How to lose a customer forever, in less than two minutes!

Customer service can nurture customers and make them loyal for life, or make them fly away and lose them forever. This depends on the way customers are treated. With today’s plethora of offering, power of choice and social media, customer service has become totally critical. Let me tell you about a personal story that happened a couple of days. Although I had prior reservations due to relatively poor service, location was just great and this was a favoring factor for choosing this hotel again. This is where they lost me!

I booked it online, through our internal travel booking system. I realized no more than two minutes later that the chosen dates were wrong. Hey, sh*t happens, I just mixed up things in my mind! I therefore cancelled this booking exactly at the time I realized my mistake. However, because it was an online booking, my credit card was charged of the full amount of the booking. In case you wonder, what the booking dates were, they were almost a month ahead. It was not like I cancelled for the same day, no, the hotel has plenty of time to rebook the room . It was therefore not a net loss for them, however, this booking had a NO CANCEL, NO REFUND policy. I just did not pay attention to the fine prints.

NO REFUND POLICY SUCKS!

A NO REFUND policy is a clear customer rip off to get people to book at a higher price to pay for a partial/total refund policy. Of course, you can say I should have read the fine prints before clicking the Book button. Would it have changed something, probably not, as at that time, I had not realized my dates mistakes, and I was 100% committed to be at that place at that time. On top of this, my credit card has a cancellation insurance attached to it, so the risk was almost nil!

Despite the fact I’m stupid and should have read the fine print, I find having such kind of policies sucks. It feels a way to make money on mistakes. Of course, I’m not completely stupid and know there are some frauds on the markets. People will abuse some lose policies, however applying a no refund policy a month before the actual booking is a clear message to me: this particular company is either not successful and need to make extra money, or is just not customer oriented. In both cases, it triggers a red flag!

GOOD BYE!

This experience reminded me two things: 1. Read the fine print, morons will continue to exist and will continue catching stupid people like me, just because they want to catch flies with honey. 2. Run away from vendors who apply those kinds of policies if possible, since this attitude will tell you how their customer service work, and you are at risk of being deceived later if not sooner. Customer service needs to think how to “service customers”, not to maximize profits at the benefit of customers. This sounds obvious, however, very often forgotten . I’ve always seen this in many industries. Very stringent policies are never pro-customer, they are pro-vendors, and to me it’s a total deterrent. So, here’s a hotel that I will not book in anymore. It just lost me, forever!

If you have to set policies for your commercial activities, ask yourself who they protect? Yourself or your customers? Putting yourself in the shoes of your customer will generally give you the right answer. A company lives thanks to its customers, not because of them. So easy to forget!

8 men own the same wealth as the poorest half of the world

The title of this post is the one of an article found on the World Economic Forum web site. Everybody wants to be wealthy, it’s all a matter of the size of the wealth. Another article on the same web site, written by the Executive Director of Oxfam, goes into some additional details. The video below, embedded in both articles, illustrates the basic idea of the gaps that exist between the richest and the poorest.

Wealth sharing

Even though the poorest are less and less, which is a good thing, because it brings more stability and health for everybody, the richest people get richer. You can see this in the below chart showing the share of global wealth in the last 6 years.

Share of global wealth, 2010-2015
Image: Oxfam

A lot of food for thoughts, that need to drive the governments across the planet to change the way they tackle this share of wealth, and how to continue creating a more human economy.

Basic Income

Capital in the Twenty-First Century by [Piketty, Thomas]Although I do not see the creation of a basic income for everybody as the solution to this reduction, I’m not an economist and I do not have the knowledge to make a decision, but at least to have an opinion. When you cross this with the reading of the Capital in the 21st Century, by Thomas Piketty, it makes you think that our current economic model is doomed.

So what is the solution? Well, read Piketty, makes yourself your own opinion and start something, even small. I think we have all the tools to change the world dramatically. As Ghandi said: “You must be the change you want to see in the world”, so what change do you want to be?

