January is traditionally the time for New Year Resolutions. But instead, here are 10 ideas for New Year Revolutions. Not a list of do's and don'ts, but some simple and practical things to consider that can help Revolutionize your approach to your customers in 2008.
View these as a menu in no particular order, not a recipe. Pick the things (or variations of them) that appeal and could work for you.
1. Work on dialogue, not diatribes
Focus on creating conversations with your customers in 2008. Ask for their opinions, views and ideas. This is not just about blogs and social networks (although these can certainly help). It means doing it off-line as well as off-line.
Aim to engage your customers this year. That means listening, and reacting and having ongoing discussions on things they say are important.
2. Stand in your own queues
Regularly spend time in 2008 at the sharp end'. What are you like to do business with? Find out what's stopping your people delivering what customers want.
3. Don't just think out of the box – GET out of it
Make visits to companies, conferences, exhibitions and seminars that have nothing to do with your industry. Read a magazine or journal, surf websites from sectors you know nothing about. The point? To get a different view and perspective. Who knows what you'll learn?
4. Get Back To Old School
In this age of mass email, don't forget that more traditional methods of communication can still be effective. In fact I think that sometimes handwritten notes and messages can have a much greater impact than a standard email.
I mean, can you really remember who sent you email Christmas cards this year?. Ok, it's more time consuming, needs more effort, but I can assure you in it can be significantly more memorable.
5. Think In 3D
That means being Dramatically and Demonstrably Different. What makes your business stand out? How do you demonstrate it? Remember, it's not what you say, it's what you do. Explore ways in 2008 to demonstrate your competitive edge in everything that you do.
6. Value Your Values
Evidence suggests that customers are engaging more with businesses they believe in, they trust and respect. What does your business really stand for?
Work on establishing, communicating and demonstrating your values. Not a list of weasel words and phrases, but a set of principles you believe in and that differentiate your business.
Better still, why not create a manifesto that outlines what your business is really about?
7. Stand Out And Deliver
Actions speak louder than words. Concentrate on consistency. In 2008 focus everyone on creating a great experience. Champion those who go the extra mile and deliver the goods. Challenge those who don't.
8. Maximize Your Personality
Ban standard replies, messages and communiqués. People buy from people. Focus on getting your personality across in your emails and letters – writing a 'ps' at the bottom really does work!
Personalise your mobile phone office phone and email out of office messages (update them regularly, keep them fresh and interesting'); get your team to do the same. How well do your customers really know you and your support team? Focus on avoiding anonymity in 2008.
9. Be Visible
What are you like as role model when it comes to customers? In 2008, ensure that you live your values, demonstrate your commitment to customers and make sure that your actions reinforce this.
That might mean taking symbolic actions for emphasis. Not PR stunts, but genuine activities that ensure customers stay high on the agenda.
For example, make monthly calls to key customers, and formally feedback their responses top your team. Ask customers to highlight your customer champions and reward them publically. Ensure that this year no one is under any doubt about what you see as important.
10. Just Do It!
When it comes to customers, don't just talk about it, just do it. It's as simple as that. Commit to making 2008 your year for action, and then get on and do it. Remember, winners take action, not notes.
Best wishes for this New Year and have a great one!