Tag Archives: customer service

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business people #custserv

Customer Service Culture, not a Department Seminar – Wmspt, PA

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Customer service is a culture, not a department seminar. Half day seminar. Additional details by clicking on the website link below.


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undecided customers

More Options and Undecided Customers

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One concept is that people aren’t buying because they lack the option that they need or want. Whether it is buying an idea, a product, or picking the best apple from the bushel. Counting options can create undecided customers.

It is an easy trap and one that businesses often fall into. If people are not buying, what we are selling it must mean we aren’t selling the right stuff. Of course, that could be the case, but what should you do?

More Options

Many businesses and marketers will expand the menu. They are convinced that what they are already offering is important, valid, and desired, otherwise it wouldn’t be on the menu, so their solution is add more options.

To the novice marketer lots of options seems like the right path. If we don’t have it, we’ll create it, or offer it as an option. Options cost, but it feels better than losing the sale.

However, more options often doesn’t close the sale. It makes the buying decision even harder. In some cases, it makes it so much more challenging that the customer walks away, still thinking, but cannot decide.

Most consumers pride themselves on making good choices. Given more options, the safest choice is sometimes no choice right now. They will wait, studying the options, they will think about it more.

Undecided Customers

Choosing our Netflix movie, hiring the right candidate, or picking the wonton soup from the Chinese menu all occurs after we’ve filtered. More options doesn’t make the choice easier, it makes it harder. It is the greatest way to delay a choice, make the customer work harder, or just not buy at all.

Having something for everyone seems appealing, until no one can decide.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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customer service time appreciative strategies

Customer Service Time You Will Never Get Back

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Apologies do not always make a difference. Attempting to fix a wrong will not always make it right. Unfortunately, in many circumstances customer service time is time that you will never get back. Have you lost time that you’ll never get back?

In a rapidly expanding service economy organizations that focus on proper delivery, minimizing breakdowns in service, and maximizing opportunities by caring most about the customer often find it easy to make a difference. It is easy because so many businesses get it wrong.

Time Wasted

Is your business getting it right or getting it wrong? Certainly, we recognize that time is money, who is wasting your time? How has your time been wasted?

  • Waiting in line or in the queue
  • Shipping delays
  • Bad weather shutdowns
  • Wrong product shipped
  • Product not to spec
  • Wait staff with too many tables
  • Order given to wrong customer
  • Wrong information in customer database record
  • Failure to place order on production schedule
  • Equipment malfunction or breakdown

Some of these, none of these, or all of these may result in an experience that is less than desirable for the customer. What is worse is that it represents a loss in time that can never be recovered.

There are times when apologies don’t really matter. There are times when trying to fix the wrong isn’t comparable to the damage.

Customer Service Time

We can’t control the weather, sometimes we can’t control equipment breakdowns, and sometimes we get more business than what we are prepared to handle.

For the customer, none of it matters because when it equates to time they’ll never get back, it is gone forever.

Sometimes they are too.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Customer Service Best Practices

Do You Use Customer Service Best Practices?

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Organizations everywhere are trying to build their brand. Their image, reputation, and the work that they do are possibly the result of years of innovation. Has your organization considered customer service best practices? How will you build your brand?

In society, we are always using best practices and lessons learned. The same is often true for businesses and even to some extent our government.

Refining Products and Services

General Motors, Ford, and even Tesla use best practices. They are building and refining designs that may have started more than 100 years ago. Part of their mission is to improve the product, even the nuts, bolts, and welds. They strive to improve the reliability, durability, and power.

We can’t forget about comfort, safety, and the feeling of the ride. The features and systems that make the automobile what it is today are largely based on best practices developed across time. Engineers and experts learn from years of trial and error.

Best practices and lessons learned hold tremendous value. This is true in building science, agriculture, and even in technology management. We make things better, stronger, and more efficient. In part, because we’ve learned from the past.

Innovation and Design

We can’t ignore the other side of following best practices. This side goes to the innovators, risk takers, and all of the artful approaches for something new.

