Customer Service

Articles courtesy of Steven Smith

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Customer Service

Customer Service Has Moved Toward Customer Care
As I waited for an answer to my VCR inquiry from a stereo company, the recording stated a "customer care" representative would be available shortly. At that moment, I realized it's finally catching on everywhere. With aging baby boomers, world events and additional pressures in today's society; it is "customer care" that has evolved i...(related: Customer Service)


Customer Service - How Good Are You?
At 8.30 am a wealthy client (on his way to make a presentation to the local council at 9 am) walked into a store that sells pho...(related: Customer Service)


Customer Service Is Dying - And Im Not Feeling So Good Myself
Have you ever called a company and been greeted with the phrase "Hold, please"? How do they know you can hold? They don't even know who you are. Maybe you can't hold; maybe you have 10 seconds of juice left on your cell phone and your hair is on fire. Then you finally get someone on the phone, only to be told, "I can't actually help you; I'm just paid to apologize, and I'm really sorry about that."Being frustrated by a lack of customer service is nothing new. It just seems that in the last few years, companies have become more innovative wh...(related: Customer Service)


Customer Service Is More Than Just Being Nice To People
Many organizations tackle to the issue of customer service by exhorting their employees to speak with a smile. Be polite. Never lose your cool. But isn't that a little like closing the barn door after the horses have gotten out? Good customer service should be about a good ...(related: Customer Service)


Customer Service, Italian Style
Nowadays, we complain nearly all of the time about how few businesses remember how to provide quality service to their customers. But a recent trip to Italy not only reminded me that the art of service is not dead, but that providing outstanding service is the key to almost any successful business. Here are a few well-worn but important principles that I was reminded of during that trip:The Customer Always Comes First: When you patronize a retail store or restaurant in Italy, it is almost always the owner of the business that takes care of you. It's not that there are...(related: Customer Service)


Customer Service: Stop Sabotaging Your Customer Relationships
If you've called for customer service recently you're familiar with this recorded message "This call may be recorded or monitored for quality purposes." I immediately think to myself, "Oh great, here comes the game of 20 questions."Now don't get me wrong. I spent many, many years training Customer Service Reps. (CSR's). I'm all for making sure customers receive the best possible service. What I'm not for is the pre-scripted list of questions CSR's are required to ask, regardless of whether they are applicable to the situation at hand. I've seen some checklists with as many as 25 pre-scripted "call quality" standards that CSR's are required to use. If they don't, and someone happens to monitor the call, they get marked down. Ludicrous I say!Let me give you a few highlights from a recent ...(related: Customer Service)


Customer Service, The Internets Primary Neglected Business Concern
Customer service is everything to a business. Just look at big, successful retail chains: They let you return perfectly good merchandise just because you changed your mind. Is that insane? Yes, pretty much, but it's also good customer service, and it's a good investment, and the "secret" of success, for a lot of big companies.Let's turn to the Internet. I find that the vast majority of companies selling things on the Net can't be contacted at all. Not presale, postsale, or anywhere in between. The only time they talk to you is if you get really angry and start complaining. Everyone else is apparently seen by customer service, but ignored.Even if you're using an autoresponder to handle 99% of your customers aut...(related: Customer Service)


Customer Service Tips For Mail Order Businesses
Can we be too good to our customers? No way! Our customers are the backbone of our business! They're right no matter what!

But I'm sorry to disagree with you. As small, honest and legitimate businesses - we have a tendency to place our product quality above mone...(related: Customer Service)

Customer Service Tips - Is Your Business A Leaky Bucket?
Customer service and customer service training are vital for any business.But, is your business a leaky bucket?This is a question I always ask small business owners who attend my marketing seminars.The reason I ask is because many businesses are so focused on attracting new customers they forget about retaining and providing good customer service to their existing clients.Many are also unable to quickly identify who their most profitable customers are.In the leaky bucket example we have two businesses in the same industry. Both businesses attract 10 per cent new customers each year. Not a bad effort considering the increasingly crowded and competitive industry they operate in.Business number one has a 95 per cent retention rate and 5 per cent slippage, while business number two has a 90 per...(related: Customer Service)


Customer Service: Why Bears Make Bad Customers
Every business owner should have a picture of his or her ideal customer. When I picture my ideal customer, I see a business owner struggling to find time for all that needs to be done, someone passionate about what they do, someone striving to find answers to make their business run better. By picturing this person in my mind, I am able to develop products and services that I know will benefit that customer. But what happens when a not-so-ideal customer enters the mix?Recently, I moved from a suburban location to a very woodsy location. One of my first orders of business was to set up my bird fe...(related: Customer Service)


