How to Fully Understand Your Staff

When you invested substantial money, effort and time in building a reputable business, you should risk losing your customers just because of poor staff or inefficient customer service? It takes just one rude staff or one unanswered complaint to wreck years of carefully built-up trust and damage the name of your company. Yes, customer service…

When you invested substantial money, effort and time in building a reputable business, you should risk losing your customers just because of poor staff or inefficient customer service? It takes just one rude staff or one unanswered complaint to wreck years of carefully built-up trust and damage the name of your company.

Yes, customer service and staff behavior is just as important as the quality of your products but this is something that most businesses sadly miss out on checking. Do not repeat the mistake that has been the bane of many thriving companies; talk to mystery shopping companies today to understand how they can help you to understand your staff better and take immediate remedial action.

How can a Mystery Shopping Company help you?

When it is important for you to understand the exact needs of your customer, it is vital to have an objective view of your current standard of customer service.

This is all the more important if you are in the retail industry where one-to-one interaction between the customers and your sales team is common. Mystery shopping programs are created specifically to provide you with a clear and accurate understanding of the quality of your service and its shortcomings.

Mystery shoppers are trained by their companies to identify specific qualities or the lack of it among each and every staff member in your customer service department or amongst your sales team. Once the assignment is over, the company will provide you with a detailed report on the strength and weaknesses of your service or sales team.

How does Mystery Shopping Work?

Mystery shopping companies have trained staff on their panel who pose as genuine customers and make discreet enquiries about services and products offered by your company. There are several approaches to this such as website questions, telephonic surveys and onsite shopping.

Website Queries

The mystery shopper will visit your website and post queries on the kind of service available or delve deeper to related areas such as shipping time, return policy, terms and conditions and so on. The basic idea is always to upload a set of questions that are most likely to be posted by genuine customers and get an idea on how quickly the sales or service team reverts back or how well they are with the responses.

Telephonic Surveys

For telephonic surveys, the list of queries can be more detailed as the mystery shopper will actually speak to your sales and service team and try to probe even deeper. Telephonic surveys are a wonderful way of understanding how polite or rude your staff is; how they handle the rush of incoming calls; how they react to uncomfortable questions or how they deal with difficult customers. Many mystery shopping companies will also record the entire conversation for your better understanding.

Onsite Shopping

This is the most direct way of evaluating your staff and identifying the loopholes in your sales and servicing team. Here the mystery shopper will actually go over to your promises and interact directly with your sales team. This is one of the best ways of understanding how much employees understand your company vision or how much knowledge they have imbibed about products and services during training. Hiring a mystery shopping company is therefore a good way of evaluating the success of your training program.

The Cost of Doing Business Today

One of the best tips for small business is to maximize their presence on the internet. A small company can gain great exposure by utilizing social media, for example. More and more people – consumers – are using social media not only to communicate and share details about their personal lives, but also to relay…

One of the best tips for small business is to maximize their presence on the internet. A small company can gain great exposure by utilizing social media, for example. More and more people – consumers – are using social media not only to communicate and share details about their personal lives, but also to relay experiences, both positive and negative, regarding customer service. This platform also enables a more immediate resolution to a consumer's issue. The more efficient a company can process the needs of its customer, the more transactions it is able to process and there before more likely to increase sales and expand business. As a result, it can increase profit! All businesses, small businesses especially, should maximize the benefit of the social media environment by monitoring Twitter, Facebook and reviews and / or comments on their website in order to respond promptly when necessary.

Another tip for small businesses to increase quality of customer service is to invest in software which tracks customer habits. This software can enable a company to reach out and reward a frequent customer with special discounts on products or services, and in turn can solidify a customer's loyalty to their brand. It can also track once customers who may appreciate and be lured back with similar promotions.

A main key to providing effective customer service is knowledgeable representatives. Educated employees are best able to serve customers in a timely, appropriate manner. An informed agent can better assist a customer in choosing the right product or service, therefore making it more likely a customer will make a purchase and / or return to the store or website. Empowering one's staff creates the best opportunity for both repeat business and positive referrals.

Still another sign of effective customer service is good personal skills among employees. Customer service agents are ambassadors for a brand. Commanding their best possible personal skills will enable an employee to make a customer feel welcome as opposed to an inconvenience. If a customer has a complaint, it is important for a representative to hear it in its entity, both to better and more efficiently assist the customer, and also to let the customer know he or she cares about the issue and its resolution. How agents interact with customers or clients can also influence those surrounding them. Make sure their observations are positive!

There are many benefits of good service, first and foremost repeat business, which is especially important for growing a small business. Loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase, according to studies on the rewards of effective good service. Another figure worth noting is that 80% of consumers say they would pay more to ensure a superior customer experience. These statistics show just how important good service and support are to consumers, as well as how important it is to keep them satisfied. It is 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to keep an old one.

