Customer Service

Articles courtesy of Steven Smith

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Customer Service

The Reality Of Customer Service In America And Best Efforts In Franchising, We Can Do Better
Yesterday I went to buy a sandwich at a franchised outlet. I thought while driving up would the owner be there to help out and save some money on labor, knowing a holiday weekend is hard to get labor. As I drove up to the place a man driving an SUV made by Lexus, nice too, cut me off stealing my parking spot? He parked crooked and blocked part of the stall I wanted and part of the handicap stall, next to it.Everyone thought he was rich? The customers and employees of the s...(related: Customer Service)


The Sellers Creed
I will not make sales. I will make Customers.I will target the heart of my Customer. Never their wallet.My Customer is the lifeblood of my business.Though I may sell my Customers what they want,I will deliver what they need and make their lives better.Courtesy and Service are cornerstones of my relationship withmy Customer.I will view complaints as opportunities . . . opportunities tocreate lifelong Customers.The quality of my products and how I treat...(related: Customer Service)


Tips For Curing Bad Customer Service
Bad customer service is everywhere these days - unmanned front desks, surly servers, clueless staff, employees talking on the phone, and managers who refuse to acknowledge a customer. It's no longer an exception ... poor service has become the norm.In an all-too-typical scene, a customer walks into a retail store with a question about where to find a product. The employee, who is busy and doesn't want to be bothered, gives the customer a curt answer and continues what she is doing without even looking the customer in the eye. The customer persists, so, with obvious annoyance, the employee begrudgingly turns around and points the customer in the general direction of the product's location. Instead of buying the product, the customer leaves the store, frustrated, vowing to never return.Most business owners and employees recognize thi...(related: Customer Service)


To Complain And Win! - My Personal Recipe
Prime directive: Make sure your claim is reasonable! Otherwise, forget it.First thing: If you have a legitimate claim denied or a beef with a company (my method can be applied to insurance companies, dealerships, bad fish, or whatever), prepare yourself for the likelihood of frustrating conversations with people who either can't think for themselves or have been told by their boss not to.If whoever takes your initial complaint is reasonable you'll be pleasantly surprised. If, however, what you're being told sounds like it isn't addressing your individual problem beware ? the answer you're get...(related: Customer Service)


Top 10 Customer Service Tips
1. Hire people who have a service attitude. Some people simply enjoy serving others, their organizations, and even their communities....(related: Customer Service)


Top Ten Strategies For Delivering 5-star Customer Service
Customer satisfaction is valuable, but customer loyalty is priceless. In today's competitive world of business, it is becoming more and more important to deliver customer service that is unbeatable. These ten creative strategies can ...(related: Customer Service)


Transforming Disgruntled Customers Into Your Biggest Advocates
"I am writing to complain about the widget I bought from your site the other day."Sell anything and eventually you will be on the receiving end of a sentence like this. So how do you turn a disgruntled customer not just into a satisfied one, but ? even better - into a powerful advocate for your business?1. Don't get angry, don't act hurtReactions are initially emotional. Particularly if you are in a small company or you are the owner of the business, you may take a complaint as criticism ? a personal attack.What do humans do when attacked? We want ...(related: Customer Service)


Treating The Customer Dissatisfaction Epidemic: How To Go Beyond Simply Masking The Symptoms
Corporations in every sector are spending more than ever before in an attempt to improve their customer service levels. Every year they pour hundreds of millions of dollars into new systems and training programs that promise them the ability to win customer loyalty. D...(related: Customer Service)


Turning Customer Mistakes Into Raving Fans
When you make a mistake with a customer, should you write them off as lost -- never to return again?Nope. There...(related: Customer Service)


Under Promise & Over Perform: The Art Of Managing Customer Expectations
I'll always feel warmly about Conrad's restaurant, in Glendale, California.On the morning of the Northridge earthquake, Conrad's was the only restaurant in town that opened for business, and stayed open until the last customer went home. (For the record, I had a jumbo burger with Swiss cheese, grilled onions, fries, and two chocolate shakes with lots of whipped cream and extra cherries on top.)The line of hungry patrons shoe-laced down the block, but instead of being grumpy, everyone was smiling, happy to be alive, and bursting with their own quake stories to share with the strangers all around them.What was truly extraordinary was the fact that Conrad's did the ordinary...(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)


We Sell For Less And Our Stores Are A Mess!
What kind of image do you present when marketing your products? Are you professional and well organized or ...(related: Customer Service)


