7 Ways to Create Unforgettable Customer Experience

The call to action after you read this article is to not think about customer bur that think LIKE the customer. It's amazing how easy it is to make your current and future customers go gaga for your business. What's even saddder is that it cost next to nothing to delivery a wow experience. Here's…

The call to action after you read this article is to not think about customer bur that think LIKE the customer. It's amazing how easy it is to make your current and future customers go gaga for your business. What's even saddder is that it cost next to nothing to delivery a wow experience. Here's what's even more tragic (if that's even possible) you have relatively zero competition for delivering an amazing experience !!

Can you believe that? The minute you create policies and build a customer centric culture, you leave all your competition in the dust. Did you read the second sentence? It will cost your company next to ZERO dollars to do this.

What you are about to learn is not new. You have heard it before in some expensive customer service of flashy sales seminar. Or read it in a fancy smart sounding magazine. You know, the kind of magazine that makes you feel a bit above everyone else.

Who am I kidding; I've been a fan of Fast Company since the first printing. I was in my early 20's when the magazine first came out. The paper felt so different from anything I had ever felt. They were bold, descriptive, and sexy. I wanted to have it on my desk in my future office so people thought of me as savvy and forward thinking. Not to mention young and entrepreneurial. That's the feeling a magazine cave me and still does. But I digress.

I am describing an experience. Fast Company has created a reader experience from the moment you pick up the product. It's on purpose with a purpose and for a purpose. They are in the service of making readers feel connected and in touch with up and coming insights to business that matter to a specific market of spirited people. Whenever I see a copy even 15 plus years later, I still get the same feeling of being a savvy reader. I tell everyone I know about the magazine because it rocks.

So what will make your customers go insane for your service? What will make them tell everyone they know about your service? Below are 7 ways for your customers to literally go Gaga for you! This list is not exhaustive. There are so many more ways but this is a start.

1. Attention : Customers want you to notice them. Get to know your customer so well that they see you as a mentalist! Make them feel like you can read their mind. You must expect their needs even before they have them. Can you imagine how your customers would respond if you sent them an email just at the right time when they need your service. Get to know them better than they know themselves. Give them your attention and they will give their heads.

2. Access: Customers want to know that they can access you as much as they want. Lady Gaga is a perfect role model for any business who wants to grow his or her own legion of Little Monsters. That is what she calls her followers who are the most loyal fans of any rock star. She has given them unprecedented access to the pop star in a way that makes them feel connected to her and each other. Bonded by a common experience and adoration they follow her and unite as a community. She has capitalized on people's need of belonging. Sound familiar?

3. Interest: How interested are you in your customer's problems? Not just interested but genially curious of who they are and what they need? Do you ask questions to probe into their problem? Even if you are highly experienced, let them tell you their problem and ask questions with curiosity.

4. Responsiveness: Now that you have gotten to know them, you know their problems, and you offer the right solution. You sell them on why you are the best service. They call, email, or stop by and you say you will get back to them with answers. You must respond quickly, regardless of how busy you get, device a way to respond to your customers at tornado pace. So fast that you freak them out!

5. Deliver on promise: Do what you say you are going to do, then do just a little bit more. You may have delivered exactly what they bought. But why not give them more than they expected? A phone call after the delivery to find out how they liked it. Ask, “Did we deliver on your vision?” Do not be afraid to get constructive feedback. Your business will thrive with great feedback.

6. Become a ” solutionist” : Your customers buy not just your service but how you deliver on the solution. Decided firmly that you have a solution to their problem and be able to articulate. If you ever watch an infomercial there's always the black and white scene where the problem is depicted in such ridiculous ways then show the solution seem like the only hope for human kind. Do the same with your solution. You can even print the problem in black and white and your solution in color. Solve their problem.

7. Package the solution: Because you applied # 1 Attention, you are now poised to create packaged solutions that solve problems. If you do nothing else package, package, and repackage. People love packages. Look at Progressive the insurance company. They “package” insurance. We all know it's not a physical package, yet they have managed to materialize their product into something tangible. If you know your customer well and the problem you solve, you will have plenty of material to wrap up your services into package offers that they can buy.

Project Management Software: How It Can Help Your Business’ Customer Service

Any business that hopes to be successful should not just focus on the product / service that is being offered, but also on how fast the service or product is handed onto the customer. A successful business is not all about just a great product or service (although we all know that it is a…

Any business that hopes to be successful should not just focus on the product / service that is being offered, but also on how fast the service or product is handed onto the customer. A successful business is not all about just a great product or service (although we all know that it is a big part). The brand's reputation rests heavily on what people say and think about your product or service. And by giving excellent customer service, you give your audience even more reason to come back for more.

Managing your business well is a very important skill to learn and master if you want it to be successful. But how exactly do you do that?

Communicate with Everyone Easily
Project Management Software is a tool available online, where you can reach your colleagues, business partners or even customers and communicate with them easily.

This is where you can strategize to help the business achieve its goals such as knowing and understanding the customers and how to provide good customer experience which lead to retain customers, gain more clients, increase profits, and decrease the costs in the long run.

