Posts Tagged ‘customer service training’

How Do You Develop Customer Loyalty?

To develop customer loyalty means that you must know what to do and probably change your paradigms.  Loyal customers have different expectations than just satisfied ones.

Customer Loyalty Coaching Tip:  The digital disruption will impact your paradigms about loyal customers.

To learn your customers’ expectations begins with the management team.  Senior management needs to identify the points of connection within the customers’ experiences. Points of connection are anything that customers can see, feel, smell, taste or hear. Literally walking through the organization is a very simple way to locate the many points of connection.

Also, management needs to determine what a loyal customer is worth over the average customer lifetime.  For example, a satisfied customer visits a local retailer four times a year and spends an average of $50. This customer is worth $200.  A loyal customer visits the same store, spends $50 weekly and her value climbs to $2,600 annually.

Now consider those customers shop the same store in the same manner for 10 years. The satisfied customer has a total customer value of $2,000 while the loyal customer is worth $26,000.  This calculation quickly demonstrates how just a 5% retention in customers can create a 25 to 100% increase in profitability.

Some retail stores such as automotive to industries such as lodging have extensive data about their customers and understand the overall value every potential customer brings to their establishment.

Then a customer service survey can be created to reflect these points of connections as well as other issues such as unresolved problems.  When this information is compiled, then a customer loyalty strategic plan can be developed to ensure that all actions are aligned to the goal of developing loyal customers.

Of course, employees also need to be trained and developed to embrace a customer loyalty philosophy while shedding the old one of customer satisfaction. This customer service training should have them also identify points of connection and understand the critical goal of problem resolution.

TAKE ACTION to make every customer experience is the best.  Begin with a organizational assessment that is aligned to a continuous improvement process. Then take time to identify the critical points of connection.

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Customer Loyalty So You Have It?

The 20th century business model focus was labor intensive. Creating satisfied customers was the goal.  However, the 21st century has changed the marketplace forever.

With the click of a mouse thanks to the dramatic impact of ever changing technology, your satisfied customer can leave and become easily satisfied by your competitor. What will you do then?  Continue the same practices, policies, and procedures through archaic customer service training?

Customer loyalty is truly about your bottom line.  Did you know that a 5% increase in customer retention can have a 25% to 100% in profits?

Take a moment to think about the impact of this figure to your bottom line. You already have satisfied customers.  By converting them, you save money by not acquiring new customers which is far more costly.

But the real power is that these loyal customers become your greatest marketers. They are singing your praises to everyone through Word of Mouth (WOM) advertising. And everyone in business knows that you cannot pay for a referral.

So what is keeping you from building loyal customers?  In many cases it may be your policies, procedures and customer service training.

For example, some organizations focus on timing the interactions between associates and customers.  Speed becomes the driver of the customer experience.  The customer cannot complain that the transaction took too long, but they will complain about being treated like a number, like an empty bag, like less than a human being. Have you ever had that experience?

Smarter salespeople are coming to realize that unresolved problems are keeping them from loyal customers.  If a customer has a problem and that problem is resolved to the satisfaction of the customer, repeat sales happens.  In other words, resolved problems create loyal customers who want to come back and spend or invest their dollars with you.

TAKE ACTION to think about your customers.  What can you do to build loyal customers?  If you do not have a customer loyalty strategic action plan, then construct one is where to begin.

And remember, the digital disruption will impact your customer loyalty strategies.

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The First Step to Being a Great Leader

By now one would think that everything that could be written about being a great leader or leadership has been written.  This might be true. As I was doing some additional research, I realized much of the leadership development programs appear to ignore this first step.

great-leaderYou must have these two integrated and internal beliefs:

  • I am a leader
  • I have the capacity to develop into a great leader

Years ago during some customer service, team building training for a telecommunications firm one of the participants said flat out in a very challenging and derisive voice “I am not a leader. The guys in the suits are leaders not me a TV and cable technician.”

