Tag Archives: #Custserv

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relentless focus

Relentless Focus, Will It Make a Difference

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Are you in pursuit of something special? Is it something that will make a long-term impact or is it more of a flash in the pan? Relentless focus may be the difference between a quick flash and lasting impact.

You can be a special guest at the baseball game and maybe even throw out the first pitch, but it isn’t the same as what the starting pitcher will do.

Perhaps you can whip up a pretty good Thanksgiving Day dinner, yet it probably isn’t at the same level of the gourmet chef who has spent a decade or more crafting the perfect dish.

Showing up for work each day might mean something, but it isn’t the same as diving in each and every day with a specific focus on accomplishment and impact.

Often the highest performing employees and businesses are the top achievers because of relentless pursuit.

Do you have it? Are you deploying it?

Relentless Focus

It typically doesn’t need much explanation. If you can’t see it, touch it, taste it, or otherwise experience it you probably haven’t achieved it.

Love it or hate it, Amazon, in most cases, appears to have relentless pursuit for the customer. Zappos has been known for this and so has Disney.

How do they do it?

There is a good chance that it starts with their strategic approach.

If the organization spends too much time on evaluating short-term cash, short-run individual winning, and short-run paychecks, the long-run will always come up short for the customer.

All of those things matter, cash, individual performance, and what employees get paid, but they won’t necessarily result in something delightful for the customer.

For the individual employee or the organization at large, what you focus on is what you’ll get. Sounds simple and easy.

Maybe it is time to take a deep dive and really understand more about your focus.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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punished customer

Punished Customer, Do You Feel Like One?

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Have you ever felt like you are being punished? Being a punished customer seems to be more prevalent than ever. Are you punishing your customers?

What is a punished customer?

A punished customer is a customer who is forced to accept something less in terms of service or quality while the business offering those products or services are finding it much more convenient for their bottom line.

Some examples may include, auto-attendant telephone systems, reduced operational hours, and longer response times.

A Few Examples

Once upon a time, the small business owner could purchase a software product from the shelf in a retail store. In the packaging there was a user manual and diskettes or a CD-ROM disc. The software would theoretically last forever, or until the hardware platform required an upgrade.

Not true anymore. Many software providers now make you lease the software. They want it on the cloud, you don’t really buy it, you just use it, and you get to use it for a nice monthly fee. Who does this benefit more?

We see similar kinds of punishment in other areas. Recently, I needed a gasket for some old plumbing in my home. I went to a professional plumbing store. They told me it was too old and I should replace everything. Disgusted, I left the store and went to a hardware store and found a gasket for less than one dollar.

It happens with home entertainment such as your television subscription. It happens when we want to use a coupon or a discount code. Perhaps, it even happens with airlines, hotels, and at the grocery store.

If I go to a hardware store and buy hammer, do I have to pay a fee each time I use it?

Punished Customer

The circumstances or situations surrounding the exact form of punishment vary. As a customer, when you feel it or recognize it, it is a less than pleasant experience.

In your workplace, where do you see punishment occurring? How is it impacting your customers?

Arguably, somethings may never change. Businesses often believe that they must structure product or service offerings in such a way as to keep profit margins or revenue streams viable. Software is a great example.

Customers will often endure many things, but their opinions of service quality may not be strong.

If service matters, tolerance is a risky space.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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monopoly power

Monopoly Power, the End of Customer Service?

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The drop-down menu on the website doesn’t have my option and the telephone number that appears in a Google search is really just an auto-attendant missing the same feature. Monopoly power often means the system is built for controlling their costs not providing customer service.

As a kid, many receive some type of allowance. It’s a monetary gift mostly, but some may have to take out the garbage, cut the lawn, or run the vacuum. If the allowance runs out, the kid waits anxiously for the next deposit.

As an adult, if the paycheck is nearly spent, there may have to be some cutbacks. Reduce spending, skip the gourmet mocha latte, and grab a black coffee from the gas station convenience store instead.

Any business, organization, or government fed entity may need to be mindful of spending. Large pension systems, labor unions, and other luxuries that have been cooked into their recipe for success often force a choice. The choice is to cut back internally (cut back on ourselves) or cut back externally on the customer.

Who suffers in this case?

Usually it is the customer.

Monopoly Power

The persons behind the monopoly power are charged with creating sleeker systems. Systems that reduce cost, fight off the need for more human investment, and are designed to run on their own seems to make sense on the inside. However, on the outside, the customer suffers.

Do you have a question? Go to the website.

Do you need to call us? Great, here is our telephone number, yet, no one is there to answer only an auto-attendant. A chat feature might work, but the frustration of getting on the same page costs the customer more time and frustration.

Not every business or organization delivers this downgraded service. It is mostly just those with monopoly power.