Perhaps the easiest argument for using project management software such as Podio is the convenience it offers the whole team. By gathering data about your customers and storing it all in one place, work becomes easier. Everyone has access to the information found on the company's database, which definitely saves everyone a whole lot of time and effort compared to having to dig through piles of paper or documentation.

Another advantage it gives to any business that decides to use it is that it allows the business to collect information from customers, which is key to building not just a good relationship with them, but also to help you tailor-fit your services to their needs and specifications. Of course, you will not be able to please every single one of your customers at all times, but knowing a little more about your audience will certainly help you in serving them and satisfying their needs. By being able to relate to them in ways that they will appreciate, you are certain to build stronger ties with them, build a better reputation for your brand, and stand a better chance of generating more referrals from your existing customers. Sales and profit will greatly increase due to good customer relations.

Streamline your Business Process
Aside from these points, another good thing about about Project Management Software is that it allows you to streamline business processes, which will lead to higher efficiency and more productivity. By having information that can be accessed by everyone on the team, working together to introduce solutions and implement improvements becomes much easier.

There are many benefits your business can get from using project management software. So what are you waiting for?

Communication Skills in Any Service Industry Are Still Necessary for Success

Communicating well with the public is important for any business, but it is especially significant for service businesses. Instant text, voice and image communication technologies make it faster and easier to communicate with our customers than ever before. But the content and quality of communication still rely on good verbal and written communication skills. We…

Communicating well with the public is important for any business, but it is especially significant for service businesses. Instant text, voice and image communication technologies make it faster and easier to communicate with our customers than ever before. But the content and quality of communication still rely on good verbal and written communication skills. We can use the method of communication our customer prefers, but what we communicate to them remains much more important than how it was sent. It continues to be important for us to hone our verbal and written communication skills and make sure new hires also possess those skills. There are three general types of information that service industry professionals need to communicate to their customers.

Documentation:

Most documentation is required by law, industry standards or company policy and must be communicated to each customer. It usually describes the service performed and the limits of any guarantee or warranty. In addition there is usually some information the service company requires for the customer's service record or file. Service reports are typically designed so the technician can communicate most of the required information by simply checking off appropriate boxes, but there must be space for the technician to relate specific information about his / her actions. Those comment sections require good written communication skills. As a trainer of new technicians I always warned them of the importance of what they write on those legal documents. They are not only communicating with the customer but also with their supervisor, a regulatory agency, or even a lawyer, judge or jury if there is ever litigation involving the service. Because customers seldom read the service report completely before signing it, it is important for technicians to verbally communicate the information to them to make sure they understand it. This adds value to the service and requires good verbal communication skills. Although documentation is necessary it has the drawback of being primarily one-way communication with little participation from the customer.

Education:

Communicating this type of information involves some customer participation because it is normally provided in response to a question from them. Educational communication should be professional and clearly understood. It requires that the technician have a thorough knowledge of service performance and techniques. Experience, training and third party reference materials help make this type of communication possible but it still requires good verbal communication skills. Educating customers about their particular problem and the solution provided for them will add much value and credibility to each service.

Expression:

This type of communication is often underused or completely overlooked because it is not required by law and is not technical or educational in nature. However, it just may be the most important and fruitful line of communication we can establish with our customers. It expresses our concern, empathy, appreciation and attentiveness. It adds a personal touch to the relationship with our customer. An attentive technician listening and responding to customer concerns; an administrative assistant dealing with customers in a pleasant, efficient and caring manner; a salesperson following up with each new customer after the sale to make sure the problem is being addressed to their satisfaction; or the owner or supervisor sending customers a thank you or holiday card with a brief personal message. These are all examples of expressive communication. We can express ourselves verbally, in writing or even claimed by our body language or tone of voice, but we must be sincere. It is this type of communication that turns a customer into a friend and we all know how much harder it is to fire a friend than it is to fire a contractor.

Ways Live Chat Can Assist In Online Banking

Before the advent of live chat software, the only thing missing from online banking websites was real time human connection. Now, numerous banks all over the world are availing this amazing software for their online branches, to facilitate the customers as much as possible. Utilizing its potential to the fullest, these banks are using live…

Before the advent of live chat software, the only thing missing from online banking websites was real time human connection. Now, numerous banks all over the world are availing this amazing software for their online branches, to facilitate the customers as much as possible. Utilizing its potential to the fullest, these banks are using live chat support to reshape their customer services, in order to ensure maximum customer satisfaction. Here are some ways by which live chat support is assisting online banks:

Giving customers a convenient way to reach you

For your customers, nothing matters more than a quick and rapid service. When they need assistance or they have queries or any complaints, they want to connect with you immediately. One reason why majority of people hate their banks, is because they do not provide good customer services. When using an online bank, slow customer services become irritating, as customers have to either wait hours for their calls to connect or their emails to be replied. Therefore, in a brick and mortar environment, the presence of actual people serves to be huge advantage. However, with live chat support, you can provide the same kind of assistance to your customers on a virtual medium. Customers can reach your chat support operators just like they would go to someone in a real bank.

