (and not just what you think it’s like from reading BRW).

2. Figure out how far your dollar will stretch. How long could you go in this new business of yours without making a single sale. John Ilhan, founder of Crazy John’s waited 6 months for his first sale! If you’re not well funded, why not consider starting a business on top of what you currently do for work? If you watch 2 hours of TV a night, simply devoting those 2 hours gives you 14 hours you could be putting into starting a business that doesn’t require a full time presence from you.

3. Take a look around your current business, or see a business broker – perhaps there’s an existing business with cash flow that you could buy or buy into that may be a good option.

4. Figure out whether you’re starting a business or starting a job? A business where you’re the only employee, it depends totally on you and pays you the same or less than your current job is a job, not a business.

5. If you started a business and it failed miserably and you lost all the start up capital you put into it and your time and your lost wages for the time you were in it, do you think you’d still be able to look back on it and say “I’m at least glad I tried?”

6. Do you have a passion for the concept behind business you want to start? As the old saying goes: if you love your work you’ll never work a day in your life!

7. Have you got your business brain on? I’ve seen a truckload of successful sales people start real estate businesses because they were great sales people (it didn’t make them great business people). The same goes for the fabulous hairdresser or mechanic or doctor. Just being awesome at what you do doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to run your own successful business.

8. Have you read The E-Myth by Michael Gerber?

9. What’s your point of difference? Please don’t be another “me too” business doing things exactly the same as all your competitors. Be exciting, be different, give people a reason to want to tell their friends and family that they MUST do business with you!

10. Finally – don’t be discouraged by this blog, by your friends, by your family or by the guy down the road who thinks he knows everything. If you have the passion and desire to start a new business, you know the risks involved, you have a great plan and you know that if you were 99 years old and looking back on your life you’d regret not doing it – have a crack! As Bon Jovi so wisely say “It’s my life, it’s now or never!” (oooh I’ve been waiting to blog about Bon Jovi for some time now!)

By Kirsty Dunphey with 2 comments

Monday, May 23, 2011

From Setting up to Getting Up

If you’re anything like me, you’ll only have to work in real estate for a nanosecond before you start seeing things that could be done differently. Let’s not mince words, when I say “differently” you know I really mean “better”. Ahh the naivety and blissful ignorance of my youth.

I was not more than 19 before fantasies of owning my own agency so I could do things “my way” started permeating my work life to the point where I knew that some day, if I wanted to stay in this industry, I’d have to start my own agency.

Now, as I write this at age 32, having started two independent agencies with business partners from scratch, one at 21 (which later brought a franchise group into the mix), the other at 29 I smile when I think of just how little I knew at 19.

My fantasies didn’t have a great basis in reality. But it’s a great thing they didn’t, because if they had, I may never have started that first agency.

If I’d been aware of the difficulties I’d go through over the next few years including: staffing issues, partnership issues, financing issues, client issues, legal battles, expansion issues and more I might have just gone with my plan B which somewhat sophisticatedly involved finding a job where I could live in my pajamas day in and out.

That said, my adventures in real estate, both as a career through business ownership and as a passion through property investment have lead me to where I am today. My second book was called “Retired at 27, If I can do it anyone can” and I have this beast called real estate to thank for being able to state that.

So, if you’re like I was: young and eager to make it on your own, or perhaps even older and more experienced and looking to create your own path – what are the important issues to consider before you step out of security and into entrepreneurship.

Firstly, lets talk why you wouldn’t do it. There’s any number of reasons but these are the ones that jump straight to my mind:

  • If you’re a great sales person and you want to make even more money: being a great sales person doesn’t mean you’ll be a great manager and I’ve know plenty of business owners whose top sales person makes more than they do from their business (with a lot less stress).

  • If you’re doing it to improve your work life balance: Ha! Most business owners I know double their work hours in the first few years and regardless of just the hours, the stress is always more when it’s your business.

  • If you’re planning on doing everything yourself: you probably already have a job. Starting an agency that is completely reliant upon you takes you from one job (where someone else shoulders the stress and responsibility) to another (where you do so!). It’s also no way to build a saleable asset and one day (at some stage) you WILL need to dispose of your business whether you retire or get the urge to move on before then. A business that’s just you and your brilliance is a hard one to sell without you leaving your brain in a glass jar by the door.

So say you pass the three pronged test above and you’re still crazy to go ahead. Get ready to start making some choices.

Franchise, Independent or Purchase?

