2010 #16 thru #25
Scroll down to the appropriate number
Trends and Twists
#18 Customer research - How
customer focused are you - free assessemen
The Decade of Excellence
#20 What is Corporate Social Responsibility when customers stand in long lines
#21 Motivation - The Critical Question
#22 Two Steps Turning Employees into Loyal Employees and increase customer loyalty
#23 Winning Deals by Combining Customer Service Excellence, Sales,
#24 Tips to Connecting Your
Website and Customer Service Excellence
#25 Missed number
Happy 2010 – What are you going to do with it?What role will you play in making a difference for Panama’s service excellence?Panama is a service economy - now add a SERVICING ECONOMY and we win
We can do it. Positive thinking is a team sport.
Today’s eNews – Happy New Year – with the New Year people think about resolutions
which usually means setting goals. A book title that caught my eye years ago was Don’t Set Goals,
Actions are the exciting parts of making something happen.
Here are actions to follow for
the year – do these things and if the worldwide research is true, you will have more profits, more loyal customers,
higher per sales revenue and a stronger brand.
This path below assumes 2010 revenue projections are set as well as overall goals.
Step 1 - Where are you now
Where are you now with Customers – external and internal
What does your self assessment show (attached to this email is an
evaluation included in Issue #3)
What do your customer satisfaction surveys tell you?
If you don’t have one, try an Internal Customer Service Audit (ICSA), or have a Customer Service Index
conducted. We are becoming a knowledge hub having industry
specific customer service information or can help you create tighter specifics for your targeted clients.
· Internally the higher the scores in employee satisfaction the higher your customer satisfaction scores. Where are you now with Culture·
The companies with the highest customer satisfaction scores have
CEO’s and senior executives directly involved in customer service excellence programs with the employees and clients.
(The CEO of Starbucks visits 25 stores a week)·
How well trained are people in various communications styles? Listening
skills? Handling bad situations? Managing anger? Thinking? Problem solving?
Where are you now with Processes
· What are current processes that drive you forward or hold you back reaching a higher level of service?
This is CRITICAL. People think in terms of customer service excellence training
but here it is strictly processes – for example, slow responses to pricing requests, late or no call returns, slow payments,
slow billing . The delivery by a person can be fine but the processes are not supporting the customer expectation
which can be incorrect software, workflow processes, etc.
· All that needs to be done is go into your lobby, reception area, etc and check to see how many people are waiting
in line. When checking this out, we have found 30 or 40 people standing and waiting or sitting and waiting
– banks, utilities, other services. Processes equal customer services.
Where are you now with Resources
· No budget – when necessary we are training people within companies and providing manuals for training to be
carried on into the future – by managers and employees. “We learn what we teach.”
Incentives are key. There is one story about an
employee working on solving a problem, found a solution and proudly took it to the CEO. The CEO looked
for something immediately with which to reward him and could only find a banana. From that day forward
everyone strives for what became known as the “golden banana” award.
Knowing “where you are now” is the most
difficult part because frequently records are incomplete. Sometimes it is difficult to come face-to-face
with where a company is currently. We always want it to be more than where we are. If
you need help with this step, please call us 6855-3896. We can plan a two day session with your key people
and you can get off to a solid start for 2010. NEXT STEPS
do you want to be in each of the above categories? Where you want to be usually does not occur
in a year but by spelling out goals, action plans become evident for the next year.
What are the gaps between where you are and where you want to be? This
is the creative and fun part. What are the gaps and how will they be filled? This is
where positive thinking becomes a team sport.
has shown again and again that if these steps are considered carefully and these activities include senior management and
other levels of employees, the returns far outweigh the time.
Next Week – 2010 Trends
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2010 Trends and Twists
Today’s eNews – As
statistics continue to climb showing the increases in profits directly related to customer service excellence, so do the approaches
change to capture these increases and the new ways, or twists, of thinking about it. 1. The new Panama servicing economy Panama is a service economy and Panama is a servicing economy.
of servicing brought an interesting twist.
