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@economictips UniMarter Blog@economictips
42 minutes ago
***Loyalty is Heartfelt*** In banking and investing and insu economictips UniMarter
***Loyalty is Heartfelt***

In banking and investing and insurance, many thousands of service-minded people enjoy client loyalty. Yet, most labour under a false basic assumption about why clients are loyal to them or their institution, rather than competitors. What really generates loyalty is warmth.The dominant view of loyalty in financial services equates loyalty with simple continuity of service. “If they keep on dealing with you, that means they’re loyal.” This makes sense, but it lacks a basic understanding of what motivates people to be loyal.This view also supposes that people become loyal to whomever best satisfies their service requirements. “If they can read statements that arrive on time, and find good numbers in them, then you just need be nice and keep it up.” This makes sense, too. But does loyalty come simply from satisfying requirements and smiling?By conventional wisdom, good investment performance and reliable admin are not quite enough from investment advisors or financial planners. Indeed, they strive to have impressive diplomas and professional certifications, to dress for success, and to express clever perspectives. This makes sense, too. Yet, most of their clients simply assume the diplomas and certifications. People want something more.connectedness the edgeThe conventional wisdom lacks edge. Here’s that edge: connectedness – mutual connection with the individual or institution. Some have it and don’t know how or why. Some credit their office décor, and they might be right. Décor has more draw power in a place with heart, though, where people connect.True loyalty goes both ways. A customer who feels connected goes right past the competitor’s grand opening celebrations to deal with one of their favourite service representatives at their home branch of their bank. The Assistant to the Branch Manager at an investment firm’s local office remembers every client and pronounces their names correctly every time. She deals with them as if they’re loved, respected family members. They’d never go anywhere else.Connectedness transcends financial services professionals’ polished shoes and marble floors. Connectedness trumps tidy, timely admin, too. Connectedness even out-powers return on investment. In a Gallup Management Journal article, W.J. McEwen and J.H. Fleming write, “Without a strong emotional bond, customer satisfaction is meaningless.” (Customer Satisfaction Doesn’t Count, GMJ, March 13, 2003) So, if one investment advisor’s power suit is less powerful than another’s, it probably doesn’t matter – if her clients feel connected to her. Connectedness outpowers free gifts, as well.beyond incentive programsSomewhere in North America today, a financial institution is giving away a nifty gift as an incentive for a certain market segment to sign up for a new account or service. For example, a bank is giving away iPods to young adults who sign up for a new account targeted at young adults. A credit union is giving first-time mortgage borrowers a three-figure discount on home insurance.When these incentives become actively competitive, some consumers learn to hold out for better. Gallup: “This might not be profitable. That’s because repeated purchase behaviour has been motivated – or bribed – by a company’s offers of gifts, discounts, or other purchase rewards. These customers aren’t really loyal; they’re just customers who haven’t left – yet.” In such promotions, branch managers are generally rewarded on new sign-ups only. Ever wonder how many of those new accounts remain active and profitable?Some gauge loyalty by frequency or volume of transactions. If these are valid measures, then the loyalty jackpot must include a good measure of profitability. Wouldn’t it be nice if the loyalty grand prize also included mutual liking and trust? If that leads to greater depth-of-relationship or share-of-wallet, then you could make a profit and smile and dispense with trinkets.let it happenEnter connectedness. It comes from being real sincerely. It lets clients be real with you, too. In a financial service relationship, that can be rewarding.Connectedness is not a common concept in financial services. Yet, connectedness is exactly what people seek in trust-based business relationships. It is a feeling of affinity to likable, trustworthy professionals. Gallup studies link this emotional engagement to lower attrition and higher profits. I see it when investment advisors and credit unions show their true colours in brand-aligned newsletters and client events.When you like and trust your client, and your client likes and trusts you, then you have a good basis to solve their problems and earn their loyalty. If you continue to solve their problems and maintain mutual liking and trust, then you’ll enjoy loyalty that’s resilient.Glenn Harrington began working in stock trading on Toronto’s Bay Street in 1987. He joined his first credit union in the same year. He continued in working in financial services before founding his own brand-marketing consultancy in 1996. He is Principal Consultant with Harrington Newsletter Company in British Columbia. http://www.newsletterdoctor.ca
doctor@harringtonnewsletter.ca

#financial #investmentadvisor #loyalty #referrals #business #marketing #money #client #brandmanagem
@economictips UniMarter Blog@economictips
57 minutes ago
***Got Voice Mail?***
***Got Voice Mail?***

"There's not anybody who really cares about using voice messaging the way I envisioned it." According to Gordon Matthews, the inventor of voice mail, he never anticipated that his automated message system would be used to confuse and frustrate business callers. He didn't foresee how many ways businesses could devise to misuse his system.When asked what aggravates them most about modern phone communication the majority of people will say that it is voice mail. Pressed for details, they explain that it is the automated answering process that companies use to screen and direct calls that bugs them, not the basic messaging-taking function.Companies are spending large sums of money to antagonize their customers and it only seems to get worse. When a person needs help with a problem and can't reach another human, the situation deteriorates rapidly. Using the numbers on your touch tone pad is fine when you want to verify your bank balance, pay a bill or have a dry newspaper delivered; but when your pipes are backing up, your new computer just crashed, or a tree just fell on your brand new SUV, call processing may not be the answer.There are advantages to an automated system. It saves money in salaries and benefits. It prevents old-fashioned phone tag by allowing people to leave detailed messages in their own voice with clear and correct information. Voice mail crosses all time zones so people can leave and retrieve messages at their convenience.The disadvantages are that people can hide behind voice mail, often the prompts are confusing, working through the menu can be more time-consuming than speaking to a "live" person, and some people just don't like talking to machines.If your company uses an automated system to process calls make sure it provides the best customer service by following these suggestions:1. Keep your greeting short and sweet. (No one cares that your menu options have changed. They only want to know what options they have now.)2. List your menu options according to popular usage.3. Tell callers how to reach another human early in the process.4. Think twice before using voice mail for customer service issues.5. Survey your customers from time to time to see how they feel about your voice mail system.6. Try calling your own system occasionally and find out first hand what your customers are experiencing.Voice mail can be either an incredible asset to your business or an incredible pain for your customers. Don't force innocent people to spend their valuable time in your voice mail jail.(c) 2006, Lydia Ramsey. All rights reserved. Reprint rights granted so long as article and by-line are published intact and with all links made live.Lydia Ramsey is a business etiquette expert, professional speaker, corporate trainer and author of MANNERS THAT SELL - ADDING THE POLISH THAT BUILDS PROFITS. She has been quoted or featured in The New York Times, Entrepreneur, Inc., Real Simple and Woman's Day. For information about her programs, products and services, e-mail her at lydia@mannersthatsell.com or visit http://www.mannersthatsell.com.

#business #voicemail #customers #clients #telephones #communicating #communication #greeting
@economictips UniMarter Blog@economictips
hour ago
***Customer Advisory Boards*** 10 Tips for having effective economictips UniMarter
***Customer Advisory Boards***