Customer Service - Winning Customer Experiences
Winning Customer ExperiencesMuch research has been done on what the makes a winning customer experience. What is it that makes customers come back to your business instead of going to someone else's? If your repeat business is low, what is it that you are doing to drive your customers away? There is a consis...(related: Customer Service)


Customers - Hold Onto The Ones Youve Got
You probably spend a great deal of your time looking for newcustomers or clients. However, are you sure your doingenough to hold onto the ones you've got.One of the least costly ways to grow your business is to getcustomers to come back and buy more of your product orservice. How many customers have you lost this month? I'msure it's not something you want to think about too much,however it's inevitable that you'll lose customers andclients for a whole range of reasons many of which are outwith your control.A survey I read some years ago suggested that customersleave a business for four basic reasons: 14% leave becausethey're dissatisfied with the quality of th...(related: Customer Service)


Customers - What They Really Want - 6 Secrets Of Customer Service
What customers really want can be divided into two areas.Firstly - they want the core service of your business tomeet their needs. They expect your product or service towork.If you say you're a plumber, then the customer expects youto fix their leaking pipe. If you say you're an accountant,then they expect you to resolve their tax details.They also expect your product or service to represent valuefor money.If I buy an expensive pair of winter boots I expect them tokeep out the cold and wet and also look good. Naturally if Iwas to buy a cheaper pair I wouldn't expect them to last aslong.Customers expect your after-sales se...(related: Customer Service)


Customers Who Rave About You And Your Service
According to customer service studies by marketing gurus of the world, here are the following qualities, which must be present in your life and your business in order to develop raving fan customers who are not just satisfied but completely loyal to you over the long haul.1. People want you to show an interest in their lives. You not only know about their business, you know about their families, the hobbies they enjoy, and their life experiences. You know when they have had a win or a wow in their business, the birth of a new child, or a milestone celebration around the corner.2. People want you to be quick! People want their products and services yesterday, not tomorrow or 3 - 4 days down the road. In today's fast paced world, if you take more than 24 hours ...(related: Customer Service)


Dealing With Difficult People
1. Don't get Hooked !!!When people behave towards you in a manner that makes youfeel angry, frustrated or annoyed - this is known as a Hook.We can even become "Hooked" by the way people look, how theytalk, how they smell and even by their general demeanour.If we take the bait then we are allowing the other person tocontrol our behaviour. This can then result in anunproductive response.We have a choice whether we decided to get hooked or stayunhooked.2. Don't let them get to you.We often allow the other persons attitude to irritate orannoy us. This becomes obvious to the other person throughour ...(related: Customer Service)


Dealing With Disgruntled Customers
No matter how hard you try, in business you simply can't please everyone. You could have a highly trained customer service squadron and an award-winning product, but still you'd have some buyers who just weren't happy. The bad news is that unhappy customers are more eager to share their experiences than happy ones which could spell disaster for your business.There is good news, however. Unhappy customers who receive satisfaction can become your biggest allies. The trick, of course, is discovering how to satisfy their nee...(related: Customer Service)


Dealing With People - Words To Avoid
You probably realise how the wrong tone of voice andnegative body language can cause problems when dealing withother people, particularly customers and staff. However,using the wrong words can also cause problems.There are certain "trigger" words that cause people tobecome more difficult especially in emotionally chargedsituations and they should be avoided. These include:* Have to - as in - "You'll have to speak to the salesdepartment yourself"*I can't or you can't - as in - "I can't do anything aboutthat" or "You can't do that"*I'll try - as in - "I'll try and speak to financedepartment today"*But - as in - "I agree with what you're saying ...(related: Customer Service)


Debt Elimination Scam
May people these days have a problem with mounting debt. The average person is well below the bad credit limit and is in desperate need to fix it.Some people are so desperate to reduce their debt that they are seeking quick and easy ways of repairing their credit.This demand has introduced us to the debt elimination scam.For a large upfront fee of $2,500 - $3,000, the organizers of this debt elimination program scam will provide the victim with a special legal document . This document is then presented to the victims' bank, Mortg...(related: Customer Service)


Develop Loyal Customers For A Lifetime ? Part 1 (1 ? 10)
Traditional marketing strategies encourage business owners to continually grow their businesses by adding new customers. In today's compet...(related: Customer Service)


Develop Loyal Customers For A Lifetime ? Part 2 (11 ? 20)
Traditional marketing strategies encourage business owners to continually grow their businesses by adding new customers. In today's competiti...(related: Customer Service)