Allow operators to handle more than one customer at a time

Dealing with customers is easier on live chat than dealing with them in person. In a brick and mortar environment, your representatives can handle only one customer at a time, however, using live chat software, they can deal with two or three customers at the same time. This allows your operators not only to effectively deal with the customers but, also gives all the customers, a chance to instantly connect with the operators. The multitasking property of live chat support makes it a highly cost efficient yet extremely beneficial mode of communication.

Being a medium of marketing and advertisement

Using live chat support, your operators can market new schemes, insurance and banking policies along with new packages to the customers. They can tell the customers about the facilities you provide to your loyal customers and about the benefits of opening an account in your bank. Your operators can also convince the customers about the benefits of saving their assets in the saving accounts of your bank, by convincing them about your amazing saving policies.

Being an effective medium for filing complaints

The best way to keep your customers happy with your bank is to be there when they want to file a complaint. No matter how good your services are people always have issues with their banks. And, when they can not reach you immediately, their anger only aggravates. When, you get in touch with your customers the moment they want to reach you, you take half of their anger away. Live chat support can serve as an ideal medium to file complaints and concerns as it provides a medium that allows exchange of dialogues and a seamless, two-way conversation. Instead of justating their problems in an email, customers can exchange their questions.

The above stated benefits of live chat support make it an ideal tool for any online bank. Here it must be integrated to ensure maximum customer experience and to build customers' loyalty.

Telephone Call Tracking Features You Might Want to Know

Phone call tracking may be the ultimate way to find out if online and offline advertising campaigns are working. If you have launched various marketing campaigns for your business you should be able to track all of them in order to be sure that you are spending on the right marketing channel. But to be…

Phone call tracking may be the ultimate way to find out if online and offline advertising campaigns are working. If you have launched various marketing campaigns for your business you should be able to track all of them in order to be sure that you are spending on the right marketing channel. But to be able to do it, you will need a business solution that can give you the information that can help to take your business to a higher level.

Basically, call tracking works to tell the business owner or manager which of his marketing campaigns or advertising channels is getting responses from his target market. This is done by assigning a unique, trackable phone number to each of his marketing campaigns. This is a way to optimize your leads and to avoid wasting money on marketing strategies that do not deliver results. Here are some of the helpful features of a call tracing system:

1. Call Recording

A call tracker basically records all incoming calls that go through a tracking number that's set up for your business. The tracking number works to gather important information such as customer feedback and how your agents handle customer inquiries. This can help to make you identify leads and training that your marketing staff may need.

2. Call Tagging

Tagging refer to the process of labeling calls based on the quality of your marketing leads. This is an effective way of identifying the potential of the calls to be converted into sales. Knowing the sales potentials can help you to follow-up on productive leads and avoid wasting time and effort on callers that are not interested in buying.

3. Lead Scoring

This is a call tracking feature that allows you to assign a score calls based on specific criteria you use to measure the quality of the leads. You may measure lead quality on the prospect's readiness to buy, financial capability, and real purpose for calling, as some callers make a call just to gather information. Lead scoring can help to provide the exact information which of your marketing campaigns is delivering quality leads.

4. Goal Setting

A good call tracking solution has a feature that enables you to set ROI (return of investment) goals for specific campaigns. If you want to set a specific amount from a specific marketing campaign, you can make the system track this for you and once your goal is met, the system will alert you by text or email.

Call tracking is an important tool in business. Its feature can provide you with critical information that can help you to identify quality leads and prevent you from wasting money on ineffective marketing campaigns.

Beware of Locksmith Frauds

We have all accidently locked ourselves out of our homes or cars at some point or another. Many times, you may know someone with a key or be crafty enough to get yourself back in, but there may be times when you are stuck out in the dark and in the cold. These are the…

We have all accidently locked ourselves out of our homes or cars at some point or another. Many times, you may know someone with a key or be crafty enough to get yourself back in, but there may be times when you are stuck out in the dark and in the cold. These are the times that you are going to need to call a locksmith to come and let you in.

In most occasions, this will go off without any further complications. The only problem is that there are a lot of scams and frauds in the industry. Remember to be aware when dealing with locksmiths. The way that most of these scams occur is that the locksmiths quote one price over the phone and then offer a much inflated cost with several extra fees when they actually arrive. Since the consumer is in a compromised situation that needs to be resolved as quickly as possible, they will oftentimes notgue with the new price.

There are indications that the locksmith you are dealing with may not be fully legitimate. Here are some things that you can do to ensure that you are doing business with a fully licensed and insured locksmith:

  • Do the name and address add up? If the locksmith you are calling has a generic name or answers the phone simply by saying something like locksmith, they are pretty frauds. A registered business will have a name and address readily available. Some companies will advertise as local and redirect you to another location.
  • Does the price seem too good to be true? Then it probably is. If the locksmith quotes anythings less than $ 20 over the phone, they will likely add charges when they arrive.
  • Ask for credentials. Locksmiths should belong to several organizations to prove their quality. Check with the Associated Locksmiths of America or even the Better Business Bureau.
  • Pay with a credit card. Not only will this create an official record of any transaction, but will also weed out any scammers. If a locksmith requires cash only, they are not a legitimate business.

