10 Customer Service Tips for 2015 – CRM Magazine

Focus on the human element to inspire your employees

By Jonathan Gale

As January rolls around again, it’s time to reflect on the highs and lows of the last 12 months and plan for the year ahead.

Whatever happened in 2014, think of 2015 as a clean slate—a new, shiny, fresh-out-of-the-box year, which you can make your own. Here are 10 customer service tips to ensure that you—and your customers—have a happy new year.

1. Aim to inspire.

You don’t have to be Superman to inspire; you just need to make your staff feel valued and demonstrate that you appreciate the value of their work.

Unsurprisingly, most workers aren’t motivated by the thought of the company’s shareholders making more money, so simply showing your team an upward profit margin on a graph is hardly inspirational.

Instead, consider the value of what you give your customers. Whether it’s that the product or service your company sells has had a real impact on their life or just that your excellent service has made their day, it’s the human element that is really going to motivate your workforce.

2. Ensure goals are attainable.

You could set 20 goals for your team this year, but if only a few of them are realistic, you’ll create a demoralizing work environment.

Research published in the Harvard Business Review shows how to strike the right balance. The study, conducted by a team at Florida State University, demonstrates that setting a goal that is a range, rather than a specific number, has a huge impact on whether the goal is met.

The research looked at weight loss groups, and found that asking people to lose between one and three pounds per week was more effective than asking them to lose two pounds.

This works because the range makes the goal seem more attainable, but the option of achieving more adds an element of challenge. The same principle can easily be applied to call center targets.

3. Find the right bottom line.

Along with employee- or team-specific goals, you need to establish a customer service ethos that acts as a bottom line for what’s expected from your team.

This should not be result-oriented, but rather relationship-oriented. For instance, this could be trying to say something in each call to make the customer smile or laugh or just calling the customer by name.

4. Manage customer expectations.

Customer service is all about expectations. Whether customers are new or returning, it’s likely they will have an impression in mind about the service they will receive. It’s the job of your agents to ensure their expectations are met—and preferably raised.

This is where a good service-level agreement comes in, along with the proper training for your staff so that they know exactly what’s expected of them. This then has to be communicated to your customers, ideally before they even pick up the phone.

5. Align customer service with other business units.

Get out of the mind-set that customer service is a solitary branch of the business, disconnected from marketing, sales, and business development.

Instead, make it your New Year’s resolution to collaborate more with other areas of the business. Customer service can play a huge role in showing where the business is going wrong and where it’s going right.


6. Ensure you have the right mind-set.

It’s easy to slip into the wrong mind-set at work. One trap contact center managers often fall into is thinking of their customer service team as the defense team, in place to fight off angry hordes of customers.

This is particularly true if you’re constantly striving to meet efficiency goals and begin to see unhappy customers as “getting in the way.”

If you’ve felt that your team was leaning that way toward the end of the year, you now have a chance to start fresh. Remind them that it’s not a case of customer versus agent; both agent and customer should want the same thing.

7. Review the metrics you use to measure success.

Contact center managers can often spend months tracking particular metrics, without considering whether what they are measuring is really having a positive impact on customer satisfaction.

One example of this is average handle time. If you put too much emphasis on chasing a low score, it can result in agents slamming the phone down after every call to ensure their personal stats stay low.

This often doesn’t correlate with a rise in customer satisfaction.

8. Consider the training your agents need to tackle the challenges they may face in the new year.

When you review the past year, it’s important to look for areas of weakness, both as a company and as individuals, so that you can plan a training program for the next year.

9. Don’t neglect individual goals.

Your team is made up of individuals, and they all have their own strengths and weaknesses. If you can take the time to understand what each person needs to develop, you can help to motivate them.

10. Say “thank you.”

Sometimes it’s easy to forget the simplest tip of all when it comes to both customer service and management—saying “thank you.”

Look back over the last year. How often did you thank your employees? It’s probably less often than you remember. But saying “thank you” is one of the most important aspects of people management. It helps your team to feel motivated, equipping them with the positivity to handle customer complaints or tough calls in the best way.

It’s also essential to make sure these two words are in your agents’ vocabulary. Just as they need to feel appreciated, your customers do too.

While the nitty-gritty of goals is up to individual contact centers, as long as you focus on motivating staff, providing a clear focus, and setting relationship-oriented goals, there’s no reason you can’t deliver excellent service, call after call. How are you planning to boost customer satisfaction this year?

Article Source “-10 Customer Service Tips for 2015 – CRM Magazine

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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.

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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!

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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.

Play 
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

How to Open a Restaurant in 8 weeks in Malaysia

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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.

Here is a detailed step-by-step ebook to guide you in planning your finances, obtaining necessary licenses and opening your first restaurant in Malaysia

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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

 

 

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