Customer Service

Articles courtesy of Steven Smith

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Customer Service

Is Your Online Business Customer-friendly?

Customer service is increasingly seen as one of the most valuable uses for a commercial World Wide Web site.  Your Web site is available on a 24 hour, seven days a week basis.  So...(related: Customer Service)

It Is All About Customer Service!
In this day of terrible customer service, it should come as no surprise that serving your customers, also known as visitors to your web site, must be a top priority. Forget about return on your investment, how your site looks, keywords, meta tags, and the like. Are they important? Yes, of course. However, they mean nothing if you cannot attract and retain visitors to your site.In 2002 I built a niche community for corporate flight attendants. I started off with a message board and then added web pages six months later. Traffic was decent with just the message board but it really took off when I created the web pages. The key? Customer service. In order to attract and retain my customer base I added a resume posting service. In fact, I allowed people to send to me a copy of their resume and I posted it on my site. I took the tim...(related: Customer Service)


It?s Customer Service Stupid: Delivering Customer Service Training That Sticks
"Society is always taken by surprise at any new example of common sense."This Ralph Waldo Emerson quote opens one of the most impressive works on customer service: Michael LeBoeuf's book How To Win Customers and Keep Them For Life. I am a fan of the book, and of the man, who has become a good friend and mentor. What makes such a difference in Michael's writing is that, while written over ten years ago, it remains consistent and relevant to us today.Tea...(related: Customer Service)


Keeping Clients Happy Keeps Them Coming Back
Whether you are a seasoned small business professional, or you have just opened your doors to new clients, your marketing strategy should not only involve bringing in new business, it should also include keeping your current clients, your most important asset, happy and coming back for more or referring your services.Top-notch customer service is the most important contributing factor in the success of your business. Unfortunately, there are some business professionals who don't live by that sentiment. I'm not sure if they don't understand the advantages of making clients feel like number one, but let's see if we can't keep ourselves from forgetting those that have helped our businesses get where they are today.Providing exceptional customer service centers around ensuring your customers are happy. They need to feel tha...(related: Customer Service)


Learn To Anticipate Your Customers Needs
This morning I was having breakfast with my good friend Diane at one of my favorite breakfast nooks. I enjoy the atmosphere there although I've been less than pleased with the customer service so far.This morning when we decided to go to breakfast, my mouth started watering for their delicious scones. They usually have 3-4 kinds available such as chocolate chip, blueberry and cranberry. I have shared these with my mom a few times and always love it with raspberry or strawberry jam and a "spot" of mint tea and honey.This morning was no different. I knew exactly what I wanted when I got there. When it was my time to order I asked the waitress to bring some jam with my scone. Her answer totally put me off and I got defensive. She said: "well, we might have some jelly, but mos...(related: Customer Service)


Learning From Your Employees And Customers Complaints
Listening to complaints, whether they're reasonable or not, is a part of every manager's job. Sometimes complaints can be overwhelming. However, by taking them in stride with an open mind, we can learn much from our employees' and customers' feelings about the workplace....(related: Customer Service)


Leverage Customer Capital First
If you're still dreaming about raising outside capital for your business before you have any paying customers, I've got a nice big bucket of ice water to throw on you. Wake up! The cold reality is that investors aren't interested in your business idea unles...(related: Customer Service)


Listen To Suggestions
If you are up to your ears in a stressful situation, it becomes difficult to think clearly. Sometimes, it is best to walk away from a problem, and think about it, rather than try to solve it with an instant solution.<...(related: Customer Service)


Listening: The Foundation Of Communication

Listening is the #1 communication skill for leadership, selling, customer service, and even romance! The problem is, most of us don't listen very well. We're not trained to listen and we don't even realize that listening is a skill. Peop...(related: Customer Service)

Listening To Customers - 5 Tips
In a strange juxtapositioning of articles, this month's UK 'Management Today' has three pieces, relating to the importance of listening to customers.Susan Rice, CEO of Lloyds TSB makes it clear how vital it is for great leaders to listen and hear. She uses the example of how Coca Cola was swift to 'hear' it's customers when they revolted against New Coke back in 1985 (good job too, it was yuk!). She also rails against the viability of change pr...(related: Customer Service)


Losing Angry Customers

This article offers five ways to help you deal with angry customers. While the goal of all businesses is to have only happy customers, we also have to be realistic and realize sometimes we are going to anger a customer. Isn't it  best to know in advance how to deal with an angry one, of course it is. Read on?..

