By Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor
Tight economy! Reduced staff! Demanding customers!
“These days it’s extra challenging to satisfy and keep customers,” says Nancy Friedman, president of Telephone Doctor, Inc., an international customer service training company. “It’s even more important than ever because customer loyalty is generally considered the primary engine today to retain sales levels and gain an advantage over the competition. It’s been this way for a long time; it’s just getting more attention now,” Nancy continues.
There are hundreds of ways to do better. Here are 9 we like:
1. Know your product and services . . . inside and out.
Not being knowledgeable frustrates customers. An uneducated employee is semi useless to a customer. Job knowledge is key in any position. If for any reason your company doesn’t offer job knowledge training, make it your own priority to find out as much as you can. Job knowledge is a key ingredient to serving customers.
2. Believe in your product and services 150%.
We know of a salesperson who never had any formal sales training. However, based on the belief in the product, services and contagious enthusiasm, this person is a top seller. People LOVE to buy from people who get excited about their product. Customer service reps are sales people!!!
3. Walk the walk, talk the talk. Practice what you preach.
A Ford dealer would not drive a GM car. Employees need to support their company’s product or services before they can expect their customers to have confidence in them.
4. Keep your word.
Companies spend thousands, sometimes millions of dollars advertising their services and products. They tell the customer they are THE BEST, THE ONLY, they are NUMBER ONE. “WE GUARANTEE OUR WORK” isn’t enough. Customers need to know that you’ll do what you and your advertising says you will. If you claim to provide the ‘best of anything,’ make sure you keep your word. And be sure all employees keep their word. Telling a customer something will be to them in 7 working days, and then having it NOT show up is a creditability buster.
5. Return all calls and emails.
It boggles my mind when a call or an email is not returned. There’s not an excuse in the world I could buy when that happens. Sure, some of us get way too many calls and aren’t able to return them in a timely manner. Well, then have the call returned on your behalf.! Not returning an email? How much work does that take? DUH?
6. Don’t ever forget “who brought you to the dance.”
In other words, there are always customers who were with you from the start. They helped make your business a success. They believed in you. A nice simple note once in a while is an ego booster to them and you’ll feel good about it too.
7. Make NO ULTERIOR MOTIVE CALLS or NOTES.
Every once in a while, drop a note or make a phone call to customers (and prospective customers) without trying to ‘sell’ them something. Telephone Doctor labels those “no ulterior motive” calls. They’re “just because” calls. . . and very welcomed. When was the last time you heard from a sales person or a company just to say HI? (See what I mean?)
8. Be in a good mood.
All the time! Be the person that when the customer leaves or hangs up the phone, they think to themselves, “That was a great call/visit.” Not in a good mood? Learn how to be. Remember one of our Telephone Doctor mottos: “A phony smile is better than a real frown.” Do you really think the first runner up of the Ms. America contest is as “thrilled for the winner” as she says or shows she is? Talk about a great big phony smile!!
9. Participate in customer service training programs at your company.
Sure you know how to be a good CSR. But everyone could use a refresher. And if there are no programs in place on customer service, ask for them. At best, you’ll be ahead of the competition, and at worst, you’ll at least be even with them. Customer Service is not a department. It is a philosophy. And it’s for the entire company. Everyone needs to embrace it – or it doesn’t work.
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Nancy Friedman, is president and founder of Telephone Doctor®, an international Customer Service Training company, with headquarters in St. Louis, MO. Nancy is a speaker at association and chamber meetings as well as corporate gatherings. She can be reached in St. Louis at 314‑291‑1012. Or visit the Telephone Doctor® website at http://www.telephonedoctor.com/keynotes.
Give your team the tools to master these communication concepts:
- 4 steps to handle & defuse angry, upset and irate customers
- Recognize & capture cross-selling opportunities
- How to compose an effective customer service email
- Business communication for phone, email, face-to-face & chat
- How the power of attitude helps resolve challenging situations
- Essential office etiquette & workplace manners strategies
- Effectively managing differences between the generations
- Replacing Five Forbidden Phrases® w/ Positive Alternatives
- Best practices for email subject lines and address fields
- Handling ethical dilemmas the moment they appear
- The six cardinal rules of customer retention and loyalty
- The importance of delivering Business Friendly℠ service
- How to respect & communicate effectively with co-workers
- Contrasts between passive, average & proactive service
- 6 ways to improve listening skills and deliver better service
- The personal philosophies of six service superstars
- How service after the sale builds customers for life
- When to use open-ended, closed-ended, probing & echo questions
- Deploying the Power of You during interviews & appraisals
- Why bringing an ‘observable level of enthusiasm’ is so important
- The distinction between features and benefits
- To be truly sensitive and empathetic to customer needs
- Management skills to better lead, coach and mentor others
- How to conduct more effective & engaging meetings
- Avoiding weak, wimpy words in business communication
- The relationship between internal & external customer service
- plus hundreds more skills, strategies & techniques!