An equally important benefit of good customer service is customer referrals. Effective customer service gains trust with current clients and builds a referral system. The same studies report that 78% of online customers recommend a brand to friends and other contacts after a great customer experience. In addition to referring to those we know, a company which can allow a customer to review a product or service can influence others who visit the brand's website and potentialally make or break future sales.

http://www.aquariusdesignsinc.com/the-cost-of-doing-business/

The Advantages of Business Phone Answering Services

The number of incoming business calls is indicative of the demand for an answering service. If they can be taken from the office with no trouble for the employees, the company can do without it. However, if the workload is overwhelming, it is reasonable to outsource the duty to a business call center. If your…

The number of incoming business calls is indicative of the demand for an answering service. If they can be taken from the office with no trouble for the employees, the company can do without it. However, if the workload is overwhelming, it is reasonable to outsource the duty to a business call center. If your company receives more calls than the employees can handle in a way that does not negatively impact their efficiency, the only solution is investing in a professional virtual office.

How do the clients get acquainted with the company? The contact is established through a person who answers the phone. Thus, this call is to be handled in the most effective way to ensure keeping a regular customer and attracting a new one. Under the conditions of a busy office even a well-trained receptionist can not deal with all incoming calls. Therefore, a business phone answering service will be a guarantee of a favorable impression made on the customers. If the calls are frequently unanswered, customers' dissatisfaction tends to lead to losing clients and their confidence. Everyone is interested in obtaining prompt and comprehensive responses to all questions and concerns. An efficient call answering service gives personal attention to every customer which in its turn pays off in spades. Proper attitude results in a long-term commitment of the customers to your business.

A top-notch business phone answering service always takes into consideration the needs of the customers of every particular company. Some services cooperate with numerous businesses and deal with clients in multiple fields. Thus, it is a matter of topmost importance for you to choose the right call center . You will benefit from a team of operators who work only with the customers of your company and are well aware of all details and peculiarities of your business. Correspondingly, the staff train hard and learn loads of information about your goods or services. They will be focused only on enhancing the success and prosperity of your company without getting distracted with the calls related to other businesses.

A present-day market is full of various goods and services which are offered to potential customers. The quality of a business phone answering service can build a professional image of the company even if it is operated on the move or from home. All important calls are going to be answered while you deal with other urgent business matters.

A Customer Service Center For Your Business

You have probably said it a dozen times, you can not afford help desk support. A customer service center would be a great asset to your company. With limited resources you are only able to offer customer service during normal business hours and can only have a few people on staff. The concern is that…

You have probably said it a dozen times, you can not afford help desk support. A customer service center would be a great asset to your company. With limited resources you are only able to offer customer service during normal business hours and can only have a few people on staff. The concern is that clients during the day as well as after business hours will grow frustrated and take their business elsewhere.

This is a legitimate concern and one you must find a solution to immediately. But how can you fix this with a limited budget? How can you offer full time, 24/7 support without breaking the bank? There are some simple solutions to this matter and the best one is Tier 1 Support. As you may already know having tier 1 Support will allow you to offer great customer service to your clients at any time. One of the reasons people overlook this type of help desk support is because they believe it is far too expensive for a company of their size.

That is not only incorrect but it is an example of why companies are struggling to find creative solutions to very common problems. The fact is that when you add the expenses of an increased labor force, training, more equipment, office space and everything else to build your own customer service center, Tier 1 Support is drastically less expensive. Not only is it less expensive but the quality of service it offers your customers is outstanding. Many businesses now wish to use this try of help desk support, not because it will save them money, but because it actually offers a higher quality of service to their customers.

So if the quality is better and the cost is cheaper than why do so many businesses decline these types of services? The answer is simply oversight. It is no easy task to run and maintain a business and you probably do not have the time needed to research dozens of solutions to a singular problem. Therefore you try to find the quick and easy solution in hope that it is the best solution out there. More than likely it is not and that's where you create new problems. The good news is that when it comes to customer service, Tier 1 Support is the quickest, easiest and most cost-efficient solution you will find. Just remember that you need to be aware of the advantages that are out there for your business.

Do Help Desk Services Improve Your Business?

Planning a strategy to improve your business can not be easy and for a lot of people there are plenty of questions. Can help desk services help, how do you set a budget, how can you expand and so much more. There are literally hundreds of questions you need to answer but before you do…

Planning a strategy to improve your business can not be easy and for a lot of people there are plenty of questions. Can help desk services help, how do you set a budget, how can you expand and so much more. There are literally hundreds of questions you need to answer but before you do it is time to take a look at your own business.

What areas are you looking to improve upon? Are you trying to trim cost, improve customer service, expand production, increase sales or something else? The next step is to make sure you find solutions which help in more than a single area. For example, help desk support will allow you to improve customer service obviously. But are there other areas where Tier 1 Support can help to improve your business?

