Posts Tagged service

Think service or fail

If ever there was a case for making sure your service has to be spot on, check out the early reviews online about Lumosity, the mind game site. People have rated it very poorly, on service, on responsiveness, of not being able to get a person on the phone, the auto renewal for charges, and the list goes on.

The people at Lumosity would do well to read some of these and act fast. Not sure if they have or not, but they will need to do something to stem the tide of negativity from their consumers that all the advertising in the world will not overcome.

In this enlightened age most people I know will now check reviews for anything they want to buy, and if it’s not so hot, they will check out other options.

What gives?

Customer service is a vital part of what your business does, get good at it… No get brilliant at it.

Who cares?

Your bottom line will care that’s who! and then you will, especially if your income drops too far. Then don’t come running to me saying “business is tight, people aren’t buying” etc.

Fact is people know what they want, a business that is easy to deal with, responsive and makes them feel ok at the very least. Lumosity reviews suggest the company does little of the above. If I had read these first I would would have avoided it. However I personally find it a useful mind tool to explore and so far I am reasonably happy, I have turned off my auto renewal and have not had to contact customer service!

Get Smart

Yes there are lessons here folks, get smart about finding out what your service is like, what things need to alter and do it fast. and don’t just say “Oh that was just one grumpy customer that complained” go all out and launch an investigation to discover if things could have been done better. Chances are you will discover plenty to work on. Send in spies, have your spies ring in and ask for quotes, information etc and see how well they were handled.

Get active

Make changes if you find any issues that can be improved. Let’s face it customer service is the first and last contact point you will have with customers, the product/service you provide will simply be the ‘meat in the sandwich’.

Regards

Steve Gray

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It’s all in the details

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles from freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles from freedigitalphotos.net

I have a few places I shop at for “musical items”, with about three places to choose from locally and a bunch just an hour up the road I am a bit spoilt for choice, not to mention the online stores. Today I was zipping by one of the three ;local ones and needed one simple item.

In a customer service sense I like to shop live, rather than onlilne, so I get to compare details, brands, friendliness, and sometimes even price, note how that comes in last…

This morning while looking and asking questions I was wonderfully surprised by the gent doing the serving. Firstly on the bench there was a beautifully hand crafted instrument, it looked like an eight stringed banjo, but I was soon mesmerised by the gent picking it up and saying “it’s a Ukelele… hand made in Australia, listen to this!” he played a few chords and it a lovely resonant warm tone that beckoned forth. Simply exquisite!

From that point he could have sold me a few items, I was captivated and it was there that the details all kicked in.

There was no “Can I help you?”, and thank goodness for that! There was no hurried “Yes what can I get you?” No no, it was a very dignified honest approach, I felt welcome from the ‘get go’ and for the first time in ages I felt like I could readily ask questions about a whole bunch of things, so I did, a few minutes soon turned into about twenty.

I bought what I came for and left with a spring in my step, I had found soemone who clearly has a delight for musical things, an interest in quality, and the the discussion on alternative instruments was quite fascinating.

I was impressed, I bought, I gained more knowledge and feel as if I could go back and readily interact some time soon, I even went as far as to allow him to add me to their data base!

The only thing that bothers me is if the guy serving me is not there the next time I go in. I have shopped there before and have mixed feelings about some of the other staff. Indeed another staff member in the shop today was a surly so and so, and I deduced that just from her facial expression/s.

Next time I will stride in with confidence but perhaps fully expect to be let down, due to past experiences perhaps weighing heavily in the background.

What can we learn and put in place from all this?

  • Be genuine – I felt it right from the start, he was interested and interesting, warm and inviting.
  • Be nice – Welcoming, open and friendly, he even used my name as I left wishing me a good day, nice touch!
  • Know your product/s – My questions were answered with clarity and interest as well as showing a depth of experience, I know he knew his stuff.
  • Offer more – I got added to their data base becuase he offered me the opportunity, simply by asking if I was on the data base already, I then asked if he would like to add me, no hard sell from his side of things.
  • Impress me – The hand made instrument on the front bench had me from the start, how it looked and sounded, I loved it (although not a big Ukelele freak per se).
  • Leave me on the up – I felt good leaving, and felt so pleased here I am writing about it!
  • Train your team – Pick up on the details that work in teh intereactions your staff have with the cutomers, then figure out what is the most genuine way to make those details a reality. Now train the team in the details.

If you are into causing your customers to love what you have to offer, be all you can be to cause people to love what you have and how you present it, they will be back for more… Now to make it a consistent offering!

 

Regards

Steve Gray

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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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Did You ‘Value’ Your Business?

In the past set of nine articles I have outlined some ways to look at the values your business operates with. Now it’s up to you to take each and develop some guidelines around each for how you want your team to operate. May I suggest you hand the list to your top people, give them a head start, tell them to develop some ideas and options and email them to you (compile the details in a  group meeting). Then develop an organisation wide set of values, possible scenarios and situations around them.

Compile the guidelines into your master operating procedural documents, begin to live it, refer to it and explore all it has to offer.

Any future steps the organisation takes should be done in light of these core values, then over time these can be ‘tweaked’ to suit.