Having done each of these three options there’s huge pros and cons to each:

A franchise gives you structure, experience to draw upon, networks, referrals, systems, training and a brand. But you also have to live with being restricted as to what you can do with your branding, you have to be happy to be lumped together with the reputation of everybody else within that franchise (good or bad) and there will be times when you don’t agree with the decisions handed down from high. Flexible it ‘aint, but it can offer you an amazing leg up IF you choose the right organization.

Starting as an independent your world will be awash with decisions. What colours do you want to go with, what will you call your new baby, what will your logo be, who will do your website, who can you turn to for advice. Once you’ve made those decisions you’ve now got to face the harsh reality that no-one’s ever heard of your fledgling brand. You get to create your own reputation, but you’ve got to start from scratch.

Much like a franchise, but even more so, buying into an existing operation buys you into an existing reputation within your marketplace. You might have the added benefit of a rent roll to give you some sound cash flow, but you’ll also typically have a larger debt than those establishing from scratch will be able to bootstrap. Then you’ve also got the minefield of taking on existing staff, will you be getting a star or a diva?

Shop Front, Office or Closet under the Stairs?

Where to operate from probably forms your next big question. Over the years I’ve had real estate offices in: a 2 bedroom residential apartment with no commercial zoning, a motel (where I also got to live on site as the manager), shared space in a lawyer’s office, ground floor office space, a converted brick townhouse and a huge three level building.

Each served its purpose at the time, but I must say, being in one place that really suits far outweighs moving all the time. That said, we started in an apartment because that’s what we could afford. What we lacked in our ability to even see clients in it (no zoning) we made up with a lovely view!

Right now my business is purely property management and for that, we haven’t felt the need for a shop front. In my last company, we were the state head office and a sales and property management company, so the ultimate aim was to own a space that large enough for us, had a great street frontage and had parking on site.

Know that wherever you hang your shingle, ultimately, if your operation, plan and people are good enough, your location won’t be the primary factor in your success or failure. Real estate is all about the people involved and the experience and results you provide, not what your walls look like.

Advertising, Press or Talk?

So now you’ve got your brand and your office, but what about getting your clients? This is the trickier side of business ownership. As I see it, you’ve got three main methods of client attraction. Which will be the most attractive to you?

Advertising: Billboards, television, newspaper, online, brochures, yellow pages, letterbox drops and more. This is the marketing stuff you flat out pay for to get your name out there. If this is your main angle, make sure all your marketing materials reflect your brand and the type of client you’re trying to attract. Budget well because you can spend your whole opening budget just on marketing before you blink. Aim to get a verifiable return from any $$s you outlay. How to do this? Survey all clients as to how they found out about your agency.

Press: If you’ve got an angle to your business you stand a chance at getting some free marketing in the form of good press. For me, it’s typically been about being a young female in the industry, or from the awards I’ve won. Find your uniqueness and get prepared with your sound bytes. Respect and value journos time and make sure they see the experience as a positive one if you ever want them to return to you.

Talk: Social media, twitter, facebook, your website and your blog all form free or low cost methods of engaging and talking with your clients. Done well this is a modern form of promotion that can enhance your relations with tech savvy clients. Done poorly you’ll find that this can just eat up hours and hours of your day with little to no return.

Best Talk: To me, the best form of marketing any business can have is when a friend asks another “who should I use to sell / rent my house?” and the friend emphatically names you. It’s harder to cultivate than any of the above because it involves knocking the socks of each client you deal with and it can be derailed quicker than any of the above by a bad interaction, BUT, to me, this is the most important form of “getting your name out there” any business can do.

So… I honestly hope I’ve scared some of you off. If you’re going to get scared by a few words on a page, the difficulties you encounter in business ownership WILL be too much for you.

But… for those of you still keen. Go forth and plan, do your research and your homework – but not too much, I believe if you wait for perfection in planning you’ll never get started.

As much as I’ve had difficult times over the past decade of real estate business ownership, I’ve had some of the highlights of my life including:

Meeting my husband across the real estate counter (he was a purchaser and he thought I was the receptionist!)

Watching 9 of my former staff members go on to real estate business ownership for themselves and knowing I’ve been a part of their progression.

  • Achieving financial security for myself and my family.
  • Assisting thousands of people in home ownership, in moving to better places and in financial security through management of their investment properties.

  • Forming some of the closest friendships I’ll ever have in my life with those who have been on my teams.

So whether you’re itching to start from scratch, investing in an existing business or going forth with a franchise, I hope your happy moments far outweigh the challenges, as mine do.

