Posts Tagged The Customer Service Dept

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 problem with customers is…

They want to be loved – Yes you read that right, loved.  Think about it there are few who don’t want to be loved. So to make sure your customers are going to be great fans of your business and come back to buy time and time again, love them.

Here are some ways to give it.

  • Make things to go smoothly – If there are hassles things can go bad fast.
  • Give them timely responses (not waiting) – Make sure you connect with them as fast as possible, they will appreciate it and you will stand out from the crowd.
  • Show great courtesy (the best service wins) – Manners matter.
  • Respect, their views values and ideals – That does not mean you have to change yours to meet theirs just respect them.
  • Give them clear explanations in their language style – Speak at their pace using their tone etc.
  • Keep them informed – We have ordered that for you, we will call when it comes in…
  • Acknowledge them – Hello – Someone will be with you soon.
  • Listen to them – Active listening means you pay full attention to what they are saying, be there (in the moment as they say) so they feel as though you are focused on them

If your organisation is doing this part of customer service  right, then you have a chance to impress people and provide them with what they want, solutions to their needs and wants. Now that’s another story…

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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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Elegant service communication

I love it when I meet people who chat about things of instant interest to me. Recently I got chatting with a person about service, particularly the first few delicate moments when you connect with people in that all important exchange where you aim to connect and attain an idea of what they want from your business.

The chat started with the difference between “May I and Can I…” May I assist you, or Can I assist you, what happened next was a BFO, (Blinding Flash of the Obvious).

You see it was so simple when he explained it. “Imagine you are at the top of a cliff and your task is to push someone off, would you say “Can I push you off or may I push you off…” ” Can I”, relates to skill and “May I” relates to permission to do a thing.” I was engaged in the conversation now, what a great hook! Yes he clearly knew his English and the lesson was simple but so good. Actually on thinking about it none of the above would get you far in the pushing stakes but it makes a point also about service being more about offering, rather than demanding. Chances are you would not ask a person if they wanted to be pushed!

I asked him for a view on my old favourite, “help and Assist” he agreed, Help is needed when you are in dire straits, assistance is softer and more readily taken up unconsciously. So many people will say “Just looking thanks” when you offer help, but more people take up an offer of assistance “May I assist you…”

It could go further you could say “May I assist you to find what you are after today?” That way you are being specific about what you are offering. Without the specifics it is so open you might get in a bit of a bind, like this… ‘May I assist  you?” asks the store attendant… “Oh yes, you can give me a million dollars, that would be great assistance…” replies the customer.

Take the time out to consider the small things like this which may impact on people  you deal with so the service you offer is as elegant and correct as possible. We also chatted briefly about G’day as a greeting, I will leave that one for another article.

Well time got the better of our conversation too quickly and circumstances meant we had to part ways, all I can hope is that I said goodbye in an elegant manner!

On providing great service, “I don’t know if you can but you may…” 🙂

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Good connections

One of our guru lads over here is Ross Hill, He was telling me about “Gamification” the other day. after a bit of searching I found some top information. These days there are videos on the net from TED talks and the like that can give a few clues too.

Image courtesy of digital art http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

Image courtesy of digital art http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

It’s all about games and what makes them addictive… Then they go on to show the comparison to social media, then I figure if you know what makes social media addictive, you could create a business that is addictive for your customers. YES an addictive buisness, one that people just love to hear from, they love to be a part of, addictive.

Imagine that people addicted to what you have, and they keep coming back to buy more… Yep the old loyal customer routine. Only now (thanks to Ross and others…) we can start to build an understanding of how that happens, so lets do it for business. Oh it’s not just for business but educators as well, in a stale classroom, sit down, shut up, take down these notes… a fresh perspective on what engages people has got to be useful! Imaging an addictive learning environment…

I’m going to cut to the chase here… The five central elements of Game Mechanics are:

  • Collecting things.
  • Earning Points.
  • Getting/giving feedback.
  • Exchanges/Gifting.
  • User Customization.
In looking at the game mechanics and the social media link up to it there are plenty of things that make these points work, If you ever played pinball, getting the high score was way cool, in the latter day digital gamers world collecting things to give you more power, gifts, tokens etc was way cool too. Then in a connected world being able to give feedback via facebook, twitter etc became a big buzz. then they allowed “games” of giving flowers, plants (virtual etc…)
Let’s go across to:
Business…
  • Collecting things – Tokens in adverts.
  • Earning points – Buy five things get the sixth one free or at a discount (loyalty card ticked off.)
  • Getting/giving feedback – Hello – how are you – query form.
  • Exchanges/gifting – For every $10 you spend we give $1 to charity…
  • Customisation – if you have an online store they can personalise in some way then that’s useful.
Education…
  • Collect and bring things for show and tell.
  • Get points for suitable behaviour.
  • Discussing progress – giving feedback on what they liked in class.
  • Exchanges of information in group sessions
  • Customising by selecting which type of final assessment device they want to choose.
These are a few examples of possibilities, I’m sure there are plenty more, the thing is making sure you can provide enough to ensure your service is the one they are addicted to.
If you are still not sure about any of this check out Mc Donald’s and think about their happy meals for kids… you get a toy to collect, while the parent is there they probably buy something too, so even just having a single part of the formula in place can be highly valuable. Now put on your thinking caps and come up with a few ways you can use this information to your advantage.
I’m almost excited about the prospect of saying AND… lets add in our target market personality types, motivators and drivers it would really assist us to be able to truly effectively hit them between the eye’s with solid targeted information they want to act on… but perhaps I better leave that for another day… Oh and remember if you need assistance to figure out ways to do this sort of thing chat to your friendly branding expert, they are sure to help.
Regards Steve Gray

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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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