Category: Fresh Customer Service


 

Research shows that contrary to a happy customer who will tell only two to three people about their good experience; a dissatisfied customer will tell at least eight to ten people about his or her bad experience. This disparity shows how much just one displeased customer can negatively impact your reputation. It also shows the importance of providing quality customer service to your customers. The following are ways to improve and maintain good customer service, and avoid down-grading your service and company reputation.

  1. First impression is the last impression

This adage is foremost true in customer service. If a customer does not have a good first impression, the customer will leave with a bad impression of your company. Examples where customers may find a poor first impression:

  • Customer service rep (CSR) had a poor interaction with customer
  • A customer’s questions were not answered
  • CSR did not have good knowledge of product or service
  • Customer had to wait too long
  • Website is not user-friendly
  1. Treat your customers the way you want to be treated

The golden rule equally refers to business as it does your personal life. Think how you would feel if you, as a customer, are not treated well. Likely you will be upset and frustrated. Even more likely you will end up telling a friend or colleague about your bad experience. If you think as if you are the customer, you have a better opportunity to provide customers with a great first impression.

  1. Keep your promises

Broken promises lead to lost trust and ruined relationships. This is also true with customer service. Cancelling appointments or not responding to customers’ concerns can damage your customer relationship. What many people don’t realize is that poor communication is rampant in customer service. If you are one of the few who can deliver timely communication you will stand out against your competitors.

  1. Be all ears

Customers are likely to get satisfied if a CSR listens to his needs or problems and then come up with a solution. Same goes with angry customers. Make sure your CSRs listen attentively to whatever the customer has to say before making suggestions or selling a product or service.

  1. Don’t stop at ‘I don’t know’

It is likely most people in your company don’t know everything. This is okay. It is also okay to say, “I don’t know.” However, don’t stop there. If you don’t know the answer, the real key to good customer services is going out of the way to find out the answer. Providing a timeline to the customer for when you will follow-up will show the customer that you didn’t blow them off and builds a level of trust.

  1. Empower your frontline staff

Customers get angry when they hear a CSR say he can’t do anything regarding their problems. Mostly, this happens because a CSR does not have the power to make decisions and has to ask senior management. Make sure you empower your frontline staff enough to resolve customers’ complaints. At the same time, you must establish boundaries and escalation procedures for more complicated matters.

6.5 Organize frequent training sessions

Many companies provide an abundance of front-end training, yet do not train consistently as the employee develops in the company. Providing regular training and customer feedback to your CSRs will help your team grow and develop in a positive way.

www.52CustomerServiceTips.com

customer value

‘Customer is always right’ is probably one of the most common clichés in the history of consumer services. Apple’s customer services are always regarded as extraordinary and exemplary. However, the brand has to go several extra miles to achieve this success.

Following are some easy and quick ways to give value to your customers and show them that they are always right.

  1. Establish Customer Support System

Many brands design their personal apps for convenient communication with the customers. The apps anticipate the customer queries and automate the brand responsiveness.

  1. Share Information with Your Customers

Most of the brands share positive updates and brand progress with their customers. Asking for ideas and opinions of the customers not only helps generate great customer feedback but it also makes the customers feel valued. Social media, emails, and short service messages are good sources for sending out the information to your customers.

  1. Include the Customer-Favorite Phrases in Your CSR Policy

While training your social media and customer service representatives, make sure to educate them about the customer-favorite phrases. Some of the phrases include these.

  • I can surely solve this problem.
  • How can I help you?
  • Don’t worry! I will take care of this problem.
  • I am taking the responsibility of this problem.
  • It will be definitely according to your requirement/demand.
  • I really appreciate your responsibility.

When customers issue their problems, they expect you to solve them at any cost. Phrases like but, however, I guess, and such create a negative impact. If you feel that you may not be able to solve the issue then don’t say ‘I can’t’. You can address such problems in a different way.

For example, ‘I am sure I will solve this very soon. For best services, I request you to give me a little time to sort this out.’

  1. Let Customers Know When You Do More

You might already be marketing your services and appreciating your employees. However, it is highly important to let your customers know when you are going an extra mile for them. The key is to make your customers realize that you are the ‘one’ who will do extra to provide excellent services in a competitive market.

  1. Surprise Your Customers

An old an inactive customer would love to receive a hand-written note from your brand. Similarly, giving gifts with celebrity signatures is also an expression of gratitude. The customers love to see your brand personalized for them and feel valued.