10 Tips for having effective boardsCustomer Advisory Boards are a great source of information about your market and your business. Their advice is more valuable than any management consultant's. They provide real world counsel on what you are doing right, what you are doing wrong, and most important -how to stay competitive. After all, they're the customer. They're the one's who buy your stuff. Here's how to use your Customer Advisory Board for best results.Make it win-win.
As much as they might like to, your customers are probably too busy to be on your board as a favor. Let them know, if they haven't figured it out already, that participating on your board influences your organization to provide better product and service to theirs.Choose the right members for the right reasons.
Select your board members for qualities and values they bring. Benefit from their insight, perceptions, motivations, and ability to communicate - perhaps even their contrarian view. Avoid figureheads picked for their visibility or high positions - they are likely to skip meetings, and when they show they'll have little to contribute.Prepare your members.
Apprise members ahead of time of agenda items and provide detailed backgrounders. Prompt their thinking with questions for their consideration. When germane, ask selected advisors to prepare briefings.Don't sell to the group.
Use your advisory board for their advice. Customers will see through transparent plans to generate more sales. Increased sales will happen anyway - don't prompt for them.Your board members are special. Treat them that way.
Provide them with quality transportation, hotels, meals, refreshments, and meeting space. Make them feel highly appreciated without the sense you are wasting company money. Have your CEO or outside owners participate whenever appropriate. Acknowledge them publicly and often, and especially in print.Reward their participation.
They are giving you their time and knowledge gained from experience. What are you giving them? Dinner and theatre or sports tickets, spouse travel, club memberships, small gifts, and product or service discounts are all appropriate.Fewer meetings the better.
Keep the meetings to two or three per year. Make each meeting count with a full agenda of important issues. Have additional meetings only if you are in a crisis.Use information technology.
Members cannot make every board meeting. Use videoconferencing for virtual meetings. Teleconferencing is effective for briefer, interim meetings. Use web-conferencing tools like Webex or Placeware. Use email questionnaires to get and provide feedback. You survey tools like Zoomerang.com.Run top-notch meetings.
Appoint an effective leader, begin and end on schedule, keep to a strong agenda, review past actions and commitments, encourage total participation, keep communications open, log action items, avoid side conversations, summarize meeting results.Act on their advice.
Your advisory board will give you their best only when you act on their recommendations. That's why you got them in the first place.Paul Lemberg, author of Faster Than the Speed of
Change, troubleshoots companies and helps them increase
cash, build repeat customers and invent a secure future. Paul is a business leadership coach and public speaker. He is also the President of Quantum Growth Coaching, the world's first fully systemized business coaching program designed to create More Profits and More Life for entrepreneurs. Guaranteed.Click Here To Learn More About Our Business Coaching Franchise.

#BusinessCoaching #CustomerAdvisoryBoards #BusinessDevelopment #BusinessStrategy #GrowthStrategy
@economictips UniMarter Blog@economictips
2 hours ago
***How Important are Your Customers?*** Most businesses inve economictips UniMarter
***How Important are Your Customers?***

Most businesses invest in marketing and advertising each month but overlook another vital investment that they are already making. That investment is their employees. I've said before that your employees can make or break your company, and recently I ran into a very poinient example of that fact.I was on the telephone with UPS trying to track down a shipment that had to be intercepted so that we could get it to a client sooner. I spoke to a woman at UPS about this and she took all the necessary steps to make it happen. After two hours had passed and I had not received a phone call saying where we could meet the driver to get the packages, I called UPS back. This time I spoke to a gentleman who seemed to be new. He insisted on telling me all the reasons that this could not be done. Fortunately I had dealt with this situation before and knew that it could. After a great deal of frustration I ended the call and called back, this time speaking with another woman. This woman was one of the best customer service reps that I have ran into in a long time - she handled everything and went far above and beyond to fix the situation and make everything work for us. Before long, we got the packages and delivered them to our client.The attitude of the gentleman that I spoke to, unfortunately, seems to be the norm in customer service these days. UPS is in a fairly unique position due to their almost monopolistic position in the market, but most companies would quickly loose customers if they handled them this way. The attitude of the last woman that I spoke to however was completely different and actually solved my frustrations on the situation. The best marketing campaign in the world will fall flat if your employees do not treat your customers right while the best employees can often multiply the effectiveness of an average marketing campaign. To get the most out of your marketing dollars you should make sure that your employees are properly trained on how to deal with customers and occasionally use "mystery customers" to spot test them.Jeremy L. Knauff is the founder of Wildfire Marketing Group, an Tampa based advertising agency that specializes in creative and innovative techniques to get your company noticed. article submission service & directory submission service at rcplinks.com.

#customers #customerservice #business
@economictips UniMarter Blog@economictips
2 hours ago
***The Customer is NOT Always Right*** I bet you’ve heard economictips UniMarter
***The Customer is NOT Always Right***

I bet you’ve heard the following saying more times than you can count: “The customer is always right.” But the truth is, that’s a false statement. If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you’ve probably encountered a few situations where the customer was wrong. However, that doesn’t mean you can make whatever rules you like and the client is without recourse because the saying should actually be:The customer is always valued.If you begin with that premise, then even when an irate customer is making, what to you seem to be unreasonable, demands, you can begin negotiations from a place of respect. It can be tempting to get into a shouting match with a belligerent client who won’t listen to reason, but if you remember to always treat the customer as valuable, you can get through the dispute without raising your blood pressure too badly.An extremely upset customer may not be as respectful in return as you’d like, but that doesn’t mean you should also be disrespectful. No matter what the situation, listen to the customer’s complaints – and I mean, really listen. Don’t just give them space to vent all the while having a standard speech set to spew from your lips when they finish. By actively listening, you can better understand what the situation might feel like for that customer. It will help you to ask the right questions to find out how best to ensure this person’s satisfaction.For example, I once worked as office manager and assistant store manager of a one-hour photo shop. An angry customer came in complaining about the quality of the photos, demanding a refund and free rolls of film. The clerk called me to deal with the situation. After listening to the complaint, and perusing the pictures myself, I was perplexed. I had been in the store all week, and not only did I not recognize the man who had dropped off the film, I didn’t recognize the photos. I turned one of the pictures over and discovered it wasn’t even the type of paper we used. I pointed this out to the customer and asked him if the photos could have been developed at one of our competitor’s stores – another one-hour photo shop was at the other end of the mall. I explained about the paper and how we were contracted to only use a particular brand and not the one these photos were printed on.The sheepish customer realized his error, and I then gave him the option of returning to the competitor’s store or having us do them for him at a discounted rate. He chose to have the other store repair the error, but I gave him a discount coupon to use on his next roll of film, and he became a regular at our store.Perhaps your irate customer isn’t quite as “in the wrong” as the client in the above example, but is insisting on a refund when you have an “exchange only” policy. Before you state that – which the customer probably knows already – remember why you put the “exchange only” policy in place. If this person’s problem falls outside of the reasons the policy was established, then perhaps it would be a good idea to refund this person his or her money.In the long run, it may prove to be better for you. Even if they say they’ll never purchase from your establishment again, neither will they be likely to bad-mouth you to their friends. Just as positive word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool, negative word of mouth reports are bad for business. It is also likely they will remember how well you treated them and may return after all.Whether a customer is asking for a discount on a non-discounted item, a refund on a non-refundable item, is one day late for a sale that inspired the purchase they wish to make, or is in want of extended coverage on an item no longer under warranty, take each person’s request on a case-by-case basis. While unchangeable policies may prevent you from giving every person the service they request, explain it politely and clearly. If they are still dissatisfied, and there is nothing you can do to help, apologize and recommend another course of action that may satisfy them. If, in the end, you lose that person’s business, don’t take it personally. Even if it becomes necessary to refuse business to abusive or violent customers, maintain your dignity. You can’t please everyone, and by continuing to treat the customer as a valued client, you won’t have lost your self-respect, nor your reputation as a professional business person.The customer is not always right, but the customer should always be treated with respect.This article has been submitted in affiliation with http://www.Facsimile.Com/ which is a site for Fax Machines. Kim-Marie is a book editor and writer; stop by and visit her portfolio at Kim-Marie on Writing.Com.

#business #customerservice #customercare #right #policy #refund #exchange
@economictips UniMarter Blog@economictips
2 hours ago
***Customer Feedback - The Breakfast of Champions*** Feedbac economictips UniMarter
***Customer Feedback - The Breakfast of Champions***

