How To Get Your Customers Saying Wow
Just imagine. You have walked out of a shop or put down the phone after purchasing something and your immediate reaction is "Wow!" How do you feel? Excited; satisfied; fulfilled ... eager to return and buy again?
Wouldn't it be great if you could get your customers to feel the same way about dealing with you?
Lots of small business owners (and not so small!) seem to think that the customer is merely an interference. But how can you get your customers all pumped up and ready to do business with you again?
I'll share some tips on exactly how you can get a 'Wow!" response and show how it can positively impact your bottom line.
These days too many businesses seem reluctant to commit to anything. As a result, you walk away with a nagging doubt that nothing is going to happen and so the whole experience is not pleasant. What a refreshing change to get a business that provides a firm promise on dates and times or opening hours.
Can you provide a clear promise to your customers? Have a think about each aspect of your business and highlight all your 'promisables' in your sales and marketing material. One great tip - under promise and over deliver. Promise delivery in 7 days, knowing you can do it in 3 days. When the goods arrived 4 days before expected, that's a 'Wow' factor if ever there was one!
Important point - if you can't deliver it, don't promise it!
Be a Tigger
Remember Tigger from Winnie the Pooh? He's all over the place; bouncing up and down with endless energy and enthusiasm. He just leaves his friends breathless! What a great person to be with and do business with.
Are you enthusiastic when you speak and deal with your customers? Are your staff brimming with enthusiasm? If you can't project an image which says "I'm happy to be here", how can you expect your customers to feel different? So, have a Tigger day every day!
If you have a shop or office where customers visit you, what do your premises say about your business? Is it modern, fresh-looking, clean and tidy? Or is it worn, tired and generally looking run down? Like it or not, customers will judge you on what they see. They may say 'Wow' but for all the wrong reasons!
A pot of paint and a splash of colour can make all the difference and it doesn't have to cost the earth (these DIY programmes have a lot to answer for!).
Be a problem solver
Despite all businesses believing they have great customer service, the fact is that the majority don't. The main reason is that when people complain, most feel that they have not been listened to and their problem has not been solved.
Be a solver of problems - quickly and efficiently. Here's a motto for you - 'Resolve to Solve'.
Be their friend
I don't know about you, but I am a sucker for business owners who take their time to know me and recognise me when I next call or visit! The bond and the desire to do more business with those types of entrepreneurs, is strong for me.
Do you take time to build a relationship with all your key clients? Do you go out of your way to greet them when they next do business? As the saying goes, aim to turn strangers into friends and friends in to customers.
Value for money
In this day and age of new technology, and the hefty prices that go with it, the concept of giving great value is sometimes forgotten. Creating a 'Wow' moment can be as simple as giving a little bit extra, something unexpected. It doesn't have to be of huge value, it's genuinely the thought that counts.
Don't restrict this idea just to price. Price on its own may not work, it has to be tied in with something else - 2 for 1, a small gift etc.
The quality of your product must also reflect value for money. Don't try and pass off an inferior product with a superior price - you'll again create the wrong type of 'Wow' moment! Medium price and great quality - a definite and positive 'Wow'.
The real killer 'Wow' is calling your customer a few days after he has bought. Asking him if the product is fine, whether it does what he wanted it to do, is one sure way of stopping him in his tracks! If everything is great, then you have a customer for life. If there is a problem, wonderful; you have the opportunity to put it right and ... have a customer for life. This is a very simple and powerful way of creating 'Wow'.
So that's it. If you follow theses simple ideas, all your customers will be saying 'Wow' and they will be coming back time and time again. Who knows, they may even tell their friends? Now there's a thought.
Just about everyone these days has some sort of answering service, whether automated, like an answering machine, or live. When you call someone without a service, often it can get very annoying. This is especially true when it comes to businesses. However, customers do not usually want to call a business and get just an answering machine or voicemail. They want to speak to another individual that can help them with their problems or answer their questions. This makes it necessary for a business to have some form of answering service. Whether customers are calling in with orders or just calling in with questions, a business must have the proper tools in order to be prepared for the task - and that requires a well-qualified answering service.
