Michael Ruckman

  • I can’t believe I never joined this group earlier! After all, when it comes to businesses my favorite part to manage and talk about is how we make customers comfortable and happy when they shop with us 🙂 That’s what keeps them coming back after all!

  • I believe we are entering a business environment where the business itself is more heavily reliant upon its personal branding than the offering itself. A common case-in-point is that businesses are currently being scrutinized the instant that a customer sees their presence, whether it is physical or digital. The first impression, after all, is…[Read more]

    • Let’s not discount how well a business operates though! Can’t judge a book by it’s cover after all 😉 Yep, we see people making more decisions from the get go than before, but still lots of people who try to test the services before making a choice you know 😀

  • Dean posted an update in the group Group logo of Relationship Centricity Relationship Centricity 3 years, 7 months ago

    A long time ago I had a run-in with an old employer of mine. It’s a small bank in a suburban town in Wisconsin. They aren’t very big, and when I left the town they didn’t seem like they were doing too great. This was all before the recession, so I thought they were wiped out when the markets crashed. I went back home over the weekend and saw the…[Read more]

    • I’d say they probably had some pretty dedicated customers who were loyal to them. Small places like that can save a ton by cutting stuff and not having to pay for big expenses like insurance or anything like that. So small businesses have the advantage when it comes to cutting costs and only using the bare minimum on a daily basis.

    • Well, that’s quite a surprise to hear a small business stuck around through the recession. They must be doing well now if they survived! But that’s how it works, the strong will make it through and they’ll be there to get all the customers that are left behind when everyone else closes 😉

  • I currently am working for MGM as an internal auditor and I noticed how important it is to build a culture centered around the customer. Even in a position that is not customer facing, we are trained in proper customer service and understanding customer needs. This is something that I am seeing more and more in businesses, even those that have…[Read more]

    • Well it’s pretty common sense that you need to be able to deal with customers. Customers are the most important part of the business, and you need to make sure they’re happy for the business to do well. Common sense.

    • I’d say that it’s less about the culture and more about the type of people working there. You can try to train people to be more customer centric, but that’ll only go so far. Not like you can teach a dog how to purr like a cat, and the same is true for people. You are better off hiring people who think that way, then training them to treat…[Read more]

    • Well, sounds like you’re getting a good taste of what the behind the scenes business world is like! It’s not your run of the mill process 🙂 And customers are at the center of it all. All my friends have gone through customer training, and customer service is really important!

  • I have recently had several conversations with my peers discussing an item that is a fledgling trend in food: deconstruction. The concept is simple – meals are divided into their primary components and allowed to share space on the plate – but has a profound impact upon the senses and the patron. Individually each item can be enjoyed and savored…[Read more]

    • That makes no sense at all. The point of packages are to encourage customers to spend more money and drive revenue. Separating them makes it easier for customers to avoid additional costs and fees. What would happen if instead of getting a suite of services for X amount, they are getting a single product for half the cost? They would obviously be…[Read more]

      • While I agree that package programs will typically have a higher price tag and bring in steady revenue, it also has the potential to alienate those who only want one or two parts of the package. You have to consider that those on the fence will be much more willing to adopt new services if they are able to select only what they actually want to…[Read more]

        • The risk there doesn’t make it better. You can get some people who want to pick their services, but lose the increased sales from bigger packages. What business would risk their secure sales for the chance, just the chance, at more customers? It bankrupts companies and that’s why they fail to grow. Ideas like this just make things worse

          • As I replied to Ray Andrew’s comment, this is a system that works best for those with smaller markets and loyal followers. The present users will see this as a boon that can save money, but more importantly new consumers will have the opportunity to adopt the program and become new sources of revenue, albeit at much smaller profit margins.

    • To add to the conversation, I have seen this type of business model adopted by places such as restaurants and service providers (think of cable services). In both cases, I have found that it is a very hit-or-miss type of approach for the businesses involved. For the restaurants, you can clearly see that they are making much more money by being…[Read more]

      • I believe that the companies that will adopt this model will be aiming to undercut the stronger competition. Most businesses using this model seem to be niche markets who are fighting for each individual customer or sale, so it makes sense that their revenue is not as dependent upon the greater sum of available consumers purchasing their goods.…[Read more]

    • But how is that any different than regular food? I’m not understanding it too well. You just took food and gave them the chance to order separate items and options. For businesses, I don’t see how you can make more money by letting them purchase stuff in smaller batches.