What Do They Want Anyway?
You want customers. I want customers. We all want customers. And traffic alone is not enough. We need "interested" customers. Customers ready to listen, ready to buy. So you may find yourself asking, what do they want anyway?.... and how can I get them to buy?Instead of concentrating on the "getting", ...(related: Customer Service)


What Do Your Clients Really Think Of You?
*********************************************Know Thyself - Socrates*********************************************I'd like to start this article with a test ?What do you get when you cross a Northern Canadian male, a 4x4 truck and heavy rain?You guessed it! ? Mud Bogging!!!!That is how I spent my morning. My husband's new truck was too shinny, so he felt he had to get it dirty again just so he could wash it for the ...(related: Customer Service)


What Every Employee Should Know About How To Prevent Customer Service Conflicts
There are five techniques that have been proven to be effective in resolving, minimizing, and preventing conflicts. And by conflicts I am referring to any of the following that may take place between two or more people: misunderstanding, miscommunications, arguments, disagreements, mixed messages, fighting, etc.A. Active Listening: Use this approach when you want to let the customer know that you're truly paying attention. Do so by totally involving your eyes, ears, and body. Pay attention to his body language, move close, cup your hand over your ear, lean forward, etc. Be patient to let the customer fully explain himself. Avoid interrupting and asking questions in a rapid spitfire fashion. (Doing so might cause the customer to feel like a crime victim being interrogated by the Police.) If you do ha...(related: Customer Service)


What Every Employee Should Know About How To See Customers Problems From Their Creative Side
Customer Service is a blessing and a curse; a blessing to the customer and a curse to you, the employee. At least so it seems. Although as the Customer Service representative for your employer, you are faced with a never-ending barrage of complaints, problems, and questions on a daily basis, the pressure of the job could easily become a source of anger, frustration, and other forms of counter-productive behaviors. You seem to live in a pressure-cooker of stress.Rather than let the pressure get to you, why not develop attitudes that will help you become more cheerful, positive, and productive?Did you know that a winning attitude, especially while exposed to stress, actually puts less wear and...(related: Customer Service)


What Every Employee Should Know About How To Win The Loyalty Of Customers
Dr. Michael LeBoeuf, in his cassette album entitled, Win Customers and Keep Them for Life presents twelve principles that will transform the workplace into a customer-driven, highly motivational team. Dr. LeBoeuf's program goes like this:1. Make a positive first impression.2. Help customers buy what's right for them.3. Ask the right questions to keep them coming back.4. Develop an appreciation of customer loyalty.5. Understand customers and their buying behavior.6. Use realistic expectations to turn angry customers into loyal ones.7. Go the extra mile to help the indecisive customer.8. Over...(related: Customer Service)


What Every Employee Should Know About Putting Positive Phrases Into Customer Service
If you were a customer on the telephone with a question or complaint and were ready to make big purchase, which of the following phrases by this employee would make you feel welcome and want to com...(related: Customer Service)


What Every Manager Should Know About How To Learn From The Complaints Of Customers And Employees
Listening to complaints, whether they're reasonable or not, is a part of every manager's job. Sometimes complaints can be overwhelming. However, when we take them in stride with an open mind, we can learn much from our employees' and customers' feelings about the workplace. After all, a complaint is nothing more that a person telling you that his (or her) needs have not been met. As dissatisfied customers, they are giving us a second chance to correct something that should have been done properly t...(related: Customer Service)


What Every Manager Should Know About How To Prevent Customer Service Conflicts
There are five techniques that have been proven to be effective in resolving, minimizing, and preventing conflicts. And by conflicts I am referring to any of the following that may take place between two or more people: misunderstanding, miscommunications, arguments, disagreements, mixed messages, fighting, etc.A. Active Listening:<...(related: Customer Service)


What Every Manager Should Know About How To Win The Loyalty Of Customers
Dr. Michael LeBoeuf, in his cassette album entitled, Win Customers and Keep Them for Life presents twelve principles that will transform the workplace into a customer-driven, highly motivational team. Dr. LeBoeuf's program goes like this:1. Make a positive first impression.2. Help customers buy what's right for them.3. Ask the right questions to keep them coming back.4. Develop an appreciation of customer loyalty.5. Understand customers and their buying behavior.6. Use realistic expectations to turn angry customers into ...(related: Customer Service)


