Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Rewards and Challenges of Customer Service



By Diane Morneau:

Customer Service has its ups and downs, its rewards and challenges. For the performer, it is often an altruist quest to help and improve the customer experience, whether this customer is internal or external. Inspired by the popular snakes and ladders board game, I share 15 tips for the service performer for a sustained delivery.
 


                       



Diane Morneau, M.Sc.
Manager of Communications, Offerings and Knowledge Development IBM 

Diane worked for several computer manufacturers, in pre- and post-sales’ positions, supporting technological progress and adoption. People-oriented and actively engaged, she assumed teaching, coaching, management and marketing roles. Achieving customer success through teaming, transferring knowledge and finding creative solutions to challenges are her true motivators.


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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Do You Know Why Your Customers Are Leaving?

By: Chris Truitt


Many of us think of business as a complex organism with many moving parts. While this is certainly true, business concepts can be simplified to two main objectives, Customer Acquisition and Retention. Acquiring customers isn't easy and can often be a costly endeavor. Retaining customers is often a matter of listening to your customer's concerns, understanding their needs and putting your business in a position to meet these needs.


Forward Thinking

This is perhaps one of the most over used terms of 2015 and we're only half way through the year. I personally don't know of another way to think. But before we plan for the future we must live in the present and deal with the problems of today. This is not shortsighted. Thinking forwardly without dealing with the issues right in front of you would be shortsighted.

Act on Customer Feedback

An important component of forward thinking is strategy. Your strategy for improving your business has to be based on an clear understanding of what is working, what is not working and what needs to be improved. But how can business leaders definitively know and quantify the things that aren't working? The answer to this is customer feedback. Consider surveying existing customers and customers that request to cancel. Retention managers should immediately know the top four reasons for customer cancellation at any time. This is valuable data and insight to your customer's thinking that can be applied to modify your retention efforts and to improve your business processes.

Chris Truitt is a seasoned Email Deliverability Manager.As Manager of Deliverability, Chris has tripled the size of his team, written policies and processes to improve inbox delivery to enhance the customer experience. As a pragmatist, Chris has a result oriented approach to business. If a process does not render desired results, he will not hesitate to alter course or tweak his procedure. He is a proponent of interdepartmental cooperation and sharing resources. His community philosophy is appreciated by his colleagues, as he looks to assess how the change he implements affects others. Chris knows that strong decisive leadership is the cornerstone of a thriving organization. 

 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

7 Steps to Customer Recovery

By: CJ Silva

Customer recovery.  Nobody in business wants to hear those words, though everybody needs to have those tools in their personal skill set belt.  By acting quickly and being confident in your decisions, you can turn a customer nightmare into a customer dream come true.  Here are seven vital steps in the process of customer recovery.

Listening is Vital

At a call center, it’s vital that you listen to what the customer is saying.  They perceive that there’s a problem with your service and it’s up to you to piece together what the problem is and resolve it.  Sometimes, clients will be so stressed that they’re not focusing on solutions, they’re focusing on making sure that you understand.

Put Yourself in the Customer’s Shoes

Empathy is a key trait for any call center worker.  The ability to look at where a customer is coming from and see why they are upset helps to shape the solution for the problem.  With that empathy, the customer is able to see that there is a human side to the company.

Take Responsibility for Your Actions

When a situation occurs, it’s necessary to take responsibility for your actions.  You personally might not have made a mistake, but the customer is talking with you, so you are now the face of the company.  There is nothing which will serve to infuriate your customers more than to say that it’s not your responsibility.

Apologize

It’s difficult, but apologizing means that you need to admit that something went wrong in the first place.  Don’t offer excuses through the course of the interaction, apologize for the fact that it did happen and see how the issue can be resolved.  Anything less is short-changing your customer.

Find a solution together

If the solution to the problem is not immediately forthcoming, talk with the customer to discover a solution together.  What can you, as the representative of the company, do to make it right?  Sometimes, the solution that the customer arrives at is much more lenient than the internal one that you came up with.   By using callcenter recording software, you’ll be able to help others within the organization arrive at similar great solutions.

Follow through

This is one of the most important steps in the process.  Make sure that you’re able to follow through on whatever customer recovery measure that you’ve decided on, then follow through.  Your customers will appreciate your honesty and commitment to their satisfaction. 

Validation and feedback

Make sure that the solution that you came up with together is the right solution for them.  They need to feel that the problem has been taken care of, and that you’ll do everything in your power to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. Your goal is to get complete satisfaction, and you should stop at nothing less.

While you might not want to be known for your customer recovery skills, they are still useful tools to have in your personal skillset.  By establishing a procedure beforehand, you’ll be able to display confidence to your irate customers and quickly calm them down.  The sooner you calm them down, the better chance you have of turning them into brand advocates.



 
CJ Silva is VP of Operations at KOVA Corporation.