More than likely you are already spending a large amount of time and money trying to strengthen your customer service. This can get even more expensive as you look to make drastic improvements. However, with the use of Tier 1 Support you will not only get better quality customer service for your company, but you will also be able to save a lot of money and time. This obviously makes a huge advantage when trying to trim expenses. You also want to be aware of the difference in quality as it will benefit you greatly.

The difference in quality is not as simple as comparing help desk services with other forms of customer service. The difference is when you can offer Tier 1 Support to your clients 24/7. That is a key advantage that few companies are able to offer and it will give you a leg up on the competition. Most companies can only offer services during normal business hours as costs will drastically increase otherwise. Having the ability to offer service 24/7, 365 days at a drastically reduced cost can not be overlooked.

No matter the size of your company, there is always room to grow and improve. You want to make sure that you take a moment to review where your company stands today and where you want it to be a year from now. Look for services that offer you multiple advantages before you try taking on issues one by one. Something that offers you multiple solutions will not only eliminate more concerns for you as you try to improve your company, but it will also save you more money in the long run and that is something every business can benefit from.

But It’s Fah-REE! Do You Still Expect It to Be Good?

“Well it's freee. What do you expect?” This was something I overheard at a social event where there was complimentary food. The bread was dry, the salad was soggy and the beer was watery. Yet everyone's expectations were met. Is that what we have come to settle for? That when we do not pay for…

“Well it's freee. What do you expect?” This was something I overheard at a social event where there was complimentary food. The bread was dry, the salad was soggy and the beer was watery. Yet everyone's expectations were met. Is that what we have come to settle for? That when we do not pay for something that it is going to be sub-par?

Let's look at this another way. Imagine for a moment … Your brother-in-law is a carpenter. The family is sitting around the table for Sunday dinner. You mention that you would like to have your basement remodeled. Your brother-in-law enthusiastically offers to do it for you, for the price of materials and a few steaks on the grill. “Sweet!”, You say, equally enthusiastically. “Let's do it.” Nine months later, you're still starving at bare studs in your walls. WHAT ?!

This begs the question, should we charge full price for our products and services when dealing with friends and family? And if they do get a 'deal', and are not paying full price, does that give us permission to get stingy and slack off with the very people who could be (um, should be?) Our greatest supporters?

I believe that ANY TIME you are delivering your product or service, it should be done to the best of your ability. Regardless of the situation, do a great job, every time. Not just because someone may notice, or that that it's the right thing to do, but because it's the way to show people they can expect your best every time. Not just when it's convenient, or when you're getting paid top dollar. Every time. What happens then is that your best becomes what people expect of you, which is otherwise known as your REPUTATION. What an easy way to get a great reputation.

I have clients who do work for one another all the time. They do not do it as a trade. They do not skimp or take extra long to do the project just because it's for a friend. They do their best work. And guess what? They are also their best source of referrals for one another.

I like this quote by Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon; “A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” We recognize it on companies and brands, but do not always think about our own personal, or business brand.

What do YOU ​​think? Is it better to pay full price for something to get the level of quality you expect?

Putting Some “Suds” in Your Customer Service Will Improve Customer Satisfaction.

Many years ago, my high school chemistry teacher shared with us an experience he had while working at a laboratory in southern Indiana. They were developing a new laundry detergent and it was terrific. In lab tests a half of cup cleaned better than a full cup of the major competitor's product. Everyone knew it…

Many years ago, my high school chemistry teacher shared with us an experience he had while working at a laboratory in southern Indiana.

They were developing a new laundry detergent and it was terrific. In lab tests a half of cup cleaned better than a full cup of the major competitor's product. Everyone knew it was going to be a big success. Then they ran a consumer trial and the results were horrible. They were stunned and disappointed. No one appeared to like the product. One response said that it was like washing the clothes in tap water. When they read that response they realized what went wrong. They had been so concerned with the active ingredient and how effective it was, they had forgotten to add the suds. They found a substance that produced luxurious suds when agitated in water and added it to the new detergent then ran another consumer trial. The responses were terrific and that detergent soon became the best selling product on the market. Those suds had absolutely nothing to do with the effectiveness of the product, but they had everything to do with the public's perception of the product's value.

In our service industries we often became so wrapped up in providing technically effective, valuable service for our customers that we sometimes forget how important their perception of our service is to our success. We may need to add “suds” to our service to improve their perception. Those things we can do that will not improve the quality of our service yet will greatly increase our customer's satisfaction with us.

The best example of something we can add is a smile. On the telephone a smile changes our tone of voice and makes a significant difference in our customer's reaction and satisfaction. In person it is even more important. A technician who smiles and appears to enjoy his or her work and the opportunity to serve the customer will be perceived to be doing a much better job than a technician who looks disgusted or even worse bored with the job. That is true even when both are providing the same technically efficient service for the customer. A few other examples of suds are: removing or covering wet or dirty shoes; not standing too close when the customer comes to the door; and not blocking their driveway.