You should also plan ahead. This is something almost nobody does, but find a locksmith before you need one. The reason that people do not do this is because locksmiths are generally people that you will not think about unless you are in a situation that requires a locksmith. So before you forget, open up a window a search for a locksmith right now. Find one that meets all of these requirements.

4 Lessons I’ve Learned About Fleet Managers

I believe the key to successfully integrating fleet business into retail business is knowing the difference behind each customer's motivation. I have seen far too many shops try to do both with disastrous results, because they think one size fits all, and that is just not the case. So, when it comes to fleet managers…

I believe the key to successfully integrating fleet business into retail business is knowing the difference behind each customer's motivation. I have seen far too many shops try to do both with disastrous results, because they think one size fits all, and that is just not the case. So, when it comes to fleet managers and retail customers, what are the main differences?

1. Quality

  • Mr. Smith finds quality very important because his family rides in this car. When his wife and children are out late for soccer practice, he does not want to have to worry about them breaking down.
  • Smith Electrical also finds quality to be very important, but for different reasons. A breakdown in the middle of the day because something was not correctly repaired, or an inferior part was used is catastrophic to his operation. Now he has to stop what he's doing, get a rental or loaner out to his technician, move tools around, find a tow truck, call the customer to explain that they are running behind, and then reschedule the rest of his day.
  • Lesson learned – while price is an important factor with any fleet manager, you have to find the right balance between that and high quality. It also goes without saying that you HAVE to hire the best technicians so the work is done right the first time.

2. Service

  • Mrs. Smith looks at proper service as prolonging the life and increasing the value of her car.
  • Smith Heating and Air occupants it an expense that may or may not be necessary. Some fleet managers want the least possible amount of work done. Some want the vehicle to be in top shape at all times. Most are a mixture of both things.
  • Lesson learned – ASK the customer how he wants the trucks taken care of and then do it.

3. Turnaround

  • Mr. Smith wants his car back today so he can go home.
  • Smith Plumbing wants their van back right now so they can service their customers. A fleet vehicle is a tool, used to carry out whatever type of business you're in. It could be a lot of different professions, from plumbing to sales. Whatever the purpose, that company depends on that vehicle to do their job.
  • Lesson learned – sometimes you got to stay late to get the job done, so they can get the truck loaded and on the road first thing the next morning.

4. Communication

  • Mrs. Smith needs to know when her car is going to be ready so she can catch a ride to pick it up.
  • Smith Moving needs to know when his box truck is going to be ready so he can make a decision about renting a replacement truck or not.
  • Lesson learned – communicate with your customer at the earliest possible time so that you do not paint them into a corner at the end of the day. While communication is equally important for both customers, the ramifications can be far greater for the fleet manager.

While it is very true that all customers deserve your very best service, knowing the difference behind each customer's motivation is critical to your success. Without understanding how your customer thinks, you simply can not help them make a decision that is in their best interest, which, in the end, is our real job anyways.

Customer Service Should Be At Customer’s Convenience and Company’s Cost, Not the Other Way Around

The challenge when it comes to service and service recovery – internal or external, personal or professional – is in the answer to this question: When you've done, would you rather have people say, “That was nice.” Egypt “That was WOW!”? When service and recovery efforts are delivered at the customer's convenience and the company's…

The challenge when it comes to service and service recovery – internal or external, personal or professional – is in the answer to this question: When you've done, would you rather have people say, “That was nice.” Egypt “That was WOW!”?

When service and recovery efforts are delivered at the customer's convenience and the company's cost (if any), it's often a “WOW!” But when they're not done that way, it may (or may not) be “nice” when you're finished, but it's definitely not “WOW!”

Here's an easy formula for delivering the WOW, whether at time of initial service delivery or during service recovery after something's gone wrong:

W = Your Word. Stand by it. I do not care if someone promised something they should not have. If you can do it anyway, do it! If not, ask the customer what you can do to make it up to them. If you can not do that, at least offer them something of value. Do not blame the customer; do not assume they misunderstood; do not trash the employee; do not make excuses. Just stand by your word and make it right.

I bought flooring and countertops at Home Depot one time. One item was offered on a “No-Interest Financing for 6 months” plan; the other offered a plan that deferred interest for an entire year. When I went to check out, a clerk asked if I'd like both items on the one-year plan. I showed him the flyer that clearly did not offer both on that plan, but he said he'd worked there for a long time and knew that if I bought one on that plan, the other could be included, too. I asked him to put that in writing (I've been burned before, not there, but at other companies). He was surprised, but agreed to write it down and sign it. I went on my way, singing a merry tune about my surprise “gift.”

Flash forward a week or two. Home Depot called to inform me that a mistake had been made and I needed to move some items to the 6-month plan. Surprise, the clerk had been wrong. However, after I told them what the clerk said and they informed me that “I must have misunderstood” (my all-time favorite pet peeve from customer service reps), I told them I had it in writing.