· Keeping it (the economy) performing its intended function (customer service excellence is key to this functioning)
Prolonging the asset’s useful life
2. The new sentimental customer
Insight into customer sentiment. Generally, the talk is about
insight into customer satisfaction and customer experience. The newer conversations
are about the emotions of the customer experience. With people able to rant or rave over the Internet so
quickly and broadly, the customer sentiment has become more critical. The huge challenge everyone faces
is the emotion of anger which once unleashed causes huge amounts of damage. New twists in customer
service is a damage control plan that can be rapidly implemented.
3. The new normal
the past we were intrigued by the next new thing – the offer of the next give away, the best discount, the newest trend
, the better investment, being convinced by a sales person, etc. We as buyers, whether business to consumer
or business to business, are leaving behind the next best thing. Most sales processes begin with a search
on the web, either to the reseller or the manufacturer. The next step more frequently than ever before
are customer reviews. 82% of customers that had a bad experience will tell others. The end result is a decision based on where
we want to place our loyalty.
new expense: We know it costs 5 times more to attract a new customer than it is to keep a current
customer. Now we, as individuals and as companies, are realizing the cost of having to change our supplier
– taking out a new call center contract, finding a new retailer from whom we buy our clothing, the different grocery
store with consistent products, the car dealer, a bank that listens or the resort we like for the family
vacation. There are huge costs in finding the next company with whom we want to
place our loyalties.
new modest difference
Bruce Temkin of Forrester Research reports for 2009 that annual revenue gains
from a modest difference in customer experience can total from $117M to $311M for large hotels.
Banks and hotels garner the largest gains from focusing on improving service with current customers. The
emphasis is on modest difference. How profitable can a more aggressive effort be?
5. The new customer confidant
www.vovici.com has an excellent whitepaper about Customer Panels.
Panels have been created to minimize the times a company contacts its customers for feedback. Carefully
selected customers become a part of a panel with these people providing feedback and input. Customers participate
they value the relationship with the company,
· they like the early influence they could have
· they know their voices are heard
Incentives are offered but frequently participants feel rewarded
by having their views valued. They become a customer confidant knowing that their needs as a customer can
influence the services or the products important to them.
5 trends with a twist begin to sharpen our thinking about customer service excellence as we move into stiffer competition
yet increased profits with a focus to customer service.
Customer service excellence
and its delivery mechanisms are changing rapidly. As a knowledge hub, contact us at 6855-3896 for developing
your customer service excellence strategy and making sure you are capturing the profits associated with excellence in customer
service. It is the days of the past where customer service was viewed as just training frontline people.
2009 eNews issues are posted on the website.
Issue #1 – What is Customer Experience Management?
Issue #2 – 10 Best
Customer Service Practices
Issue #3 – Rate Your Customer Service
Issue #4 – A Voice of Experience Issue – UPS
Issue #5 – The Eco-system
of Customer Service Excellence
Issue #6 – Predicting Customer Behavior
Issue #7 – Getting Customer
Service Training to Stick
Issue#8 - How to Out Service Your Competition
Issue #9 – The Role of Management
in Customer Service
Issue #10 – Customer Service Excellence and Change – the Smile
Issue #11 – Customer
Service Excellence and Change
Issue #12 – Who is Managing Your Customer Experience?
Issue #13 – Sales-the Ultimate
Link with Customer Service
Issue #14 – 2010 Trends, Facts and Ideas
Issue #15 – The Way – Building Loyal Customers
Go to www.ics-panama.com and click on eNews, scroll to the issue number.
click on the reply button in the toolbar and type unsubscribe.
Issue #18 Customer ResearcheNews
today – What do your customers value? “A Bain survey of senior executives in 362 companies found the following:
Now, that’s a huge gap. “ from the new book Predictable Results in Unpredictable Times by Stephen R. Covey and Bob Whitman.
percent said their company was customer-focused.
- Eighty percent believed their company delivered a ‘superior
- Eight percent of their customers agreed.
Research shows over and over that the companies effectively succeeding today are customer focused.How customer focused are you? Score each item with a value of 1 through 10, 10 being high or that you know this to be true of your company. Scores
between 1 to 10 if your company does this to some extent.
