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Tag Archive for customer experiernce

Service with a Smile

customer service

Customer service training is one of the smartest investments a company can make…

Ever talked to a phone representative who was anything but helpful? Or asked a retail employee for help only to feel like you are inconveniencing them? As the old saying goes, good help is hard to find.

 

But it doesn’t have to be that way. With proper training, companies can make sure their employees provide service with a smile—and make customers smile in return.

 

Customer Service as a Key Value

Consider customer service as an ongoing process, not just a one-time training, similar to the approach used by Quicken Loans. “Quicken Loans’ culture is built on core values that every team member is encouraged to conduct themselves by every day. One key value is serving ‘every client, every time, no exceptions, no excuses,’” says the Quicken Loans Training team. “Our Assurance team, which more than doubled in size in 2012, ensures team members have the skills needed to uphold this by providing ongoing coaching and positive enforcement when team members are speaking with clients. The key to training top bankers is reinforcing their skills and letting them know we care by not only highlighting the things they do RIGHT, but providing constructive criticism when they fall short on delivering excellent client service.”

The company also uses client feedback to provide insight into areas where they can improve. “Any time we receive feedback from one of our clients, we analyze the type of comments we receive for trends that then can be solved,” the Training team notes.

 

How to Measure Successful Service

To gain a client-based perspective, U.S. Security Associates, Inc. utilizes detailed customer feedback surveys that specifically address levels of customer service satisfaction. “To increase our overall performance, we must be able to identify the improvement opportunities available, as well as the successes we have achieved,” says Jonathan Jones, manager of organizational development. “Measurement is foundational to our goal setting and organizational accomplishment. The primary metrics the company correlates with customer service training include client retention, additional service requests by current clients, and client referrals.

“We also conduct client meetings on a weekly basis,” says Jones. “The client meetings and evaluation process are designed to measure how well our customer service and performance is meeting our clients’ ever-changing needs.”

 

service with a smile

Committing to Superior Customer Service

Treating customer service as an essential commitment is another way to increase the satisfaction of your customers. At Vi, an operator of continuing care retirement communities and home health care, all new employees receive a service commitment handbook and training is reinforced during the orientation period through classroom learning, online courses, and custom videos. In addition, Vi provides annual customer service training to all employees and offers service refresher training on professional telephone skills, managing difficult conversations, maximizing resident engagement, and resolving resident issues and concerns.

James Edwartoski, executive director, Vi at Aventura, points to the company’s customer service recognition program, which he says was a direct outcome from Vi’s 2010 employee satisfaction survey. “Employees have received this program with enthusiasm, and they feel they have a much more direct impact on how employees are recognized for customer service,” he notes.

 

Multifaceted Customer Service Solutions

The Rollins Corporation provides its subsidiary, Orkin, with training curricula in which customer service training is not just a stand-alone topic, but is part of the fabric of almost all field training programs. “One of the most successful customer service training programs in 2012 was the Orkin Promise, which was required training for all service employees,” says Training Director Craig Goodwin. “The Orkin Promise was a blended solution consisting of a 20-minute video-on-demand, featuring Orkin’s president and a fully scripted manager-led lesson, allowing the location manager to provide the corporate message while localizing content to meet specific service protocols.”

The Orkin Promise focuses on four areas of customer service that customers said have the greatest impact on their satisfaction and loyalty:

  1. Showing respect
  2. Accepting responsibility
  3. Delivering effective service
  4. Communicating effectively

Jiffy Lube International uses a similarly multifaceted approach to train employees in the art of customer service. “We incorporate customer service into every training course. We try to emphasize the customer, not the vehicle. Changing the focus has helped us change the culture at JL,” says Manager of Training and Development Kenneth Barber. “Jiffy Lube conducts thousands of mystery shops and customer phone surveys every month. The data is collected and tracked monthly, quarterly, and annually.