Years ago I shared my suds story in a series of service meetings in each of our company's branches. I listed a few of my ideas on the board to get the discussion started and each technician or administrative assistant was asked to share the things they were doing to increase customer satisfaction. In those brief brainstorming sessions other things we could do to produce “suds” were added to my list. I began with five ideas and after all of the meetings, I had a list of more than 60 practical ways to improve our customer's satisfaction, most of them better than mine. The important thing was to get our service providers to share with coworkers the little things that seem to improve their customers' satisfaction. The best ideas spread through the company faster than the common cold and as a result customer satisfaction greatly improved.

We must never forget the fact that our customers' perception of our service is reality to them.

What Affect Do Premium Rate Numbers Have On Customers?

Most companies operate telephone lines as a channel for communication for all of their services – from customer advice to sales to complaints. This is absolutely fine, especially because telephone numbers allow for a direct connection through to the department that you need to speak with. However, many companies operate a system where they advertise…

Most companies operate telephone lines as a channel for communication for all of their services – from customer advice to sales to complaints. This is absolutely fine, especially because telephone numbers allow for a direct connection through to the department that you need to speak with. However, many companies operate a system where they advertise numbers for customer services that are charged at a premium rate, but when the sales lines are free to call.

Does this have an effect on the opinions that the customer has of the company? Would it benefit the company more if they did not adopt this attitude and charged all telephone calls at the same rate? The simple answer is yes to both of these. Companies fell into the trap of underestimating the impact of their service on their customers and for those who continue along this vein, they are noticing the difference.

There is one basic rule that all companies should follow: retention is easier than acquisition. For the majority of customers, the hassle that is involved in transferring their account from one company to another is too great for them to be bothered to do it too regularly. Therefore if the company they are currently with is acceptable enough to stay with, they will stay with them, even if they cost a little more than other companies. Therefore, for the company, they will find that it is far more cost effective for them to employ customer advisers who simply go through the motions of altering account information than to employ sales Advisors.

To make a sale a company has to be willing to make an offer that the customer can not refuse. This is most likely to fall into the financial category and will leave the customer better off – automatically making sure that the company picks up whatever is in deficit. This is not the case with customers that the company has already acquired because of course because the customer has been with the company for a period of time and therefore initial costs have balanced themselves out.

Charging customers for assistance is also a sure-fire way to make sure customers group together on social forums on the internet. If they are able to ask for, and receive, advice without having to part with their cash, they will do. This will of course in turn make sure that the company loses out on earnings because customers can find support elsewhere.

Answering Services: A Promising Perspective for Small Businesses

In the modern era of offices, the issue of calls reception has become a real art. Company heads train their secretaries and receptionists, teach them how to sound polite and develop guidelines for them to talk to clients. Which is understandable, as every client is extremely valuable in the world of tough business competition. However,…

In the modern era of offices, the issue of calls reception has become a real art. Company heads train their secretaries and receptionists, teach them how to sound polite and develop guidelines for them to talk to clients. Which is understandable, as every client is extremely valuable in the world of tough business competition. However, more recent advances in the sphere of communication suggest that spending a lot of time and money to train a lot of people is irrational, while the business call center service can be used instead.

Indeed, business phone answering service has a number of advantages, which are obvious to everyone. For those who know that there is no second chance to make the first impression, a virtual office is not an option but a necessity. Anyone who calls a company with this service gets convinced that the professionalism and level of care about clients is very high in the organization. Therefore, even a person who is not a client will consider dealing with a business company, in case it has a professional call answering service.

Moreover, the advantage of a professional business phone answering service is that it beats each client with equal attention and friendly attitude. This means that every customer calling an office with a regular request can get maximum attention and feel that his or her problem is important for the company. Nowadays, when human relationships are all automated, hearing a warm voice of a live operator who is ready to help is a thing that can make your company unique.

Interestingly enough, in spite of its effectiveness, the business phone answering service is rather flexible in terms of call answering techniques. A chief can develop a scheme which he or she wants to be used while receiving various calls. The options include giving information straight away, switching the call to a particular department or office, making appointments, etc. In addition, the company owner can decide which cases need to be treated as emergency cases and make an instruction for operator's reaction in such cases. This can help to avoid misunderstanding with the clients and to solve the problems quickly and effectively.

Call answering service is a new solution for companies which are aiming to take the competition of the modern business. The numerous advantages offered by the service suggest that using it is an important condition for a company to grow technologically, professionally, and successfully.

Not Leadership – “It’s Teamship”

Cash is King – but investing knowledge with your Front-Line team is Critical! Front-line talent spotting is one of my past-times. In visiting numerous clubs throughout Europe, I am looking for that sparkle that immediately engages me. When I find examples of it, I have a tendency to examine each and every one of this…

Cash is King – but investing knowledge with your Front-Line team is Critical!

