Tag Archives: costs

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scaling costs

Scaling Costs or Staying The Same?

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Have you considered scaling costs? Scaling can be scary. It is true for business and true for your career.

Are you trying to scale up? What will it take for you to make a difference in the next six to twelve months?

Scale up or else you’ll scale down.

Both Business and Career

For the small business or large enterprise there are costs associated with scaling. There are expectations, forecasts, and marketing expenses. There are operating costs, infrastructure costs, and capital investments.

For the career navigator scaling costs are similar. You have expectations based on where you are at, where you want to be, and consideration for how you will get there.

One of the costs associated with scaling often not considered is the cost of not scaling.

The small business or large enterprise is built around movement. Ideally forward movement. Within the operation there are both successes and failures, but the flow of motion should be forward.

It is the same for individual careers. C-suite to front-line employees, forward motion is the objective for many.

Scaling Costs

For all scaling endeavors the cost of inaction is often the highest cost of all. This includes the costs associated with all resources, and especially your most precious resource, time.

Organizations are driven by culture, culture means people, and people means careers.

Both businesses and people are driven by habit. If the habit becomes an indecisive stall, you’ll face the highest cost of all.

Scale up because coasting only happens when you are going downhill.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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customer service systems

The Failure of Customer Service Systems

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There are people who believe everything requires a system. Operations, a system, production, a system, and customer service, a system. Do customer service systems fail? You bet.

Executive Decisions

When senior leadership decides:

In a variable services model, all customers must pay a specific price.

We’ll charge our best customers a little more to continue with the service they once received as a standard offering. New or smaller customers still get the old deal.

The organization will bear no burden for merchandise they don’t manufacture. “All we can do is send it back.”

These examples and many more represent the foundation of systems failure.

The organization wants loyalty, retention, and happy customers telling others to join in.

The failures often start with a system.

Customer Service Systems

The system that fixes price for the customer who spends ten dollars, and the customer who spends ten thousand. Fail.

Then there is the system that says our best customers need more attention, our core philosophy operates on a first come, first serve basis, to get your old level of service you need to pay more. Fail.

Of course, there is always the blame game. “We aren’t the manufacturer. You are a victim the same as us.” All we can do is send in a request or send it back and wait. Fail.

High Cost of Systems

Systems can be important. Systems help us navigate and structure what are sometimes complicated situations. When serving your customers, systems can work, or they can be the beginning of the end.

What is the cost of replacing a customer? Does it cost more to get a new customer or to keep an existing customer? Are the front-facing teams appropriately empowered to work beyond the system?

Often a system built to protect the organization is a system built to fail with the customer.

There is an alternative. Identify your best customers. Use a net promoter score, historical data, or let front-line teams make recommendations.

There is a chance the system you’re building will not protect them, it will alienate them.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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pessimistic design

Pessimistic Design Leads To Higher Workplace Costs

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Are you focused on process or product? Do you classify your work as a project? In the workplace pessimistic design often creates higher costs of doing business.

Recently, I received an email with a somewhat interesting tag line.

“Projects cost you money. Process makes you money.”

It was a spam sort of thing, trying to entice me to hire some outsourced assistance with lead generation.

The Concept of Systems

When you think about systems what is your first thought?

People often quickly associate systems with efficiency, perhaps quality, or a foolproof method of effectively accomplishing work.

Do systems cost money or save money?

Initially, it seems that setting up the system costs a little. It takes time, energy, and other resources to get things setup. After that, we often make the assumption that the system will improve quality or efficiency.

What happens if we are pessimistic in our approach to system design?

Pessimistic Design

Imagine for a moment that we assess the likelihood of failure as much more common than the likelihood of success. Imagine that we suspect a far greater chance of cracks, breaks, or derail opportunities than what is truly likely?

Do you backup the data in your cell phone? What about your personal computing device? Is one backup sufficient? Should you have a backup to the backup? What have you designed for redundancy?