The risk is different for innovation. The costs are sometimes higher; the time to bring it to market may be longer. Even this work is based somewhat on what has come before it. It is different because it pushes beyond the limits of past experiences.

This form of exploration considers trends in style, taste, and even color. It doesn’t always follow. It often intentionally goes a completely different direction.

Customer Service Best Practices

The best practices that you put in place to build your brand are important. Your culture of customer service and creating the best customer experience should build on lessons learned.

Additionally, the best will consider how to go beyond the norm. Beyond the norm considers how direction will be set and how to risk developing something new, something more efficient, and most of all, tasteful.

The most important part of best practices is that they are always evolving, it is innovation after the learning.

You can ignore the past if you wish, but nearly everything we build is based on an earlier idea that has been modified.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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changing customer service

Are You Changing Customer Service Practices?

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Change is a vital part of organizational development. Organizations that care about being front-runners always have a laundry list of what they will change. The question often becomes, “Do they?” Are you changing customer service practices?

At least several schools of people exist when it comes to change. There is the group who resists and in contrast the group who is eager to push the process forward. Often the largest group is the group of fence sitters, those who are waiting to see how things really take shape before they commit.

Shifting Economy

In the US, our economy has been shifting for decades. It is has been called a digital economy, new age, and many other attention seeking labels.

My belief is that we are operating in a service intensive economy. Even manufacturing operations are commonly introducing more service components to their business.

Early Adopters

Some people will recall when the internet was labeled a fad, a cellular phone was too expensive, and computers weren’t necessary to run your business.

There are the early adopters to technology, the ones leading the charge. They line up for several city blocks sometimes in unfavorable weather conditions just hoping for a chance to get the latest and greatest release.

Software developers push out new releases, upgrades, fixes, and patches. Eager businesses sign up to become beta testers with the advantage of co-development for future releases.

Traditional products and services are sometimes still admired but those who are growing are often providing a new twist. Failure to change, innovate, and adopt technology means that they are watching from behind.

Changing Customer Service

The customer experience and customer service practices have never been more important. Being a front-runner, a beta tester, or an innovation expert is what will propel organizations to the front, or in the absence of change allow them to fall behind.

There certainly is not a guarantee that the next front-runner, technology embracer, or fad will become the one that all others in category will chase.

There is however, a guarantee that a new tradition, a new method, something technological will propel the leaders. It has been true for centuries. That likely isn’t going to change.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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word of mouth

In Customer Service Word of Mouth is Caring

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Often people express that they get the most traction from word of mouth experiences. Has word of mouth changed? In customer service, word of mouth is caring, it is also about selling, branding, and marketing.

For many organizations, I can’t stress enough that your customer service is never about what you say it is, it is always about what the customer feels.

Convinced

Many individuals and organizations try to convince me of their exceptional delivery. They tout their brilliance and success while suggesting that their customers will back it up. Perhaps, but it is still never about what the vendors says, it is always about what the customer feels.

Today much of our word of mouth has become world of mouth. The incredible wave of communicating electronically has made our world smaller and our reach longer.

There is a saying, “People will not always remember what you said, but they’ll always remember how you made them feel.”

Feeling Average

People don’t talk much about average. Average is too easy. The regular haircut, the normal cheese and peperoni pizza, the typical commute to work. It isn’t discussed.

However, when the barber slips, or the hair coloring is off. We hear about it. A bad pizza or improperly cooked steak, we hear about it. A little road rage or a traffic jam, we hear about it.

The biggest fallacies I witness with organizations pursuing a culture of customer service is that they evaluate their level of service based on costs and their own perceptions. Nothing about good service is cheap, but it (good service) also isn’t always expensive.

The question that organizations should be asking themselves is, “Expensive compared to what?”

Word of Mouth

People aren’t talking about normal or average. They will repeat a pleasant surprise, and they’ll shout it out about unhappy experiences. Average, normal, or the basics aren’t enough. Certainly, poor service is a disaster.