      • Essentially, you are allowing the customer to experience each of the pieces individually rather than together. While it is the same parts, the end result is that you are able to thoroughly enjoy each component and identify which are unnecessary or off-putting. For businesses, I would say that this is the opportunity to allow customers to choose…[Read more]

  • I think it’s important to note just how big social media is with businesses nowadays. You can complain to a business and call them on their regular hotline, and maybe you will receive an answer or connect with an agent. Or you can call them out on social media like Twitter, start up a firestorm, and have them contacting you within minutes. The…[Read more]

    • That is just part of the natural progression of technology and business. Social media is becoming a major part of a business’s operations, and that is now how businesses need to start addressing their customers. It is the natural flow of how things work in society – as a new channel becomes popular, businesses need to respond or risk being left…[Read more]

      • That’s the new trend, and I get that it’s a big up and coming thing, but I just don’t think it’s going to catch on. It’s a place where people make stories and talk about what they hate, so social media is not stable enough to be a good contact point. Once we get a system that’s easy to work with in terms of submitting concerns, then they’ll funnel…[Read more]

    • Social media is proving itself to be quite the formidable foe in regards to stalwarts traditional marketing. I myself have witnessed social media have a profound impact upon businesses and their reputation around the world. One such example is Turing Pharmaceuticals and the backlash they faced following the increase of drug prices. While, yes,…[Read more]

    • How can you effectively use social media as a professional business? I don’t see how it can work since you can’t control what everyone else is saying about your business. Everyone on the internet can have an opinion of your business and make their words known to millions in an instant. How do you build your reputation on the web when a few bad…[Read more]

    • How effective is this? Social media is big and all, but it really is just something that is up and coming. Nothing has been established yet, so no need to build it up as if it is the end all be all of the business world. Companies are still going to rely on call centers and online submission forms. It is the tested way of doing things, and it is…[Read more]

  • Ever realize how theme parks make such great environments? You spend money just to be there like it’s an exclusive club. I think banks can do the same and make it feel like you really are a part of something special, like by net worth or income maybe. You can make the bank nicer with artwork and furniture to make it seem upscale. Maybe that can…[Read more]

    • I believe that this works because theme parks play on the concept of selling an experience and activities that go along with it. On the other hand, banks and financial institutions sell products and services directly associated with their trade – money. These are things that are maintained over long periods of time, and thus cannot necessarily be…[Read more]

      • Obviously I replied to the wrong post, but anyways, I don’t really think that it’s worth the investment. It’s a big charge just to make things a little nicer and maybe bring in new people. Personally, I wouldn’t see it as worth the expense or risk of implementation.

        • There are always situations where it may be more expensive to actually implement a new concept. However, if you can weigh out the costs and benefits then you can evaluate whether or not it is worth the risk. In this case, I agree that there is quite a bit on the line in terms of money that probably would not be worth it in most cases. I still…[Read more]

    • While I do agree that this is a novel way to attract customers, I must concur with James and point out that this is a strategy that has a great deal of upfront investment that may not generate a sufficient return. Physical presence for a business, while an important representation of the culture and face of the company, is an aspect of traditional…[Read more]

      • So are you saying that it wouldn’t ever work for businesses to grow by making their stores more attractive? I was thinking it would be the same as a regular remodel.

        • There is potential that this will have a positive impact upon the business, but that impact is marginal compared to other methods that can be used. For the banking industry, it may be more worthwhile to invest in talent, personnel, and services. However, a traditional remodel can be effective, it just may have limited success.

