Customer service is not very hard, but I think very few firms really try. There are four doors you need to use for effective customer service.
Door One — Physical Location
Your physical location is the most expensive. Your business needs to have hours convenient to the customer. Few firms do. Most banks are open hours and days convenient to the owner of the business. We call this banker’s hours. There are many people that prefer to go to a place of business and see people face to face. If your employees are rude and indifferent, it is the kiss … Read the rest
When you foul up (and we all do) you can count on customers contacting you to let you know what you’ve done. If it’s a phone call, you can expect to hear ranting and raving and people saying things that are rude and inappropriate. If they are in your place of business, they will confront you face-to-face and it’s up to you how to defuse the situation and put a smile on that customer’s face.
When things do go wrong, it’s how you recover and delight the customer that truly sets you apart from other companies. Opportunities for service recovery … Read the rest
Customer service in the United States has reached a new low. Frankly, it is getting worse each week. You’d think with all the closed businesses, as a result of the pandemic, that the companies that are struggling would be so much more aware of their customer service.
The problem is almost all CEOs believe they provide great service, and almost everyone thinks it is awful. When top management does not see any problems with their level of customer service, they face a major problem.
My experience in the past is too many employees lie to cover up lousy service. I … Read the rest
Getting your customers to see you as the only one that provides a solution to their problem involves everything you do — and everything you choose not to do. It communicates the value and character of your brand; even the little things matter.
The message you send when you handle phone conversations, when you send email messages, the way you conduct business in a meeting, the way you handle complaints, the convenience you offer and the relationship you cultivate with your customers — it’s all part the of message you are sending about your brand.
Your brand resides within the … Read the rest
Every company makes mistakes that could make them lose customers. I don’t care what business you are in, something will go wrong.
But the smart companies know how to recover a customer and turn them into loyal customers for life.
However, less than two percent of companies use service recovery techniques. That’s really bad. All companies make mistakes. All companies have things go wrong. Many companies and most employees run for cover instead of solving the problem.
The problems are only getting worse thanks to social media. If customers aren’t happy, they’ll post the problem on Twitter and Facebook. They’ll … Read the rest
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” — Thomas Edison
Life in the dynamic and unpredictable business world means that sometimes things will not go according to plan. When a business, country or world is in crisis, it is easy to become trapped beneath a mountain of problems but, in order to succeed, individuals must be motivated and be able to sustain performance during a crisis and times of stress.
Many people respond to a crisis by being overwhelmed by stress, which turns to fear. It … Read the rest
Is everyone in your organization customer driven and high performing? Is everyone working on all eight cylinders and providing the most positive experience possible? Every organization and every employee is in customer service. From the boardroom to the warehouse, there is no exception — customer service is everyone’s job.
For many businesses, their approach to customer service is to respond to the problems as they arise. This reactive method might satisfy the customer, but it won’t surprise or delight them. Instead, imagine if you could solve problems before customers had to call you. Or even better, if you could address … Read the rest
Over the years I have had some real “wow” experiences with businesses — people and employees that have treated me like a VIP every single time I have come in contact with them. Sad to say, the opposite is also true.
It seems that every time I have a great experience, there are numerous bad ones that make me wonder why some companies are still in business. Why anyone would ever consider going back to make another purchase. No courtesy, no warmth, no one cares, no speed, no follow-up, and no respect.
My book, Achieving Excellence Through Customer Service, … Read the rest
Most of the money and time companies spend on training is wasted. That’s because the majority of companies use outdated training ideas and boring training methods.
Training that is poorly presented goes in one ear and out the other. It’s no wonder employees don’t change their attitudes or behaviors after they attend a badly presented training session.
After working in the training field for more than 40 years on six continents, I’ve identified 12 reasons why group training fails.
1. Large groups: You can’t have a good group discussion if 100 people are in the room. Try to limit training … Read the rest
It’s simple and not many companies practice the magic of service recovery.
The magic in service recovery occurs when a frontline employee solves a customer’s problem and does so in 60 seconds or less. Acting quickly, taking responsibility, making an empowered decision, and compensating the customer will result in customer loyalty that will increase your sales and profits and help to ensure your success in an increasingly competitive world.
In today’s fast-paced world we are needing service recovery almost everywhere we go from the grocery store, to our banks (everyone has had a problem here), to our cable (very frustrating), … Read the rest
“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” — Ronald Reagan
Being a leader in customer service (working hard to serve others), generating excitement, innovation, and a focus on continuous improvement, like I teach, creates a culture that’s hard to build otherwise.
Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, born in Brooklyn, New York to a single mother, was raised by his aunt and uncle in Chicago. After his aunt died, Ellison dropped out of college and moved to California to work odd jobs for … Read the rest
Empowerment means every employee has to make fast decisions in favor of the customer at every single encounter.
Mistakes are inevitable and it’s important to recognize and accept this fact of life. The only way we can do that is by empowering employees to satisfy the customer quickly and to their satisfaction.
Empowerment Is the Backbone of Customer Service
I have stated in my books and in my seminars that it’s impossible to be a service leader, to be customer centric and focus on a service strategy without empowering employees. My definition of empowerment is giving employees the authority to … Read the rest
The newsletter “Quality Assurance Report” states that only when a company knows exactly what kind of service its customers expect, delivers on those expectations 100 percent of the time, at a price that customers are willing to pay, while still getting an acceptable return, can the company claim to excel in customer service.
Northwest Delta Dental excels in the customer experience and enjoys an impressive annual profit. They’ve known for years that customer service doesn’t cost — it pays!
Each year I interview Northeast Delta Dental. They are the region’s most trusted name in dental insurance for companies of all … Read the rest
The American Management Association found that successful companies spend about 20 percent more money on personnel, including on personnel training, than unsuccessful companies do. The finding held true for companies of all sizes in every industry.
All your company’s promotion, advertising, marketing and goodwill can be ruined by one rude or indifferent employee. Money spent on advertising is largely wasted when customers show up or call in response to it and are turned off by employees with a lack of manners, long waits on the phone, or lack of knowledge of the product to name a few.
Richard Israel, retailing … Read the rest
Since the day you were born you have been seduced, scammed and brainwashed into fitting in, following the rules and giving a day’s work for a day’s pay. From the crib to the playground to the college campus to the job site, the educated, hardworking masses are still doing what they’re told. Are you one of them?
In my book, Moving Up, I said, “I’m tired of watching life pass by the millions of talented employees and future business owners who — for whatever reason — don’t connect their passion with their success. Life happens to all of us and … Read the rest
“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” — Bill Gates
A company’s success lies in empowered employees. It is important to train employees and make sure they have trust in what empowerment will bring to a company. Satisfying customers quickly benefits everyone. Moreover, happy, empowered, fulfilled employees are the key to creating “over-happy customers” for your company.
When employees are empowered and given responsibility, they use their talents and skills to maximize the opportunities.
Empowerment means every employee has to make fast decisions in favor of the customer. It’s important that we … Read the rest
“If you are not willing to learn no one can help you. If you are determined to learn no one can stop you.” — Zig Ziglar
I believe that learning is the fundamental activity in a successful and purposeful life. I have spent much time and money since 1979 learning about everything related to customer service. The result has led me to position myself as the leading service strategist and expert in the world. I have been given endless opportunities to learn, and I realize that the more difficult the situation, the more likely I am to learn and take … Read the rest
My experience and persistent advice to companies clamoring for a top spot in their market and the road they take in life is — focus feverishly on exceptional service and you will be rewarded.
I have found that any company that can build a brand around exceptional service will increase its value by at least 25 percent. Frankly it could be 100-400 percent or more. Every now and then I run into service leaders that are an example of what I have been preaching for the past 40 some years; service leaders that truly understand the power of incredible customer … Read the rest
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” — Thomas Edison
Your journey towards your goal may not be as easy as expected, but the twists and turns you face are what makes it worthwhile. Some of the greatest successes are by the people that dared to fail — but they did not give up!
Thomas Edison’s teachers said he was “too stupid to learn anything.” He was fired from his first two jobs for being “non-productive.” As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing … Read the rest
You’re not going to succeed through manufacturing, distribution or information power — those have all been commoditized. If you want to succeed, roll up your sleeves and do the work of building your customer experience. Don’t become irrelevant to your customers, which is what will happen if you don’t take action.
There is a direct connection between customer service, or lack thereof, and money made and lost. Do not lose money because you did not invest in developing superior customer service skills for your entire workforce and building a customer-driven organization. You cannot just sit around and hope the next … Read the rest
Opportunities for service recovery are numerous. If you are close to the customer and discover a problem, it’s your chance to go beyond the call of duty and win a customer for life.
