Published by admin on 15 Jan 2013

Customer Service Tips for the Post-Holiday Season

The first few months after the Christmas Season can prove to be a trying time for those working in the customer service industry AND for those that are in need of customer service!

Here are 3 tips to remember when the going gets tough: (for whichever end of the phone you’re holding)

  1. Be Kind. Sure, the situation could be stressful, but remember that kindness can go a long way. Do not allow your frustrations to escalate into your words! Always be polite and professional- it really is the fastest way to reach your desired outcome!
  2. Don’t Make Assumptions. You know what they say about assuming! Ask the person you are speaking with to be as descriptive as possible. Ask clarifying questions until you are certain. It might take more time and effort up front, but it pays off in the long run. We promise.
  3. Be Patient. Whether you are the CSR trying to quickly resolve the problem, or you are the customer that wants your problem to be resolved quickly, understand that sometimes more complex problems take time to understand and fix the right way. Remember that sometimes a quick fix only solves a problem temporarily. Have the patience to follow the needed steps to solve the problem or issue correctly and hopefully  there won’t be a second time!

 

*Do you have any tips you’d like to add, or stories of your own customer service experiences? We’d love to hear from you! Please comment in the section below!*

 

Image Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Published by admin on 04 Sep 2012

Excellent Customer Service Examples

Delivering excellent customer service in every industry is crucial. It’s easy to pass tips back and forth to each other on different ways to provide it, but sometimes the best way to learn is through real life experiences as the customer. Dr. Shannon Reece is an entrepreneurial strategist that asked business owners this question in her blog:

“What’s the story behind your favorite customer service experience, where you were the customer, and what did you learn from it that you’ve applied to the way you do business with your customers?”

The results of her question were 21 real life examples that leave you feeling motivated to do more for your customers. Check out Example #1:

Love The Lagniappe

A lagniappe is a small, unexpected gift. My lagniappe was provided at a beauty salon, for which I had a gift certificate for a massage. The massage was wonderful. Equally wonderful was the presentation of a long-stemmed rose as I was leaving. Needless to say, if I had felt like a queen for a day during the muscle-relaxation treatment, I felt like the Queen Mother herself when I walked out! The lagniappe probably cost the salon a dollar or two, but they got hundreds of dollars’ worth of free PR as a result of my total satisfaction.”                                                                                  -Dr. Marlene Caroselli

To read 20 more excellent examples, visit 21 Customer Service Tips from Real Life Examples, written by Dr. Shannon Reece of Reece International, LLC. Learn more by visiting www.DrShannonReece.com

 

*If you have a real life example of customer service excellence, please share in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you!*

 

Image source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

Published by admin on 31 Jul 2012

The Easiest Way to Keep Your Customers

Chances are you’ve heard many ranges of statistics indicating what it costs to attain a customer compared to keeping one loyal. Though the numbers might be slightly different based on the research, they always seem to have something in common, don’t they? It will cost your business significantly more to sell to a new customer than to an existing customer!

So, what should a business do to make sure they keep their loyal customer base? Is there a secret retention potion that the most successful companies use? What do you think the reasons are when you lose a customer? Do you think they found a lower price elsewhere or that maybe their needs have changed? It couldn’t possibly be your customer service!!

Or could it?

It probably is, based on research conducted by the firm CRMGuru. In the article, “Best Way to Keep Customers From Leaving” written by Geoffrey James for Inc.com, we can see from the research that customer service is three times more important than price and five times more important than functionality!

Though prospective customers are very sensitive to price and functionality when choosing their vendor, the likelihood of remaining loyal after receiving bad customer service is not promising. It is always important to find the balance that works for your organization, but if your customer service could use some attention, that should be your first priority on the road to long-term success.

 

 

Image Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Published by admin on 15 May 2012

How Do You Give Good Customer Service?