What Every Manager Should Know About Seeing The World From Where The Customer Is Standing
It is important to remember that the customer doesn't necessarily see things in the same way we do. This point was brought home to me one day while I was shopping with my daughter, Stefanie, who was two years old at the time.As I stooped down to tie her shoelaces, I immediately realized why she was becoming so irritable. She could not adequately see the toys that were displayed on the shelf above her head. At this point, I decided to pick her up and to continue shopping with her in my arm...(related: Customer Service)


What Exactly Is Customer Relationship Management?
The defintion of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) that I favor is "CRM is the business strategy that aims to understand, anticipate, manage and personalize the needs of an organization's current and potential customers"From this we can learn that CRM is more than just a piece of software; CRM is a business strategy, one that puts the customer at the heart of the business."That's nothing new" I hear you say, and you would be right. Good business people have always understood the relationship between happy customers that come back again and again and creating long term, susta...(related: Customer Service)


What To Do When Youve Blown It
It's bound to happen sooner or later ? yes, even to you and your business. Sometime or other, you will make a blunder that upsets a customer. It may be an employee mistake (honest or intentional), it could be a defective product, it could even be an unreasonable expectation on the part of your customer. The cause really isn't important.What is important is that you have an angry customer on your hands.What, you ask,...(related: Customer Service)


What Type Of Software Is This?
The other day while at the book store, I came across some accounting software CDs strewn with other CDs and books in garage sale box.How can any self respecting businessman (even a small one at that) pick up a copy of this cheap sale accounting CD from the box for ...(related: Customer Service)


What You Need To Know About Crm
1. It's all about the customer. Some companies focus too much on expensive CRM programs and elaborate IT departments and not enough on what is at the core of CRM. CRM programs need to be designed to appeal to the business'...(related: Customer Service)


Whatever Happened To Customer Service?
Do you remember the last time you went into a shop and the person 'serving' raced over to you, greeted you with a lovely smile, heaps of enthusiasm and said, "Welcome to our store, what can I help you with today?" And then listened attentively to what you had to say?Doesn't happen very often does it? In fact, while I was writing this, I couldn't recall when I had experienced it. I'm sure I must have yet it would have been so long ago, I can't remember.Let me tell you what happened this week?I belong to a well-known trade exchange wh...(related: Customer Service)


Whats For Lunch?
As an entrepreneur, I'm always intrigued by small businesses, home-based or not, that exceed the expectations of their customers in a big way.Let me tell you about one of them.Recently I spent some time with my daughter in her college town of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. We were spending the day getting her apartment ready for her return to school in the fall. When it was time for lunch, she wanted to take me to a restaurant in the small town of Northport, just to the north of Tuscaloosa.Northport is one of those typical south...(related: Customer Service)


What?s In A Name?
Different people call their Customers by different names. If they don't have Customers, they have Clients, purchasers, licensees, users, patients, members, franchisees, or buyers. Each of these words carries meaning to those who say them. And those meanings say something about the health and long term success of the enterprise.What do I mean?Take a minute to do this right now. Write down the word or phrase that you use for your "Customer". Then write down all of the connections or associations you make to that word. Write down everything that comes to your mind. After completing your list, take a look at the resulting list of words and phrases. This list speaks volumes about how you feel about and think about those people who give you mo...(related: Customer Service)


Whats Love Got To Do With It?
Customer Loyalty, we all want it. Don't we?Some people say it's dead - they say that customers are fickle, that they don't want loyalty, that they just want the lowest price and the fastest way to get it. Some say that customers have changed and that the pursuit of loyalty is foolish, since it's the customers that are not interested in it. I don't agree. Loyalty is not DEAD, it's just sleeping.I agree that customers have changed (because our needs have changed). We're more demanding than ever before, we have more choices than ever before, we're more educated than most of the co...(related: Customer Service)


Whats The Customer Service Buzz About Your Business?
If you're a regular reader of my column you know that my number one pet peeve is bad customer service. Nothing chaps my backside more than paying hard-earned money for a product or service only to have the provider of said product or service become apathetic, obnoxious or just downright rude after the transactional smoke has cleared.The bottomline, my entrepreneurial friend, is this: it doesn't matter if your product is fast food, slow food, retail goods, computers, lawn mowers, books, real estate or automobiles, if a customer is willing to pay you good money in exchange for your product or service that customers deserves to be treated with gratitude and respect, before and after the sale. Period. I'm constantly amazed at how many business owners and the frontline employees who represent t...(related: Customer Service)


