Awhile back I was pretty harsh about the e-hoop you had to jump through to get assistance at the Apple store. But this weekend, I walked through there just to check on their iPod accessories. As I was moseying through the store I noticed an announcement on several of their monitors that said customers could sign up for service assistance from their homes.
I like that. To me it can enhance the customer service experience for those people who are busy and are going to hit the store at peak traffic times.I´m just guessing here but I doubt Steve Jobs thought of the idea. Most likely it came from an employee, or even (heaven forbid!) customer feedback.
When was the last time you encouraged your employees to come up with innovative ideas that would set your business apart from your competition?
As the old saying goes, "Two heads are better than one." Well, if that´s so, then six heads (or 150) must be better than two. Does your business´s culture encourage the upward flow of ideas (good, bad, or otherwise) from your employees?
You don´t need a large budget to do this. All you need to do is listen, then accelerate the process by providing recognition and rewards for good ideas.
Providing recognition and rewards for good or successful ideas is as old as the proverbial suggestion box on the wall. In 2002 my organization, the Texas Division of the American Cancer Society was facing hard times due to a faltering economy. We had to slash costs or else. Primarily using the employee newsletter but also e-mails as well, employees stepped forward to contribute ideas. As a result we were able to dramatically reduce our costs and avoid layoffs. The key here was that we, the employees, jumped on the cost reduction band wagon and almost competed with each other to contribute ideas. The only recognition received was the credit given in the employee newsletter. (Perfect example of viral marketing.)
Another benefit to encouraging your employees to participate is that they´re more likely to adopt an idea when it comes from one of their peers, especially when that peer stands up and says, "This is what I did and it worked."
Think about your business culture. Does it recognize and reward new ideas or does it put barriers before them? If it doesn´t encourage ideas, then get a group together and figure out a way to change your culture to one that embraces change and new ideas, as opposed to stifling them. The results could be higher revenues and lower costs.
Spread this virus: Reach To Recovery is a program offered free of charge by the American Cancer Society to those who have just undergone breast cancer surgery.. Highly trained volunteers visit the patient (with the doctor’s permission) to discuss how to cope with the aftermath. They’ll give advice on where to buy clothes, give a gift bag with a temporary prothesis and provide information on how to discuss the surgery with the spouse and children. This program, now in its 53rd year is supported by your contributions to the American Cancer Society.