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Sarah Hedayati - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog

Developing Customer Relationships: A Tip From Our Field Service Engineers

If you're like other peo­ple inter­ested in cus­tomer ser­vice, you’re con­stantly on the look­out for ways to develop cus­tomer rela­tion­ships. Some cus­tomers are eas­ier to engage than oth­ers, but recently I’ve seen great cus­tomer ser­vice from field ser­vice engineers.

I recently sched­uled an appoint­ment with my gas com­pany to get my pilot light re-lit. When the field ser­vice engi­neer arrived, he car­ried with him his tool kit. He got down on the floor and started inspect­ing my wall heater. It was filthy! As he was work­ing, he edu­cated me about heater safety.

Here are five take­aways we can gather about devel­op­ing great cus­tomer rela­tion­ships from my expe­ri­ence with this field ser­vice engineer:

1.     Instill Con­fi­dence

My expe­ri­ence – The field ser­vice engi­neer explained what he was doing as he did it. I appre­ci­ated his knowl­edge and exper­tise. He made me feel con­fi­dent in his abil­i­ties to not only re-light my pilot light, but inspect my heater and make sure it was run­ning correctly.

Take­away – When you are assist­ing cus­tomers with a gen­eral inquiry or an issue, let them know you will do every­thing in your power to fix the issue that occurred.

2.     Build Rap­port

My expe­ri­ence – From the moment the field ser­vice engi­neer entered my home until the moment he left, he dis­played a pro­fes­sional and friendly demeanor.

Take­away – When­ever you’re in con­tact with a cus­tomer, in per­son or over the phone, act pro­fes­sion­ally and set the expec­ta­tion for ser­vice. You want to start to build a rela­tion­ship with your customers.

3.     Go Above and Beyond

My expe­ri­ence – The field ser­vice engi­neer came for one pur­pose, to re-light my pilot light. He inspected, cleaned, and re-lit the pilot light. As if that wasn’t enough, he checked my car­bon monox­ide detec­tor to make sure it was working.

Take­away – When­ever work­ing with cus­tomers, try to do some­thing extra to show them you care and are there to offer ser­vice to them. Cus­tomers notice when you go above and beyond.

 4.     Show Empa­thy

My expe­ri­ence – Once the field ser­vice engi­neer dis­cov­ered my car­bon monox­ide detec­tor wasn’t work­ing prop­erly, he edu­cated me on what to do and why it was impor­tant to keep the detec­tor work­ing properly.

Take­away – When you’re assist­ing cus­tomers with a ques­tion or an issue, show you under­stand their con­cerns and are going to help them resolve the issue. Really lis­ten up and tune into what they are say­ing. After they explain what is going on, con­firm you under­stand the sit­u­a­tion and they under­stand the steps you will take to resolve the issue.

 5.     End on a High Note

My expe­ri­ence – Once the field ser­vice engi­neer was done, he made sure to give me extra safety infor­ma­tion I could read on my own time and he filled out a form telling me what I needed to do to keep my heater run­ning safely.

Take­away – When you fin­ish your work, let cus­tomers know what to expect. Are there steps they need to com­plete? Is there some­thing you need to do back at the office for the issue to be fully resolved? Who can they con­tact if they expe­ri­ence a prob­lem or have ques­tions? Make sure your cus­tomers know who to reach.

To learn more about devel­op­ing excel­lent cus­tomer rela­tion­ships in the field, check out our field ser­vice train­ing page.

- originally published on the Impact Blog at http://www.impactlearning.com/developing-customer-relationships-a-tip-from-our-field-service-engineers/ - learn more about call center sales training, the customer service experience, and customer service training programs from Impact Learning Systems.

Publish Date: March 2, 2012 7:42 PM


The Employee Experience: Motivate, Empower, Invest

There’s a con­cern brew­ing in employ­ers every­where. If the econ­omy keeps mov­ing in a pos­i­tive direc­tion, employ­ees may take their tal­ent else­where. A trend for 2012 is improv­ing the employee expe­ri­ence.

