Wednesday, March 31, 2010

How do you reward your employees?

A recent article in the Baltimore Sun got me thinking – how can businesses improve employee morale in this economy? The article, Improving staff morale? It can be child's play, explains that fun group outings or team building exercises can go a long way in improving morale and teamwork.

In this economy, it’s hard to justify spending money on rewarding employees when you’re just trying to pay the bills. Even in tough times, businesses need to remember that happy employees are more productive employees. Think about it – if you have low morale in your call center, what kind of experiences are you customers having when they call in?

You don’t have to take your employees on an all day retreat to make them feel appreciated. Think about offering incentives for good performance - such as a pair of movie tickets to the rep with the highest customer rating, a half day off to the highest salesman of the month, or a trip to an amusement park for the best performing group. The Creative Solutions Group offers the Working Advantage Program - discounts on Movie Tickets, Amusement Parks, Ski Resorts, Sporting Events, Broadway Theatres, Zoos, and much more – to help you reward your employees for less.

What fun and inexpensive things are you doing to reward your employees and make them feel appreciated in the workplace?

Alyssa Kirkman
Sr. Manager

Monday, March 29, 2010

Order Takers vs. Order Makers

During strong economic times, shops struggled to answer every phone call and timely fulfill every order. As the market slowed and business dropped, phones did not ring as much, and companies began to worry about the future of their companies. Demand for highly efficient products changed the way business was done as well. There are so many different products with numerous features and benefits. Our customers do not know the latest and the greatest.

There are 2 questions that need to be answered: 1) How do companies hold on to business when it comes to them? and 2) how do customers get the right information about the product in order to make an educated decision? The answers are simple: employees need to be order makers, not order takers. When times were good and overly busy, a phone call might have gone something like this:
  • Employee: Thanks for calling ____, how can I help you?
  • Customer: Yes, I am looking for some pricing on ____.
  • Employee: Ok.
  • Customer: Can you help me?
  • Employee: Yes, let me just finish up what I am doing…
  • Customer: Ok.
  • Employee: What you will need to do is bring in your plans, and we can
    give you an
    estimate. We are open from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday
    through Friday…
  • Customer: Ok, Thank you.
  • Employee: You’re welcome, good-bye.
This is an example of an order taker. As business owners, we cringe to think that this is the level of service our customers receive, busy OR slow times! An order maker takes control of the conversation with a positive, upbeat tone. The customer feels taken care of and at ease. Notice the difference:
  • Employee: Thanks for calling ____, this is ____, how can I help you?
  • Customer: Yes, I am looking for some pricing on ____.
  • Employee: Wonderful, you have called the right place! May I have your
    name, please?
  • Customer: Sure, it’s ____.
  • Employee: Thanks, ____, I can help you get pricing on ____.
  • Customer: Great! Thank you!
  • Employee: Why is it that you are looking to replace……….?
You will notice that the order maker is actively engaged in the customer’s request. The relationship starts with a friendly greeting and an exchange of names – a real relationship! As this 2nd scenario continues, the order maker asks questions, share features and benefits that make their company stand out, and will educate the customer on the newest and most innovative products. An order maker also commits the customer to come in or set up an appointment. They will not let the customer get away unsatisfied.

Don’t leave money on the table in your business! You spend a lot of money to get customers to come in the door and get the phone to ring! Make sure each one of your employees are held accountable to become an order MAKER.

Mitch Wasden
Executive Sales Trainer
ContactPoint: NGA WDDA

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

How are you ensuring that customers will think of you first when the economy rebounds?

The reports are still everywhere – business is down and there is no clear indication of when the glass and window and door industries will rebound. It’s easy to get despondent as we all wonder where the next job will come from, but the best thing for your business is to plan for the future.

With today’s technology, you can find inexpensive ways to connect with potential customers. Do you replace or repair windshields? Join Twitter and search for people discussing windshields and tweet with them. Are you a business trying to reach a new customer base? Create a Facebook fan page and invite people from your area to join. Would your business benefit from a wider range of business connections? Join LinkedIn, and start networking.

In this day and age, if a customer is trying to find a business, they run a search online. 82% of all new customers use search engines to look for businesses. Make sure that your website is up-to-date and easy to navigate, so that when they find you, they will have all of the information they need.

The NGA and WDDA have partnered with the online reputation management experts at Marketing Pilgrim to provide members a discount on an exclusive analysis and audit that can help you build your online presence. Marketing Pilgrim, and other companies nationwide, offer services so that you can market your business online as you plan for a brighter future.

How are you ensuring that customers will think of you first when the economy rebounds?

Alyssa Kirkman
Sr. Manager

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Preparing Your Workforce

Most people remember coverage of the dramatic plane crash in the Hudson - no one was killed or even seriously injured. Within seconds of impact in that icy water, the plane was surrounded by scores of ferries with rescue workers, dry clothes, blankets and first aid. When asked how they could respond so quickly and efficiently, the rescue workers all cited one thing - training. One of the ferry captains said, "You train so much, you don’t have to think about it. I didn't have to give any orders to the crew.”

While not quite as dramatic, many glass businesses experience “crashes”. With the current state of the economy, projects are being delayed, revenue is stalling, companies are going bankrupt, and layoffs are becoming more and more frequent. When the moment of impact comes for you, will you be able to say the same thing as that ferry captain?

There are many training opportunities available in the glass industry, including the Glass Management Institute, the Glazing Executives Forum,
the Window & Door Dealers Forum,,, and our new Educational Webinars. If you aren’t taking advantage of these resources, you are missing an opportunity to improve your business and support your workforce.

You need to make sure you have an educated and competitive workforce – especially in this economy. Make sure that when your moment of impact comes, your employees are so well-trained you don't even have to tell them what to do.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Welcome to Industry Tips & Tricks for the glass and window and door industries!

We are contract glaziers, auto glass technicians, owners and managers of glass shops, and window and door dealers.

In this blog, National Glass Association and Window & Door Dealers Alliance staff and industry contributors will share tips on how to improve your business and money saving tricks for members. We are honored to represent nearly 3000 companies worldwide and hope to provide you the latest best practices and information on how you and your firm can stay competitive in the glass and window and door industries.

Check back later this month for tips on industry training, management and business practices (by management expert Richard Voreis), customer service (by ContactPoint), and much more. We will also post tricks for rewarding your employees and saving money in your day do day business practices.

Starting this week, we will post blogs every week. Please comment and add your own suggestions and information to the blog. We look forward to talking to all of you.