Does your car have a spare tire? Do you know how to use it? Should you carry an additional spare? Will your battery work to start the car, do you carry an additional battery?

Going too far with system design can cost more money than what the design was initially intended to do.

The costs associated with a poor design or over-engineering will surely outweigh the cost benefits of the process.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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training time

We Can’t Afford Training Time

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Does your company provide or encourage continuous learning? Is training time viewed as an investment or only an expense?

There are many small businesses with organizational leaders who scoff at the idea of training. One of the best excuses that leaders say, create, or allow, is that there is not enough time for training.

Certainly, the dollars spent for training can be a stumbling block, yet organization leaders may blame it on time.

Stuck, Stalled, or Stopped

Small businesses (and leaders) grow to the size or capability of management and then get stuck. They often get stuck because the theories and concepts they’ve grown accustom to only work up to a certain size.

The small business with fewer than ten people has a different dynamic from the business that employs one hundred and ten thousand. Leadership principles in these organizations are similar, yet strategic and tactical deployment may be different.

Examining costs for training in any business should not be based only on dollars spent or time made available for training. There are many other intangible costs that should be considered.

The list is long but here are a few:

  • Rework
  • Drama
  • Customer Experiences
  • Technology
  • Employee turnover

Some organizations that get stalled, stuck, or stopped, never recover. They stay there and slowly decline.

Training Time

I remember a rather successful CEO saying to me, “If we suggested people go to training right now, they would say they don’t have time and they wouldn’t be able to focus on the training because they would be too worried about the operation.”

On the surface it is hard to argue with that statement, yet, underneath the surface you have to question the culture (leadership) that drives that mindset.

Of course, there are times when every operation (especially small ones) need every hand on deck. The challenge may be determining when these times are real and when they become an excuse.

The real story here is that untrained employees are always more expensive than trained employees.

Trained employees will make decisions, they will make better decisions, quality will improve, commitment, engagement, and loyalty will all be better.

Training time may be the smallest price to pay.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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professional reminder

Professional Reminder, Hire a Pro

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Are you a DIY kind of person? Are you versatile with your skills? Do you need a professional reminder of the costs associated with hiring a pro?

The consideration to hire a pro often is followed by the fear of the price tag. Do individuals or businesses really consider the costs of amateur versus pro?

Saving Money?

Can you change the oil in your car, do a little landscaping, or paint and wallpaper your home? Would you consider yourself handy?

Do you have the skills but cannot afford the time, so you hire it out?

What about in your workplace, do you hire for high level expertise or do you hire a dependable human who can put the widget in the box?

Small business CEO’s can be an interesting observation. Sometimes they can’t get out of their own way. They hire less skilled and experienced employees in a mindset of keeping costs low and keeping themselves positioned as the most knowledgeable expert.

Malcolm Gladwell, examined in his book, Outliers, a standard that 10,000 hours of work in specific area or skill makes you an expert.

Think about the…

  • Automobile Mechanic
  • Accountant
  • Carpenter
  • Computer Network Engineer
  • Creative Advertiser
  • Landscaper
  • Lawyer
  • Medical Doctor
  • Photographer
  • Welder

You may be a little bit savvy at one or more of these skill areas but it doesn’t mean you are an expert. Unless, perhaps, you’ve had great education and massive experience doing this work.

Professional Reminder

Sometimes good enough is good enough, yet when it comes to your business or your career are you just going to get by or will you excel?

What are amateur mistakes costing you?

None of this is new. We’ve heard it all before.

Red Adair seems to get credit for this savvy statement: “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.”

Are you an expert or pro? Is good enough okay? Are you sure?

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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workplace winning

Workplace Winning Costs, But How Much?

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A little friendly competition isn’t bad. It certainly can motivate and inspire. The spirit of competition is strong, it can create a lot of action. Workplace winning can cost a lot too. Have you assessed the price tag?

Friendly Competition

Set the goals. Feel the stretch. Size up the competition. Plan to win.

There are a few ways your workplace can become competitive.

The top salesperson.

Employee of the month.