Handle the person first, then the problem. Let angry people vent their frustrations. This alone will go a long way toward resolving the problem. Many times people just need to let off some steam an...(related: Customer Service)

Loyal Customers Take Commitment
In today's competitive world of retail, many stores are implementing external marketing programs designed to attract new business.Unfortunately, the cost can be very high with little return on investment. What is often lost in the mix is the fact that it can be much more cost effective to have a loyal customer base that returns again and again rather than constantly seeking the next new customer. Not that there is anything wrong with new cus...(related: Customer Service)


Loyalty Programs May Keep Customers Coming Back ? But First You?ve Got To Earn Their Trust
Remember trading stamps? If you're over 40, chances are you will. Every time you shopped at a participating grocery store or gas station they gave you stamps to paste into a book. When y...(related: Customer Service)


Make An Action Plan To Improve Customer Service
Customer Service is a critical factor for keeping your clients coming back and ensuring they'll refer you to others. Growing your business will be a difficult task at best if you don't perform, meet and exceed your client's expectations, and provide service that creates customers for life.
Customer service is all about the customer's perception. You have to do more than just get the job done. You must deliver on all the things (big and small) that affect the relationship with your client. Consider opportunities for improvement in the following areas.
1. Setting/Reviewing Expectations. Do you work with your client to set clear, appropriate, realistic expectations that you can always meet or exceed? Are you cl...(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)


Make Your Customer Your Friend
The simplest way to describe a 'durian' (pronounced doo-ree-ann) is to say it's a yellowish-green fruit about the size of an mid-sized watermelon. It has a thick skin of spikes, and a rich bitterish-sweet fruit.Known as the King of Fruits, it emits an overpoweringly pungent smell that lingers on for days, hence it's an item that's banned in hotels and airplanes. To those unaccustomed to its strong smell, it's something they wouldn't touch with a six-foot pole. But in Asia, this is an all-time local favorite.As much as I enjoy the fruit, you'd never find me volunteering to go out and buy it from the many roadside shacks that spring up each 'durian' season. The reason is simple - carrying a trunkload of 'durians' home would mean that my car would end...(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)


Making The Connection: Customer Relationships That Build Your Business
Have you ever wondered why you often find a coupon tucked inside your cereal box, or get invited to a customer preview sale at your favorite department store? Those companies know that their existing custome...(related: Customer Service)


Making The Most Of Newsletters

Newsletters can be wonderful tools for communicating with your customers or prospects. Because of their format, they're often infused with more credibility than traditional brochures. If your newsletter is little more than blatant self-promotion, however, it's likely to hit the wastebasket before it hits your target's desk.

By following a few basic tips, you can cultivate interest in your newsletter and make it an effective marketing tool.

Keep it interesting. Whether you're informing prospects or current customers, provide useful content and avoid the temptation of use a hard-sell approach. For example, include a how-to article about some aspect of home buying or selling. While these topics relate to your field ...(related: Customer Service)

Making Your Contacts Work For You
The best way to explain this concept is to tell you a story. While calling for lease purchasing property, I spoke with an older widowed woman. I went through my script and when I asked her why she thought her home hadn't sold, she said to me, I just don't know, I put it in the paper. I then asked her if she had a FSBO sign in h...(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)


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)


Mastering Challenging Service Situations
During the course of everyday business, many of you encounter unsatisfied customers. How you and your staff handle these situations, will shape your service image and ultimately your bottom line. How can you best handle challenging situations? I have developed and practiced a simple method for just such encounters. If you follow the steps listed below, you will greatly improve the likelihood of achieving positive resolutions to challenging situations.Make a ConnectionShake hands and introduce yourself. An introduction will add a personal aspect to the situation that can alleviate some hostility or anger that might surround the interaction.Acknowledge concern and show understanding.Get engaged in solving the problem.Respond only in a positive manner to negative feedback.

