Archive for the ‘Peter Mullarkey’ Category
This week Peter Mullarkey discusses the simple benefit in listening to improve customer service.
One of life’s biggest frustrations is being made to wait. This may occur when a friend runs late, or the online delivery scheduled for the morning eventually arrives after supper, but for me the most frustrating wait is for public transport.
You rely on a team of people to assist you to your destination and this lack of control can start to boil over when told of a delay or, even worse, a cancellation. So, frustration for me reached boiling point when travelling back from Edinburgh recently with a colleague: We were informed of a two hour delay because of a broken down plane and our only real choice, while stuck on the air side of the airport, was to sit in the café and discuss the day’s meeting while checking and responding to emails. I went up to the busy counter to order a cappuccino and a latte, which were swiftly delivered to the table.
An hour into our wait, the drinks were empty and we needed more, so up to the counter again I went. It was still bustling with activity, but when I heard “would you like the same again?” I was taken aback at their ability to remember what I had ordered an hour ago since at least 60 more orders would have passed through in that time. It was a response I might have expected in my local hostelry, but not in an airport café. This listening and repeating exercise really impressed me. It was simple but also personal, and overall gave a positive customer experience that didn’t cost any extra to deliver. People are always asking about what added value they can receive and top of the list should always be listening and understanding.
These values were echoed in a recent service story from Levanter in which they outlined 12 simple tips that can significantly improve your ability to listen to your internal and external customers:
1. Acknowledge the enormous power and benefits that stem from carefully listening to others.
2. When the customer talks, stop doing whatever you are doing.
3. Stay 100% focused on the customer. Do not allow yourself to be distracted.
4. If you face the customer in person, establish frequent eye-contact, but without making him feel uncomfortable.
5. If you deal with the customer over the phone, close your eyes or focus them on a fixed spot.
6. While the customer is talking, write down key words in a sheet of paper. This will help you retain the main ideas.
7. Never interrupt a customer! Be cautious and let him finish talking.
8. Keep your emotions in check. Sometimes we don’t like what we are told, but if you get carried away, your focus will shift from what’s most important: the customer’s feelings.
9. Don’t jump to conclusions until you have listened to everything the customer had to say.
10. Read the customer’s body language and tone of voice. Sometimes they speak louder than words.
11. If something is not well understood, ask the customer to repeat it.
12. Rephrase and double check with the customer.
5 days on and Peter Mullarkey is still trying to get over the disappointment of Manchester United’s loss in the Champions League Final. He hopes that by reading his TNI you will not be disappointed in business.
Special events should be celebrated and Saturday night was no exception. Manchester United & Barcelona, the two finest team in the world, came together to do battle in the Champions League Final.
Two years had passed since that night in Rome, a lesson in football was all we walked away with, a 2-0 defeat which I still feel was jinxed by my meal of paella that evening! So it was with great hope and excitement that I entrusted my emotions to the men in red, white and black for the rematch.
All the words beforehand were positive, the team stayed fit and the preparation had all been about this game since winning the record 19th Premier League. I honestly thought that the lessons had been learnt since 2009.
After a hearty Lancashire hotpot (good omen, or so I thought), I took to my lucky seat, all the usual pre-match rituals were taking place, all the while feeling that tonight would be the night to lift our 4th European Trophy.
The game kicked off, we pressed well, won the ball, looked lively and pressured them into making mistakes with their passing. It was a great start, 7 minutes of real promise… yet it can all fall apart in front of your eyes.
After the 90 minutes, I could have no arguments; Barcelona yet again delivered a master class in how to play the beautiful game.
It left me feeling disappointed at something that I could never control, I tried my best, singing, shouting and willing them on, even though they were 180 miles away.
Conducting customer satisfaction market research can help you to identify the areas to which more focus is required.
B2B Internationals are experts in this area having conducted hundreds of studies over the past 12 years. We have developed vital and informative tools, such as IMPSAT®, NPS and Correlation Analysis, and with our services we can help develop any disappointing areas into strengths. All the while playing up your successes, such as a 19th Premier League Title!
In this week’s Thursday Night Insight, Peter Mullarkey tells us how going out for an impromptu meal leads to a smorgasbord of options, washed down with plenty of discussion.
On a recent trip to Liverpool to visit an old school friend. My Girlfriend and I stayed in a hotel close to the shopping and leisure development, Liverpool One.
After an afternoon walking round the dock, a trip to the Tate Modern and viewing the Liver birds, we walked up to Liverpool One and decided to go for a meal at one of the many chain restaurants on offer, but just as in business, here is where the problem occurs. 3 people stood outside 20 different restaurants all with differing tastes. How do you make the choice?
Companies face these decisions when trying to development new products. They will (hopefully) have lots of ideas, but only with the budget to move forward by prioritizing one of them.