The quest for recognition and illustrated appreciation.

Debates in meetings.

Pay by merit, not seniority or credentials.

Does your workplace support one or more of these motivational drivers? Internal competition is often friendly, yet it can also derail.

Mediocrity

Some people will defer instead of compete. They will take a lose-win approach. Their mindset is, “I’m not going to win so I’ll make an excuse and lose.”

She has all the good accounts.

Bob is a workplace version of the teacher’s pet.

No one ever really observes my work; they don’t understand my contribution.

I’m not a quick thinker. I refuse to debate issues.

Jack has been here longer he should have a higher pay rate.

These are most likely opinionated excuses, not facts. When we set ourselves up to lose there is not any reason to do more or be more. Couple that with limited accountability by a supervisor and at best you have mediocrity.

Workplace Winning

The workplace winning continuum is broad. Mediocrity may mean complacency. On the other end of the scale inappropriate competition and the quest to win can derail team trust and commitment.

Both represent costs no organization can afford to pay.

Properly structured, internal competition can be a great morale booster. Strong teams win the prize. It is a win-win. The organization wins and so do the employees. Customers often win too.

This means one simple truth. The win is counterintuitive and expensive. A win-win-win is what you should seek.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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workplace change

Workplace Change and Remembering the People

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Has your workplace decided to shift direction, pivot, or use new technology? Have you changed machines, relocated, upsized, or downsized? Have you been bought by another entity? Never forget that workplace change involves people.

Since I officially entered the workspace at the age of seventeen, I’ve been around more than a few decades. I’ve seen a thing or two.

As we grow and expand our knowledge and businesses, especially with more technology, one constant remains, people.

How does workplace change impact people? How do the people affect the process or outcomes? Sadly, these two questions are often forgotten or taken for granted.

Change and People

Imagine you give Tiger Woods a brand-new set of golf clubs. These clubs are the most advanced clubs ever made. They feature the latest in technology, they are efficient, effective, and they are smart. They are also very expensive.

You hand them to Tiger and send him out on the course. A course he knows well and has played many times. Weather conditions are perfect. Will Tiger’s score improve?

Likely, not at first. He has never used these clubs before, they are different, he’ll need to learn more about them, get a feel, and adjust his style and approach.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand this practical example of the outcome of change.

Why then do so many businesses, so many engineers, CEO’s, and other really smart people expect something different with workplace change?

Workplace Change

If you sense that I’m about to jump on the soapbox for a minute, you’re correct. I have witnessed too many business fatalities.

Smart people who have calculated everything about their new equipment or technology. Floor space, power, cost of ownership, and the specifications for throughput or output. They’ve done it all.

Except for one thing. How their people will navigate this change.

Sound silly? It is. I’m begging you. Stop the madness.

Have a plan for how you’ll integrate your change with the people. How they’ll know what to do, when, how far, how high, and how long. Plan for the costs and especially for the time.

You probably wouldn’t tackle heart surgery without a surgeon.

Hire experts who can help you with your people.

-DEG

Need some help with people? Contact me

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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care more

Care More and You Will Spend Less

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Is customer service at an all-time low? Many people suggest that it might be. Does spending less pay off with more? Do the businesses that care more have the biggest advantage of all?

People are wondering what happened to customer service. The well-known restaurant chain, the shopping mall, and the pharmacy, what happened to the customer experience?

Keep Costs Low

Many businesses connect caring with costs. Perhaps not always consciously, but they still do it.

Why train our youngest workers in customer service, they’ll be gone at the end of the season.

It takes an extra full-time employee to monitor the rest rooms, the landscaping, and the outside trash containers.

Only one checkout line is necessary. Customers can wait when we get busy.

Call us back in a couple of hours, we’ll give you and update.

Sorry, we did nothing. We needed more information before we could process your order.

The customer experience is a simple one. Do more, give more, and care more than what is expected.

Measuring the Experience

Sometimes the trick is analyzing what is expected. Expectations are not driven by the front-line supervisor, the storeowner, or the even the marketing committee. While all three may have a hand in it, ultimately the customer decides.

