Behaviors Not Results
One of my favorite clichés that I like to recite is “I’m a results orientated person!” I use this with my wife and children as well as at work. However, I learned that anyone can get results once in a while, but getting lasting results over and over again requires more than looking at numbers.
My first managerial job was with a rent-a-car company. My manager was very focused on numbers and results. At the time I thought this was good for me since I also focused on results. I was the top sales person at the branches I worked at, so I thought that would translate into being a successful branch manager. Even though I was successful, what I have learned since then, I left a lot on the table in terms of success. By just focusing on the results, many times my branch would see huge swings in numbers. One month we will be very high followed by a month of less than desirable production.
One area that was a focus was the number of leads sent to our corporate development area. We were told how many number of leads to send in each month. When speaking with my manager, he told me to just write down businesses and their phone numbers when I am driving around to meet our goal. This tactic did lead us to getting more leads to the corporate development area. However, it did not lead to us getting more business, which was the goal. All this did was get us off of upper management’s radar.
Another area that was always a focus was our customer satisfaction score. Obviously, higher the better. Not that our scores were bad, we were consistently in the upper 80s, but to be truly remarkable and be recognized for outstanding service, we needed to have a customer satisfaction score over 90%. I asked my manager what other branches in the area were doing and he asked me what do I do if I have an upset customer? I replied with nothing. He further explained that several of the branches will change customer’s phone numbers so that they will not get called. I thought to myself that is cheating, but if other branches are doing it, maybe we should to. Therefore, when we would have a highly upset customer, we would change the phone number.
Now that I have matured and learned somethings along the way, I should have done things much differently. I should have focused on the behaviors that me and my sales staff weren’t doing. When someone would return a car, adding a simple question like “how was the service we provided?” would have gotten the sustained results. Likewise, when a customer was renting a car, just asking them where they work would help us get our goal. Perhaps these would not have turned around our results as quickly as the cheating detailed above, but they would have created behaviors that would drive future results. More importantly, they would be sustained results which is the ultimate goal.