Archive for January 2011
Two weeks ago I wrote about customer service in Back to the basics. This week I want to write about weeding out bad customers. In this weak economy it may seem odd to suggest getting rid of customers but you need to know what those sales are costing you. What is your margin on your worst client? Are you even making money with them? If not, you can add to the bottom line by subtracting them from your customer list. Below are few warning signs of a bad client:
- Higher than usual complaints about your product or service
- Slow payments
- Increasing focus on price
- Numerous requests for special handling
- Unreasonable demands
- Unethical behavior
If you can immediately identify your bad customer or you have a customer that fits many of the above traits, it might be time to fire your bad customer to devote time on a more profitable relationship.
What would you do if you could stop serving that customer and not lose one dollar on the bottom line? What would you do - daydream, go home early, work on getting more from existing “good” customers, find new customers? Perhaps now is the time for Turning Things On End To Achieve Results!
Good luck this week taking an honest look at your bad customers.
I was struggling today for a non-business related topic and I was bailed out by a historic event that occurred on this day in 1935. At times when the idea well has run dry, I brainstorm for ideas that might trigger my mind to jump out of writer’s block. Today was one of those days and I decided to see what happened today in history hoping that perhaps it would give me an idea of what to write about.
I hit the jackpot. On January 24, 1935 beer in a can became a reality! Thousands of college kids and sports fan across the U.S.A. were about to discover a new alcohol delivery system. I got the information from History.com and have included the first paragraph of the story below.
“Canned beer makes its debut on this day in 1935. In partnership with the American Can Company, the Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company delivered 2,000 cans of Krueger’s Finest Beer and Krueger’s Cream Ale to faithful Krueger drinkers in Richmond, Virginia. Ninety-one percent of the drinkers approved of the canned beer, driving Krueger to give the green light to further production.”
To read more click on this link: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history
I find it interesting that during this time the three largest breweries were Anheuser-Busch, Pabst and Schlitz. Anheuser-Busch remains at or near the top but the other two are much smaller now in percentage of national sales volume. I am certainly glad this innovation took place because my wife works for an aluminum company that sells cans to Anheuser-Busch among others. To close, I will give my personal top 3 favorites beers in a can, perhaps you have a different top 3. The list is not in order because as with children how can you distinguish between your favorite 3 beers?
A) Iron City, a Pennsylvania beer
B) Yuengling Amber Lager, a Pennsylvania beer and America’s oldest brewery
C) Dos Equis Amber lager (not just the cool commercials it is good beer)
Later tonight I might just have beer in a can to celebrate today’s historic significance.
Have a good week, and please… drink responsibly.
This week’s blog will be brief but important since it should be the foundation of why you do what you do. So often we get caught up in the day-to-day details of our businesses that we lose sight of our mission. Based on a recent experience I am going to do my best to get back to the basics and remember why I began “Turning things on end to achieve results” in the first place. I suggest we all put a mental post it note up and focus on making our customers happy by providing great products or services. If we do that, everything else should take care of itself AND I think we will all have more fun.
Below is a description of the incident that convinced me to write on this topic:
“That’s exactly what I wanted!” I recently heard those words from a client of mine when I fulfilled an ad hoc request for him. When I heard those words; bells, whistles and buzzers were going off in my head. I had just heard the best thing you can hear from your customer or client – complete satisfaction in my performance. I had met and probably exceeded his expectations. I realized at that moment the reason I do what do. It is not for money or prestige or any other financial reason. I get my “kicks” by making my clients happy.
I am certainly not going to stop billing for my services but I am going to keep customer satisfaction in the forefront of my thoughts and it will be interesting to see the results. I encourage everyone to do the same whether you are working for someone else or have a business of your own.
Have a customer satisfaction oriented week.
We are a long way from the end of winter and I am already tired of it. It has been cold and snowy and it seems everyone around me is sick all the time. I myself have been battling the flu for about 3 weeks. I am getting ready to watch the College Football Championship game tonight and I am running behind schedule so I am going to give you 10 reasons why I prefer warm weather to wintry weather and turn on the game.
1) You don’t have to shovel rain
2) Flowers smell better than a slushy pile of salty snow
3) Shorts and flip-flops are more relaxing than boots and scarves
4) A cold beverage on a warm day is better than warm beverage on a cold day
5) The barbecue grill is better than anything from a crock pot
6) A baseball game and a hot dog at the ballpark is better than the BCS Championship on a cold January night
7) A warm, gentle breeze is better than “wind chill”
8) In the summer the vegetables are growing, in the winter it’s your waistline that’s growing
9) The soft, silvery dew on the morning grass in the summer is much better than thick ice on your car’s windshield in the winter
10) The air conditioner cools down the car much faster in the summer than the heater warms up the car in the winter
Have a great week, even if it is in the middle of winter.
As a result of the extension of the “Bush” tax cuts last month, several other things were changed that will affect many people. The first is the reduction of the Social Security withholding from employees paychecks by 2% – from 6.2% to 4.2% in 2011. The employer will still have to match at the full 6.2%. That is the good news – an extra $200 per $10,000 of earnings. For employers it will also take some fast work to modify existing payroll software to accommodate the change.
Below is the announcement from the IRS website:
IR-2010-124, Dec. 17, 2010
WASHINGTON ― The Internal Revenue Service today released instructions to help employers implement the 2011 cut in payroll taxes, along with new income-tax withholding tables that employers will use during 2011.
Millions of workers will see their take-home pay rise during 2011 because the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 provides a two percentage point payroll tax cut for employees, reducing their Social Security tax withholding rate from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent of wages paid. This reduced Social Security withholding will have no effect on the employee’s future Social Security benefits.
The new law also maintains the income-tax rates that have been in effect in recent years.
Employers should start using the new withholding tables and reducing the amount of Social Security tax withheld as soon as possible in 2011 but not later than Jan. 31, 2011. Notice 1036, released today, contains the percentage method income tax withholding tables, the lower Social Security withholding rate, and related information that most employers need to implement these changes. Publication 15, (Circular E), Employer’s Tax Guide, containing the extensive wage bracket tables that some employers use, will be available on IRS.gov in a few days.
The IRS recognizes that the late enactment of these changes makes it difficult for many employers to quickly update their withholding systems. For that reason, the agency asks employers to adjust their payroll systems as soon as possible, but not later than Jan. 31, 2011.
For any Social Security tax over withheld during January, employers should make an offsetting adjustment in workers’ pay as soon as possible but not later than March 31, 2011.
Employers and payroll companies will handle the withholding changes, so workers typically won’t need to take any additional action, such as filling out a new W-4 withholding form.
As always, however, the IRS urges workers to review their withholding every year and, if necessary, fill out a new W-4 and give it to their employer. For example, individuals and couples with multiple jobs, people who are having children, getting married, getting divorced or buying a home, and those who typically wind up with a balance due or large refund at the end of the year may want to consider submitting revised W-4 forms. Publication 919, How Do I Adjust My Tax Withholding?, provides more information to workers on making changes to their tax withholding.
If you prefer, you can click here to read more.
Now here is some “less than good” news. Due to the late changes made, the IRS says it will be unable to make the changes to the forms for filing schedule A of 1040 in time and likely will cause a delay until mid to late February before filing can take place. No additional time to file will be granted so be ready to file by April 15th as usual (unless you file for an extension). Below is the announcement from the IRS website:
If you prefer, you can click here to read more.
Have a great week and enjoy those extra dollars in your paycheck.