Candide Lopez speaks on customer service.
The Emery County Business Chamber hosted the July lunch and learn and the topic was customer service. ECBC president Tyler Jeffs introduced Candide Lopez from California as the featured speaker and she gave many helpful suggestions to local business owners and attendees.
Drew LeRoy from Food Ranch was the local business highlight for the month.
Lopez asked where are you with your business? What do your employees know about customer service? Do they know how to keep customers coming back? How do you take adequate customer service to the next level and make it better? Lopez talked about customer relationship management. She said some companies make a living selling software to tell you how to manage your customers. You must learn to understand your customer. "View your customers as guests and gear your efforts to seeing the customers as a guest. Losing one customer can cost you a lot of money. It can put you out of business. Sixty percent of entrepreneurs hold their business back from going to the next level. Customers are sometimes willing to pay higher prices to get guest treatment. How can your business not just survive, but thrive. Even thrive globally. Don't become casual with steady customers. Don't become too comfortable with loyal customers. Make sure the customers are important to you," said Lopez.
Lopez told an example of when customers might become complacent. At a store then every time the customer paid their bill, they were handed a dollar. This happened several times. Then one day the business didn't give out the dollars. The customer said, 'I want my dollar.'
"The customers are not willing to settle for the same thing. Customers will always want more. Never assume you've met your customer's expectations. Are you serving to that level. Customers should never know you're having a bad day. Never be late, open your business on time. Don't close early always be on time for appointments. The minimum operating level is to be on time. Be early. Show your customers they are important. Be where you said you're going to be. Always be respectful. Converse with your customers.
"Customer service is an attitude. When you go to In and Out Burger you know you're going to be greeted. At Nordstrom's you will always be treated professionally. Whether your business is one person or a thousand, always be professional. Be polished," said Lopez.
She told of her company in California that grew 20 percent each year. They were at the right place at the right time, but they provided their customers with a quality competitive product.
"Keep your building neat and clean. Be considerate of your customers. Honor contracts, honor warranties. Be trustworthy, you will go out of business if you are not. What do you see your business as? Be a world class quality employee. In a business your weakest link is your weakest employee. In Emery County you are only as strong as your weakest business. Be professional be polite," said Lopez.
Speaking of Nordstrom's, Lopez told the story of a friend who went to Nordstroms for two suits that he needed for a business trip to France. When he went to pick up the suits, they weren't ready. Needless to say the friend was irate. He left for France without the suits. Upon his arrival at his hotel in France, the suits had arrived before him along with four shirts and ties which he hadn't ordered and an apology letter for not having the suits ready on time for him. "Businesses with customer service like that, thrive. Again, your business is only as good as your weakest employee. People want to know they can count on the same thing, same service every time. Like In and Out burger, it's the same quality every time. The same product. People put their trust in you to get the same quality each time.
"We need to be consistent and to constantly improve. Look for ways to change and grow. Hold yourself and your employees to a customer service protocol. Continuously improve, don't grow stagnant. Be excellent, not just acceptable. Are your employees, excellent to your customers. It's the little things that make a big difference. What is your legacy? Where do you want to see your business in five or 10 years. Where do you want to see Emery County in five or 10 years. Why do you have a business? Is it just to pay the bills, or do you want to contribute to the community? Do you want that business to grow and thrive. What is your legacy? Know your goals. There is no difference between the business. The difference is you. What do you want out of your business. What is your legacy as a business owner. What are your goals. Have a business plan. Who will take over your business when you die or retire. Have a succession plan for your business. How does your business affect Emery County as a whole. Are you doing business for the community. Having a succession plan is good customer service and community service," said Lopez.
Lopez encouraged business owners to get out and visit other businesses to see how they do business. Learn from other businesses.
Jeffs held the monthly drawing and this month's winner was Heidi Migliori for a $25 gift certificate to Food Ranch.
The next Lunch and Learn will be the Emery County Business Chamber economic summit on Sept. 21. It will begin at the Museum of the San Rafael with breakfast speakers at 8 a.m. There will be two break-out sessions and the two lunch speakers will be Marshall Moore and David Williams from the film and tourist industry. Plan now to attend this event. More information will be forthcoming. The former owner of Fackler Tire will talk about family businesses. Chris Redgrave from Zions Bank will speak on business. If you would like to become involved in the planning of the summit or to register call the Emery County Progress office at 381-2431.