Feedback is important in every sphere of life but more so in business simply because it tells how we're going and how we can improve.If we continue to improve, we'll continue to grow.The benefits of feedback are obvious:1. Consolidates the relationship
2. Lets you know where you're falling down
3. Opens up communication
4. Can be the catalyst to valuable testimonialsBut Many Businesses Still Don't Do ItSo, why do so many businesses fail to implement a proper customer feedback process?Every business will have their unique reasons and on the face of it, most will be very rational. Here are three:1. Time - it's hard, in the traditional format to arrange constant customer feedback as well as track it and take action.2. What to Ask - Some questions may seem personal, while others may seem to say "tell me how good I am". Where's the balance?3. Customer Response - not to the survey questions but to the survey itself. Just not knowing people's reactions might hinder the implementation process.But what if you could get the feedback when you wanted it, automatically and have it collated so you can get an overall feel for how you're doing?How priceless would that be?To know what your customer's think about you, your product and your service would be so powerful your business would be at the edge of its performance very quickly.You see, you don't want "nice & fluffy" feedback.You need feedback much like the Grand Slalom skiers are getting at the Winter Olympics in Turin at the moment.If they miss by 2/100ths of a second, they get told. There's no apology or softening the blow.That's what great business is about.But How do You do This Quickly, Easily?For those with assistants it may be easier but with any business there are simple and effective ways to get customer feedback. Some use checklists, others have it pre-prepared in the client file and hand it over or post it out at the same time every time.One way I'm going to suggest is with an online survey.Why Online?To my way of thinking this is the best way to get client feedback today.1. The population is increasingly "web aware" and are exploring the Web more and more.2. An online survey (example below) is generally quick saving both you and your customer time.3. Completing the survey privately will allow better responses. You can even have the responses go to a third party like a coach or a manager.4. Inexpensive: this is a big one. Mail out surveys cost both time and money. Online surveys, once they are set up are done. All it needs is for clients to complete them.Nothing Happens in a VacuumI can hear some people question the use of technology and how it might appear to be impersonal. I actually believe the opposite.If any service provider has made enough of a connection then almost any tool used to promote the relationship (like a survey) will be beneficial. The means to that survey can be immaterial.I will agree though that online surveys, just shot out of a cannon because it's the latest fad can do more harm than good. You need a well thought out strategy to go with the surveys.Overcoming ResistanceIf a client refuses an online survey, that in itself is feedback - not to change tools, but to develop a closer relationship, find out their objction to it and help them overcome whatever is getting in the way.It is a signal to add value.So How Hard Is It?I'm not sure who said it but someone wiser than me stated: "The questions you ask are defined by the answers you need." (not want)That is how you form your questions. And if you follow the advice the content becomes easier.Click the link below and you'll be take to a survey site of mine where there are 6 short questions.http://www.resultdrivensolutions.com/blo g/_WebPages/CustomerFeedbackSurvey.htmlComplete the questions (takes about 3 minutes).You'll get an email with your responses and I will too.There will be a question about wanting to discuss this tool further. Just let me know either yes or no and I'll follow your decision.Now What To DoThe next thing to do is to work out 3 - 5 questions you'd like to know from your clients and write them out how you'd like to ask them.If you'd like feedback on your questions you can fire them off to me and I'll oblige - f.r.e.e. of charge for the next two weeks.I'll look forward to your responses.Bill James-Wallacep.s. if you know someone who is looking into this already, feel free to pass this article on to them.Bill James-Wallace helps his clients grow their business through better and more strategic customer relationships. Drawing on his 18 years experience in the financial industry as a Sales Manager and Manager of Training & Development, he helps business owners play on the same field as corporate entities.Bill can be contacted at bill@resultdrivensolutions.com
His blog-based website is http://www.resultdrivensolutions.com

#customer #feedback #business #growth #survey #online
@economictips UniMarter Blog@economictips
2 hours ago
***Is Your Business Easy To Buy From?*** If you want to buil economictips UniMarter
***Is Your Business Easy To Buy From?***

If you want to build a successful business, you have to make as easy as possible for your prospects and customers to buy from you. Simple things like your hours of operation, taking all the major credit cards, and having a payment plan, it can be easy as how your employees greet people and answer the telephone. Doing these things are so simple and commonsense, you’d think every business pays attention to them, but they don’t.It’s shocking and appalling the number of businesses that don’t do these simple things. They actually make it difficult for people to buy from them. It happens in all types of business in all types of ways. It’s not a deliberate thing, but it might as well be, because the effects can be very damaging to the company’s bottom line.Here are just a few examples of how companies make it difficult for you to buy:• You receive a direct mail package with persuasive sales letter and a nice brochure, but there is nothing in the package that tells you how to order the product or service. You’re left feeling confused and you simply toss the entire package in the trash.• You call a company to get some information or place an order, and the telephone operator snaps, “Hello, hold please" and then leaves you dangling on hold so long that you finally hang up and promise yourself that you’ll never deal with that company again.• You’re having a good meal at a nice restaurant you’ve never patronized before. You go to the rest room and find, a wet floor, no soap, or towels. The restroom looks and smells so bad that you don’t even want to go back to your table, let alone the restaurant again.• You go to a web site to order a product or service and you find all types of great sales messages and links but it doesn’t tell you how to place an order on the site. When you finally find the order page it is so confusing that you just click out of it and never visit or recommend that web site again.These types of situations are called “transactional turnoffs,” because they literally kill off thousands and even millions of dollars in sales. These situations should never happen. They are simply a case of gross negligence on the part of the business owner.If you want your business to grow and prosper you must make it so easy to buy from you that a child could do it. To do this you have to start by carefully going over your own operations to make sure that you aren’t losing sales because of some act or omission that you haven’t noticed.You should look for anything that might discourage people from buying from you and, if one or two things are turning people away, fix them! Ask yourself some important questions:• Is our offer clearly stated? Are the buying directions clear?• Do our ads explain and emphasize the specific benefits customers are looking for?• Are we treating customers as we would want and expect to be treated?• Are we always courteous and prompt in servicing our customers?• Can people get through to us by phone without long delays?• Do we make people feel at home when they come into our store or office?• Do we thank people for buying?• What special thanks do we give to our best customers?• Is our web site easy to navigate through? Do all the links work? Is our order page easy to find? Is the order form easy to understand?You should always shop your own business. Have a friend or a colleague visit or call your business and place an order. Find out how your employees greet prospects when they come into your business. Find out how long a prospect or customer has to wait before someone helps them. Find out if a prospect or customer is put on hold and for how long.Have a friend or a colleague visit your web site and place an order. It is better for someone other than yourself to do this because as the owner sometimes you can get caught up in how nice the site looks and not be as objective as you need to be.You can also get a lot of really good ideas from shopping your competitors, either openly or if you don’t want to be recognized, have a friend or colleague do it. See if you can identify one or more serious weaknesses in their way of doing business. If serious weaknesses exist, and you can exploit them, it could help you to take over a major share of the market.For example, you might find that your main competitor is too slow, doesn’t have convenient hours, doesn’t offer a full money-back guarantee, doesn’t permit exchanges, doesn’t offer a time payment plan or except all major credit cards, or doesn’t offer delivery. Whatever it is that they don’t do to make it easier for prospects and customers to buy, you can do it in your business.You could even talk with some of your competitor’s customers and ask them what they like and don’t like about dealing with your competitor. Compare what they say to the way you or your friend felt when you tried to buy from your competitor. The dislikes or weaknesses that your competitor’s customers bring up most often are the ones you should try hardest to exploit in your own business.Life today for many people is very complicated and competitive. People are looking for simplicity and satisfaction in their life. When you can offer them an easy and simple way to buy what you sell, you will have a steady stream of customers that will add to your bottom line.Copyright©2006 by Joe Love and JLM & Associates, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.Joe Love draws on his 25 years of experience helping both individuals and companies build their businesses, increase profits, and achieve total success. He is the founder and CEO of JLM & Associates, a consulting and training organization, specializing in personal and business development. Through his seminars and lectures, Joe Love addresses thousands of men and women each year, including the executives and staffs of many of America's largest corporations, on the subjects of leadership, self-esteem, goals, achievement, and success psychology.Reach Joe at: joe@jlmandassociates.comRead more articles and newsletters at: http://www.jlmandassociates.com

#customerservice #marketing #businesssuccess #businessdevlopment #businessplanning #success
@economictips UniMarter Blog@economictips
4 hours ago
***When Good Customers Go Bad*** Sooner or later, it happens economictips UniMarter
***When Good Customers Go Bad***

