Category Archives: Customer Service

Having a safety net for your products and services is one of the social responsibilities of a business owner. It is one way of securing the safety and quality service to our customers. Likewise, in the process, we also earn the loyalty and trust of those that we have rendered quality products and services to.

Customer service is one of the ways we can show the customers that we are interested not only at selling products and rendering services, but also with providing them with quality assistance and support so that they can fully enjoy the benefits of our products and services. As a general rule of thumb in customer service: quality is the best policy.


How First Impressions can Make or Break a Business

Small business owners who impress their customers by providing end-results are more likely to get more business. Unfortunately, it’s also vice-versa. Showing results even before engaging in a contract can also make or break a business.

Our team scheduled a meet to get a quote from an IT provider on setting up our new office. We’ve agreed on a three o’clock onsite meeting one day on the following week. Prior to this, we had shortlisted some probable providers and got in touch with three companies to look for a perfect fit for our needs. We think that this IT provider is ‘the one.’

Researching, creating a shortlist, and contacting different prospects are too much work for our team as we are quite ‘impulsive buyers’; once we see it, we buy right away. But, getting an IT solution provider is different. IT is serious business.

Having reliable working equipment, undisrupted connections and having back-ups for a business is like what breathing is to our bodies; they are a necessity.  They are expensive and temperamental too. Moreover, people who you have to get help from regarding your IT infrastructure speak an alien language that only they can understand. This adds to the stress of selecting an IT solutions provider.

These talks of how to set-up a new network, and making decisions on whether to get wired and wireless connections has caused our team too much stress; and we sure are looking forward to being rid of it.  Anyway, research suggested that we had found the right company that will get rid of this stress for us. Our team was really looking forward to that first meeting.

Our team set up our day’s activities around that three o’clock appointment. We scheduled thirty minutes for our first consultation with the IT person; but it was already ten-past-three and the IT guy was still not around. We called his office to make sure that there weren’t any problems.

We got to talk to the IT guy’s boss, and he had told us that his team member had been meaning to call us for the past fifteen minutes. The IT guy had his full on another project. His boss  assured us though that the network engineer was on his way.

The IT guy arrived at 3:25; exactly five minutes before the team was scheduled to call it a day. He frowned at us when we said that we only had five minutes left as everyone had other commitments to attend to. We did explain that he had thirty minutes to tell us what he and his company can do for us, but he spent most of that time getting to our new office.

The entire team was so disappointed. We had already made up our minds that we were not going to entertain other IT providers, and get this company. We just wanted to meet their representative, find out what his thoughts were, and get on with the project. We wanted them to be ‘the one.’

The IT guy’s boss got the signal that they might lose us as customers. He called us up, apologized, and asked for a second meeting. We accepted the apology; but, what surprised the team was the boss’ explanation of them being a ‘service business’ as a reason why they couldn’t be on time for appointments.  We then said ‘no thanks.’  We’re also a service business, but we make sure that we meet our appointments.

The IT company could’ve just given a certain time frame, and not an on-the-dot appointment. It would’ve been fine if the said they’d see our team between three o’clock to three-thirty so that we could’ve been more flexible in our schedules during that period; but they didn’t.  Our team is now exploring the market again for a new IT solutions provider.

Lesson learned here is that if you’re a business owner that provides services, always make sure to meet your commitments. It’s that simple.


Feedback – Friend or Foe?

Stagnation and complacency in business, just like with anything in life, can be one’s downfall. To avoid this, businesses spend millions in research dollars for innovations that will help them to ensure continued relevance of their products and services in the market.  Small businesses need not resort to shelling out this kind of money for advancements.  With the practice of the regular solicitation, collection and study of client feedback, one may actually find that after the removal of the muck and dirt it may initially contain, there actually can be pearls of wisdom one may use to further advance a business.  Below is an article shared by a blogger that might just persuade one to take on this sometimes unpleasant exercise.

This blogger, feeling she finally deserves to hire professional cleaners after reaching a particular business milestone, decided to start her journey by informing herself of options available.   Research of what professional cleaning involves, the contractors available in her area and exploratory talks resulted to a clear picture of what to generally expect.   Armed with enough information, she finally chose and engaged someone to come every two weeks to do her cleaning for her.

On the first date of cleaning, the experience promised to be delightful: the cleaners arrived on schedule, cleaned and dusted their way through her house and left in record time.  Upon closer inspection after the cleaning team left, however, found the lady of the house wanting.   Where sparkling spots were expected, there lay sheets of dust.  Some areas were not cleaned according to her standards and worse, some areas were not cleaned at all.  When one pays for a service, one has the right to expect the service to be done well, right?