Do you survey your customers regularly – every three to six months?
_____Based on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 the best, what does your score mean?If your score is 9 or 10, it is excellent – this is the area of loyalty.
Do you know what your customer’s business goals are and their key challenges?_____
Do you know specifically why your were chosen over another company?_____
Do you know what drives your customers’
key buying decisions?_____
Do you know what other companies they considered?_____
Do your executives have a customer
If important to your customer, do you have a system set up for your key accounts to relate to
Do you have a coordinated information system to track customer needs when they call into various
different points in your company?_____
Do you have customer service excellence standards set with accompanying expected
Do you have an accountability process in place?_____
Is it reviewed daily and weekly?
(One break in the chain risks a lost customer)_____
Do you know what you should stop doing that is not relevant
to your customers?_____
Do you include your frontline people in problem solutions?_____
Do you do monthly training
around some customer service excellence topic based on feedback from you customers and what they value?_____
know if your customers are referring you to other companies?_____
Do you have a loyalty program? A customer nurturing
Do you have an incentive program for employees?_____
Add you scores and divide by 17.
The scoring scale – generally in surveys people are asked to select a score:
score is 7 to 8, there is work which must be done.
If you score is below 7 it is cause for serious
concern in unpredictable times.It is argued that a rating
of 9 or 10 is required on most key issues that drive buying decisions. To be realistic, it is suggested
you segment your customers from the most valuable to least valuable and target for scores of 9 or 10 with about 50% on the
issues most important to these customers. As
a strategy, understand your strengths and weaknesses and methodically move to higher and higher scores. A
solid customer service excellence strategy is built on knowing what are the needs and values of your customers, what triggers
their behavior to buy and this in turn increases the value of your company. NEEDS/VALUES = BUYING BEHAVIORS
= VALUE TO YOUR COMPANY = CONTINUING TO LEARN NEEDS/VALUES = CONSISTENT AND INCREASED BUYING BEHAVIORS =GREATER VALUE TO YOU
COMPANYThis cycle is influenced by your internal processes
and resources which impacts your culture of customer service excellence delivery which impacts your employee loyalty and,
ULTIMATELY, your customer loyalty. In Panama, when doing a customer satisfaction survey people still favor face to face interviews but this is quite
expensive and a challenge for the researchers to make the appointment. Think about a combination of face-to-face,
phone surveys and online surveys.NOW WHAT HAS CHANGED –
People have many choices now for a bank, a phone, a
hotel, a resort, a spa, technology purchases, a restaurant, furniture, an airline and so on.This has now driven highly successful companies to keep the pulse of key customers constantly
in view.To periodic surveys has been added continuous
learning. In other words, companies want to know as soon as possible if a valued customer is beginning
to consider another choice. Here you cannot rely on periodic surveys. In the most sophisticated companies they have:·
Customer panels (see last week’s eNews for this reference)
www.ICS-Panama.com · There are designated people that monitor social network media conversations. It is on the web where someone can have
the greatest influence and it is key to know what your customers are saying – whether they are choosing a conference
hotel, a bank, automotive parts, a fleet of cars, a quiet spa- now what your customers are saying. (For
example there are many people that will not take a trip without consulting tripadvisor.com. This is true
no matter how small or large you purchase. Research shows that the majority of people consult the web before making a buying
decision.)· Some of the most sophisticated software will monitor the tonal qualities of the customer when they call.
If the tone is registering higher degrees of emotion it sends a signal directly to a trained representative and the
call will be handled immediately. Remember
it costs 5 times as much to find a new customer as it is to take care of your current customers. The key
question is – WHAT DO YOUR CUSTOMERS VALUE? We
have a system to discover what your customers value and how to develop your internal processes to execute excellent customer
service delivery. Managers will learn what is key to implement the major factor is company success given
today’s changing world. Call us at 6855-3896.
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Issue #20Does Corporate
Social Responsibility (CSR) imply Excellent Customer Service? eNews
today - The bottom line of CSR is sometimes referred to as the triple bottom line – People.
