business retention | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

The New Burger Experience - 7/16/24


Floyd loves a good hamburger. Any chance he gets to try a new spin on an old standby, he takes it. Recently, a burger joint opened near his house, and Floyd was very excited! It was owned by and named for a world-renowned chef, so it had to be Read more

Boost Customer Happiness - 7/9/24


There’s a cooking show that a friend of mine watches, and the premise is all about reverse engineering food.  They may take a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, analyze it, and determine the ingredients just by tasting it.  Then they figure out a recipe.  The cook will try to make Read more

Brainstorm to Better Yourself - 7/2/24


I’ve led enough sessions with clients on continuous improvement topics to have solid experience on how to lead ideation exercises, brainstorming to develop new ideas.  Oftentimes these sessions start with the right question; the first answers may not be the ultimate solution, but they can serve as a jumping Read more

The Power of the Pause - 6/25/24


When I’m facilitating a meeting, and it feels like it’s going off-track or the discussion is going a little longer than it should, I may say something like “let me pause the conversation so that…” or “let’s pause just for a minute and consider…” I don’t like the word STOP. Read more

Handle Interruptions Heroically - 6/18/24


In the middle of a project, Jimbo, the customer service team member, had to stop what he was doing because he received an e-mail from a customer complaining about their experience at a recent event. Later that day, Jimbo was asked by his boss to put everything on hold for Read more

From Employees to Teammates: The Shift - 6/11/24


Be a great teammate. Be a good team player. We’re all part of the team. We’re no longer employees, we’re team members! The phrase “Team” is used in describing co-workers so much more than it was used years ago.  Then, we would be talking about employees, talking about staff, talking Read more

Nurture New Relationships - 6/4/24


Freddie was a new business owner in town.  He was launching a franchise, had acquired some funding from a local bank, and was in search of staff who cared about customer service. All the while, he was in the process of renovating a storefront for his business, so he was Read more

There’s Positivity in Patience - 5/28/24


The employee at the financial services firm was working with a new client on a relatively simple loan.  The documentation was about as clear as it could get to the employee, but the customer had lots of questions.  The employee calmly, clearly, and specifically answered each question.  The meeting Read more

The Goal – A Great Experience - 5/21/24


The following is a narrative of a great experience (people, process, service, facility) at a minor league sporting event – key points that could apply to any business are in bold… Mark and I pulled into the parking lot, excited about the game.  The Slapshots had been on a roll Read more

Your Best Ability is… - 5/14/24


I enjoy watching sports, and I’ve even listened to some sports press conferences over the years, just to hear what coaches are saying.  Basically getting the leadership perspective from the sports industry either out of my interest or curiosity, or to figure out how to apply it to the 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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