 

How to Start

If you want a stronger focus on customer service, start with these tips:

  • Measure your employees’ level of customer service via customer feedback on surveys, through email or with forms.
  • Use the expertise of successful customer service-oriented employees, encouraging them to mentor co-workers.
  • Make customer service a key part of your new hire training, asking all employees to make a commitment to providing a high level of service. Consider creating a form they have to read and sign stating their promise to exceed customer expectations as part of their employment requirements.
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The Importance of Consistency in Customer Service

Pleasing Customers Increases Customer Satisfaction by 20% and Revenue by 15%

 

 

When it comes to customer service, consistency is key. One of the most important considerations for customers in choosing a particular brand is consistency in service delivery. A survey conducted by McKinsey & Company across 14 different industries concluded that pleasing customers with the expected level of quality increases customer satisfaction by 20% and it also helps the company increase revenues by more than 15%.

It is critical to understand that winning customers and building loyalty takes time, and that in order to build good customer relationships, you need to deliver consistent service if you are to retain your customer’s hard-won loyalty. This is put nicely into perspective by the fact that customers, on average, will tell less than 10 other people about good service they have received, whereas the number is closer to 20 when it comes to letting people know about a bad experience.

Why is consistency valued so highly among customers?

Maintain Quality & Reliability

Consumers expect the same kind of quality each time they make a purchase or acquire a particular service. Customers base their expectations on their previous positive experiences, so it is the company’s responsibility to deliver the same level of services or beyond to ensure customer satisfaction. Consumers must be guaranteed that the products and services being sold to them will live up to their expectation and the product description.

 

Relationship Building & Emotional Consistency

The only way to build long-term relationships with customers is to offer dependable products and service. Being treated as a valuable customer both before and after a sale is of vital importance. In fact, to ensure repeat sales and customer loyalty, it is important that interactions with customers are consistent and quality based. The greater the emotional connection between your customer and your business, the higher the customer loyalty. After all, nothing is more trustworthy than consistency.

Obviously, no enterprise is perfect, and customers understand that. However, they are more likely to forgive an occasional misstep, provided the problem is handled quickly and with care. What customers will not tolerate is any kind of rudeness, neglect or failure to deliver on promises. This is put nicely into perspective by the fact that customers, on average, will tell less than 10 other people about good service they have received, whereas the number is closer to 20 when it comes to letting people know about a bad experience.

 

Communication

No matter how many loyalty programs a company offers, it won’t be able to win loyal customers until and unless the company offers consistency in communication. Communication with the business customers’ needs to be effective, to the point, and periodic. The only way customers can be expected to invest their money, time and effort into a product or service is through free and open interactions. To be able to successfully communicate at each customer touch point, strategies need to be developed for different areas of communication. These touch points can be appropriately used to strengthen the relationship with the clients and communicate all the relevant information in a timely fashion.

Furthermore, you can conduct online surveys and invite customers to provide feedback on their experiences with your organization, in order to learn what is most important to them. Once you are aware of what the key issues are, you can fix them immediately. In addition, monitor customers on all their social streams to catch praise or dissatisfaction, both of which you can learn from.

In addition, always provide clients with a time frame for expecting your response and consider setting up automated responses to incoming client emails, to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.

 

 

Customer Journey

Businesses should also keep in mind that it is not just the product or service that needs consistency, but the overall customer journey, which includes pre-sale engagement, actual sale and after sales services. The combined total of all these interactions with the company make up the customer journey. Customers who have all the control in the competitive industry are very perceptive and they pay attention to every little detail, which means that the company can’t afford to compromise on any component of customer journey. Customers expect the same level of service quality during each stage of the customer journey. If a company consistently pays attention to detail and offers high quality services, it would result in long term relationships with customers.

We found that a company’s performance on journeys is 35% more predictive of customer satisfaction than performance on individual touchpoints. Since a customer journey often touches different parts of the organization, companies need to rewire themselves to create teams that are responsible for the end-to-end customer journey across functions.

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