    • Great idea, and while we’re at it we might as well hand them free products and services as well. Really, who would spend all that money to build up a nice bank when your customers don’t even come in the doors? The issue isn’t making the place nicer so that people come in – it’s about giving them a reason for them to be there in the first place. If…[Read more]

      • Same as what I said above, I don’t get how it wouldn’t work. People would go see places that are new or interesting because it will catch their eye. I was thinking it would be the same sort of deal and people would come to the bank looking to see what’s new, then being sold on new products.

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    Business has changed over the years. Technology has advanced leaps and bounds, and as such, businesses have come to integrate technology into every aspect of their operations. Those resistant to these changes […]

  • ThumbnailThanksgiving is quickly coming up, signaling the upcoming close of another great year for us at Senteo. We have grown to such heights from when the mere thought of this company was a simple idea scribbled hastily […]

  • Do you think that an inherently customer oriented business, such as a social media site, possibly become more relationship centric? I couldn’t help but think of websites like Facebook and LinkedIn pumping more and more investment dollars into identifying how to better grasp their audience’s attention. Would it be better for these websites to move…[Read more]

    • But what good would it do to do that? Just curious how you think that would help

    • Well how much money can a company like that even make? It’s not like you make a ton of money from a free site like that, and even if you did, what good with new interface be? Usually it just throws people off and gets them angry because you change things up. No, you won’t see that happening anytime soon

  • Just got a business card from a tech company in my area. It was pretty neat, actually interfaced with a QR code and had functionality with NFC signals on the phone. Bump the phone to it and you’ll pull up their website with a special client portal. Is this how things are going to be now? At your fingertips on your phone without even needing an…[Read more]

    • People are moving towards a more digital society whether businesses want to accept it or not. At this point, I do believe that businesses need to master the digital realm and blend technology into their offerings. Blend is the important word, though, because they need to balance the digital offerings with a strong physical presence that appeals to…[Read more]

    • You either do one or the other. People or tech. It’s not something that you can just magically do both of. Have you heard of a company that does it all like that? Tech is too new for old people, but great for kids. People skills aren’t something the young people have. Two markets, so we’re not gonna see a big transfer to one or the other.

      • Maybe they can find a middle ground that will appeal to both sides. The safety of familiar tech and products for the old, and newer products for the young. Plus you can upsell the new products since they’ll be more expensive to manage anyways. Slowly build in that new fee or increased cost so that you have a new client base that is used to the…[Read more]

    • Is it something thats that amazing? I want to be able to experience it myself. I’ve never had the chance to work with anything too high tech like that, but it sounds interesting.

  • Just got a business card from a tech company in my area. It was pretty neat, actually interfaced with a QR code and had functionality with NFC signals on the phone. Bump the phone to it and you’ll pull up their website with a special client portal. Is this how things are going to be now? At your fingertips on your phone without even needing an…[Read more]

  • ThumbnailAfter travelling the globe and hearing many of the top executives of many companies speak, I realized something that is quite unique to the smaller startup businesses that have reach recent popularity. These […]

  • I really am liking how a lot of companies are changing things up. We had some consulting company come in to evaluate how our business is running and they were really focusing on making things better for the customer. They redid the layout of the store and everything. But is this something that is going to be done over and over again across all…[Read more]

    • I do not believe that this is a phase of business that can be so easily commoditized for the simple fact that it is a change that is vastly expensive in terms of both money and human resources. It is difficult to overhaul a business to be more relationship centric, so many companies will opt to avoid this option of improving operations. There will…[Read more]

    • Money is king when it comes to businesses, If it’s something expensive we’re sure to see people drop it in favor of keeping money in the bank. I know I would. So yeah, if you make the investment you’ll get some returns and you won’t have everyone changing over all at once. Some people will, some people won’t. It’s up to the business owner and…[Read more]

    • I am not sure that many companies would invest in reestablishing their culture and workforce in a more relationship centric fashion. For mature companies, overhauling their operations so such an extent would probably be more detrimental overall despite the long term benefits. Dramatic changes would involve a lot of reassessment of value and worth…[Read more]

    • Well of course it’s gonna be a problem. You think that companies are gonna ignore what is going to make them money? My advice – save your money and stay the course like a sensible business owner. You’ll make all that money the rest of them are losing while they try to “innovate”