But how do you find the right kind of answering service for you? Depending on the type of service you need, most businesses definitely need a live operator on the other end of the line. There also needs to be some form of software available so that the operator that takes the call will be able to relay the information back to you.
There are many setups for an answering service. Some software programs can virtually do all the work for you. There are also freelance operators and many organizations and companies that will do the work, live, around the clock. Once you know exactly what you need for your business, you'll have the ability to search for the best option for your needs in no time. In fact, with Internet access, you're able to find these options ready, waiting, and available for you right online. Knowing that there are these services available to take care of your business when you are not around to do so makes any business owner rest a little easier.
We Sell For Less And Our Stores Are A Mess
What kind of image do you present when marketing your products? Are you professional and well organized or does your store/site/whatever scream, "sloppy!," to those who matter the most: your customers? Let's see how one leading retailer is winning the sales war, but losing an important battle: store organization.
WalMart is dominant in so many categories with the various products that they sell. In 50 years the company has gone from a local player to a world powerhouse and is on track to expand throughout the land of the largest consumer market in the world, China.
As much as WalMart is conquering new horizons and dominating the American landscape, one problem is arising: their stores are a mess. Visit your local WalMart store at any given time and you will find throngs of shoppers but few workers. Most workers are busy at the front end of the store ringing up sales, while others are scattered throughout the store putting up stock.
Why is this a problem? Quite frankly, WalMart is a victim of its own success. Stock turns over so fast, that the store must replenish during peak store hours in order to keep everything on hand. A good problem to have, right? Not if you are a customer who wants something and you cannot navigate aisles to find what you need as boxes of stock partially block you out.
WalMart's chief competitor, Target, seems to have gotten it right. Their stores are neat; the signs to help you find various sections are big, bold, and color coordinated; and stock replenishment does not take over the aisles. On the other hand, KMart was once an industry powerhouse and many of their stores are old and disheveled. More importantly, KMart is now an "also ran" as other retailers - including WalMart - have presented a better place to shop for customers.
As much as price is a driving factor in winning the sales war, store organization and cleanliness can eventually undermine sales as customers are turned off by a messy environment and choose to go to your competitor.
While many customers will accept a lower level of customer service [less floor help available, for example], clutter will drive them away faster than low prices will pull them in. You can tout, "Always low prices, always" in your motto, but your customers will flee if they find your store to be disorganized. Competitors wait in the wings to grab what you will lose: can you afford the loss of sales?
9 Steps For Coaching Call Center Agents
The call record method is, in my opinion, one of the best approaches to coaching agent phone calls and ensuring quality. Here's a 9-step plan for effectively coaching call center agent phone calls:
1. Randomly record 2 -3 telephone calls. Random recording is important. Do not record 3 calls back to back or on the same day, as your employee may be having a bad day and this may be reflected in all of one afternoon's calls, but is not necessarily reflective of their typical performance.
2. Review the calls and note strengths and opportunities. Before meeting with your employee, listen to the calls and note what they did well and identify 1 -2 opportunities for performance improvement.
3. Play one tape and let your employee listen. During the playing of the tape, you do not need to respond.
4. Have your employee respond to the tape. After the tape is played, ask your employee to respond. Most employees will be overly self-critical. Your employee will likely note many opportunities for improvement and struggle to articulate what they've done well.
5. Coach the call. Use the "sandwich" approach. Tell your employee what s/he did well, followed by constructive feedback, and then end with positive feedback. When offering constructive feedback, share only one opportunity for improvement. The employee has likely observed and stated several improvement opportunities so there is no need to bring these up again Try to mention one thin g the employee did not bring up and offer this as your constructive feedback.
6. Gain commitment for performance improvement. Ask the employee, "What specific steps will you take over the next 5 days to improve in this area?" Write down what the employee states and repeat it to her. Summarize the session by reiterating strengths and offering a vote of confidence that she can improve in the identified area.