By Marjorie with No comments

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A perfect three step customer service plan

To set the scene of my most recent blog: Cusco, Peru – imagine a dusty back alley, intricate stone walls, the most vibrant coloured printed fabrics, alpacas roaming around and me exhausted after completing a 46km trek (the Inca Trail) in 3 days (instead of the usual 4) going up to 4,200m in altitude (all the while pregnant).

So of course, I needed a little pampering after my adventure and had promptly, after a huge breakfast at Jacks CafĂ©, booked myself in for a mani / pedi. Near comatose during the manicure I snapped back to reality at it’s conclusion when my manicurist followed a near perfect customer service plan without batting an eyelid.

Firstly – she offered more than was promised and up-sold. I was offered a small shoulder and foot massage at no extra cost and then told about the minute amount it would cost me to get a full hour long massage.

Secondly – she asked me if I was happy with her work on my nails. This may sound like such a small thing, but when was the last time you asked your customers if they were happy with your work?

Thirdly – once finding out I was happy she asked for referrals. As I left she gave me a handful of her business cards “for my friends”.

All this done in mere minutes in a dusty back alley with an alpaca guarding the door (well almost!)

If a Cusco manicurist can do this as second nature – what’s stopping you?

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Strategy from a mentor

I’m lucky to have a number of mentors in my life and this blog is about one in particular who has an almost foolproof strategy for customer retention.
He’s a great business person with, I’m sure, many strategies for winning and keeping new business. I’m just going to talk about one. It’s something he’s famous for and something I’ve experienced again and again first hand.

I don’t know what my mentor calls it – but I’m going to call it the “Crazy amounts of love strategy”.

Each year on my birthday, flowers arrive at my house or office. They’re my favourite kind of flower. Every person in my office knows they’re not from my husband, they’re from my mentor.Each year on my wedding anniversary, same thing, flowers, not from my (fantastic) husband, but from my mentor.

While I was pregnant with my first child, almost weekly gifts would arrive for my unborn child. Again, from my mentor.

My mum has photos up in her house from a photo shoot of me he organised. My mum also has a key ring with my daughter on it (made from photos he saw on my facebook page).
When I caught up with him for coffee recently he came with a gift for my daughter and before he left, bought me a little something at the shop we met at. He also met me in quite an awkward city location stating that I was worth the $70 parking ticket he would (and did) get for parking right out the front while he fit me into his busy day. Oh and before he left he offered me the usage of his holiday house and picked up the cheque despite my protests.

In short, he’s relentless. He’s got great systems (for remembering dates), but he’s also got an amazing heart and generosity.

Now while I don’t doubt the validity of our friendship, I also see it for the amazing customer retention strategy that it is too. Could I ever deal with anyone else if there was a real estate need in his area? Not a hope and I’ve done business with him personally a number of times. Would I refer friends and family to him? Absolutely and I have done so. If anyone mentions real estate in his area to my team – his name is the first that trips off their tongues.

He’s a whirlwind of magnanimity and I could never hope to replicate his generosity in its entirety – but I can and hopefully have learned from it over the years.

Each time he remembers a special date to me or an upcoming exciting event, I feel special. How can I replicate that feeling with my clients?

Each time he spoils my daughter or another family member my heart goes out. How can I implement strategies to have that affect on my clients

His actions have the effect of ensuring my utter loyalty, but he never asks for it nor do his actions ever seem transparent or faked. How can I learn to make my customer service strategies as powerful, real and long reaching?

I guess the final experience is, that not only does he shower me with generosity and gifts, but also in amazing customer service lessons. The giving never stops with him!

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Don’t get too hooked on the system

If you read my blogs often you’ll know I’m a big fan of a system. I love a checklist, a procedure, a manual – in short, I’m a big fan of making a job almost impossible to mess up.

BUT – you need to make sure that when you systemise customer service, you check that it’s relevant for all occasions.

Take for example my friend who recently hired an elliptical trainer for home workouts. It was delivered with a welcome pack which included a pen, a drink bottle and a big box of chocolates! The choccies are probably highly appropriate when you’re delivering a rented TV – but for the soon to be workout junkie, the gesture is sweet, but may not have been the most helpful thing!

If you’ve got a customer service system – awesome – you’re one step ahead of most BUT, do a quick check to make sure that what you’re systemizing is always going to work.

By Kirsty Dunphey with 1 comment

Monday, May 16, 2011

A killer question when shopping for a service provider

I just got off the phone with a friend who was telling me about a time she was shopping for a new service provider.

Being an avid researcher she’d contacted most of the providers in the area she was looking in by phone and ruled out those who weren’t suitable so that she had 4 to interview in person.

