Monday, June 16, 2014

Guest Post: What to look for when hiring Retention Customer Solution Sales Representatives? Hmm...

By: Michelle Valle

The position of Retention Representative is not an easy one.  It requires a little bit of customer service, sales and negotiating skills.  So who fits the mold?  Good question.

In this role, a rep will handle calls from people who are thinking about switching service providers. They will need to listen patiently and with empathy, track information, and apply consultative skills regarding our services/pricing and that of our competitors. Their knack for problem-solving will not only defuse situations, but point out new value and result in an up-sell.  As I like to simply state – How do you turn that NO into a YES? And bottom line – What is it going to take to retain your customer?

With that said, those three key skills listed above are essential – those who have wonderful customer service skills may not have the sales passion or those with sales skills may not be empathetic so its finding that right recipe with a little bit of this and a dash of that…  Also identifying – Who has the ability to build a connection with our customers within that short window of opportunity?  Who has that fire in the belly to not only meet their goals but want to exceed them?  Who has that passion to come to work every day and is ready to bring their “A” game every time they start their day? 

Some of my secret ingredients for my ideal rep are:
•    Patience
•    Willingness to sell
•    Problem solving/negotiating skills
•    Positive attitude
•    Flexibility
•    Dependability
•    Passion to help the customer
•    Ability to multi-task
•    Results oriented
•    Confident

So, if you have what it takes and can complete the recipe – please visit our career site and apply today for our Customer Solutions & Sales Representative position.

Always on the run between work, family, and trying to write romance novels, I always remember to have fun through all the craziness.  I love to laugh and that gets me through my toughest days.

I was born and raised in New York but now hang my cap in Raleigh, North Carolina and I support Time Warner’s Retention Call Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Recruitment is my passion and I love the challenge of recruiting top talent for our Retention Center while building wonderful relationships with my Milwaukee team.  My favorite thing to do is spend time with my family.  My second favorite is to read great novels and inspiring quotes.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

3 Pillars of Excellent Customer Service

Customer Service, if done right, leads to increased sales, profitability, a great reputation, and creates an organization that people want to work for and with. I love helping people and that really is what I believe customer service is, “helping people when they need assistance with a service or a product”. Customer service is not always a pleasant experience as clients can be angry, rude and at times downright abusive. But, if handled correctly, you can create a great experience the customer will remember.

I started my career in hospitality, and it is probably the greatest work experience to teach the basic principles of customer service. The experience in a restaurant, bar, or hotel hinges on the client experience of service. To me, the 3 golden pillars of achieving excellence in service (in no order of importance) are:

Deliver on your promises
A simple statement, but quite often in customer service this is the cause of most of the issues. People often over promise and under deliver, and the customer walks away with a bad experience. Be truthful about what can be done and the time frames that it can be done in. If something goes wrong, tell the customer as soon as possible along with your solution to the issue.  They would rather know the truth than be left in the dark, thinking that nobody cares about their problem or issues.

A smile costs nothing, but gives much. This is the first line of a poem my mother hung on the wall opposite my bed. Every morning and night I read this poem and went out into the world with a smile on my face. You don’t have to be in a face to face situation to give someone a smile. I always answer the phone with a smile on my face – people often know that I am smiling. I challenge you to try it! It makes you feel happy and your customer can’t help but to pick up on it too. Email and computer support can still convey that feeling as well, in the words you choose and how they are used. Practice it and you will see that a smile down the line, or on the screen or face to face, breaks the ice and makes the first 2 minutes a different experience for all.

Listening and Empathy
These are important life skills, in my humble opinion and I believe they are critical to delivering good customer service. Listen, and I mean really listen to what your customer is saying (and when it comes to email or online help, don’t skim read it as sometimes you will miss the true statement or issue). Empathize with them and before you know it, the communication lines are friendlier and easier to navigate. For me, the opposite of anger is not calmness, it's empathy

I grew up in Australia in a town called Mackay (a coastal town near the Great Barrier Reef) where the sun was always shining and I had never seen four distinct seasons until I moved south to Sydney in my early 20’s. I started my career in hospitality in various roles from reception to Bar Management. 

I have spent the past 20+ years working in the Financial Services Industry, in various roles within both large and smaller boutique financial planning companies. When it comes to financial planning, the customer service aspect is critical as nothing can upset people more than when their money and/or investments are involved. I am a full-time working mother with 2 beautiful girls who I tell every day to “Smile and be nice to everyone”. Follow me on Twitter.