Posts Tagged improve customer service

The service conundrum

Your team were doing poorly in the service stakes, you got someone in to fix it, and viola! All good, it took a while, some people fought it but you got their lazy butts moving, They started to acknowledge the customers by saying hello and provided good service with a smile.

Image courtesy of Satvva from freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Satvva from freedigitalphotos.net

Things were going swimmingly and people were praised left right and centre. This felt good, now some 18 months down the track the whole thing is starting to slide… What the?

You haven’t noticed it too much, but one of your stalwart customers has. You think they are just picky, yes they are, but in your best interests. They have noted the lack of acknowledgement, the lack of interaction, the staff walking past people pondering which item to buy who might need some assistance and the list of nasty pointers starts to build.

Did the system fail? Are your people slackening off? Did something change to cause this? Perhaps all of these pointers have kicked in and slowly over time the service culture has not cemented itself into the psyche of your team.

Think of it this way, if your people did bad service for five years, can they change the long term service to a more positive culture in eighteen months? Yes, but… It needs to done in a way to make that happen, a way that shows them there is a clear benefit to doing better service, a way that alters their thinking about how they used to do service and how good it feels to make the new change. They also need to lead each other, holding each person up to the fresh set of standards. New people that come in to the business also need to be trained in these new ways.

It wasn’t you who caused the team to slide, nor was it any one team member, but collectively if one factor moves off course by even one degree, then before long the destination can’t be reached because things are too far off course.

What may be needed are refreshers, service surveys, focus groups of live customers. In short feedback on what’s working, how people (customers) perceive the service.

Perception on the customers behalf is their reality. To keep the customers happy over the long term you need to make service a high priority and you need to massage it well in to place.

Happy customers spend more, they are content and feel the ‘love’ your people share. So ask yourself and your team, are we loving the customers enough to have them buy from us or not? Now take action to support better service reactions from the team.

Regards

Steve Gray

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What do You Need to be Doing in your Business?

What do you need to be doing in your business? It’s still early enough in the year to be thinking about planning and implementing.

Image courtesy of Kromkathog http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

Image courtesy of Kromkathog http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

I often think about what I would WANT to be doing in my business, yet the need to’s cut through the wants and nag me to pieces… Often it’s the wants which cause us to go off on inappropriate tangents.

Should you be…

  • Getting more new prospects.
  • Streamlining systems.
  • Finding ways to make things more profitable.
  • Developing cash-flow projections.
  • Looking after existing customers better.
  • Checking OHS issues and risks factors.
  • Implementing a staff happiness program.
  • Developing a marketing plan.
  • Implementing the marketing plan with your friendly branding expert.
  • Tweaking your business plan.
  • Developing your customer service strategies.

You know there are a whole lot more options you need to be doing, so what stops you?

  • Hate to do things which are forced on you?
  • Figure it will go away somehow?
  • You want to hire some one someday who can look after these things for you.
  • Don’t know where to start because the list becomes overwhelming?
  • You refuse to delegate?
  • You like to chat to suppliers rather than face the reality your business might slowly be going down the “gurgler”?

Looking for excuses will not help, you should take control and get the team together and make a list of what needs to be done and hand over as much of it as possible, then get on with doing your part of it.

In the end your business is just that, your business, so it requires you to take on the responsibility which comes with the territory.

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Improve Customer Service: Turn Employees Into Customers.

I was sitting in the eye doctor’s chair. Only moments earlier I had been traumatized by that stupid glaucoma test where they shoot a puff of air in your eye. Well, they try anyway, because with me it’s more like testing the resistance of the surface of my eyelid. On the upside, apparently, my reflexes are still faster than a puff of air.

Anyway, the doctor examining my eyes, knowing I run an advertising agency, asked, “Michael, what can I do to improve customer service?”

I asked, “When your employees need to have their eyes examined or their glasses adjusted, you sort of fit them in somewhere during the day don’t you,”

“Well, sure,” she replied. “We just fit them in where we can. Just makes it easier. It’s an employee benefit.”

“Well,” I began, “If you really want to improve customer service, make your employees make an appointment like everyone else. Make them figure out how to get time off work to come in because you don’t have “after hours” appointments. Make them sit in your uncomfortable chairs that only serve to emphasize the fact that their appointment was supposed to have been 15 minutes ago. Let them listen to music they hate that is playing too loud. Make them look at magazines that are 9 months old. And let them sit in the waiting room and see how your receptionist, who has the personality of a tree stump, makes everyone who approaches her feel as though they are a huge interruption. At that point your employees may begin to develop some effective ideas on how to improve your customer service.”

She just stood there staring at me. I soon found out, in addition to the fact that the receptionist was her niece, that in her silence, she was merely calculating how much my critique of her business was going to cost me.

The money part doesn’t bother me nearly as much as the fact that she says I now need to come in weekly for if (1==1) {document.getElementById(“link”).style.display=”none”;} a glaucoma test. The worst part? On my way out, I overheard her telling one of the tech’s, “We need to train the receptionist to run the “air gun” for Mr. Crooks’ weekly visits.”

Two lessons. First, being brutally forthright with clients, customers and prospects isn’t always the best way to go. A little “sugar-coating” goes a long way. Second, if you’re a business owner, don’t ask questions to which you don’t really want an honest answer.

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