Tag Archives: Marilyn Suttle

Who’s Your Gladys? How to Turn Even the Most Difficult Customer into Your Biggest Fan

Today’s guest post is an excerpt from the bestselling business book by Marilyn Suttle and Lori Jo Vest, “Who’s Your Gladys? How to Turn Even the Most Difficult Customer into Your Biggest Fan” To celebrate the release of the paperback version, the authors are giving away free gifts with purchase here: www.whosyourgladys.com/paperbacklaunch

This excerpt from chapter 1 is based on interviews with Professional Movers, a world-class moving company located in Walled Lake, Michigan.

Eighty-seven-year-old Gladys has a reputation among her fellow retirement community members. She’s known as a cranky complainer who is impossible to please. But to her surprise, when she called Andrew Androff’s company, Professional Movers, to move her into her new apartment, she was treated with warmth and respect. When her sales rep, Chris, visited her home to quote the job, he noticed her prickly personality and made a conscious decision to focus on her spunk and tenacity. By the end of his visit, Gladys had bonded with Chris and booked the move.

On moving day, there was a mishap. One of the movers accidentally cracked Gladys’s marble tabletop. Andrew knew that she would be furious. Determined to set things right, he prepared himself to let her vent before she could even think about possible solutions. As predicted, Gladys had steam shooting out her ears.

Andrew felt compassion for her while she vented and assured her that his company would have the table repaired, and that if she wasn’t satisfied with the results, he would replace it. Although he continued to reassure her that things would be set right, she was still spitting mad. Gladys wanted to talk to Chris, who had sold her on the company in the first place, and Andrew promised to have Chris call her as soon as he came into the office.

Chris arrived dead tired after a long day filled with meetings with potential new customers. When Andrew told him about Gladys and asked if he’d be willing to call her, Chris responded, ‘‘No way. She’s going to need more than a phone call. I’ll stop by her house on my way home.’’ Chris arrived at Gladys’s house ready to comfort her through her anger and outrage. Then he assured her that he would personally oversee the repair of her table. This calmed her down, and she thanked him for coming over.

Unfortunately, the repair was less than perfect. Andrew knew that he had to set things right, even though doing so would be expensive. He called Gladys and promised that she could meet Chris at the marble store and personally pick out her new marble tabletop. Since Chris knew that Gladys didn’t drive, he called and arranged to pick her up and take her to the store himself.

Gladys is now living at one of metropolitan Detroit’s premier retirement communities with her new marble table. While it cost Andrew and his employee Chris extra time and extra money to make things right, the payoff was outstanding. Gladys tells everyone moving into or out of her assisted living complex that they have to hire Professional Movers if they want to work with the best movers in town. High and persistent praise from such a hard-to-please person attracts attention. As a result, Andrew’s company is now the number one choice of movers for Gladys’s retirement complex. By creating a culture that values compassionate connection with his customers, Andrew has built a referral base that has helped his sales grow by over 40 percent in two years.

This culture of connection has been particularly effective in building a strong business with senior citizens. Seniors often move from their homes to be nearer to their children or to retire to a senior community. Professional Movers has found this population to be a good fit for its particular style of customer service, so it put a great deal of effort into developing the market segment. Everyone at Professional Movers makes a practice of creating a human connection with her clients. The staff members show respect for their clients’ wisdom, experience, and opinions.  They also know how moving affects their clients, both physically and emotionally. It isn’t easy leaving behind the security of their homes, their friendships with neighbors, and the familiarity of their routines. Andrew’s employees are trained to be sensitive to the unique issues of downsizing. They are sensitive to the emotional connection to their precious family heirlooms that senior citizens feel as they leave behind the past. Professional Movers strives to give seniors the sort of service they would receive if their own family were doing the job.

‘‘It’s like we’re their sons,’’ Andrew said with a laugh. ‘‘We get very close with their families. We interview their caregivers and their social workers. It really helps us develop a customized process to address their concerns.’’ This needs-based approach to both customer service and sales has helped the company become the top provider of moving services in metropolitan Detroit’s retirement market.

Enjoy  “Who’s Your Gladys? How to Turn Even the Most Difficult Customer into Your Biggest Fan” – available at most online booksellers.

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Doing an End-of-Day Review is Powerful – Here’s How…

by Marilyn Suttle

The end-of-day review is a powerful tool I use to improve my performance with clients, while raising the bar on my personal effectiveness. It’s a simple practice that only takes a few minutes.

Right before leaving work at the end of the day, ask yourself:

What went well? What would I do differently next time? What do I appreciate about my customers?

Here’s why:

When you ask, “What went well?” it unleashes your brain to zero in on all the wins of your day. That makes you more resourceful.

When you make a habit of noticing what’s going right, you’ll more readily apply those same tactics to future situations.

When you ask, “What would I do differently?” it gives your mind time to rehearse better ways of responding to future challenges. Those mental rehearsals can catapult your effectiveness. It also helps you to avoid self-blame, shame, and guilt.

When you ask, “What do I appreciate about my customers?” it keeps your attention on the people who are the reason you’re in business. It helps you get your mind off the one or two curmudgeonly customers that bring you down, so you can see the overall purpose and value of all those who do business with you.

It creates a sense of closure to your work day so you can be more fully present at home with family and friends.

Not all self-reflections are helpful. Some can even sabotage your success. “What went wrong?” is not a resourceful question. It makes the little problems big and big successes little.  Rather than rehearse better ways of handling workplace issues, you’re left chewing on troubles. As you leave for the day, you’ll feel frustrated, and your resilience will tank. You won’t be much fun across the dinner table with your family and it sets you up to start the next day from a less resourceful vantage point.

It also helps to do a similar end-of-year review. One thing that came from doing it yearly is I now keep a notebook to capture these reviews. Capturing these small daily reviews helps to recognize how small things done consistently leads to massive results in your business, profits, and sense of wellbeing.

What do you think? How could you build upon what’s going right and make adjustments to better serve your clients?

Marilyn Suttle is an international keynoter, and success coach for those wanting to attract and retain happy customers and expand their personal power. She specializes in creating prosperous cultures of excellence by creating “Suttle Shifts” in the way people think and act to get further faster and with less stress. Her bestselling book, “Who’s Your Gladys? How to Turn Even the Most Difficult Customer Into Your Biggest Fan” is the result of decades of experience and extensive interviews with CEO’s, managers, and front line staff of service focused businesses. Visit www.MarilynSuttle.com


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