Developing A Customer Complaint System
BackgroundThe company was experiencing an increase in the number of customer complaints and an increase in the cost of processing them and we were hired to analyze the current situation and develop recommendations to increase the effectiveness of the process of adm...(related: Customer Service)


Difficult Customers - Theres No Such Thing
A couple of years ago I had a call from a Customer ServiceManager working in the paper industry. He wanted me to run aseminar for his team, on "How to Deal with DifficultCustomers".I had several telephone conversations with this managerorganising dates, times and getting to understand hisbusiness. If I was to describe his style on the telephone Iwould use words like, businesslike, cold, curt and somewhatimpatient. I started to realise that if I was one of hiscustomers then I might have been a bit "difficult". Hecertainly knew his business and I don't think he was a badperson but warm and friendly - forget it.There are actually very few genuinely difficult customers inthe world. And I hear you say - "we've got all of them".However the majority of customers in the world arereasonable people. They may not think the way, look ...(related: Customer Service)


Dissatisfied Or Rude Customers Can Be Satisfied Customers
On a recent airline flight I was an upset customer. I was arriving on a late inbound flight and connecting with the last flight out on the same airline, but the connecting flight left without me! At first, I was furious when told to wait in a line of 300 people to resolve my problem. But I used my time to "people watch", and I made some valuable observations. I saw that the customers who approached one ticket agent with a smile, sense of humor or other positive behaviors were walking away in a positive state. The agent looked and sounded kinder and more empathetic when helping those folks. The customers who approached another agent with a visibl...(related: Customer Service)


Do You Want More Profits? - Follow The Golden Rules Of Providing Good Customer Service
Last night I was at my computer and a Skype chat window opened up with a link in it from a stranger. I clicked the link and was taken to one of those "You would have to be crazy to pass up this business opportunity" sites. You know, the kind with great testimonials and it seems too good to be true possible outcomes. All it takes is a few hours a day and you can be pulling in thousands of dollars! Wow, sounds ...(related: Customer Service)


Does Your Customer Talk Back To You?
What is your customer saying about you? Do you really know? Does your customer really know who you are?If you don't know what your customer thinks about you, your business, your product and your services, then you might as well close shop!A customer is the lifeblood of every business and you must always strive to be in tune with what your customer thinks and how they feel. Don't leave your customers unattended and in the dark. Invite feedback. Add a feedback form to your website or a simple "mailto:" link that looks something like this:"Questions? Comments? Send...(related: Customer Service)


Doesnt Anybody Work Here? Nametags Impact Employee Communication
Walmart was the first business to require all its employees to wear nametags. (There's a surprise!) Sam Walton created this initiative because he wanted his customers to "get to know the people they bought from."But the value of employee nametags spans far beyond getting to know people, it's all about being approachable. So whether you work in retail, hospitality, food service or sales, to wear a nametag is to be on stage. To be on stage is to be ready to serve your customers. And to be ready to serve your customers is to do your job effectively.Here are several ways nametags will help your employees maintain an accessible, comfortable business environment.Accessibility I have a bad habit of putting too...(related: Customer Service)


Dont Be Afraid To Give Problem Customers The Boot
Q: In a recent column you made the point that the customer is always right, which I agree with. However, in the same column you also said that it is sometimes necessary give problem customers the boot. If the customer is always right, at what point do you think they become so problematic that you should stop doing business with them? -- Gary M.A: That column brought a number of emails similar to yours, Gary, requesting that I clarify the line between "the customer is always right" and "sometimes you have to give a customer the boot." Here's the bottom line: if you, as a business owner or service provider, are willing to take a customer's money in exchange for providing him with g...(related: Customer Service)


Dont Eliminate The Middle Man - Add One
Today, there are situations when we actually add a "middle person" instead of eliminating one for increased service efficiency. If it's cost-effective and demand is high, then proper market positioning will make it a worthwhile endeavor. For example, my sister just informed me of a food delivery service in New Mexico that will let you choose one out of many different food outlets (all types of ethnic/fast food)- and then guarantees delivery within a specific time period. This not only gives the customer assurance of reliability, but more choices for dining take ?out style.In other areas of industry, the same idea holds true. There are electrical suppliers that no longer manufacture th...(related: Customer Service)


Dont Forget Your Existing Clients
Quest for new clients shouldn't ignore those who pay the billsAcquisition. It's a big word in small business marketing. Companies are constantly looking at ways to draw new people to the busine...(related: Customer Service)


Dont Give Your Customers What They Want!
One of the mantras we hear repeatedly in business is "The customer is always right." I'm here to tell you ...(related: Customer Service)


