business retention | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

“You’re the Boss” - 2/20/24


Terrence is excellent at what he does.  From a technical standpoint, he knows how to keep the facility clean.  He’s the lead custodian, and he knows that keeping things straight does not necessarily mean keeping things sanitary.  He knows what chemicals to use and not to use, how to Read more

Customer Understanding Leads to Relationship Growth - 2/13/24


We’ve worked with educational organizations at all grade levels over the years.  One special and unique characteristic about the staff who work in these organizations is that there’s a clear intent to know about the students as individuals, to focus on them rather than purely focusing on what’s delivered Read more

Define Customer Service Success Differently - 2/6/24


When I’m watching television, listening to the radio, or listening to a podcast, it’s always interesting when the topic moves to the question:  How can you be a success?  The speakers often discuss the process of becoming a success with the assumption that people believe success is defined by Read more

Care Enough to Give Them a Heads Up - 1/30/24


Nothing bad at all might happen.  Every day in the office could seem like every other day.  Sights and sounds and smells might continue to be the same.  But we have a lot of construction going on around our offices, and the building manager knows the type of work Read more

Be Better than AI Customer Service - 1/23/24


There was a recent CBS Sunday Morning Show story called: How artificial intelligence is revamping customer call centers. The journalist described how artificial intelligence is being used in customer service, and he noted the millions of pieces of information that can be processed in a matter of seconds. There are clear Read more

Recognize the Situation, and Pivot - 1/16/24


The customer has a complaint, or they may have an important question about an order or their account.  You may be talking to them in an emergency room, in the lobby of the government building, on the phone, or in a video conversation.  And in many of these Moments Read more

Sharpen Your Service Delivery - 1/9/24


You work so hard at being responsive and providing high quality information.  You work hard at fixing problems.  But is your delivery…dull? I’m not saying that it has to be exciting, but let’s think of the word “exciting.”  It means that something’s interesting, has energy, is positive.  Just by its Read more

Make Empathy Your Superpower - 1/2/24


I was facilitating a Service Excellence Training class for a Higher Ed client in the Northeast several years back.  As I was walking through the portions of our technique for defusing the angry customer, I talked about empathy.  I talked about accepting responsibility. Immediately, one of the hands in the Read more

Holiday Poem 2023 - 12/26/23


The days are getting longer, The skies are getting brighter. Festivities behind us, And festivities before us.   There’s ups and downs and change coming, And we can’t predict when or where. There’s challenges and joys and opportunities around, Of which you may or may not be aware.   But one thing we know as we look at each Read more

Refresh, Rejuvenate, Refocus - 12/19/23


It’s that time of year.  We’re going 100 miles an hour, and holiday time is upon us.  We not only have all the work to do, but we somehow have less time to do it.  We somehow have other things that are of competing interest, and even though those 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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