July 2018
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The Business Voice - Supporting the Moose Jaw & District business community
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September 2018

CEO Message - Rob Clark

Chamber Members,
With the fall season just around the corner, we hope you all had a great summer and now that September has arrived we are starting off with the:

  • 31st annual golf tournament (Thurs Sept 6th),
  • Our President Event and AGM, (Tues. Sept 18th) at the Grant Hall 11:45 – 1 for the induction of our new President, Riley Wright from the Moose Jaw Co-op and the new Board of Directors for the 2018-19 fiscal year. 

We here at the Chamber also offers your business many opportunities to meet with other Chamber members that you may want to do business with. Join us at one of our monthly networking functions and annual events. Your participation goes a long way in maximizing your Chamber investment and establishing your business as an active organization in Moose Jaw’s business community.

Plus, as part of your membership, your business receives advertising in our website, members e-mail blast, and social media pages at no extra cost. So please, take advantage of these opportunities! Send us your advertisements, promotions and new happenings with your business and we will proudly promote it!

If you have not been in contact with us recently, I encourage you to stop by or give us a call and find out how we can help promote or grow your business. I can also stop by your place of business and bring the resources to you. If we have not had the opportunity to meet in person, let’s make that happen!

13 Ways to Kill Your Community by Doug Griffiths CONTEST SERIES We encourage you to follow our Facebook page and enter into each contest, Like, Comment and share, share, share!

Please do not hesitate to contact the Chamber office at (306) 692-6414.  Thank you again, and we look forward to seeing you at one of our events in the very near future.

Chamberplan.ca
6 Steps for Managing Conflict

 

6 Steps for Managing Conflict

Most of us hate conflict and will avoid it at all cost. But, when you have people working together, or serving customers, conflict is bound to happen. It's a reality of life. If you find it traumatic and intimidating you are not alone. Here are six things you can do to alleviate some of the stress when conflict occurs.

Accept that conflict is natural.

Given that everyone is different, conflict is completely natural. Whatever relationship two people are in, they will see any situation differently and it's even worse when their vested interests are different. Try to see conflict as an opportunity to grow and learn more about the people you are working or interacting with. If you can begin to overcome conflict, great teambuilding can occur.

Bring issues into the open.

Conflict rarely shows up immediately. More often, it simmers for a while until it's ready to boil over and can't be contained any longer. Conflict may not be completely avoidable, but if you can catch a situation while it's still small you have a better chance to resolve it before you have a full blown war on your hands. As soon as you spot the burning embers of a conflict, bring those involved together to discuss what's going on by bringing the issues out in the open. This starves the conflict of oxygen.

Separate people from ideas.

Conflicts get really heated when ideas are confused with personalities. Conflict usually revolves around an issue over which people disagree. If you can disagree with someone's opinion or viewpoint, but not get angry with the person who holds the opinion, you're much closer to being able to resolve the conflict. When conflict involves one person attacking another, rather than attacking the issue, the problem only gets larger. Focusing on the problem helps put things into perspective, and allows you to reach an amicable solution more quickly.

Share the problem.

When facing conflict in a group, make sure the conflict is defined as a group problem. When a team faces problems together, shared solutions become possible. When a solution is shared, the team invests in the solution and a stronger commitment to the outcome is generated.

Ask for other perspectives.

In a conflict between two people, try to move away from their disagreement by bringing other perspectives into the equation. Ask if anyone else has any thoughts about the problem. This can open the issue up to further examination and allows the original two people to consider alternative ideas and perspectives rather than focusing on the specific friction between the two of them.

Look for common ground.

In every conflict, seek common ground. Ask one party if there is anything he/she likes about the other person's idea. Start there, and build a solution from that common ground. If nothing common can be found, agree to move on and come back to it at another time. Allowing emotional space allows both parties to think about what has transpired. If coming back to it later still doesn't produce a solution, consider bringing in a mediator or an arbitrator to assist with the process.

Conflict is never easy to deal with, but it can be a way to foster better communication between people and teams. Coming to new understandings can strengthen your employees' relationships allowing conflict resolution to be an excellent way to build stronger teams.

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6 Steps for Managing Conflict

 

Five Customer Laws You Should Obey

Have you ever heard someone say, "business would be great if it wasn't for the customers?" Sadly, that statement is all too often not meant as a joke. It's usually said about customers who are complaining but also when we, or our employees are busy and customers are 'getting in the way.'

What we have to remember is that without customers, we wouldn't have a business and although there may be times you wish you could let them know what you're really thinking, the best policy for dealing with your customers is to satisfy them, no matter what. Whether you or your staff are on the front lines, here are 5 laws you should make that your employees should never break.