Fortunately, the lady of the house was a sensible one.  Before reporting her dissatisfaction, she decided to test whether her expectations were too high or sensible enough.  She conducted this test by engaging another cleaner to come the following week. In the end, they did a better job than the first so the final contract was awarded to them.

Feeling a sense of duty to professionally inform the first contractor that their services shall no longer be required, this lady of ours called the first contractor.  Prior to the call, she made a list of things that caused her to be unsatisfied with their service with the intent of providing client feedback to help them win future contracts. Alas, the only conversation that transpired was “Okay, fine” and then the dead silence of a dial tone.  The phone was hung up.

To succeed in business, take the highs and the lows and simply convert danger into opportunities.  Easier said than done, yes, but the rewards can make it worthwhile.

For our blogger lady, she mulled and came up with an educated guess for the treatment she got.  She speculates that the rejected cleaner may have been caught in surprise because maybe she thought she had done a great job and with this surprise came the initial reaction of being defensive thus, the dropped call.

Understand that client feedback may cause you to be taken aback at first.  It often is placed in a negative context by its writers so inexperienced businessmen easily take the stance of that rejected cleaner – take everything personally and be defensive.  However, do take note that client feedback is not a reflection of you as a person but instead, a reflection of the product or service you offer so don’t be afraid to ask for it.  Take time to listen to both the good and the bad because it may be a learning opportunity for one’s product or service to improve and thus be more competitive.

Best of all, listening to feedback shows your client you wish to keep them by keeping their satisfaction in mind.

There is no need to waste away millions of research dollars if your business cannot afford it yet.  Improvement comes from lessons learned and these can present itself through various ways – client feedback is one of them.   Do not let your business shy away from client feedback.  These little tidbits of information can be your allies.  Who knows, one of them may just be your diamond in the ruff!


The Grapevine Can Take a Toll on Your Business

Like all things, there are always two sides to a coin.  In advertising, especially word-of-mouth advertising, the same principles apply: when it’s good, you get new customers without virtually spending any extra advertising dollars but when it’s bad, it can be deadly.  Below is a comparative narration of contrasting experiences shared by a well-followed blogger of two international airports she has experienced.

Upon arriving at this international airport in London, the writer’s family of three was greeted by a surly, edgy airport staff who refused to make eye contact with any of them.   After passing immigration and passport controls, husband and wife eventually reunited only to confirm that they have both indeed been treated rudely and the experience, utterly horrible.

Imagine finally getting passed the queue only to be thrown with something like “Why does your daughter have a different last name?” while your daughter, a baby in your arms with searching eyes darting from yours to the passport officer’s face, looked on.  For the first time, the blogger admits she was made to feel ashamed to say “Her father and I are not married.”  Imagine that.  Granted that nowadays most would agree that different surnames are a social norm and won’t really merit a second look but in the judgmental eyes of a staff in this particular London airport, they simply read: kidnapper.

The experience at the destination airport could not have provided a more glaring difference.

“How was your trip?  Did (glancing at passport) Amy get some sleep?” asked the airport officer at the welcome immigrations at Sydney Airport.  An immediate and welcome delight to any weary traveler’s senses!  Even at the baggage control, the customs official went out of his way to approach the family, invite them to join a fast track lane and left them with “You don’t want to be hanging around here any longer than necessary, do you?”   After thirty hours of travelling, this customs official is a gift from the traveling gods.

Between the two international airports, the winner, hands down, is Sydney.

In preparation for the Sydney 2000, the city has taken its role as Olympic host so seriously that the “airport experience” for visitors was given a lot of focus then and obviously, travelers to the city today are still enjoying the immense benefits the culture inculcated brings.

This was a simple experience by a young family of three. Imagine the next few weeks when that family starts sharing their experiences to friends and family.   Multiply that pass-on message to thousands who follow the writer’s blog once she posts this entry: Encouragingly delightful for Sydney, damage control nightmare for London.

Word-of-mouth advertising may be free but it is one of the strongest and most persuasive means to bring the message of your product or service to your target market.   To earn it and harness its positive power, one does not have to be chummy with clients but definitely, one must not resort to rudeness.  Show respect and give your clients a pleasurable experience in patronizing you.  That way, they will recommend you to their friends in a positive light, sing praises even, and in the end, you win not only their repeat businesses, but their friends’ as well.


Liars Liars In Our Midst

In my growing years I was always told to tell the truth, and nothing but the truth.  As I come of age I have realised that there are people who are willing to weave up fascinating stories to conceal the ugly realization behind their activities.  Lo and behold, these people have been elected to respectable positions in our society.  Truly, the ironies of life’s circumstances never fail to surprise me.

