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Trustpoint Management Group-TX, LLC | Addison, TX

Customer Service

Peter Drucker once wrote: Companies can become places that allow ordinary people to achieve extraordinary things.

Retail champions, the subject of my book RETAIL SUCCESS IN AN ONLINE WORLD, outlines not only how to connect with customers face-to-face but also a long-term engagement strategy for after the customer leaves the store. 

Read Time: 6 Minutes

The phone is an important business tool. But remember that the person on the other end should command the same respect and attention as if they were standing right in front of you.

Let’s state the obvious here: Your customer is your business and customer satisfaction is crucial to the success of your business.

Starting off the day is tough when our most annoying client calls in with the usual simple problem that he is over-reacting to. We sigh and answer the phone - all while making the facial gestures of a person eating oysters for the first time in their life.

You’ve heard the old saying, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity…” but how often are you preparing for or thinking about adding value to a client relationship?

You need to be able to actively listen and actually involve yourself in what the customer is telling you about their situation.

One of the most important skills a customer care provider can have is the ability to read, evaluate and act on a situation.

Ask any customer care provider who their customer is and they will answer: present customers, past lapsed customers or new prospects who may need our products and services.

Learning how to assert yourself in a way that is nurturing and relationship-building, is a skill that frontline people must develop.

Our attitude and beliefs around each of our customers should come from the perspective of what the lifetime value of that customer brings to our company, and ourselves.

If you want to be a good customer care provider, understand where your communication blind spots, or gaps, and work on constant improvement to your communication skills every day.

How many times have you had a conversation with a customer thinking one thing was going to happen only to find your expectations were misread? Establishing a strong up-front contract with the other person on what is to happen next is a good way of initially defining expectations.

We need to fix two things: we need to fix the problem and we need to fix the customer.

I am optimistic for Barrow, Hanley, Mewhinney & Strauss after reading about them hiring Bill Braxton as Director of Client Development. Dedicating sales talent to a market segment that is in the company’s core skill set but which has not received adequate focus is often a fast track to new clients.

Every new behavior is learned, and the sooner we try things, the sooner we’ll get more comfortable with it

Learn how to do a simple five-part client satisfaction call using the RECON framework. Caroline Robinson, Sandler trainer from the UK, talks about checking in with your clients and getting on the same page.

Never contribute to a customer's explosion, and never react by saving stamps of your own.

To work with customers, either selling or in customer service, you must believe in your products and services, in your company, and most importantly, in yourself.

The more opportunities you have to interact with your clients, the better, and the beginning of the year is an opportune time to reach out and reconnect with your clients and prospects to get in front of them in the new year.

The more opportunities you have to interact with your prospects, the better, and the end of the year is an opportune time to reach out and reconnect with your clients and prospects to get in front of them prior to the new year.

Has your frontline service team ever driven away prospects that actually wanted to buy? It’s a scary thought.

It’s vital that companies anticipate what their clients need currently and what they will need in the future. That’s shouldn’t be an earth shattering revelation to anyone in sales, but many organizations let complacency rule rather than positioning themselves for the future. Client needs drive your business, so make it a priority to anticipate those needs and be positioned to offer a solution.

I was recently visiting a client’s office where there were some unusual posters on the walls of their lunch room. All around the room, at eye level were the results of their monthly customer care surveys. Each month was represented by the results of a quick ‘Likert’ survey completed by customers.

On the front lines our days are a series of conversations with both customers and our internal partners. Choosing our words typically comes naturally, without much thought. We may choose our tonality carefully, but often don't consider the actual words we're using.

Is the customer's problem your problem? Most customer service professionals will say "yes" but their day-to-day interactions don't always back up the statement. It's not uncommon for customer care professionals to fall into a routine and begin interacting with clients in an egotistical way.

Business development is fast-paced now and isn’t showing signs of slowing down. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the clutter of new techniques, emerging technologies, and more specialized analytics. Although those components – and some others – can play a major role in your level of success, it would be a mistake to spend too much time on them and ignore the basics.

The sales industry is fast-paced now and isn’t showing signs of slowing down. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the clutter of new selling techniques, emerging technologies, and more specialized analytics. Although those components – and some others – can play a major role in your level of success. It would be a mistake to spend too much time on them and ignore the basics. Before you get carried away learning this or that, remember to take it back to your roots and ensure that you are providing optimum customer service. If you have strayed a bit or are just looking for a reminder, below are five imperative tactics to employ in your practice.

Summer can be a challenging time for businesses. Reduced productivity from individuals going on vacations or taking time off can lead to poor customer care.

