Five Ways to Poise Customer Service for the Future

It’s Monday and the first day of Customer Service Week. Let’s begin by setting goals for a long-term strategy to make sure that customer service is one of your company’s competitive differentiators.

I think it’s a fair estimate that a typical customer service representative handles more than 10,000 calls a year. That’s 10,000 interactions, 10,000 opportunities to positively influence the customers’ loyalty toward the brand and the company. There is no other department so uniquely positioned to achieve this goal. The Customer Service Department must take its place on the C Suite level to have the greatest impact.

 Here are five ways Customer Service can demonstrate its value and be a top rung in the organization’s ladder. 

1. Turnover in Customer Service is extremely high. According to Forrester’s analyst, Kate Leggett, having less than a 20 percent turnover for call centers is considered good, with some experiencing over 100 percent. As issues become more complicated and communication instantaneous, organizations must have agents who are competent and well trained with comprehensive information about your company’s products and services.  By definition, this requires longevity.  Representatives should be appreciated and compensated for their expertise. It’s important to include representatives in the decision making process.  They are an integral part of the bottom line profitability.

2. Stakeholders are critical to Customer Service.  Many departments within a company rely on Customer Service to support them with information not easily obtained otherwise. Consider getting feedback from stakeholders to assess their satisfaction levels. Discover additional services that Customer Service can provide to stakeholders to further support their functions. This will result in additional exposure and help secure supplemental budgets for personnel, training and technology.

3. Customers demand a personalized experience. There are new innovations in technology almost daily and multiple products and services from which to choose. Delivering a unique customer experience becomes even more crucial.  Hiring customer service agents with specific skill sets and providing ongoing training is mandatory.  The customer service representative must have the necessary tools to accommodate an individual’s specific needs and requirements.

4. Executives need to walk the talk. Posting letters from C-Level executives highlighting the importance of Customer Service doesn’t mean anything.  Company executives should spend at least a half of a day a year responding to telephone and email inquiries. Feedback should be provided about what they learned from the experience and the processes.  Sending wave files of selected calls won’t achieve the same goal.

5. It’s more than just putting an empty chair in your meetings. Jeff Bezos, from Amazon, placed an empty chair at all meetings; that represented the ”customer.”  This was to keep in the forefront that the customer is central and what would they think of any new ideas suggested.  But is that sufficient?  The person or team in charge of Customer Service should also be in those meetings. That department has the direct connection to the customer. An empty chair can’t talk. Customer Service has its finger on the pulse of what customers want.

Bottom line:  Customer Service is responsible for customers, a company’s most important asset.  Let’s celebrate Customer Service Week by acknowledging both the customer and those who represent them and make sure we give representatives the tools, authority an recognition they well deserve.

Article Source :-Five Ways to Poise Customer Service for the Future

About the author:  Richard Saporito is a NYC Restaurant Insider with more than 30 years experience.  He is currently the President of Topserve Restaurant Consulting, Inc. and the author of “How To Improve Dining Room Service.”  Discover how to improve your restaurant’s dining room service and dramatically increase your profits here:

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This book says everything I have always believed. Its not only the Chef that makes a restaurant successful. The wait staff is also important. Most successful restaurants all have one thing in common…
They provide customer service which exceeds their customer’s expectations!

From the statistics below you will see why its so important
Well, consider these statistics from the White House Office of Consumer Affairs in
Washington, DC…
For every complaint you’re aware of, there are 26 additional customers who
have unresolved problems or complaints…

A dissatisfied customer will tell 9 to 15 people about their displeasure and
sometimes they will tell as many as 20.

On the other hand, this same group also found…
Up to 96% of customers would do business with you again if they felt you acted
quickly and to their satisfaction and many said they would refer other people.

On average, happy customers will tell 4-6 people about their positive experience.

The Fact Is…
Businesses that provide extraordinary customer service can improve their
profitability, increase market share and will have customers who are willing to pay
more for their products and services simply because of the extraordinary service
they receive.


10 Heartwarming Stories of Remarkable Customer Service 2014

Everyone needs to a dose of customer service inspiration every day. Here are ten heartwarming stories of outstanding customer service performed by businesses who “walk the talk” when it comes to delivering the kind of service that wins a customer over for life. Read on!


Everything I Know About Customer Service I Learned at Disney World

That’s me, spinning away on the Mad Tea Party at Disney World

My family and I just returned from the Most Magical Place on Earth, otherwise known as Walt Disney World in Florida. If my calculations are correct, this was my 9th visit there, and my husband’s 11th. Yes, we love it and we’re not ashamed to admit it. We have some friends and family who don’t quite understand why we keep going when there are so many marvelous places in the world to visit. And I see their point, but we can’t help ourselves. There’s just something extra special about the way they do things there. And that’s no accident. It’s very intentional, in fact.