When the high cost franchise restaurant cannot survive while the mom and pop diner consistently is consistently packed, or when the local shopping mall closes, and when the medical office cannot understand why patients are so angry. Perhaps they need to consider how much they really care.

Better yet, start with caring, it may be too late when everyone has already starting leaving.

Care More

It really isn’t that hard to grasp. If the population of those you serve are citing the chronic problems with customer service, your opportunity is to care more, not less.

The best businesses avoid correlating expenses with the bottom line. They correlate expenses with growth which leads to a better bottom line.

When cutting costs to improve cash flow is the only thing you’ll do to improve your position. Your position will lack service. Your culture will be focused on spend less and earn more, instead of care more and spend less.

The biggest advantage is the one waiting on you to make a difference for human interaction. Dollar for dollar customer onboarding, retention, and lifetime value will be more effective when you care more.

It is the only effective way to get more by spending less.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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workplace contribution

What Is Your Workplace Contribution?

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Often people view their workplace as a place to earn a paycheck. Certainly for work outside of volunteering this is a truism. Should more people be assessing their workplace contribution?

Many people begin their commute with nearly the same intentions every day. Go to work, get to my work area, start my job, do a few things, and then go home. For some it is much more than that.

Building a Career

People who are engaged, those who want to make a difference, those who are building a career often have a little different viewpoint.

When career minded people go to work, they break things, they fix things that are broke, they build something, risk something, make decisions, have accomplishments, please a customer, help a co-worker, and occasionally fail in any of these attempts.

Where Is The Value

The person who is really contributing does all of this and so much more. It is work. It is called work because it is often hard and it isn’t always about what you are getting for it, it is also about what you become for it.

Perhaps too many people view their job in the wrong way. Instead of analyzing how much time you spend doing stuff, what if you measured how much value you are delivering. The most value doesn’t come from what you’re taking, it comes from what you are giving.

Where are you adding the most value? How much is that worth? Is it cost savings or revenue producing? Is whatever you are doing timely? Will it be the best prioritization of your efforts?

Workplace Contribution

Your workplace contribution matters. It should be measured because we know, “what gets measured gets done.” Value may be a bit nebulous for some, but it makes all of the difference for the organization.

Maybe it is time to start thinking about something different on your commute. Think about how you will provide the most value.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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caring costs

Caring Costs but Saves Money in the Long Run

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Possibly the most fundamental principle that is so often violated in the workplace and especially in customer service is caring. Caring costs but it certainly can save money in the long run.

Workplace Caring

At our job, someone leaves the printer without paper, or prints and leaves the tray filled with unwanted output. The office microwave has spills, the paper towel dispenser is empty, and all of your shared documents have moved to a different folder.

It seems doesn’t matter [sarcasm] because time is money and everyone is running late or behind, or perhaps, they just don’t care. We’ll leave it for the next person to clean up or take care of, after all, they have more time.

Customer Service

We see it, feel it, and hear about it all the time. The unclean restroom, food that should be warm, but is cold, or even the displays that clutter the isles of our local food store making it difficult for shopping carts to pass.

Caring may feel like it is expensive. It takes time, resources, and often money to make a difference.

Too often, the focus is on the short term, not realizing the negative repercussions in the long run.

Caring Costs

One of the best benefits of caring is word of mouth, today this is world of mouth. The C Suite fears the negative social media posts, but insists that organizational performance is relative to the front line.

Caring starts internally, it begins within the culture of the organization. It is hard to show external caring when internally the measurement of profit or sales trumps any philosophical position the organization claims to be taking.

Saves Money

Yes, in fact, caring costs, but it may also more than pay for itself. Caring builds relationships, creates loyalty, and increases lifetime customer value. Considering just those three things, it seems to me that in the long run this saves money.

Is caring important? Caring is so important that I devoted a chapter to it in my recent book.

Care more. It puts the human back in the equation—priceless.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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