7. Repeat steps 2 - 6 with a second and perhaps third tape if necessary. The point of numerous recording is that an employee may respond defensively stating that was just a "bad" call. If that is the response, you may choose to review a second or third tape.
8. Follow-up before the next agent coaching session. Check with your employee in between coaching sessions to keep the commitment top of mind. You can touch base with your employee via email or a personal conversation.
9. Discuss improvement in next coaching session. Before listening to calls in the next coaching session, ask your employee how she's progressing toward the goal of the last session. Look for improvement on calls reviewed in this session.
This 9-step call center agent coaching model is simple, clear and it both praises employees and offers support for improvement opportunities.
When you follow this 9-step process, you will set clear performance expectations, coach effectively and consistently and at the same time you will be motivating your employees.
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The Voice Of Customer Service
Customer relationship management tools abound, yet let's hear it for old technology. Your voice is the most multifaceted customer service tool in your toolkit. Your voice can convey concern, care and compassion. It can alternately convey boredom, neglect or contempt. Your challenge: to insure your voice reinforces the service you strive to deliver through your actual words and action.
Customer service is about more than mouthing the words customers want to hear. You have to sound believable. How do you sound? Try this experiment. Call your own answering machine and leave yourself a message normally intended for your customers. Now replay it. Are you convincing? Does sincerity ring from your voice or are you just mouthing clich
10 Critical Decisions For Successful E Discovery Part 2
The Information Management Journal/September / October 2007- Todayีs explosion of electronic data, coupled with the December 2006 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) concerning electronically stored information (ESI), requires information and legal professionals to expand their knowledge about handling electronic discovery. The recent changes to the FRCP include:
* Definitions and safe harbor provisions for the routine alterations of electronic files during routine operations such as back ups [Amended Rule 37(f)]
* Information about how to deal with data that is not reasonably accessible [Amended Rule 26(b)(2)(B)]
* How to deal with inadvertently produced privileged material [Amended Rule 26(b)(5)]
* ESI preservation responsibilities and the pre-trial conference. [Amended Rule 26(f)]
* Electronic file production requests [Amended Rules 33(d), 34, 26(f)(3), 34(b)(iii)]
There are many opinions about how ESI should be planned for, managed, organized, stored, and retrieved. Some of the available options are extremely costly in terms of their required financial and time commitments. Constantly changing technologies only add to the confusion. One area of confusion is the distinction between computer forensics and electronic discovery; there is a significant difference. These are described in the sidebar Computer Forensics vs. Electronic Discovery.
Making the Right Choices
Successfully responding to e-discovery within the constraints of the amended FRCP requires organizations to make many critical decisions that will affect the collection and processing of ESI.
Because of the volume of information available in even the smallest of collections, it becomes necessary to manage the process to control time and budget. The following questions need to be answered:
1. Who are the key people?
The people important to a case should be identified. These key individuals include not only executives, but also assistants and other support personnel from the technology, accounting, sales and marketing, operations, and human resources departments.
2. Where are the files located?
All the potential locations of electronic evidence should be identified. These include home computers and all computers that a key person would use elsewhere (such as a girlfriend or boyfriendีs home), cell phones, PDAs, Blackberries, and any other digital device that might be used. It is important to note that MP3 players, such as iPods, can also be used to store documents or important files.
3. How can the collection be culled?
Methods for limiting the number of files collected may include collecting only those in certain date ranges or only those containing selected key words or terms. This can be done either before or after an entire hard drive is collected forensically. Known file filtering can also reduce the collection by removing standard application files common to all computers (such as the Microsoft Windowsจ logo file).
4. How should password-protected/encrypted files be handled?
Encrypted files cannot be processed until the encryption is broken. In some instances, files with exact or similar names may be available without using passwords or encryption. File locations may also provide information about the value decryptions provide. Decryption may require significant time. Sometimes a password can be obtained simply by asking for it, so this should be the first step. If that fails, using a subpoena may be successful.