An old neighbor used to say “I hate liars.  They shouldn’t be trusted!” These are words which creates an impression of extreme disgust for liars and the lots.  These are convictions which, when uttered, can generate a stir of great magnitude resulting to a generation of feuds maybe even wars.

In a way, my neighbor has a point.  It is not strange, as others put it, but rather it is noble to stand by the principles of the old world.  Lying indeed is a faulty practice, which for the most unfortunate reasons, is also the most abused power evident in everyday living.  Lying appears to be the means most people use to get to their destination, and to eventually achieve their dream.

A few weeks ago, I was handed the privilege to read an internet blog about the bent business tactics of a particular airliner.  Imagine two frequent flyers, together with their young child, were able to book an early reservation for an out-of-town trip.  The best seats, the best amenities, and the cheapest price rolled into one. I could just see cloud nine and seventh heaven painted across their faces!  Or so I believed.  After a few weeks from their initial reservation, our dear friends called the airliner to confirm their booking, and to their dismay, they found out that they were bumped to standard seats!  How did that happen?   They were informed that the flight was 90% full.  Their only choices were to stick to the standard seats and sit beside each other cradling their baby’s basinet or to purchase a different airfare ticket for their child.  Disappointment and surprise rolled into one: the happy faces turned sour this time.

Needless to say, the couple bought an extra fare.   A few days after the mishap, the couple saw their original plane reservations on sale at a very competitive price.  Taken aback, one of them called the airlines and pretended to make a booking.  On that phone call, they found out that the flight was actually only 50% full and not 90% full as originally stated.  This time they truly felt deceived.  Luckily for the airlines, the couple understands that they mean business and so they do not want to give away prime tickets for a meager sum.  Business or not, lying is not supposed to be a solution for everything.  It only makes matters worse because it creates doubt on the part of eager customers.

Lying, or put simply, stretching the truth is a business tactic indeed.  It sells and it attracts but it’s not always right.  It is never right.  Is it ethical?  In the most obvious interpretation of the word, it’s not; but people have to be shrewd at times to get the business going.  In other words, businessmen have to do what has to be done to meet the expectations of their trade even if it includes the abuse of power that is lying.  However to a certain extent, they will come to realize that using too much in lying to keep up with a business venture will prove detrimental in the end: not only are they bound to lose loyal customers who will spread the word of their concealment but also they will never get hold of potential ones.


Ways to Improve Customer Service and Satisfy Clients

It’s a common knowledge that without customers, a business would not survive. Beside the point of whether you’re a service provider or retailer, a business relies on what the customer thinks and how to stream customers continuously. It’s quite imperative to understand how to please them because they are somewhat the bread and butter of the company.

New customers is big factor, this is a huge section in the market whereby they can rely on repeat custom from people who have purchased a product or service from them in the past. The common basis why some companies are capable of drawing the same clients time and time again is that they offer an exceptional and best customer service, making certain that every client who buys a product or tries service from them is pleased as possible.

Many companies ignore the fact that customer satisfaction is the measurement of quality of their business. Customer service representatives are entitled to promote and sell as much products as possible. However, there ultimate goal is to assure that they provide the best answers to customer queries and requests. If you’re looking for ways to improve customer satisfaction to boost profits and revenues, here are 3 tips that can be used to effectively build the level of satisfaction towards clients.

  1. Sell quality – Every customer wants to be assured that they’re getting the best value for their investment, no matter how much they spend. It’s important to constantly offer quality to your products and services. The main reason why customer satisfaction is crucial is how it helps boost the company’s sales. A happy and well-satisfied customer will eventually recommend the company to their friends, relatives, family and workmates.
  1. Be flexible and offer other options – The problem with customer service is the lack of support and options to explore. Customer will be happier if provided with greater options. For example, offering ways to pay their accounts in the simplest ways they can, incentives, treats, freebies and ways to return their unused products or service. However, don’t go overboard. Never promise something that your business can’t deliver. This is putting your company in jeopardy with trust and loyalty.
  1. Collecting Feedbacks and Taking Actions – whether it’s positive or negative, the customers’ feedbacks is valuable. This will determine if the service is still intact or failing. In terms of how to generate their feedbacks, it is suggested to explore media like getting in touch over the phones, sending emails, reading comments and suggestions over forums and blogs. Never lose hope if the customer thinks that the business is terrible, take this as a challenge to improve and solidify your target market.

The accomplishment of every business relies on its customers and by executing these strategies, you can be certain that your clients are contented with your business and will both return to make additional purchases and recommend your business to their friends, family and colleagues. Take customer satisfaction is a higher degree, it entails a lot of work and assuring that every customer is served well.