People. Many socially responsible corporations have projects helping people in
the community – health projects, education projects and many projects offering tremendous assistance.
We are all people in a community.
Who are we socially responsible to? Let’s discuss additional activities of people in a community
– the people that live in Panama, visit Panama, investment in Panama are community. Is it socially
responsible of a corporation, organization or company to let people stand in line for long periods of time, wait for un-returned
phone calls, promised yet un-kept appointments? Corporate Social Responsibility is very important, yet
most of it is centered around what we do – the energy we use, disposing of trash, extending ourselves into the communities,
abiding by certain regulations – again all very important.The
Best Business Book of 2009
Dov Seidman’s book HOW: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything….in Business,
in Life, has been awarded the distinction of the best business book of 2009 by the Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek.
no longer what you do that sets you apart from others, but how you
do what you do. Whats are commodities, easily duplicated
or reverse-engineered. Sustainable advantage and enduring success – for both companies and the people
who work for them – now lie in the realm of how, the new frontier of conduct.”People. Planet. Profit.
The triple bottom line of People. Planet. Profit can focus on how we do what
we do with the people, the planet and the profit. For example, someone talked about doing a task such as
answering the phone. The person says my job is to answer the phone. In a socially responsible corporation,
isn’t it also about how the phone gets answered, how the complaint is handled, how the product is delivered,
how service is delivered in a bank, or a store, or a software development company, or law firm? Is respect,
attentiveness, concern, attitude, quality the core of how to be socially responsible? Young leaders
A group of young business leaders wrote a business oath for the world leaders at the World Economic
Forum about companies taking responsibility for its impact on society. The core of the oath reads:
“In exercising my professional duties
according to these principles I recognize that my behavior must set an example of integrity and responsible conduct.”
believes that what we do has to be guided by integrity and responsible conduct, but the central point is how we act with integrity
and demonstrate responsible conduct – corporate social responsibility.
Social responsibility to the people we serve:
· as customers and stakeholders,
as others in our workplace,
· as people in our community.
are you defining your corporate social responsibility? CSR includes compliance, regulations, standards,
assistance projects but where do you build in the HOW?
As you launch your Decade of Excellence in Customer Service, discuss “how”
fits into your corporate social responsibility program. For any assistance call 6855-3896.
Issue #22Voices of Experience – For ForVoices of Experience – Best PracticesVoces de la Experiencia
– Mejores Practicas
A key to increased profits is the fact
that employee satisfaction increases customer loyalty. This is a best practices example of gaining employee satisfaction.
How does a gardener become a small hotel
manager? Are there lessons that can be transferred from small to large?eNews Today –
Turning employees into customer service leadersWhat
are people doing in the real world and how are they doing it?Step 1 – The orientation of
the new person into the organizationAt
this property the new employee sits with the owners and it is explained to them that they are not employees but business partners.
“When we are partners we want to have the business do better because we all do better.” Plus
as partners you will see things that need to be improved and we need to all discuss how those improvements can be made.
No one person can see all the things that need to be done but together we can see more. The owners want to make the employees feel empowered and confident
to take responsibility. How do they do that?·
Regularly there is a group meeting
where numbers are shared from the previous year compared to the current month. Goals are stated and methods
for achieving those goals are mutually discussed.· When the rooms were being painted, employees were asked for
their ideas and could bring color panels.· Tiles were ordered for the floor. Seven were chosen, all acceptable
to the owners. All seven were laid out and the choosing process began. People brought
up various criteria and debated various points until a mutual decision was reached.·
New mirrors had been ordered for
each room. Upon arrival they were laid out down the hall way and one employee relating to the rooms decided which mirror was
to go where.· There was a large walkway leading up to the main entrance. It was
not a driveway but people would sometimes drive their car up the walkway. The owners decided to buy planters
and put them in the middle of the walkway. An employee came to the owners and said he thought he had a
better idea. He drew up plans, presented them and everyone liked it much better – it had a softer
look.· Everyone gets tips. The people that clean the rooms who also double
as servers for breakfast, carrying bags and so on. The employees decided the best thing to do was to put
the money in a jar and divide up the money each week evenly. It has worked very well.What about the gardener that became a manager?