Dou­glas Matthews, pres­i­dent and chief oper­at­ing offi­cer for Right Man­age­ment, reported in Chief Learn­ing Offi­certhat 80 per­cent of work­ers may now be actively seek­ing new jobs. In another arti­cle, Metlife reported “…only 47 per­cent of employ­ees sur­veyed feel very strong loy­alty to their employ­ers. Just three years ago the same sur­vey showed 59 per­cent of work­ers felt very strong loy­alty.” It’s time for com­pa­nies to respond by tak­ing on a new mantra for 2012: moti­vate, empower, invest.

Moti­vate

Employ­ees need to be con­nected and engaged to enjoy work­ing at a com­pany. Goals and moti­va­tion help in this endeavor. Tim Houli­han, vice pres­i­dent of Reward Sys­tems at BI World­wide, says “…the stim­u­lants that get us into high achieve­ment are these: our abil­ity to set chal­leng­ing goals, our abil­ity to get emo­tion­ally engaged in our work, and our abil­ity to focus.”

Sit down with employ­ees and find out what moti­vates them. Elaine Vare­las, a man­ag­ing part­ner at Cam­den Con­sult­ing Group, says “After a cer­tain thresh­old of earn­ings, there are more things to moti­vate peo­ple – fun things such as trips, din­ners at expen­sive restau­rants, experiences…The VIP treat­ment may mean more than the actual cash value.”

Empower

Some com­pa­nies are empow­er­ing their employ­ees to make serv­ing their cus­tomers the num­ber one priority.

South­west Airlines

I heard a story recently about a South­west pilot that held a plane 12 min­utes for a grand­fa­ther to make the flight. His grand­son was ill and only had a few hours to live. South­west teaches their employ­ees to not hold a plane for any­one. Wait­ing for his cus­tomer was more impor­tant than meet­ing his require­ment. The pilot made his own deci­sion based on spe­cial circumstances.

Ritz-Carlton Hotels

Employee empow­er­ment is at the fore­front of Ritz-Carlton. When co-founder Horst Schulze was in charge, employ­ees each had $2,000 to use to serve cus­tomers with­out get­ting prior approval.

Nord­strom

When new employ­ees start at Nord­strom, they receive an employee hand­book that includes this sin­gle rule: “Use best judg­ment in all sit­u­a­tions. There will be no addi­tional rules.”

Invest

Invest­ing in employ­ees is the way to show them you value their con­tri­bu­tions to the com­pany. This can be shown in sev­eral ways. Con­sider train­ing for exam­ple. If met­ric lev­els are dif­fi­cult for an employee to meet, pro­vide train­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties to improve skills.

Lori Freifeld writes in an arti­cle for Train­ing Mag­a­zine, “When it comes to train­ing, the most impor­tant part of moti­vat­ing is let­ting peo­ple know what the value of the train­ing is to them per­son­ally – will they be more knowl­edge­able about the stock mar­ket; will they learn how to deal with con­flict in the office, etc.”

Now that the New Year is well on its way, con­sider how you can incor­po­rate this trend into your man­age­ment strat­egy. Soon enough, employ­ees will be say­ing “I HEART my job!”

 

Post #10 in the Top Ten Cus­tomer Ser­vice and Sup­port Trends for 2012 series.

 - originally published on the Impact Blog at http://www.impactlearning.com/the-employee-experience-motivate-empower-invest/ - learn more about call center sales training, the customer service experience, and customer service training programs from Impact Learning Systems.

Publish Date: March 2, 2012 7:08 PM


Creative Employee Incentives

Pro­vid­ing incen­tives for employ­ees is a great way to boost morale, pro­duc­tiv­ity, and pro­mote a har­mo­nious work envi­ron­ment. Even more impor­tantly, offer­ing incen­tives to your employ­ees in a non-traditional and cre­ative way allows you to keep track of improve­ment and reward staff for a job well done. Another great char­ac­ter­is­tic of incen­tives is their flex­i­bil­ity. Incen­tives don’t have to be used solely to honor an employee.

Tra­di­tion­ally, employee incen­tives come in the form of a pay increase or bonus money. While this mon­e­tary com­pen­sa­tion can undoubt­edly moti­vate your employ­ees in the short term, it is by no means the only way to encour­age top-notch per­for­mance from your staff.   Many employ­ees are moti­vated to increase their skills and knowl­edge by the prospect of pro­mo­tion or job enhance­ment. In fact, accord­ing to some stud­ies, employ­ees have cited var­i­ous incen­tives besides a pay increase that moti­vate them to achieve goals. Some of these include:

  • Recog­ni­tion for hard work.
  • Bet­ter work envi­ron­ment and work­ing conditions.
  • Job secu­rity.
  • Employer con­tri­bu­tion to a retire­ment plan.