Promises not delivered?

One common issue of clients towards customer service are promises not fulfilled. If a list would be created, most of the disappointments would go over to the end. Yes, quite true – people sell promises to seal a deal. However, these promises are downright lies sometimes. People should understand that customer service is an important part of business. It makes or breaks the company.

Whether the customer service or communication aspect is lacking, rightful engagements are still recommended to boost impact on sales and improving customer satisfaction. It is very easy to determine where disappointments and frustrations are coming from, sales people frequently promise something and fails to deliver. But, why does this happens a lot to clients? Where is the problem rooting?

Remember, when a customer is unhappy, he/she is not only frustrated with the failed service but will not recommend the company to their friends or relatives. The worse case is, they will tell other people not to make any transactions with you. This means less revenues and dramatic decrease in sales.

Soloist and Perspectives – Expectations VS Promises

Most soloists talks about managing customer expectations. They understand how the process works and they know ways to develop and implement customer satisfaction strategies. But, what if we talked this case in a different perspective? How do we manage the promises of business people? Expectations for both parties should be aligned. In some occasion, do not over promise. There’s a difference between intentions to expectations. Intensions should be done through the customer as planned. Expectation is delivering a definite solution or answer.

If a customer tells you to deliver A, B, C, then you should deliver A, B, C. Delivering less than what they expect makes you a liar (well, in the customer eyes). Smart marketers know how to please their customer and know how to control or take charge of the situation. They are also truthful to their statements and provide other options for customers to select.

For example, a job order will be completed in 5 days time. Of course, rather than saying – it will be completed within 2 days, smart marketers will be honest and say, “The job will be completed in 5 days, but there is a possibility that it may extend for 2 days more. However, there are still other options we can explore to make this job order completed in no time, would you like to know more?” Customer has a definite expectation on when the work will be completed.

Quality must be emphasized!

Always highlight quality to customers. As mentioned previously, rather than lying that work will be done in a short amount of time, be truthful with your answer and avoid promising and failing to deliver. Emphasize quality over everything else and you will acquire their attention and satisfaction. If anything does not fall in line, apologize and give other options. Take heed, a satisfied customer is always a happy customer and they cost less in a long period of time. It also means more money for the company as they recommend doing business with you.

Customer service team working in headsets. Focus placed on smiling man in back.

Customer Service with the Right Attitude

Customers are won by an impeccable customer service. And an impeccable customer service is defined by having the right attitude; but what exactly is the right attitude

In business, two attitudes are inherently seen in all its transactions. These are the selling attitude and the service attitude.

Whichever attitude you adapt, it will certainly dictate the semblance upon which your business will run. The sales attitude takes upon the mentality that everything else is a precedent of a sale. Every transaction has a subtle intention of selling. Sales attitude in itself is not wrong at all, without it, success is rarely met. So please don’t get the idea that you should reject the idea of sales attitude altogether. But when sales attitude is all there is in a business and nothing else, and then you should know that it is already rotting and is on its way down hill. Running a business with only an attitude of selling, you are taking a short term perspective that might lead to the demise of your legacy.

The service attitude however takes an entirely different precedent; it places the welfare of the customers as its top most priority. It emphasizes on the honest desire to extend a comprehensive solution to the myriad problems posed by the customers. It takes on the virtue of taking the initiative of truly helping the customers in the sincerest sense.
The following are the some virtues of an attitude of service principle:
• You deal with your pioneer clients with sincere intention of knowing their general interest, and offering them how you can help them with their endeavours.
• You do not isolate the client as mere cash cow; you rather treat them as family.
• You have to get involved with your clients’ lives, their concerns and accomplishments. You must give them the idea that you are more than willing to extend help in any way you could.
• You undoubtedly know your worth and you make certain that your clients know it too. You must be able to easily convey the contribution you could impart to your clients ‘lives.
• You support your clients in their start-up projects; you celebrate with them in their victories and cry with their failures. You become a part of their routine.

Don’t get the wrong idea that customer service is wasting your time babysitting your clients or being at their side always ready to utter the most comfortable flatteries. That clearly opposes my point; customer service rather is a disciplined association with your clients and being honest about your intention of helping them to the best of your ability. Customer service follows responsible scheduling. It is taking time to spend time with your clients without dangerously compromising the quality of time you spend with the other parts of your work. With the right attitude of service, you allow yourself to give your customers the best and yet practical service you could ever offer.

Sales attitude gives you the opportunity to make sale, but it is the attitude of service that keeps those sale coming.