Last week I was interviewed by Daniel Bortz, a writer for Entrepreneur.com. He asked my opinion on some things small businesses can do to keep their customers coming back. The ideas in his article focused on tactics that most small businesses can do and can be made easier using technology tools. The suggestions centered on connecting with your customer and understanding what they want from you and your business. Our daily, routine interactions with customers give us opportunities to know them better and to communicate with them better. But we have to make the effort. We have to pay attention. [...]
Customer Service Skills
Tips, books, articles and other training guides to help you improve customer service skills. These are useful for individual customer facing employees and managers, supervisors and team leads who want to help their employees polish and sharpen their customer service skills.
Recently we had a new water softener and heater installed. And though I enjoy the good feeling I get from improving our home, I loathe the process. I feel this way because too many retailers and contractors have made it a horrible experience for customers. From “bait and switch” advertisements to aggressive up-selling to the cliched service scheduler who proudly announces their installers will be there between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. Ugh! But some big box stores have changed the rules. Best Buy is one example. We’ve bought our last two sets of washers and dryers there. Every time [...]
A while back I attended a seminar geared toward helping us manage change better in our organizations. One of the many things worth remembering from that day is a phrase from Larry Wilson: The natural state of communication is misunderstanding. At first I didn’t understand what Larry meant. Lucky for me he continued to explain. What he said was we typically misunderstand more of what we hear than we actually understand. We might think we know what the other person meant but often we don’t. An example: A friend of mine works at a manufacturer where the boss let it [...]
Our Amazing customer service resource for this week is a post at the Toilet Paper Entrepreneur called: “60 Customer Service Tips for Entrepreneurs”. It was written by TPE’s Mike Michalowicz but actually consists of tips from dozens of bright people. Here are a few of my favorites: 4. Be You, Not a Script – Get off the script—LISTEN and respond to what’s really going on. -Shel Horowitz 7. Don’t Make ‘Em Wait – Never keep a customer on hold for more than 30 seconds. If you are going to need to leave them on hold for more than that amount [...]
Last week AT&T showed why you should hire people who care. Their customer service employee literally saved her customer’s life. Now Winn-Dixie is schooling us in the fine art of going the extra mile for your customers. Recently, employees in their Stuart, FL store helped two of their customers avoid losing almost $3000 as victim of a con artist. As the couple was about to send $2796 to supposedly get their grandson out of jail, the Winn-Dixie employees got involved. “Clerks at the store heard the story and persuaded her to delay sending the money until the story could be [...]
Last weekend I spoke at the Ensemble Travel Group 2009 International Conference. It was held at the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel in Banff, Alberta. This week I will be sharing some of my experiences there and using them as examples of how we can all increase customer loyalty by improving customer service. For now, I’ll start with a short video. This was an interview we did before I spoke. The Ensemble Team made wonderful use of technology to capture and deliver learning throughout the conference.
One of the best ways to increase revenue and profits in a tough economy is to get more new customers who are already sold on your product, service or brand. These customers can be hugely profitable because they require very little marketing or sales costs. By the time they reach your door they have already heard good things about your business and they are interested in learning more. If handle them right a high percentage will become customers with little effort on your part. Here are seven things you can do to increase customer referrals at your business. They’re not [...]
Here is your Daily Dose of Amazing Service: Focus on what you control. Don’t worry about the rest. And here are some additional thoughts on this topic… Every day we are faced with customer service situations we do not control. The key is to know what we can do and how it might affect the outcome we want. We need to remember the end result is not our choice. It’s the customer’s choice. But they will decide based on a lot of things, like how they felt we treated them and how well we resolved their issue.
Here is your Daily Dose of Amazing Service: Don’t try to be perfect And here are some additional thoughts on this topic… I’m always amazed at how many of us fall into the perfection trap. We can’t start something until we think we have the whole thing planned out. Or we don’t finish things until they’re done to our level of perfection. I’ve done both, more than I care to admit. Striving for quality is great. So is meeting standards. But we should never strive so much for perfection that we lose sight of our goal. That is wasteful.
When a customer is speaking it’s not just an opportunity for them to explain something. They might also be venting. Interrupt that and you could make a bad situation much worse. We all think and speak at our own pace. One of the best ways to connect with your customer, and give them a positive experience is to match their pace. If they talk slower then you normally do, then SLOW DOWN. Don’t expect them to speed up to your pace. They won’t. Or if they do they’ll feel uncomfortable and pressured. The opportunity to speak and be heard without [...]