7 Practical Business Considerations…
Here are some fairly practical business actions from your chartered accountant you can take to improve both the customer’s experience and to track various actions you have taken in your business. I’m also pleased to announce our new accountant, Nancy Tran, who joined us recently.
1. A Case of a Nice Surprise for Customers
A customer recently took a suitcase to a shoe repairer to fix a small tear in the corner and on the outside of a much-loved suitcase. When the owner picked up the bag he was surprised to find a matching, very neat patch on the opposite corner of the suitcase, so it would look as though there had never been a repair. Needless to say, the customer was happy.
The lesson: Always Look for a Chance to
Surprise and Impress your Customers…
2. Convert a Complainer into a Friend
Don’t you hate it when someone complains? The natural reaction is to defend yourself.
“Is our lunch ready yet, it’s been half an hour since we ordered it,” complained a customer at a café.
“We’re very busy,” snapped the waitress.
The customer noted half the tables were empty but said no more. He didn’t go back there for three years.
The snappy waitress has moved on and the new staff are very welcoming. The complainer has become a regular customer again.
While it’s not absolutely true the customer is always right (sometimes they are genuinely unreasonable), it’s usually the case. The waitress should have taken the complaint back to the boss who should have tried to find out what was causing the long delays in serving the customers.
The important thing to remember is: a person who complains is
almost always your friend.
They give you the chance to do something about a problem and stop offending other customers. Yes, it’s upsetting to be told you’re doing a bad job, but get used to it because there’s an odds-on chance it’s true.
Work out what’s wrong and change your systems to fix it.
What else should the waitress have done? She should have made sure the customer left happy. She should have been empowered to give the customer a voucher for a free … next time and offered an apology.
The customer looked up his expenditure for a year at the café, which can be easily done online by looking at your bank account, and calculated this waitress cost her employer about $2,000 in lost sales.
3. Track Those Emails
Sometimes, when you visit a website, you’re asked to fill in a form, part of which includes the message you want to send. But as soon as you press the send button, you lose the record of what you said. It’s useful to keep track not only of what you wrote, but also the date and time you sent the message, and to whom. Easy solution – take a copy of the message and send it to yourself, before you press the button to let your enquiry go. Or if the form allows it, cc (carbon copy) yourself in. (See also Save for Later with Easy Screenshots, below)
4. Monitoring the Jobs
XYZ Limited prepared a costing after every job was completed. In theory, the manager was able to observe the differences between the quoted prices and the costs incurred. However, a stack of these costings sat in the manager’s office a metre high.
What a waste of time. There was little gained in converting times taken into dollars. There was also no point in looking at jobs where the results were similar to those expected.
If you’re quoting for work, compare the quantity of materials used with the amount you allowed in the quote. Compare the actual hours of work on the job with your quoted hours. Study the extremes. Look at the jobs where you did badly and work out how to avoid repeating the mistakes.
Correct your quoting or improve your work methods. Also, look at the jobs where you did well and see if you can work out how to repeat the success more often. Don’t waste time looking at the contracts which worked out reasonably close to your quotes.
5. Banks are Losing Out
It’s almost certain one of the major banks is missing out on large amounts of investment money.
John is the manager of a family trust. He mentioned to his daughter the difficulty of getting through to the investment section of X bank.
“Oh,” she said. “As you know, I am a trustee of several trusts and we gave up on that bank long ago.”
Longer queues to get assistance might cut down the wages, but it also cuts down on the number of your customers.
Our message: If you want people’s business, make it easy for them to contact you.
6. Property Transfers
For the IRD to get a complete picture of property transfers, a supplementary order paper has been prepared requiring IRD numbers from all buyers and sellers of property, including when they are selling their own home. This will help IRD to trace those who make a habit of doing up houses and moving on, claiming the gains they make are free of tax.
7. Save for Later with Easy Screenshots
You’ve got something on your screen and you want to share it or save it for later. So, grab a screenshot.
Screenshots are images that show the contents of a computer display. They let you capture exactly what you’re seeing on your screen. This can be very helpful when, for example, you’re filling in an online form which will disappear as soon as you ‘submit’. A screenshot will let you check later what you submitted and when.
They’re also useful when you can’t easily explain something in words. Like when you’re trying to tell your IT person what’s happening on your screen. Screenshot the error message and email or text it to them.
To get a screenshot on Windows 10, bring up whatever it is you want to capture on your screen and press the Print Screen (often shortened to “PrtScn”) key. It’s usually in the upper-right corner of your keyboard. It will take a screenshot of everything on all of your displays.
There’s also a Windows 10 Snipping Tool. The built-in screen capture tool allows you to better define and capture portions of your desktop display, without a keyboard.
With a Mac, simply click Command/Shift 4, which will change your cursor to a ‘target’ which you can simply drag across whatever you want to save.
Programs such as Snagit (for PC, Mac and smartphones) allow you to grab your entire desktop, a region, a window, or a scrolling window from any webpage or application – all with a single hotkey or click. It can create images and even video to get your point across.
Our New Accountant
I’m pleased to announce that we have a new staff member in the form of Nancy Tran, who is an accountant, and an associate member of the CPA.
Nancy joined Long + Cowan with some 18 years’ experience working in accounting in Vietnam, where she was variously employed in general accountant role, and Chief Accountant roles.
In New Zealand, she has completed her Master of Management at the Whitireia Institute of Technology. Working part-time, she gained NZ work experience at Icon Accounting Service Ltd. Nancy is Xero accredited. She has also completed her CPA Australia Foundation course enabling her to be an Associate member of CPA Australia.
Nancy is now working towards becoming a CPA – as in a fully qualified accountant.
Numbers are her thing. She also loves traveling, swimming and reading. She’s a mother of three boys.
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