Front-line talent spotting is one of my past-times. In visiting numerous clubs throughout Europe, I am looking for that sparkle that immediately engages me. When I find examples of it, I have a tendency to examine each and every one of this new breed of talent, just to find out how much product knowledge they have about their organization. How old is the club? How many members are there? How long have they been with the club? Do they take control; do they naturally transmit the warm – welcome factor and make me want to be with them? Do they take ownership and feel responsible for my stay at their club; do they engage me and make me feel that, even as a guest, I belong?

Successful clubs ensure that an atmosphere of welcome is integrated into all activities of their business, so that focusing on their members and guests becomes part of the clubs way of life.

Alas this experience is all too infrequent. Instead, at some clubs, one can receive a moping and lacklustre welcome from the front of house, but is it their fault? Are they really to blame?

Moreover, has anyone invested time to make them excited and energized about their workplace? If not, then it's no surprise that apathy is what members and guests receive. It surprises me, to discover, how many clubs do not deliver a thorough induction into their businesses. Clubs that do so recognize how critical such a process is. And that does not mean a quick tour around the facilities, here's your uniform, thank you go to work attitude.

Can you imagine Manchester United, Real Madrid, Denver Broncos or Seattle Seahawks football clubs signing a player, welcoming them, then directing them to the locker room and suggesting that they interact with other members of the team on the way to see how they do things, without sharing the vision and values ​​of the organization!

This message creates the internal drive to deliver the expectations to the customer, no matter what business you are in involved with.

Knowledge is not only key, but it is critical for each and every one of the club's employees. Yes, EVERYONE needs to know about the business they need to understand what the business presents. They need to be business partners and elevate their presence.If the goal is efficiency, consistent message and common practice, it is vital to share. For example: your team wants to know how you market the club, how you generate income, what the expenses are, who the board members are; what their responsibilities are, etc? If there is no sharing of information about the business then it easily interpreted as “they know you do not want to share it with them, so why or how can they care.”

Becoming a great organization requires you to share information enabling staff to become your business partners. Progressive global clubs share their passion, their knowledge and embrace a learning culture within their operations; making certain that relevant business knowledge is shared so everyone will know where the club is going. European Club businesses that are exemplary in motivating their employees to focus on membership results include London Golf Club, Les Bordes, Roehampton Club, Golf Club Milano, Goodwood, Valderrama and many others.

Many European Golf Club businesses need to remove their barriers to service and hospitality, and focus their objectives on delivering – customer results. This would enhance the whole experience by developing the right people for the club service environment. The preliminary of progressive employee's with any business is honesty from their employers, and the opportunity to learn new skills that will set them up for their future. The new generation is thirsty to edge ahead and develop their Curriculum Vitae by adding new competencies that they did not have previously. When a new employee is hired within the organization, whatever its size they should enter as if it's a university of learning. Beyond orientation, their initiation must include, coaching them to have a service mind – set and guiding them to exceed expectations where possible – how can they constantly look for opportunities to provide more than people anticipate – just going above in terms of service. That initial approach should also include the five important tenets that are non negotiable, particularly for all front-of-house talent:

1) Smile
2) Make Eye Contact
3) Use Names
4) Spend TIME to connect
5) Always say Thank You

Talent management process is not likely to be successful unless the organization recognizes the value of talent identification and development, and makes it part and parcel of every manager's responsibility. The COO / GM is the keeper of the vision; the cheerleader, who is supporting and encouraging everyone consistent with the vision, values ​​and image of the club. Organization leaders at all levels have to be constantly communicating the message, similar to Miss Carruthers my old school teacher who had to consistently and forcefully repeat and repeat her message !!

And you surprised why …
“Knowledge is like a garden: if it is not cultured, it can not be harvested”

10 Ways To Spot A Customer Service Robot

When you pick up the phone do you hope to talk to a human? In the not so distant past I was calling an OEM for status on a repair we had gone through. I picked up the phone, palms slightly sweaty as I was already anticipating what I was about to encounter. After dialing…

When you pick up the phone do you hope to talk to a human?

In the not so distant past I was calling an OEM for status on a repair we had gone through.

I picked up the phone, palms slightly sweaty as I was already anticipating what I was about to encounter.

After dialing the number the phone began to ring …

My ears aware of what was coming next I hear “You have reached ___ please listen carefully as our menu has changed”

Oh no!

After 8 options I chose 4 for repairs.

“You have reached the repairs dept. Please press 1 for …” and they go on to list customer support, shipping, QC, among 5 other options.

I chose the option that I thought was best, customer support.

They then go on to list 5 people what I can press an extension for and talk to. Frustrated being on the phone for 5 minutes at this point I press 3.

I call the extension and it goes to voice-mail. I was nearly a few seconds away from throwing my phone across the room but I decided to leave a voice-mail. I received a return call 2 days later.