Disney is in the business of creating experiences for its customers. This is much different from simply providing a thrill here and there. For this reason, Disney World doesn’t have rides – they have attractions. And it’s not just a difference in terminology – Disney also values storytelling, hence nearly every attraction offers some kind of narrative or story that is incorporated into the experience.

While in Disney World last week, I visited the One Man’s Dream attraction at Hollywood Studios, which is a mini-museum of sorts all about Walt Disney’s life and how he grew his company to be one of the most successful of all time. I learned that when developing his theme parks, Walt Disney wanted to do things differently and completely redefine guests’ expectations of what an amusement park could be. He firmly believed that they were putting on a show for guests. Therefore, those who worked at Disneyland (and later Disney World) were to be called “cast members” rather than “employees” (and they still are).

Walt’s extreme attention to detail regarding every aspect of the “show” was carried out in all areas, and he wanted everything visible in the parks to be “stage ready” at all times. For instance, before Disneyland opened, it was common for amusement parks to have trash strewn about – they weren’t known for being clean, tidy places. But Walt set a completely new standard and never settled for the status quo, and this continues today. If you pay attention, you still see countless Disney cast members discreetly sweeping and cleaning the streets throughout the day, and debris on the ground is minimal.

In addition to putting on a great show, Disney knows a thing or two about good old-fashioned customer service. Thousands of people visit Disney theme parks daily, yet cast members still know how to make individuals feel special. From the way they warmly addressed my 5-year-old daughter as “princess” to the way our server at the 50’s Prime Time Café took extra time to offer us “insider” tips without us even asking, Disney cast members consistently go above and beyond what we typically experience elsewhere.

And this is even more amazing considering the gobs of people that they interact with on a daily basis. It’s a challenge in any customer-facing job to remain upbeat when having conversations about the same things over and over with different people all day long. I think we’ve all had interactions with employees of companies who made us feel like we were just another number, or who obviously thought we were stupid for not knowing something, or who seemed to be rattling off a scripted answer that they had already recited a hundred times that day. So I find it especially impressive when, as a customer, I encounter employees who are able to keep it fresh time and again, no matter how many people they’ve already interacted with that day.

The naysayer might say, “Sure, Disney’s got great customer service, but they bring in billions of dollars. They can afford to focus on those details.” But I believe that they became successful in large part because of that intentional dedication to high quality and first-class customer service. I daresay that their success has less to do with the product they offer, and more with how they deliver it. Keep in mind that I’m raving about a place where people regularly experience heat in the upper 90s, suffocating crowds, and attraction wait times of up to two hours. Yet you don’t hear too much about those things – most people are mesmerized by the experience that has been created for them.

I’m not saying that every single aspect of Disney World is perfect or that every Disney cast member is an exemplary model of customer service. But overall, Disney has a heck of a lot figured out – so much so that other organizations turn to them for consulting on customer service, leadership, innovation, and brand loyalty, among other topics. Additionally, numerous books and articles have been written about Disney’s commitment to excellent customer service (just do a Google search for “Disney customer service” and you’ll see what I mean), so they are definitely doing something right.

The great news for the rest of us in the business world is that we don’t need princesses, parades, and castles to pull off Disney quality. What we need is an intense focus on making our customers feel special; to remember that thousands may come through our doors (or inboxes), but each one of them comes to us for a first time. For any business to thrive, we must convince the customer that once is just not enough.

As a consumer, when have you had a really outstanding customer service experience? Or if you’re in the business of serving others, what do you do to ensure positive experiences for your customers? I look forward to hearing your thoughts!
Article Source  Everything I Know About Customer Service I Learned at Disney World


A Simple Approach to Great Customer Service from Pike’s Place Fish Market

Customer Service Lessons from Fish Sellers

I came across this book on display at a group team building activity in my former hotel. This Team Building company brings lots of different corporate groups to our hotel. This particular group was learning about providing Great Customer Service. The book looked like a children story book similar to the cover of “Who Moved my Cheese”. It even had a boring cover with just the word “Fish” and a drawing of a fish on it. So I just passed it by. Yes I am guilty of Judging a Book by its Cover. 
Then lately my present boss, highlighted of about Customer Service and how we can try to make the work more fun even for work that is boring and mundane. He highlighted about the Pike’s Place Fish Market in Seattle, America that is famous. People go there not only to buy fish but also to see the antics of the staff there. He said that there is even a motivational book written about this place. I remembered this book and got it. Like most books in this lens, its a simple to understand and a fun read. The book shares with you how to boost your employee morale and thus increases your revenue.