5. How should duplicate and near-duplicate documents be handled?
Electronic file collections almost always include duplicates. Multiple individuals may have the same e-mail, with the same attachments. Two or more people may have reviewed key documents, saving them on their hard drives during the process. In processing electronic collections, it is possible to identify exact duplicate files and limit the number of documents that require review.
Identifying exact duplicates usually occurs during the phase in which the metadata is identified and extracted from the files. De-duping the collection will minimally delay the processing.
Standard de-duping involves identifying files that are exact duplicates and eliminating them. If anything has changed within a document, including formatting such as a change of font, it is no longer an exact duplicate and is not de-duped.
It is imperative that both sides of a case agree on what is meant by าde-duping.ำ Many electronic discovery systems literally delete the files so they are gone from the collection. The forensic tools used in law enforcement, however, usually do not delete the duplicates, but merely identify them for future use.
Discussing this definition during the pre-trial conference to ensure that all sides of a case use the same definition is imperative to ensuring that there is not a discrepancy in the number of files that each side later has.
A more significant portion of any collection will be าnear duplicates.ำ This includes files that have been significantly altered or contain only a portion of the main document. For some projects, the sheer file volume requires that near duplicates be identified and reviewed as a group. This significantly reduces review time and costs when compared to traditional linear review.
Identifying near duplicates requires comparing each document to every other document or using sophisticated software applications that require additional processing time. This technology increases consistency of review categories, reducing the chance of near-duplicate documents being identified as both privileged and non-privileged.
6. What form should the collection take?
The new rules state that the parties will meet and determine the format in which they wish to receive electronic evidence. In the absence of an agreement, the format will be that าin which it is ordinarily maintainedำ or in a าreasonably usableำ format.
The choices a legal team has include whether each side prefers to receive the electronic evidence in native file format, converted to TIF or PDF, or in some other form. Often, this will depend upon the teamีs standard litigation review system.
Such systems handle both native and converted files, with or without associated metadata and full text. There are pros and cons for both options. Native files with extracted metadata reflect the exact original file; however, they cannot be Bates labeled, which is a technique to mark documents with a unique identification code as they are processed, and are subject to inadvertent change.
Converting native files to TIF or PDF is time-consuming and is the most expensive task in electronic discovery. Because 60 to 80 percent of the files in a collection may be non-responsive or irrelevant, both the time and finances expended in conversion may be counter- productive.
The best compromise involves receiving files in native format, reviewing them for relevancy, and choosing only those that may be produced or used extensively for conversion to image format.
Managing the vast amount of electronic files for litigation requires preparation planning for the production, organization, and retrieval of pertinent and relevant documents and managing both cost and time budgets. Because every case presents unique circumstances, there are no absolute correct answers to the questions above. But a team that understands the choices and their ramifications is prepared to make the informed decisions that will result in the best possible outcomes for the case and the organization.
What Are All The Services Movers Provide
By Flemming Andersen
When you are preparing for a move, you will find that there are a lot of details that have to be taken care of. You will have a lot of preparations to handle for the big day and it will take a lot of time for one or two people to handle. Most people find it a lot easier to hire movers to take care of all these things for them. Movers can make it a lot less stressful for everyone involved.
Movers can usually be found in most areas. In some companies, they will provide different services. There are some movers that do more and others that only provide minimal services. You will need to decide what you are looking for in the moving company that you hire. Think about all the things that you are going to need done and what you are going to be willing to pay for.
Some moving companies only provide the transportation part of the move. This means that you will have to do all the packing and the wrapping. For some of the companies, you will even have to load the boxes and packages up on the truck. This may not be what a lot of people want in their moving company. They may expect the movers that they hire to do all the work for them in order to make their life easier.
If this is the case, you should look for movers that provide all the services of moving. This will include the wrapping of items, boxing them up, loading and unloading the truck and driving to the new location. A lot of people want this full service in their moving companies. For this service, however, you are going to have to pay more for the cost. In the long run, it is usually worth the expense.