Not only those two articles are interesting, the video that you will find at the end of the first is really insightful. I look forward to your comments.

Top Photo by Madi Robson on Unsplash

L’effet cumulé

Lisez dix pages par jour et vous aurez lu une dizaine de livres en un an. Mettez dix euros de côté tous les jours et vous aurez de quoi vous payez une voiture neuve en trois ans sans avoir à emprunter un centime. Faites vingt minutes de gymnastique tous les jours et vous retrouverez ligne et santé en quelques mois.

Ce n’est pas la résolution de nouvelle année qui est oublié quinze jours plus tard qui est importante, c’est l’action répétée tous les jours qui fait son effet. Et cette action provoque le cumul naturel, comme les intérêts d’un investissement qui génèrent eux aussi des intérêts, accélérant exponentiellement leur production.

Il n’y a rien de magique dans l’effet cumulé, juste du bon sens. Reste à le faire marcher dans le bon sens !

Rémunération, socialisme et connerie…

Jour 610. Y’en a ras-le-bol de la connerie de nos politiques qui s’émeuvent de la « rémunération indécente » de Michel Combes, futur ex-patron d’Alcatel-Lucent. Aucun pour s’émouvoir de la rémunération des joueurs de foot de Ligue 1. Entre les millions virtuels en actions, mérités je tiens à le dire, de monsieur Combes, et les millions en euros des joueurs du PSG, je ne comprends pas l’émotion. Monsieur Combes a sauvé Alcatel-Lucent de la faillite qui aurait envoyé au tapis des milliers de salariés. Aucun joueur de foot n’a sauvé quelque emploi que ce soit, n’en a d’ailleurs créé aucun non plus, mais a fait sa fortune sur les millions de « pauvres » qui payent pour regarder des matchs de foot ou acheter de couteux gadgets à l’effigie de leurs idoles. Qui est le plus utile dans l’histoire ? Du pain et des jeux demandaient les Romains, il semble bien que nous soyons revenus en arrière !

Alors de grâce messieurs et mesdames de la politique, faites votre travail et les patrons feront le leur. Régulez l’entreprise de ses excès, mais ne lui donnez pas de leçon. Si le monde de la politique était irréprochable, il pourrait se permettre de faire des recommandations au nom de l’entreprise, mais il prouve au quotidien qu’il en est bien loin. Arrêtez de prendre les gens pour des “qu’on manipule”. Depuis 2012, les entreprises françaises ont perdu des milliers de chefs d’entreprise et de cadres brillants qui ont préféré quitté la France pour aller faire fortune ailleurs. J’en côtoie tous les jours et ils ne rentreront pas de sitôt.

Au fait monsieur Macron, vous avez gagné combien chez Rothschild ? Monsieur Valls, ça coûte combien aux contribuables un vol en Falcon 7X pour aller voir jouer Barcelone à Berlin ? Et vous, monsieur le président normal, elle coûte combien aux Français votre maitresse ? Messieurs les politiques, ayez au moins la décence de faire votre métier sans cracher sur ceux qui ont des résultats. Parce que pour les résultats de la France, même au bout de trois ans, ils se font attendre !

The 3 rules of sound personal money management

Weathering the storm

Rule number 2: Manage your money like a company – First Part

https://pixabay.com/fr/users/jarmoluk-143740/

https://pixabay.com/fr/users/jarmoluk-143740/

Day 541. Money is an energy. It’s used to fuel the world. A lot of people say money is the root of evil and therefore encourage others to live in poverty or at least with a minimum money. I believe that money can be a blessing and a curse. It all depends on how you manage your money. It’s true that money can make people go crazy and commit crime. It’s although true that money can save people’s lives, can cure disease and can positively contribute to the well-being of people. As for many things, charity begins at home and it’s crucial to know the basis management rules of money. Personal money should obey the same rules as an entreprise money.

