Archive for the ‘Customer Service’ Category

Simple Strategies To Nurture Customer Loyalty

Thursday, December 29th, 2011
  • Treat customers as prospects.
  • Be unusual where usual is expected.
  • Offer proactive service.
  • Deliver friendly service.
  • Answer the phone and help in a memorable way.
  • Give something they’ll use and appreciate every day, and show to others.
  • Go beyond the expected.
  • Be fun, unusual and poignant.

 

Increasing satisfaction and minimizing problems are the ultimate goals in managing our relationships with customers. Use each customer encounter or point of contact as an opportunity to develop and build trust. Even problems and complaints can be used as a way to go above and beyond expectations in remedying the situation. It’s a good idea to create a system of recording customer interactions to help determine patterns not only in customer complaints, but in their preferences as well.

For example, many luxury hotels observe the choices guests select during their stay, such as extra towels, then extra towels are provided every time that customer visits. Upscale retailers tend to have personal shoppers who record preferences in colors, styles, brands and size so they can notify their client when new merchandise appears.

Adding a personal touch to your interactions with customers can go a long way. It doesn’t always have to be an up sell or business related. Simply paying compliments or asking specific questions about something that was discussed in a previous conversation helps to create that elusive customer loyalty.

Demonstrating Value

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

In general, consumers don’t want to be sold to. So although it can be tricky, it’s important to develop your skills at indirect or subtle selling techniques. Essentially this is figuring out ways to integrate your product or service into your conversation with customers without sounding like a pitch machine.

Asking open ended questions and listening to your customer will help you understand their needs so that you can offer solutions, provide education and share experiences with others you’ve helped with similar situations. It’s all about adding value and demonstrating your knowledge and expertise. In turn, you become the authority and “go to” resource for customers.

Since no one enjoys being directly sold to, subtle selling is the way to go. People want to know “what’s in it for me.” So you have to be able to show them the value in what you offer. Practice and finesse your technique by providing your customer with whatever education, engagement or entertainment they may need in order for you to more easily close the sale.

Employee Focus – Talent and Expectations

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

In order to maintain your customers and gain new customers, you have to attract and retain quality team members. It’s not magic, retaining the right people takes hard work and dedication. Be committed to work with your administrative team and make employee retention a priority.

Recruiting The Right People

  • Plan ahead: Identify the skills, abilities or talents needed to accomplish the work.
  • Develop a recruitment strategy: Determine which recruitment efforts work for you.
  • Provide orientation and training: Give your employees the tools and information necessary to do their jobs well. Provide new employees with mentors, training videos, etc.
  • Recognize employee contributions, talents and skills: Communicate each employee’s value to him or her orally or in writing. Show appreciation in formal and informal ways.
  • Celebrate and evaluate: Celebrate success! Incorporate an on-going review process to identify how you could improve processes incorporating everyone’s feedback.

    Management Expectations

    According to Andrew Rondeau’s article, Management Expectations, “Twenty-five percent of all staff members don’t know what their boss expects of them.” As a manager, you should communicate the behaviors you expect of your employees if you want to see an improvement in your team’s work effort. Communicate your management expectations and coach/mentor employees to help them become the best employees possible.

    Word of mouth is the most credible source of information about a product, aside from actual personal experience with a product.  What consumers tell each other about your product has a huge impact on your effort to recruit new customers.

    How can you control what people say about your product?  Encouraging customers to say nice things, and preventing them from slamming your product is hard – many marketers assume that doing so is impossible.  But you can influence word of mouth, and you must try to do so.  Following are some ideas for how to manage word of mouth communications about your product:

    • Make your product special.  A product that surprises people because of its unexpectedly good quality or service is special enough to talk about.
    • Do something noteworthy in the name of your product or company.  Support a not-for-profit organization in your neighborhood.  Stage a fun event for kids.  Let your employees take short sabbaticals to volunteer in community services.  All of these strategies have worked well in the past to generate positive publicity and word of mouth.  Get creative.  Think of something worthwhile — some way of helping improve your community that will make people surprised and happy about the good you’re doing in the name of your product.

    Source:  Marketing for Dummies, by Alexander Hiam, MBA

    What is CUSTOMER CARE?

    Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

    CUSTOMER CARE is the service your business provides, on a daily basis, which aligns with the needs of the customer.

    How do you and your employees care for your customers?  Try to list at least ten CUSTOMER CARE touch points that are important to your business.  Put your list in writing and take a good look at it.  Remember, referrals are a primary source of your business…are you optimizing your CUSTOMER CARE opportunities?

    We’ll help you get started…

    1. A warm welcome to customers every day.

    Now it’s your turn….

    Delivering ‘Above and Beyond’ Service:

    1. Be a hero! Superb service doesn’t take much more effort than lousy service; it’s simply an attitude adjustment.

    2. Never settle for less than the best. Your work is a direct reflection of you.  Make it shine!

    3. Search for models of great service. Look around your organization and find the people who are stars at work.  Study them – learn what makes them tick.  See if you can do what they do.

    4. Follow through on your actions. Make sure the actions you take have the desired effect – not just when you do them, but a week, a month, or a year later.

    5. Encourage others to take your lead. Your refusal to compromise your standards of quality and service will motivate others to do the same.

     

    Source: 1001 Ways To Take Initiative At Work by Bob Nelson

    Nurture Customer Loyalty

    Thursday, June 30th, 2011

    Simple Strategies To Nurture Customer Loyalty:

    • Be unusual where usual is expected.
    • Offer proactive service.
    • Deliver friendly service.
    • Give something they’ll use and appreciate every day, and show to others.
    • Go beyond the expected.
    • Be fun, unusual and poignant.
    • Building A Team: Don’t just hire an employee to fill a position. Employ a person to be part of a team to build your business.

    • Saying ‘Thank You’ – OFTEN: Let your employees, customers and vendors know how much you appreciate them. Tell them, jot a note or send an email.

    • Smiling: Customers are obviously interested in quality and price when making a purchase decision, but ultimately they are buying your optimistic attitude!

    Telephone Smile

    Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

    Are you answering your phone with a SMILE???

    This is the oldest sales technique in the book – and for good reason – it works.  Your customers can hear (sense) your smile because a smile alters the tone of your voice. A smile may be the most cost effective marketing tool you possess!

    Regardless of the momentary stress you may be feeling…take a deep breath, smile and then answer the phone!