Until this individual believed he was a leader and believed in his own capacity to be a great leader none of what I had said or any learning delivered would have any impact. So I asked him several questions (with permission) with the goal for him to gain some clarity.  The questions were:

  • “Do you have school age children?” – Response “Yes”
  • “Do you encourage your children to attend school?” – Response “Yes”
  • “Do you demonstrate learning is important by reading to them, checking their homework, etc.?”  – Response “Yes”
  • “So are you leading them to be better individuals and better contributors to society because you understand the value of education and learning?”  – Response “Yes”
  • “Then you, are you not a leader even though you do not wear a suit?” – Silence for several minutes and then a very solid “Yes”

What was interesting to note after this participant realized he was a leader even without a suit, he came to the next session looking entirely different. Previously he had attended all sessions with  an unkempt appearance. Hair was not clean nor combed, uniform was wrinkled and he slouched and walked with a shuffle.

After his own personal epiphany, he came to the next and all future customer service training sessions hair washed and combed, uniform pressed and he walked straight with an almost bounce in his step. His fellow co-workers attempted to contain their shock when they saw him. Additionally his behavior in the sessions changed from negative to positive. He actually led several of the discussions.

great-leaderI remember a cartoon by Pogo with this statement “We met the enemy and he is us.”  We are our own enemies. Until we believe in ourselves with crystal clarity we will continue to limit our own capacities to be better.

As you think about planning your leadership development programs may sure this first step to being a great leader is present.

P.S. Leadership development should be part of any training from sales to customer service to even strategic planning.

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Believe It or Not Everyone Is In Sales

believe-it-or-not-sales

Years ago when facilitating some customer service training and development for a telecommunications firm, one of the participants (a customer service technician) flatly said he was not in sales. I then asked him if I had permission to ask him a few questions and his responses are in quotes:

  • Do your children go to school every day? “Yes”
  • Do they always want to go to school every day? “No”
  • So when they do not want to go to school, you can either yell at them or speak to them about why it is important to go to school? “Yes”
  • Does yelling work? “Not really”
  • Does speaking to them about the importance of school work a little better? “Yes”
  • So is your goal for them to “buy” into the importance of school? “Yes”

At that point he realized he was indeed a salesperson.  His Ah-Ha moment actually created an entire new employee as the next day he came to the customer service training in freshly cleaned and pressed uniform, hair washed and cut, beard gone and his past reluctance participation was not longer evident.

Upon talking to him privately, he shared he had a mental image of the “used car, slick salesperson.” He did not and was not that type of man.

Once he realized that everyone is in sales and being in sales is a positive, he became the star of the customer service training. I later learned he outperformed all his other customer service technicians by his up selling of additional telecommunications features and packages.

Yes everyone is in sales, just some people get paid to for their marketing and selling efforts.

  • Parent are selling education to their children
  • Doctors are selling good health to their patients
  • Politicians are selling their positions to their constituents

Since our beliefs drive our actions, until we identify those beliefs, it is quite impossible to have sustainable change regarding our actions. Once those beliefs have been identified and satisfied by each individual, then he as in the case of this customer service technician or she can intentionally change his or behaviors thus unlocking instead of restricting his or her potential.

Consider looking at your own beliefs if you want to improve your results including increase sales.  You just may be surprised and a better you may emerge upon this reflection.

P.S. Beliefs may also extend into these 3 words that some in business by their behaviors believe to be  “dirty.” Attend this FREE webinar “The 3 Dirty Words in Business on Thursday December 6 from 12-12:30pm Chicago, CST.

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Hanging Up Not the Best for Future Sales Referrals

Believe it or not I was hung up by a salesperson who made it a very clear he was seeking sales referrals after he had sold me on his solution. What prompted this action does require sharing of the events leading up to this not the best sales referral strategy.

Credit www.sxc.hu

Earlier this week, I made the decision to switch local telephone and Internet providers. This was due to existing poor customer service but more so inconsistent service and high prices given the very competitive nature of the telecommunications industry.

The new technician was professional and had everything working in under 90 minutes. All worked well for 48 hours and this morning trouble.  I was being blocked from Internet access to many sites.

There was a strange message which I wrote down. I called the  customer service number given to me by the salesman.  After all the push this, push that button instructions, I was told there was a 30 to 45 minute wait. Unacceptable.  So I called the salesperson and explained the situation with a calm voice.

