Category - Customer service

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What’s your competition?
The A C D B’s of Business
Do you use LACE when you communicate?
Customer Service in frontline staff
Create systems for better customer service

What’s your competition?

If you are in business, you have to face competition.

There is no avoiding it. Your competition is the barrier to your growth.

It may not be a significant barrier, perhaps your competition is weak and doesn’t take too many of your potential customers away. Or it might be a big barrier and you have to compete every day for that new customer or to keep your existing customer.

Either way, I bet you are fighting your competition the wrong way.

Yup, I said it – it’s more than likely that what you are doing to win against the competition isn’t helping much!

Why? Because when most of us think about competing, we think about being better than them. If you were an athlete you’d try to be stronger or faster. In business, you try to be cheaper, or give a better service, or send out a more attractive message in your advertising.

All that we are trained to do is to beef up what we do.

However competition is not about a better product or better advertising. Competition is about who or what is influencing your customer. Read More

The A C D B’s of Business

It came to me in a cone of light.

Business is as  easy as A C D B!

As you know I have spent my consulting career synthesising my learning and experience into procedures that you can use in your business. Why reinvent the wheel when you can use tried and tested practical experience backed up by academic study in proven processes?

Recently it struck me how all of these processes – marketing, customer service, brand development, business planning – followed a big-picture model. And this model is as simple as a mixed up alphabet – A C D B!

Once you work it out, every business moves along the same path.

You first have to Acquire leads. Then you have to Convert those leads into warm customers. Having customers you need to Deliver your product or service. Then as your customer makes their first purchases you need to Build relationships so that they keep buying.

The acquisition of leads is all about marketing. You need to know about your sales funnel and the difference between broadcasting to potential customers who may not yet be aware of you or your product and the act of screening and targeting those potential customers. Acquisition involves knowing your product as well as your customer.

What do I mean by that? Read More

Do you use LACE when you communicate?

Like anything else in life, communication is the key in business.

Whatever your business is, whatever you sell, you will need to communicate clearly so that your team understands what your business stands for and what their instructions are, you will need to communicate effectively with customers so that they understand exactly what it is you are selling and telling them, and you need to communicate with suppliers to ensure you are both on the same page.

Whether you are staring a change management initiative or trying to provide better customer service, good, clear, effective and efficient communication is vital.

How many times have you told someone what to do, and when it is done, comes out different from what you expected? Is it their fault that they did not listen to you, or is it yours for not being clear?

How many times have you listened to a customer ask for something, and when you gave them what they asked for they tell you that wasn’t what they were after? Was it their fault for not explaining clearly what they wanted, or was it yours for not listening closely enough?

More often or not it is both parties’ fault, but “fault” is probably a bad word to use. It’s more like it’s both parties’ nature to misunderstand!

What do I mean by that?

Read More

Customer Service in frontline staff

As your business grows, you no longer have the only contact with your customers. More and more, that front-facing position is being filled by your frontline staff – your sales people, your front of house reception, your people who meet and greet and deal with customers day to day.

The customer service instincts that you displayed now have to be passed on to your frontline staff. So how do you breed that customer-service mentality into your team?

The principles are actually quite simple – ensure your team is vision-driven, build strong teamwork, create vision-centric KPI’s and provide rewards for doing the right things, as explained in this video.

Some key steps include:-

1. Ensure customer service starts with understanding your “brand”.

Your frontline staff need to understand what your “brand” is, as reinforced by your business vision statement. What does achieving your vision mean to your customer? What values will your staff need to uphold in front of the customer to ensure that the vision comes alive? What indications does your vision statement give them on how they should deal with a complaint? Are they empowered to make decisions about customer-service as long as their decisions align with the indicators in the vision?

2. Reinforce good teamwork

Remove any barriers to teamwork and create a structure that shares knowledge about clients and about service. Provide systems that give frontline staff all they know about customer preferences. Allow staff to hand over to someone else in the team more appropriate for the task or the customer.

3. Negotiate and implement KPI’s that measure attainment of the vision in customer-service

Remove Key Performance Indicators that measure output (how many customers served) and instead implement KPI’s that reinforce vision-centric outcomes (how many customers received what they asked for, how many customers received more than they asked for).

4. Reward vision-centric outcomes

Stop paying bonuses for income generated from customers. Instead create rewards that that actually reward behaviours that produce outcomes described by the vision and brand. Instead of awarding an award for the highest sales every month, how about awarding the person who satisfied customers? High sales may be one-off, satisfied customers come back again and again.

Get over to the Resources section of https://teikoh.com to see what other models, worksheets and templates can help you grow your business the right way.

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Create systems for better customer service

Have you ever received truly exceptional customer service? What was it like and why did you think it was exceptional customer service?

Each experience is different but I bet you can tick off a couple of common characteristics in what happened:-

  • You felt individual attention
  • You felt that every detail of the service or product was meant for your satisfaction
  • You felt that whatever you received was timely
  • You felt that you not only got the product or service, you got that extra something that accompanied it.

Am I right?

Firstly do you see it is about what you felt? Exceptional customer service is not only about the quality of the box you bought, it is about how you felt during the transaction.

Secondly it is about “extras” – and these need not be something tangible like a bonus product. In customer service “extra” is about listening to you as an individual and perhaps providing nothing more extra than a courteous word.

Yet people also get it wrong don’t they? For every instance of exceptional service I would bet you have 10 examples of poor service.

If only every business realised that excellent customer service is not about spending more money or even putting in more effort – it’s about being consistent and predictable in what you offer. That’s it! Consistency and predictability!

Watch this video to see why you should implement simple systems that create excellent customer service.

Now let’s get back to how you should make your customers feel and how that can be done with some simple systems.

Read More

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