Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Creating an Attitude of Constant Improvement

Earlier this week I asked how you could create an attitude of constant improvement within your own organization. Here are 6 steps you can take:
  1. Record the interaction between your customer and your staff. Hand held recorders are available for purchase at most retail stores.  These devices will enable your staff to easily record their customer interaction and provide an audio file to management for use in measuring the customer experience and the result of their actions.

  2. Create criteria.  Based upon the results, create criteria for expectations in each call.  Consider the actions that take place in a successful call, the relationship between the employee and the customer and the image your company wishes to represent.

  3. A common formula is:
    • Create a Connection
    • Question, Listen and Build a Relationship
    • Build the value of your product and company
    • Commit the customer to the next step

  4. Clearly communicate the expectation.  Set clear expectations with all employees and ensure each understands why the criteria are important, how to perform the skills and believe their actions directly affect the outcome of the call.

  5. Measurement and Accountability.  Continue to record calls and measure the results using your determined criteria.  Using live calls enables you to identify personal strengths and weakness, your customer’s needs and the ability to work with each employee as an individual.

  6. Feedback and Goal Setting.  Use the recorded calls and criteria to provide feedback to each individual employee.  Feedback is best received in a safe and organized setting.  Feedback is specific, focuses on the result and allows the employee to set personal goals for improvement.

  7. Continue to measure and grow.  Hold each member of your organization accountable to the goals that are set during feedback.  Allow each session to be the catalyst that builds a team of people who are dedicated to constant improvement.
Michelle Jones
ContactPoint NGA WDDA

    Monday, October 25, 2010

    For the Record, DIY!

    If necessity is the mother of invention, then analysis could possibly be the father of change.

    Most companies spend a lot of time, effort and money getting a customer to call or walk in their door.  What happens when they do?  This is the point where the magic begins and your customers make the decision to work with you or to move forward and pursue a relationship with someone else.

    It makes sense to analyze the customer experience and decide if that experience is of value to your organization.   Measurement is the key.   Consider for a moment a successful athlete; they do not rely upon their initial training and natural talent.  The successful athlete measures the result of each action, every movement and receives constant feedback regarding what breeds results and what does not.  Their success is directly related to an attitude of constant improvement.

    So how can you begin this process and create an attitude of constant improvement within your own organization?

    Check back on Wednesday for 7 steps for creating that attitude.

    Michelle Jones
    ContactPoint NGA WDDA

    Monday, October 18, 2010

    What is Your Online Reputation?

    About once a week or so I visit Marketing Pilgrim to see what's going on in the world of online marketing and social media. The site has a blog-like style that offers up news, rumors, and the bloggers thoughts on anything related to internet marketing and advertising.

    This week an entry by Marketing Pilgrim founder Andy Beal caught my eye: Study: 64% of CEOs Not Bothering With Social Media Engagement.  Beal is discussing the findings of a study of 50 top CEOs and how they use Social Media. As the title suggests, 64% are not engaged through company web sties or in social media and only 16% have a profile on Twitter (8%), Facebook (4%), MySpace (4%) or LinkedIn (4%).

    Maybe these CEOs have crack marketing teams that take care of their online marketing and reputation, but I'm surprised that company leaders (even of world-class companies) wouldn't want to be involved and aware of what people are saying online.

    This got me thinking about the glass and window and door industries.  As individual businesses, are we aware of what people are saying about us? Are we communicating with potential customers online?

    The NGA and WDDA are partnered with Marketing Pilgirm to offer all members an exclusive discount on all SEO Audits conducted during 2010. Marketing Pilgrim can help your customers find your business on Google, increase your web site ranking, and boost your web presence today.

    Even if you don't have the time or resources for an audit, social media sites and some blogs (like this one) are free to use and are a great way to reach customers and others in the industry.  Get started today and get involved with your online community.

    Alyssa Kirkman
    Sr. Manager, Association Services

    Monday, October 11, 2010

    Training for "Dirty" Jobs

    Some of you may be familiar with Mike Rowe - the host of Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel. On the show, Rowe takes up a job and highlights the people that perform it. Over the course of about 200 episodes, Rowe has been a garbage collector, pig farmer, Rose Parade float dismantler, skull cleaner, and a glass maker for the Fenton Art Glass Company (it doesn’t look like Rowe has done any glass installation, but maybe we can talk him into it at some point).

    Last week, Rowe was on Capitol Hill to testify as part of the
    the Association of Equipment Manufacturers' I Make America campaign. Rowe mentioned something I’ve talked about on this blog: the need for more and better vocational education in the United States. Rowe testified that although he doesn’t expect the country to become dominated by manufacturing again, he thinks it is unfortunate that those types of jobs are now something employees settle for, rather than take pride in. According to Rowe, one of the reasons is the decline of vocational education: "It's not happening because people hate community colleges, it's not happening because people hate the trades, it's happening because we're promoting a very specific kind of education at the expense of the others."

    Vocational education in the United States has a key role to play in the economic recovery. The NGA has contributed to vocational education by partnering with Ed2Go, a company that helps four-year colleges and trade schools offer skills training to students. Through this partnership, the NGA and WDDA now offer online training and an industry internship. This new program was announced just a few weeks ago and we expect many students to take advantage of this program over the coming months.

    If you’re an NGA or WDDA member, you could work with a local school to boost this partnership and education in your community. If that’s something you’re interested in, or if you would like to assist with the NGA or WDDA's internships, let us know.

    Rowe is right: we need to work together to make sure these “dirty” jobs get the respect they deserve.

    Matt Rumbaugh
    Sr. Manager of Education, Training, and Certification
    National Glass Association, Window & Door Dealers Alliance

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010

    Money Saving Trick: Staples Office Supply Discounts

    No matter what your business does - installs windshields, renovates homes, or contracts on skyscrapers - you have a need for office supplies...and a need to get the best deals possible on the supplies you order.  The NGA and WDDA want to help members find the best deals possible and have negotiated office supply discounts exclusively for members. This is just another option to help your business lower operating costs.

    Staples Advantage offers a business-to-business internet ordering solution where you can order supplies electronically from your computer anytime. The site provides immediate access to over 30,000 products, with new additions daily.  Register today to start receiving discounts.

    All member companies who are not Staples Advantage users will receive an email from Staples with information on how to log-in to the website and start orderings supplies at the NGA discount.  If you have not registered or have not received your login information complete this form to begin. For more information, visit

    Monday, October 4, 2010

    Money Saving Trick: Health Insurance for NGA and WDDA Members

    Do you need to look at ways to continue to take care of your employees and limit your costs? Are you not able to offer health insurance to your employees but want to offer them an option to help them cover their families? The NGA and WDDA have a health insurance option for members to consider.

    The NGA and WDDA are now working with SAS Insurance Development to provide Core Health Insurance coverage for members’ healthcare needs. 
    • What are Core Health Insurance Plans?
      Core Health Insurance provides limited medical indemnity plans which are designed and priced to help people gain access or save money on healthcare. Core Health Insurance provides coverage for your everyday healthcare needs. Learn more
    • Which plan will benefit me?
      Looking to save money, gain access to medical insurance, or supplement your current major medical plan? These plans are "Guaranteed Acceptance” and do not require medical questions or exams to qualify based on eligibility (age and state availability). Learn more

    • What is the difference between Major Medical and Limited Medical Indemnity Insurance?
      It is important to understand the difference between major medical and limited medical insurance. Learn more
    NGA and WDDA members who enroll by October 31, 2010 will not be charged the $50 application fee! Get a quote or enroll today

    To learn more about NGA's newest member benefit, or to request a free quote, visit