Sooner or later, it happens to every business owner. A customer, that you thought was really great because they praised and flattered you, has suddenly turned into the most difficult customer you have. If it's not a matter of quality-control on your part, then it may simply be that your "good customer" isn't as easy to work with as you thought. Maybe they don't pay their bills on time, and you have to chase them down. Or they're always late for their appointments, and expect you to be late for your next customer. Sometimes, it's just that their personality is so needy, draining, or obnoxious that you just can't take it anymore. As a business owner, you spend a lot of time & energy in learning how to attract and keep customers. But how do you handle it when it's time to say good-bye?Know your personal & professional boundaries
On a social level, personal boundaries are the bottom-line standard of what you are willing to tolerate from others. You may run a service business, but does not mean you are less important than your customer. Even if your profession involves working with people that have known emotional issues, it does not mean that they have license to act them out on you.Personal boundaries need to be drawn when someone is abusive, rude, or consistently taking advantage of you. If you don't teach others how to respect you, then you won't feel good about yourself. Never compromise your dignity because you're desperate for more business.Professional boundaries are the business policies you need to make your business run smoothly. That includes things like your terms of sale, refund/exchange agreements, appointment cancellation policies, etc. Ideally, these should be in writing so that new customers know what the rules are. In actuality, most business owners allow for some flexibility and occasional exceptions. But if you've already done that for a difficult customer, it may be time to strictly enforce your policies. At that point, it's really about setting a professional boundary that says, "We either do business in a way that works for me or we don't do business at all."Stand up for yourself
Usually, the social pressure to be accommodating falls on the business owner. After all, if you want someone's business, then a "customer is always right" attitude will encourage repeat business. For the most part, I agree with that approach. Excellent customer service policies need to be created and maintained by you. Similarly, the work of setting and enforcing personal & professional boundaries ALSO needs to be done by you. It's not fair to expect your customers to simply know better. You've got to communicate what your standards are, in a way that is clear, respectful, and effective.If you've got a customer relationship that is causing you worry and upset due to something that a particular customer is doing (or not doing) then you need to be honest with them. If you can address the problem early, it will be much easier to say it with a smile and hopefully nip it in the bud. If you let the problem build and get worse, or the offense is just too upsetting to repair, then it might be time to "fire" your customer.Make a clean break
Once you've decided that it's time to refuse to work with a customer, it's best to get it over with as quickly as possible. If something really awful has happened, you may need to do it on the spot. But in any case, you'll want to protect your professional reputation by handling it as calmly and cleanly as possible.There are 7 key elements to a smooth customer break-up:1. Tell them in private, never in front of other customers. If you feel that you need a witness, ask a trusted person to be there. Just don't turn it into a situation where your customer feels "ganged-up" on.2. Be explicitly clear that you are ending the professional relationship. Use direct language, so there is no room for misinterpretation or confusion later.3. Have a simple explanation that justifies your decision without shaming the other person.4. Be gracious and respectful. Remember, anything you say or do can be used against you if your customer is angry about it later.5. Be firm. Half-way measures can really backfire, so once you've said you're letting them go, do not go back and try to "make it work."6. If they pre-paid for your services, be prepared to refund them on the spot. If they owe you money, tell them exactly what you expect (or don't expect) from them.7. If you have a mailing list, remove their name. Don't annoy someone you've dropped by continuing to market to them.
Take care of yourselfNo matter how justified your decision is, letting go of a customer is hard to do. Part of you will feel good knowing that you are doing the right thing for your business and your self-esteem, but be prepared for a few emotional ups and downs. If you can, give yourself some free time to process the feelings afterwards. Take a walk, call your business advisor or a friend. Stand tall, knowing that you deserve to be treated with fairness and appreciation. By letting go of business relationships that don't work for you, you are creating room for new prosperity and better relationships to enter your life.Jaya Schillinger “The Turnaround Queen” at http://www.InspirationInc.com is a certified life coach & small business consultant with over 20 years of business ownership & management experience in the fields of personal development, health, and beauty.©2006 Jaya Schillinger, Inspiration Inc.

#customerservice #consulting #businessmanagement #coaching #spaconsulting #clientcare
@economictips UniMarter Blog@economictips
4 hours ago
***Dealing With Difficult Customers*** An irate and unhappy economictips UniMarter
***Dealing With Difficult Customers***

An irate and unhappy customer can be a headache for the employee dealing with them, but, if you use the correct tact, it can become a win-win situation. A few rules of conduct and you should both walk away happy.First, always remain calm. Don’t jump to the defensive. If you are relaxed, it will help your customer better keep their composure. Don’t argue with the customer and don’t place blame on them. This will only lead to a vicious circle of words and accomplish nothing. Be professional.Show the customer respect. Listen to their words, not their tone. Their words will tell you what the problem is. Don’t interrupt them. Let them say everything they have to say. Show empathy for their problem. If they feel they have someone who cares about the situation, they are more likely to work with you.Once the customer has aired their complaint, repeat the actual problem so that you both know that you understand. Now you are prepared to work out the problem together. Including the customer in problem solving gives them a sense of having some control over the situation. Listen to their ideas as well as offering your own. Once you have reached an agreement, repeat it so that you and the customer are on the same page.Once a solution is agreed upon, act swiftly to settle the complaint. A customer who is treated with respect and has been dealt with fairly is much more likely to return than one who left angry and dissatisfied.These are common sense tips. Treat an angry customer with the same respect you would wish to be treated with in the same situation. If you keep this in mind, you will have half the battle won.Nikola lives and writes in Oklahoma. She enjoys reading, scrapbooking and volunteering. This article has been submitted in affiliation with http://www.Facsimile.Com/ which is a site for Fax Machines.

#customer #business
@economictips UniMarter Blog@economictips
4 hours ago
***You Can't Overdo Customer Service*** I recently had an ex economictips UniMarter
***You Can't Overdo Customer Service***

I recently had an experience with a business that went way beyond excellent customer service and they not only made a customer for life, they made me a torchbearer for their success. As you read this, imagine what your company would be like if it offered this level of service.I was in Los Angeles for a business trip and met with a client and a consultant at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel. My first impressions of the hotel were good but not great. The building was beautiful, but the parking was expensive in a area where it shouldn’t have been.My client and I found a nice table in the lobby where we could comfortably wait for the consultant. The consultant called to let us know she would be about an hour late so we decided to get a bite to eat. We asked and found out that the restaurant was closed but a cocktail waitress told us she might be able to do a “little something” for us. To our delightful surprise she returned in a few minutes with a breakfast that was everything we imagined and more. Linen napkins, fresh fruit, fresh squeezed orange juice, toasted bagels, a cheese plate and more. And this with the kitchen closed.Our meeting ran until lunch so we decided to give the restaurant a chance. As we approached the hostess, she was talking on the phone but she quickly acknowledged us turned and nodded to someone and a waiter instantly appeared to whisk us to a beautiful outside table. The waiter was courteous and when he asked us for water he asked if my client would like some lemon in her water and then turned to me and asked if I would perhaps like some lime. I was flabbergasted. He was right. I preferred lime. But how did he know?Later the waiter brought out our soups while my client was in the restroom. He returned a couple of minutes later to check on us and saw she was gone. He whisked her soup away and returned a few moments after she did with a fresh bowl of hot soup. He knew the cool ocean air would have made it cold. Everything the waiter did was above what I’ve come to expect as excellent service. He got the biggest tip I’d ever left for a meal.We came back the next day for another meeting and got the great service all over again, this time from other employees. I asked the bartender if they could make me a real fruit smoothie. He said he only had smoothie mix at the bar, but he’d see what he could do. Moments later, he appeared at my table with a real fruit smoothie. The restaurant was closed but somehow he’d managed to get it for me. And it was great. Another big tip.When we were about to leave, we stopped by the Concierge’s desk to find out if there were any local art galleries he could recommend. He knew from what we told him that we weren’t guests at the hotel, but still went on the internet, asked other employees and worked until he’d found some nice recommendations for us.And that brings us to that overpriced parking. When I took my ticket to the valet, I found out that with the lunch validation, my parking was almost free. As I stood waiting for my car another valet came up and asked if I’d been helped. I said yes, but he still went and made sure my car was coming. It was cold outside and he just wanted to make sure. My car quickly came and two valets made sure both doors were opened and closed for me and my client.As we drove away, I was awed by the fact that every employee that I had come in contact with at The Loews for the past two days had given me better service than I expected and better than I’d ever had. We realized that we had happily given the largest tips we’d ever given to each of the employees that helped us. Not only had they earned their tips, but they earned their company two torchbearers. From now on, when I’m in Los Angeles, you can join me at The Loews.Business consultant and professional speaker Michael Clark has been helping businesses including Fortune 500 companies such as IBM and Cellular One succeed for over 20 years. Michael is an authority on getting business owners out of overwhem and getting the most out of their businesses. His is a serial entrepreneur having opened multiple successful businesses over the last 12 years. Before that he had a successful career in finance and accounting for large corporations. He has been interviewed on radio, tv, and in print, as well as been a featured speaker at The Learning Annex, Rotary, and other business and professional groups.For more articles on small business success, check out http://www.biznbeyond.com. Feel free to copy this article and post it on your website as long as you keep the link to http://www.biznbeyond.com intact and give credit to Michael Clark at Business and Beyond.

