business retention and expansion | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

Find a Connection Point – Part 2: Situational Connection - 10/4/22


Last week we highlighted key topics to consider when you want to find Personal Connection Points with the customer.  Today, we’ll cover some key questions to ask to uncover information about today’s situation that you can use to establish a rapport with the customer.  This is Part 2 - Read more

Find a Connection Point – Part 1: Personal Connection - 9/27/22


Some people are born almost like a master at communication.  They know how to establish rapport with just about anybody, and they do so in a way that seems so natural and so real.  They can form relationships and be laughing with somebody they met two minutes ago like Read more

Be Proactive without being Pushy - 9/20/22


Delivering great customer service isn’t just about responding and reacting.  It’s also about being proactive.  Developing relationships involves reaching out first, not just extending our hand when somebody reaches out to us. But it’s all too clear that those of us who are in service roles prefer those roles to Read more

Be Kind to Yourself When the Customer Isn’t - 9/13/22


I was having a debrief call with one of my clients recently, and this was regarding a survey of employees who work events.  One of the survey questions asked employees for advice on how to improve the customer experience.  When the employees shared their input on the guest experience, Read more

Being the Emphatic Employee - 9/6/22


Empathy is the key quality of somebody who’s great at customer service.  We talk about it often - what it is, how to convey it, what it looks like, and how it makes the customer feel. But along with knowing how to be empathetic, we also need to know how Read more

The Good, the Really Good, and the Ugly of Customer Service - 8/30/22


Here are three helpful customer service stories.  They may not be from your specific industry, but it’s always good to learn from others. The Good… Paula submitted a ticket to the I.T. vendor.  Below the signature line in the reply she received was the following:  Please share your comments or needs Read more

A Great 2-Minute E-mail - 8/23/22


I know.  You probably get e-mails all the time from customers griping about some aspect of your organization or their experience.  You’ve got too much to do and too little time to do it.  I could not begin to tell you how many times I’ve been told by staff Read more

When They Want to Talk to Your Boss - 8/16/22


“I want to talk to your supervisor.” That’s their opening salvo.  Before you can hardly finish your greeting, the customer is asking for your boss.  This is done by a customer who has tried to get an issue resolved, and it hasn’t worked, so they want to go to somebody Read more

When Passive Voice is a Good Thing - 8/9/22


It’s all your fault, Mr. Customer! We may want to shout it from the rooftops, but other than venting and absolving ourselves of guilt, this wouldn’t help much in the grand scheme of things. We have a customer sitting in front of us or on the phone, and maybe they are Read more

They’re Stressed, So You Can… - 8/2/22


Wow!  That customer looks stressed!  Maybe it’s their body language or their expressions; they could be fidgety or talking really fast. In the past, when we offered guidance in these situations, we focused on how to navigate the conversation step-by-step - what points to cover and what points to avoid. But Read more

BRE and “Live Business Intelligence”

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

Blog 10-15-14In the article North Peace Economic Development Commission to launch a regional Business Retention and Expansion, the NPEDC says that it’s creating a BRE program – in short – to convey it cares about local business – those that aren’t being recruited like royalty and yet still provide well over 70%-80% of job growth in most communities. But as you read further in the article, there is a key statement: The NPEDC says the information gathered through the program provides live business intelligence to attract new investment, foster and support growth of the existing investment, and identifies key challenges facing the business sector of the region.

This is the 21st century – information travels at the speed of a click, a tweet, a post, or a like. It’s vital that local BRE programs have the intelligence on your local businesses (and FOR your local businesses) that identifies opportunities for growth, risk of job loss or facility closure, needs for improving aspects of the local business climate or technology infrastructure, opportunities to address development-constricting processes or policies, challenges in workforce development or excessive permitting fees, etc.