To me, this is horrible customer service and is no way how to interact with paying clients.

Would this even be considered customer service?

This is why I give you 10 ways to spot a robot and avoid situations like this.

10 Ways to Spot a Customer Service Robot

1) Pressing multiple numbers to reach one person
Just as you saw in my beginning story, pressing all sorts of crazy numbers adds stress, anxiety and annoyance in a world where you already get plenty of that. Hang-up the phone, throw it across the room, or avoid any companies who want you to go through 15 robots automated answering machines to get to a human. Obviously they're too busy or cheap for you.

2) Overpromise and underdeliver
Have you ever talked to a person who overpromises on everything but never pulls through? “Oh you need it there by Thursday, I'll get it to you by Wednesday.” Come Friday you still do not have your order. Or they quote you an average repair price and they either find out that they no longer have capabilities after you send them the unit or their average is double just from labor.

3) No personality
If you call a company and the other person does not sound alive, like they want to talk to you, or are miserable … RUN. You'll be on a fast track of a whole mess of “I Do not Care About You” if you continue any further.

4) Significantly delayed responses
People are busy and delayed responses are normal. But and I mean a big “but” is when you see a company that says if you do not hear from us in 48 hours consider it a no quote. This statement shows this company has their priorities straight (incredible amount of sarcasm in that sentence).

5) “Sorry for the inconvenience”
We've talked about this before and I hear this often. You order something and they can not locate the part or whatever excuse it may be. They then send you an email saying “sorry for the inconvenience.” Inconvenience? You deserve more than an inconvenience statement. An inconvenience is when you run out of salt for your dinner, the dry cleaners are closed on Saturday, but this order, your time is much more than an inconvenience. It's a distribution nightmare that you now have to fix.

6) Poor problem solving skills
The people who write “sorry for the inconvenience” are always people with poor problem solving skills. If a problem occurs you deserve solutions to be presented to you. Or better yet they just figure out a solution and go on as normal and do not stress you out.

7) Unreachable on weekends
Now, you may debate with me on this one but if you are close with your supplier they should be accessible to you on weekends. Aviation is an industry that never sleeps and for you, either should they.

8) Avoids emailing after closing
Companies close and that's fine. Your account manager or whomever you talk to should still be able to respond via email after closing. Granted, they can not make magic happen but they can still address you if its pertinent. This small step shows they care and that they're not a robot.

9) Constant push lists and sales tactics
This drives me crazy. I get a push list from a particular company every single day. I've actually tried to buy off this company. I submitted the PO, I never got a confirmation and my phone calls would go straight to voice mail. Surprisingly, I still received push lists despite them ignoring my attempt to buy. Crazy I know.

10) Reading from a script
This is the worst case of I'm a robot . Just recently we contacted a company and a young lady answered. Sounding rather timid we advised her the reason of our call. I kid you not, she replied after a brief pause “So it looks like I'm supposed to ask you how the weather is”. Wait, what? After a brief laugh we parted ways.

There are plenty of articles on customer service and how it should be done but there's no magic formula.

Just deal with a human that cares about you and you'll be all set.

Avoid robots, talk to humans and live stress free.

Customer Service Tips: LAAF to Handle Complaints Part 1

As a customer, what do you expect when you find out that the product or service you paid for is not good? Would you prefer: As a customer, what do you expect when you find out that the product or service you paid for is not good? Would you prefer: Someone to listen to and…

As a customer, what do you expect when you find out that the product or service you paid for is not good? Would you prefer:

  1. As a customer, what do you expect when you find out that the product or service you paid for is not good? Would you prefer:
  2. Someone to listen to and understand your concern?
  3. A knowledgeable and polite employee who is empowered to make a decision and do something?
  4. Options to fix the problem?
  5. A quick resolution, as immediate as possible?
  6. An apology for your inconvenience or frustration?
  7. A refund for your purchase?
  8. Depending on the situation, some kind of compensation for your trouble?
  9. Follow-through on what is agreed to and promised?

Too often when customers try to get complaints addressed, they come in contact with overworked and underappreciated employees. These employees will listen but most often can not make a decision and have to get a manager involved. Or, they are faced with the nightmarish task of finding how and where to file a complaint online. Often, they are put on hold or have to face an automated phone machine that can get frustratingly repetitive. Have you experienced any of this as a customer? How does this run around make you feel? Does it increase your purchases and loyalty to that company's brand? Obviously not! Too many companies take their customers for granted thinking they will always be there no matter the circumstance.

Most complaints can be handled satisfactorily. Most customers do not want to complain. Many are reasonable complainers. Our research shows that only 1 out of 20 people, who could complain, do complain. Most customers are silent complainers they do this instead:

  • Quit buying all together at the company.
  • Reduce their purchases and seek more pleasant alternatives.
  • Tell all of their friends and family about their troubles. Now with social media options any customer can reach millions of people through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others in a heartbeat.

