These are the few things I want you to keep in mind when serving our customers at Lil Helper:
Don't take it for granted
The reputation that Lil Helper has built took a lot of thought, perseverance, and heart. Never take any customer for granted, no matter how big or small. When a parent chooses to spend their hard earned money with us, we have to deliver a fantastic product and top it off with even better customer service. We have had this attitude since Day 1 and will keep it forever. We make mistakes all the time, but we are never careless or negligent.
Treat them like family
Bend over backward to provide help. Do what you would do for your own family. Use your best judgment when you need to balance the business aspect. We are still running a for-profit establishment. But we will never choose profit over common decency. Profits can be compromised when it is in the best interest of serving our patrons, even if you have to point them to a competitor. We don't treat our customers like kings and queens, we treat them like family, which IMO is better.
Behave as if the customer is in the room
Very (very) rarely you will have a customer who is not pleasant to deal with. When that happens, I would empathize with them having a bad day and not take it personally. You cannot talk poorly of the customer to your team members or even me. Talk as if the customer is there. You can state the facts without putting anybody down. Always give the customer the benefit of doubt. This policy has always allowed me to sleep well.
Take risks, big risks
You are being brought in the company to do something that no one else can do. If you do the same boring stuff that I do, then we don't need you. I need you to do things that I don't have the gall to do. Be it for the customer or how to run the company better.
You are the CEO of what you do
I am just the CEO by title. All of us have the same power (and responsibility) of affecting change in LH as I do. If you have a better idea on how to do things, bring it up. Better still, implement it and show it off to your sisters. All of us are leaders and I need you to be one as well.
Don't ask for permission
If it's broken, fix it. You don't need to ask me or anybody else. If you do something dumb in the pursuit of something profound, ask for forgiveness, but do not waste your time or mine by asking for permission. As long as the objective is the betterment of Lil Helper and its patrons, it is imperative that you do it.
Learn and master new things
If you are doing ONLY the thing that you were originally hired to do then I have failed you and worst still, you didn't spread your wings. If you are not willing to learn new, challenging things then you are doing yourself and LH a disservice. Once you learn a new skill, teach it to others, including yours truly.
We carry each other
When things go well, we share the credit. Always. There is no "I did this", it is always "we did this". So you will have to go out and comfort, lift, encourage your sisters. The more you give, the more you get, in business and in life. It might not be true, but I will die believing that it is.
Spread the good news
If you do something awesome, share it. Not everyone (including myself) has eyes on what you do. Give us the chance to applaud your good work. And this also goes the other way. If you see any of your colleagues (including myself) do a good job- let the rest of the team know. All of us need to know that we are doing well. Compliments should never be in short supply.
Art is never finished, only abandoned. Running a business is like creating a massive painting. It might be beautiful as is, but there is always scope for improvement. That change comes only with feedback. Provide plenty and you will get more. Feel free to improve anybody's projects or give honest feedback to help them make it better. Expect the same for yourself.
Nip it in the bud
If you see a behavior from anyone, including me, that could be improved, let us know. All of us could use a bit of reflection.
Make NEW mistakes
I want you to make mistakes. It tells me that you are doing something new and learning. If you repeat the same mistakes, then you are being careless. Careless would also imply that you don't care. Don't do anything that you don't care about. I rather you fail chasing something revolutionary then do mediocre work.
Do what you enjoy
If there is a part of the business that you'd like to learn about or to participate in, then do it. Also if you enjoy doing a project more than other things take the initiative and dive in. You have the responsibility to find happiness in your work.
Ask WHY often
Any policy or thing we do at Lil Helper is for a reason. And the reason is almost never, so we can make more money. If the WHY of doing something is not apparent then search for it. When you know the WHY the task becomes more meaningful. Also, when you do something new, make sure you have a clear definition of your own WHY
LH is NOT another company selling stuff on the interwebs. We have an amazing head start by proving that a business can solve a problem, be fun, bring joy, make a patron's life better and be profitable. Let's make the best of this opportunity that we have earned collectively and make it more commonplace where other companies can copy our model of doing right by their customers.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you
The golden rule, self-explanatory. Apply it generously every day to our customers and to your colleagues. If you follow this, everything else automatically falls into place. This is coming from a man of no faith.
I am available 24/7
I sincerely mean this. Call me whenever you need me. The only dumb questions are the ones you don't ask. I will pick up your call at any time, no matter where I am in the world. I am never too busy to talk to you. Here's my cell: 647 885 4642. I am up most days at 5 am EST, but if poop hits the fan don't see the time. I do not see Lil Helper as work, it is what I do.
Added on 29th August 2020:
One of my mentors would always say in Hindi: Jo dikhta hain, bikta hain (what shows well, sells well).
Which basically means, if you want to sell something make sure you do a good to great job of showing it to your customers.
Customers will not buy something that they cannot see or understand at the first glance.
As soon as confusion or a doubt or a question sets in, they will not make the purchase. Actually most customers subconsciously are looking for a way to get out of making a purchase, so by showing prints and features, we are answering questions and clearing doubts in order to make the purchasing decision quicker and simpler.
Another thing I do to make our site and product offering are better. I go to a website and think of the ways they could have convinced me faster or better to make the purchase. Once I identify it, I will try and see if we are doing it already for our own business. Infographics, multiple pics, long & engaging descriptions, a drawn out feature lists saying some of the most obvious things to the customer, FAQs, product videos, etc are some of the things I would have liked to see on other websites so we are putting it on our own. And this is just the website, I can do this and have done it for every department at LH.
I have literally spent the last 11 years of my life building, working and dreaming about LH. ANything I encounter, be it reading or something that happens to me, my first thought is how can I use this to make LH better. That's all I ever think about. This includes how to make the products better, how to be a better leader, how to communicate and treat the people who work with me more happier - everything in my life is about LH. I almost feel guilty saying this but LH is my obsession.
Only recently have we have had such a solid team (present company included) that can take a lot of my workload off so I can concentrate on streamlining other aspects of the business.
I know, it's a long and repetitive answer to a simple question but I wanted you guys to know that a lot of thought and energy has gone behind everything we do at LH.
I hope you understand what I am trying to do here. I am explaining the "Why" we do certain things. A great quote that I love by Nietzche: A man who has a good "Why" can endure almost any "How". So my translation for this is: as long as we know why we are doing something, the how to do it is the easy part.
LH's Why we do anything is to bring JOY to our customers. Everything we do is in the service of that one mission.
So next time, when I or Josh or any other team member ask you to do something and you don't understand or don't know why we are doing it, make it a point to ask me or that person so I can explain it to you.
After the explanation, if you can come up with a better solution, then we will do it your way. Just because we do something one way doesn't mean that it is set in stone. It just means that this is the best way we could do something at that point in time - that's all. If you come up with a better way or can make a case of why something is not necessary then we'll do it your way.