“Don’t Try To Change What You’re Not Good At”: You’d Have To Be A Fool To Believe That

In a recent article Shep Hyken, the customer service guru and thought leader posed a list of fourteen questions for business owners to answer truthfully about their companies. Many of the questions pertained to customer service and the measures in place in order to aid a fantastic customer experience.

The second point on the list was a little surprising. It read:

You can’t be the best at everything, so what is it you are not good at doing? Don’t try to change what you’re not good at. Focus on what you are good at and improve upon where you excel.

If you read this article when it was published on 1st January 2014, a red flag should have gone up when you saw the words, “Don’t try to change what you’re not good at.”

You really can’t be best at everything

Hyken qualified this rather controversial piece of advice for business owners not to try to change what they’re not good at, by offering a very true observation that, “You can’t be best at everything.”

It is easy to understand where Hyken was coming from when he advised business owners not to focus on their weaknesses but to emphasise their strengths. This strategy makes sense to a degree, but the way it was worded in this article almost calls for people to ignore what they aren’t good at.

Remember the saying “Two wrongs don’t make a right”? Paying extra-close attention to what you’re already great at won’t help you improve your customers’ experiences as a whole: it will just make some parts of the experience better, while others deteriorate in quality.

It is likely that what Hyken was leaning towards is that by focusing on your existing strengths, you don’t run the risk of diluting your efforts by spreading yourself too thinly. If this were the case, however, and paying closer attention to multiple departments within your business or customer service strategy would render you unable to function adequately (if not superbly) then there’s something wrong, isn’t there?

Know when to admit defeat

You should always aim higher. If there is a department or branch in your business that you know to be unprofitable, dysfunctional or sub-standard, ask yourself why you are still paying for it? Would you be worse or better off without the weak links in your machine?

Upon assuming the position as CEO of Tesco, Philip Clarke has pulled the supermarket out of the US in 2012, after a £1billion investment. The venture was simply not profitable in an already crowded market, so Tesco pulled out.

The thought of tearing down an entire branch of your business, removing a product from your shop or pulling the plug on a long-standing service you have previously offered may seem daunting, but ask yourself if the alternative is better: leaving it there to fester, for all to see.

When it comes to customer service, definitely don’t just ignore the problem

Providing customer service should be something that comes naturally to small businesses. Frequently, clients and customers deal directly with the CEO of the company as there are only a few people working there. Small businesses are therefore able to foster personal and real relationships with their clients. You are able to really get to know the people you work with.

There should be no stone left unturned when it comes to delivering great service to your customers. Ignoring problems with your service or delivery systems, complaints procedures or the attitude of your staff, is not an option. You can’t afford to have holes in your customers’ experience.

Take Hyken’s advice: always focus on improving the areas where you shine. This will guarantee that you stay top of the tree. But fail to improve where you already lack, and you are asking for failure. You are effectively inviting your competition to exploit your weaknesses by excelling in those areas, while also providing a good service in the areas  you are good at.

What if money is the issue?

When it comes to business, the answer is never to ignore the problem. Either cut off the limb breeding the disease, or tackle the issue head on. If you can’t afford to increase the number of staff manning your phones to take customers’ calls, or hire your own in-house marketing team, you should consider outsourcing.

Outsourcing is a cost-effective solution that brings you the best of both worlds. Bring your customers the best experience possible while saving money on your hiring and training costs. Often, your outsourcing partners will tailor their services to you, allowing you to pay only for what you need and suiting the service to your company.

It could help you turn your business around in 2014. Don’t settle for second-rate and inefficient, ineffective departments, staff and services. Address your problems: it will directly impact your bottom-line.

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