His knowledge of technology is probably not much better than mine and in some cases I believe I know more. However, he said I must go back to the number he gave me and suggested it was a glitch that has happened in the past for some unknown reason.  If I get the message of 30 to 45 minute wait, he said to hang up and call back.  So I said Okay.

Then he went on, and on and on retelling me everything he had just told me.  So I politely said “Okay, I understand, let me call them back” and attempted to disconnect, but he continued on and on and on.

My next statement was “As a suggestion, possibly you need to stop talking as I heard you several times and start listening to me.”  At this juncture, he hung up. I truly don’t believe he even heard me say “Okay let me call them back.”

Then I redialed the customer service number. Went through all the push this button, etc. and decided to do the option of a modem test on the line which failed according to the  robotic voice which placed me in line with a 5 to 6 minute wait. The wait was actually around 3 minutes. This was acceptable.

The customer service representative was a younger person (male) and I carefully explained what happened including sharing the exact message I had received because I wrote it down.  He then said he would test the line and asked me “Did this just happen?” Again, I politely asked him to listen to the customer as I had just answered that question previously and restated what happened.

To determine the problem, I was asked to shut down the computer which I did. The customer service representative said he would send a new signal to the modem.  What he failed to tell me is this action would disconnect me from the telephone as resetting the modem required rebooting all incoming lines including the telephone from which I was speaking to him.

Fortunately the new signal to the modem appeared to have corrected the issue even though the customer service representative never called me back.  And even though I said I would accept a customer service survey phone call, that did not happen as well.  Hmm.

Later in the morning, a sales referral that I had already made to this telecommunications salesperson directly communicated with me and said his experience was less than the best.  This same sales representative was annoying him because he could not get a straight and simple answer. Again a lot of talking, but little results.

Would I make a sales referral to this salesperson ever again.  Not on his life! And that is a shame because word of mouth is the best way to increase sales especially from happy and more importantly satisfied customers.  Customer service research suggests a dissatisfied customer whose issue has been positively addressed is far more loyal than a satisfied customer.

Also given my fairly good understanding of social media I have already shared my displeasure on Facebook and included the name of the organization as I had mentioned I was switching from one provider to the other earlier in the week. One must take the bad with the good.

Hmm, I wonder if hanging up is part of their sales training and a recommended sales behavior?

This particular telecommunications organization definitely needs some sales training and customer service training with a heavy emphasis on active listening. Oh yes and by the way, I can recommend someone to deliver that training and development.

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I Don’t Care About

Credit www.sxc.hu

As a customer, I don’t care about:

  • You did not eat for 17 hours
  • You are only one person
  • You are tired
  • Your social life
  • Your problems either professional or personal

What I care about is:

  • Having you take care of my needs or wants
  • Fixing my problem
  • Doing what I am paying you to do
  • Getting in and out of your establishment in a hurry
  • Receiving quality work (customer service) along with a smile for my patronage

Every week millions of customers think “I don’t care about” as they interact with vendors.  The more customers have this recurring thought specific to the same vendor, the greater likelihood they will leave and  take their pocketbooks with them.

The “I don’t care about” thought is one many in customer service fail to recognize.  Having personally sat through numerous customer service training workshops, I truly do not believe this specific issue has ever been discussed.

If one does not acknowledge a customer service problem,

how can one correct the problem?

Sometimes in life, it is the obvious that is most often ignored. Ignorance when it comes to customer service, sales, organizational development to leadership is not bliss as the old saying goes.

Ignorance is costly in small business.

Maybe part of the problem is many customers may have the “I don’t care about” thought, but never share it. What they do is simply take their business by their pocketbooks elsewhere.  After all these patrons probably do not want to make a scene and sound rude or  uncaring to others who may be nearby.

Possibly some disgruntled or unhappy campers (customers) may share their frustrations over the phone where there are only two people who can hear the exchange. Depending upon the circumstances, these exchanges even though they may be recorded are probably determined to be the result of something else.

So the next time you start with the excuses why something did not get done, consider staying quiet and remember that your customer is probably thinking:

I don’t care about….

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