Are You A Coward? I Was
Over the last month, I have come to hate emails and answerphones; not because I get 100 emails every day but because emails and answerphones are fast becoming the tool of the coward. At Beyond Philosophy we worked with a client a while ago whose account managers and sales teams never used to speak to anyone! They just used to send emails. If the customer called in they were greeted by answerphones which were kept on all day. You see the sales teams were all busy doing "real" work. The customers were just interrupting them. Surely this must be the height of "inside out" behaviour.
But why do people do this?
Primarily, it is because we all feel we can say things in emails that we would never say face to face. In my experience this never works how people would expect. No matter how hard you try, you think you have written one thing and the person reads something else. Before you know it you have lost a customer or lost a friend. We seem to forget that that all important 'relationship' with the customer is built on human contact, not emails!
One example springs to mind a few years ago when I worked in a multinational organisation and was involved in a large internal project. Things were not going well. I decided to send a "broadside" to the party who were driving me nuts! I took great delight in constructing the email. It was actually quite therapeutic. I worked on it to get the right message across so they would absolutely read between the lines and understand what I thought. I pressed the button and off into the ether it went. I remember thinking, 'Great I have told them what I think'. COWARD! How stupid I was, how naive, how self-righteous I was, and how wrong I was!
I lived to regret it. The email caused a big argument. I had said things that were misinterpreted despite my best attempts to be clear. I ended up upsetting a lot of people. I ended up regretting sending it. I was wrong. Since that day I now have adopted a few rules with emails that I would like to share with you.
1. Insist that all calls are answered by people and answer phones are banned other than outside office or opening hours.
2. Never reply to an email when you are emotionally charged. DO NOT type a reply and press the send button, until you have had a cooling off period. Put it in your "Draft" emails and look at it the next day. I always end up changing mine.
3. When you think "Shall I talk to them or shall I send them an email? It is at that moment when that little voice in your heads says; "No, just send them an email that'll be simpler, you don't want to talk to them it may be embarrassing?.." That is exactly the time I know I MUST talk to them. So pick up the phone and talk! It's never as bad as you expect and people always appreciate it.
4. Finally a plea. When anyone sends you an email, please reply. Don't just ignore it. Reply even to say "GO AWAY". I find it amazing that you can send an email to someone and they don't even have the courtesy of replying. What's your thought? If you have a view, drop me a line!
Colin Shaw Founding Partner, Beyond Philosophy © Beyond Philosophy 2004 - Ref. QR
Colin Shaw is the Founding Partner of Beyond Philosophy and guru of the Customer Experience Management. He has also produced two most successful books on customer experience which are now available in market. His first book, Building Great Customer Experiences sold out within just eight weeks, is on a third reprint and available in paperback.
Colin's second book, Revolutionize Your Customer Experience released in September 2004 and considered as Bible in Customer managment business world.
Colin has enjoyed over 20 years of experience working in blue chip companies, including Mars Ltd., Rank Xerox and BT. Colin's final position was Director of Customer Experience for one of the world's largest global companies. In his career, he has held senior positions in a number of different functional areas including Sales, Marketing, Customer Service and Training.
Find Out Where Your Firm Stands In Today?s Customer
Looking For Ways to Improve Sales and Customer Relationships?Find Out Where Your Firm Stands in Today's Customer Touchpoint Management (CTM) Revolution by Taking the CTM Quiz(San Rafael, CA) What could be more important than improving sales and your customer relationships? Today, there is a fast growing movement, a revolution, among organizations interested in improving their customer-centricity through a better understanding of customer interactions, or "touchpoints." Called "Customer Touchpoint Ma...(related: Customer Service)
Increase Sum In Your Check Account With Follow-ups
We'll be examining what makes follow up to prospects/customers so important on our online world today.Are you familiar with this scenario?
- Joined an affiliate program with good pay-out.
- Send an email to everyone you know and/or send an email to a list of people
- Didn't make any sales
- Change to another affiliate program
Everyone Talks In Code!
