Momentum Podcast: 409
Checking Boxes Instead Of Getting Results
by Alex Charfen
There's a huge difference between checking a box, and actually getting results. On an entrepreneurial team, you need to have near 100% of the people in your organization actually getting the results you're going after. It's easy to be impressed by a long list of completed tasks but if those tasks are not resulting in you achieving the outcomes you want, then it's time for something to change.
Full Audio Transcript
When it comes to people, I always say I don't have time for people who check boxes. I want people who get results. There's a massive difference between getting results and getting things done. When you're hiring team members, you want to make sure you are finding people who know how to drive to a result.
I'm Alex Charfen and this is the Momentum Podcast made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers, and creators of all kinds, those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny. We define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop and we don't know how.
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Cadey and I actually have a nickname for people who don't know how to drive to a result. We call them box checkers and here's why we say that. It's because there's a huge difference between accomplishing a task and actually getting a result. And there are a lot of people, especially people who want to work in entrepreneurial companies, who want to be able to check a box, accomplish a task, do the thing. But there are very few people out there and when you're recruiting, you want to find these people, the ones who know how to drive to a result.
Let me give you an example about exactly what I'm talking about. Let's take social media for example. Today, social media has blown up so much that now there's this new position in companies that just 10 years ago didn't exist, social media manager. In fact, even in small companies, there is social media managers.
Well, here's the challenge with social media. Let's look at an asset like Instagram. Instagram is a site where you can post everyday. You can do stories, you can get things done. So you can post a picture on Instagram and when you post the picture on Instagram, you've achieved something. You've posted something there, but if it doesn't get comments and if it doesn't get traction and if it doesn't drive people to you, it doesn't drive people to your profile to find out more about you, then it really doesn't matter. You're basically just making noise. You're yelling down the hallway, you're yelling in a stadium full of people. In fact, on Instagram, you're yelling in the world's biggest stadium full of people and nobody is going to hear you because if you're not getting the result, it doesn't even matter.
So somebody who knows how to drive to the result will manage your social media, to post on Instagram in a way where you actually get the outcome you want. They'll manage your Instagram posts in a way that drives people to you, that actually gets you leads, that gets it to where things actually happen for you. And this is a massive, massive difference in personality type and in accomplishment from the people who work with you. Or I should say in the people who work with you. And on an entrepreneurial team, you need to have near 100% of the people on your team getting results, not just checking boxes.
Let me give you another scenario, and this is where these scenarios come from. They come from my life. Here's the problem. When I was younger as an entrepreneur, I didn't really understand the differentiation between people who got things done and people who actually got results. In fact, when I was younger, I used to hire people and they would get a bunch of stuff done and I would be so impressed with how much they could get done, but I wouldn't understand that where I really needed to be looking, the scoreboard I really needed to pay attention to was what type of results where they getting. Not how many tasks they accomplished, not how much stuff did they get done, but did that stuff, did those tasks lead to anything significant? Did I actually get the outcomes I wanted as an entrepreneur and as a business owner from that individual?
I remember when I finally had the realization that what I had to do was look at the metrics that show results, not just the milestones that people were accomplishing, I had to put measurement on everything that I was doing to make sure that we were moving in the right direction. Here's another example, and this happened to us quite a while ago, but it's a good example of this exact same thing. At one point, Cadey and I had a pretty large customer service department and the result in customer service that I want is that every client that ever gets off the phone with us feels taken care of. They feel like their issue was resolved and they'd recommend us to a friend.
Well, when we first had to build a large customer service department about 10 years ago, we didn't realize all that it took to build a customer service. We didn't know, or a department. We didn't know everything that we should be looking at. We didn't know what we should be measuring. We didn't know what results we should be measuring.
So initially I said, well, let's make the result that 100% of our phone calls get live or yeah. Let's make it actually initially said, let's make the result 100% of our phone calls get live answered within three rings. We eventually adjusted that because there's just simply times where you get overloaded and you can't get to 100%. But we still, I think maintained 85 or 90 percent live answered within three rings.
Now here's the challenge. That was a great check the box metric, but I didn't say hey, when we answer the phone, we want to make sure the client's taken care of, that they feel like their problem was resolved and that they would recommend us to a friend. In fact, it was about six months or nine months later that when we were running our customer service department where I started realizing like we have people that are answering the phones in three rings, but they're being rude or they're being short or they're in a hurry or they're not actually asking the clients enough questions to make sure that everything's going to be okay. They're not fully solving the client's problem. They're trying to get off the phone as fast as they can.