Do you want world of mouth? Show your customers that you care because the most expensive customer service of all is when you are picking up the broken pieces. Word of mouth or world of mouth, both are about the outstandingly exceptional or else the drama filled disaster.

Most people just want to know that someone cares.

That is a feeling, not a slogan, phrase, or bumper sticker.

How much does a feeling cost? It is priceless.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Customer Service breakthroughs

Customer Service Breakthroughs Are Limited By Fear

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Often we are told to confront our fears, try something new, something different and to break bad habits or worn out traditions. Could it be true that customer service breakthroughs are limited by fear?

In a service driven economy, the most important cultural value for your organization may be customer service. Many organizations say that they are excellent at this, no need to really change or improve, we’ve got this.

The reality is that the organization never decides about good or bad. They never decide about effectiveness or satisfaction, the customer does.

Best Work

The best organizations do the best work because they care. Not because they say that they care, but because they show that they care. It isn’t really a token, a free item, some coupons, or a survey. It is what the customer feels.

Creating exceptional customer service programs comes with a price. Often organizations know what needs to be done but they are afraid to absorb the cost. There is fear that the cost will not yield the return on investment.

Organizations consider that they could:

  • Wash the customer’s car after servicing it, but that costs.
  • Gift-wrap special purchases, but that costs.
  • Turn up the heat, or turn on the air conditioner, but that costs.

Good Service Costs

The fear in any of these scenarios is that once you start you have to continue. Often there is consideration in doing it for the exception, which seems like a good return on investment.

That is our best customer. Wash her car before she picks it up.

It is the holiday season; ask customers if they want gift-wrapping.

The temperatures are going to be really high today maybe we should run the air conditioner but only during the dinner hour.

Customer Service Breakthroughs

Organizations feel that they care, but when they only care sometimes, the customer often doesn’t share in that feeling. For the organization when it is a one and done, it feels okay, but replicating it over and over again feels like too much risk.

What your organization does next to create a culture of caring will not have much to do with what it knows how to do.

It will have everything to do with what it fears.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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care about your customer

Care About Your Customer Or Else

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Many of our customer service successes or problems are the result of caring, or not. It seems simple to most. Which is precisely why so many take customer service behaviors for granted. Do you care about your customer?

I’m missing a shirt from my dry cleaning drop off.

Sorry, we accidentally gave it to another customer. He will bring it back soon.

Do you mean soon, as in an hour, or soon as in days?

We don’t know, soon. He usually comes in on Saturday.

I needed that shirt for a trip. I’m headed out of town.

Sorry.

Lack of Caring

Why do fast food drive through lines leave the bag open when there is warm food inside? Why does the garage move your car seat or mirrors and then leave them in that position?

The root cause of any or all of the problems is the same. They don’t care about how it makes it you feel or how it affects what happens next for you.

Sometimes it is about chance. The customer called saying he had a shirt that was not his. The thought is, oh darn; bring it back when you can please. More thinking, the customer has nine other clean shirts, this one doesn’t matter. Hope he doesn’t come in before the shirt gets back.

Sometimes it is about protection. The bag is likely open because the last thing they do is look inside, being sure they haven’t made an error. The thought is, keep the bag open so we can spot check and the customer can too.

Sometimes it is about convenience. The seat and mirrors were obnoxious in that position they are better now. The thought, how can someone drive with those positions, I can’t.

Care About Your Customer

Rules, policies, procedures, or even ignorance to the outcomes are often to blame for a lack of caring. Not caring feels wrong in a world that measures the service experience by advancing the needle on the gauge related to how good the customer feels.

What is worse than the customer not feeling good? The customer will tell others how it made them feel.

When you decide to make a difference, you will stop saying that you care about your customer and start showing them.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Customer service impact

Customer Service Impact And Cultural Change

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Many organizations strive to make a bigger impact with sales and the customer experience by driving cultural change. Is your organization getting the most from its efforts? What are you doing to improve customer service impact?

In the conference room, boardroom, or a pop-up meeting near the water cooler organizational leaders often consider how they’ll create the next rush of revenue. Often the design is based on only a few. What if there was a different approach?