#Successfulsmallbusiness #businessactionplan #businessplansamplesmall #businesssuccess #small
@economictips UniMarter Blog@economictips
5 hours ago
***Which is Better: Repeat Business or Adding New Customers?*** economictips UniMarter
***Which is Better: Repeat Business or Adding New Customers?***

Every management authority on the circuit says that loyal customers and their
repeat purchases are the cornerstone of your long-term successful business. The
reason is obvious: it is less costly to get your existing customers to buy more than it
is to find new ones. The lower cost of sale leads gives you higher operating
margins, which you can then invest in other business building activities, and so it
goes.Since I'm bringing this up at all, you've got to ask yourself, "Is this old saw true?"For incremental growth up to around 20 percent per year, the answer is yes. It's
true.Spend your energy selling more to your top customers and you'll do just fine. And
20 percent year after year is definitely nothing to sneeze at.But what about faster growth? Massive growth, mega growth, breakthrough growth?
What if you've just got to take over your market, fast?To get revenue increases of 50 percent, 100 percent, or more, that expert wisdom is
just plain wrong. To get quantum growth in your business you're going to need
more people buying your products and services - and lots of them.Product development mastermind Doug Hall conducted research using the Scan
Database, which contains over 9400 products with Universal Product Codes. Hall's
statistical model shows that new customers are 2.8 times more important to rapid
revenue growth than repeat purchasers.It's not hard to understand when you consider this question: How much money can
each customer or customer spend with your company? Can they double their
spending? Maybe. If that's true, you might squeeze that 100 percent growth from
your loyal base.But is that reasonable to expect? Perhaps for one year. But repeatedly? That's just
not likely, and companies that focus all their attention on retention are eventually
going to see revenue growth stall or decline.But can you double your customer base?Yes, you can. And you can do it repeatedly. It doesn't matter whether you call them
customers or clients, the equation is the same: it's easier to geometrically grow the
customer base than the money each customer spends.Of course, the strongest companies do both. They increase the spending of each
loyal customer, and aggressively court new ones. But because they think it's more
cost-efficient, too many entrepreneurs focus on developing repeat business and
limit their new customer activity. Don't get caught in that trap; while you're creating
loyalty, your competitors will expand around you and with their riches, drive you
right out of the market.Developing new customers is not easy, but here are few steps to get you on the
road and keep you there.Continually focus on getting new customers. Develop automatic referral
processes like Quantum's Envelope Referral System. Schedule low cost or free
informational seminars. Build strategic partnerships. Create affiliate marketing
programs. Use direct marketing techniques: mail, email, telephone, and so on.Remember that your goal is total customer growth. This means that while you're
adding new customers, be sure not to lose the ones you already have. And that
means those customers are not dormant - a customer who's not spending isn't
much of a customer at all. Any solid customer growth plan also includes a re-sell,
up-sell and cross-sell program in addition to the customer acquisition plan.Redefine your Unique Client Value position to include the "next niche over."
When you've exhausted the customers in your specific niche (defined by your Core
Marketing Message and your Unique Client Value) it may be time to move into
another market space. The easiest niche to segue into is one that shares
characteristics with your current market. That's why we call this the "next niche
over." Sometimes all it takes is a small tweak to your product offer or the way you
package it. Sometimes, you only have to alter the marketing message and
collateral.Dramatize the Differences. At some point you must take customers from your
competitors; that means you can't have a me-too offering. You've got to be better,
you've got to be different, you've got offer something they don't have. Unless your
competitors really stink their customers won't become your without a compelling
reason. And just because your mousetrap is better they won't come running, you
have to let them know, communicating your commanding value clearly and often.Create segmented offerings to make the differences more pronounced. Just as
you use "silver, gold, platinum" pricing to segment your own customer base, do the
same to distinguish yourself from your competitors. If you need a low-end offer,
remove the frills, strip down the packaging, if possible make the product "virtual,"
digital, or downloadable. On the high-end, make your product super-premium.
Bump up the quality of your materials. Add personalization. Add intimacy and
service elements that competition will be afraid to offer. Follow these five steps and you will be on the road to quantum growth. Remember -
that as you're driving new customers to your door you must make sure to build
loyalty at the same time. In another article we'll talk about ways to do just that.(c) Copyright Paul Lemberg. All rights reservedReprint Rights Given. We ask that you kepp all links live and all content the same.About the Author:
Paul Lemberg is the President of Quantum Growth Coaching, the world's first fully-systemized business coaching program designed to create More Profits and More Life for entrepreneurs, Guaranteed.
Learn more about our Business Coaching Franchise.Read more of Paul's articles at his business coaching website.

#loyalcustomers #repeatpurchases #incrementalgrowth #businesscoaching #clients #customerservice
@economictips UniMarter Blog@economictips
5 hours ago
***Customer Service - Dead or Alive?*** Discover how to incr economictips UniMarter
***Customer Service - Dead or Alive?***

Discover how to increase customer satisfaction.

Do you suffer the deep pain of trying to resolve customer service problems with non-existent people at the other end of your telephone?
If you have a business, large or small do you think your customers share the same frustrations that you have?

Why can’t customer service problems be handled and solved faster, more courteously and completely? Why does it seem like we can never speak directly with a real live human being? And when we do manage to speak to a live person, why does it seem that they are speaking to us from thousands of miles away? Maybe because they are indeed thousands of miles away from the U.S.The answer is that most companies that have customer service departments know they lose tons of money on their customer functions. To be blunt, customer service is a loser proposition. Period. Therefore for the best way to minimize the losses is to run as bare-bones operation as possible. “Too bad that a customer can’t get past the electronic attendant and speak to a person. Too bad that the customer isn’t happy with us—we’ve got lots more customers.”How would you like to have the lost dollars from just one hour of poor customer service as practiced by American companies? I guarantee you could retire for the rest of your life…and so could all of your family and all of your friends could join you as well!My late, great friend, Ray Considine co-wrote a book called Why Are You Making It So Hard For Me To Give You My Money? Taking the first letter of the first seven words in the title he fondly called what became his passion “WAYMISH.He and his writing partner collected at least a bazillion examples of real life stories concerning awful experiences in the surreal world of customer service. My sense is that perhaps we should rename customer service departments “no customer service departments.”Recently a friend emailed me a ‘secret” list of about 6 pages with dozens of phone numbers of credit card companies, airlines, computer companies etc. so as to avoid the endless minutes and some times hours spent on hold waiting hopefully for a person to pick up the phone somewhere in cyberspace, who might be able to help solve a problem. To get this list contact me at the link below.Gene Pepper Consulting
Your Common-Sense Consultant
http://www.genepepperconsulting.comGene has extensive experience in strategic business planning, business coaching, turnarounds, and exit strategies. His common-sense approach leads to highly successful business transactions.If you have a company that has one to one hundred customer service people in it—I can help you convert what is now probably a big drain on your check book—to a profit making center—and I can help you achieve this seemingly impossible goal in 90 days or less. And while we’re at it we will get more business from your existing customers than you ever dreamed possible—and also while we’re at it we will help you attract and convert more new customers than you dreamed possible.

