“Starve your distraction, and feed your focus” ~Neil Patel
Nothing puts the look of dread on an employee’s face faster than talk of a productivity and efficiency effort at the office. However, both of these are necessary for organizations to flourish and continue to become a more Destiny-Driven team. A goal toward greater efficiency is also a terrific way to encourage employees to challenge themselves and one another to growth and development both individually and as a team. Here are some helpful suggestions you may find useful and/or adaptable for your company.
- Set clear goals and priorities: Setting clear goals and priorities is the first part of any endeavor focused on productivity. It might sound obvious, but doing something as simple as making a to-do list and ordering tasks based on their importance and urgency can help boost productivity. Whether you do it “old school” and write it down everyday, keep it in your Notes app on your phone, or use a Kanban Board tool like Trello or Jira, this action will help you stay focused on the most important tasks and avoid getting distracted. It is also a great way to prevent feeling overwhelmed and fights against action paralysis.
- Use time-management techniques: There are time-management techniques you can use to increase your productivity and efficiency. Popular techniques include the Pomodoro Technique, where you work in 25-minute intervals with short breaks in between, and the Eisenhower Matrix, where you prioritize tasks based on their importance and urgency.
The Eisenhower Decision Matrix, also known as the Urgent-Important Matrix, is a tool that helps individuals prioritize tasks and make better decisions about how to allocate their time and energy. The matrix was named for President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was known for using this approach to manage his time effectively and prioritize tasks.
The “matrix” consists of four quadrants, each representing a different type of task or activity:
- Urgent and Important: These tasks are critical and require immediate attention. They are often deadline-driven and can have significant consequences if not completed on time. Examples might include emergency situations, urgent work-related tasks, or health-related issues.
- Important but Not Urgent: These tasks are important but do not require immediate attention. They may be related to long-term goals, personal development, or relationship-building. Examples might include planning for the future or investing in personal development.
- Urgent but Not Important: These tasks are urgent but do not have a significant impact on your long-term goals and priorities. They may be distractions or interruptions that prevent you from focusing on more important tasks. Examples might include responding to emails or phone calls that are not critical, attending to minor administrative tasks, or dealing with other people’s urgent requests. Essentially these are often tasks that are important to other people like client’s or team members but aren’t a part of the long-term vision or mission.
- Not Urgent and Not Important: These tasks are neither urgent nor important. They may include activities that are time-wasting or unproductive, such as browsing on social media or watching television.
To use the Eisenhower Matrix, you would list all your tasks or activities and then place them into one of four quadrants based on their urgency and importance. The goal is to prioritize tasks in quadrants 1 and 2, while minimizing or eliminating tasks in quadrants 3 and 4. This helps ensure that you are focusing your time and energy on activities that align with your goals and priorities, rather than simply reacting to urgent or unimportant tasks.
- Reduce distractions: Identify the things that distract you and try to minimize them. For example, turn off notifications on your phone, close unnecessary tabs on the computer, and find a quiet space to work if possible. This will help you stay focused on your work and avoid wasting time.
- Take breaks: Taking breaks may seem counterproductive but it actually can boost your ability to focus and push through to the other side even on a tight deadline. It is essential for maintaining productivity and avoiding burnout. Make sure to take regular breaks throughout the day to recharge your energy and clear your mind. You can take a short walk, do stretching exercises, or simply take deep breaths.
- Automate and delegate tasks: Look for ways to automate and delegate tasks that are repetitive or time-consuming. This can help you save time and focus on more important tasks. For example, you can use professional project management tools like Trello or Jira to automate certain tasks, or delegate tasks to team members or assistants.
Remember, increasing productivity and efficiency is a process that takes time and effort. By implementing these tips and staying consistent, you can gradually improve your productivity and achieve your goals more efficiently.
Neil Sedaka put it best, “Breaking up is hard to do.” And when it comes time to “breaking up” with a client, there is no uncomplicated way to say, “Let’s just be friends.” Firing a client should always be a last resort and implemented with care and consideration. The goal is to allow the client dignity in the severing of the relationship as well as leaving the door open for you, to one day re-examine the opportunity of beginning a new functional and productive relationship but under different terms and circumstances.
Here are guidelines for you to consider as you change your relationship status with any of your clients.
- Assess the reasons for terminating the relationship. Before taking any action, it is important to assess the situation and the reasons behind the decision to terminate the relationship. Consider whether there have been any violations of the contract or any unethical and/or illegal behavior. Also evaluate whether you have tried to resolve the issues with the client and have exhausted all the options.
Moreover, it is important to determine the extent of impact losing this client will have on your business. If it is going to have a significant adverse effect on your bottom line, it is imperative that you find a way to mediate and attempt to salvage the relationship.
- Communicate the issues both in writing and verbally. Objectively assess if the communication has been consistent both on your part and the part of the client. If there has been a lack of response, failure to follow through which has resulted in the ability of your company to complete contracted tasks, that is a critical component to this decision.
Schedule a meeting, virtual or in person, or call and express your concerns in a professional and respectful manner. Be clear about the issues that have led to this decision and give the client the opportunity to respond and address the issues. It is essential to follow up this conversation in writing with detail regarding all the concerns and issues discussed. Be sure to include any action items and which party has responsibility for these as well.
- Review your contract or engagement letter. Evaluate whether your company has fulfilled its contracted obligations and provided all requested products where possible. It is highly recommended that you complete any/all open projects before terminating the client. Offering a suggestion for a substitute option or competitor at this point can often be perceived by the client as both gracious and professional.
