The 5 best business lessons I’ve ever learned

This is what Ben Fairbank, global C Level expat, CEX expert and company turnaround specialist had to say recently.

Over the years I’ve worked with some heavyweight leaders and my fair share of entrepreneurs, some good and some bad. Starting out as a contact centre representative and becoming a CEO for multiple companies, here are the 5 most important lessons I’ve learned so far.

1. Always put People First

Sounds cliché, but it works. Why go around your people to get to your customers when you can go through them? Treat the interactions you have with your people exactly the way you want your interactions between your customers and your staff to look. The world’s best companies understand that your people are easier to reach than the entire customer base. Remember – A single interaction can turn a customers perception of your company. So the interactions with your people can have the same effect.

2. CEX equals Company Profitability

Years ago, when they introduced to the world the term Customer Experience, it was hard to quantify. Nowadays, that’s not the case.

The introduction of Customer Surveys, Interaction Point Mapping, Journey Mapping etc, has meant it’s far easier to tell exactly what went wrong and where and we now have the opportunity to fix these issues real time. Don’t be fooled into thinking that CEX and profitability aren’t related, they most certainly are. So why do businesses who spend huge dollars on CEX, struggle to see the financial impact? Because we have to do the same process for our people. Staff Interaction Maps and Journey Maps are often a great indicator of trouble ahead when it comes to our customer base.

3. Books can’t Replace Experience

The self taught approach of reading books can only get you so far. There is no substitute for experience. Some books give us great insight and wonderful ideas for our businesses. It’s when we put those into practice we really learn how the theories adapt to our particular and sometimes very different businesses.

4. Right People for the Right Roles

This is an oldie but a goodie. We’ve all read the latest and greatest ways to hire the right people. Yet, we often find we are forced to hire on potential, due to budget, or on best of a bad lot, due to time critical needs, or worse still, we recruit based on an incorrect profile issued by HR.

Know what you’re trying to achieve and understand the problem your business faces, and then look for a candidate who can offer the solution. Surround yourself with the right people for the right roles and the sky is the limit.

5. Set a Clear Strategy and then Stay the Course

Strategy is king. If you don’t have a strong strategy, then you are open to continual change. What do our people hate most? Constant change. When it appears we can’t make up our minds as to where to next.

It’s not smoke and mirrors when it comes to strategy. Define a simple objective that is easy to communicate and even easier to understand. Then set about what you need to do, quarter by quarter to make that objective a reality.

Once you have your quater by quarter mapped out, it’s time to communicate the actions required to all staff. Yes, all staff. It’s a team effort and they all need to understand their part in making the company objective a reality.

Too many strategies fail because they don’t get employee buy in. A strategy shouldn’t be created by a board and Senior Management and then never shared with anyone else. It simply won’t happen if that’s the case.

Remember – Create your strategy carefully and then stick to it. If you believe then others will too.





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