In addi­tion to these ideas, you can also cre­ate an incen­tive sys­tem that is tai­lored to the spe­cific needs and wants of the staff in your com­pany. A way to do this is to ask your employ­ees, either through a sur­vey or in a pri­vate meet­ing, to iden­tify what rewards would be most mean­ing­ful to them. Include this “wish list” in their employee file. When the time comes around to show your appre­ci­a­tion of the employee’s hard work, you can ref­er­ence this list to help you reward them in a way that they would appre­ci­ate. For exam­ple, if Rich, an agent in your con­tact cen­ter, loves cof­fee, you might want to reward his small suc­cesses with a gift card to his favorite cof­fee shop. Other ideas could include free movie tick­ets, a gift cer­tifi­cate to a favorite store/restaurant, or even someone’s favorite choco­late treat!

Rewards are also a good way to boost employee morale dur­ing changes within the com­pany. If your busi­ness is imple­ment­ing a new tele­phone sales sys­tem, for exam­ple, you can use small gifts and perks to help smooth the tran­si­tion and make sure employ­ees feel appre­ci­ated for the effort they are putting forth to adjust to a new sys­tem. Fol­low­ing are addi­tional ideas for pro­mot­ing suc­cess and reward­ing accom­plish­ments within your company:

  • Give peo­ple their birth­day off with pay. Honor them and encour­age them to have fun on their spe­cial day!
  • Reward agents for report­ing other agents doing some­thing well.
  • For excep­tional achieve­ments or mile­stones, write a per­sonal let­ter of acknowledgment.

Incen­tives moti­vate your employ­ees and show them you value their con­tri­bu­tions to the company.

-- Originally published on the Impact Blog at http://www.impactlearning.com/creative-employee-incentives/

Publish Date: March 2, 2012 7:07 PM


Selling Skills: Features and Benefits

The first post in this sales series focused on prod­uct knowl­edge and the ways sales reps can use that infor­ma­tion to help make a sale. Pre­sent­ing prod­ucts to poten­tial cus­tomers is when under­stand­ing fea­tures and ben­e­fits becomes cru­cial to an effec­tive sales presentation.

In order for sales reps to be suc­cess­ful, they need to know how to trans­late the fea­tures of a prod­uct into ben­e­fits to the cus­tomer. An arti­cle from ClickZ sug­gests, “Focus on emo­tions, not intel­lect. Emo­tions are the gate­way to mak­ing a buy­ing deci­sion. Ben­e­fits are the lan­guage of emo­tion. Fea­tures are the lan­guage of logic. Even peo­ple who insist they buy log­i­cally or based on fea­tures do so because that's what makes them feel better.”

To put this into per­spec­tive, think about why you buy clothes. If you were to buy purely on logic, you would only buy clothes to keep you warm. If you were to buy with emo­tion, you would buy from a store with the best sale, a designer with the best style, a line of cloth­ing made with the best mate­ri­als, etc. When you buy with emo­tion, you are look­ing for benefits.

Step One: Deter­mine Cus­tomer Desires, Needs and Problems

In order for sales reps to be able to trans­late the fea­tures of a prod­uct into ben­e­fits to the cus­tomer, they need to find out what the desires, needs, and prob­lems are for the cus­tomer. With that knowl­edge, the sales rep can explain the direct ben­e­fits of their product.

How does a sales­per­son find out the customer’s desires, needs, and problems?

Sim­ple. Some needs are uni­ver­sal: time, wealth, esteem, ease of use, con­ve­nience, and secu­rity. If the sales reps can uncover how their prod­uct meets each of these uni­ver­sal needs, they are one step closer to defin­ing why a cus­tomer needs their prod­uct. Some needs are more impor­tant to one cus­tomer than to another. For exam­ple, if a sales rep is try­ing to sell me sun­screen with a high sun-protection fac­tor, I would be more inclined to buy because of an expla­na­tion that focuses on how much longer I can stay out in the sun with­out get­ting burned ver­sus how inex­pen­sive the prod­uct is to buy. A dif­fer­ent cus­tomer may need a dif­fer­ent expla­na­tion to per­suade him or her to keep listening.

