No business can afford to stay static and in recent times community services and the not for profit sector has faced huge change and disruption – but at the same time also huge opportunity. With the right attitude, staff and client offering that is.

At Kiikstart, we talk the entrepreneurial mindset all the time. And when it comes to community services, they’re in need of this approach. Flexibility, adaptability, and innovation is vital to serve evolving client needs and changing funding frameworks and realities.

Services must not increase the number of clients through the door, but the level of accountability and measurable outcomes that are achieved. Wanting “to help people” and trying hard to make a difference will no longer be enough to sustain community services in the new world. And there is a need for creative ways in which to do this.

Staff need other approaches and tactics to increase involvement. More effective ways to establish a relationship between the client and Case Manager can bring about long-term change.

Changing KPI’s, obtaining outcomes. measurable change within employment, community involvement and relevant learning and upskilling – it all places greater emphasis on long term client relationships.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Ask questions. Collect feedback.

In community services, we’re not only providing a ‘service’, we’re building ‘relationships.’ We can achieve this by, first, identifying customer values and perceptions. Communication is key, here. Talk to staff, community leaders and influencers, stakeholders, and of course, your clients.

So, what can come out of it? A client might tell you they don’t see any benefits from your service. Get creative about other ways to communicate the benefits of working with you. By doing this, you create a more enterprising and engaging experiences for clients.

It’s important to know how to be courageous, addressing the behaviours and concerns your customers have – in a way that is respectful but maintains progression and focus.

Just like start-ups must constantly evolve, community services need to create an experience that reflects what’s going on. We need to look at every component of our service and go through it with a fine-tooth comb.

With ever increasing competition for funds and increased client choice as to who they can chose to work with, the need to be commercial and business savvy has never been greater. The art is finding the right balance between commercial reality and the soul and personality of the service.

Curiosity, connection, value, and differentiation. Do we have these qualities? If not, you need to adapt. The success of an entrepreneur lies within the mindset.

Entrepreneurs are problem solvers. They follow their intuition and constantly adapt. Good relationships are not just important, they’re critical. Entrepreneurs take risks to achieve greatness.

At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to allowing people have more choice, influence and control about how they live, work and learn. If you’d like to hear more about what we do, contact us today on 0428 593 400 or enquiries@kiikstart.com.

Consumer behaviour is constantly evolving. Tapping into new opportunities to engage will always help you find innovative approaches to grow your business. To do so, you need to understand consumer trends and the role that your business can play in meeting these needs.

With food, hospitality, and wine brands, there are many parts that make up your brand’s story. Let’s look at packaging, for example.

You need to be aware of the functional benefits that packaging can have on your product and customer – enhancing your awareness beyond label design and its basic role of protecting the product.

How can you push the envelope and use it as another way to connect with your customers? What are their ‘pain’ points? What keeps them up at night? A lack of time? How can your packaging provide a solution?

As products become more saturated, customers find it harder to make their decision. There’s an opportunity to offer more than just essential packaging to entice them over the buying line. Think about their current buying habits, too.

Consumer trends drive consumption behaviour

When innovating your bespoke product, consider these motivators:

  • Better value for money
  • Personal space and time
  • Indulgence
  • Busy lives, time-poor
  • Changing age structures
  • Changing life stages
  • Individualism
  • Fun & enjoyment
  • Connection
  • Ethics & responsibility.

These points can apply to every part of your business, not just packaging.

The opportunities for innovation never stop. New products, ways of delivery, services, apps, pricing, experiences, sustainability, and business models… it can get overwhelming, to say the least.

LG innovate better than most.

The brand has expanded innovation into another part of the home – the bathroom. LG U+ is a smart mirror which generates personalised skincare advice. It analyses the skin and offers individuals customised beauty tips and product recommendations.

The smart touchscreen mirror uses high-definition cameras to analyse pores and wrinkles, and takes external factors such as weather conditions into consideration.

I realise we can’t all be LG, but they serve as a great example of a brand that continues to push the boundaries. So, how do we do it? Here are some tactics that you can start to implement within your brand.

Ask smart questions and communicate with your customers

It’s such a simple thing but how many of us really talk to our customers? We serve them and then move on. We listen to their feedback when they openly give it, but rarely actively seek it. And hardly ever facilitate it.

Elon Musk, the brains behind electric car company, Telsa, activated a suggestion from Twitter in six weeks.

