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13 12, 2012

Why a Memorable Customer Service Experience Matters

By |2017-03-03T12:07:02-05:00December 13th, 2012|Categories: Blog, Customer Service|Tags: , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Why a Memorable Customer Service Experience Matters

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For some businesses, customer service is just a department. To others it sets the  tone for the rest of the company. We’ve all experienced great customer service as well as awful customer service. Great customer service starts  when someone goes above and beyond and creates a memorable experience.

True customer service is more than please and thank you but it starts there. If you don’t have the basics down you can’t create a memorable experience.

It means an unexpected and pleasurable  event.

Last week, I lost my very old iPhone 3. The charging port was getting worn, and it was time to get a new one but being without a phone is devastating. My contract is with  AT&T, so they were my first stop.  I looked at phones and was more confused than ever. What in the world should I buy? I talked with the salesperson Avi but still couldn’t make up my mind so I decided to check with a few other  carriers in town and see what was available.  Phones are pretty much a commodity, but the customer service person makes the difference. Notice I didn’t say a sales person.

What’s there to sell? We don’t get sold anything any  more. By the time we go to the store we pretty much know what we want.

I asked all my friends about their phones. I stopped strangers in Best Buy and asked them about their phones, and I checked on line.

After visiting six stores and  four days later, I was getting worn out. I decided to go back  my original AT&T store on Central Avenue in Albany. I said to the salesman Avi, “I just need some kind of phone while I’m deciding.” His statement, “Why didn’t you say that, I’ll get you a loaner phone while you look around!” I went home with a phone and yesterday I went back and ordered my new phone from Avi. It’s hard not to buy from a guy who lends you a phone.

Case closed.

Having a consistent customer service message is important for any company. You should know your products, what’s new, and if there’s a company policy that should be explained to your customer?

Should everyone have a script? There are certain touch points that are important to every company,  and everyone should know what they are. The message needs to be consistent, but the delivery should be sent with your personality (Unless of course, your offensive; in which case you’re in the wrong job.)

Every time you miss one of these touch points you run the risk of losing a customer so these points need to be identified.  They are  different for every company but  once identified should be part of ongoing training.

So what are the points?

  1. Show your customers love. When you call me by my name its music to my ears as they say. If you use it at least twice it’s even better. (If you use it more than twice it gets scary.)
  2. Know your customer’s standard problems and have some solutions on hand.  It’s no secret that if you’re in the northeast and delivering products in the winter that delays are in inevitable. The key is to plan on it and have  solutions on hand.
  3. Be proactive.  That means thinking for your customer. Is there something your customer always needs this time of the year? Should you remind them? Of course, you should. In the northeast, it’s time for a snow shovel, de-icer for your windshield and door locks and snow tires.  Is kitty litter still a solution if you get stuck?Suggest he get a shovel so your truck can get to this loading dock.
  4. Should you “reinvent the wheel?” Maybe so; we’ve reinvented the phone a few times haven’t we?  Is it time to change your policies or at least review them?  How about a using a square wheel; would it work better?
  5. What hidden tools do you have at your disposal? Do you have a  gift, a discount or special shipping when real problems occur? Do you have some hidden delights for your customers?  (It’s like giving the customer a loaner cell phone.) Think of your customer as your business partner. Ask how you can help them before they need help.
  6. Remember it’s the holiday season; stress is at its highest. How about calling your customers and wishing them well?

Remember, red hot customer service means going out of your way, delighting your customer and providing a memorable experience.

Lisbeth Calandrino helps businesses build loyal customers through  customer service training and providing customer retention strategies. Her book, Red Hot Customer Service can be ordered through her web site, www.lisbethcalandrino.com.

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29 07, 2012

How To Get Customers To Love You, 5 Ways.

By |2017-03-03T12:07:05-05:00July 29th, 2012|Categories: Blog, Customer Satisfaction|Tags: , , , |3 Comments

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How to get customers to love you

Some days I just don’t get it. I don’t think I expect bells and whistles when I go to a restaurant but I’m amazed how people behave. I often think, that must be the owner, otherwise they would be fired! Or how come they don’t say hello.

An event occurred yesterday that made me shudder. I downloaded a photo of an ice cream shop that was supposed to be open but wasn’t. In fact, I downloaded the sign that said the times they were going to be open. I looked at the sign, looked at my watch and said, “Where are they?” While I was reading the sign another car stopped and asked if it was my shop. That’s two customers lost. It was so hot and I was so disappointed–as was my companion Vickie.

This last Saturday Vickie and I went back to the ice cream shop. We knew the day was right because there were lots of people at the tables eating ice cream. I went to the window and said, “We missed you Wednesday.” I didn’t think it was a bad question but she said, “I was here.” I was flabergasted and turned to my friend who also had a smirk on her face and asked, “Weren’t we here Wednesday?” Of course she replied, yes we were. No, they weren’t there at the appointed sign.

Of course I asked the woman again about Wednesday and she replied we were here after 3PM. Okay, so I read the sign three times, asked Vickie to read it and checked it with the other woman dying for ice cream. They are only open for two hours on Wednesday, could they have decided not to show up?

Why put a sign out if you’re not planning on being there? Earlier we went to Radio Shack and there was a sign that said, “Family emergency, sorry, left at 4PM. Back tomorrow at 10. Sorry for the inconvenience.” Now that’s a good sign. The only thing missing was his cell phone number.

What to do if you can’t be at your business?

Put a huge sign on your door with an emergency phone number. Why not? Who’s going to call you anyway? If I call you for an ice cream cone give me a coupon and tell me to bring a friend!

Do you realize your customers count on you? I think businesses don’t realize that customers count on them. It’s like having your own special clock! I just love going by your business and know you’re there. I think of you as a friend. I know you have a life but I really don’t care.

Compensate customers for inconvenience. Give them a coupon to use at another time. Tell them you had to close last week so you’re compensating all of your customers. This is something Southwest Air would do and have done. I remember being given a free ticket because of a scheule change. I remember saying, “You don’t have to do that,” and being told, “Yes we do, you’re our customer.”

Post a note on Facebook. Want to know if anyone is paying attention? Post a note and a coupon on line; see how many people respond.

Take your business seriously. Your customers do.

Lisbeth Calandrino helps business build loyal relationships with their customers through sales and customer service training. To have her speak at your next meeting, call 518-495-5380.




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