October 13, 2015

Checking Up On Your Company… Part 2

By Paul Bieber

Before getting into this blog, I would like to thank all of my readers for their comments and best wishes in this bout with cancer. I am home and feel good. In November I start chemo, once every other week for six months. So, I will have one week of discomfort and one week of feeling great. Actually, I am looking forward to these infusions, as it is about the closest we can get to no future re-occurrences. I have great doctors and nurses caring for me, with the best care of all coming from my wife Elaine.

So, on with the show. A couple of weeks back I had started a blog about checking up on your company or asking a friend to do it. Depending on the size of your company, there are other roads you can go down.

It doesn’t matter how big, small, well-run or profitable you are; there are always opportunities to be better. The one you want to concentrate on is communications with your customers. This is the lifeblood of your business. One stupid tweet or a bad email going to everyone can hurt seriously your business. And don’t tell me it won’t happen. We all hit ‘send all’ on occasion when we shouldn’t. Whether you communicate via mail or email, put a couple of your friends or neighbors on your distribution list. Someone who will immediately call you when something strange appears. First step when this occurs, immediately send an apology email or tweet to your list. Don’t sugar coat it. Say you disagree with what took place and that you apologize. Ask any customer who is offended to contact you and allow you to apologize directly.

You can easily see who sent the email if did come from your company. If the email was mildly offensive, then a good discussion and a short suspension should do the trick. If the communication was grossly offensive you have no choice… terminate the employee, or least implement a significant suspension.

You don’t have to let your team know your list has friends on it who will give you feedback. You should also develop a special relationship with a regular employee who will share offensive, in-house communications.

You can prevent this by having a solid set of rules on communications behavior, both within the company and to outsiders. Explain that your business will not tolerate insensitivity to employees and others. Explain the consequences. And do this every six months. People forget. Make sure your employees change their password every three months. Don’t create one password for the whole company because it is easier to remember. Make it a hard and fast rule that if an employee leaves their desk, their computer is put to sleep. 

Another strong rule, no one other than your IT staff can add any type of program to your system. No music players or personal Facebook accounts without the IT guru’s permission. Train your people about email phishing. Teach what emails not to open. Most businesses get tens or hundreds of phony emails a day. Have your guru install a program that checks the veracity of an email before it gets to your email inbox.

If your email list was hacked and an offensive email was sent, and you can’t see where I came from, say that in your letter to your customers. This is part of our society today.

Oops, I digressed on this blog. The next one will talk about hiring professional shoppers to help you learn where you can improve.