business retention | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

How to Fix Other People’s Problems - 1/31/23


I was helping a friend navigate some healthcare processes recently, so I conducted a 3-way call with my friend and the physician practice to try to get things cleared up.  The employee I spoke with on the phone - let’s call her Katie. There had been poor communication between different Read more

What to do When You’re in the Middle - 1/24/23


Bob and Sarah are arguing, and you’re in the middle.  Bob’s an employee, and Sarah is a customer, and they have a difference of opinion.  Somehow you’re involved even though you didn’t have anything to do with the interaction in question, the complaint being addressed.  You find yourself being Read more

Is the Customer Issue an Organizational Issue? - 1/17/23


Customer retention is vital.  Most of next year’s customers are going to be those who are this year’s customers. So, the more you lose today, the fewer you will have tomorrow.  Organizations conduct research, data mine, or bring in consultants to help identify those customers who may be most Read more

Decide Who’s Driving the Bus - 1/10/23


I once heard a speech titled: Who’s driving the bus? I knew the speaker beforehand, so that made his talk extra special.  It was funny and relatable and held many words of wisdom.  The crux of the speech was that every one of us has our own facets, our own Read more

Create a Personal Vision for the Year - 1/3/23


This time of year is all about the New Year’s resolution.  We’re going to exercise or eat differently!  Then…2 months later, who knows what’ll be happening, but at least you set a goal.  For many of us, that’s progress. For businesses, that New Year’s resolution often has to deal with Read more

Avoid Making a Bad Situation Worse - 12/27/22


Twitter.  When you hear that word, does your temperature rise?  Do you roll your eyes?  Do you ask: What is Twitter? From a customer service perspective, Twitter has evolved into a virtual place for consumers to complain about businesses.  For those businesses savvy enough to understand the importance of communicating Read more

2022 Holiday Poem - 12/20/22


The year is winding down. The work is still up front. We’re making that transition to close out the 12th month. We’re trying to find a balance between personal life and work. Trying to be kind to people even if they’re acting like a jerk. It’s taking all of our patience and our Read more

Open Minds and Ornery Customers - 12/13/22


We all have to deal with some crazy customers, at times.  They might be loud or sad.  Flighty or mad.  They may have unrealistic expectations or think it’s OK to skip past people in line because their need must be more important than the others.  Some are rude, some Read more

Apply These Values for Great Customer Service - 12/6/22


One of the industries where we do a lot of our work is local government.  These CSS clients are not necessarily selling a product or having the number of competitors that a lot of our private industry clients and our sports clients face.  But they need to deliver a Read more

Redefine “Access” to Treat Customers Special - 11/29/22


One of our clients puts on major events throughout the country.  When we conduct post-event surveys, many of the attendees rave about the access they had to certain entertainers, locations in the venue, parking lots, or even information.  Others decry the fact that they lacked that access. This does pose 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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