Doing business in the Bahamas
LOOKING out from the balcony of our Stateroom, I am watching the waves break on a small reef. The colour of the water is an incredible turquoise blue even though the sky is slightly overcast – Something that is not unusual in the tropics of the Caribbean. We are celebrating my wife Shantelle's 30th Birthday, along with her friends, on the Oasis of the Sea – the second largest cruise ship in the world at a whopping 360m long. We boarded from Cape Canaveral in Florida and have just pulled up (docked to be correct) at our port in Jamaica.
Yesterday we had an incredible day in Haiti. The island nation that has been devastated in the past by earthquakes and hurricanes. We didn't see the main cities and towns as we were docked (I'm so nautical) at a purpose built ocean side village owned by Royal Caribbean, the owners of the cruise line that we are on. We spent the day by the ocean in our private cabana, drinking cocktails after starting the day with the exhilarating 2600ft 'Dragon Breath Zip Line'.
I can't help myself, even when I am on holidays I am analysing how people operate their businesses and as we walked around our island stop in Haiti I could not help but think about the logistics that go into hosting a few thousand visitors on a remote island location.
Royal Caribbean are amazing at what they do and have perfected the 'system' of providing food, drinks and entertainment – in all shapes and forms. As a customer, my experience is seamless and despite the no doubts immense pressure on the staff, their smiling faces and commitment to service are simply amazing.
When a client comes to your business, do you think that they are having the best possible experience that you can provide? It doesn't matter whether you sell coffee, do taxes, clean windows, answer calls or sell real estate – good service is always possible and takes many forms. Customer experience is a combination of many moving parts in a business, so I've created a checklist that can help you assess your own business and whether you are creating the best customer experience possible.
1. Systematise your sales process
Knowing every step of how you make a sale is critical. Do you have online forms to reduce duplication of steps? Can you track the progress of a sale quickly and easily? How do you teach your staff if you don't have a reference guide?
2. Train your staff
Your staff are your biggest asset. They need to know exactly what they need to do and when to do it. They also need to understand how their role incorporates into the entire business, so that they can appreciate the entire process.
With technology, millennials and the internet dramatically in influencing how businesses are operated, it is important that you take the time to think about the future and research ways to improve your business.
4. Customer centricity
Finally, the most important and finnal step – review the previous 3 steps and ask yourself – is the customer at the centre of everything that we do? If it is not enhancing customer value – you have to ask: why are we doing it?
The best time to get started on this was yesterday. The second best time is now – take the time to review your business and start making changes. June is perfect to take action and make meaningful changes heading in to the new financial year. Remember they don't need to be dramatic changes. A few small adjustments here and there is all it takes. As for me, The Captain just announced that the gangway is down and we can head ashore (an hour earlier than expected – under promise and over deliver!) so we are off to explore Jamaica. I'll be sure to 'analyse' their businesses as well.(Originally published DUO Magazine June 2017)