When A Customer Has Done Everything To Get Your Goat
You try to make your customers happy. You sincerely WANT them to be pleased with your products and service. You go out of your way to provide quality and integrity in everything you do.So, why is it that every once in a while there's a customer who insists on totally, absolutely and completely pissing you off?How long is a string?There are some questions, the answers to which, will always elude me. Are you with me on this?I received an email message from a customer who must have not only have awoke on the wrong side of the bed, but must have also found himself in the wrong bed, in the wrong bedroom, in the wrong house, on the wrong block, in the wrong city, and in the wrong life. As I read this message, I was seething with anger -my hands literally shaking.W...(related: Customer Service)


When The Customer Demands: Give A Discount Or Lose The Order
Periodically every sales person encounters the customer who refuses to buy unless they receive a discount. Sometimes this is driven by the organization's culture or the buyer wanting to look good to their boss and sometimes it is simply the mindset of the individual buyer them self. To some people price satisfaction and their perception of value, is not about the actual amo...(related: Customer Service)


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)


Wholesale Buyers Versus Retail Customers
Are wholesale buyers and retail customers really different? Frankly, there are two answers to this question: yes and no. Yes, because they are different from the buyers and those selling to buyers' point of view and no, because the principles that apply are the same for both types of buying.There is only one real difference, aside that one buys at wholesale prices and the other at retail prices, and...(related: Customer Service)


Why Cant Microsoft Make Soft Packaging?
Why is it that Microsoft wants you to buy its product but does not want you to open the plastic case that is welded around the cardboard box? I believe that such packaging along with cockroaches will survive atomic disasters!Good luck finding any clue as to an easy way to open this fused bit of skin-tearing packaging. I split my scissors trying to pry open the ends. I ripped a fingernail attempting to wiggle into a miniscule space. I wedged in a letter opener to see if I could leverage any kind o...(related: Customer Service)


Why Communication Skills Dont Work In Customer Service
Every time my firm conducts communication skills training, we know someone is going to object."That doesn't work. Everybody's heard of active listening. You can't use that stuff anymore."And we have to admit, there's a lot of truth in that. Everyone has heard of active listening. And it doesn't work for many people much of the time.But communication skills can work for your staff.The problem usually isn't the skills. It's the way people are train...(related: Customer Service)


Why Passenger Surveys Are A Transport Operators Best Friend
Public transport operators who already use passenger surveys may not fully appreciate the multiple benefits that surveys can bring. Not only are surveys an efficient method of market research that will help identify areas of passenger dissatisfaction, they are also perfect for measuring the effects of improvements and can, at the same time, help promote new initiatives to customers using the service.Establishing a Starting PointWhen embarking on any change management programme it is always good practice to establish a base line before any changes are made. This baseline survey can serve four purposes, it will:? allow the proper targeting of investment? allow measuremen...(related: Customer Service)


Why You Should Always Honour Your Guarantees - Even When The Customer Is In The Wrong
The Reason Why Direct Internet Marketers Have To Work So Hard To Earn Our TrustA bad attitude to ...(related: Customer Service)


Write A Business Thank-you Note
Have you seen that thing on TV where the gal tellsthe nerd she wonders why he never asked her tomarry him and he stumbles and says "Thank You" andshe turns to butter?The point of the message is that "Thank You" goesa long way to making people feel better.Personally and in business, develop the "ThankYou" habit.While it is generally expected to send a writtenthank-you for gifts and special favors, it is alsoappropriate to send one for employment interviewsand new business contacts. However, the mostpowerful thank-you note is the one that'sunexpected.Here are some "Thank You" points to considerYou should hand write it. With the exceptionbelow, don't use your computer to print it,...(related: Customer Service)


Writing The Book On Great Customer Service
Q: One of the big chain bookstores recently opened up near my small book store. Already I can see my business starting to decline. Is there anything I can do to compete with the bigger s...(related: Customer Service)








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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)

What Every Manager Should Know About How To Learn From The Complaints Of Customers And Employees
Listening to complaints, whether they're reasonable or not, is a part of every manager's job. Sometimes complaints can be overwhelming. However, when we take them in stride with an open mind, we can learn much from our employees' and customers' feelings about the workplace. After all, a complaint is nothing more that a person telling you that his (or her) needs have not been met. As dissatisfied customers, they are giving us a second chance to correct something that should have been done properly t...(related: Customer Service)

Sorry, No Customer Service After 4:00 P.m.
A few months ago, I wrote about ingenious styles of customer service that every business should know about, mostly because their employees were inflicting them on their customers.For instance, I warned about "in yo...(related: Customer Service)

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