Along with these tips, never say ‘no’ to a customer. Keep the options open to make the customer realize that they are always right.

www.52CustomerServiceTips.com

attract customers

Nowadays, businesses are more inclined towards giving their branding strategies a personalized touch, as personal branding has proved to be an excellent way to attract customers and boost sales. Personal branding comes with a few keystrokes purposed to switch a job or profession, seeking promotion or new clients, or attracting new customers. Personalizing your brand helps retain your existing customers, along with attracting new ones. Here are some tips in this regard.

Use Social Media to Build an Image Like a Pro

Your online brand presence greatly depends on your social media communication strategies, as they must focus on establishing a positive public image. For example, posting videos like public speaking helps establish a leader’s image. Similarly, sharing your personal life on social networks like Facebook and Twitter helps build the public’s trust in you.

Communicate Directly

Giving value to your customers and clients strengthens the foundations of your personal brand. Direct communication includes relating your personal brand with your customers, their cultures, and stereotypes.

  • In order to relate with the customers, post your social media comments and views by individualizing the customers. For example, “The respectful citizens of…”.
  • There are a number of ways to relate with the cultures. Angelina Jolie wears the traditional clothes of the countries she visits. Justin Trudeau celebrates the special occasions and traditions with people belonging to different cultures and posts the pictures on social media. Customize your messages according to the occasions, traditions, cultures, accomplishments, and people.
  • In order to relate with the victims of stereotyping, you can raise your voice against such social stereotypes.

Share Authentically

While Roger Ebert was fighting his crippling cancer, he was also consumed with fear over losing his battle. He won more public trust and love when he started sharing his fear with the public because of his authenticity and honesty. The act of sharing aspects of your personal life including happiness, accomplishments, fears, vulnerabilities, and such creates a bond between you and the customers.

Hire a Social Media Publicist and Visual Artist

A social media publicist is a professional who helps you co-create your personal brand. The specialty of a social media publicist lies in the fact that they help craft a public image based on how you want the world to see you. The effectiveness of their services increase when you hire a visual artist – a professional who knows the tactics of adding impact and emotion to simple images.

The combined effect of both, helps you design text and visual content that is imperative for building positive digital persona, attracting customers, and associating your personal brand with the audiences.

Establish a Direct Network

You can use platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn to establish direct networking channels. The customers feel bonded with personal brands when they realize that their message directly approaches the brands. Make sure to always be available for advice and help. Be prepared to respond to clients individually.

Apart from these tips, try to maintain online and offline integrity and keep yourself safe from negative imagery. The content of the text and the body language displayed in the pictures should always align with the image you wish to convey. You should always be positive and open with your customers.

www.52CustomerServiceTips.com

customer relations management

The customer relationship managers influence your relationship with the customers more than the taglines. They need to achieve their goals including retaining the established customer base, attracting new customers, persuading the customers to buy your products or render the services and conjuring them to transform into brand ambassadors and spread the word. Effective and timely problem resolution and excellent communication skills are the keys to excellent and satisfactory customer services.

However, you also need to include the following customer relations management skills when recruiting the employees or training and monitoring them.

Direct Marketing Skills

Improving your sales conversion rate is highly crucial to boost sales, expand customer base, and improve brand reputation in the market. Your organization spends time and money on the customers, and for boosting your Return on Investment, the customer relations manager needs to keep an eye on the sales conversion rate. The customer service representatives should be able to directly market your services and products while theconsuming the least possible time.

The Ability to Make Connections

The process of converting the prospects into customers requires exclusivity in establishing warm connections with friendly prospects as well as cold leads. Sometimes, a prospect may be friendly but unwilling to convert into a customer. Following are the two capabilities crucial to make connections.

  • The power of persuasion
  • The ability to motivate the prospects to climb up the ladder step-by-step

You may already be aware of the power of persuasion. The latter refers to a systematic process, essentially required to transform the ‘cold prospects.’ It includes:

  • Generating responses and callbacks in the first meeting
  • Inviting prospects to corporate events
  • Persuasive conversions with direct marketing

Skills of Establishing a Sales Funnel

Retaining your established customers along, with constantly adding new customers in your customer base, is critical for the growth of your business. This process is called creating customers. You need the knowledge and understanding of a sales funnel to create customers.

The sales funnel looks like a hierarchy with Leads on the top, Prospects in the middle, and Customers at the bottom of the hierarchy.

The first step is to attract leads. The sales process revolves around awareness and education about your brand, purchase evaluation, engagement of the customers, commitment of the engaged customers, purchase process, and converting the shoppers into repeat customers. A customer relations manager with a good understanding of the sales funnel is nothing less than an asset to your organization.