This is a real opportunity for any company and employee. For the company, this means that they need to aggressively seek complaints by asking for customer feedback through surveys, market research, person-to-person interactions and social media campaigns. The complaint you know about you can probably solve. It's the many complaints you do not know about that will hurt you.

Your Role in Handling Complaints

In this day and age we tell anyone to be a student of the game. As we've mentioned continuously learning about how to do your job better can only benefit you. Read the books, watch the DVDs or online programs, attend seminars or Webinars. Whether you have company support or not, you must Inc. yourself. No matter what job you have you are absolutely in business for yourself. You do not do the job for free. In order to advance in your career and make your money you have to excel. In your learning, keep finding ways to understand human behavior. Review the LAAF Model below as a way to handle 90% of the complaints you receive. It gives you a guide to think like a customer, and build empathy so you can solve the problem even more effectively.

L-listen

Pay attention, take notes, summarize key issues- “What I hear you say is …”

A-apologize

“I am sorry that happened.” Or, “I apologize that we let you down. I know I can make it up to you.”

A-acknowledge

“Thank you for letting me know about this. I know this is an inconvenience to you.”

F-fix

“I have three potential options to fix the situation. But, can I ask a couple of questions first?”

Complaining customers are golden and will become more loyal, if you respond fast and approbably. They are golden because they told you about a problem (Many customer do not), and now you know how or your company can improve. With this overview of LAAF you received the nuts and bolts that can help you be better. There are more details to learn so check out part 2, and continue your education. Kerry Stokes said, “The most important adage and the only adage is, the customer comes first, whatever the business, the customer comes first.”

Maintaining Customer Relationships – An Awesome Way to Increase Your Marketing Potential

Well you're an awesome company with amazing products and services and yet you do not know why you're the number of customers is going down. Oh yes, the sales are still happening but the lead conversion is getting increasingly difficult. How about I share with you some thoughts, practices that might help you increase your…

Well you're an awesome company with amazing products and services and yet you do not know why you're the number of customers is going down. Oh yes, the sales are still happening but the lead conversion is getting increasingly difficult. How about I share with you some thoughts, practices that might help you increase your sales by 50% and yet not increase your marketing expenses.

Understand why they leave

The first thing you need to look at is how many existing or old customers have not done business with you again. In most probability this stack is high enough to make you realize that your business has not yet developed the relationships with these customers and overlooking this has cost your business a lot of valuable business. The under mistake is to believe that there is no maintenance and growth required for customer relationship. And the result is to find a year or two down later is what you see in your cabinet right now.

The key question is – where did all these customers go? Why have not the sales team yet heard from them in such a long time? Have they gone to the competitor? Have they stopped using the product entirely? Well, the answers depend on the kind of business you are in. Barring the B2B scenario, most B2C services and businesses do not lose customers, because the service or the product is out of use.

Possible Reasons

For an example, no one will really stop using electricity or water or pastas, or computers; now will anyone stop traveling. But certainly they will feel free to change from one service provider to the other. OUCH! That stings, does not it?

But before we start talking about what to do regarding this, let's look into some more possible reasons why the customers might not have interacted with your business

  • Your pricing might have been perceived as high, or worse unfair.
  • Unresolved Complaints.
  • Feeling of not being valued and cared for.

Some Facts

Studies show that

  • It takes 6 times more money to sell something to a new customer than to retain an existing customer.
  • Older customers do 33% more business in terms of the money volume they spend.
  • Repeat customers have 107% higher referrals than non-customers. And yet,
  • Companies insist on business acquisition more than they insist on relationship retention, without the customer declares that they are leaving.

The takeaway is that to build, nurture, develop and maintain your customer relationships is the one of the best marketing strategies.

Approach

It is not too difficult to develop customer relationship, because all it means is to:

  • Ensure the high quality of your products and services
  • Treating customers and clients as strategic partners
  • Right and customized products and services as far as possible
  • Right and timely promotion
  • Consistent effort to increase customer loyalty
  • Impeccable standards of customer service and post – sales support

Benefits of effective customer relationship marketing

  • Marketing – effective customer relationship is a very strong method of marketing in itself. Existing customers will increase your word of mouth publicity and referrals.
  • Branding – If you take care of your existing customers effectively and efficiently, you will be in it for a longer haul, because you will have the support of customers who know that you're more interested in adding value to their experience and you will become a brand.
  • Cost Arbitrage – Your money spent on retaining old customer is far less than your money spent on acquiring new business and then it's a financial benefit as well.

