Sales Through Service 8: Issue Number 6


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Part 8 in a series of articles from Sales Through Service: How to make customers want to buy again and again and again (because you’re so ‘great’!) by Guy Arnold


Issue Number 6 – Increased risk of negative reputation, affecting our image and therefore sales.

Now the customer is empowered both internally and externally, you are vulnerable to them talking about you behind your back: be it on social media or feedback sites.

Despite what the lawyers, internet reputation management systems and quick fix merchants tell you, you cannot hope to control this.

Nor should you: you should look to empower it and make it happen in your favour by doing all the right things: adopt the Aikido approach.

Aikido is a synthesis of his martial art, philosophy, and religious beliefs. Aikido is often translated as “the Way of unifying (with) life energy” or as “the Way of harmonious spirit.” Aikido is performed by blending with the motion of the attacker and redirecting the force of the attack rather than opposing it head-on. This requires very little physical strength, as the aikid?ka (aikido practitioner) “leads” the attacker’s momentum using entering and turning movements.

This is exactly what organisations should do today with social media and online reviews.

The issue is that we are not used to this:

  • we are not used to not having control over our PR:
  • we are not used to customers being able to say what they think about us whether we think the customer is right or wrong:
  • we are not used to our staff being able to tell the world about what we are really like inside.

And we so often take this as a threat, and react in the ‘fight or flight’ way: we either react angrily or complain and become victims, because in the past we have been able to control these things to a certain extent and today because we are not able to, it is of course, perceived as a threat.

And then EVERYTHING goes pear shaped.

But it isn’t a threat: it is a massive opportunity, and those companies that see it as such will be the winners going forward in the 21st century. Again, a counter intuitive situation: encourage feedback: empower your customers internally and externally, but make sure before you do this that you have your clear, customer focused mission in place, you filter all of your processes through needs, you adopt the ‘go the extra inch’ processes and you have simple, clear, empowering measures, both lead and lag measures, that make it clear for all to see what you are and you aren’t doing.

A good example of this working well was an internet company we were working with who started to publish all their reviews on-line transparently: they put these reviews on a new web-site and added comments as to what they thought of the reviews, ie,

  • when they got it right they said, thank you that’s very helpful and mentioned other things they were doing.
  • And when they got it wrong, they held their hands up and said, you’re quite right we got it wrong.

The net result of all of this was a doubling of internet enquiries over twelve months, just by being transparent and publishing it in an open and honest way. Or if they felt they hadn’t got it wrong, and the customer was being unfair, then in a straightforward head-on way, explained what they were trying to achieve and how they felt misunderstood and what their business stood for.


Next Time: Issue No 7- Inability to affect change in values or behaviours necessary for successful execution of strategy

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Guy Arnold
Guy is the author of 'Great or Poor' ( ) … a simple and effective system for delivery of consistent and continually improving customer experiences, 'Go the Extra Inch' the effective way to empower your people, and 'Sales through Service' ( ) how to sell more through repeat business, referrals, round sales and reputation (the 4 R's). Guy helps Organisations large and small to systematically make more sales for lower costs, through 4 simple principles.


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