5 Ways Customer Service Managers Are Implementing To Increase Customer Focus
According to a Forum Corporation survey of commercial customers lost by 14 major service and manufacturing companies:
15% found a better service/product
15% found a cheaper service/product
20% cited "lack of contact and individual attention from the company"
50% said; "contact from old suppliers" personnel was poor in quality"
These days, it seems that everyone from dog walkers to dotcoms is making "customer service" their mission. Department, discount and convenience stores have all transformed the workers who used to be known as "sales clerks" into "customer service associates"- in theory at least. A recent survey of large corporation CEOs revealed that 67% had customer service earmarked as their top priority. Here are the 5 ways successful managers should implement to increase customer focus.
1. Targeted recruiting and hiring. Today's managers are faced with the challenge of recruiting and hiring people who value customers. The concern far exceeds hiring the right talent; it includes the awareness of hiring for the cultural fit of their organization. It is true that a strong correlation exists between hiring the right customer service talent and customer satisfaction, effective productivity and increased bottom line profitability.
2. Listen for what customers really need. While the extra effort being put forth to be customer focused is encouraging, there is a big difference between customer service and customer satisfaction. This is where many companies get confused and customer service efforts can go awry. Customer satisfaction is an outcome; customer service is a means or strategy for achieving that outcome. To move toward greater customer satisfaction, businesses must focus on what it is that, indeed, satisfies the customer instead of just focusing on the activities themselves.
3. Handle tough customers with tact. Quality of service is what distinguishes one company from another. Far more than in product-producing companies, in service organizations. The actions of people are the key to quality. The leadership skills of managers in service organizations can contribute significantly to the quality of customer service efforts.
4. Conduct customer surveys. Develop and implement a customer survey program. This will attempt to understand customers' satisfaction with the company, its products and services. Companies will ask key questions about the customers' experiences and determine the overall level of customer satisfaction. Compare results of survey against internal performance measurements to ensure their validity. Managers will use such survey results to understand customer expectation and increase customer loyalty.
5. Motivate employees to be customer-focused. Managers need to create a sense of enthusiasm and energy that would be powerful and contagious for their employees and customers. Employee excitement, know how and determination offer insights to the growth of customer base and success of any organization. Incorporating true customer focus into company practices simply makes good business sense. It not only helps good managers become better managers, but more effective leaders. Bringing with it continual improvement, it also aids organizations so that they are better able to take advantage of, and adapt to, the changing environment that is today's marketplace. Business can't exist without customers, and customers don't let businesses exist without customer service. This all-important aspect of your company begins with becoming customer-focused. Instead of viewing things from your business' perspective, you must learn to view circumstances from that of your clients. To stay successful, customer satisfaction is a must!
Tips & Tactics
? Pay attention to customer feedback:It's the only way you'll really know what they want
? Embrace Technology:It can help you save tremendously on customer service costs.
? Make customer satisfaction a priority:From the top executives down, give your corporate culture a customer-focused angle.
Vera Haitayan, Principal Consultant of The Leadership Laboratory., a California-based employee development and process improvement consulting firm and is the senior editor of The Stepping Stone Newsletter featuring leadership and process improvement best practices. http://www.1leadershiplab.commailto: firstname.lastname@example.org
Who Says The Customer Is Always Right?