Entrepreneurship and Ambassadorship

The customer relations manager should be able to identify and mobilize the resources in order to convert the right people into leads and customers. The manager should be able to establish strong networks inside and outside the organization. The managers should have extensive knowledge of the products and services offered by the firm, along with the ability to establish a relation with the right type of offerings.

The customer relations managers can prove to be an invaluable organizational asset, useful for your business growth and expanding the customer base.

www.FreshCustomerService.com

Keeping Customers Happy

As a bitter reality, a hundred good customer reviews do not make the headlines but only one poor review could devastate your successfully growing business.

Chipotle has recently been in the news for its customer services. The poor customer reviews have dropped its recommendation scores by 17 points at YouGov BrandIndex. Chipotle was hovering at 84 recommended score before. Different customer queries brought important issues to light including the rude behavior of customer service representatives, unhygienic service, and such, which resulted in this downfall. According to a recent Bloomberg’s report, Chipotle’s sales have decreased by $10.3 million in the last quarter due to various cases of food poisoning, most of them occurred with Burrito buyers. Chipotle’s  slow reaction to this issue deepened the decline in it’s financial performance and brand reputation.

Here are some secret weapons to avoid customer service failure like Chipotle and keep your loyal customers happy.

Communicate Genuinely and Rightly

Loyal customers are the assets of a brand. According to the Forrester research, around 64% of the brands receive average or poor feedback from their customers. Another report claims that 37% of the customers are willing to pay extra for better customer services. This means that with poor customer services, your business may lose 37% of the customers.

The brands need to listen and evaluate the customer needs in order to address them. It is equally important for the customer service representatives and brands to accommodate the customer needs.

Genuine communication refers to utilizing all the types of resources to communicate with your customers at the right time. Attending events and exhibitions, quickly responding to customers’ queries on social media, and respecting your customers are a few tips to communicate genuinely with the customers.

Value them to the Point of Satisfaction

The brands lose their loyal customers when the customers become dissatisfied. When you lose a loyal customer, one brick of your business’s success is taken down. Therefore, it is highly important to keep your customers satisfied to retain them. There are two ways to achieve satisfaction.

  1. Resolve the problem to satisfy the customer
  2. Keep the customer hooked up until the problem is resolved

Add Personal Touch to Every Relation

Adding a personal touch makes the customers feel valued. For this, you need to communicate with the customers often and associate with them in a variety of ways. For example, send them cards on important events like birthdays and Christmas. Offer deals on special days like Mother’s Day.

Do Not Over-Promise

As explained earlier, you need to reach the point of satisfaction to retain the loyal customers. If you set the targets too high, the customers’ satisfactory needs will also rise up to that level. Be rationaland set realistic expectations only.

Show Gratitude

A positive attitude of the business towards customers is one of the important building blocks of long-term relationships. Your positive attitude includes:

  • Responsible problem resolution
  • Expression of customer value

The latter type includes saying thank you, expressing kindness, and expressing gratitude that makes the customers valued and establishes long-term relations.

Equip your brand and customer service representatives with these weapons to retain your loyal customers, establish positive brand reputation, and expand your business and customer base.

 

www.FreshCustomerService.com

health2

……….and you will deliver world-class customer service.

Popular belief suggests that customers are the reason problems begin in any organization. That’s far from the case in reality; problems begin with the company and its employees. Customers expect a top-notch experience but receive a bad one instead. As a result, the company loses them forever.  Excellent customer service starts with employees, and if the employees aren’t happy with your company, how can you expect them to make your customers happy?

In my book  Fresh Customer Service- Treat the Employee as #1 and the Customer as #2 and you will get customers for life – I explain that the best way to make your customers happy is to ensure  your employees are happy with their job and empowered and equipped to deliver a world-class customer service experience.  The first two steps of the 6.5 steps  are Side by Side Walking and Smart Tasking.

  1. Side By Side Walking

The first fresh step towards understanding your employees is side by side walking. This essentially means stepping into your employees’ shoes, enabling you to identify the gaps in your company’s operations and helping you determine which areas need improvement. All you have to do is engage in the same activities as your employees for one day to understand where your company stands.

Steps to Effective Side by Side Walking

Following are the main steps for side by side walking:

  • Make safety a priority
  • Jobs should be described in written documents which outline the tasks and desired outcomes
  • Mentally prepare yourself and realize the significance and purpose of this strategy
  • Ensure you adopt same dress code, gear, and use the same equipment as your employees
  • Perform all pre-work tasks your employees have to perform like clocking in, preparing shift register, reading the task board, etc.
  • Do all the tasks as per the existing processes and procedures the employees follow
  • Observe all the tasks and process being followed during the shift
  • Ensure that you complete the entire shift
  • Reflect and assess the tasks you did, the problems that occurred, and compare it to the job description of your employees
  • Determine where the problems are and where improvements are needed.