#customerserviceproblems #improvecustomerservice #businessconsultant #genepepper
@economictips UniMarter Blog@economictips
6 hours ago
***Customers Expect More*** What makes a successful salesper economictips UniMarter
***Customers Expect More***

What makes a successful salesperson?I’ve often asked that question at seminars, and the answers have been all over the ball park.“You’ve got to have the right product,” some say.It helps. But we’ve all known salespeople who went broke trying to move superb products and others who could make fortunes selling ice cream on an iceberg. A really good salesperson can rack up more sales with a mediocre product than a mediocre salesperson can make with the greatest product in the world.“You’ve got to make plenty of sales calls,” others say. “The more calls you make, the more sales you’ll get.”As a general rule, that’s true, but it doesn’t go far enough. If you think about it, the more passes a quarterback throws, the more passes he’ll complete.But a quarterback who completes three out of four passes will put points on the board much more regularly than one who completes one out of four, even though both may throw the same number of times. A baseball player who hits .350 will cross the plate much more frequently than one who hits .200, even though both take the same number of swings.Similarly, a salesperson’s success doesn’t depend on the number of calls. It depends on the number of sales. An effective salesperson and an ineffective salesperson may make the same number of calls, but it’s the effective one who eats steak and lobster instead of hamburger.Still others say, “you’ve got to master the mechanics.” That helps, too. But mastering the mechanics won’t put you on top of the sales charts unless you master the right mechanics.In today’s market, as in none before, it is crucial that we learn selling savvy. The sales environment has changed radically in four distinct ways:1. Customers are better-educated, more sophisticated, and more value-conscious.In other words, they are harder to please; they want more for their money.Think about your own demands as a consumer. You insist on quality goods and efficient service. You don’t want some slick con artist trying to trick you into buying a product or service you don’t want or need. And you don’t want to be abandoned after the sale.You expect follow-up service. If something goes wrong, you want to know that the salesperson and the company are going to stand behind the sale.This means that salespeople have to stay on top of their markets. They have to be knowledgeable about the products and services they are selling. And they have to be honest, and sincerely interested in helping their customers find value and derive satisfaction.Customers expect more from us than ever before.2. Competition is stiffer.Customers now have so many options that price will always be the deciding factor -- unless you can offer a strong differential advantage.With companies producing similar products at similar cost, it’s getting tougher every day to offer substantially lower prices than the competition does.That means that you have to offer something that sets you apart from all the other salespeople who are trying to get your customers to buy from them. You have to provide quicker service, more up-to-date product knowledge, and better follow-up.It’s not enough to provide products and service as good as those of your competitors. Yours have to be better -- a lot better. Moreover, your customers must acknowledge the superiority of your products and services, and the object of your presentation should be to lead them toward that recognition and acknowledgment.If you can’t lead your customers to that acknowledgment, you won’t get the sale, no matter how good your product. Your success in selling depends less and less on the product your are selling, and more and more on your skills as a salesperson.3. Technology is rapidly replacing peddlersPeople are buying more through direct mail. And such media as interactive television and the Internet are making it possible to buy almost anything you want by pressing a button or clicking a mouse.Companies are no longer looking for peddlers to handle items that are much easier to sell by phone or through the mail. In many cases, they’re setting up self-service systems that can be operated by clerks.Of course, there are plenty of very good opportunities for really sharp salespeople who can sell with power and skill, especially in the industrial field.To be successful as a salesperson, you must find ways to distinguish yourself from the inexpensive clerks and the commonplace peddlers. You must rise to the challenge with proficient skills, depth of knowledge and a positive attitude.4. Time has become a priceless commodity -- for salespeople and for their customers.Prospects don’t want salespeople wasting their time. And if you’re serious about becoming successful, you don’t have time to wander around showing your products or services to anyone who will look at them.To survive in today’s volatile marketplace, you need a clear and effective strategy. You need the skills to implement that strategy. And you need the know-how to make that strategy work for you.When you acquire and apply these things, you’re demonstrating selling savvy.Five Ingredients for Selling SavvyWhat do we mean by selling savvy?The answer lies in five ingredients that are vital to your team’s success as professionals:1. Selling savvy is understanding the selling process well enough to approach it as a highly educated professional.2. Selling savvy is understanding people well enough to influence them to buy.3. Selling savvy is knowing how to execute.4. Selling savvy means developing street smarts.5. Selling savvy is having the self-discipline to carry out every detail of your strategy all day, every day.Professionals Versus WorkersI often draw the distinction between a person with a worker mentality and a person with a professional mentality.Workers tolerate their jobs as burdens to be endured for the sake of putting food on their tables and roofs over their heads.Professionals see their jobs as rewarding components of their lives. Their careers and their personal lives complement and support each other. Their jobs are part of who they are.Workers wait to be told what to do. They don’t reach out for new responsibility, because they don’t want responsibility. They take care of their own immediate tasks without worrying about how their tasks affect others in the organization. In fact, they don’t see themselves as part of the organization. They see the organization as an outside entity that may have a negative or positive impact on their lives. They refer to it in the third person: as “it” or “them,” and not as “we.” The organization is something they have to respond to, although they’re not a part of it.Professionals see themselves as part of the organization. To them, the organization is “we.” When it succeeds, they succeed. When it suffers reverses, they feel the reverses.People look up to professionals because they recognize them as being good at what they do. They’re good because they’ve walked the extra mile toward excellence. They absorb information about their chosen fields, and they share their knowledge with others. They’re jealous of their images and are always careful to avoid compromising them. To be a professional, you have to look like a pro, communicate like a pro, and exude the confidence of a pro. You must set a high standard for yourself and never allow yourself to fall below that standard.Nido Qubein is president of High Point University, chairman of an international consulting firm, and chairman of Great Harvest Bread Co. with 218 stores in 41 states. He is one of America's foremost experts and speakers on communication, business management, leadership, and success. His many books and audio programs have been translated into nearly two dozen languages and are sold worldwide. For a complete library of free articles, self-evaluation quizzes, and a learning resource center, please visit http://www.nidoqubein.com.

#customerservice #sales #business #management #profit #negotiation #impression #growth
@economictips UniMarter Blog@economictips
6 hours ago
***Is The Customer Always Right?*** In short, yes… uhm wel economictips UniMarter
***Is The Customer Always Right?***

In short, yes… uhm well, no… maybe sometimes? O.k., so you might have gathered by now that there is no “short” answer. Anybody who truly believes that the customer is always right hasn’t really given this policy much thought.When was the last time someone came into your business, or called on the phone, or better yet emailed you with a throbbing case of the nasties? Our business is located just outside of the city with a bus stop in front. We also own several niche market web sites. Do you suppose we get our share of interesting characters?Somehow, this philosophy/policy of, “The customer is always right” has been branded into the consumer’s psyche and repeatedly shoved in the face of business owners, managers, and employees. Having worked in Law Enforcement for several years, we’re taught by our instructors and leaders to consider “the spirit of the law” versus “the letter of the law.” These considerations dictate whether or not the cop is going to give you a ticket for going 5 miles over the speed limit. If we’re to follow the “letter of the law,” we’re going to go by the book each and every time without exception. It’s the “spirit” that allows us discretion to listen to a creative story of how your lover caught you with your spouse again and “thank God you’re here to protect me, Officer… and that’s why I was speeding. I was trying to get away!”Shouldn’t we, as business owners and managers, have that same option of discretion when a less than reasonable customer approaches chanting that misguided mantra? Now, of course, this is not to say that we should not recognize our positions as “authority figures” and practice a higher degree of professionalism, diplomacy, and tact. All of which are vital to your business. Professionalism is the difference between giving the appearance of genuine concern, and wrapping your knuckles on someone’s forehead to see if anybody’s home. Diplomacy is being able to give your customer the perception that you owe them, and have provided them with, an apology by stating something to the affect of, “I’m sorry you feel that our policy has inconvenienced you.” instead of actually apologizing and admitting fault for something that your company is righteous in maintaining. Tact is being able to tell your customer that it appears that your (policy, sign, product, etc.) was simply misunderstood without having to tell him/her that they’re a complete moron.Now, I’m also not condoning never admitting fault or accepting responsibility for genuine wrongs and doing everything within your ability to correct them. And there are schools of thought that strictly forbid admitting fault. Their mantra? “Better to ask forgiveness than permission.” However, by the very nature of such an absolute statement such as, “The customer is always right,” provides people, who for no other reason but a sense of entitlement, a free pass to come into your business with the expectation that they’re going to be able to conduct themselves however they wish. This includes treating you and/or your employees with utter disrespect and rudeness. As a result, our employee attrition rate is relatively low because we allow them the discretion of practicing professionalism, diplomacy, and tact.Fortunately, most of our clientele allow us the opportunity to provide them with genuine friendly service and resolve any issues with a mutually beneficial outcome. Unfortunately, every once in a while, you come across a customer, who no matter what extraordinary efforts you deploy to appease, is simply unreasonable. With that, you must then make an executive decision and these are just a few questions that should be considered in rapid-fire succession almost immediately. Is this customer worth keeping? How adversely will kicking him in the pants affect my business? Am I able to resolve this issue with little impact on my business or bank account? Am I going to diminish my employee’s sense of empowerment and/or sense of dignity by overturning their reasonable decision? I’m sure there are other considerations that you’re likely to make, but these are the very minimum.Incidentally, the person responsible for us having to endure the phrase, “The customer is always right.” was a gentleman by the name of H Gordon Selfridge. Mr. Selfridge was the founder of Selfridge’s Department Stores widely known across the United Kingdom. Perhaps Mr. Selfridge was stuck in the “letter of the law,” as he died insane and bankrupt. Food for thought.“Is the Customer Always Right” article authored by John R Valente of http://www.IndieRetailer.comJohn Valente is co-founder of IndieRetailer.com, a search engine, resource center, and blog specifically designed for the independent retail industry. John, and wife Jennifer are independent retailers who have owned and operated a brick and mortar store as well as several websites that include http://www.FantasticFelines.com, http://www.AromatherapyCandle.com, CaliforniaEbooks.com, and CreativeOutsourceGroup.com to name a few since 1998.