He kept showing more and more responsibility, taking classes to learn the computer, helping other people, suggesting
solutions to problems. He earned more and more responsibility until he was made the first manager at the
hotel allowing the owners more time. Step 2 – Living up to Step number 1.Change is always a requirement. Change on the part of the mangers – trusting and delegating
and change on the part of the employees – trusting and accepting what has been delegated to them and the responsibility
they must assume. This is a hotel in El
Valle, Anton Valley Hotel – small, yes, but from small places come big answers.
Today’s eNews – Before, During and After – Tips connecting
your website and customer serviceThe Decade for Customer Service
Excellence bringing Panama worldwide recognition for its customer service excellence
Customer service excellence leading to customer loyalty is a
very big picture today or, in other words, a very long chain. If the chain breaks in one place the customer
that needs you will be looking for another company. It is not a very forgiving customer service climate
Dividing customer service
and your website into three components:
Before – they buy
· During – the process
After –they buyBefore
“Before” includes the website, marketing,
sales and social media.
components involved in the potential customers’ experience almost always starts with a visit to your website
(70% of the people coming to your website are there to do research to make buying decisions).
here! When was the last time you visited your website as if you were your customer.
If people can place orders, request information, buy something – have you gone through the same process.
How long did it take for you to say wow this is easy and great, or wow this is terrible?
Marketing. What is your marketing
department’s customer-centric strategy? Where are they getting information about what services and
products to develop? Where are they getting information about how to deliver the marketing message?
In your last market survey did you find out if they would consider buying a product from you based on the website?
sales have a section on the website to offer hints or information – basically to build the relationship with a person?
Or is there only a tab to click on that says Sales?
Social Media. Today is about building relationships and like it or not social media
is here and being used very, very heavily. In all research today the numbers of social media users
is dramatically increasing. This is the word of mouth. It was nice when it happened
around a cup of coffee or over the phone but it is happening in front of the world. Do you have a social
media manager? Does the website have a blog or a twitter link? During“During” includes website,
sales and social media.
the website people will be returning for clarification. Can you track where they are going on your website
and how long they are staying? Are you able to call the customer, if appropriate, and ask if there is something
you can help with or just track it so when they call you can be prepared to answer any questions. For some
companies this is a very sophisticated part of customer service, for others it is very commonplace.
Sales is critical at this point.
As pointed out in last week’s eNews, sometimes your potential customer does not enter your sales cycle until
one-third into a buying process. The sales relationship is building on the pre-sales – the relationship
started with the website and social media. Even if sales has had some cold call connection with a potential
client, and if a potential customer is interested, they have already had an experience with the website and probably checked
you out on some social media site. After“After” includes support and social media.
The website again plays a role in product education or
problem resolution. Best, of course, is a follow up phone call but the phone call probably does not come at the time of the
problem. Again, if you are interested in what the companies are doing with the highest level of customer
loyalty, they have direct person-to-person contact or live chat 24/7.
And then the part that un-nerves everyone –
if the customer is unhappy with the service and/or the product it goes onto a social network site. Today
people are being hired to just monitor social network sites full time. Again the best companies respond
immediately to any hint of a problem. Depending upon the nature of the problem, it can be a call directly
from the president – no matter how large or small the company. Today the price is too high to pay
for lost customers or bad brand reputation.
Yes, it really is a whole new world of customer service today. It
used to be customer service meant training front line, today front line is almost everyone or everyone to some extent is a
touchpoint in the chain of customer service excellence. A website is customer service.
Issue #19 - Decade of Excellence in Customer Service
today – What incentives stimulate action? (All of these are proven through worldwide, repetitive
· Increased profits
Adding to per sales revenue
More retained customers
Impact the country’s economic growth
Increase the value of your company
Here is the focal point to achieve these results - The Decade of Excellence in Customer Service.