Along with a long list of other questions, she asked one which I thought was an absolute stunner:

“Who’s the second best in your area (if you’re the best)”

I have no doubt none of the people she was “interviewing” were expecting that question and as such, she probably got very honest answers.

In fact, three of them told her the same name (that of the 4th provide she was interviewing). What a high compliment for this one person.

You can guess who she hired right?

If you were being interviewed and someone asked you this question, what would your game plan be?

More importantly, would your competitors (when speaking honestly) list you as the next best option in their marketplace?

By Kirsty Dunphey with 2 comments

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pulling a Trump

When you’re starting a new business – I’m the first to admit how easy it can be to want ALL the business you can possibly get your hands on.

The more experienced you get (and the less blinded by the initial jump in sales or client numbers) the more you realize that some business just isn’t worth having regardless of the revenue it may provide because of the time or energy it saps.

In my industry – real estate, you can typically put the type of business you don’t want to have into two categories:

Problem Products

and

Problem People

Problem products for me – are properties that aren’t going to be suitable for me to look after. They might be too far away from my core area, they might be outside the typical price bracket we work in or I might not be able to find great tenants for them given the type of database we offer.

Problem people are a whole other thing. These are the clients who can’t or won’t do business in the way that you need to perform your job best. For me that might be a property owner who thinks it’s ok to keep a property in a very poorly maintained state, someone who won’t provide me all the information I need to do my job or simply someone who is unpleasant or rude.

Problem products are typically easy to identify – you should be able to see these coming fairly easily and you should listen to the warning bells in your head and really consider whether the time it’s going to take to manage this type of business is worth the increase in revenue.

Problem people however can be a bit harder to spot. You might ignore initial rudeness in your eagerness to present a professional sales pitch, you might not know about information that’s being deliberately withheld. The hardest part is when you get to a stage where you know you’ve got a problem person – and unfortunately you’ve already accepted their business.

My suggestion? Channel Donald Trump and fire the client. As hard as it might be put a high value on your time and energy levels and know that in firing that client you’ll have more time to dedicate to providing amazing service to nice, cooperative clients.

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Monday, May 9, 2011

Expecting the worst?

“Are you going to pick that up?” screeched the woman at the young lady who’d just callously littered and dropped a piece of rubbish on the ground. Moments after this interaction the woman was furious, and so was the young lady.

The woman knew that young people just didn’t have the same sense of responsibility that they had in her day. She saw examples of it everywhere.

Isn’t it always the way…

When you expect a car sales person or real estate agent to be a shark, you can always find one that is. When you expect people to treat you poorly, there’s always row after row of examples to show you that’s the truth. When you know that you deal with the craziest clients here’s yet another waiting to prove it.

Funny… Because I think if the woman above had gone out that day with a different expectation, instead of seeing another young person littering without a care in the world, what she might have seen was a young mum and a close personal friend of mine, juggling her baby, a large pram and an awkward seating arrangement who was just about to attempt to grab the fly away piece of rubbish before she was scolded by a complete stranger.

Who knows, if she’s gone out with a different expectation, she might have even been generous and reached over and grabbed the piece of rubbish that was out of the reach of the young Mum who would have reacted with her trade mark sweetness and thanked her enthusiastically. Both parties could have then left the exact same encounter with smiles feeling better about the world they live in.

What a shame expectations weren’t different.

What expectations do you have that might be clouding your vision of the true situation?

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

I judge a good business book…

I judge a good business book… by the number of times I put it down. A great business book gets my brain churning and gets my ideas flowing.

I was reading Ivanka Trump’s new book – the Trump Card this weekend and I must have put the book down 10 times in one chapter to grab my iphone and type myself a note. Say what you will about Donald Trump – I’ve always loved watching Ivanka on the Apprentice. I can’t fault her business logic and commonsense feedback to the contestants, especially impressive given her age.

Now despite stopping so many times to write notes, they weren’t all things she’d written in her book. She’d write something on organization and I wrote a note to myself to do up a flow chart in relation to something quite different in my property management business.

A good business book doesn’t give you all the answers, I think it reminds you to think for yourself.

If you’re ever feeling stifled in your business – grab a re-read of an old favourite or a new title off the shelf and start your creative juices flowing – but don’t read without a note pad or note taking device nearby.

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Starting At The Bottom

In my first job in real estate I started at the very bottom. I answered phones, I sent mail, I ran errands, I picked up dry cleaning, I filed. Oh, did I file! At the time, I enjoyed my work, but I didn't really see it leading to a fulfilling career in real estate long-term.