There isn’t much you can do when it is the only gig in town. Not much you can do when you only have one route to drive on, one way (or no way) to reach someone who can help.

You’re stuck.

Yet, without you, there is no monopoly.

People find another way. It may be temporary, it may not last, but when the road is blocked people will find another way or they’ll skip it altogether.

Eventually, the monopoly will either charge more, in an attempt to make up for a weaker economy of scale with existing customers, or it may fail, sell, or get a bailout.

Eventually, it is the end of something.

What will it be?

-DEG

Need a resource for the discovery of improved customer service?

#custserv Dennis E Gilbert

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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customers leave

When Customers Leave and Nobody Asks Why

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What happens when customers leave? Does anyone notice, or only when it is far too late?

People sometimes call it growing pains. The pain an organization experiences as they’ve shifted from a very small operation to a much larger one.

It happens to restaurants. The fantastic mom and pop add on to their existing operation or buys an additional location to set up shop.

The concept is, more is better. More room, more customers, and more financial reward.

Often these measures crash and burn.

Watching the Store

It is true for many operations in many sectors, from manufacturing to banking, and from a landscaping contractor to the automobile repair shop.

When the business is small, those in charge notice everything that is happening. From the first customer to the one most recently served. If something goes wrong, responsible persons can fix it.

As the business grows, people are added, levels get deeper, and the resources are present but are likely underutilized.

There is a shift in focus.

When Customers Leave

The priorities shift. They shift from the job of satisfying the customer, to the job of satisfying the boss.

There are meetings to attend, policies to make, and metrics to measure.

Proving what is happening, or not, becomes a backroom deal. The front-line is happening, but only the front-line is aware of what is truly working and what is coming up short.

What is likely worse is that the quest for information often rewards good news over the bad. Bad news isn’t appreciated and the tough feedback is rejected. Messengers are punished and good news bearers receive more appreciation.

The metric of new customers, orders taken, and revenue gained is only part of the picture.

Become the customer and measure the experience.

Lose sight of your customers and they’ll lose sight of you.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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better things

Better Things Are Still The Backbone Of Service

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Are you doing better things? Better things for the customer or better for the staff? Is it a balancing act?

Better service always sells.

When the customer is in doubt, they’ll remember how they were treated the last time or perhaps, how they were treated by a competitor.

When it is time to recommend a brand or answer a question asked, customers will remember what they felt about the service or how well the product worked when put to the test.

Where is your focus?

Better Things

When you want increase the compensation of the team, is there a direct effect on the customer?

Must there be a price increase? Is that how the budget is adjusted?

Should there be a new territory for sales, a new market segment, or repeat customers joyfully recommending your products or services? Should it be all of these?

Perhaps.

Yet, what is the focus?

Some companies place their number one priority on making things better for the customer. Other companies place their priorities on making things better for themselves.

Who wins this game?

Certainly, it probably requires some of both, but one of those will also likely take care of the other. Except, the reverse isn’t also true.

A focus on the customer will result in more opportunities, customers, and sales. As a result, you can take better care of the company.

A focus on the company first will probably result in short-changing the customer and ultimately making the selling and satisfaction process more difficult.

Better things happen with better service.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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blank check

A Blank Check Is Not Customer Service or Trust

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Would you sign a blank check and hand it to your vendor? You might, depending on the relationship, yet, how do you really feel about that?

Trust is an important aspect of any relationship. It is important personally and professionally.

Does it matter to you?

Does Trust Apply?

In the workplace, we trust that the work once distributed will get finished. We trust that the quality will be present and that the deliverables will be timely.

How would you react if the employee said, “I’ll do the work, but there is no certainty of the final cost for my services, write a blank check and I’ll fill it out when I’m finished?”

Does this change the dynamic? Is trust a two-way street? Should the employee trust that he or she will be paid?

If you’ve encountered this does it leave you with a warm-fuzzy feeling?

Something seems a bit off to me.

Backward Thinking?

I once had a potential client suggest that I pay them.

Yes, it’s true. A role reversal kind of move.

They would allow me to come to their facility to provide training services and they would invite some of their top connections. The offer was based on the idea that they would round-up a bunch of other potential clients (just for me) and it would be a great opportunity to secure future business.

“It will only cost you a small amount.” she expressed.

Yes, sadly, this conversation really happened.

I don’t know about you, but I’d love to go to a local electronics store and grab a big-screen television. At the checkout, I could state, “I’ll take this television and it will only cost you $1,000.00, for me to take it.”

Blank Check

Every business relationship needs to understand the dynamics of customer service.

For every touchpoint, every transaction, and every opportunity there should be an expectation of trust.

Trust often takes time to build.