We all know the old adage, "The Customer is Always Right." If you are an online business owner or offline for that matter, you are on both sides of the subject almost everyday.Before I started my online business, I was just on one side... the customer. I whole-heartedly believed in the above adage and never questioned it at all. In fact, I would get rather perturbed at ANY business owner, manager, or supervisor that would disagree with any complaint I had.When I started my own online business back in 1997, I slowly began to learn the "other side."My business products are all downloadable. If your business includes downloaded material, you know where I'm going with this one. I get NUMEROUS complaints EVERYDAY about usernames and passwords not working, corrupt downloads, and the big...(related: Customer Service)
Marketing As A Spiritual Practice
"Marketing as a spiritual practice." It sounds contradictory ? how can sales and promotion possibly be considered spiritual? But the secret is, once you truly understand that marketing isn't all about struggle, jargon, tricks or gimmicks, spiritual practice is the very root of success.Sound completely air...(related: Customer Service)
Managing Your Business When One Client Takes Alot Of Your Time
How often has your schedule been thrown out of whack because of a client's needs?I try to live by the 80/20 ru...(related: Customer Service)
How To Deliver Exceptional Customer Service
Having been in business a number of years, I'm amazed at the number of people who don't have the slightest idea of what customer service is. Customer service is not a way of doing things ? it's an attitude.I always love it when company's send their people to seminars to learn about customer service. All the seminars will discuss the customer's needs and expectations and the orator will package these ideas as new and cutting edge when in fact these very ideas were in practice over 30 years ago!Somewhere along the line, we forgot the customer in favor of the bottom line. Some of this may also be attributed to different mind sets over time and how people tend to treat one another.Let me wax poetic here a moment. When was the last time you could go to a ...(related: Customer Service)
Make Sure You Get The Customer Perspective
Businesses that fail, often forget to seek out the customer perspective. I have talked to some folks at businesses that were less than succesful, and when asked if they actively seek out customer comments, the answer invariably is no. Why don't they do that? Why not get the customer perspective?Oftentimes, the company is overconfident, and thi...(related: Customer Service)
Making Customer Satisfaction Surveys Work
Why bother? Good customer service is the life blood of any business. Although new customers ...(related: Customer Service)
Automating Your Customer Support
My regular readers will know that one of the things I highly recommend doing with any online business is automating as many of your day to day tasks as possible.From a personal point of view, one of the tasks that takes up a lot of my time is answering emails. It isn't just answering email that eats up the hours - sorting through and deleting spam and junk mail absorbs a lot of time too. In the good old days, I used to get a couple of spam emails a day. Now it is closer to 1000 a day!In fact, when you look at it, email isn't always the best form of online communication. Not only is there the junk mail issue to contend with but also the fact that email is not 100% reliable. Emails do 'go missing' far more regularly than you might expect. Oft...(related: Customer Service)
4 Things Your Clients Want From Your Company
Sure, all clients are different. They have different kinds of strengths, weaknesses, cultures and goals. Even what blocks their efficiency and growth (blind spots) is different. Davis, Kingsley & Company has conducted hundreds of interviews and there are four strong themes that always emerge.Listen to me. This is the Big Daddy of client desires. Your c...(related: Customer Service)
Customer Service: Everyone Is Fighting Their Own Personal Battles
Relationships... Money... Health..The Past...Failure..Mental and Spiritual Battles..Time Constraints...Professional pressures..At any given moment you, your clients, and employees are dealing with one or the other of these challenges in life. No one has escaped from this life untouched by problems, both big and small. No matter how people may appear on the outside, they battle with some problem that is unmanageable on the inside. The clearer this is to us the easier it is t...(related: Customer Service)
5 Golden Online/offline Business Rules To Live Or Die By
Whether online or off, if you plan on running or maintaining any type of credibility within your business, there are some guidelines that are safe to say any existing or potential customer expects if they are to do immediate or future business with you.As an online entrepreneur for over 3 years I have found that even though I don't have the pleasure of meeting face-to-face with my customers, ones perception of you and your business can be viewed as good or bad all depending on the way you handle questions or comments posted by people interested in your product...(related: Customer Service)
How To Keep Your Customers Coming Back -- Understanding Customer Retention
Why do some businesses offer points, stamps or every tenth coffee for free?These businesses understand that a customer retention program is a fantastic way to ensure that customers keep coming back. The most recognized customer retention programs are those loyalty programs used by retailers, but this same principal can be applied to any business that wishes to maintain a loyal customer base.Ask yourself these simple questions.?Does your business have a comprehensive retention strategy?...(related: Customer Service)
Increase In Customer Sales = Increase In Customer Service
One of the most popular questions asked in online business forums or even by my customers and subscribers is this :"How the hell can I increase my sales?"or"I've got tons of visitors but nobody seems to be buying anything? What gives?"FISHNETS WITH HOLES? ANYONE?Getting traffic is not the be all and end all of a successful online business. It requires skills, specific online marketing strategies designed for your site and a robust customer service strategy.So what if you have thousands of visitors per day! That does'nt amount to success, unless you close at least 5 to 10% of those visitors.You see, when you get a lot o...(related: Customer Service)