One of the ways to test if the product has any hope of being a success is by using the Stage-gate model which was developed by Robert G. Cooper in 1986 and although it has been modified by different users it has the same process:
Our “Discovery” was the large amount of choice, all conveniently located within a 200 meter radius. But after a quick discussion we had reduced the list by some influencing factors:
• Is it a restaurant rather than a fast food outlet
Once we all had common knowledge of these, we reduced the list to 5 restaurants:
• Las Iguanas – A Latin American Restaurant.
At which point we start to walk between the eateries, perusing the menus and looking through the large glass windows at the atmosphere inside. This scoping stage also included looking at the menu of each of the restaurants and the most interesting was for Red Hot Buffet “a meet all” solution for the evening, a Chinese, Thai, Mexican, Italian and Japanese buffet, but it seems that the rest of Liverpool also had the same idea as there was a rather large queue. This put a cross against our initial choice.
We all pitched in with our thoughts, experiences and built a case for each of the remaining restaurants, trying to quickly weigh up all the pros and cons. At this point my hunger increases and I think they all look good, Rob is still unsure and Louise has made up her mind, but is being diplomatic.
But the decision was made when we focused on value and more importantly, at which venue could we use a discount voucher? After a quick search, we found a “buy one get one free” deal at the Italian restaurant Zizzi. With a few taps on a Smartphone, the choice was made for us, and we would get the chance to fight over the 4th free meal!
It was a relief to have reached a conclusion. We strolled in and asked for a table for three, then we were hit with a spanner in the works, there would be a 40 minutes wait before we could be served. Another group huddle ensued, but after all the choice and indecision so far, we said it was fine and that we would find a bar for an aperitif. This test emphasised that the correct decision had been made on the face of it, but just as in business, the proof is in the pudding…
Not all decisions can be made with a few clicks on an app for a Smartphone and just as with the Smart-Gate Model; some new products will need market research to help them to evaluate the bigger picture.
If you would like more information on how B2B International can help you with this, please click here
In his first Thursday Night Insight, Peter Mullarkey looks at how the Smartphone has drastically changed since Michael Douglas portrayed the Greedy Gordon Gekko in 1987.
On seeing the trailer for the new Wall Street movie, I noticed the size of the mobile phone Gordon Gecko is handed as he leaves prison; to be honest I would have been hard pushed to have missed it, it’s huge!
This led me to think about the development of technology within mobile phones and how in 23 years since the Motorola DynaTAC, a phone made to make and receive calls only, has changed into a device with such diversity that we are seeing the leading manufacturers develop differing mobile phone handsets for the needs of the modern consumer.
Cellular mobile phones are a fairly recent innovation; however, they have been freely available in the UK for over 20 years. This takes me back to my first mobile phone in 1999, the Motorola Colorado. This large bulky telephone, with an antenna, was the first time I had used text messaging and apart from calls, it didn’t do much else. But the latest phones offer so many different features.
Smart phones are reinventing the modern office. With access to e-mail, Internet, calendar and more advanced OS systems, with the ability to view attachments, meaning that work can be dealt with in the palm of your hand. But it is not just these features which have helped them to become such vital additions to pocket.
Applications are also adding to the way that we use mobile phones. Apple and Android lead the market, which means I can now check the weather, to make sure I don’t get wet when running for my next train home that I know will be running two minutes late, While sat on the train I check my bank account to make sure there is enough cash for the Tesco shopping delivery that I did yesterday on the new Tesco Groceries App, while on my lunch.
It can also find the answer to the little questions that pop up during conversations and pub quizzes (I know it’s cheating, but it is usually for a gallon of cider!), all this at the click of a few buttons. Last week I wanted to remember the name of the shop at the end of my road, but for the life of me I’d forgotten, I reached into my pocket, opened a new browser and soon Google street view was feeding the picture of the shop on to my screen. I find that this saves time in the short term which is what makes it such a great tool.
In my house I don’t have a landline as the mobile phone has replaced this for me. I am not alone in this, I found that at the end of 2009 14% of all adults in the UK live in this same way and this number will keep increasing. My thought on this is why pay for two contracts a month when my mobile makes all the calls I need, has a voicemail facility, caller ID and with “Say No To 0870” I can usually find a landline number for these rather expensive calls.
Here at B2B International, With all the telephone based market research that is undertaken we understand the best way to contact people via the telephone. When speaking with professionals it is best to call on their work phone, with people in the trades in can be best to contact them on their landline when they return from the field and more importantly, the mobile phone is always within arm’s reach wherever you go! With it being so accessible and portable, you can talk anywhere, doing anything.
So if like Gordon Gekko you’ve been out of touch with your customers for quite some time, then maybe you should contact B2B International and we can get in touch for you.