|Customer Service Information|
Sending Mixed Signals Can Send Your Clients Away
I call it the "wave and roll."
You walk up to an intersection. You look both ways before you cross when you make eye contact with an oncoming vehicle. You meet the gaze of the driver. Politely and legally, he invites you to cross first. As you enter the crosswalk, you notice that he continues rolling toward the intersection with no reduction in speed.
How safe do you feel?
Your clients-remember those who you are supposed to protect-have a similar experience when you send them incongruous messages. Step into their shoes for a minute. Do you remember the last time you were frustrated with the service you received? Did they promise the moon and then delivery nothing but dust?
Recently, I ordered a new pair of prescription eyeglasses. The optician told me, "We will do anything to earn your business." At this point you might be saying to me, let the buyer beware. And if you did, you would have a good point. I was told the glasses would be ready in a week. They were not. I was told another week, but still no glasses.
"We will do anything to earn your business," was replaced with, "It is not our fault." Since they used outside vendors to perform the work, my optician asserted he had no control over the lab they outsourced the job to.
Rather than addressing the problem-and the broken promise-the optician offered me a new target for my ill will and disappointment, the lab.
Plausible deniability may work in presidential politics, but regardless of who was at "fault," I was out a pair of glasses and the words on the computer screen were getting mighty blurry. A client was unprotected. Coincidently, an acquaintance in another industry had recently shared his reason for outsourcing what was once an internal function. "So that my customers will not get mad at me." A sentiment apparently shared by my optician.
Shouldn't the emphasis be on keeping the client from getting mad as opposed to getting mad at you?
Eventually, I got my glasses. But, my optician lost a repeat customer. And now I am sharing their poor example of customer service with you to illustrate how you can better keep your clients happy, well served, and protected.
To ensure you do not send mixed signals, I will leave you with three considerations.
First, align yourself with your clients. Regard them as partners.
Your job is to meet your clients' needs, to protect them. If not, then what purpose does your business serve? Look for opportunities to advocate for your clients interests, especially those for which they contracted you.
Recall that my optician claimed they had no control; that the delay in getting my glasses was not their fault. Specialization-as in one business sells the glasses, another makes them-fosters interdependence. I imagine most of you rely on outsourcing relationships to serve your clients. Outsourcing does not abdicate you of your responsibility to your clients, certainly not in their eyes.
My optician may have had a lack of control, but in a business relationship no one is without influence. How likely do you think it is that some accommodation could have been made between parties to diminish the client's pain?
This is where you look for opportunities to demonstrate your care for the customer. Get creative! Find solutions and make them happen! Let the client know what you are doing on their behalf. Even if you are unsuccessful, or just moderately successful, your efforts will make a difference. It might not win the client over, but it will definitely improve your odds.
Second, welcome all feedback, especially complaints.
A complaining client is a wonderful thing to behold. Complaining to you means the client still maintains a vested interest in seeing the relationship improve. A complaint represents an opportunity to repair the service.
How do you react to complaints? What goes on emotionally for you when a customer complains? Do you empathize with their pain, marshaling your own resourcefulness to resolve the problem? Or, do you feel embarrassed or threatened, exposed or unsafe? If you regard complaints as threats, you position yourself against your client, rather than with them. Advocating for your client requires you to be open and vulnerable with them. There's no room for self-protection if you want to keep your clients happy.
Third and finally, align your policies and processes to support your clients.
Question the purpose and impact of the rules you work by. Do they support customers or do they provide for your convenience, profit, or protection. Convenience, profit, and protection are important. But if those purposes are cross with your clients needs, reevaluation is in order.
Align with your customers. Do what you say, say what you do. Be grateful and thankful for client complaints. Make sure your policies support your clients. When a service breakdown does occur, you will feel less like you are about to be hit by a car.
And more importantly, so will your client.
REPUBLISHING PERMISSION: You are welcome to download or reprint this article so long as you include my byline and copyright at the end of each piece with a live weblink. Please forward publication specifics to http://www.JeffSimon-Consulting.com/ The attribution should read:
"By Jeff Simon of Jeff Simon Consulting, The Client Retention Specialists. Are you having trouble keeping your best clients? Please visit Jeff's website at http://www.JeffSimon-Consulting.com/ for additional articles and resources for keeping your best clients."
Unable to open RSS Feed $XMLfilename with error HTTP ERROR: 429, exiting
Complaints Are Actually A Good Thing!