When we work with clients outside of the BRE world in local government, healthcare, pro sports, and education, we often suggest that they need to have a Voice of the Customer (VOC) strategy. Likewise, for BRE organizations to have “live business intelligence,” they must be intentional about that VOC strategy. Take and use these quick VOC tips that we’ve shared with clients in other industries:

  • Have a quantifiable component (i.e., surveys) to evaluate multiple aspects of the local industry’s experience in working with municipal processes, policies, code/ordinances, and people.
  • Utilize predictive characteristics about retention/growth likelihood based on key factors (e.g., Leadership Change, Economic Concerns, Alternative Locations/Recruitment Efforts, Business Performance, etc.) or historical risk factors locally.
  • Gather information from more Passive means on a daily basis about the company, other company facilities, organizational performance, etc. – See http://brebuzz.com/ – this defines “live business intelligence.”
  • Include Focus Groups and 1-on-1 interviews for deep dives on specific issues or about consideration of future changes/improvements.
  • Include Local Industry Advisory Boards that provide some consistent feedback mechanism as ideas are developed, refined, and moved toward implementation.
  • Use multiple platforms (face-to-face, web, social media, e-mail, telephone, etc.) to ensure breadth of responses to/from clients and the community.
  • Share results in actionable formats with deadlines and timetables – ensure customers know what you’re doing or planning to do with the information they provide to you.

Make “live business intelligence” a part of your Voice of the Customer strategy.

Did you like this post? Here are other BRE-related posts:

See more on Business Retention & Expansion business intelligence at: http://brebuzz.com/


TIME – A Business Retention & Expansion Pro’s Constant Battle

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

Blog 8-26-14You may have heard the saying “Work expands to fill the time allotted.” The idea is that – for many people – if they have 8 hours of work to do and 8 hours to do it, they’ll get it done; however, if they have 5 hours of work to do and 8 hours to do it, it will still take them 8 hours.

Many Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) professionals never have to worry about this situation because there’s usually too much work for the time. There are internal meetings, client visits, research on current clients through surveys and reviewing publications, support for the business recruitment staff, facilitating resolution to issues with the local government permitting issues, and on…and on…and on.

Where time is the issue for BRE professionals, here are four key questions to ask:

  • What activities are being performed that provide no value to the client? Find, eliminate, or reduce the time spent on these meetings, reports, and other tasks.
  • Where is time spent on research that could be outsourced to others? Don’t spend hours culling through newspapers or web alerts just to learn a little nugget that you can use with a client (have others do it for you).
  • Which are the key clients most at-risk of job loss or with the most opportunity for job gains? Knowing this can help you to allocate more time to those with more opportunity/risk.
  • In what situations are you doing something manual that could be automated? It’s the handwritten survey v. the web-based survey. It’s the handwritten notes that you rekey later. It’s the hardcopy documentation and manual files that build and build and build only to be purged every 3 years in a fit of frustration.

When you’re frustrated that you can’t get everything done, consider stopping what you can, outsourcing where you can, spending more time with those with the most opportunity/risk, and automating whenever possible.

Find more time to do what you do best.

Did you like this post? Check out otherBRE-relatedposts athttp://brebuzz.com/bre-blog-posts


BRE’s Target is Long-term Growth

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

Blog 4-28-14Keep Calm and Carry On.

To Economic Development’s Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) professionals, the motto is “Keep Jobs and Parlay On.”

BRE programs are not just about retention, they’re really about growth. But it’s hard to parlay your existing businesses into growth if you aren’t keeping the companies and jobs you have already. In the recent article, Expansion, retention key to economic development, Scotland County, NC, Economic Development executive Greg Icard addresses the process and timeline for the retention and growth of one of its local businesses – FCC North Carolina – over a period of 12 years.

What started out as a facility in 2002 after a promised $10 million investment two years earlier became an investment of over $100 million today. Long-term…tremendous growth. Part of that growth is due to the fact that the business acquired a new, very large customer – Ford Motor Company. So the local investment and jobs grew as the local business grew.

This basic fact goes to the core strategy of an effective BRE Program. First, think long-term. Second, build knowledge of and relationships with local businesses, identifying retention drivers, risk of investment/jobs loss. Third, address the retention drivers to retain. Fourth, continually position yourself to be the answer when the question of how and where to expand is asked.

To succeed in the Economic Development world, it’s not just about bringing new businesses to town; it’s largely about what you do to keep and grow with the businesses you already have in town.

Keep Jobs and Parlay On.

Did you like this post? Check out other BRE-related posts at http://brebuzz.com/bre-blog-posts


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