Mexico: Online Ordering?dont!
I got it into my head sometime in December 2004 that I wanted order a laptop computer. I thought I would get one from the hugely popular computer company that allows you to call their 800 number and custom order what you want. Presto, like magic, it appears at your doorstep in days.Since I live in Mexico, I was forced to order from their online site-in Spanish. The company designed this site for Mexicans only. The order form required four names, a common custom in Latin America, and something called a "RFC" number. At the time I hadn't clue what that was.I tried filling out the form the best I could, inserting my credit card number, but it would not send and rejected all my attempts. The site was insistent that I had to have fo...(related: Customer Service)


Modern Call Center Solutions - Keeping In Touch Is The Key
Call center solutions solve a range of age-old problems. As far back as ancient times, the success of a business has always depended on how well that business can communicate with clients and meet their needs. It is necessary to be available, in touch, easy to reach, and pleasant to deal with. From the point of view of the customer who needs to purchase a product, or is having trouble with a product or service he has already purchased, help must be readily available. From the point of view of a business competing within a certain market or indust...(related: Customer Service)


Moments That Matter
Many years ago, I was a first year apprentice assigned the task of pressure washing a set of condensing coils on the roof of a grocery store on Capital Hill in Seattle, an upscale part of town.It was a 90-degree day, in late August. To make matters worse, it was a Friday around 4:30 PM. I was wet, dirty, tired and I was anxious to get home, knowing full well I had at least another hour to finish up. An elderly gentleman in coveralls, and an old and worn straw hat approached me as ...(related: Customer Service)


More Customers - Watch Those Little Things
Two situations, two perfectly acceptable experiences, but in one case, an excitement about great service and in the other case, just OK.The LaptopI have ...(related: Customer Service)


My Child Has Opie Eye!
7:00 a.m., the silence in the house is broken by my child's call to me, from another room, "Mom, please take care of my Opie eye!"Huh?... My mind is spinning trying to process this information, what sort of illness is Opie eye? Is it a variation of Pink eye? What is the cure? What is the cause? Why didn't I notice ...(related: Customer Service)


Oil Change Customer From Hell Or Hoax; You Decide
Evacuation, "E-Vac" Oil System for Oil ChangingHow do most mobile oil change companies remove the used motor oil from the crank case? Well they "...(related: Customer Service)


One Critical Question To Ask Yourself Every Day
What happened to the old saying, the customer is always right? I'll bet every one of you reading this article has a "customer service nightmare" story to tell. My most recent nightmare experience took place recently when my business partner and I went in to a wireless phone store to purchase two new pda wireless phones. We told the young man who greeted us that we had only one question: is this phone compatible with the database software we intend to purchase? "I don't know," he said, "Most customers do the research on this before they come in.&quo...(related: Customer Service)


One Of The Secrets Of A Great Customer Experience
A few weeks ago we conducted our annual "Customer Experience Study Tour" in London England. This is where we take delegates to visit a number of leading Customer Experience companies for a behind-the-scenes look at how they approach the task of building a great Customer Experience. Companies include Prêt-a-manger, Virgin Atlantic, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, Dell Computers, T-Mobile, Lexus Cars, AOL and Microsoft. As we travelled around these companies on the luxury coach, I pondered wh...(related: Customer Service)


Outsourcing: The Unspoken Costs
Outsourcing seems to be the new-new thing and approximately 50% of our major corporations are doing it. What are the costs? The benefits? And what skills need to be managed in order to make it work optimally?Let's get a clear understanding of what we mean by outsourcing: it's the shifting of easily codified jobs - such as hel...(related: Customer Service)