Too many executives think employees are born with good customer service skills. It’s important to develop a process that allows employees some latitude in serving the customer that also includes specifically defined steps that must be followed in providing service recovery. Doing so requires decision making and rule breaking — exactly what the employee has been conditioned against. Workers have been taught that it’s not their job … Read the rest
Why wouldn’t you love your customer? They’re keeping you in business. It’s up to you to set the stage for some powerful long‑term successful relationships by simply…showing some love.
As in any relationship, the need for conversation, frequent contact, and the personal touch, is the number-one need to forming a successful, long-term relationship. Love is visible. It is what happens when you care.
Creating the Love
In order to gain and keep customers, you’ve got to do more than introduce them to your brand, business or product. You’ve got to make them fall in love with it. Find out what … Read the rest
I love this saying by Lee Iacocca: “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”
Iacocca, former president of Ford Motor Company, took over Chrysler when it was leaning towards bankruptcy. He asked Congress for a loan, arguing that if Chrysler filed for bankruptcy, the government would have to spend more on unemployment compensation than on keeping the company in business. The loan was granted and a year later, Iacocca announced Chrysler’s first profit in many years.
During his turnaround of Chrysler, he brought the convertible back into fashion and introduced the minivan.
By leading in this fashion, Iacocca … Read the rest
Even the most successful companies are in constant competition for business. What sets them apart often boils down to one factor…outstanding customer service.
I have spent 44 years focusing on customer service. I have written hundreds of articles, as well as seven books on the topic. I have also been interviewed on television and radio plus presented to thousands of customers with seminars worldwide. No matter what business you’re in, here’s some advice I highly recommend you consider.
Most firms in the world believe they provide awesome service. They are addicted to advertising and marketing using expensive media. The biggest … Read the rest
I have such a passion for taking any company and introducing them to the power of delivering awesome customer service. It’s the focus of every one of my books. I have been passionate about it and continue to preach on the subject. It is my guide to delivering exemplary service to every person that walks through your doors resulting in overall corporate success in terms of customer retention, new sales (via word of mouth), market share, financial vitality, and positive reputation in your community.
Have you ever heard of Disney World’s reputation for exceptional customer service? Empowerment is a religion … Read the rest
First let me clarify the value of quality service. I believe that great service retains the customers you already have, attracts more customers, and develops a reputation that encourages customers to do business with you in the future.
Are You Guilty of the Following Customer Service Crimes?
Too many firms worship at the altar of IVR: Push two for English, four for Spanish, push six if you want etc. and push eight to go to be ignored. For years I have been saying this is the most expensive piece of technology you will ever buy and you will … Read the rest
Successful people are obsessed with learning. They out-learn everyone around them. They’re voracious readers. Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Mahatma Gandhi, and Disney CEO Bob Iger read and learn. They finish newspapers, books, audio books, journals and magazines like Harvard Business Review, Inc., or Forbes while their not-so-committed peers waste their time on worthless entertainment.
I am a huge promoter of reading and learning. All the books I have written, all the seminars I give, all the coaching I do is based on learning. Learning about your industry, learning about yourself, learning about products, learning about your employees and most … Read the rest
Providing outstanding customer service at the right price is the “Golden Rule” of most companies. It’s worth remembering that we all experience customer service every day. Customer service is a critical piece of your business, and you should fine-tune it as much as you can. Here are some well-known facts on customer service….
Fact: 90 percent of companies say they deliver superior customer service and only eight percent of people think these same companies deliver superior customer service. Which goes to show, you shouldn’t be guessing when it comes to evaluating your customer service.
Think you don’t have to worry? … Read the rest
Creating highly engaged customers is forcing companies to provide their customers with a consistent experience whenever and wherever they need it — digitally.
Did you know that highly engaged customers buy 90 percent more frequently, spend 60 percent more per purchase, and have three times the annual value (compared to the average customer). That’s a huge revenue opportunity you could be taking advantage of by digitally transforming your business!
But, in order to deliver on a better customer experience, you first need to understand who this new kind of digital customer is and what they want. It’s clear that the … Read the rest
The U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics found that companies with fewer than 100 employees provided only 12 minutes of manager training every six months. Organizations with 100-500 employees provided just six minutes.
If this holds true for managers, how much training do front-line employees get?
A long-term research project commissioned by Middlesex University for Work Based Learning found that from a 4,300 workers’ sample, 74 percent felt that they weren’t achieving their full potential at work due to lack of development opportunities.
The lesson here: invest in retaining and constant training of your present employees. After all, the cost of … Read the rest