Saturday, August 16, 2014

Tips for great Customer Service

Service - Words magnifying glass Good customer service is no longer an exception; it’s the expectation of every customer.  In order to be competitive today, you must exceed the expectations of your customers.  There are many elements that can cause a business to succeed or fail, but something that should be copied from every successful business is the customer experience.

Here are some tips to help you improve your customer service.

1.  Look at your business from the customer’s perspective.  You can't do this yourself because your viewpoint is biased, so are your staff.  Ask friends, family, relatives, acquaintances and strangers to visit your organization and your competition.  Get brutally honest feedback from a customer's perspective and don’t be offended by their feedback.  You can start focusing on the routine procedures like the meet & greet and more smiles.  A warm, energetic smile with a personality overflowing with enthusiasm is hard to say no to.

2.  Actively listen to everything that can help you see what the customer sees.  Very few people will give you direct feedback.  So you have to look deeper for the clues.  Active listening means taking and hearing all verbal and non-verbal cues.  It means really listening to your customers’ reactions to your sales processes, staff and facility.

3.  Measure everything from the customer's perspective.  How fast does your web site load?  Is a customer’s sent a sincere thank you note?  You and your team’s number-one job is to exceed each and every one of your customer’s expectations and do so with sincerity to make the customer feel welcome.

4.  Improve constantly.  The atmosphere of your organization should be warm, professional, friendly, inviting and fun.  Don’t forget that last word “Thank You” either.  It makes a huge difference for your staff and your customers.  By relaxing the environment, productivity and customer satisfaction increase exponentially.  None of us, especially our customers want to be around people with a bad attitude.

Remember, you're trying to create an experience for the customer that can be described as great customer service.  Customer satisfaction leads to customer loyalty, which increases repeats and referrals and leads to maximum returns, value and customers for life.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Do you appreciate yourself and others?

Appreciation - Words Margaret Cousins once said, “Appreciation can make a day, even change a life.  Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary”.  Webster says that the definition of appreciation is the ability to recognize and have gratitude for something or someone.

My short story starts out with the CEO of a company addressing a management meeting that he had called together.  He holds up a hundred dollar bill and asks everyone at the meeting, "Who would like this new hundred dollar bill?"  Hands went up all over the room.  He said, "I’m going to give this hundred dollar bill to one of you, but first I need to crumple it."  He wadded up the bill and asked, "Who still wants it?"  Hands were quickly raised.  The CEO dropped the bill and ground it into the floor with his shoe.  He picked up the crumpled, dirty bill.  "Now who wants it?"  Everyone still lifted their hands.  "Friends, you have all learned a valuable lesson” the CEO concluded. “No matter what I did to the money, you still want it because its value hasn’t changed.  Even though the bill is crumpled and dirty, it’s still worth twenty dollars.”  Although someone may have done something wrong in their life, he or she still has infinite worth. Every person has value.  Do you see others—and yourself—as having value?  This is why being appreciated is so important in life.

Feeling genuinely appreciated lifts people up.  At the most basic level, it makes us feel safe, which is what frees us to do our best work.  It's also energizing.  When our value feels at risk, as it so often does, that worry becomes preoccupying; this drains and diverts our energy from creating value.  We're all more vulnerable and needy than we like to imagine.  Authentically appreciating others will make you feel better about yourself, and it will also increase the likelihood they'll invest more in their work, and in you.

Appreciation starts with appreciating yourself first.  If you have difficulty openly appreciating others, it's likely you also find it difficult to appreciate yourself.  Take a few moments at the end of the day to ask yourself this simple question: "What can I rightly feel proud of today?"  If you are committed to constant self-improvement, you can also ask yourself, "What could I do better tomorrow?" Both questions hold your value.