sales

People will Pay for Customer Service - 10/8/19


Sometimes all you need to read is the first paragraph in an article. Here’s the title from Business Insider: Amazon charges sellers as much as $5,000 a month for customer service if they want a guarantee that they'll be able to talk to a real person. The first paragraph reads: Amazon Read more

New Ways to Celebrate National Customer Service Week - 10/1/19


The week of October 7 is National Customer Service Week. No, this wasn’t another holiday invented by Hallmark, so you have to go to work. Hopefully that’s the good news! This week is typically thought of as a time to rejuvenate relationships with customers, to refocus your efforts on treating Read more

The Error of “Everyone” - 9/24/19


A recent article in The Charlotte Observer got me thinking about a concept, a premise that is suggested all too often in society. First, the article: The story was about lawn care, and some of the people quoted in the article talked about what customers want today. They noted Read more

Between Texting and Thoreau - 9/17/19


The more people that enter the business world having grown up texting, the more the quality of business communications drops. A typical text between friends is rarely what anybody in business would call a professionally-written document. There’s nothing wrong with that, because texting is typically informal dialogue between friends. Read more

I want to be an Astronaut - 9/10/19


When I was young, if a child was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, the answers were often a fireman, a Pro Football player, a teacher, somebody who got to drive a truck, or an astronaut. Maybe the question is still asked today, and, if Read more

Don’t Mistake Kindness - 9/3/19


I have a friend who does a lot of things for a lot of other people. He sometimes has a hard time saying “no,” and he really works hard to try to be kind to others. But occasionally some of those for whom he does good works will ask Read more

Do Anything, but Not Everything - 8/27/19


We work with a lot of educational organizations, but this Tip of the Week applies to virtually any kind of business that has repeat customers. To deliver great service, be willing to go above and beyond, do virtually anything for the customer. But in the world of colleges and Read more

Be Generous to a Fault - 8/20/19


People who think they’re generous to a fault usually think that’s their only fault – American Journalist Sydney Harris. This quote reminds me of someone who views themselves as a giver – someone who is so humble that he likes to humbly tell everyone of the gifts he’s given, good Read more

Don’t Assume because... - 8/13/19


You've probably heard this statement growing up. Your parents said, “Don’t assume, because it makes…you look bad.” Or something like that… Recently my laptop screen died, and since it was an older laptop, I decided to go ahead and buy a new one instead of paying to have the screen Read more

Patience Leads to Positivity - 8/6/19


Thank you for your patience. That’s a statement I enjoy saying…when I am the customer. When I’m trying to learn something and I’m about to go into a process, I want to have a feel for what the whole process involves. Over the years, I’ve gotten tired of feeling like Read more

Customer for Life – The Final Step – 4/16/19

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Two weeks ago, we addressed the Third Step of keeping a Customer for Life: Address what will keep them. Now, we’re sharing the Fourth and Final Step. To have a Customer for Life, you have to grow your relationship with them.

While the 3rd step is the toughest – since 10 different customers might have 10 different reasons to stay with your business or go – the Final Step is the one most customer service representatives are uncomfortable with, don’t enjoy, or – frankly – can’t stand doing. Why? Because it means we have to ** gulp ** sell.

No!! Not Sell!!

Yes…sell.

Personally, I never enjoyed selling, and I never felt that I was good at it. Part of the reason why I felt that way is because of how I defined “selling.” To me, selling was pushing a product on somebody that didn’t want it. It was starting a conversation that another person did not want to have or did not find useful. It was pressuring somebody into something just to extract money from them. I guess this was my definition because – in various situations in my personal life – this had happened to me. I was thinking of the worst of those personal situations and putting them in a box marked “SELLING.”

But to have a deeper relationship with someone, you need to grow the relationship. You need to seek out the needs that are under the surface and better understand the issues that impact them, and you have to offer support. You have to be willing to go a little further in your understanding of the other person and their issues, needs, and goals so that you can go a little further in helping them as a friend.