Another approach to uncov­er­ing needs is to ask cus­tomers what is impor­tant to them. If sales reps don’t ask, they may never know!

Step Two: Trans­late the Fea­tures Into Ben­e­fits to the Customer

Now that the sales­per­son under­stands the customer’s needs, he or she can tai­lor their descrip­tion to fit those needs.

Share these phrases with your sales reps to help them explain benefits:

What this means to you is…

This allows you to…

Using these phrases will help the sales rep put the fea­tures into words that relate directly to the customer’s needs. Going back to my exam­ple, if a sales rep uncov­ered my need for long last­ing sun­screen, he or she could explain the ben­e­fits of the sun­screen like this:

Sun­screen pre­vents the sun’s ultra­vi­o­let radi­a­tion from reach­ing the skin. Our sun­screen has an SPF of 30. What that means to you is that you can spend 30 times longer than you used to be able to with­out get­ting burned.

With this state­ment, I can pic­ture how I would ben­e­fit from pur­chas­ing the sun­screen. Per­son­al­iz­ing the ben­e­fits is the goal.

 

Do your reps strug­gle with trans­lat­ing fea­tures into ben­e­fits? Do they have a hard time uncov­er­ing the needs of poten­tial cus­tomers? If you’re not sure, lis­ten in on calls or call in your­self and see what it’s like to be a cus­tomer. Pro­vide tele­sales train­ing for your staff so they can become con­fi­dent sales reps that bet­ter under­stand buyer needs and can eas­ily match prod­ucts to meet those needs.

Stay Tuned: This post is the sec­ond in a series of three on help­ing reps close more sales. Com­ing up is the final post on ask­ing for the sale: a crit­i­cal and some­times uncom­fort­able step to clos­ing the sale. Find out how to ask for and close the sale with confidence!

- originally published on the Impact Blog at http://www.impactlearning.com/selling-skills-features-and-benefits/ - learn more about call center sales training, the customer service experience, and customer service training programs from Impact Learning Systems.

Publish Date: March 2, 2012 7:06 PM


7 Tips for Coaching Difficult Employees

Whether you’re a man­ager, super­vi­sor, or trainer, one of the inevitable aspects of your job is the need to deal firmly and fairly with prob­lem employ­ees. Just as there are any num­ber of rea­sons why an employee can become a problem—bad atti­tude, inabil­ity to do what’s required, unre­spon­sive­ness to feed­back on per­for­mance, and so on—there are var­i­ous ways to han­dle the issues and the employ­ees who cre­ate them.

Fol­low­ing are seven tips to keep in mind.

  1. Deal with the issue right away. If you delay your response or ignore the issue alto­gether, you may look weak and inef­fec­tive. You’ll also send a mes­sage to other employ­ees that they too can get away with inap­pro­pri­ate behavior.
  2. Stay calm and poised. Because you’re the one in the posi­tion of author­ity, you’ll set the tone of the dis­cus­sion. Always main­tain a pro­fes­sional demeanor and con­vey a tone that says,  “This isn’t work­ing. How can we fix it?”
  3. Allow the employee to vent. Just as you would an upset cus­tomer, give the employee a few moments to air his or her griev­ances. Some­times this vent­ing is exactly what a per­son needs to do before calm­ing down and dis­cussing the issue more rationally.
  4. Empathize. Let an upset or dis­grun­tled employee know that you’re aware he or she has strong feel­ings about the issue and that you’re inter­ested in help­ing the employee to resolve them. Empathiz­ing is not the same thing as agree­ing. It just lets peo­ple feel heard and acknowledged.
  5. Focus on the issue, not the per­son. No mat­ter how strongly you believe that the employee’s behav­ior or atti­tude is at the root of the prob­lem, don’t make the issue a per­sonal one. You want to com­mu­ni­cate that you are for the employee but against the behavior.
  6. Always give the employee an out. It will only fur­ther upset employ­ees if they feel that they’re being backed up against a wall. When work­ing to resolve an issue, be sure to give the employee an oppor­tu­nity to choose the cor­rect out­come of the discussion.
  7. Focus on a solu­tion. When emo­tions are run­ning high, it’s all too easy to get stuck in a con­tin­u­ous cycle of dis­cussing the prob­lem. Once the issue has been clearly iden­ti­fied, move the dis­cus­sion for­ward by focus­ing on ways to resolve it.

