Desperation Is Making Businesses More Friendly.

Please? Thank you? Have a nice day?

When was the last time you heard these in a grocery store, department store or restaurant? Odds are you have probably heard them more in the last year than you have in the last decade.

The reason? The stores have to.  They are in need of your business and desperate for your loyalty.  They need you to come back over and over and tell your friends about how great of an experience you had.

Never before have businesses been so willing to lower prices to undercut their competition, which has led to price not always being the final deciding factor when it comes to someone making a decision where to buy something.

The experience you have while shopping or dining plays a large role in whether you will return to one establishment over the other, regardless of price.  Many factors go into the experience you have at a store but none is more important than customer service.

The quality of service given is enough to sway a current purchase decision and, most likely, a future purchase decision.  They’ve already got you in the store, all they have to do is keep you there and make you leave with something.

I know I have a preference in stores, and its not about the price.  It’s about how knowledgable and friendly the staff is.  These business have earned a lot of my money over the years and will continue to do so, as long as the service and experience stay the same.

When it comes time to purchase something, what is more important, experience or price?

3 Tools Your Customer Service Team Has To Have To Succeed

Your customer service team is unique in that they will deal with your customers who aren’t happy. Your sales staff will deal with customer’s before they have used your product or, at least, in the very early stages of product use. But your customer service guys will have to be there to deal with the problems that arise once the customer has taken the product home and had a chance to use it.

Don’t leave your team out to dry without the tools they need to probably assist your customers. You wouldn’t ask your programmers to program without a computer, would you?

Here are 3 tools you should equip your team with to maximize their success

1. Product Familiarity

Your customer service team needs to know your products inside and out. Best case scenario is that they would know it down to the code but that is probably asking a lot so at the very least they need to know all the front end features that the customer will have questions and issues with.

Have your team work with the product, learn the product and analyze the product. Your customers should feel like they are talking to a friend who is an expert with the product.

2. A Proper Note Taking System

When your reps talk to a customer make sure they have a proper system to make notes about the customer, their issues and any solutions you have tried. This note taking system needs to be accessible by your entire customer support team and any other team members that might need to assist in solving the problem. Nothing is worse than a customer following up with an issue they had and them having to re-explain the entire situation over again. This will only show that your team is clueless, disorganized and lacks communication.

3. Time To Handle The Situation

There are only 8 hours in the work and your guys can only talk to so many customers, I get it.  But don’t pressure your team to rush customers off the phone, even if their problem gets resolved.  Don’t place a quota on how many customers your team needs to serve or you’ll develop a team of inconsiderate, impatient and rude agents.  Let your team bond with the customers they are helping.  Allow a little small talk if necessary, it will do wonders for your companies image.

For more tips check out a previous post on how sending nice emails will give you happy customers.  A lot of those rules apply to over the phone and face to face customer service.

What tools do you provide your customer service team so they can perform their job?

5 Virtues You Need To Teach Your Customer Service Team

Be a leader for your team by instilling these 5 virtues in your customer service team

Customer service mishaps are bound to happen.  You can’t predict every situation that will arise when your employees are dealing with your customers.  All you can do is try to instill the virtues of good customer service in your workers to help them handle the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to customers.

Here are 5 virtues every employee should have when it comes to dealing with customer service issues.

Compassion

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
- Dalai Lama quotes

Your employees are customers at some point to other businesses and they probably deal with bad customer service periodically.  Help them understand that the way they felt when they were faced with bad customer service is the same way their customer is feeling right now.  They should try to provide the service that they wished they had received.

Respect

I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me… All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.
- Jackie Robinson quotes

Encourage your employees to have the utmost respect in themselves and for whoever they are dealing with.  There is no reason to let your employees be constantly disrespected or harassed by an outrageous customer.  This may seem like you are telling your employees to “not take any crap from anyone” but what you really are doing is proving to your employee that you stand by them and want them to take pride in their position and who they are.  Remind them not to be disrespectful to a customer but to not also allow themselves to be made to feel unimportant.  If it costs you a client then so be it.  A good, loyal and prideful employee is worth more than a paying customer in the long run.

Listening

To listen well, is as powerful a means of influence as to talk well, and is as essential to all true conversation
- Chinese Proverbs quotes

Tell your employees to do more listening than talking.  Let the customer vent, rant (to a extent) and complain.  Really listen to what the customer thinks is the problem, what they think your company did wrong and how they feel the situation could be made right.  Even if you can’t give them everything they want they will appreciate being listened too.

Honesty

Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.
- Spencer Johnson quotes

Of course you want trustworthy employees that won’t steal or lie to you but you want your employees to be honest to your customers as well.  There is nothing worse then when a problem makes it’s way all the way up to the boss only to find out that the problem has been perpetuated by a lie by from an employee.  Don’t let your employees lie and promise something to a customer that can’t be delivered, it will only make your organization look bad and untrustworthy.  Its better to have a customer walk away unhappy because you couldn’t help them than have them walk away after being lied too.

Patience

“Patience and fortitude conquer all things”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes

A bad customer situation can drive your employee to the edge.  The last thing you want is a shouting match between your customers and your employees.  Patience is going to be a combination of listening, respect, honesty and compassion.  Don’t ask your customer service guys to rush clients, this will be viewed by the customer as being short, disrespectful and marginalizing their issue.  Give your team the time to listen to each customer situation and do their best to resolve the issue.

Teach your team these 5 virtues and you can sleep easy knowing that you did your best to improve your customer’s experience with your company.  A great customer service team is worth more than gold…and it’s harder to obtain.

Any other advice you give to your customer service guys to help them out in the field?

Weekly Roundup: SEO, Click Through Rates and a Designer/Developer Throwdown!

How I explained what SEO is to my parents…

How To Explain SEOI recently started a new gig as an SEO, making the jump from marketing in a more traditional sense with some SEO thrown in.  When I tried to explain to my family what it is their little boy would be getting paid to do now I quickly found myself scrambling for analogies.

Continue reading “How I explained what SEO is to my parents…” »

Regardless Of Your Role In Your Company, You Are In Customer Support

You Are Customer Support

I have always beleived that you really win a customers loyalty when a problem arises and your customer support saves the day.

While it may not seem like it almost every position in a company is in someway a customer support department.

Let me show you what I mean with some common departments that might feel like they don’t need to focus on customer support and why they are sowrong!

Continue reading “Regardless Of Your Role In Your Company, You Are In Customer Support” »

Weekly Roundup: It’s All About The Design

Design plays a big part in every aspect of web development, Seo, making conversions and just about every other aspect of the web. Here are some articles I came across this week that give some good insight to different design elements. Enjoy!

eMusic’s New Pricing Model and Why It Might Fail.

Online music services are hard enough to get off the ground and maintain.  Figuring out a pricing model that is attractive to your customers, lucrative for you and enough for the music industry is no easy task.  The three parties need to be balanced, each one needs to be happy enough  to continue to do business with the other.  When one of those parties falls out of balance, everything comes apart.

Continue reading “eMusic’s New Pricing Model and Why It Might Fail.” »

Weekend Roundup: Ladies Night, Difficult Clients and Fonts.

It’s Monday and we’re all wishing it was Sunday, our fun day.  But it’s not so grab a cup of coffee and catch up on what you missed from over the weekend.

How to Generate $100k in Revenue. Get Your Startup Featured on CNN and more. It’s The Weekly Round Up!

Here are some of the most interesting articles I came across this week.  Let me know if I missed something you think should be on here!

Check out previous Weekly/Weekend Round Ups here!