Most movers will even go the extra mile to pack one room at a time and then they will label them and put them in the rooms that they belong in the new house. This great time saving step will help a lot of people with the unpacking in the new home. When you know what is in each box and where it goes, you will save a lot of time and work in the end.
Some movers even have storage units available for the customer to store their unwanted items. This great feature will be a big help in most moves. This step will let you store the items that you do not want or cannot use in the new home. You will not have the bother of trying to find room for them. The items will be safely packed away in a storage container until you want them. This will also cost extra, but it again is worth the cost when it comes to making things a lot easier for your move.
The Customer Is Sometimes Always Right
In short, yes... uhm well, no... maybe sometimes? O.k., so you might have gathered by now that there is no "short" answer. Anybody who truly believes that the customer is always right hasn't really given this policy much thought.
When was the last time someone came into your business, or called on the phone, or better yet emailed you with a throbbing case of the nasties? Our business is located just outside of the city with a bus stop in front. We also own several niche market web sites. Do you suppose we get our share of interesting characters?
Somehow, this philosophy/policy of, "The customer is always right" has been branded into the consumer's psyche and repeatedly shoved in the face of business owners, managers, and employees. Having worked in Law Enforcement for several years, we're taught by our instructors and leaders to consider "the spirit of the law" versus "the letter of the law." These considerations dictate whether or not the cop is going to give you a ticket for going 5 miles over the speed limit. If we're to follow the "letter of the law," we're going to go by the book each and every time without exception. It's the "spirit" that allows us discretion to listen to a creative story of how your lover caught you with your spouse again and "thank God you're here to protect me, Officer... and that's why I was speeding. I was trying to get away!"
Shouldn't we, as business owners and managers, have that same option of discretion when a less than reasonable customer approaches chanting that misguided mantra? Now, of course, this is not to say that we should not recognize our positions as "authority figures" and practice a higher degree of professionalism, diplomacy, and tact. All of which are vital to your business. Professionalism is the difference between giving the appearance of genuine concern, and wrapping your knuckles on someone's forehead to see if anybody's home. Diplomacy is being able to give your customer the perception that you owe them, and have provided them with, an apology by stating something to the affect of, "I'm sorry you feel that our policy has inconvenienced you." instead of actually apologizing and admitting fault for something that your company is righteous in maintaining. Tact is being able to tell your customer that it appears that your (policy, sign, product, etc.) was simply misunderstood without having to tell him/her that they're a complete moron.
Now, I'm also not condoning never admitting fault or accepting responsibility for genuine wrongs and doing everything within your ability to correct them. And there are schools of thought that strictly forbid admitting fault. Their mantra? "Better to ask forgiveness than permission." However, by the very nature of such an absolute statement such as, "The customer is always right," provides people, who for no other reason but a sense of entitlement, a free pass to come into your business with the expectation that they're going to be able to conduct themselves however they wish. This includes treating you and/or your employees with utter disrespect and rudeness. As a result, our employee attrition rate is relatively low because we allow them the discretion of practicing professionalism, diplomacy, and tact. Fortunately, most of our clientele allow us the opportunity to provide them with genuine friendly service and resolve any issues with a mutually beneficial outcome. Unfortunately, every once in a while, you come across a customer, who no matter what extraordinary efforts you deploy to appease, is simply unreasonable. With that, you must then make an executive decision and these are just a few questions that should be considered in rapid-fire succession almost immediately. Is this customer worth keeping? How adversely will kicking him in the pants affect my business? Am I able to resolve this issue with little impact on my business or bank account? Am I going to diminish my employee's sense of empowerment and/or sense of dignity by overturning their reasonable decision? I'm sure there are other considerations that you're likely to make, but these are the very minimum.
Incidentally, the person responsible for us having to endure the phrase, "The customer is always right." was a gentleman by the name of H Gordon Selfridge. Mr. Selfridge was the founder of Selfridge's Department Stores widely known across the United Kingdom. Perhaps Mr. Selfridge was stuck in the "letter of the law," as he died insane and bankrupt. Food for thought.
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