Dead silence … followed by a request to show them the paper on which it was written. To their credit, they stand by their employee's promise and honored it. WOW!

O = Ownership. Take ownership of your knowledge and skills. Keep learning, growing and improving. Never assum! Check it out if even the tiniest scintilla of doubt exists. (By the way, having a flyer that contradicts your understanding of a program should create at least a scintilla of doubt in your mind!) Ask questions anyway, because here's the rub:

When something goes wrong, the customer is already inconvenienced. What they really want is for the company to correct the situation at their convenience and the company's cost. But what often happens is that the situation is always corrected … at the company's convenience and the customer's cost! The customer must invest time and effort, multiple times, trying to correct the situation. They often have to pay real money for restocking fees, cancellation fees, or just put up with the wrong product because company policy says they can not return or cancel the item without a penalty.

Do not get me wrong. Obviously there are times when customers do misunderstand things or simply want to get away with something. That's human nature – we all know it. But at least avoid punishing honest customers who become victims of an employee's lack of knowledge by asking them to pay for the employee's mistake.

W = What-if scenarios. Do them! Proactive thinking can help you create WOWs if you just take a few moments to analyze the system or process, think it all the way through and see if it will play out as you expect it will.

As I was checking out of a store recently, after I'd paid for my items, the clerk stapled a coupon to my receipt. The coupon said, “Get two free greeting cards TODAY with any purchase!” But I had just completed my purchase and was ready to leave. I had no time (or inclining) to go back at that point and pick out two cards, then come back and stand in line again in order to get them free. While the coupon was good until the end of the month, which as only about a week away at that point, that meant I would have to go back in the next week – and buy something else – in order to get my two free cards.

Granted, it's nice that they offered the coupon at all, but here's where the experience could have been better than nice – it could have been a WOW! The clerk could have told me about the coupon before ring up my purchase, to allow me to use the coupons on that trip before checking out. Better yet, a rack with a big sign could have told customers at the front entrance that they could get two free cards with their purchase today, allowing them to do it all in one sweep of the store.

So, the next time you really want to WOW your customers, analyze your proposed actions for the WOW factor: Will I keep my WORD? Am I taking OWNERSHIP for the success of myself, my customer, and my company? And am I doing WHAT-IF scenarios up front to ensure that every nuance is considered?

Start with one process, experience, or action. Analyze it, visualize it, walk through every step to be sure that when you put it into action it will really be the WOW you think it is.

Remember that your service efforts can be nice … but “nice” will not get you hired, re-rented, or referred through incredible word-of-mouth advertising. “WOW” will. Anyone can create easy and NICE actions. The challenge is that it takes more dedication and work to make the difference that creates a WOW.

Are you up to the challenge?

Top Tips For Remodelling Your Kitchen

Remodeling your kitchen is a huge task which will take some planning in order to ensure that it all runs smoothly. When it comes to planning and designing your kitchen there is so much to think about it can be tough to know where to start. This article provides some handy tips that will help…

Remodeling your kitchen is a huge task which will take some planning in order to ensure that it all runs smoothly. When it comes to planning and designing your kitchen there is so much to think about it can be tough to know where to start. This article provides some handy tips that will help you to successfully design and install the kitchen of your dreams.

Get Some Inspiration

Before you start to design your new kitchen it is a great idea to do some research and gather some inspiration. Some of the best places to look for inspiration is online, in home design magazines or at kitchen or home design trade shows. You can gather together images that you like the look of and use them on a mood board. Pinterest allows you to create a digital moodboard which will help to provide you with a lovely overview of your project.

Inspiration will also allow you to discover some of the hottest trends when it comes to kitchen designs. Some popular features of the moment include curved edges, bright colored countertops and restaurant style appliances.

Make a Plan

The next step is to make a scaled down plan of the space that you have to work with. You can do this by using the original plans you received when you purchased your home, or by measuring it yourself to make a scaled down plan on paper. You can then use this plan to experiment with the different positionings of kitchen countertops, furniture and other features. There is even 3D modeling software available which will allow you to insert the dimensions of your kitchen into it and then it will automatically create a plan for you.

Think About Space

When it comes to planning your kitchen area you will want to think a lot about the space that you have. A kitchen should have enough space so that you can easily prepare and cook meals without feeling too cramped. In order to make the most of the space you can incorporate some handy storage facilities, such as shelves, high cupboards, and pull out drawer organizers. There are also a range of compact kitchen appliances, such as dishwashers and washing machines which are designed to maximize space.

Seek Professional Help

It is worth hiring the help of a professional design and installation team. They will be able to listen to your vision in order to create a beautiful and practical design which you are sure to love. An installation team will have the skills and expertise to be able to install your kitchen in the most efficient and quickest way possible. Always choose to work with professional and reputable workmen so that you know you will be receiving a high quality service.

Think About Disposal

It is important that you have a way to dispose of the rubbish from the remodeling process. Quite often you will have to remove old cabinets, shelves and furniture from your kitchen. The most convenient way to dispose of rubbish is in a skip. It is possible to hire skips for the duration of your remodeling project. You can choose a skip that is the perfect size for your needs, and the skip delivery team will be able to drop it off at your property and be able to collect it when you are finished with it,

Follow some of the above tips and you should be well on your way to designing and installing a beautiful new kitchen into your home. Good luck.

