Feb 05

CUSTOMER SERVICE CORNER: Don’t just oil the squeaky wheel

oil-squeaky-wheelYou’ll put forth a lot of effort trying to please your dissatisfied customers, but but don’t forget to give special treatment to the happy ones too!

It’s human nature: We ordinarily recognize the negativity around us but unfortunately overlook the positive. When you know a customer is unhappy, you generally try to serve him better by going out of your way to find a solution to his problem. But what about the customer who doesn’t have a problem? How can you make your service stand out for him?

Consider the following ways you can add a special touch to your low-maintenance customers so you can be sure to keep them that way:

  • Give thanks. There are many reasons to thank your customer. You can thank him for his patronage, for his patience or simply for being a wonderful customer. Let him know that you have truly enjoyed serving him; he’ll be sure to remember that.
  • Give tokens. If your company offers free premiums, be sure to toss one his way. Don’t save all the freebies to console the angry customers; offer them to your docile customers as well. This is another way to thank him for his mild-mannered temperament and will be sure to make him feel special.
  • Give service. Go out of your way to find something extra that you can do for your easy-going customers. Be proactive, and see what you can help your customer with ahead of time. For example, if your company offers renewable services, let your customer know when his service agreement expires. Ask him if he wants to renew it today or if he would like you to give him a reminder call a few weeks before the date.
  • Give smiles. You can easily let your customer know you are happy to serve him when you flash a smile his way. Customers despise dealing with unhappy service representatives, just the same way service representatives detest angry customers.
  • Give help. If you see a customer struggling to open a door or notice a customer who dropped something on the floor, spring into action and assist him. A little bit of help will go a long way in making your customers feel important. So go above and beyond the call of duty and give your customers some extra special treatment today!
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Nov 20

CUSTOMER SERVICE CORNER: You can lock in loyal customers

lock-in-loyal-customersOnce you know why people might turn away from your message, you can formulate a smart strategy for reeling in new customers.

You can quickly create a customer retention plan that incorporates all components of your business.

Here’s how to get started:

 

  • Look further than traditional reward programs. Most customer retention strategies reward customers for their loyalty. However, this strategy is only effective with consumers who have already purchased your products or services. Better: Create non-traditional rewards that lure customers into making their first purchase. For instance, you might knock 10 percent off the purchase price for a first-time buyer or tack on an extended tech support period.
  • Fix the problems past customers complained about. Any concerns your past customers voiced are bound to be off-putting to new or potential customers. Strategy: Ask your agents to compile a list of those issues and then find solutions for them. Whether the concern is a higher price, unsatisfactory service or physical distance, you must resolve it if you want to retain customers.
  • Keep customers in the loop. A regular newsletter, website article or response to feedback will help your customers feel like they’re part of your team. Do this: Whenever you introduce a new product, enhance a service or launch a feature, ask your most well-versed rep to write up an article about it. You can then combine those articles into a newsletter or post them individually on your website. Crucial: Feedback forms are your most critical area of contact because customers initiate the relationship. You must respond to these forms immediately.
  • Give some things away. Your customers will remember you and come back for more if you induce them with offers, such as a free toolkit when they purchase a product or exclusive deals for those on your company’s mailing list. Why?Your freebie costs you a little but it nets you a lot when it comes to customers’ repeat business.
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Sep 09

MANAGEMENT MINUTE: Lower your employee turnover rate with this advice

prevent-employee-turnoverYour company probably can’t afford a high turnover rate or new employee training costs, especially on a regular basis.

However, if you don’t know why most workers leave their jobs, you could be making some crucial mistakes that will hurt your company’s productivity — and its bottom line.

Watch out for these most common problems employees point to when they quit:

“I never felt appreciated.” Job dissatisfaction is the number one reason why good people quit their jobs. Any time your workers feel unhappy, undervalued or unappreciated, they will soon leave. Good idea: Poll your staffers at least once each year about their job satisfaction. Ask them to give suggestions that will improve their job situation. Be sure they are able to answer your questions anonymously.

“I wasn’t challenged.” Most skilled employees want to feel as though they are solving problems and continually learning. Once the challenge is gone, your staff will soon get bored with their positions. Try this: Identify high performers early on in their tenure at your company. Then listen to and implement their ideas, and ensure they have enough responsibility.

“My company was a sinking ship.” Your employees must believe that their jobs will be there — despite the economy’s ups and downs. Also, you want them to respect your corporate culture and public image. If your employees lack confidence in your company’s future or think your culture lacks respect for others, they will move on to a better environment. Action plan: Create a quarterly report that shows your company’s market strength and outlines what employees can expect from you as the economy ebbs and flows.

“I couldn’t get along with my coworkers.” Try as hard as you’d like, but even the best corporate culture won’t keep a staff member happy if she is the odd girl out with her coworkers. Small personality differences can lead to huge arguments between mismatched employees. Better: Consider workers’ chemistry before you team them up. For instance, an aggressive employee isn’t the best match for a passive employee. Test your staffers’ chemistry by teaming them up for a short-term project before you ask them to work on something long term. You can also try team-building exercises to help everyone work together in harmony.

“I wasn’t paid well enough.” Surprisingly, pay isn’t the top reason workers leave their jobs, but it is a factor. Your employees must feel that they are adequately compensated for the work they perform if you hope to keep them satisfied.

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