Think about what you can ask that shows interest – avoid the generic questions that shows a lack of creativity and thought. Increase your own level of self-awareness as to the type of questions you ask to make a connection with someone else.

Network within your industry

Look beyond your business, and across your industry. Spending time monitoring your competitors can help you uncover the gaps that you can fill. Don’t look at it as networking, but ascertaining what’s not being done and how you can introduce it within your business.

Spend the time exploring new paths that your customers will love. You don’t necessarily have to reinvent the wheel. Seek our new flavours, formulas, ingredients, packaging, and marketing. Track how your customers respond. Have fun with it.

At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to helping people have more choice, influence and control about how they live, work and learn. If you’d like to hear more about what we do, contact us today on 0428 593 400 or enquiries@kiikstart.com.

Niche is in. Niche is it. Niche is zig. Niche is woah! While it can feel like big brands are everywhere and trump everything, being niche is, in fact, make is much easier to position yourself… and, most importantly, market yourself. Because you’re not up against them. You can stand all by yourself, even in the midst of them.

Think about it. Have you ever heard the phrase ‘jack of all trades but master of none’? Well, the same goes for brands. While mainstream brands are targeting the masses, you specialise on one thing that no-one else is – and you kick ass at it.

So, let’s say you’re an artisan food or drink maker or a boutique winery. How do you make yourself heard, up against the big guns?

Show your personality. A sensory experience. Co-create.

There’s something I notice in almost every business. We’re too afraid to show our personalities. Our real selves. Our uniqueness. I don’t know why, but it’s one of the biggest marketing flaws I’ve seen. It’s like building a friendship with someone you’ve never met by showing nothing of ourselves. It’s next to impossible.

The same thing goes for brands. You’re a niche brand and you make things, your way, with your own two hands. You are the brand, so don’t be shy. Infuse your brand with your personality. Become a brand evangelist. Belieeeeve in your brand… find  your fans, and bring them with you  Infuse your essence, style and ‘voice’ and narrative into everything you do – from your cards, and emails to your brand’s packaging and online experience. It’s here that you’ll set your brand apart against the cold, soulless corporates.

Share your process. You make things yourself, so why not invite your audience to see and share in how you do it? Engage the senses by invoking texture or selecting images that create an immersive experience.

Another tip we have is to grow your audience by treating your business like a think-tank. Again, invite and listen to your customers and the feedback they give you. In doing so, your customers become collaborators, who push you to constantly evolve and take on new challenges.

How do you want to be known, liked & loved?

Have you explored how you want to be known? What do you need to leave behind? How does your brand ‘image’ reflect and drive your vision and mission?

Remember it needs to achieve the following:

  • Have soul
  • Be different
  • Spark people’s interest
  • Be relevant
  • Meaningful
  • Educate
  • Enlighten
  • Have impact
  • Be real

Depending on your brand, and the end user, it should also entertain and have the feel good factor. Where’s the joy?

Consider every connection point. If you have a physical space your customers visit, that’s a whole new discussion – on location, external signage, the atmosphere upon entering, using the front counter, and ‘telling’ your brand story. How are you making contact? What materials are you giving them, if any, when they leave? How long do they stay? How do you make the sale?

Getting a handle on your image

Identifying your underlying key principles are what make strong and memorable niche brands. Or any brand for that matter.

Take the time to critique your existing marketing, advertising, branding and promotional activity. What does it say about you and your brand? What are the key messages you want to communicate to your key stakeholders and what’s the best way to do that? What do they want to hear? How well do you understand them?

There are many moving parts to your business. A lot of these touchpoints, big brands don’t focus on, so your point of difference, or niche, could simply be a strategic communication or service delivery.

If you need help identifying your niche needle in your brand haystack, contact us.

At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to helping people have more choice, influence and control about how they live, work and learn. If you’d like to hear more about what we do, contact us today on 0428 593 400 or enquiries@kiikstart.com.

Customer service isn’t necessarily what it used to be. With the evolution of technology, it’s changed how we connect and provide service.

This series of blogs will educate businesses that in order to survive, there needs to a renewed focus. Adopting experiential development and successful delivery will ensure not only continued growth, but the evolution of the entire space in which you operate.