You could do an internet search of tips on customer service and read article after article on ways to improve your processes, but the core is simple—know your customers! Every organization has a target market, but sometimes they miss the mark (no pun intended!) on figuring out who it is. Check out these tips from What Is Good Customer Service? from desk.com, written by Thom Holland, co-founder and CEO of Beckon:

  1. Start by targeting the right customer.  Don’t miss the mark on this one! Be very specific in targeting the right market and getting to know every single thing you can about who will be your loyal customers. You can do this by identifying the demand, understanding the trends, and developing customer personae.
  2. Give your customer only what they want.  If you have loyal customers, they stay with you because they are happy with your current offering and it meets their specific needs. Remember that sometimes change is not accepted well, even with best intentions. Don’t try to sell something new to your customers unless you are sure it will add value, and most importantly, that it’s something they would want.
  3. Create business processes that continually improve.  Your organization must be able to deliver consistent results to your customers to maintain satisfaction and loyalty. These processes must be repeatable and continually improve in performance. Make sure every process is measurable and use appropriate metrics to measure them.
  4. Make communication easy for your customer.  At some point, every loyal customer will want to communicate with you. Make it as simple as possible and you will keep them satisfied. When considering what processes to put in place, consider response & resolution time, preferred communication channels, and your top performing agents.

Make sure to read his full article HERE. Remember that providing good customer service starts with knowing your customer. Take the time to do this—remember that there can be no business if there are no customers!

 

 

 

Published by admin on 03 Apr 2012

Tips From Our Team

 

Julie Pennington, Marketing Services Administrator at MSN

Julie joined the MSN team in the summer of 2011. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and Marketing from the University of West Florida. Julie has experience as a photo editor and has thirteen years of experience in the hospitality industry. She currently develops our marketing campaigns and promotional materials. Julie offers us 5 Tips to Remember to Deliver Your Personal Best Customer Service:

  1. Show Hospitality. Always. Picture in your mind inviting a very important guest into your home for the first time. You’re excited and nervous because you want them to be impressed – with you and what you have to offer. This is how you should feel with every customer you come into contact with every day. They are your guest, and they deserve to be impressed with what you have to offer! Extend every courtesy to them as you would an important guest in your own home.
  2. Check Your Attitude at the Door. Literally ‘check’ it. What is your mood? How are you feeling? Is there anything going on in your day that would prevent you from doing your very best? Take a moment before you begin to interact with customers to get in touch with your attitude and make adjustments if you need to. If you’re in a bad mood, think of one thing you are most grateful for and focus on it every time you feel down. Otherwise, a customer will undoubtedly pick up the vibe and feel that they have done something wrong or have irritated you in some way. You are left feeling even worse and the customer may be feeling disappointed too. This leads us to…
  3. Let Your Confidence Shine! Be confident in yourself and the service or product you are providing. There is no faster way to impress a customer than through GENUINE confidence. When you are confident in your knowledge of what you provide, you allow your customer to feel your confidence in your product/service, which translates into their own feelings of confidence. When you feel confident in yourself, you are free of insecurities and able to focus 100% on your customer instead of 70% on the customer and 30% on whether or not you are doing something wrong. Think about it!
  4. Be Interested in the Customer on a Deeper Level. And no, not just for marketing purposes! Take some time to think about it right now. Isn’t it great when someone asks you questions about yourself with a genuine interest in the answers instead of asking only because it’s the polite thing to do? It’s so rewarding and inspiring to feel important to someone you don’t know. Do what you can to allow your customers to feel important. Get to know your customers! It only takes a few extra minutes and the results are worth it.
  5. Prepare for an Extenuating Circumstance. Think of a time when you were the customer and someone went out of their way to help you when you needed something out of the norm. The waiter at a restaurant who helps to facilitate the perfect surprise proposal. The sales associate at an apparel store that tries clothes on for her customer to purchase because she is about the same size as their niece. The manager at a gas station that brings two gallons of gas to a customer’s stranded car. These things don’t happen every day. These are rare events to you, but monumental to the customer in question. Yes, it takes extra effort on your part to go the extra mile in an extenuating circumstance, but in doing so, you most likely just gained a customer for life AND free word of mouth advertising. Most importantly, you do it because it’s the right thing to do, even when you don’t get recognition for it.

 

Check back next Tuesday for more Tips From Our Team!

 

 

 

Published by admin on 06 Mar 2012

Tips From Our Team

 

Diana McGurk, Training and Implementation Coordinator at MSN

Diana has been with Marketing Support Network for eight years. She provides training to our agents and coordinates new contact center and BPO project implementation. Her experience is a direct result of her role as an office manager for over ten years in the United States Air Force. Diana offers 5 Tips to Remember to Make Your Customer’s Experience Extraordinary.