The vision is to have Panama recognized worldwide for its customer service excellence. Focusing
with great deliberation for the coming 10 years – tourism, banking, retail, hospitality, utilities, call centers, etc.
to strengthen Panama’s customer service image with the above benefits to tourism, investment, more business and making
people’s lives better. This is the launch of the Decade
of Excellence in Customer Service. What comes to mind when you
hear the word Singapore? Almost everyone says it is a very clean city and a good place to do business.
I lived there and it took time and commitment for Singapore to build that image. Now
envision by the end of this decade when someone says the word Panama and almost everyone says Panama has great customer service
and is a good place to do business.
Strengthening an image is a cycle that is triggered by a single key. The
key is customer service excellence known to increase value to companies and the country.
The cycle is - Enhance your customer service excellence which enhances the image of the country which in RETURN
expands the value to your company and your company continues to enhance its customer service excellence which enhances the
image of the country which in RETURN -------------
The Institute is launching the Decade of
Excellence in Customer Service. The cycle begins with a mindset of increased profits and reduced costs.
How? Start lean and target.
Target specifically and do the essentials. 3 steps. ·
1. How strong are your capabilities to deliver what the customers want and need from you?
Two assessments - one that gauges your organization’s execution capability by measuring how sharply employees focus
on and execute top priorities. The second assessment focuses on the critical points of customer service excellence delivery
– customer contact people, technology, processes, systems, management, standards, training, etc. Your
customers can tell you what they want but the company has to be able to deliver. The results of these two
assessments tell you what your delivery capabilities are.
2. The voice of your customer – what do they value, what
do they need, how do they want it delivered, what role do they want you to play in achieving their business goals.? This is
a customer loyalty index (CLI). Customers don’t want just nice people, they want a partner in you
to help them achieve their goals and in return you achieve yours.
3. The Report. Based on Step 1, is your organization
ready to deliver on the information acquired in Step 2, what your customer wants.
A report, highlighting strengths,
weaknesses and opportunities supplies long term value with strategic, tactical and decision-making information.
It spells out suggested goals with the most likely rate of rapid return, actions to be taken, methods for measurement
and means of accountability. All results are presented in a bound document and presented in a report session.
The DECADE OF EXCELLENCE IN CUSTOMER SERVICE is about the heart of customer
service excellence - compassion – how we treat each other through our behavior, our technology, our collaboration, our
social media networks, our corporate culture, our processes, our learning – basically how we want to respect each other
and be respected. Begin the decade now, measure increased profits, increase word-of-mouth
positive referrals, gain higher per sales revenue and all the other benefits.Call 6855-3896 or
206-6700 (at FranklinCovey)
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Soon to come in an eNews is an article on the corporate ethics of
customer service excellence.
Issue #21eNews Today –
The One Question that can turn around your customer service?This is a summary of an article, A Story about Motivation, from the Harvard Business Review – Weekly
Hot List, 8/2/2010 by Peter Bergman.
A gentleman walking in the rain on a sidewalk in New York City
noticed an elderly man with a walker trying to get down a stairway to a waiting handicap van at the curb. He
was almost falling and having a very difficult time in the rain. The gentleman went to help him and while
helping him other people came up to help as well. All the while the driver of the van sat in the van, dry
and out of the rain.
The driver finally rolled down the window and yelled out to the people helping the man that
the man might not make it that day. However, with determination and several attempts to get the man in
the van, the people helping him were successful.
Why didn’t the driver help? The policy of
the van company included procedures allowing drivers to help people having a problem. Why didn’t
the driver help? Maybe he did not make much money but is money such a motivation. In
research done over decades money is rarely mentioned as a motivation.
Further research was conducted to find an answer to the question
– why didn’t the driver help? Lawyers at a law firm were asked if they would reduce their fee
to $30 an hour for people in need. They said no. Their image of themselves was that they were not a $30 an hour lawyer.
Then when asked if they would contribute their services for free to people in need, most said yes. There
are variances to research but the point is that whatever similar research is conducted, the results stay consistent.
is the motivation? We all have a story we tell ourselves about who we are, what we believe in and
how we believe we should act.
People in Panama ask me many times how to motivate people to smile, greet
people and look them in the eye to say a warm hello. How are companies motivated to change processes?