Print this list and keep it handy for the next time you need to coach a prob­lem employee.

---

- originally published on Impact's Customer Service Blog at http://www.impactlearning.com/7-tips-for-coaching-difficult-employees/  - learn more about call center sales trainingcustomer service training programs and customer service assessments from Impact Learning Systems.

Publish Date: February 23, 2012 6:17 PM


A Little Rapport Goes a Long Way

No mat­ter what prod­uct or ser­vice you offer, sell­ing to a cus­tomer you have truly con­nected with is much more ful­fill­ing than a sale to just some ran­dom cus­tomer whom you’ll never think of again. Not only will you come away feel­ing excited and opti­mistic, but your cus­tomer will too, and that can prove very valuable.

Devel­op­ing a con­nec­tion with your cus­tomers can do won­ders for your com­pany and give you a com­pet­i­tive edge by increas­ing cus­tomer loy­alty, the poten­tial for out­side refer­rals, and of course the chance to sell more.

So, how do you build this con­nec­tion? Fol­low­ing are a few tips and tricks to help you estab­lish a rap­port and trans­form a sim­ple sale into a good relationship.

  • Show inter­est in the human ele­ment. Show­ing inter­est in your cus­tomer is one of the eas­i­est ways to start build­ing rap­port. Ask him how his day has been, refer to him by name, or talk with him about more than just the topic at hand. You’d be sur­prised how just a lit­tle ges­ture can affect the tone of the call and the tenure of the relationship.
  • Lis­ten. Focus your atten­tion on what your cus­tomer is saying—not on what you want to say as soon as he fin­ishes speak­ing. Not only will you find out more about his needs than you oth­er­wise might, but you’ll also give him the sat­is­fac­tion of being heard and understood.
  • Find some­thing in com­mon.  Large or small, find­ing some­thing you and your cus­tomer have in com­mon pro­vides a lit­tle token for your cus­tomer to remem­ber you by.
  • Fol­low Up. Take a cou­ple min­utes out of your day and send your cus­tomers a follow-up email thank­ing them for their time and inter­est. Or, if it’s been awhile since you spoke, give them a call to ask them how the prod­uct or ser­vice is work­ing out.
  • Be a per­son that your cus­tomer wants to know. If you’re hon­est and sin­cere and if you act with integrity in all you do, your cus­tomers will have a pos­i­tive impres­sion of you, your com­pany, and the prod­ucts and ser­vices you provide.

There are dozens of tech­niques for build­ing good rap­port with your customers—and hun­dreds of rea­sons why doing this is a good idea. For more tips and tricks, check out another blog post on main­tain­ing mean­ing­ful rela­tion­ships with your customers.

- originally published on Impact's Customer Service Blog at http://www.impactlearning.com/a-little-rapport-goes-a-long-way/  - learn more about call center sales trainingcustomer service training programs and customer service assessments from Impact Learning Systems.

Publish Date: February 23, 2012 6:16 PM


Selling Skills: Understand the Product

Are you happy with the per­for­mance of your sales team? Do they have a thor­ough under­stand­ing of your prod­ucts and how to present them to cus­tomers in an engag­ing way? In-depth prod­uct knowl­edge is a crit­i­cal com­po­nent of sales success.

Use Prod­uct Knowl­edge to Sim­plify Explanations

Sales­peo­ple may under­stand how a prod­uct works, but they may not know how to explain the prod­uct clearly and suc­cinctly to a prospec­tive buyer.

Think about the last soft­ware demon­stra­tion you viewed.. The sales­per­son has given the pre­sen­ta­tion count­less times, whereas you were see­ing it for the first time. Were you able to fol­low along with every mouse click and screen tran­si­tion? Or did the sales­per­son run through each slide too quickly for you to under­stand how the soft­ware might help you in your busi­ness? Did the sales­per­son use jar­gon? Or were you able to clearly under­stand the product’s fea­tures and the ben­e­fits to you?

Sales­peo­ple need to sim­plify the expla­na­tion. Joe Rawl­in­son, from Return Cus­tomer says, “Use a men­tal anchor that con­nects what you offer to some­thing the cus­tomer already under­stands.” The goal is for the cus­tomer to be able to visu­al­ize what the end result will look like. No surprises.