Nobody likes to get complaints. They make you question your judgment, they can ruin your day, and they almost always leave you in a bad mood.
How to Win the Hearts of Your Customers and Friends
Those of us doing business over the internet have to become especially adept at our listening and speaking skills since we don't have the luxury of talking with our customers face to face. It's especially important to give those on the phone extra attention - listening to their voice, because that is the only thing you have to go on, to sense their emotion.
Establishing Yourself as an Expert in the Eyes of Your Customers
The most important aspect of a successful business is developing the correct mindset toward your customers. And this is not the over used phrase The customer is always right.
Clients?Do You Really Need Them?
Running a successful business takes a lot of energy and there are so many areas that as a business owner you need to pay attention too.It's not enough to spend heaps of time, money and resources into getting buyers for your goods and services and then leaving those clients/customers to their own devices.
A White Paper: Profiting with Kindness
In 2002, there wasn't much interest for Kindness in business, and some business people would question, "What does kindness have to do with business, anyway?" Is this a for real question or just to prove a point? Or perhaps they couldn't figure out what being kind really had to do with business. Or perhaps the word was a jargon word, an unfamiliar language.
Making the Connection: Customer Relationships That Build Your Business
Have you ever wondered why you often find a coupon tucked inside your cereal box, or get invited to a customer preview sale at your favorite department store? Those companies know that their existing customers are the best - and most profitable - customers they'll ever have. So it's not surprising that they'll do whatever they can to keep these customers happy and coming back again and again.
Customer Satisfaction Is Your Business
Regardless of what business you are in - you are really in the business of satisfying customers. The degree of customer satisfaction you deliver determines the level of long-term success you will achieve in business.
Your Actions Tell Your Clients How You Expect To Be Treated
There is a widely accepted principle of human behavior that goes something like this. "Your actions tell the world how you expect to be treated.
What You Need to Know About CRM
1. It's all about the customer.
The Drawback of Hacking Off a Blogger Through Weak Process Gaps and Pathetic Customer Service
With all of the recent data theft in the financial sector, it is important to make sure that we don't go crazy trying to protect ourselves from risk. Risk management does have a value but this value lies mostly on the front end.
Become a Customer Enthusiasm-Guru!
One thing all successful small business owners have in common is the knowledge that their business is based on enthusiastic customers. Despite their multi-tasking titles of bookkeeper, service provider and sales-manager, their most important title is Customer-Enthusiasm Guru.
Customer Service Consultants
When all else fails in your company to meet the needs of your customer consider a customer service consultant. If you find that agents in your company are constantly having misunderstanding that result in loss of customers bring in a consultant.
Boomerang Customers- What You Might NOT Think Brings Them Back!
With all of the calendars and PDA's and lists I make I recently did a really dumb thing. I forgot my best friend's birthday and her anniversary.
When a Customer Has Done Everything to Get Your Goat
You try to make your customers happy. You sincerely WANT them to be pleased with your products and service.
Customer Conversion Mistakes That Will Cost You
The following are common mistakes that Sales Managers and Owners make in the sales process which could be costing you thousands or even hundreds of thousands in lost revenue.- No system to capture and log prospect information/contact data on incoming ad calls.
Restaurant Scheduling for Success
- Excerpt from Richard Saporito's latest e-book "How to Improve Dining Room Service"This Tip will Help Maintain the Staff Schedule Keeping the Dining Room Service Staff Tight and Content which is Essential for Pleasing Paying Guests.Staff scheduling is closely tied to dining room customer service and crucial for keeping your staff tight, happy and well connected.
Dont Be Afraid To Give Problem Customers The Boot
Q: In a recent column you made the point that the customer is always right, which I agree with. However, in the same column you also said that it is sometimes necessary give problem customers the boot.
Customers - Hold Onto the Ones Youve Got
You probably spend a great deal of your time looking for newcustomers or clients. However, are you sure your doingenough to hold onto the ones you've got.
RETAIL GREETERS: Sales Builders or Customer Turnoff?
Do you need greeters or should you avoid them? That is the perplexing question many retail organizations are struggling with today. Often touted in the press as the perennial example of the benefits to employing greeters,Walmart has hung on to its practice faithfully.
Transforming Disgruntled Customers into Your Biggest Advocates
"I am writing to complain about the widget I bought from your site the other day."Sell anything and eventually you will be on the receiving end of a sentence like this.
|home | site map ||