Dont Work With Jerks: How To Recognize A Difficult Client Early
Five minutes into the call I knew this client was going to make my life miserable. The problem was, I already said "Yes."Into every professional practice falls a little rain, or better said...walks in a nightmare client. You start losing sleep by a couple of hours every night, you keep thinking about her project during your lunch time, and you feel like your life has been taken over by this client.What a nightmare! Didn't we go into the business for ourselves to enjoy it? Do we not have the choice of who to work with? Of course, we do! The challenge is in recognizing a difficult...(related: Customer Service)


Doors By Catering To Your Clients
Clients? they are the most important influence in the success of any business. It is vital to keep them satisfied and happy.Clients should be catered to. Their every need should be met and more. We need to make them feel like they are our number one client, as they all are.Catering to our clients should not be anything new to a professional business person. After all, we all know that exceptional customer service is the key to keeping clients happy which, in turn, keeps them c...(related: Customer Service)


E-business?s Best Friend: Ecrm
From Ebay to the smallest home-operated start-up, e-businesses of all sizes struggle to accurately answer a common question: who are my customers? If you can't answer that question, chances are you're also in the dark about the following questions. What customer demand trends can I expect in the future? How ...(related: Customer Service)


Empowering Customer Service Vital
It never fails to amaze me how many companies have employees who are empowered to offer former customers wonderful incentives to lure them back, yet their customer service representatives have the ability to offer virtually nothing to convince an...(related: Customer Service)


Establishing Yourself As An Expert In The Eyes Of Your Customers
The most important aspect of a successful business is developing the correct mindset toward your customers. And this is not the over used phrase The customer is always right. Actually the correct mindset we are referring to here is to always think in terms of benefits for your customers. The highly successful businessperson thinks of ways to show interest in their customers even before they come into their store.They endeavor to educate the customer on the benefits of their products and services. They make their products and services stand out in their customer's mind. Some marketing experts think of this in terms of a USP or Unique Selling Proposition. Or what are the unique selling characte...(related: Customer Service)


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)


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)


Finding Out Why A Potential Customer Is Calling On You
Our challenge as the business owner/sales person answering the telephone, is to build rapport with the caller, quickly and easily.In most cases, the caller has been told something about you and your product or service. It is yo...(related: Customer Service)


First Contact: The Source Of Customer Loyalty
With customers being smarter, more cost conscious, more product knowledgeable and more demanding, improving customer service has become a major focus within many businesses. In Customer Satisfaction is Worthless; Customer Loyalty is Priceless, author Jeffrey Gitomer contends the real solution is shifting the paradigm away from customer service to customer loyalty. This may be the first step, but the next step is to shift the focus away from loyal customers to loyal employees.By recognizing the significance that the "first contact" a customer has is with the employees. The foundation for a loyal relationship begins with the employee. In retail and many service businesse...(related: Customer Service)


Five Tips To Calm Cranky Customers
1. Tis the SeasonRecognize that everyone is frazzled during the holidays- you and your customers. Give everyone, including you, the benefit of the doubt when it comes to 'bad behaviors' like being abrupt or rude. Breathe deep and smile. It can work wonders.2. Let 'em Rant, Let 'em Rant, Let 'em RantListen briefly to what your customer has to say, even if he is simply venting about things outside of your control. Your client will appreciate the caring and you just might learn about another customer problem you can solve. Comments like the ones below can help the customer feel acknowledged and smooth the way to resolution.That must be difficult for you.I can see how upset you are.This must be very importantLet's see what we both can do to fix this3. Making ...(related: Customer Service)


Five Ways To Wow Your Client
Running a business is about providing goods and services to human beings. Their experience with you can make the difference between a good day, a terrible day, a nothing-special day, and a "WOW" day for them! Wouldn't you like to be the reason a client's day changes from boring to "WOW?"The benefits of this approach are good for everyone involved. Your client will be satisfied with your serv...(related: Customer Service)








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Develop Loyal Customers For A Lifetime ? Part 2 (11 ? 20)
Traditional marketing strategies encourage business owners to continually grow their businesses by adding new customers. In today's competiti...(related: Customer Service)

Responding To Complaints
It's possible that in the course of your business dealings, you may (just may) have to deal with a complaint from a customer or client ....There are two ways you can go about this:1. You can stand up for your rights (and lose the customer and any po...(related: Customer Service)

Get Customers To Stop Calling You--12 Easy Ways To Save Money With Online Customer Support
Despite rumors to the contrary, the Web is not dead. More people are using it, they have faster bandwidth, and in many cases Net-time is taking over TV-time. It's no wonde...(related: Customer Service)

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