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He Was Determined To Fix It RIght!

Recently my wife Theresa was having an issue with opening Word documents on her laptop . Since she is a virtual assistant, her laptop is the main tool in her toolbox. A few weeks earlier, my own laptop was attacked by a virus and was repaired by the guys at Texas PC Geeks. Theresa called these guys (on a Saturday) and requested remote service to address her issue. After accessing Theresa’s laptop, Ryan and Jake identified several contributing factors and set out to correct the problems. The convenience of remote access allowed Theresa to work on other tasks while waiting for her laptop to be repaired. After a couple of hours, the issues appeared to be resolved.  A few hours later, the problem resurfaced – unable to open a Word document. Theresa called them again and this is where the fun began.

Jake accessed the laptop via remote and after about 30 minutes he advised her that he needed to go home, but would call her back upon his arrival. Sure enough, he called back and reaccessed the laptop to resolve the issue. Theresa placed Jake on speakerphone to allow for verbal communication while we watched the NFL playoff game. Jake was watching the same game while running his repair programs to resolve the laptop issue. With all of the shouting and game comments going back and forth via speakerphone , you could have sworn that we were all at the stadium! After about 45 minutes, the laptop was repaired – no more issues with Word documents. These guys deserve my “Now That’s Customer Service!” Award for convenient service – remote access on a Saturday!; a great service attitude and the willingness to properly repair the issue without an additional time charge when called the second time. For fast convenient service call Texas PC Geeks at 713-364-3357 or visit their website at http://texaspcgeeks.com/!

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Wow Your Employees First!

During my customer service career, I have seen many reminders advising employees to “Wow the customer!” It’s important to “Wow” the customer as this is a surefire way to increase customer retention. What about employee retention? I think it’s critical to “Wow!” the employee first. An organization’s ability to “Wow!” its employees has multiple impacts to the level of service provided to the customer.  Money and benefits are not always the primary drivers of employee retention. Here are a few ways to “Wow!” employees:

“Wow!’ Employees With Great Core Values – Core values are the guiding principles by which an organization determines how it will operate. Wow your employees by including integrity in the core values so that it’s apparent that everyone is held accountable for the actions. True integrity includes communicating honestly with your employees. It also means making agreements that you can keep.  Wow your employees by making sure that respect is one of your organization’s core values so that they know that they will be treated as someone who has something to contribute to the organization’s success regardless of their position. Make sure that they are spoken to in a professional and respectful manner at all times.

“Wow!” Employees With Comprehensive Training – It’s important for employees to “Wow!” the customer during interactions. “Wow!” your employees by providing comprehensive and practical training. Make sure employees have the “tools” required for providing a great customer service experience. These “tools” should include the proper product/service knowledge to assessment customer needs, to answer customer questions and to resolve customer issues. Make sure your employees are product/service “experts”. Another “tool” is hands-on training with whatever they will utilize when interacting with the customer. Make sure they thoroughly understand who/what their actions impact when performing their duties as well as understanding who/what impacts their functions. This step creates an awareness of how their actions will impact others within the organization as well as understanding how others’ actions impact them.

“Wow!” Employees With Great Management – The attitude and actions of supervisors/managers are a major factor in maintaining positive employee morale and employee retention. “Wow!” your employees by making sure supervisors/managers are equipped with both people and operational skills. When your employees feel that supervisors/managers are competent in both of these areas, contentiousness and apathy are less likely to become a factor in your organization. “Wow!” your employees by driving out fear in your organization. Employees should not be the victims of intimidation or fear reprisal from supervisors/managers when raising questions and concerns. “Wow!” your employees by insuring that managers regularly solicit ideas and suggestions for improvement. Reward them for implemented ideas and suggestions. “Wow!” your employees by requiring supervisors/managers to regularly spend time with employees as they perform their duties in order to get their perspective. Regularly review workload requirements to insure they are not out of balance with performance goals. “Wow!” your employees by getting their input on performance criteria and goals.

“Wow!” Employees With Loyalty – It has been stated often that employees should be loyal to the organization. That’s a two-way street! “Wow!” your employees by displaying the same loyalty to them that you expect them to display toward the organization. Do you expect them to be loyal to the organization during times of crisis? Employees expect the organization to be loyal to them during their time of crisis. When the organization asks the employee to go the extra mile for the organization, remember to reward the employee for doing so. Just as you reward your long – term customers for their loyalty to your brand (you are doing this right?), do the same for your long-term employees for their service and dedication to your organization. “Wow!” your employees by reminding them that they are the reason that your organization is successful. Yes – the customer is important to the success of your organization, but it takes great employees to take care of the customer. Your willingness to “Wow!” your employees with loyalty will certainly increase the level of service experienced by your customers!

Create a “Wow!” experience for your customers by creating a “Wow!” experience for your employees first. “Wow!” them with Core Values, Comprehensive Training, Great Management  and Loyalty.

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4 C’s of Customer Service

Four words crossed my mind the other day regarding customer service. I call them the four Cs of customer service – Commitment, Completeness, Consistency and Communication. Let’s take a look at each one.