Based On The Few

Organizations put forward a lot of effort on the hiring process. Certainly, this is important and valuable. The lifetime value of the right kind of talent in your organization is hard to measure. Mostly because it is likely a much bigger number than you can quickly realize.

Inside there is often a push for attracting or advancing the right talent to the C Suite.

There is a focus on sales and marketing teams that are properly aligned. Perhaps there are bonuses or commissions in place to drive engagement. In operations, it is often about quality control and perfecting the build and delivery of products and services.

Much of this design is focused on the few. The few who are leading the teams, the few who may be the next picked for advancement, and those who fit the image of organizational success. This focus is important but the activity that this culture builds is based only on those few.

Front Line Reach

What if the approach was different, what if instead of focusing on the top twenty percent of the organization you focused on the growth and development of the other eighty percent? How would sales revenues, profit margins, and customer satisfaction improve?

Imagine instead of leaders connecting with leaders, the entire front line was more connected with customers?

Sure, the influence of leader-to-leader is important, but what if instead of focusing on the goals, revenue, and growth presented by the twenty percent, you made a difference with the eighty percent.

Imagine if the eighty percent improved their emotional intelligence, honed their customer service skills, and the value was placed on front line customer facing engagement? Would this change the numbers?

Customer Service Impact

Certainly, this is not pointing the finger at the eighty percent with a proclamation that they are the only ones who need change. It is a proclamation that the focus for customer service impact will be more powerful from the front line, not grooming the next manager.

When the focus is on the management team, fewer people are touched. If you’re going to make your organization great, leaders will matter, but it is the eighty percent who are closer to the front line who will show the customers what your organization is all about.

Running The Marathon

Consider this, thirty thousand people run in the Boston Marathon each year. Certainly the few at the front are honored and important. Their accomplishments are great. The report of their success will touch many lives.

If they were the only ones running in the event, it would not be nearly as impactful. It’s the reach of the other twenty nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety participants who will ultimately touch more people and more lives in a more personal way.

It’s not about the ten, it is about the thirty thousand.

You can have ten people doing great things, but measuring the true impact of thirty thousand. That is almost hard to imagine.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Customer Service Balance

Customer Service Balance Is Reasonable

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Have you ever thought about what makes special things, special? What really creates a memorable customer experience? Having customer service balance may be what attracts the masses. Do you have it?

What is the difference between the racecar and one you buy off the dealership lot?

Why does the state of the art always come with bugs?

Making coffee at home is a fraction of the price at the gourmet shop, but the gourmet shop is always packed with people.

High Cost or Reliable

The fast racecar is expensive. It is custom built, requiring hours of special labor. It is fast, but it is designed to win the race, not go the most miles without maintenance.

The latest technology, most elaborate software, or techie gadget often isn’t perfected, but it is breaking new ground with features others don’t have. It is cool, but doesn’t always work and the learning curve is long.

Coffee from a home brewing device doesn’t allow you to easily visit a few friends, display your new shoes, or have others observe you in action with your mobile computing device.

Being the best has costs. Having the fastest car, the latest techno gadget, or sipping one dollar per every two ounces of coffee costs too. Those who produce the best and consume the best should realize that there is volatility to the market.

Volatile Market

The fastest car won’t last as long as the lower priced mass produced reliable one. Having the newest techno gadget is pretty cool, until those on the old platform are still surfing while you’re waiting for tech support or trying to figure out the new menu. The coffee shop is the place to be right now, it’s not the only place.

Having the best or creating a trend costs, but often being the most reliable, with a reasonable price will endure the volatile nature of the consumer.

Customer Service Balance

Customer service balance may be about the best solution. People paying a reasonable price don’t expect perfection.

What they do expect is to get what they pay for. Their purchase risk is smaller and long-term satisfaction is much higher.

Special, high end, and the fastest is cool, until it isn’t, which usually doesn’t take very long. This is exactly why it is only a trend.

Balance seems much more reasonable.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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