If you want a Customer for Life, you have to take that extra step as well. You have to be inquisitive enough to ask deeper questions about the real issues they face and the real goals they’d like to attain. And you’ve got to be willing to not only identify resources that you can offer them to address those issues and those goals, but you’ve got to take the next step and be willing enough to suggest those resources to them.

This is how I got over my aversion to selling. I view it as an opportunity to help somebody through something that my organization can provide. It’s not identifying a product that we have and figuring out who to push it to. It’s taking a deeper interest in what my client is dealing with or trying to achieve, and trying to help them achieve it. Sometimes that aid is in suggesting other resources or giving informal advice, and sometimes it is suggesting that they tap into some of our CSS resources.

To have a Customer for Life, realize you need to be willing to deepen the relationship by asking those more difficult questions and being willing to suggest solutions to the client.

To keep a customer for life, redefine “selling,” and then sell to serve your customers better.

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Facial Recognition is the Future of Customer Service – 3/26/19

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According to a recent New York Times article, facial recognition is the future of retail customer service. A trend in technology for retail businesses is to utilize facial recognition technology in order to better know who is entering your business. The idea is that if somebody within that store can instantly know as much about you based on a picture of your face that is run against a database, they can instantly tailor their sales or service encounter to you.

This “revolutionary” approach to better knowing the customers without them knowing that you know them (hope that wasn’t too confusing) includes utilizing your phone GPS trackers to tap into your social apps to learn about you immediately upon your arrival at the store.

Before this sounds too “Big Brother-ish,” the only thing truly revolutionary about this is the technology piece. Facial recognition is something that every customer service employee in every organization should know how to do for customers that are walking through their door. It’s important to be able to look at someone and gauge whether they are happy or angry, they’re confused and looking around or confident and moving toward a particular area, whether they are disinterested parties following their spouse around or people who are lighting up at the environment that they just walked into in the store.

These are skills that every employee needs to have because every customer is different. Employees need to be aware of the body language, aware of the expressions, aware of the movements of the individual and their gestures – because having some sense of what these mean gives you some insights into how to approach and address a customer.

Before we wait until that time where we walk into any store and immediately every sales representative pulls up a detailed personal bio that makes a ton of assumptions about who we are as a person based on what website we went to 3 days ago, let’s first make sure our employees truly understand how to read somebody that’s standing in front of them. Let’s ensure that we care enough to view the uniqueness of any customer in a way that no app can truly convey.

Technology facial recognition maybe the future of retail customer service, but customer recognition is the past, present, AND future.

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Customer for Life – The Second Step – 3/19/19

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Two weeks ago, we shared a Customer Service Tip on how to get (and keep!) a Customer for Life. We addressed the First Step, Knowing what you need to know about the other person. Now, we’re sharing the Second Step. To develop a relationship with anyone, there has to be some semblance of ongoing communication. There has to be some kind of dialogue that is not all about you. It’s about listening to the other person, about seeking them out and sharing something of value, or listening to something being shared by them.

For those of us that are trying to deepen relationships with our clients and grow our business with them, oftentimes we can get into a habit of communications being all about selling. Communications become all about pushing information. It gets to the point where, whenever they hear from us, they’re hearing about us and our products and services.

But think about what makes for a good relationship. There is informal as well as the more formal interaction. There are not long periods of dead silence. There are enough ongoing communication touches that the relationship never goes stale.

The Second Step in gaining a Customer for Life is to have a strategy that you implement that ensures that you don’t go too long between communications with the other person. This strategy has a mix of formal and informal touches. You’re not constantly pushing information to them, and sometimes you’re just engaging them in informal discussion.

Sometimes you’re asking them questions to learn more about them. Sometimes you’re requesting information or being inquisitive. And sometimes you’re providing something just because it’s the right thing to do even if there is no direct tie into a new sale.

In other words, care about them as an individual enough so that more than half of your communications with them are either helping them out, generally keeping in touch, or asking them about themselves.

To create a customer for life, take the second step. Make it about them, and never let the relationship go stale.

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