2.    Smart Tasking

The second fresh step towards understanding your customers is Smart Tasking. It helps in setting up clear priorities and expectations for your employees which would assist them in offering the best customer support to your customers. Train your employees to smart task effectively and encourage them to speak up if they are assigned tasks that they deem ineffective and unnecessary. This helps in eliminating unnecessary work for the employees and makes their tasks more manageable and enjoyable for them.

Steps for Smart Tasking

Following are the main steps for smart tasking:

  • Understand the processes and operations
  • Identify the right tasks and eliminate unnecessary ones
  • Recommend specific time duration for each task
  • Never sacrifice safety of your employees
  • Ensure you provide easy step-by-step instructions for all tasks
  • Determine if the tasks adds to the customers’ experience and to what degree
  • Make adjustments where necessary
  • Review all tasks to ensure they are necessary for the overall process
  • Offer appropriate training of smart tasking for your employees

Understanding the problems your employees face and the environment they work in will help you in making their work experience better. Training them to prioritize and eliminating complex and unnecessary tasks will enhance their work satisfaction and make tasks easy for them. As a result, they will be able to offer a world-class customer service experience  to your customers.

 

health

 

Social Media

Not having an active presence on major social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest today is like not having a website 10 years ago. It marks your brand as behind the times and cuts you off from a valuable means of interacting with customers.

Social media is a great way to collect customer feedback, let your customers build a community around your brand, services and products, and communicate in a more personal and informal way. Savvy companies engage in “social listening,” or monitoring social media networks for commentary about your brand to detect positive and negative consumer trends and respond in a timely and appropriate manner. Many technology companies provide software or hosted services to manage social listening.

The same rules about carefully monitoring everything you do and say apply to social media as apply to regular websites or email. In addition, you need to understand that each social media platform has a different purpose. Facebook is good for registering and rewarding fans, Twitter is good for making short, timely announcements, LinkedIn is good for presenting a professional image and for recruiting employees, Instagram and YouTube let you visually represent your company, and Pinterest is where you and your customers can demonstrate how your goods and products can be used in daily life.

Gamification

The average video gamer is a college-aged professional in their mid-30s. The days of the bored teen slumped on the couch playing video games instead of doing homework are long over. A good chunk of your brand’s customer base probably plays video games, and your brand needs to adapt.

Gamification is the increasingly popular practice of applying video game dynamics and contest strategies to online interactions with customers. For example, you could run a contest for customers to post photos of themselves with your product online, with the public invited to vote on the best photos (with prizes, of course). Or customers registering for an online service could have the option of doing so through a mini-video game.

Customers of all ages and professions live in a world of instant gratification and constant entertainment, largely due to the pervasiveness of technology. Your brand should engage with them in kind.

I have long been a proponent of “Fresh Customer Service,” or putting your employees first and customers second to ensure a customer experience that maximizes satisfaction and repeat visits, ensuring higher sales. And I still stand behind it. But the way customers engage with your brand is changing due to technology, and you need to use the same technology to change how you engage with them.

I’d like to briefly review a few ways you can use cutting-edge technology to ensure that your brand is engaging customers in the way they want to be engaged, with personal and professional success as a result.

Mobile Devices

Consumers of all ages are now “constantly connected,” using smartphones, tablet computers and even smart watches to maintain Internet access everywhere they go. Especially among younger consumers, there is a sense that the “virtual” and “physical” worlds are blended, with the mobile device serving as a continual bridge between the digital realm and everyday life.

You must respond by offering your customers the same experience through their mobile devices as you do in your physical place of business or PC-based website. Responsive design is a Web development strategy that lets you develop your customer website with a single code base and have it automatically optimize itself for whatever device accesses it. No more clunky or incomplete mobile websites!

In addition, customer-facing employees should be armed with mobile devices and well-trained in how to use them to immediately respond to customer requests for information, alternate sources of goods and services, etc. Modern customers will not wait for an employee to run and check on something, they want the answer immediately!

 

health

 

Despite low levels of inflation and unemployment, most Americans still consider themselves living in an economic recession, and with good reason. High-paying, secure jobs with benefits have been replaced by low-paying, uncertain jobs with little or no benefits, leaving people with little money to spread around even as prices remain stable. In this financial climate, the average consumer is buying what they need to get by and little else. Clearly, it’s not the best environment for attracting paying customers to your business.