Now you are fired up to tackle this as a project (even you small business operator…) then here is a link you can email to your team to work with.

Adaptable

Quality

Passion

Accountability

Integrity

Collaboration

Tolerance

Respect

Leadership

And another article on values to tie it all together

 

Now look at how you bring the various aspects of this together to create great results for your business by taking positive action.

Oh and while you are at it, get your team to explore any other values they think would be useful for your business, drop me a line to let me know via the comments for this post and I will take a look and consider adding them in.

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Dear Customer Relationship Executive… ERGH!

Dear Customer relationship Executive.

Many thanks for the phone call recently, I note the last CRM person did not last long in the role… Pity, like you, he sounded  good on the phone, sent me a business card and an intro letter. He also asked me how my car was going. Nice…

Slight problem, the only time anyone has been in touch, has been to send me a Christmas card or to let me know the CRM person has altered.

Sure you did ask if I was thinking of upgrading my vehicle… (nope but I figure you get that kind of ‘smoke screen’ from a lot of people).

I figure you probably make such a lot of calls and get so little from it, iot would look good for your weekly stats however. The good thing about your call is it set me thinking, (And thanks for the nudge!) here is what I thought.

Nice that you called, but where’s the add on, the incentive, the relationship building, the “Hey next time you’re near here drop in for a coffee.”

Ok, so being the generous soul I am, may I give  you a few free chunks of info on how this could all alter.

  • The email program your dealership has is okay, but can it be tweaked to take into consideration my interests and let me know about things related to my interests? – Maybe
  • Can you send me a birthday card, a hand written one? – Yes
  • Can you chat to me about my interests and send me little snippets you might find (other than via email) ? – Maybe
  • Can you send me updates on programs your organisation is supporting? (Oh, so you did send me something once… er… what was it again?) short answer… Yes
  • Could you share stories of other people using the same type of quirky little vehicle I buzz about in town in… er yeah!
  • Could you have an in store tea and bickies session to chat about the latest version of the quirky little car, and developments in the future like an electric version? – Maybe
  • How about adding a photo of yourself on the intro letter so I can find you in the dealership and say hi, and thanks for the info, the invites, the great stuff the company is doing? –  Easily, so that’s a yes
  • Maybe you could ring me and invite me to be surveyed at a time which suits me… to find out what I love (and possibly hate) about the vehicle. – Yes (I’m a sucker for a good survey!)
  • Perhaps you could find a whole bunch of ways to build the relationship with me and others like me, ask me when my anniversary is or any one of a number of events which are of value in my life so you can assist me to celebrate these events and feel like the relationship with you is a special one. – Yes
  • How about the anniversary of when I bought that special quirky little car from you, how about we celebrate that too! 🙂 – YES

So take that to your team and brainstorm a few more ideas, so you can blow me away with excellence, sweep me off my feet and find out what I have been up to lately.

Sure there are a few maybes and a few ‘yes’s’ but it’s a whole lot more to go on than simply one phone call a year and one card… BLEH!

So take a look at your card and see your title, ‘Customer Relationship Executive’ now build that relationship like you mean it. NOTE! The highest level of any relationship is  unconditional LOVE… so get on with the role of loving me, because I might just want what you, have and it could be sooner than you think!

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How does the receptionist sound?

In the past few months I have made many hundreds of phone calls developing a Customer Acquisition Program. It’s been fascinating developing a program like that. The thing is though you get to hear a lot of people answer the phone and you realise how many great receptionists there are out there. The problem is the bad ones drag the rest down!

It must be hard to be in the one spot taking calls and saying the same thing all day, every day and then directing people. The challenge is doing it in a way which makes the company sound professional every time.

Here are just some of the things I found.

  • The company name was not clear – Some companies have strange names, okay so make sure you say it in such a way that people don’t have to re ask the name to make sure they have the right number. Mumbling, a quiet voice a poorly directed phone hand-piece, speaking too fast or an accent make it very hard to understand.
  • The person’s name not clear – For all the above reasons the name of the person answering the phone is not clear, as the caller it’s hard to refer to them by name if you can’t understand it.
  • What do I do next? – Ok they figure out you are calling to chat to a specific person who does not want to get sold to. They have been told not to pass you on, but with a few ‘deft words’ and a touch of rapport building, voom “I was in the door” due mainly to them not really knowing how to deal with calls out of the norm. Training would help I’m sure.
  • Being a great gatekeeper can be an art, but not that difficult if you do some research – I was amazed at how easy it was to get through at times to the right Dept or the right person in a flash. If the company has a policy of not letting their people get tied up with inbound sales call then figure out a method to stop the callers in their tracks. A privacy policy of not letting callers know the name of any staff from a chat to the receptionist is a great way to go.
  • Being on hold while waiting – It’s a necessity some times sure, but to get the obligatory recorded advert at the start or a “press this button for sales..” became frustrating. I want a person on the phone who can direct me fast.

Have you rung in to your business… have you had a few friends ring in… what did they find, what was the experience like. Now ask, what can we do to make a change for the better and get the system right, so the caller can feel like they are dealing with top notch professionals.

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