Instructing your potential customers to write you a blank check seems kind of silly.

Doesn’t it?

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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customer work

Customer Work Matters The Most

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What is your product or service? Is it relationship oriented or based on the materialistic nature of production? Customer work, being in the relationship business, likely matters the most.

It happens with retail banking. Everyone has nearly an identical product. Checking and savings accounts, mortgage or automobile loans, and other aspects of their business are commonly known as the product.

Only, that isn’t their product.

Their product is their service and customer excellence. It is about the relationships being built, strengthened, and maintained. It is about future transactions and retention.

Shifting Marketplace

Once upon a time, nearly everything was purchased at a store. A retail environment where the store front and people mattered. Today, often the closest relationship you form is with a website, FedEx, or UPS.

Largely, Amazon doesn’t make anything it sells. The same goes for eBay or other forms of online retailers. Walmart doesn’t make anything.

You don’t buy your automobile direct from the factory. Largely, the same is true for electronics, clothing, and shoes.

Who is really servicing the customer? Who owns the customer relationship? Is it the manufacturer? If you buy a gallon of milk or a carton of eggs at a retail grocery store, is your relationship with the farmer?

Managing the end-customer relationship may be the hardest part. It is where the markup occurs.

Customer Work

Manufacturing, farming, or other aspects of a product or service creation matter. Without this aspect there is nothing to sell.

Yet, at the same time it is the work of creating, building, and maintaining the customer relationship that closes the sale. Online or traditional retail.

A good product or brand may be considered trustworthy, but the relationship built inspires trust.

Are you mindful of your role in the supply chain?

Everyone has a product. Doing the work of customer management matters the most.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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pull customer service

Pull Customer Service Matters More

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Get the work done. Push it out the door. Sell more, ship more, and grow the business. These all matter but are they push or pull? Pull customer service may be what makes a bigger difference.

What Is Your Plan?

Plenty of businesses and organizations have a decent plan. Plenty of them execute according to the plan and have some success.

It certainly is not always about reinventing the wheel. Sometimes it is about how we care for the wheel.

If you are already bought-in that care is important, especially for the customer experience, does your culture push or pull?

We often talk about push. Push through the day. Push through the comfort zone. Make greater things happen even in the face of adversity.

Have grit, grind through the emotional labor.

These concepts are not necessarily bad, but they are all about the push. And yes, the push can be motivational.

Plan to Pull

What about pull though? What about having a culture of customer service that is so strong the organizational culture creates a pull?

Imagine the outcomes when the service experience is so good that internal and external customers are pulled in. Imagine they are so attracted to the good vibes that they simply want more.

Organizations with pull customer service are not bickering over who does the work. You don’t hear, “That’s not my job.”

Pull Customer Service

In a pull culture, growth begets growth. It is attraction that builds community. Community builds connection. Connections build more pull. Nobody internal or external feels pushed. Push isn’t a motivator, it is all pull.

They sell more, ship more, and grow more without pushing.

The grind isn’t really a grind because it pulls people in. Sure, there may be moments here and there, but the overall feeling is pull.

Wouldn’t it be nice to push less?

-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 RespectNavigating 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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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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tell your customers #custserv

What Do You Tell Your Customers?

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Ask five businesses about the quality of their customer service and you’ll get four positive responses. This is often true, until you dig a little deeper. What is really most important is that your customer service is not what you say it is, it is what your customers feel. What do you tell your customers?

When I ask businesses about their customer service, I often get some of these reactions:

“We occasionally survey our customers, responses aren’t always perfect, but we’re doing pretty good.”

“Our service department is doing well, the manager of the department has built a great team.”

“Trust me; if we screw up, our customers let us know.”

A Service Economy

In a service-based economy, your customer service can’t be about a department. It certainly can’t be about a survey that represents a subset of all transactions, and absolutely, positively, not all customers will tell you about shortcomings.

Testimonials are wonderful and very popular on websites. Job references are important when you are looking for a new job. Asking the staff a restaurant what is good today may improve your comfort for a choice. Do you believe that in any of these cases you will get an unfavorable reaction? It happens, but it is unlikely.

I remember that in the fourth or fifth grade I was required to do some type of show and tell experiment for the class. I cooked up a really cool trick with a glass of water and a piece of cardboard. Certainly, the teacher probably helped me.

The show and tell trick went pretty well, I don’t remember what I said, but I remember how it worked. Do you think the class cared much about what was said? Probably not, because the best part of show and tell is usually the show, not the tell.

Tell Your Customers

The customers that respond to your survey, the ones that give you the testimonial, and even the ones that let you know when you’ve screwed up are all important.

What you tell your customer base, your tribe, or your community has value.

All of that is great, but it is nothing when compared with what you show 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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