8 Tips for Consistent Good Customer Service

December 30, 2014 by  

Good customer service is the lifeblood of any business. You can offer promotions and reduce prices to attract new customers, however unless you can encourage some of those customers to come back, your business won’t be profitable for long.

Good customer service is all about retaining customers for repeat business and referrals. It is also about sending them away happy – if they do not leave feeling satisfied, customer service is a misnomer. You want them sharing positive feedback about your business with others, who may then be enticed to try your product or service for themselves and in turn also become repeat customers.

The essence of good customer service is forming a solid relationship with customers – one that the individual customer feels he would like to retain and grow.
How do you go about forming such a relationship? By remembering the one true secret of good customer service and acting accordingly; “You will be judged by what you do, not what you say.” Providing good customer service IS a simple thing.

If you truly want to have good consistent customer service, all you have to do is ensure that your business consistently does the following:

1) Always answer your phone.
Have call forwarding, an answering service, or staff if you necessary. But make sure that someone is picking up the phone when a customer calls your business. People who call want to talk to a live person, not an automated message taking device.

2) Don’t make promises unless you will keep them.
Reliability is one of the main keys to this consistency. If you say, “Your new unit will be ready for occupancy on Tuesday”, make sure it is ready on Tuesday. Otherwise, don’t promise it. The same rule applies to appointments, deliveries, etc. Nothing annoys customers more broken promises.

3) Listen to your customers.
Is there anything more exasperating than telling someone what you want or what your problem is and then discovering that that person hasn’t been paying attention and needs to have it explained again? The most important skill you require for consistent good customer service and long term meaningful relationships: active listening! Allow your customer to talk, show them that you are listening by making the appropriate responses, and ultimately suggesting possible solutions to their problem or directly addressing the concerns expressed to you.

4) Deal with complaints.
No one likes hearing complaints, however if you give the complaint your attention, you may be able to please the person and that will indicate your willingness to provide good customer service…..that will make you memorable in a positive way and possibly put your business ahead of the competition!

5) Be helpful – even if there’s no immediate profit in it.
Doing something nice for a customer to solve a simple problem will leave a very favourable impression on that person, especially if you do it for free. Then when they actually need something in that realm they will be most likely to think of you and what you offer because the memory is positive.

6) Train your staff to be always helpful, courteous, and knowledgeable.
Do it yourself or hire someone to train your staff so that they are all dealing with issues in the same consistent manner achieving positive win/win outcomes. Emphasize the importance good consistent customer service and what they should be doing to accomplish it. Most importantly, give every member of your staff enough information and the power to make those small customer-pleasing decisions, so they can be flexible enough with company policy to provide a solution that allows the customer to walk away happy.

7) Take the extra step.
If someone is looking for an item in your establishment, don’t just tell them: “It’s in Aisle 3”, rather take them to the item and see if they need anything else. Whatever that extra step may be, be sure you and your staff do it! People notice when someone makes an extra effort and will be likely to tell others about that pleasant experience.

8) Throw in something extra.
It could be a coupon for a future discount, additional information or a demonstration on how to use the product, or a genuine smile. Human beings love to end up with more than they expect. It does not have to be anything big to be effective. An art framer could attach a package of picture hangers to the back of every picture framed……a small thing, but greatly appreciated.

If you employ these 8 simple tips regularly, your business will become known for its consistent good customer service. The interesting twist about good customer service is eventually it will attract more new customers than promotions and price cutting!

5 Skills Necessary for an Effective Salesperson

December 18, 2014 by  

Effective salesmanship can be achieved by learning and implementing the skills required to retain and increase sales targets. So combine your energy and talents with these key skills and enjoy the outcomes.
1. Be authentic and honest about your product/service
Having confidence in your self is crucial. If you be true to yourself or believe in your product, you could lose your prospect before you begin. You need to have the persistence to gently convert the disinterest of a prospect into his longing by filling his/her need and solving their problems. If you fail to do this, you will not be closing many sales.

2. Speak Less, Listen More
No doubt a salesman is required to be a speaker, however listening will offer you a far better chance to discover what the prospect is looking for and then you can “spin your pitch” to fill that need. Ask relevant questions so that you can get to know the prospect by being a good, focused and engaged listener. When you do this you establish trust, respect and rapport, the cornerstone of long lasting and meaningful relationships…..key to every successful salesperson.

3. Perseverance
Do not turn away at the first no. Perhaps your prospect was not ready, or busy with something more pressing. Try to find out when would be a good time to call again. Benefits of a product or services are always more effective and enticing to a prospect than the features. So be sure to do your homework and know your prospect well.

4. Bond for a Cause
Building a strong, wide reaching network is essential for a salesperson so that they can extend their reach to a larger possible market. Networking regularly and effectively helps to build, nurture and maintain those important relationships.

5. Keep Learning New Sales Skills
Embrace a positive attitude toward learning new things. Be open to new ideas and theories as this will surely open new doors for you. Keep taking sales training to help you develop, improve and expand your sales skills.

It is never too late to gain new knowledge….if you lack a particular skill, you can always adopt it, practice it and then make it part of your strategies. Your most important asset is your attitude….keep it positive and you will be able to accomplish your goals!

To be an effective salesperson takes commitment, perseverance and a lot of preparation….follow the 5 suggestions above and watch for great results!

Seven Mentoring Elements for an Effective Manager

December 9, 2014 by  

Effective managers require  good mentoring abilities if they expect to help guide their team members to reach their potential.  By following these 7 elements, managers can more successfully support and encourage their people toward higher performance…an advantage for everyone.

1. Develop and define the relationship
This involves assessing your own readiness, and selecting someone to mentor and get to know over time. The two of you will build trust, set goals, and develop a strong bond.  The results will be of benefit to the entire team.
2. Sponsor
Creating new opportunities for your mentee will allow them to develop new skills that will improve their performance and increase their visibility in the organization.  Again providing benefits to everyone.
3. Survey
Mentors always keep their eye out for new opportunities as well as harmful situations. It is important to watch out for rumors, people taking an adversarial position relative to the mentee, shortcuts through the system, low-visibility or no-win assignments, and high-visibility or win-win assignments.  Making sure that relationships are based on trust, respect and rapport is a key role for the mentor.
4. Guide and counsel
In time, you will become one of your mentee’s most trusted confidants. You should help them understand conflict, and tell them when their actions are a poor fit for the organization in a constructive manner.  Humans do make mistakes, these are opportunities to learn.
5. Teach
This may be one of the more fun aspects of mentorship. You’ll impart your knowledge as well as assign tasks that will further your mentee’s education and increase their skill set.  This can ultimately provide them with other opportunities.
6. Model
You have to be aware of your own behavior, because mentees will pick up cues from you, adopting your sense of ethics, values, beliefs, etc.  You set the example, so need to commit to a respectful, encouraging, supportive and acknowledging culture.
7. Motivate
Inspiring, encouraging, and validating your mentee is all part of a mentorship program. When you are able to link their personal goals to the values of the organization, their engagement and productivity will improve.  This will again benefit everyone.

Every mentorship is different, and these tips will need to be adapted based on every unique situation. Remember, too, that mentorship isn’t a one-way street; the mentee will need to be flexible, honest, and engaged. You will learn as you mentor, just as much as the person with whom you are working.
People will seek a mentor. Make yourself available, and be the best mentor your employees could have…..this will be a win/win for all involved!