Commitment – In order to give great customer service, there must be Commitment from an organization’s leadership. Commitment must be visible through action. It’s easy to place posters and signs upon the wall, but that’s not the action of which I’m speaking. Leaders should show commitment by leading the charge to determine what great customer service should look like within the organization. Leaders should develop and adhere to core values for the organization Leaders should commit to finding ways to determine what’s important to the organization’s customers. Leaders should become the customer by utilizing the organization’s product or service in order to get the customer’s perspective. The commitment level of leadership should be readily apparent to employees. Leaders should regularly communicate their commitment with the entire organization. Commitment requires action! Commitment is long-term as the organization’s long-term existence is at stake.

Completeness – Following the leadership commitment to providing great customer service is the second C representing Completeness. Once the commitment is in place, the need to ensure that everyone within the organization is on the same page is paramount to the organization’s success. Completeness means that everyone within every department understands their role in providing great customer service. A complete and thorough assessment of the organization’s operations is key to identifying areas of opportunity. All customer touch points should be evaluated for efficiency. Completeness means insuring that what matters to the customer is identified and utilized in developing the organization’s product or service concept. Completeness means identifying one’s internal customers in order to determine how to meet their needs as well. All areas of the organization must be aware of how their everyday actions impact both internal and external customers. Completely commit to providing great customer service!

Consistency – After leadership exercises commitment and the entire organization is completely on the same page regarding the provision of great customer service, the third C of Consistency enters the picture. This C is crucial to the long-term success of the organization. The ability to consistently provide a great customer service experience is what builds brand loyalty. Loyal customers are revenue generators as they are both comfortable and excited to share their positive customer service experiences with others. Consistency means the customer receives the same level of service during each encounter with your organization. Consistency means that no matter which of your organization’s locations the customer visits, a positive experience awaits. When calling your organization, it doesn’t matter which employee takes the call, the organization will strive to consistently provide a great customer service experience. When interacting with your company online, the customer is provided an easy and efficient experience. When issues arise, the organization will look to consistently resolve them in a timely manner. When an organization can consistently provide a great customer service experience, it won’t be long before the word-of-mouth effect takes over. New customers will appear as a result of the organization’s ability to be consistent.

Communication – The glue that holds all of this together is the fourth C – Communication. Now this particular C requires that the commitment to providing great customer service is constantly communicated. It means that the organization’s employees are kept abreast of how well the organization is performing in its quest to meet the needs of the customer. This C means that the employees are given the means to communicate the customer’s perception of the organization to the leaders. The leaders are to communicate how employee ideas for improvement are contributing to the success of the organization. It means that customers are able to initiate communication with the organization regarding their personal experiences with the product or services. This fourth C requires the organization’s leaders to communicate customer needs and preferences to the rest of the organization to insure that all products and services are designed with the end-user in mind.

In this era of multichannel customer service provision, it’s important to make sure that your customer understands how important they are to your organization. Make sure they are able to see, hear and feel what they mean to your organization by establishing Commitment, followed by Completeness of purpose, exhibiting Consistency during all customer interactions and applying the glue called Communication!

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Six Words To Avoid in Customer Service

The are many ways to antagonize a customer – poor service, less than stellar product or the failure to keep the customer abreast of changes that impact the customer experience among others. One sure way to get on the customer’s “bad side” is to use these dreaded words during interactions – “Sir/Ma’am – What you need to do is….” I have witnessed (both face to face and phone interactions) customers becoming agitated upon hearing those words! There have been instances where the words were not meant in a condescending manner – the customer service person may have been simply attempting to provide directions or perhaps trying to give instructions while assisting the customer in resolving an issue – the outcome was the same nonetheless. The customer was offended by being told “What you need to do is…” Now some may say that perhaps the customer was a little too sensitive, but one must remember that some people are sensitive!

When providing your customer with information or instructions, word usage is important to the outcome of the interaction. Utilize the “ask or suggest/not tell” method of communication. From my own personal experience in the customer service industry, the need to choose one’s words carefully can prevent the creation of a sub par customer experience. Instead of saying to a customer “What you need to do is get a pen and some paper to write down this information.” try asking ” Do you have a pen and some paper available sir/ma’am? I would like to provide you with some information that will help you with this situation.” The initial statement may be vocalized with no harm intended, but most adults would rather not be told what they need to do! Exercise extra caution here when the customer is angry or complaining. Utilization of our featured statement may only lead to big trouble when the customer is upset or unhappy with your product or services.

It’s important to stay on the offensive when providing customer service. Effective communication is a critical component in your customer service toolbox. One’s ability to establish rapport with the customer rests on making the decision to communicate in a friendly, yet professional manner. The wrong choice of words can quickly put you in a defensive mode where you’ll find yourself attempting to explain to the customer and or someone within your organization (supervisor, upper management) what you really meant! When attempting to point your customer in the right direction, use suggestive language such as “May I suggest that you….. or “In order for me to assist you with this issue may I ask you to…… . Such language is hard to be construed as confrontational by the customer. Oftentimes, our word choice can be the difference in our provision of a great customer experience. Every customer deserves a measure of respect, therefore it’s important to ensure that the customer feels that you’re providing assistance versus their being a lecture recipient. Be conscious of how you provide assistance and be sure to stay away from the dreaded six words – What you need to do is….

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