How to Make Sure Your Processes Are YUMMY Not CRUMMY

Take 2 eggs, whisk until frothy, add milk and flour. Mix together and bake for 20 mins, the result? YUMMY Yorkshire puddings. Imagine if you forgot the eggs, yes you've guessed it; your creation would be a disaster … more crummy than yummy. Creating the perfect Yorkshire pudding is all about following a process one…

Take 2 eggs, whisk until frothy, add milk and flour. Mix together and bake for 20 mins, the result? YUMMY Yorkshire puddings.

Imagine if you forgot the eggs, yes you've guessed it; your creation would be a disaster … more crummy than yummy.

Creating the perfect Yorkshire pudding is all about following a process one step at a time. Process following delivery perfection in the kitchen and it can deliver perfection in business as well.

What do we mean by following the process?

Following the process means using a document that has been written, to show someone how to follow the correct procedure to make sure a task is done properly. Imagine if you were half way through a fantastic recipe, to find the key ingredient is no longer available. You would be pretty miffed, huh!

Processes are important in any business, no matter how big or small!

They are important in many day to day tasks, for example: making cakes, you would not follow a recipe and leave out an ingredient. You would use each stage and do everything that is written, this is the same in business, and following a process properly means the task gets done correctly.

There are 3 key steps you need to follow to write a process

1. First somebody does the task and writes out exactly what they did to complete the task

2. They then have a second person come in and follow that process to make sure it works

3. Once the process is seen to be working, anyone can use it.

Once a process is established it needs to be kept updated regularly.

Why should they be kept updated?

If a specific task is changed and nobody updates the process relating to that task, then the result is not YUMMY anymore. The next person to pick up the process and do the task is going to do it incorrectly, and depending on what line of work you are in could be costly. You would not expect to pick up a recipe and find it no longer applied to what you are making. A recipe is there so everyone can use it.

Can processes be used by anyone?

YES, a process is made so that anyone person can pick it up and complete a task without having to ask anyone for help. Gordon Ramsey does not sell you a cookbook and miss out half the tasks on a recipe because he thinks everyone can do it like him. The process should always be “an idiots guide in how to”, it should be easy and simple to follow.

But I have done the task a couple of times now, surely I can not forget about the process now?

NO, the process could be updated at any time by a different member of staff, meaning the next time you go to do the task it could go completely wrong. Imagine working in a Michelin starred restaurant and unbeknown to you the signature dish has been changed. You make it in your normal way and the chef explodes with rage, because you did not follow the updated process.

Summary: Processes are important in any business and should be followed to the letter. They should always be kept updated and made simple so anyone can follow them, otherwise you could end up with the equivalent of a disastrous Yorkshire pudding instead of a nice crispy YUMMY one.

Next step: So now it is the time to blow the dust of your old processes and get them updated. Why not try a quiz with your colleges to see who knows what about your current processes. If you get different answers it may be time to update.

Don’t Think NOW, Think FUTURE – Think CRM

In a world where we tend to get blind-sided with our focus on selling tickets, it was great to meet a group of sports executables who correctly identified CRM as a catalyst for the future. MESGO is an executive master's degree in sports governance, supported by academic partners including Birkbeck London and the University of…

In a world where we tend to get blind-sided with our focus on selling tickets, it was great to meet a group of sports executables who correctly identified CRM as a catalyst for the future.

MESGO is an executive master's degree in sports governance, supported by academic partners including Birkbeck London and the University of Limoges, along with sports partners including FIBA, IHF, ERA and UEFA. The course takes a multi-disciplinary approach to professional sport and examines economic, political and legal perspectives around issues facing the global sports industry. Earlier this year I was invited to join them and found myself in Paris at the Parc des Princes, home of Paris St. Louis. Germain (a treat in itself!) Discussing the role of CRM in sport .

Most encouraging for me was that while none of the participants themselves had any great exposure to CRM, rather than identifying ticket sales as a key driver, they talked of nationality and the community . Of course, the more sports organizations engage with the wider community and use CRM to plan for the future, the more tickets they're absolutely sell anyway – but the fact that they started out thinking mid- to long-term made for an interesting workshop .

The sports industry is notoriously known for its short-term thinking – short-termism becomes sport-termism – we tend to focus on the next 3 points or the next event and with all the will in the world, a 3 to 5 year business plan ends up gathering dust. Indeed I once met a vastly experienced marketer who switched segments from the telco industry to join a Premier League football club with a brief to help expand their brand internationally. She spent her first few months learning about the business and planning her assault on Asia (no surprise that the focus would be there) and then the season started and she found herself knee deep in perimeter advertising!

OK, so I'm generalizing a bit, but I'm saying that for every sports organization that plans for the next 3 years, there are 10 or even 100 that does not even plan for the next season! So in our CRM session we discussed not just segmenting and analyzing data, tailoring personalized communications, acquiring email addresses and exploring social channels, we also talked about the importance of nationality and the community.