All businesses should continue to evolve, alongside new trends and developments. Dealing with customer feedback, not complaints, for example, should be part of your process.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What means do you use to receive feedback from customers?
  • How do you promote the fact you welcome feedback during and after customer interaction?
  • Provide an example when you needed to respond to a dissatisfied customer – how did you respond to minimise negative fallout and poor word of mouth? How do you use this feedback to evolve and build your product and service offering and promote the feel good factor that comes from making positive change?
  • What are your processes for responding to all feedback and is each staff member consistent in their approach, with a level of standards and processes set by you, the decision maker?

What satisfies one customer might not satisfy the next. It’s important to build systems and procedures for businesses to handle customer insights and feedback.

Take every feedback as a lesson, so you can continue to move forward and grow and no longer see it is a complaints but complimentary market research.

Now, it’s your turn to tell us. What kind of feedback are you responding to? How have you managed them? Did the customer walk away happy in the end?

We’d love to hear about your own experiences.

At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to helping people have more choice, influence and control about how they live, work and learn. If you’d like to hear more about what we do, contact us today on 0428 593 400 or enquiries@kiikstart.com.

Ok, last week we were talking about exploring your customer service philosophy values. If you missed it, check out the article here.

For the purpose of this blog, we’re going to assume you know your values like the back of your hand. Cool, so now we know our values, it’s time got through how we can provide value to them, especially those with specific needs.

Let’s go through some things to think about.

10 tips to knock your customers’ experience out of the park

  • Provide examples of the type of specific needs that tourists will have – what are some of the diverse requests and the solutions you have come up with to ensure satisfaction.
  •  Identify common, specific needs against your key target markets. Consider some of the most challenging or out of the box needs– how did you find an answer? Provide detail into the steps, action and processes undertaken.
  • Identify when you have worked with other regional businesses to help find a solution to specific needs you are alone could not fulfill (if relevant). How did the relationship with the other business come about and what has been the benefit to the tourist?
  • Be specific about the approach you take to ensure people’s specific needs can be met or an alternative solution can be provided. Ability to think creatively.
  • What communication methods do you use before arriving to be able to gain an insight into their specific needs?
  • Provide examples of any relevant questions you may ask to identify specific needs at the time of booking.
  • Provide examples as to how you gain feedback and insight from tourists both informally and formally.
  • What type of questions are you asking to gain a real insight into what they enjoyed and also ideas for future improvement?
  • Give an example when you implemented feedback from a tourist – why did you chose to respond to it, what was the scenario and how did you respond to it. What was the outcome to the business?
  • What measures do you use to gain insights and feedback from your customer? Are there any relevant data and stats you can include about the process and some of the key trends?

You can explore these questions no matter what industry you’re in. All businesses rely on customers, not just tourism visitor centres. Always keep the outcome in mind. Every time you engage with a customer is an opportunity to develop the relationship. Make it a priority to know what your customers’ value.

Next up, we’re going to be discussing how to obtain and deal with customer feedback to build a more memorable experience… of the good kind.

At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to helping people have more choice, influence and control about how they live, work and learn. If you’d like to hear more about what we do, contact us today on 0428 593 400 or enquiries@kiikstart.com.

How well do you know your business? Have you ever conducted a SWOT analysis? So many of us are so busy working in our business, there’s no time to work on it.

Businesses require constant evaluation. We need to put ourselves in the mindset of ongoing start-up. Something that was working last year might not be as strong for us this year. The same will happen next year.

You need to be constant learners – in your business, your competitors, your industry and cross-industry to ride the next wave.

 

What is your customer philosophy?

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What processes and tactics do you use when your guest makes a booking, to really understand their needs?
  • How do you make suggestions to guests so they can experience the best of the region and immerse themselves, before arriving – to help plan their activity once in the region?
  • What questions do you ask so you can provide an experience or make helpful suggestions?
  • Do you ask guests before they arrive, if they are interested in being kept up to date with relevant events or experiences – so they can plan ahead. 

If yeshow do you communicate with guests in advance, and do you ask them how they’d like to be kept up to date with relevant offerings in the region?

Explain how you welcome people, to ensure they feel at ease and gain a positive impression of you and your local region?

Describe your brand personality and the characteristics associated with it. What are the best traits and characteristics associated with your business and how do you express these within customer interaction?

Make customer service a focus. Don’t just aim for good service. You want them to actually remember the experience, for all the right reasons – so that they can’t resist choosing you again. 