Seattle- Monday Morning
The story starts with an introduction on how a First Guarantee Financial supervisor named Mary Jane Ramirez life changed after the death of her husband within a year of moving to Seattle. And how she reluctantly accepted a promotion to manager of the dreaded third floor. A department which is the joke of the other departments in the bank. A place that everyone wishes they didn’t need to come in contact with. Some department managers say that the third floor is able to suck the life out of you. Working there she realized why people dreaded coming to third floor. It was due to staff doing everything slowly. She then pondered on how she can bring life to the third floor. She noticed that the job was boring, so she needs to make the job exciting.
One day to avoid hearing negative comments about her new department during lunch breaks. She normally goes for lunch by the waterfront, but today she happens to take a turn towards the market. Here is where she finds the world different from what she knows. She finds the Famous Pike Place Fish Market. She is amazed at the energy of the people selling fish there. They seem to enjoy their work. In between the chaos she happens to chance upon Lonnie, one of the workers there. Lonnie offered to explain how she can use the Fish Market’s strategy in her workplace. The very next day, during her lunch break she rushes to meet up with Lonnie. He explains that all jobs are boring. Then he goes on to say the first strategy that makes the Pike Place different from the other fish markets, the first strategy is as follow. The first strategy is “There is always a choice about the way you do your work even if there in not a choice about the work itself” 

Choose Your Attitude 
Lonnie shares with Mary Jane how he and his friends changed their attitude when they come to work everyday. Everybody thinks working in a dreary,wet and cold fish market can be a difficult job but Lonnie and his friends come to work with the right attitude. With this thought in her mind, Mary Jane went back to work and confronted her boss on what was commented by the big bosses in the meeting. Her boss then gave her a recording of the meeting. Mary Jane started to notice that by changing her attitude, she in turn changed her surroundings. Everything started to fall in place and she plan to bring this same attitude to work on Monday morning. She makes a note that she have to change her attitude first before she can change others. On Monday morning she calls for a meeting with her staff and highlighted the concerns of the VP and how he referred to the third floor as toxic energy dump. After her talk, she found out her staff wanted to change but they needed a push. She saw some improvement in their attitude.

The second ingredient was what kids do best and we forget to do as we go older which was PLAY . Lonnie teaches that the fish market uses play in their daily work and with that they enjoy their daily job. The benefits of using play in our daily work life is productivity improves, there is a low turn over, teamwork and friendships. This I noticed in my present job, I am so afraid in failing or looking bad to my bosses. I didn’t enjoy myself therefore I felt work was boring. Even in my home life, me and my other half used to be playful but lately we both became serious and had a lot of arguments. So now I changed my attitude and played more at work and at home.

Make Their Day 
The third ingredient to great customer service was to include your customers in your play. This will give a lasting impression to your customer. People will always remember something unique that they have done. Include your customers but don’t go overboard.

Be Present 
The last ingredient is to be present. This is an important ingredient that I am trying to teach my managers. A manager have to be present in the restaurant. He have to be seen talking and showing concern about the food and beverages served. I learnt this technique from a manager in my former place. There we had a very slow kitchen, where food normally comes out after 1 hour. What most people do is to normally hide in the kitchen. So naturally we received a lot of complains. But what one new manager did was to go from table to table talking and assuring the customer the food will be out. He made sure the food came out fast and hot. He keeps telling the staff if the food is served steaming hot, then the customer will know that the kitchen is slow. If its served cold then the customer will think we were slow in pickup

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This explains the numerous restaurants, cafes, warungs, bistros, or kopitiams in almost every corner of Asian countries. It seems like everyone knows and wants to open a restaurant. You don’t need to be a chef to open a restaurant. In fact, most restaurant owners can’t even cook.! Many are politicians, singers, actors, models, housewives, retirees, businessmen who love food or even foreigners who want to introduce food from their homelands. While anybody can open a restaurant, it takes a trully hardworking, dedicated and discipline entrepreneur to open and operate a successful restaurant.

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The Brilliant Basics to Exceptional Restaurant Service- Free E Book

Service in the front is as important as as a good chef. I have mentioned this in my website Restaurant Promo Ideas previously. You can have the best Michelin Star Chef, but if your staff can’t sell the product or can’t get the food item to the customers table properly and promptly. You will slowly loose your customers.As customers are the life blood of any restaurant, your business will gradually decline. There are lots of resources on the net to help you train your service staff both free and with a price tag. This free ebook consist of 13 chapters of the author’s experiences and knowledge in relation to restaurant service. The Brilliant Basics to Exceptional Restaurant Service