Over Deliver - The Key To Customer Satisfaction
Client satisfaction starts with meeting or beating the contractual obligations of the relationship. There are also some intangibles that can help you to over deliver to a client.MeetingsIn most organizations it's easy to deliver additional value around meetings, because statistically, most companies run meetings poorly. Capture important notes during your meetings and then deliver your neatly typed notes consistently with ...(related: Customer Service)


Over Delivering Provides Big Results
Over promising is a problem only when you under deliver. There are a number of ways that you can overdeliver to your customers or prospects, and as a result create a win-win situation for y...(related: Customer Service)


Passing The After-sales Test
Some time ago a major UK food retailer decided to branch out into non-foods. Well, they all do it now, but in those days it was unheard of. Alongside the fr...(related: Customer Service)


Poor Customer Service - Are Your Customers Driving Away Other Customers
Every customer you have is a word-of-mouthadvertiser for you. Unfortunately 90% of this freeadvertising is negative. Your goal is to getpositive-word-of-mouth advertisers.Think about it, how do you decide where to shop? Your chief consideration may be location or price, but service is a silent draw that cannot be overlooked.Years ago we went to a get our oil changed at the Citgo station at Rochester and Hamlin in Rochester Hills. The owner was in tough competition with the established shop across Rochester Road. We were first in line and the shop really did achieve ...(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)


Profit From A Customer Service Recovery Program
A client recently said to me: "Most days things seem to run smoothly; but whenever we have a customer complaint, we seem to collapse. Where are we going wrong?"How you handle and solve customer concerns and complaints is a measure of your standing in the "excellent", "bad", or "mediocre" category of customer service. Many companies fit into the "mediocre" (average) category where indifference and defensiveness best describe their operation.Are you sure this is not you?Recently I returned from a business trip and was not...(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)


Provide Exceptional Value - Grow Your Business
The primary objective of a business is to get and keep customers. Growing a profitable business requires providing exemplary customer ser...(related: Customer Service)


Putting The Serve Back Into Customer Service
Good service is easy to spot and hard-to-find. Mediocre serviceoccasionally stands out but only because it's the cream-of-the-crap.Last week I had the opportunity to speak at the Lumbermen'sMerchandising Corp. annual sales meeting in Dallas. The meetings were held at the Dallas Convention Center and the hotel we stayed at was the Hyatt Regency at Reunion.The first night I had dinner at the Centennial Café Restaurant on the second floor of the hotel. The food was good and the service, I mean the server, was outstanding.It was a slow night and Abdul was covering one half of the tables in the restaurant. Here are some of my observations:1. Abdul was always smiling.2. He was energetic.3. He walked fast and with purpo...(related: Customer Service)








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The Dissatisfied Customer
We, as small business people, naturally dislike complaints from our clients and customers. Because we're intimately in...(related: Customer Service)

Handling Customer Complaints
Even the best business will receive an occasional customer complaint. Knowing how to resolve these complaints will help you gain loyal customers who will then refer others to your business. Here are some important tips.1. Listen carefully to the customer and gather as much information as possible.2. Restate the complaint as you understand it. This ensures that you completely understand what the situation is.3. Resolve the problem as quickly as possible. Tell the person you are sorry this happened and ask what you can to do to make this right. Do not argue with the customer, even though you are right and do not become defensive.3. After correcting the problem, tell the customer thank you for bringing it to your attention and that you appreciate their business.4. Develop a ...(related: Customer Service)

Automating Your Help Desk Workflow
Do you know you can open, answer, close and report help desk information without human intervention?Automation is a powerful feature provided by most enterprise level help desk products; however, most organizations rarely take advantage of these features. Based on a survey conducted by RightStar Systems, only 5% of the help desk managers interviewed were using automation to its fullest capacity. Most use it to some degree while others do not use it at all. Tom Jud, Emerging Growth Manager for BMC Software, has observed "?that the Business Rules Engine pro...(related: Customer Service)

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