#CustomerService #retail #independentretailer #retailing #businessmanagement #customerisalwaysright
@economictips UniMarter Blog@economictips
yesterday
***Can You Afford What Rudeness Is Costing Your Business?*** economictips UniMarter
***Can You Afford What Rudeness Is Costing Your Business?***

Have you ever thought about how much rudeness may be affecting your bottom line? What is the cost to your company when you or the people who represent you lack proper manners? Do you know how many clients are turned off by employees who would rather carry on a conversation with each other than with the person who came to purchase your service or product? Can you count the number of people who hang up and call someone else because the person who answered your phone put them on hold without asking permission? How does the client rate your professionalism when the employee who welcomes him to your office looks as if she is dressed for a day at the beach? Do your employees understand that it is more offensive then friendly to call the client by first name unless asked to do so? Are your employees treating each other with courtesy and respect? Do they honor the invisible walls of each other's cubicles? Do they work as a team and help each other or do they act like cast members on Survivor?In today's fast-paced business world where too many people claim that they don't have time to be nice, it's easy to overlook the details that can help you grow your business, increase your profits and build long lasting client relationships.Try taking this quick true/false quiz to test your own business etiquette expertise. Then run it by your employees.1. Business etiquette is based on rank and hierarchy. True/False2. If the information on your business card is incorrect, draw a line through it and write the correct information on the card. True/False3. Business casual means dressing down one notch from business professional. True/False4. In today's relaxed business environment, it is not necessary to ask your clients' permission before using their first names. True/False5. Callers do not mind holding for information as much as holding for a person. True/False6. You don't have to smile or make eye contact with your customers unless you feel like it. True/False7. Handwritten notes are out of place in the business world. True/False8. A man should wait for a woman to put out her hand in business before offering his. True/False9. When composing an e-mail message, complete the "To" line last. True/False10. Small talk around the office is a waste of time. True/False11. People can hear you eating, drinking and chewing over the phone. True/False12. If you receive a call on your cell phone when you are with a client, look to see who is calling, but don't answer it. True/FalseAnswers:1. True. In business, you always defer to the senior or highest ranking person, regardless of age or gender.2. False. Handing out business cards with information that is outdated or crossed off is unprofessional. Have new cards printed immediately.3. True. Business casual is not an excuse to wear your favorite old clothes to the office. It is still business, and everyone needs to look professional.4. False. Don't assume because our work world has become more informal that you can call clients by their first name. Use their titles and last names until they ask you to do otherwise.5. True. Clients will wait contentedly while you search for information, working on their behalf. However, if they have to wait more than thirty seconds for you to come to the phone, they begin to wonder how much you value them or want their business.6. False. This is only true if you are planning a going-out-of-business sale. Every client deserves a genuine smile and eye contact.7. False. Handwritten notes have become almost as extinct as the typewriter. You will stand out from your competition every time you send off a short note written in your own hand.8. False. Every woman should be prepared to shake hands as soon as she meets someone in business. For either a man or woman to hesitate could indicate a lack of confidence.9. True. You can send e-mail without inserting an attachment, without checking for grammar and punctuation and without a subject line; but you cannot send e-mail without an address. If you wait until you have carefully proofed your message and added all attachments before you complete the "To " line, you will never be embarrassed or have to apologize for your mistakes.10. False. Small talk carried on at the right time, in the right place and on the right subject is a great way to build relationships among co-workers.11. True. Mouth noises are even louder over the phone. Just because your clients can't see you eating those potato chips doesn't mean they can't hear you munching on the other end of the line.12. False. It is just as rude to pull out your phone to see who called as it is to have it on and take a call in front of a client. Turn your phone off and check your messages later in private.If you had trouble with any of these questions, your employees will, too. If you want your employees to be at ease in business situations, to represent you well and help build your business, give them the information they need. If you haven't done basic business etiquette skills training lately, do it now. Don't let rude behavior cost you business.Make sure that your employees know how to handle clients over the phone, that they understand the importance of being attentive and alert to clients' needs, that the value other people's time and that they can deal with difficult people and situations with grace.No one is born with good manners. People have to be taught, and from time to time, they need to be reminded of what they already know.(c) 2006, Lydia Ramsey. All rights reserved. Reprint rights granted so long as article and by-line are published intact and with all links made live.Lydia Ramsey is a business etiquette expert, professional speaker, corporate trainer and author of MANNERS THAT SELL - ADDING THE POLISH THAT BUILDS PROFITS. She has been quoted or featured in The New York Times, Entrepreneur, Inc., Real Simple and Woman's Day. For information about her programs, products and services, e-mail her at lydia@mannersthatsell.com or visit http://www.mannersthatsell.com

#rudeness #business #profit #bottomline #manners #etiquette #employees #customers #clients
@economictips UniMarter Blog@economictips
yesterday
***10 + 1 Strategies to Increase Customer Loyalty*** Introdu economictips UniMarter
***10 + 1 Strategies to Increase Customer Loyalty***

IntroductionCustomer contact is essential in a fast paced business world. Many professionals and small businesses live off their customer contact but to many it is ad hoc and with too much strategy.
Many still find it difficult to set up a strategy that will make life easier for them and better for their clients.
The following points will provide and framework and kick start to those wishing to bite the bullet and create a process that is both positive and profitable.1. Develop a 12 month Customer Contact Plana. Creating such a plan provides you with a broader view and allows you to 'see' where your activity time is being spent.b. To enhance the plan consider using 'colour codes' to identify areas of commonality and where leverage can be gained.2. Identify customer 'types' and market accordinglya. By 'grouping' client types you will be able to market more effectively and also begin to know where your business comes from.b. This will also allow you to react/respond differently and with 'intention' to each group.3. Complete standard items in 'chunks' to save time and increase visibilitya. Identify items like writing out cards (birthday, Christmas, other seasonal cards) and take the time to write them all out at one time.b. This will save time in the long run.c. Sort each card into date order and place in tickler file. When the day arrives (or a week prior) send out the card.4. Invest in technology to automate newsletters/messagesa. There is considerable technology that can automate messages for you. Investigate some of these.b. These will allow you to write a few regular newsletter at once and then set them up to go out at regular intervals.5. Create 'contact points' throughout the yeara. Key clients may require a visit, an extra call or a personal note. Diarise appropriate times up front so you are well prepared.6. Set reminders for key actions so nothing falls through the cracksa. Set up reminder times for cards, anniversaries etc. This will remove the requirement to remember.7. Set up templates for standard activitiesa. On reviewing your plan, you will see a lot of dates and activities. Identify those that require an invite and set this up now, so there is no pressure to do it when the time comes.8. Create a simple yet effective loyalty programa. Loyalty programs don’t have to be complex. A simple, graded points system is all it takes. (Check with your Accountant as to allowances if necessary.)9. Create standard surveys (automated) that seek client feedbacka. Surveys (on- and off-line) are tremendous methods for gaining feedback and testimonials.b. There are many web-tools that can automate these for you, or you can create your own and do it manually.c. Either way – do it!10. Request 'testimonials' at key points of interaction.a. Testimonies are powerful tools for your business. They convince others far quicker than we can when we promote our own product.11. Engage a third party for accountabilitya. Take the time to have a third party review your plan with you every 6 – 12 weeks. The benefit is significant.Bill James-Wallace helps his clients grow their business through better and more strategic customer relationships. Drawing on his 18 years experience in the financial industry as a Sales Manager and Manager of Training & Development, he helps business owners play on the same field as corporate entities.Bill can be contacted at bill@resultdrivensolutions.com
His blog-based website is http://www.resultdrivensolutions.com

