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helloCore Values
Who’s Greeting Your Customers?

Most businesses have someone who greets their customers either by taking an incoming call or in person at the business location. The way this interaction is handled can lead to the acquisition of a new customer or the retention of an existing customer.

Customer “greeters” are the ambassadors for your company and must be in the customer service mindset at all times. Their personality should be upbeat, with a natural inclination to assist your customers. Your customers deserve a smile when they choose to do business with you.

Proper body language is also critical when interacting with customers as positive and negative feelings are easily transferred to the customer through an employee’s physical actions. Voice tone and inflections are other barometers to monitor during customer interactions. It’s important to speak in an even tone, careful to only allow positive emotions to flow out to the customer.

My wife and I frequent a restaurant here in Houston because of one waitress’ customer service. The persons greeting and seating the customers could take a few lessons from the waitress. Their demeanor is somewhat cold and indifferent. On our first visit to this establishment, I asked if we could be seated by a window.

My request seemed to irritate the young lady. Her irritation irritated me! I was already thinking of “strike one” for the restaurant. The waitress saved the day with her impeccable customer service skills and we ask specifically for her whenever we choose to dine there.

Make sure that your ambassadors present the proper face to your customers to insure long-term success. Take the time to interview properly before hiring anyone to fill the ambassador role! Define what good customer service is for your employees.

Make sure they understand what is expected and train them to provide the level of customer service that your customer deserves. It could mean the difference between having someone to greet and wondering where did all of the customers go!

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helloCore Values
Be The Expert

An important factor to remember in providing great customer service is that the customer is depending upon you and or your employees to be the expert in regard to your products/services.

Whether you’re a small business owner or a manager in a large corporation, becoming an expert is critical in acquiring and retaining customers.

What does it mean to be the expert?

It means taking the time to become familiar with your products/services. How do they operate? What are the various features? How do these features benefit the customer? Which one will best fit the customer’s needs? Providing the correct answers to these and other questions builds trust with customers, which leads to long-term relationships (customer retention) and customer loyalty (long-term revenue).

Early in my customer service career with a Fortune 500 security systems provider, I learned the importance of being an expert. As an associate in the alarm monitoring center, I worked the evening shift which meant that a large portion of the commercial customers would be attempting to set their alarms at the end of their business day.

From time to time, some of these customers would encounter problems setting the alarm and would call in for assistance. After initially receiving and stumbling through several of these calls, I thought it might be best if I educated myself on the operation of the various systems (this was before we developed a formal training program).

This education proved invaluable as I became the go-to person for customers calling in with alarm issues! The knowledge gained from reading the product materials allowed me to ask the proper questions to identify the system issue before developing a resolution and I also developed a good business relationship with the customers.

While it may be fun for a while to be considered a hero, it quickly became overwhelming to be the only person with troubleshooting skills! I gathered the same product material for the other associates to utilize and we became a team of experts.

This was great for the customer to get the same level of assistance from anyone answering the phone and it also improved employee morale as the whole team became more confident in handling alarm system issues.

Are you and or your employee’s product/services experts?

Take the time to initiate product/service training so that everyone in your organization is an expert. Product/service knowledge leads to better assessments when determining how to best meet the wants and needs of your customer.

Today’s customer has vast amounts of information at their disposal. Trust me, they can tell the difference between an expert and an impostor. As the customer gains trust in your ability as the expert, referrals are close behind. These referrals cost you absolutely 0 advertising dollars! Be the expert for the long-term benefit of your business.

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helloCore Values
Great Product – Poor Service

I called my cable TV company in an attempt to inquire about the cost to add the service to 2 additional rooms in my home. After explaining to the customer service rep the need to have 2 additional wall outlets installed, she stated that they (the company) do not provide cables for connecting the receiver to the wall outlet.

I repeated the need for 2 additional wall outlets for the service and she responded with the same statement. I advised her that I was not calling to get cables, but to inquire as to the cost to get 2 additional wall outlets installed.

It was as if she was on autopilot as she repeated the same answer. It seemed as though someone was in the background guiding her as there were long pauses between my request and her reply. I requested to speak with her supervisor and was quickly placed on hold.

The next person identified herself by name and asked how she could assist. I repeated my request and she inquired as to whether or not I purchased a line/wiring maintenance warranty when I opened the account as my request would be covered by this warranty. As I could not remember, I asked that she check the account to verify.

She stated that I had not, and advised that the warranty could be purchased for an additional $5.00 to $10.00 per month. I asked if she could verify exactly what the additional amount would be and was placed on hold.

Upon her return, she advised that the additional fee would be $5.00 per month. I asked if she was sure that my request would be covered by the warranty to which she replied “Yes”. She provided appointment options and the appointment time was set for an 8 am – 12 pm window on the next day.

She then recapped the call and assured me that I would receive a call from the technician when he was en route. The technician called at 8:30 the next morning to confirm the appointment. He inquired as to what type of problem I am experiencing with the service.

I explained that there are no problems with the service, but I requested the installation of 2 additional wall outlets. He explained that he is a repair technician and would have to call the dispatcher to have an installation ticket opened.

He apologized for the error and assured me that I would receive a call regarding the new ticket. I’m wondering if the installation request is truly covered by the line/wiring maintenance warranty.

While this company’s product is great, the service is questionable. The call center personnel seem confused and unclear about what they can provide. There appears to be a disconnect between departments, as the employees do not seem to understand how they impact one another across departments.

Don’t make the same mistakes as this service provider. Examine your company to make sure your employees understand the products and services. Allow them to spend time in other departments to get the “wholistic” view of the company so as to have a better understanding of how their performance impacts others.

These simple steps can assist in creating a better work environment along with assuring the long-term happiness of your customers.

By the way, I’m still waiting for the return call regarding the new ticket! Oh well…

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