Key Take­away: The eas­ier it is for a buyer to under­stand what the prod­uct does, how it relates to them, and how they would ben­e­fit from using it, the eas­ier it is to close the sale.

Use Prod­uct Knowl­edge to Gain Con­fi­dent Customers

Cus­tomers expect sales rep­re­sen­ta­tives to be knowl­edge­able. When sales­peo­ple are knowl­edge­able, cus­tomers have con­fi­dence in the com­pany, the prod­uct, and their buy­ing expe­ri­ence. If a sales­per­son hes­i­tates or doesn’t have clear answers to sim­ple ques­tions, cus­tomers begin to ques­tion their pur­chase decision.

Key Take­away: The more con­fi­dent sales rep­re­sen­ta­tives are in their pre­sen­ta­tions, the more con­fi­dent the prospect and the more likely the sale.

Use Prod­uct Knowl­edge to Put the Cus­tomer at Ease

When poten­tial cus­tomers call, will they receive a clear expla­na­tion of the prod­uct and the pur­chase process? Or will be they be over­whelmed with terms and con­cepts they don’t understand?

One of the first times I walked into Star­bucks, I ordered a medium cof­fee. The barista replied, “We have Tall, Grande, or Venti.” Rather annoyed, I said, “Whichever one’s the medium size.” She retorted with, “Well dif­fer­ent peo­ple have dif­fer­ent def­i­n­i­tions of what medium means to them.” My ini­tial annoy­ance quickly turned to extreme irritation.

Imag­ine how cus­tomers feel when they don’t under­stand the salesperson’s jar­gon. Few peo­ple will ask the sales­per­son to explain. Instead, they’ll put off the pur­chase deci­sion or pur­chase some­place else.

Key Take­away: Put the cus­tomer at ease by giv­ing easy-to-understand prod­uct infor­ma­tion. The less acces­si­ble the infor­ma­tion is to the cus­tomer, the less likely the sale.

How do you know if your sales staff is per­form­ing? Lis­ten to calls, give out quizzes, be a secret shop­per. From there you will find out what kind of job aids and train­ing the sales staff may need. Develop prod­uct train­ing that sticks. If the train­ing depart­ment is over­whelmed, a num­ber of com­pa­nies offer cus­tom train­ing tai­lored specif­i­cally to the needs of your team.

Stay Tuned: This post is the first in a series of three on help­ing reps close more sales.

- originally published on Impact's Customer Service Blog at http://www.impactlearning.com/selling-skills-understand-the-product/  - learn more about call center sales trainingcustomer service training programs and customer service assessments from Impact Learning Systems.

Publish Date: February 23, 2012 6:15 PM


Customer Experience vs. Compensation: a Customer Service Showdown

 

 

The other night, I went to din­ner at one of my new favorite restau­rants. When I sat down, I couldn’t help but notice the table next to me was not hav­ing a pleas­ant din­ing expe­ri­ence. The two din­ers’ body lan­guage said it all. They both had their arms folded and were clearly try­ing to get the waiter’s atten­tion by star­ing and ges­tur­ing for him to come over to the table. He apol­o­gized sev­eral times for some­thing I could not deci­pher. A few min­utes later, what seemed to be a com­pli­men­tary dessert arrived.

This expe­ri­ence got me think­ing: was the dessert enough to turn the unhappy din­ers into repeat and loyal cus­tomers? Ask your­self this ques­tion: would you rather pay full price for a meal and receive good ser­vice or get a com­pli­men­tary dessert for bad service?

Although I appre­ci­ate, and some­times expect, some kind of com­pen­sa­tion for bad ser­vice, I would much rather pay for a pos­i­tive expe­ri­ence. Peo­ple don’t go to restau­rants hop­ing to get bad ser­vice so they won’t have to pay. Or at least I don’t think so.

An arti­cle from QSRweb.com stated, “What makes a restau­rant expe­ri­ence mem­o­rable for a cus­tomer, nine times out of 10, is how they're made to feel rather than what they eat.”