What structures are in place to deliver an outstanding service experience, consistently? How do you delight your customers? What about your people? Do you have ongoing training and development in place? 

Connecting with them, post-visit, is just as important as attracting them initially. Think about what you can do to show your gratitude. It is the unexpected add-ons that will make your company stand out.

With your customers, do what works for you. Continuously discover new ways of adding value and serving them.

At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to helping people have more choice, influence and control about how they live, work and learn. If you’d like to hear more about what we do, contact us today on 0428 593 400 or enquiries@kiikstart.com.

We need to start looking at innovation in a different light. It’s important to look at other industries to identify great opportunities of how they’ve innovated.

When doing your exploring, they should be in a totally unrelated field. Look at their processes, follow-ups, questions, how they involve customers, people involved, a product offering… the list is literally endless. It can be anything as small as how they answer the phone, all the way through to the strategies used to launch a major product. 

Think of it as the all-seeing eye

The world is your oyster, and it’s important to embrace all opportunities. As you’re reflecting on what you’re currently doing to evolve the current service experience, it’s vital to identify great examples from other industries that you connect with.

You’ll uncover goodies like these approaches:

  • Present yourself at events or conferences – where your competitors would not consider
  • Take an interesting angle or story to share with other people that can help promote your business and how it operates
  • New processes on guaranteeing the quality of your product or service, after it’s delivery
  • New ways to respond to customer complaints, inspired by other industries
  • Strategies to maintain a relationship and provide knowledge, expertise and insight that stakeholders would find valuable.

To be creative and challenge the norm you need to look beyond your own space and sector – otherwise it is the blind leading the blind. There are literally so many ways you can innovate. But first, it’s important to understand that innovation doesn’t have to be some big, light bulb idea. 

Innovators are good at associating. They make connections between seemingly unrelated problems and ideas and synthesise new ideas. Be an observer. Be curious. Be open to questioning how things are done.

We’ve got some homework for you. Consider an innovative experience you’ve had recently, as a customer. Ask yourself these three questions:

  • What was it about this experience that had such a positive impact on you?
  • How would you be able to take the most valuable elements of this experience and make it relevant to your own business?
  • What key actions would you need to begin to make these changes a reality?

 

Taking an entrepreneurial mindset and a willingness to change past approaches and evolve them is key.

Are your products really addressing their current needs? And what about your people? Do they have the skills and openness to drive real change?

At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to helping people have more choice, influence and control about how they live, work and learn. If you’d like to hear more about what we do, contact us today on 0428 593 400 or enquiries@kiikstart.com.

Innovation is more than just an app. We know this from last time, exploring customer service and the new wave of how we collaborate and communicate.

It’s not what you do that’s valued by customers but how you do it. What we mean by this is it’s less about what you’re offering, but rather the delivery of your product or service.

Let’s start by defining what innovation is and the various elements that shape how a business delivers innovation – to both its stakeholders and customers.

 

Move over Zuckenberg & Branson…

First, let’s get something straight. Innovation doesn’t have to be some big, bold new invention.

Innovation can be about product and service (the what) but more importantly it is about the style and manner in which the consumer interacts with the product, team, brand and overall communications.

True innovation can be, and is, found in the how of what it means to be entrepreneurial.

Innovation looks different to every business. Here are a few examples:

  • Greater choice in how your product or service can be accessed. Think about where you do business – how accessible is it for stakeholders and the end user to actually do business with you. 
  • The style and manner in which you communicate with potential stakeholders – innovation can mean changing the environment in which you do business to create a different perception.
  • It can mean evolving the type of communications and messages you use to gain investment and buy in.
  • Providing customers with the option to hand make their own product or service – if possible.
  • Changes in product ingredients or equipment to keep ahead of the crowd.
  • Type of written and verbal communication used to make a connection with the consumer. Not simply relying on IT, social media and mass mailouts.
  • It may have to do with minimising waste – recycling product or re-using in a way that has not been done before in the market. 

 

Often businesses and especially start ups are focusing so much on the product/service and getting this to market, that they fail to give attention to the story and how they’re going to sell the product.

So, innovation could simply mean creativity in the process of service delivery. Next time, we’re talking about looking beyond your own industry for inspiration.  

Remember, customer service is so much more than service with a smile. It’s about the entire experience.

At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to helping people have more choice, influence and control about how they live, work and learn. If you’d like to hear more about what we do, contact us today on 0428 593 400 or enquiries@kiikstart.com.