But what did that actually look like? Well, for the case study we used, the MESGO students proposed a digital communications schedule for a national sports team participating in an international biennial event. The schedule envisaged of current match reviews and historical content but they also included future internationals and major cup competitions for the following 4 years. By putting a framework together, the students were saying: “you need to think beyond the now, you've got to think of what happens next”.

The nature of the sports industry is such that we naturally have levels of brand loyalty that most businesses would die for – but when it comes to CRM, we're way behind other industries. We naturally have the foundations for creating, maintaining and developing relationships with our customers – yet, many of us believe CRM is for everyone else. And we know that our businesses – established sports clubs, leagues and governing bodies – are going to be around for a long time, so why are not we planning for that future?

We are making progress, albeit slowly, but I for one left Paris and the glorious Parc des Princes feeling confident that in this group of 20 sports executives, CRM has the same chance as goal line technology. And they said that would never happen!

Mobile Phone Etiquette Your Mother Would Be Proud Of

Mobile phone use is now common place and people are more connected to their phones than ever. It goes to reason that etiquette guides need to be updated with the latest in Mobile phone do's and do not make sure everyone still gets along in civil society. If you take a stock of various situations…

Mobile phone use is now common place and people are more connected to their phones than ever. It goes to reason that etiquette guides need to be updated with the latest in Mobile phone do's and do not make sure everyone still gets along in civil society.

If you take a stock of various situations you experience with others in day to day life, for example would you consider it rude when in midst of a discussion with you your colleague picks up his / her phone that suddenly rings and walk off as if you did not exist, if you do then you are not alone! Do you ever experience a situation when you are in face to face Talk with child or your kin and he / she is running fingers over the keys of mobile phone as if he / she is ignoring you, if you do then you are not alone! And if you look around further you'll find many situations in which you find you are not the only one!

So here are some simple tips for responsible Mobile phone usage in public that will not get you a barrage of haters.

  1. There is a time and place for everything. There are certain places you just do not need to talk on the phone or text; rituals, weddings, in the middle of a medical procedure, etc. Keep in mind the social nature of your surroundings, and act accordingly.
  2. Keep the private stuff private. No matter where you are, you do not need to have a loud one-sided conversation about your child's poop, your husband's affair or other personal matters.
  3. Focus on the person you're with . It's rude to take a call or constantly be texting when you are with an actual living and breathing human being that requires your attention. If the call is important excuse yourself, walk away, and then come back ready to give your full attention.
  4. Can you eat without your phone in front of your face? Meal times are becoming overrun with social media status updates and business calls that are best left on hold while you take the time to eat and talk with your family. An hour for dinner is the perfect time to unplug and relax!
  5. Talk on your own time. Never talk on your phone while you are expected to be checking out at the grocery store or are in the middle of getting your hair cut, or any other time where you are stopping someone from doing their job and holding up a line full of angry customers .

As much as we love our phones and the constant connection they provide, there are certainly times to let a call go to voicemail. Keep these tips in mind and be a responsible phone owner.

Live Phone Answering Service

No business project or company can be successful if its customers are not satisfied. Any businessman knows that regardless of which goods or services the company provides, customers' satisfaction can be achieved by means of skilled and friendly customer answering service. Moreover, it is vital for a business to strive to make every customer welcomed…

No business project or company can be successful if its customers are not satisfied. Any businessman knows that regardless of which goods or services the company provides, customers' satisfaction can be achieved by means of skilled and friendly customer answering service. Moreover, it is vital for a business to strive to make every customer welcomed and happy. People are social creatures and, as the saying goes, if you please a person, it is likely that this person will share his / her experience with four other people. When people are choosing a service provider, the word of the mouth from a friend would become a more powerful advertisement than any other guarantee the company may offer in hopes of attracting new customers. However, if one's customers are unhappy about how they were treated, it is likely they will complain about it to at least ten other individuals. Consequently, in the long run, the business will lose potential customers and the income. However, being forewarned means being forearmed. Here are some of the most spread causes of the customer dissatisfaction with customer service provided and possible ways of preventing those issues from ruining your successful business.

Why are they dissatisfied with a call answering service?

Having reviewed customers' complaints about personal or live phone answering service received, it was established that the main cause of discontent is lack of individual attention. Many clients are irritated that it was impossible to talk to a real person on the phone. Some complaint that it took too many steps to go through in order to get what they wanted. Clients were unable to receive the needed answer at all, had to wait on stand-by for too long, and the result still was not what they had hoped for. Additionally, having gone through the troubles, many customers did not even receive an apology for the poor customer service. Any of the above mentioned experiences are sufficient to upset customers and to turn them off completely. Moreover, being aggravated, they will discuss the event with their friends and those will be related to go through the same experience as well. Recent studies show that almost two-thirds of survey participants do not continue using company's services because they can not reach a live person to answer their phone call. However, those customers who experienced live customer support were not satisfied with efficiency of services provided.

What can be done to improve live answering service?