Never put phone customers ahead of live customers

Have you ever patiently stood in line at the service counter, got to the checkout and then had the service person answer the phone and spend fifteen minutes answering another customer's questions while you stand there feeling ignored and irritated? Customers at your location should always come before customers calling in by telephone. To the 'live' customer, it feels as if someone from the end of the line has cut in front of them just as they reached the service desk. The best way to deal with people calling in is to politely ask them if you can take their name and call them back shortly. Acknowledging and serving customers who are right in front of you will result in them feeling valuable and important to you. These are customers who will return and continue to do business with you.

Never complain in front of customers

Have you ever been in a department store on a sale day? It's chaotic - people everywhere, clothing in heaps and piles, long line-ups for the changing room or to pay. Business is brisk. But then you get a clerk complaining to another co-worker just loudly enough so everyone around her can hear, about how much she hates sale days, about how inconsiderate some customers are, and that 'they' aren't paying her enough to put up with it all.

Customers don't really care whether you think you're getting paid enough, or that you feel you're overworked or how you feel about the company; all they want is good service. Complaining about your job in front of customers is a number one turn-off. If it happens too often, your customers will go where they are welcomed by people whose primary concern is providing them with the service for which they are paying.

Make your customers feel valued

Doing the little things that make people feel special will win your customers over and make them loyal to you forever. The fact that you or your employee remembers a regular customer's name when they walk in the door makes them feel valued. It also makes them feel comfortable - at home. And if they feel that, they will come back again and again. It's positive reinforcement.

Perhaps have a stack of Starbucks' gift cards to hand out as a way of saying sorry, if something goes awry with a customer. Even if it's just for $5 you can turn a frown into a smile - and someone who is frustrated into a returning customer.

It takes very little to make your customers feel special, so take the time to think of ways you can routinely do that. Businesses who do that rise to the top of the heap very quickly, and customers tell their friends about it so referral business goes up as well.

Be courteous at all times

Customers deserve your employees' courtesy at all times. Period. Whether you've had a bad day, a fight with your partner, forgot to pay your income taxes, you're mad at your best friend or whatever ... when the customer walks through the door they deserve your undivided attention and your best attitude. Courtesy includes things like saying please and thank you, using their name if you know it (or can find it on their credit card). "Thanks for shopping with us today Mrs. Jones." goes a long way towards making your customer feel valued. So does offering to go above and beyond. "How would you like this packaged Mr. Smith?" "Can I have one of my staff take it your car?" Courtesy breeds loyalty. So put your best foot forward for your customers and reap the benefits.

Always demonstrate a can-do attitude

You should always be able to do something for your customer. The words "I'm sorry, there's nothing I can do," should never be part of your vocabulary. If your customer needs something you can't provide, make sure you find them someone who can. "Can I phone the downtown store to see if they have one in stock?" "We don't sell those here, but I know that (whomever) on Oak Street does. Perhaps you can find what you're looking for there." If there is genuinely nothing you can do to make the customer happy, find a way to make it up to them. "I'm so sorry we couldn't help you today, but I'll give you a 5% discount on your next order to make up for it." Can-do companies have loyal customers. Empower your employees and make sure you demonstrate a can-do attitude with your customers.

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6 Steps for Managing Conflict

 

The Importance of Why?

WHY is a powerful word which provides a foundation for business or personal decisions. It is the "raison d'ĂȘtre," the reason for being.

Use of WHY questions can create a shift in thinking in different contexts. Both a shift in your mind and a shift in the direction a conversation may go. For instance, asking another person WHY can be very different from asking yourself WHY.

When you hear, "Why did you do that?" which is a classic question asked by parents, teachers, bosses and others, you are likely to react defensively. The perception, whether conscious or not, is that there is a judgment, criticism, or disapproval of the action.

If the question is rephrased as, "What was important to you to do that?" This shifts the thinking from defensive to being more open. The questioner is expressing curiosity; trying to find out more about the behaviour without causing the raising of defensive flags.

Oftentimes, simply reframing a question from Why...? to What...? allows for a dialogue to ensue and it encourages a better understanding between two people, whether it is parent/child, employer/employee or teacher/student. Dialogue opens up the relationship to growth as opposed to shutting it down due to a defensive reaction. It becomes a question of curiosity and learning which can lead to a constructive path of behaviour. It becomes an opportunity to coach or help someone move forward in positive ways.

Conversely, when you ask yourself the question WHY, unless you are being self-critical, you are exploring the reason behind an action or decision more deeply. You are finding the real purpose and motivation. By looking closely at your business, or your career, by using the word WHY, you will engage in a dialogue about what is important and help develop the next steps, i.e. the WHAT and the HOW.

Before using a WHY question with others, I often ask myself how the other person will feel. What is the impact on the person? Will they perhaps see it as a criticism, a judgment or disapproval? It is important if you want to have fruitful conversations which move things forward that your questions open rather than shut down dialogue.

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Moose Jaw & District Chamber of Commerce
88 Saskatchewan St. E, Moose Jaw, SK, S6H 0V4
T: 306.692.6414 F: 306.694.6463
chamber@mjchamber.com
www.mjchamber.com

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