How are managers motivated to coach employees in proper service standards?CRITICAL QUESTION??????Am I the kind of
person who…….. let’s an elderly gentleman stumble down slippery steps in the rain while I sit in a dry
van and watch? The vast majority of people will say no. Am I the kind of person who……. chooses not to smile at clients or customers?Am I the kind of person who……. won’t take time to give that extra help to
someone?Am I the kind of senior executive who………can
watch citizens of my country stand in long lines and have reasons why it can’t change?ORAm I the kind of person
who…… would help someone? The vast majority of people will say yes and feel very good
about helping. Am I the kind of
person who……. shows that I care by smiling warmly at people?Am I the kind of person who ……….is proactive and is determined to bring higher levels
of excellence in customer service to my company and to my country?The
CRITICAL QUESTION is Am I the kind of person who………?During training, it is important to conduct serious exercises using this question and discuss the story we
tell ourselves about who we are and what we do in alignment with our values and beliefs. To do a values and beliefs workshop call 6855-3896.
Next week will be another Voice of Experience
about using surveys in Panama for customer feedback. Find out how someone gets 50% returns when people
generally are happy with 2% to 5%.
Issue # 23eNews
Today – Winning deals and keeping customers
Bringing together marketing, sales and customer service is the rule of today not the exception.
of your prospects visiting your website today are there to research, and as many as 70% will eventually buy from you or your
competition.” However, most people will enter the sales cycle 1/3 of the way into your process.
What will make them buy from you and not your competition? Customer service excellence.
From The Definitive Guide to Lead Nurturing by Maketo.
- How do you keep from losing customers
before they enter your sales cycle?
- Do you know who visits your site and how often?
- Do you know how to contact them?
- What are guidelines for contact?
In hospitality, for example, a friend and her husband were planning
a trip to Panama and would spend several days in the city. She researched on the Internet several large
and small hotels in the area and emailed two of them for reservation information – one large well
known hotel and one small hotel. She never heard from either of them.
Was anyone aware that she had visited their sites several times while
trying to make a decision? After her contact, which would actually be entering the sales cycle, who would
see the request for information about reservations?
Whether you are in hospitality, insurance, logistics, financial or professional services – being customer
centric is essential. Here are 6 Principles
of Customer Service Excellence to make sure you are winning deals and keeping customers: Creating the nurturing conversation (for workshops on nurturing conversations, call the Institute
at 6855-3896 – it is not about selling your customer but building the relationship.
discover if you have a gap between what you believe your customers are saying and what your customer are actually saying –
call 6855-3896. The Institute has an excellent process for measuring customer loyalty.
inquiry – Proper questions are asked about the needs and what challenges exist that have created that need.
listening – Usually attentive listening begins with “Let me see if I understand …….”
It is not paraphrasing but repeating as close to the exact words the potential client used to make sure there is an understanding.
- Trustworthy respect – People
need to completely trust that each interaction will be dealt with the utmost of respect. This seems like
it should be natural but when 86% of company management think they offer excellent service and the customers they serve say
they are happy 8% of the time there is a huge gap in trustworthy respect.
- Honest communication- when marketing and
sales communicate under the guidelines of customer service excellence everyone knows
what can be promised and what cannot be promised. The customer service chain is weakest where one communication
is stated and the opposite occurs.
- Enabling change- Becoming customer centric is a major change for many companies.
Many companies believe they have their customers as their focal point. Go back to the statistic
above with a gap of 79 percentage points between what management believes and what customers say, many things have to begin
to change. Recently at a company needing help in sales when they saw customer service
on the business card, they said “We don’t need customer service.” Orientations are changing
rapidly – sales are the ultimate link with customer service. In the past people thought of
customer service as a frontline issue. Now customer service excellence starts in marketing, sales and touches
many points along the way and for the long term – nurturing relationships.
- Prompt response- This seems to be a given
but if people are overworked in the company or the processes aren’t suited for prompt response – the relationship
with the customer is at high risk. It is extremely important to know how many of your customers are at
high risk and how many are loyal based on prompt response.
mis-numbered. No article #25
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