  • ThumbnailThe world is filled with news; news that is almost inseparable from the propaganda that the stations and nations want us to believe. Words can be presented in many forms, made to change perspectives and either […]

  • I want to share an experience I had with a themed store here in Las Vegas. Recently, I visited the aptly named Zombie Apocalypse Store that is just off of the Strip, and I have to say that it did have some interesting points that would help with improving a regular business’s model and environment. The service and actual business were somewhat…[Read more]

    • And how do you think a “zombie” shop is a good model for a bank? It makes no sense that we should take a tip from some retail store that bets on gimmicks instead of actual advantages. Who cares about some store that has to stay in business by using fads and tricks. That won’t work for a regular business

    • I’m still iffy on if this is something we would want to see for financial services though. Do you want a safari jungle themed bank? Would it make it much better? Aaron has a good point here. I want my bank to just be a bank, and how I think of a bank is how banks are right now. Maybe they can be better, but nothing wrong with it now

    • I don’t like forcing the bank to be something it’s not. It’s not a place for you to see everything that’s going on. It’s for security purposes. I’d say if you want to make the bank better, make it visually match a theme. Like a bank that would cater to high class would have classy art and all that jazz. Something more middle road would have…[Read more]

  • Would you guys say that the next point of innovation is the next form of touch? You hear about things being 3D and more lifelike every day. It’s the primary new thing for technology, so do you think that will be the next big thing for businesses too? It seems like since the technology is coming out for new ways to physically interact, that would…[Read more]

    • This is a question as to whether or not the technology will truly improve the ability of the bank to fully meet their customers’ needs. I personally doubt that this new form of technology will revolutionize banking, simply because I cannot imagine that it would bring any new improvements. Personally, I see this as a simple progression towards a…[Read more]

      • There’s some ways to make it work though. Touchscreens and model homes for mortgages and stuff. Things to make it tangible. That’s big for me when I go to choose a place to work with. I like results, and if you can touch things you can see what’s going on.

    • I really do not see that happening anytime soon simply because it is not a trend that has been widely adopted at all. It is not something that is easily adapted to the business services industry simply because people will prefer to deal with an individual rather than a machine. People can be held accountable for their actions and have a sense or…[Read more]

    • But how’s touch gonna be any good? What are we going to do, let people touch the money in the banks? There’s not a lot that’s really something you can make touchable and still have security. I don’t get the idea of using touch to make things better

      • I’m thinking touchscreens and things like that. Not sure how else it would work. But that’s one way to make it better.

    • What are they gonna do with touch? You can’t just make things work because you want them to. You can’t suddenly make your business do things it’s not supposed to. Banks deal with money. They aren’t supposed to be involved with anything like smells or fancy lighting. It’s a business for money, and that’s they way it should be.

  • I have to say that I have had a recent experience with a rental car company that was surprising to say the least. Many companies interject saying that they prioritize the customer and the experience that they create for them. Additionally, most will state that they aim to establish a relationship with their customers, yet simply regulate that duty…[Read more]

    • You are right in saying that the issue is the lack of followthrough on behalf of the company. Many are content to simply train their employees and trust that the job is being done appropriately. What must occur is consistent monitoring of the matter and improvement of the process. Rather that simply training, companies need to employ a system…[Read more]

    • So how do we do that? Have someone dedicated to making sure it all flows smoothly like you want? It sounds really expensive and doesn’t sound like something a business should do if they have lots of branches to watch over

      • Proper training is key to ensuring a smooth and consistent form of service. While you will have breakdowns, the best way to standardize the process is to provide consistent, effective training that will stick with the employees. It is more expensive and it does take time, but it does produce results.

    • I don’t think you’ll get perfection. That’s just the way it is. You train people, you leave, you come back and see them cutting corners. It happens. I’d say that if you train them and get them to at least do it a good chunk of the time then it all pays off. Just make sure to check up every once in a while to make sure it’s going the way you want.

    • People screw up. I don’t see why you think this is something new or a real problem. People are lazy, they screw up, they slack off and cut corners. Normal business issues that we can’t really get rid of. Deal with it because we won’t see it go away anytime soon.

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