Tips to Train Your Customer Care Professionals for Best Results

Good businesses come with exceptional customer care services. No customer is going to come back to a business that has rude customer care officials who do not help much in resolving their issues. A reliable business will train its customer care professionals so they can contribute positively to its growth. Here are some pointers you…

Good businesses come with exceptional customer care services. No customer is going to come back to a business that has rude customer care officials who do not help much in resolving their issues. A reliable business will train its customer care professionals so they can contribute positively to its growth. Here are some pointers you could use while training your customer care officials:

1. Make sure your representatives thoroughly understand the product / service you offer. You do not want them to stutter when the customer pops a question, do you? Train them with appropriate responses to commonly asked questions, if you have to.

2. Do not play blind to the questions and complaints your customer care is dealing with. Ask your customer care to keep track of complaints that are frequently being reported. This may shed some light on what is eating up all those sales leads.

3. Train your customer care officials to maintain a friendly, polite tone with your customers. There may be times when they have to deal with rude or angry customers, but this should not deter them from maintaining a calm composition. They should also speak clearly, and patiently listened to what the customer has to say. Interrupting the customer or zoning out during long calls are a big no-no.

4. When it comes to decisions regarding returns or refunds, train them so they can make their own decisions, based on the operating margin you provide. This way they will not always have to transfer the call, every time the issue comes up.

5. There's nothing like good as rewarding a job well done. If an employee worked extra hard, or helped in resolving a complex issue for a customer, give them a pat on their back, and little more. You could offer incentives or bonuses to employees who fare exceptionally well, setting the pace for the rest as well.

And finally some more in-depth knowledge:

Learn Your Business – Be An Expert

If you are selling cars then learn the features and specifications of the models you have (and those of your competitors), if you work in a hotel learn about the business, how many rooms there are, the history of the building, when breakfast is served. If you work in a bank then learn the advantages and disadvantages of the various products you sell and which product suits which type of customer the best. Make sure that you know more about your business than the customer does, be able to answer questions about your business or organization even if they are not related to your normal field of work.

If you do not know the answer to a question then say so, NEVER lie or make up an answer; if possible find someone who does know the answer. Do not be afraid to ask the customer / client questions that will give you a better understanding of their needs.

10 Ways to Save Big By Choosing the Right Cushioning

1. Bubble Wrap Get the most bang for your bubble wrap buck by only using it in conjunction with a box or other outside packaging. Securing items with external bubble wrap wastes product and money because of its tension to puncture. Never wrap heavy objects with bubble wrap, because the weight of the object can…

1. Bubble Wrap

Get the most bang for your bubble wrap buck by only using it in conjunction with a box or other outside packaging. Securing items with external bubble wrap wastes product and money because of its tension to puncture.

Never wrap heavy objects with bubble wrap, because the weight of the object can puncture the wrap. The most efficient use of bubble wrap is for cushioning smaller, more delicate objects. It's also crucial to always wrap with the bubbles facing towards the product, or inward.

2. Foam Peanuts

Use foam peanuts to absorb shock and keep items inside boxes in place during shipment. You can save hundreds per year by re-using foam peanuts included in any returns and recycling them to be packed into new shipments.

Tip: Only reuse peanuts made from polystyrene. Foam peanuts made from biodegradable materials tend to break down during shipping, and can only be used once.

3. Air Pillows

When using air pillows to absorb impact and protect breakables, make sure to pillow the most stable areas of the item. For example, focus on the corners of a microwave, as opposed to the delicate glass. It's important that the air pillows never touch screens or glass in order to prevent scratching or breakage.

4. Kraft Paper

Double up on bubble wrap and durable kraft paper to offer delicate items the most protection possible. Combining the two will save you money by guaranteeing that fragile items do not break during shipping.

5. Tissue Paper

When cushioning glasses with tissue paper, begin by rolling each glass on the paper in a diagonal motion. You'll end up with a long tube of extra tissue which can then be stuffed into the empty cavity of the glass, providing internal cushioning and preventing it from being crushed.

6. Foam Rolls

Using foam roll is the most economical way to accomplish void fill in larger boxes. Skip foam peanuts and air pillows, which can get expensive if you're filling a larger space, and protect larger items by cushioning them with foam roll.

7. Chip Board

If you're keeping a palette in place with opaque stretch film, it's essential to use chip boards in order to prevent damage upon arrival. Opaque coverings prevent receivers from seeing what's inside the shipment, making damage from box cutters and knives more likely. Chip boards offer a money-saving layer of protection.

8. Newsprint

Always use a double layer when packing with newsprint. Wrap glassware to prevent scratching, and be sure to fill vases and glasses with a heavy layer of crumpled newsprint in order to prevent them from being crushed.

9. Corrugated Pads

Place corrugated pads beneath, in between and on top of large items before shipment. Pads placed between the items will keep them in place and prevent movement during travel, while pads placed on top of the palette will prevent damage due to dust and moisture.

10. Mailers

When shipping with canned mailers, be sure to measure the length and width of the product being shipped. Allow an additional 2-3 “of space in the mailer to offer premium protection of delicate products.

Which type of cushioning is used most often at your company?