Customer service. It’s about providing good service, right? Sure, it used to be as simple as that. But now, and into 2017, it’s about the entire customer experience.

We’ve been exploring how tourism operators can stay relevant – and this week is no different. 2017 is going to be the year of the customer, so let’s chat about how you can get prepared.

Your customers are smarter than ever

They expect more, so you need to be able to match those expectations. It’s 2017, so if you haven’t embraced technology in your tourism business, it’s time to check right in. Use your marketing and advertising to tell them what they can expect by visiting.

And it’s not just your visitors who are smart, they also have intelligent devices. Leverage the mobile phone in the entire customer experience, from connecting with them to staying in touch after the visit.

If you’re old fashioned and love the power of word of mouth, social media is where it’s at. When a customer has an amazing experience, they share it. Be so amazing that your customers want to tell everyone about their experience.

 

The customer experience is the new marketing

Alongside social media and technology, self-service tools are a must-have. Take advantage of the customer service tools at your disposal to give them the direction they need to accomplish tasks themselves. Think about what self-service applications you can introduce in your tourism outlet.

Customers will pay for excellent service. This gives businesses the opportunity to differentiate through a consistent approach to customer service, which goes beyond the ‘norm’.

 

Visitors want to be engaged

Your visitors want interesting, hands on experiences. It’s a must to have definite key points of difference to be able to compete in a more sophisticated market.

Superior guest experiences require you to make the right tactical partnerships to continually stay ahead of the competition and truly be creative.

 

Social media is only part of the story. It’s about exploring how to minimise the gap between marketing fantasy and front-end reality. Don’t promote an inferior product or experience and feel that you need to be part of the social media space if your service offering doesn’t match. You will do more damage to the brand that not doing anything at all. 

Be courageous and get a handle on key strengths from a service offering, as well as the skill gaps that will continue to water down the brand. Mystery shopping is not just for retailers so if you are not undertaking it at least a quarter you don’t have insight into areas of need but also potential market opportunities that come from strengths. 

Remember the key principles we’ve discussed in the past few blogs.

  • Utilise IT to improve the customer experience
  • Tell stories in different ways
  • Get creative with your signage and interior 
  • Speak their language
  • Know your customers.

So, there you have it. When we talk of customer service, what we really mean is the customer experience. Do what you can to make it a good one. You’ve got to continuously innovate.

We’re going to be exploring why innovation is more than just an app in the next few blogs. It’s not what you do that’s valued by customers but how you do it.

Don’t go far…

At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to helping people have more choice, influence and control about how they live, work and learn. If you’d like to hear more about what we do, contact us today on 0428 593 400 or enquiries@kiikstart.com.

All tourism providers rely on visitors. That’s the nature of the industry. A lot of us are focusing on attracting the numbers, but in turn, we forget to make the most out of the people who do visit.

The same goes for when you you’re the tourist. We’ll explain why soon. This article is all about sharing insights and expertise to develop more leverage from visits to other businesses and experiences.

Let’s get started.

 

The tourism sector undertakes famils to other businesses but rarely utilises these insights and stories to build on the customer experience. There are great opportunities to develop the level of expenditure both via staff and better use the physical workspace, including internal signage.

We’ve already explored the power of engaging signage. Your internal signage needs to be creative to encourage a sense of discovery and exploration – not only in the region but the space itself.

Simply put, just visiting other businesses isn’t good enough. You’ve got to put yourself in the tourist’s shoes, which in most cases you will be, and see what’s working and what’s not. 

 

Stop, think and reflect…

Now is the time to stop and think about how you’re creatively using these famils to add value to their business and your guest’s experience. If you’re going to take the time to visit other outlets and be a tourist in your own back yard, make sure you have the vision to capitalise on it when you return to your day-to-day operations.

  • You need to be asking yourself these kinds of questions.
  • What are the strengths of the venue? What are they doing well?
  • What are the gaps & how can you avoid them in your own venue?
  • Are they using specific tools, such as social media? Will they work in for you? 
  • Are there any partnership opportunities? How can you work together?

Again, all of this draws back into our six-part series on making your venue sustainable. If you missed it, you can read the first article here.

At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to helping people have more choice, influence and control about how they live, work and learn. If you’d like to hear more about what we do, contact us today on 0428 593 400 or enquiries@kiikstart.com.