How often have you left a meeting with a customer or your boss telling yourself he likes my ideas. Only to find later that you didn't get the sale or your boss has told everyone that you are crazy.As we get older it seems to us that everyone talks in code. No one tells us what they really mean. Everything is hidden behind a veil of double talk.But all is not lost. We found a copy of the code breaking manual on the web site of that well known code breaking magazine, Harpers Magazine.It's no ordinary code. This is special. We had many discussions before we decided to reveal the secrets of the code to you.This is the code you need to understand what us Brits are ta...(related: Customer Service)
Post Office, Incredible Lady Postmaster
There are two Post Offices that I routinely visit. One is the office that delivers my mail and the other is frequently on the path of some d...(related: Customer Service)
Customer Service A Chickens Way
Anyone who knows me knows my favorite fast food restaurant is Chick-fil-A. Aside from the fact their chicken is especially good and I can always get sweet tea, I have a valuable business reason for eating there ? they serve up amazing customer service. And these lessons aren't just served in my nearest location. But in any city, any town, any time I have been to a Chick-fil-A, I have left feeling like the most valuable Customer.Now you may wonder what you can learn for your business, from a fast food restaurant. In short, plenty. Just because your business is different does not mean you can't take someone else's ideas or techniques and make them applicable to what you do. So I challenge you to be open to what you can learn from a chicken.They are focused.Chick-fil-a knows their expertise is making good chicken. You don'...(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)
Hook Me Up With A Human
Oh, what has happened to the carbon-based organizational interface? Many organizations have digitized humans ? aka carbon-based units - out of existence in their customer service operations. Now, I love digital technology as much as anyone, but it is time to bring the people back into their appropriate customer service roles, don't you think?Have you ever tried to reach a human at Amazon.com? When I last checked you couldn't even find a telephone number on the website. Just to annoy them, here is their toll free number: 800-201-7575.Many organizations don't even have a live person answering phones. They dump you directly into voicemail. If this happens to you, punch "0" immediately. Some systems are pr...(related: Customer Service)
Crm - Its Relevance
In today's demanding economy, the first line of any business during economic uncertainty is to get closer to the customer. Customers often want information along with a quote or invoice on the spot. With lack of information, the customers do not fix loyalty to a particular product or service and tend to depend on impulse decision. The companies are no exception to this. In the process "hot prospects" turn ice cold. Speed of information flow and speed of converting information into prospect are vital factors for survival. So access to data is a must. E-business has revolutionized the way for business to interact with customers.What is CRM?Business's effort to get closer to a customer is consider...(related: Customer Service)
The 7 Principles Of Business Integrity
If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don't have integrity, nothing else matters. -- Alan K. SimpsonIf I were to ask you what attribute is the most influential in regard to the success of a business, would you know immediately which one is the most important? Based on my many years as a business ow...(related: Customer Service)
Proofs Of Delivery And Logistics: Speeding Throughput And Avoiding Pitfalls
It should be a straightforward business scenario: making sure that the delivery documentation from the supplier or haulier matches up with the documentation at the target destination.However life is rarely straightforward, and if problems do arise, order completion times and cash flow will inevitably suffer as a result.Making the paperwork matchDocuments involved typically include delivery notes generated by the product supplier or logistics provider. The Customer takes delivery and confirms the goods are received by signing the delivery note, which becomes a proof of delivery (PoD). When the goods being delivered are accepted customers can also use their own delivery docum...(related: Customer Service)
How To Build Stellar Client Relationships
Your opportunity to build a stellar client relationship starts with managing the gap between your perception of how things are going and your client's.Begin the process here . . .--Know who your ideal client is.Minimize problems from the get-go by targeting clients you want to work with and clients you would enjoy and have fun working with.--Ask the right questions.Craft questions that will help you manage client expectations early. If you offer a service, ask how the client will measure results, what criteria he will use.--Trust and act on your intuition.When you feel something is "off" with a client, con...(related: Customer Service)
What have you done for your existing customers lately? Probably not much, if you are like most businesses.I know that hunting new business is more of an adrena...(related: Customer Service)
We Got It Wrong: Never Under Promise & Over Deliver
You know how it is, you believe something for so long, everyone agrees with you, all the books tell you it's true and then suddenly you have a blinding revelation - we've all been duped! ...(related: Customer Service)