So why are com­pa­nies invest­ing money in reim­burs­ing upset cus­tomers when they should be train­ing their employ­ees to pro­vide the best cus­tomer expe­ri­ence pos­si­ble? If gain­ing loyal, repeat cus­tomers is the goal, train­ing is the answer.

Cus­tomer ser­vice train­ing teaches employ­ees first and fore­most how to com­mu­ni­cate pos­i­tively and pro­fes­sion­ally with cus­tomers. Train­ing also helps employ­ees with:

  • Devel­op­ing skills to help build rap­port with customers
  • Learn­ing how to respond to cus­tomer requests
  • Ques­tion­ing and con­firm­ing cus­tomer needs
  • Han­dling angry and upset customers

Some say cus­tomer ser­vice is a dying art. John Sul­li­van, a restau­rant indus­try ana­lyst and con­sul­tant, dis­agrees. He says, “All restau­rants bet­ter pay atten­tion to ser­vice or they will lose cus­tomers almost instantly.”

- originally published on Impact's Customer Service Blog at http://www.impactlearning.com/customer-experience-vs-compensation-a-customer-service-showdown/ - learn more about call center sales trainingcustomer service training programs and customer service assessments from Impact Learning Systems.

Publish Date: February 23, 2012 6:13 PM


Is it Possible Frontline Employees Don't Understand Service?

What hap­pens when your front­line employ­ees don’t seem to have cus­tomer ser­vice skills? Cus­tomer ser­vice is more than being polite and help­ful. Ser­vice needs to begin the moment a cus­tomer steps foot in your busi­ness and car­ried through­out every inter­ac­tion they have with your com­pany. If you want to retain cus­tomers and build rap­port, you need to build con­sis­tency in the ser­vice you pro­vide through­out every level of the company.

Imag­ine a com­pany that deliv­ers dif­fer­ent lev­els of ser­vice from front­line employ­ees to sup­port pro­fes­sion­als. I had an expe­ri­ence once where the sup­port pro­fes­sional advised me to avoid com­mu­ni­cat­ing with the front­line employ­ees. Can you imag­ine that? This com­pany has a prob­lem on their hands. Have you encoun­tered this expe­ri­ence or does this describe your company?

Don’t panic! Apply­ing the fol­low­ing quick tips and pro­vid­ing train­ing to all of your work­ers will improve your staff’scus­tomer ser­vice skills and cre­ate sup­port pro­fes­sion­als in no time.

Why pro­vide train­ing to ALL of your work­ers? If you only train one depart­ment, your busi­ness will be described like the one men­tioned above. Avoid this at all costs.

The fol­low­ing are three steps to help your staff improve their skills and become sup­port professionals:

Step One: Meet Customer’s Expectations

Employ­ees need to keep in mind they are striv­ing to meet customer’s expec­ta­tions, not their own. This can be hard, espe­cially if the employee feels like they know what the cus­tomer needs. If work­ers keep the clients expec­ta­tions in mind, they will have hap­pier customers.

Step Two: Focus Your Attention

When com­mu­ni­cat­ing with cus­tomers, work­ers need to give their undi­vided atten­tion. Seems like com­mon sense, right? Wrong. Often times, work­ers feel like they know the answer to every buy­ers ques­tion and they for­get to lis­ten. Employ­ees need to give each cus­tomer atten­tion tai­lored to their needs. This can come from ask­ing ques­tions to guide the con­ver­sa­tion or repeat­ing the clients answer to show understanding.

Step Three: Empha­size the Positive

Work­ers need to under­stand the impact of a pos­i­tive atti­tude. Learn­ing how to phrase sit­u­a­tions that arise in a pos­i­tive man­ner can affect the way a cus­tomer sees the sit­u­a­tion. This can take train­ing and coach­ing for staff to grasp this cus­tomer ser­vice skill and how to switch what might seem like a neg­a­tive sit­u­a­tion into a positive.

These three tips will get your staff improve their cus­tomer ser­vice skills and move in the right direc­tion to all becom­ing sup­port pro­fes­sion­als. Your employ­ees have what it takes, so give it a shot. Your cus­tomers will thank you.

- originally published on Impact's Customer Service Blog at http://www.impactlearning.com/is-it-possible-frontline-employees-dont-understand-service/ - learn more about call center sales training, the customer service experience, and customer service training programs from Impact Learning Systems.

Publish Date: February 23, 2012 6:11 PM

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