What little I knew then.

Starting at the bottom was, for me, an ideal start to my career in real estate. I got to know the industry from the ground up.

I got to see the importance of having an amazing person on the front counter because of the calming effect they can have on an unhappy client, or the professional impact they can have when a VIP phones in.

I got to see how a more senior staff member's treatment of juniors and front office staff drastically affects their performance and morale and more importantly – how well that senior staff member gets treated in return.

And now today, there's barely a task in my agency that I ask someone else to do that I haven't already done, which means I know what's involved and how long it should take to complete.

As valuable as it has been to have started at the bottom, there's ways around it if you didn't.

Take a leaf out of Virgin Blue's books where their managers work a day a month on the front line checking in baggage. Or encourage your senior staff to spend an hour on your reception desk answering phone calls.

It's amazing what you'll learn by taking a step "backwards".

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

You paid what?!

“You paid what?!” I screeched as I laughed at my husband’s new iPhone case. I knew then and there that I was clearly the superior shopper. He’d just paid 5 times what I’d paid for an almost identical iPhone case ($5 vs $25).

True, his had arrived in the mail the day after he’d ordered it. That’s ok, I’d made such a saving, I was prepared to wait a little longer.

True, his had also come with a screen protector. That’s ok, I’d really just wanted the iPhone cover.

True, his construction appeared a little sturdier than mine.

Hrm… you can guess where this is going right? His cost 5 times more than mine and ended up being 10 times more suitable than what I bought.

After years of spouting “you get what you pay for” in the context of real estate service, this lesson didn’t come as a surprise to me but it does leave me wondering why it wasn’t immediately apparent to me.

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The best dream ever

I’ve often woken up from a dream and in that hazy, woozy, post-dream reminiscing I’ve been sure that the story line of my dream was something worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster.

I’ve gone as far as to imagine the best lead actor and actress even a director. However when I go to recount the story line later on – it’s jumbled. It doesn’t make nearly as much sense. In fact sometimes what I’ve though was incredible in the wee hours of the morning seems darn pedestrian when I later try and make sense of it.

The same can be said for some business ideas I’ve had. What seems phenomenal at the time doesn’t hold up under later scrutiny. When I sit down to make an action plan and most importantly to define what would make that business idea stunning, unique and down right irresistible to a buying public an idea needs to stack up.

If you’re thinking of launching into business for yourself, the first thing I’d ask you is: “What is going to be special about your business?” Why will you be distinct enough to make your mark. To me, there’s no point launching into an endeavor without being able to succinctly and eloquently state why the public need you.

So, dreary dream or Hollywood blockbuster – the choice is yours.

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Complaint = Fan Or Fury?

When a friend's hot chips were missed on a take away order from Nando's recently they delivered them with a complimentary drink to her house without complaint.

On my way through a drive through today at another take away restaurant and tried to reconfirm my order and point out a potential error at the ordering spot I had "WHAT IS IT?" bellowed at me down the line.

Two different reactions, two different results.

My friend not only still loves Nandos, but her friends whose house she was staying at who were, at the time, Nandos virgins are now converts having eaten there numerous times since then.

A great return in exchange for a great piece of customer service.

How do you handle a customer complaint or query? Does it generate fans or raise hackles?

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Monday, May 2, 2011

Judged By The Company You Keep

I was recently at a charity event. As the night's major sponsor was announced at the commencement of the evening their table was pointed out and we all applauded them for their support.

Great PR right?

Well... not so much. Throughout the night, one of their team members got louder and louder, more obnoxious and then finally, somewhat offensive. When they left the table that night it was a mess with rubbish littered underneath it.

Someone at my table commented - I know where I wouldn't go for XXX (insert their type of business).

What could have been an amazing PR opportunity and what started as a fantastic act of generosity ended up being the worst kind of negative publicity for this business.

While this is an extreme example, I've seen it to a lesser degree so often.

A great company uniform which could be reinforcing the branding of an organisation instead gets tarnished when an employee is seen smoking around the corner during work hours. A sales agent who shows up 5 minutes late for a real estate open home with a shirt untucked and appearing disorganised.

I know I've even been guilty of it myself - when we were sponsors at a charity event a few years ago and they thanked just me and not my business partners I leaned over to someone and was complaining about the mis-mention when that friend (very wisely) said to me - you've just been announced as a sponsor, everyone's looking at you, be gracious and smile and sort the rest out later.

We've all heard the saying that you're judged by the company you keep.

But what about your company being judged by the YOU it's keeping?

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

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