You are your own company, let’s call it yourself, inc. Yourself, inc. has an accountant: you! And if there are one guy in a company that knows how to handle the company’s money, it’s the accountant. He can be, or has to be, the bad-ass who ensures money is well treated. A financially sound company can weather any storm and will resist any crisis. Same for an individual. However, to handle your personal finance well, it has to obey the following 3 simple principles:

  1. Pay everything cash, except for case number 2
  2. Use credit only if the asset you acquire allows you to make money
  3. Put aside a share of your monthly revenue to weather storms or to treat you (in cash)

Of course, this is not what a majority of people will tell you. I will however show you why these three simple, though not easy to apply, principles will be at the start of sound money management.

Day 461 – Debt

Day 461Debt is the price we pay to live in a modern world. Stop allowing a state to go into debt and most of our infrastructure will stop being maintained, large scale projects will not exist due to lack of funding. Debt can be good and debt can be bad, like most things in life by the way. However, with the various issues around debt in lots of countries and economies across the world, we may need to rethink progress. The world has grown so fast in the last century, so our debt. We will leave an almost dead planet to our kids and a debt they will make years to repay.

Although I am not a macro economist, not an economist, I keep thinking of debt has good and bad, depending on whether it’s generating wealth or not. I could had to this its neutrality to the environment. In other word, a wealth generating debt that is taxing our environment is bad and so is a non-wealth generating debt that is neutral or positive to our environment. Although we can question the latter in terms of wealth, since if it’s positive to the environment, then it’s generating a certain form of wealth.

Look at your debts. Get rid of those that are making other wealthy and keep those that are making yourself wealthy!

Le guide minimaliste du succès financierThe minimalist guide to financial success

Êtes-vous le PDG de Moi SA ? La question peut sembler étrange, il est cependant important que vous vous comportiez comme un dirigeant d’entreprise si vous voulez avoir du succès dans la vie. Qu’est ce qui définit le succès d’une entreprise ? Un marketing brillant, des produits géniaux, un service client incroyable et surtout, surtout, un compte de résultat et un bilan équilibrés. Tout bon PDG sait lire ces états financiers et pilote son entreprise avec ces nombres à l’esprit.

Dans tous les cas, c’est l’argent, et en particulier le cash, qui permet à une entreprise de croître et de créer des emplois. Le point positif d’être le PDG de Moi SA est que vous ne pouvez pas être licencié. Vous pouvez cependant faire faillite et mettre votre famille en danger si vous faites des erreurs financières, que vous auriez pu éviter avec un peu de connaissances et de travail (et oui, pas de travail, pas de résultat).

Si vous ne contrôlez pas votre argent, vous mettez votre équilibre financier en danger. Suze Orman.

Prenez conscience du fait que vous êtes une mini entreprise. Vous avez des entrées financières (vos revenus) et des sorties (vos achats). Votre objectif est d’équilibrer ces flux afin d’avoir une variance positive, c’est-à-dire de dépenser moins que ce que vous gagnez. Cela semble une évidence ? Si ça l’était autant que ça, moins de personnes seraient submergées de dettes, mais c’est un autre sujet.

Nous n’allons pas rentrer dans les détails d’un compte de résultat ou d’un bilan, mais suivre une liste de principes financiers simples.

Le haut de bilan

En haut d’un compte de résultats, à droite en comptabilité française, se trouvent les revenus. Il s’agit du chiffre que vous devez absolument connaitre: combien d’argent gagnez-vous par mois et par an ? Votre salaire vient à l’esprit, mais vous pouvez avoir d’autres sources de revenus comme les dividendes d’actions que vous possédez ou les intérêts générés par vos placements. Un de vos objectifs doit être d’augmenter la ligne de vos revenus.

En regard de la ligne des revenus, sur la gauche, se trouve généralement celle des achats de marchandises. En général Moi SA n’a pas d’achats, vous pouvez donc oublier cette ligne. Ensuite, sous les achats de marchandises se trouvent les dépenses de fonctionnement. Il est crucial que vous sachiez où passe votre argent, car cela a un impact direct sur vos profits. Pensez à inclure vos impôts, surtout celui sur le revenu, ainsi que vos frais financiers, par exemple l’emprunt que vous remboursez.