In fact, in some ways the metric I put in place of answer within three or four rings was driving them to get on and off the phone as fast as possible. And in some ways that metric I put in place, because that was the metric I was telling everyone was important, was actually exacerbating the problem, making it worse, causing bigger challenges not just for our customer service reps but for our customers themselves. Because the goal I gave everybody was answered within three rings. So if somebody got on the phone and it was a heavy call period, they would be doing everything they could to get off the phone as fast as possible.
I remember at one point and listening to phone calls where a customer service reps weren't even saying goodbye in a polite way or thanking people for calling or asking them if there was anything they could do. They literally were like, does that answer the question? The client would say yes. They say, okay, great. Talk to you later. Click. And I remember feeling so frustrated with the customer service rep, like how could they be doing this? This is ridiculous.
And then I remember pulling one of them them into my office and saying hey, I want you to listen to this call. And I played it and the end of the call came and I looked at him and I said is that how you would want to be treated? And he said, absolutely not Alex, but we have this call metric where we have to get off the calls as fast as we can, get to the next call. And we want to make sure we're hitting the number you want. And so I had to do that. I have to get on and off as fast as I could. And I remember thinking like how did I put this in place where it's now become my responsibility, not only my responsibility, but because of exactly what I told my team, my clients aren't being treated the way that I wanted them to?
And so we immediately shifted and said live answer within three or four rings 85 or 90 percent of the time, I can't remember exactly what it was. And then we also said, let's start tracking net promoter score. Net promoter score is a question where you ask the client after they're off the call, you send them out a survey and you say on a scale of one to 10, how likely are you to recommend us to someone you know based on the interaction you had today?
So we had two things now. We wanted to make sure that every single call gave us either read nine or a 10 because that's the only way it counted towards the metric called net promoter score, which is a somewhat complicated metric, but when you look at companies like AT&T or Time Warner Cable or some of the phone companies, other phone companies, their net promoter scores are usually in the 30s or 40s. When you look at a company like Apple who has incredible, some would say extraordinary customer service, or Zappos or Amazon. Their net promoter scores are usually in the 70s. And 70s is where most companies top out.
Well, after about a year of using net promoter score in our company where we told all of our reps the result that we wanted was that every person they were on the phone with would recommend us to a friend because that's the question we're asking, we ended up getting to a net promoter score above Apple's, over Amazon's. We set a standard that was higher than some of the best net promoter score companies in the world. And the reason was we started focusing on the result we wanted. We want our clients to recommend us. We want them to be happy when they're on the phone with us. We want their problems resolved. We want their questions resolved, we want them to be able to move forward and we didn't want anyone feeling like they were stuck or taken advantage of or didn't have their questions answered.
Now, every once in a while it's still happened. No customer service department is perfect. You have to deal with random variables called human beings and sometimes people on the other side are just so angry or so frustrated or frustrated in ways maybe even not against us, or in some cases we messed up at a point where we just couldn't fix it, but the vast majority of the time we accomplished what we wanted and it was a simple change in what we were telling our team to do.
So in your business, where is there a situation or a possibility where your team is checking boxes instead of getting results? Where your team is accomplishing the thing or the task, but not actually getting the result you want? Going into your business and finding those areas and changing the outcome for your team, changing what you measure and changing what the result you ask for is will dramatically change your business and give you an opportunity to grow even faster.
In fact, it was incredible the difference with our customer service department when we started using net promoter score and when we changed the outcomes we told our team we wanted. Our referral business went through the roof. In fact, there were times where on social media people would post I just got off the phone with customer service, with Charfen, or with the Distressed Property Institute, which is what our company used to be named and I'm so impressed. Or I talked to so and so and they're so sweet. And we actually had people calling us to do business with us, to buy our product because they had read a referral about our customer service reps. That's how dramatically things change.
And at the beginning, remember we were having problems. Our clients were being treated poorly and our team was doing exactly what they thought I wanted them to. This has happened to every one of us in business. It's happened to me and if I don't watch it carefully, it happens over and over again. So where is it in your business at this could be happening? Because by simply shifting what you measure and shifting what you tell your team the desired result is you go from checking the box to getting massive results and that's I want you to be.
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