  1. Go the Extra Mile for your clients and their customers. Over-deliver whenever possible to go above and beyond what is expected. Exceeding expectations shows true value!
  2. “I CAN!” Always say “I can” as opposed to “I can’t.”  Any experience with a client or customer can quickly turn negative the second you say you can’t help, so always think in terms of what you can do. Offer alternatives instead.
  3. The Customer is Most Important. When a customer is being helped, they should feel as though they are the only person in the world to the employee that is working with them. Everyone is more satisfied when they feel important!
  4. Attitude. Your attitude is so important that it speaks for itself. A positive attitude goes a long way toward creating an excellent experience.
  5. Put Yourself in the Customer’s Shoes. Then imagine  how you would want to be treated if you were them. As with all versions of the golden rule, treat customers as you would like to be treated!

 

Check back next Tuesday for more Tips From Our Team!

 

Published by admin on 08 Feb 2012

7 Tips to Receiving Great Customer Service

 It’s safe to assume that at some point in your life, you’ve heard the old adage, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” Benjamin Franklin was quick to tell the simple truth – Being nice will ALWAYS get you ahead. So let’s take the benefits of being nice and leave the flies out of it!

Flexo, owner & creator of Consumerism Commentary outlines 7 Steps for us to try in his article How to Receive Great Customer Service:

  1. BE NICE! Direct confrontation rarely produces any result. Money magazine suggests using flattery to encourage a representative to help. if you’re likable, it is more probable that someone would want to help you.
  2. Hint You Will Leave. It is important enough for most companies that want to keep their customers to have a retention department that has the authority to negotiate your terms.
  3. Don’t Give Up. Companies count on callers to give up before they speak to one person, so be sure to stay on hold. If you’re patient and persistent, and you insist on talking to someone who has the authority to work with you, you will be in a better position to receive satisfaction.
  4. Use Social Media. When you take your issue public, a company is motivated to address your issues in the hopes that you will retract your statement or rave about how the company went out of its way to rectify the situation.
  5. Know What You’re Entitled To. When you’re approaching a company looking for resolution to an issue, ask for something specific that the representative can do. And by already knowing what options are available according to the policy, you have an advantage.
  6. Offer a “Complaint Sandwich.” This is a psychological manipulation tactic, and it works. If you start your discussion with a positive comment, move to a discussion of the issue you’d like to resolve, and end again with a positive comment, you’re more likely to receive the results you want.
  7. Contact the Executives. Contact information for a company’s CEO and other important executives are often easy to find on the web. Send an effective complaint letter to all the executives on your list to increase your probability of getting a quick resolution.

And don’t forget to add the honey with each one of Flexo’s tips – It helps to be nice and professional with every tip you try!

 

 

Published by admin on 10 Jan 2012

Tips From Our Team

Michael Carnevale, Database Services Manager at MSN

Excellent customer service is so much more than working to get the customer what they need. It’s a 360 degree experience. If we are to provide this type of service, it should be our goal to make the customer feel special and important- allowing them to walk away from the experience knowing they made a good decision by choosing our services. MSN’s Michael Carnevale offers 5 Tips to Remember to Provide Your Clients and Their Customers with Excellent Service and Care:

  1. LISTEN! The best and most productive way to quickly meet (and exceed, right?) a customer’s needs is to know precisely what they are…. through listening! Ask specific questions and listen closely. Read between the lines of what they say to fully grasp every element of the situation.
  2. Double Check Everything. We all know to measure twice and cut once, right? No matter what line of business you’re in, details matter. Details matter even when you think they won’t. So don’t make what could be a costly mistake just from being hasty or over-confident. And honestly, it really doesn’t hurt to triple check everything. (I do!)
  3. Keep Customer Service Your #1 Priority. It’s tempting to drift toward choosing the easiest solution (even if it works) without much consideration if you don’t have an end goal in mind. So what is the end goal? To keep the customer first.
  4. Never say “NO.” If customer service IS your first priority, then you need to know what you can say in place of the dreaded “no.” Preparation is key. Always know what the acceptable alternatives are in your specific industry. Re-direct and say what you CAN do instead of what you CAN’T do.
  5. Don’t Be Afraid to think outside of the box. Do whatever it takes to go above and beyond for your client. There’s a reason your client chose you! If you have to get creative and find an entirely new strategy to meet and exceed their needs, it will bring positive benefits. Don’t be afraid of innovation!

 

Check back next Tuesday for more Tips From Our Team!