But despite these obstacles, you can still attract and retain paying customers in the current consumer landscape. How? By using 6.5 steps drawn from my Fresh Customer Service methodology that I developed over years of working in customer-oriented settings, starting as a child handyman. Fresh Customer Service brought me from childhood poverty to exponential success as an executive with several major companies and now as a motivational speaker and career coach. Let’s examine how you can start using Fresh Customer Service today to draw in customers.

Step 1. Make Your Customer Number Two. Since most customer service strategies are partially or wholly based on making the customer number one, then obviously customer service levels must be at an all-time high, right? Everywhere you go, people are raving about how great their daily customer service experiences are, and customer satisfaction polls back this affirmation up with hard data.

I’ll give you a moment to stop laughing before I continue. Hopefully you didn’t snort any of your morning coffee out your nose. We all realize that in far too many cases, the one word that best sums up the state of customer service today is “disaster.” Yet especially in an era where prices have already been slashed, customer service is more important than ever as a competitive differentiator.

The key to running a successful operation is believing and practicing the concept that customers should always come second—employees matter more in the immediate sense and should therefore come first. After all, happy employees unleash their enthusiasm and passion from within, and that passion is contagious. It infects everyone around them, including customers.

And happy employees naturally provide superior customer service. They smile. So thank your employees every day, let them be involved in the planning of the work affecting them, and treat them with the utmost respect and courtesy. Even in times when consumers are looking to do things quickly and cheaply, they will notice… and come back for more!

 

emp

Why is Make-It-Right Power important?

Nine times out of ten, a customer problem starts with a simple issue that can be solved in a matter of minutes. But most customer service  policies and procedures have conditioned employees to go into “protect the company’s assets mode” as soon as the customer begins to state his or her problem.

We have either knowingly or unknowingly put our employees in defensive mode when a customer states a problem and the employee has not been given basic power to Make-It-Right. This defensive mode only serves to exacerbate the problem, which could have been just an average, simple problem, into a gigantic problem of mammoth proportions that could be the defining factor of whether the customer will be one for life or one who never returns again and tells everyone he knows of the horrible experience he had.

Customers want to know that employees will genuinely hear them out and empathize with them—but mostly, and above all, they want to see an instant solution to their problem. Make-It-Right Power delivers both the responsibility and the prescribed authority to the employees to transform a customer’s bad experience into a positive one, or in the best case scenario, one that can proactively hedge off the situation as a result of prescribed Make-It-Right Power before it even festers into a bad experience.

We’re not trying to do the impossible with the customer; we’re just allowing them to have as many problems as possible resolved with a minimum of pain and aggravation on both the customer and employee sides of the equation.

The following are steps to giving Frontline Employees Make-It-Right Power:

  1. Spend some time (throughout the entire business day) with the Frontline Employees to understand how they currently solve customers’ problems.

  2. Find out from the employees what would make it easier for them to solve these problems.

  3. Record this gathered knowledge into a “best practice document.”

  4. Establish Make-it-Right authority for every employee in the organization.

  5. Define a policy and procedure around how to administer Make-It-Right Power. Keep it simple and fun!

  6. Provide the necessary training.

It’s important to establish levels of authority with every employee so that they know what they are authorized to do when certain problems arise with customers. For example, if you’re a Frontline Employee, you may be empowered to solve a customer’s problem up to a prescribed dollar amount, with an in-store incentive, or a gift card, or whatever other mechanism may be in place.

As an organizational leader, you need to be clear if this empowerment is the same for all levels of the organization, or if it differs based on the position of the employee. It is not uncommon for a General Manager to be empowered to a greater degree than a Frontline Employee.

A clear set of guidelines needs to accompany Make-It-Right Power. Those instructions would include how the employees will administer the solutions to the customer’s problems, what documentation should be completed, and a check-and-balance system for the manager. It does not behoove us to come up with a robust empowerment tool without providing clear training to the employees who will need to administer it. Therefore, simple training should be administered that will discuss the rationale behind Make-It-Right Power, including its administration and its checks and balances.

Try enabling your Frontline Employees with Make-It-Right Power, and see what happens. If you implement Make-It-Right Power correctly, you will experience a level of gratitude and satisfaction from your employees, managers, and most importantly, customers, which you never even knew was possible.

For leadership coachingprofessional development training, customer service trainingcustomer service tips, college success tips, or to learn how to build a personal brand, how to improve customer service, or  how to succeed in college, contact Michael D Brown, a premier leadership speaker, customer service speaker, and college motivational speaker at http://www.myfreshbrand.com, http://www.freshcustomerservice.com, or http://www.52collegesuccesstips.com.