- Provide an action plan. Provide the client with a plan of action to address any fixable issues. Offer guidance and support to help the client improve the relationship and work towards resolving the issues.
- Offer a graceful exit. If the client cannot or will not address the issues, offer a graceful exit from the relationship. Be professional and courteous in your communication and provide clear details about how the process will work and what the next steps are.
- Keep records. Maintain detailed records of all communications related to the firing of the client. This should include all e-mails, meeting notes, and phone call logs. This information may be useful in the future.
Remember that firing a client is not an easy decision and should only be executed when all other options have been exhausted. It is important to approach the situation with professionalism and empathy, while also protecting yourself and your business.
Smart brands know that the overall customer experience is a vital cog in the system of success, now more than ever before. Consumers no longer base their brand loyalty strictly on pricing or even the product. They now stay loyal to companies simply due to experiences. Stats show that 96% of customers say customer service is a critical component in which brands they stay loyal to and customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than companies who don’t focus on customer needs.
But there seems to be a disconnect; recent surveys indicate that:
- 1 in 26 unhappy customers will not complain?
- 91% of unhappy customers will simply leave a business without ever bringing their issues to customer service?
Why is it that brand experiences are so important to customers, but most of them avoid the opportunity to make theirs better?
1. Customers think complaining won’t change anything
As a consumer yourself, you can relate to the frustration of feeling like your complaints are falling on non-responsive ears. Many customers have either complained in the past and no changes were made or no resolution provided to them, or they assume the problem is an industry-standard and that a company simply doesn’t care about them – like others they’ve encountered in the past.
Statistics show that a whopping 79% of consumers who shared a complaint about poor customer experience online were ignored.
If a customer sees giving feedback as a waste of time there’s no incentive for them to bring concerns to your business’s attention
2. Customers have a fear of damaging a long-term relationship with a business
In cases where a customer has an ongoing relationship with a business, the customer may fear conflict or potential retribution if they complain. Will they receive worse service next time? Will an employee that made a mistake get fired because of them? Will it damage their business partnership? And will it result in an even worse brand experience?
A great example of this relatable fear is one we all have had at one time or another: complaining about a restaurant server to their manager before the server brings our food. And the server tampers with our food in some way for retribution. To avoid this scenario, customers often tolerate lackluster service rather than have to worry about being a potential victim of an angry wait staff.
3. Customers believe their issue is not critical enough to report
Oftentimes customers experience an issue, but it’s minute and they feel it’s not worth the hassle of complaining about, so they won’t bring it up at all. They would rather save the time and effort it takes to make a complaint and use it on something else more important.
4. The complaint process is too difficult
Many customers don’t complain because they simply don’t know how to escalate their complaint beyond the customer service staff member they are currently dealing with, can’t reach the correct department, or find themselves on hold for hours. If they do wait for a general manager they might end up talking to someone who can’t actually fix their problem and this discourages them from making further complaints. In fact, 72% of people see having to explain their problem to multiple people as poor customer service, and 44% of consumers say a customer representative has given them the wrong information.
5. Customers don’t want to give unsolicited feedback
There’s another reason why unsatisfied customers don’t complain: you never ask them for feedback .Some customers are simply more reserved than others and will not go out of their way to provide feedback unless you explicitly ask them for it, even if they’re dissatisfied.
3 Reasons why customer complaints are good for business
Negative customer feedback isn’t always a bad thing. Learn how customer complaints can be used to help improve your products, services, operations, and customer experience.
1. Complaints identify important areas of service in need of improvement
Customer complaints help identify problems with the features or aspects of your products or services that aren’t as convenient or well-developed as other areas. Over 60% of customer experience professionals use customer feedback to help them prioritize better investments in products, services, and customer experiences.
Instead of searching for ways to make your services and products more appealing to your target audience, you can easily look at your customer complaints as a resource of insights on what part of your product and services need to be adjusted or upgraded. By looking at bad reviews you will often find good ideas from customers for improving your products and services that you didn’t think of previously.
Customer complaints also help identify specific departments that are typically falling short, as well as staff members who may need additional training, closer supervision, or possible termination.
2. Complaints help identify needed improvements in company policies and procedures
Customer complaints are really a reality check for your business. They can help identify operational deficiencies – highlighting flaws in your internal processes and pinpointing what areas of your external operations are not working well for customers. You can create a more efficient operation by knowing which procedures and policies are effective and efficient, and which ones can be reworked or simply discarded altogether. This makes strategic planning for growth and development much easier.
3. Complaints open more doors for customer communication
Complaints give your business more opportunities to speak with customers. Knowing and understanding your customers is a key point every successful business focuses on. When you know more about your customers; who they are, what their interests are, and what they think about your company, you can build more effective sales and marketing strategies.
Customer complaints can also indicate if any information your company is providing through your website, marketing materials, sales reps, or other communication channels is misleading, out of date, or simply lacking clarity. Statistics show that unhappy customers tend to leave companies because they don’t feel like a company cares about them, so it’s important to let them know that their feedback is valued and their opinions are acknowledged, even if it’s a dagger to the company’s ego.
It’s also critical to act on complaints and provide quick resolutions. This makes it clear to customers there is an open line of communication and their thoughts and problems matter to your company, which increases the chance they’ll continue doing business with you and/or provide a positive review of your company to their friends and family.
The average American will tell 15 people about a poor customer experience. Customer loyalty is not just about catering to your promoters and happy customers, it’s about taking care of each customer as if they were your only customer.