In order to minimize the risk of poor customer service experience, a business owner can simply establish a high quality call answering service. It will definitely pay off if live answering services will be handled by the trained professional customer support personnel who listen to the complaints and provide helpful solutions to frustrated customers. Moreover, having a sufficient number of people ready to handle phone answering service will eliminate long holding times for customers. If the company does not have a professional customer support department, the business owner may consider outsourcing this important aspect of business, as it is a standard business practice for many companies.

What if you do not receive many complaints about live answering support?

It is clear that without customers a business will not stay afloat. If it sees that you receive only a few complaints, it may be sobering to realize that only about 4% of dissatisfied customers would actually voice their opinion and will try to resolve their issues with the business. Over 90% of dissatisfied customers will choose simply not to use company's services again and will become clients of a competitive firm. Any business that drives to remain successful can not afford losing so many clients. It is a paramount reason for establishing an efficient customer-friendly phone answering service. Only this way a business owner will give the customers an opportunity to be listened to attentively and get their issues resolved in a timely manner.

8 Tips for Protecting Customer Loyalty

Maintaining a loyal client base is the key to long term success in business. Secure your success by asking the following questions: 1. Who are your highest income producing clients ; the ones you can not afford to lose? List them. 2. Which offers do your most valuable clients purchase ? These are your 'bread…

Maintaining a loyal client base is the key to long term success in business.

Secure your success by asking the following questions:

1. Who are your highest income producing clients ; the ones you can not afford to lose? List them.

2. Which offers do your most valuable clients purchase ? These are your 'bread and butter' products. They are the foundation of your business. Is any other company moving in on this target with a competitive product / service?

3. What is the rate of your company turnover? Clients do not buy from companies, they buy from people-your people.

You may be tempted to accumulate long-term clients love your brand, however, more often than not, it's your employees they actually love.

4. Are you focusing too heavily on price? Being the low-cost provider is a definite competitive advantage. Your goal is to provide the best value. Value is an advantage you can maintain through a combination of price, schedule, service, and relationships. Spend at least as much time finding ways to increase value as you do finding ways to lower costs and prices.

5. What is the buzz in your industry? Are there any market trends that you can take advantage of? What adjustments, if any, must you make to stay on the leading edge (and not the boring edge) in the market place?

6. Can you identify areas where you can create new sales opportunities? Is there a product / service that your loyal client base desires? Are you aware of target markets you have not yet reached?

7. What feedback are you receiving from your most valued clients? Your most profitable clients are almost always long-term clients. Happy clients become loyal clients, and loyal clients will refer others to your business. It is essential that you really care about your clients and listen to what they have to say. Is there a product or service that would like to see added, changed or improved? What are your clients saying about your customer service?

8. How much personal contact do you maintain with your most valued clients? People purchase from individuals they know, like and trust. This is called rapport. Building rapport requires more than just the occasional Facebook post or Email blast. Make it your goal to personally contact each of your most valued clients by phone, SKYPE or in person regularly this year.

Protect you most valuable assets – your loyal client base. Take care of them for a profitable year.

Customer Service Should Start With the End in Mind

I recently had the opportunity to share a conversation about an article I posted in the online publication Customer Think, a great online source for customer service articles. The article was about the importance of being employee-focused as a precursor to becoming customer-focused, and I shared an interesting dialogue about the topic with Bob Thompson,…

I recently had the opportunity to share a conversation about an article I posted in the online publication Customer Think, a great online source for customer service articles. The article was about the importance of being employee-focused as a precursor to becoming customer-focused, and I shared an interesting dialogue about the topic with Bob Thompson, the editor in chief at Customer Think, and Michael Lowenstein, a fellow author.

I have written several articles and social media posts recently about my belief that a company needs to first focus on its employees before it can become customer-focused. I have noted that customer service begins with the employees – all employees of an organization, from the leaders to entry-level hires. To ensure a high quality customer experience, those on the inside of the organization must practice service with one another. All employees must treat each other the way the customer is to be treated.

In the conversation about my online article, Bob Thompson disagreed with my perspective. He interprets some concepts differently and believes that a company must be customer-focused first. There are even some companies that have had both a great atmosphere for the employees and amazing customer service and have still failed. The other part that is needed is a great product – a very customer-focused element. Without a quality product that customers will buy, all the customer service in the world will not make a business successful. Bob noted the tech companies of the dot.com era, in which employees worked in lavish work environments yet companies still failed. Here, I believe it was that the product did not generate enough revenue to support the company despite the quality of the employee environment or customer experience.

To support my views, I compare the lists of the top customer service companies with those of the best companies to work for. There is too much overlap for it to be coincidental – there is a definite connection between being employee-focused and offering good customer service.

However, Bob Thompson has a valid point. I would agree that the first decision that must be made is the goal to become customer-focused. From there, I believe that the process and the steps to achieving the goal must begin within the organization. The leadership must formulate the process and the members of the organization then have to act upon it. This means hiring the right people, training them in customer service as well as their job skills, and then empowering them to carry out the vision of the company in providing customer service. The employees must work for the goal in order for the company to achieve it.

So, you start with the end in mind – set the goal – and then focus on the employees who will make it happen.