Le bas de bilan

La dernière ligne de votre compte de résultats est votre profit net. Plus la valeur de cette ligne est grande par rapport à vos revenus, meilleurs sont vos résultats. Si cette valeur est négative, vous enregistrez des pertes. Cela indique que vous vivez au-dessus de vos moyens et qu’il faut résoudre cette situation en réduisant vos dépenses et augmentant vos revenus.

Un de vos objectifs est donc de maximiser votre profit net. Cela enchantera votre investisseur, vous, et surtout remplira votre compte en banque.

Le cash est roi

Tout bon PDG vous dira que le cash, aussi appelé liquidités, est la mesure la plus importante. Si vous disposez de liquidités, vous pouvez répondre positivement à un investissement intéressant ou traverser avec succès une mauvaise passe. Le cash fait et défait les entreprises. De nombreuses personnes luttent financièrement car elles ne savent pas de combien de cash elles disposent et se servent de dettes pour faire leurs achats, accroissant de fait leurs dépenses.

Même si le succès n’est pas que financier, avoir quelques notions de comptabilités est vital. Etudiez les chiffres, apprenez à lire un compte de résultat, établissez le vôtre, et devenez le PDG de Moi SA ! Prenez le contrôle de vos finances si vous voulez réussir votre vie.

Are you the CEO of Yourself inc.? While this question may sound odd, it is crucial that you behave and act like a CEO if you ever want to be successful. What makes a prosperous company? Brilliant marketing, awesome products, incredible customer service and above all sound balance sheet and income statement. A great CEO always knows how to read these two financial statements and drive her company with numbers in mind.

At the end of the day, it is money, and particularly cash, that allows companies to grow and create employment. The great thing about being the CEO of Yourself inc. is that you cannot be fired. However, you can go bankrupt or put your family in jeopardy because of financial mistakes that you could have easily avoided.

If you’re not staying on top of your money, you are putting your financial well-being at risk. Suze Orman

The first thing to realize is yourself or your family is like a mini company: you have inputs (your income) and needs (your purchases). Your goal is to balance those so you have a positive variance, meaning you need to spend less than you earn. It seems obvious, doesn’t it? Well if it was that obvious, people would not be deeply indebted, but this is another topic.

We are not going to discover all the intricacies of an income statement or a balance sheet, but to follow a simple series of sound finance principles.

The top line

At the top of an income statement is the revenue line. This is the first item you need to know exactly: how much do you make per month and per year? The obvious is your salary, but there may be other sources of income, like the dividends of stocks you own or the interests generated by your savings. One of your goals should be to increase your top line, your revenue.

Below the revenue line, you normally find the cost of goods sold. Yourself inc. does not generally have goods to sell, you can therefore discard this line. Then, you will find the expenses line. It is really crucial that you know where you are spending your money, because this has a direct effect on your profit. Include your taxes, particularly the income tax, and the interests you are paying to the bank if you have borrowed money.

The bottom line

The last line of your income statement is your net profit. This is one of the most important lines, called the bottom line. The bigger it is compared to your top line, the better. Of course, if you end up with a negative number, this is a loss. This tells you that you live above your means, and you should immediately solve this situation by reducing your expenses and increasing your revenue.

Take as one of your goal to maximize your net profit. This will please the shareholder, you, and will put available cash to your bank account.

Cash is king

All good CEOs will tell you that cash flow is the most important financial measure. If you have cash on hand, you can face any potential interesting investment or any challenge. Cash is making or breaking a company. Lots of people are struggling financially because they do not know how much cash they have on hand and use debt to finance their purchases, thus increasing their expenses.

Although it’s true success is not only financial, having some notions of accountancy is vital to life. Study numbers, learn how to read an income statement, and become the CEO of Yourself inc. Take charge of your finances if you want to live a successful life.