Using social media for customer service management is a relatively new concept but one that has really caught on. Like most technological advances there are some ways to use social media that are highly effective and provide your costumers with just what they want.

Businesses spend significant time and effort in attracting customers to a product or service. But a post-sale follow up with customers, is often neglected or a short term initiative right after a sale. While getting initial feedback is a good way to develop our product and service, getting longer term feedback allows us to build strong lasting relationships with customers.

It's always nice to have options. When customer service professionals are faced with a situation where a client is not going to receive what they were promised, it's a good idea to have options for the client that will help alleviate the problem. However, those options need to make sense. In an attempt to alleviate problems customer service professionals sometimes present solutions that don't really address the client's issue.

No one likes to be wrong. Worse yet people hate to admit when they are wrong. This can be especially damaging in a customer service situation where a customer service provider relays incorrect information and then needs to backtrack. Customers lose faith in the competency of the product or service, customer service reps often get defensive, and neither party leaves the interaction with a sense of accomplishment. Overcome this limitation by double checking information and indulging customer requests.

Meeting customer's expectations is a common focus but engagement is frequently overlooked. That's a costly mistake because our focused attention and engagement, our presence, affects how customers perceive us.

Writing out commitments and next steps can save customer care professionals from time consuming and disruptive misunderstandings.

Check for a customer service candidate’s overall people skills before you make any hiring decision!

The very best people skills that candidates will ever employ are on display in the interview situation as they try to win a position with your company. If they don’t capture you there, do you really want them in front of your valuable customers?

I heard a story recently that perfectly illustrates how Customer Service teams can help increase revenues.

Sales and customer service have an opportunity for symbiosis that is often not utilized. This failure often arises from a lack of communication or infighting. Setting up communication channels between sales and customer service helps prevent inter-company resentment and sets positive customer experience as the shared team goal.

This customer service model exemplifies the concept that it's the small, thoughtful gestures that often win over new customers.

How much attention are you paying to the expectations of your clients? If your behavior is too disconnected from their expectations you are likely to encounter conflicts in unexpected ways.

Customer service is an interesting aspect of any business. Whether you call it inside sales or customer care, your frontline employee may have the most difficult job in the company. Have you ever cringed when listening to one of your frontline people on the phone? Do you find your staff to be too strict with the policies or too loose?

Just like all the other areas of a company—the warehouse, the accounting department, shipping—customer care is a process. In fact, it typically involves a number of processes, such as incoming order processing, returns and re-stocking, setting up new accounts and solving customer problems. If a customer-care candidate does not already have a process orientation, it will be an uphill battle to instill one.

Just like all the other areas of a company—the warehouse, the accounting department, shipping—customer care is a process. In fact, it typically involves a number of processes, such as incoming order processing, returns and re-stocking, setting up new accounts and solving customer problems. If a customer-care candidate does not already have a process orientation, it will be an uphill battle to instill one. Consider the following true story.

I recently shared my experience at a local car dealership with a friend and raved about the excellent service I had received. Everything was exceptional.

Instead of repeating the same customer service behaviors over and over with customers who have their unique characteristics and preferences, every employee must learn how to adjust their customer service style from one customer to the next. If we do not do this, some customers are left disappointed, even when the customer service standards have been met.

A study published in the Harvard Business Review asked the question: Why are we trying to delivery spectacular customer service? They surveyed 10,000 businesses and asked about their expectations around deliverables in customer care. The results were rather surprising.

If you want to measure productivity in your customer-care providers, measure their bias toward action before you hire. Taking action is a quality that says, “I must do something, so I’ll quickly assess the situation, decide on a path, and do something myself.” Rather than wait for the customer to call back, a bias toward action says to reach out to the customer first. A bias toward action is the proactive ingredient in customer care.

You know good customer service when you experience it. It's hard to explain at times when it's not so great, but it's easy to recognize when a customer service agent has gone above and beyond to make sure you're satisfied. At some point, every day, everyone is a customer. A good customer service experience is something that everyone can relate to - so what is it that makes for an exquisite customer service touchpoint

I have been doing a lot of traveling during the last two months. In spite of Chicago's brutal weather and some minor inconveniences, my flights and hotel reservations have gone remarkably smoothly and I have experienced a high level of customer service.

It's March Madness time, which I enjoy, but not always for the same reasons my friends do. Because I'm in sales, it's fun just to watch the teams execute their strategies and then try to figure out how these strategies apply to my own profession. And what stands out, season after season, is how predictable the plays have become and how easily they can be countered