#customerloyalty #customerservice #businessgrowth
@economictips UniMarter Blog@economictips
yesterday
***How Well Do You Know Them?*** It is often said that it is economictips UniMarter
***How Well Do You Know Them?***

It is often said that it is not who you know that matters, it is who knows you. Well I would like to extend this statement by saying that it is not only who you know and who knows you, but how well do you know them and they you?In business, networking is the ultimate form of promotion. It can help you to obtain new clients, a new job, or even help you to move up the corporate ladder. It is the process of building relationships. Any time that you attend a meeting, trade show, or a social function, you are networking whether you realize it or not. It is the relationship that you have with people, a prospect or a client that makes the difference between success and failure.Often we fail to realize the reasons that we have for doing business with an individual or a company. In the case of products that we regularly buy, what helps us to make the buying decision? There are those that will buy a specific brand of product because they trust that brand to be of a high quality or durability. There are others that will make a buying decision based on price, although this is less frequently the case. Often we simply do business because we feel good about it. In fact most purchases or decisions to do business are based on two things. Trust and comfort. Trust is a very intangible emotion or feeling. How do you measure it? How do you develop it?Trust is measured by the feelings that are generated by a process of letting someone get to know more about you than just product, features and price. I know a gentleman who provides a seminar on selling to C-level executives. He says that to sell to the C-level executive you have to be more than a salesperson selling a product or service. To sell to the executive level, you have to be more of an advisor. You have to find needs other than the ones that you can fulfill and help them to fulfill these needs. In doing this, you become a "trusted advisor". They feel "comfortable" that you have their interests in mind more than just making a quick sale and a commission.In our daily process of seeking prospective clients, do we often just look for a person to pitch, or do we spend a bit more time getting to know them before we try to sell?When we take the time to know a persons desires, dreams, and needs, and make an honest effort to help them realize that these things are important to us, we are really on the fast track to doing business with them. We are building the trust, confidence, comfort level, and most importantly the relationship that is needed to not only make the sale, but to create in them a resource for endless referrals.As we go into the community meeting people who are prospective clients, we should keep the following in mind. The customer is a person just like me. The customer has needs other than the one that I can fulfill. Until I understand what the ultimate goal or dream of the prospect is, I cannot fulfill it with my product or service.Selling and networking are about relationships. You sell in everything that you do whether you realize it or not. The time is now for more effective selling. Change the way you think about the prospect and the prospect will change the way that they think about you.Jeff Glaze is the Editor of http://www.AtlantaEvent.com, founder of http://www.privacy-first.com e-mail certification program and the author of several e-books. His company, Mostcool Media Inc.( mostcoolmedia.com ), specializes in marketing planning, coaching, business networking training, web and media development. His e-book "The Six Xtremes Of Power Business Networking" is available here: http://www.atlantaevent.com/ebook.htm Jeff Glaze is available to speak to your group and can be contacted at 678.508.5975 Copyright © 2006 by MostCool Media Inc.

#networking #business #relationships #referrals
@businessarchive UniMarter Blog@businessarchive
yesterday
***How To Turn Customer Complaints Into Sales*** In business businessarchive UniMarter
***How To Turn Customer Complaints Into Sales***

In business there is one certainty: Problems will occur. Products and services will not always perform as they should. People will be disappointed. Employees will make value judgments that won’t always pay off. And above all, the one business truth that you can depend on: Customers will have complaints.Which leads us to one the biggest business misconceptions: Customer complaints and problems are detrimental to your business. This is not true! In fact, customer problems and complaints are often your greatest opportunity to build more sales and create customers for life.How do you turn problems into profit? By approaching every complaint as a second chance to prove your dedication to good business and to your customers.For example, if you own a service station. You are in a highly competitive industry because customers tend to go to more than one station to get their gas tank filled, their oil changed, and their cars serviced. A customer makes an appointment to have his or her care tuned up, but you are unable to get to it in the scheduled time. As a result, the customer is greatly inconvenienced, has to make another appointment, and has to rearrange his or her schedule.Needless to say, the customer is more than a little bit angry and your customer vows never to bring his or her car to your again. How can you turn this situation to your advantage? By putting yourself in your customer’s shoes. If your car was not ready when promised, what conciliatory services would you expect to be provided?Remember that you are responsible for your customers; for their convenience, their satisfaction and, most importantly, for their overall happiness. And when you have failed to meet your customer’s expectations, rather than accepting defeat and letting the customer slip away from you, use your initial failure as a jumping off point for a profitable relationship. Commit yourself to turning customer complaints into sales. When you make this part of your business practice, you will become a trusted friend in the eyes of your customers.So how do you turn customer complaints into sales? It’s really obvious, but very few business owners recognize it. Your number one priority, both before and after a mistake has been made, is to solve your customer’s problem. Not only solve it, but do it in a way that exceeds your customer’s expectations.In the example I gave above about the service station owner, a great way to solve that problem would be to provide the customer with free transportation until his or her car is finished.Even if the problem is not a direct result of some mistake that you have made, it is still your responsibility to make it right for the customer. You should always reward your customers for their inconvenience. That may mean offering repairs at a reduced rate or even free. It might mean giving them a free fill-up at your station. Whatever you do, you need to earn their trust back, and free gifts and services are a wonderful way to achieve this.If you want to secure future profit from your customers, you have to give them a reason to transact business with you again. Give them coupons, gift certificates, or vouchers. Give them anything to get them into your store and buying from you again.As with all promotions of this kind, there is always the chance you could end up spending more than you make on the initial transaction, or even on the follow-up. But your goal is to turn your customer into a customer for life, which gives you plenty of opportunities to make a profit and make your customers happy.Whenever a customer complaint or problem arises, remember that it is a human being asking you to recognize that their life, their business, and their satisfaction is as important as anyone else’s. They want you to recognize this, verbalize it, and compensate them. If you do all of this with compassion and understanding, you will not only earn their lifelong support, but also the support of all those whom they refer to you.Copyright©2006 by Joe Love and JLM &Associates, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.Joe Love draws on his 25 years of experience helping both individuals and companies build their businesses, increase profits, and achieve total success. He is the founder and CEO of JLM & Associates, a consulting and training organization, specializing in personal and business development. Through his seminars and lectures, Joe Love addresses thousands of men and women each year, including the executives and staffs of many of America’s largest corporations, on the subjects of leadership, self-esteem, goals, achievement, and success psychology.Reach Joe at: joe@jlmandassociates.comRead more articles and newsletters at: http://www.jlmandassociates.com

#businessdevelopment #businesssuccess #marketing #businessplanning #success #achievement #
@businessarchive UniMarter Blog@businessarchive
yesterday
***Is Bad Customer Service Killing Your Business?*** It's ti businessarchive UniMarter
***Is Bad Customer Service Killing Your Business?***

It's time to beat the old bad customer service drum again. I know, I'm sick of beating the drum, too, but as long as bad customer service runs rampant through so many businesses I feel it is my entrepreneurial duty to bring it to your attention. So grab a pew and prepare to listen to the sermon I've preached before: bad customer service is the bane of business. If the Almighty smote down every business that dispenses bad customer service the world would be a much friendlier, albeit much sparser place. Consider a world without malls and fast food joints… would it really be so bad?What puzzles me most is if bad customer service is such a death knell for business, why do so many businesses allow it to go on? Don't they read my column, for Pete's sake? I think the problem is that most bad customer service is doled out (or at least condoned) by business owners and managers who have ceased caring what their customers think. When you stop caring what your customers think it's time to close the doors. Go find a day job. You'll make someone a wonderfully disgruntled employee.
My latest parable of lousy customer service was actually experienced by my better half while attempting to buy my daughter a pair of basketball shoes. I won't mention the name of the sporting goods chain store in which the bad customer service took place, but I will tell you that its name is similar to the sound a frog with hiccups might make.As my wife waited for someone to assit, the four or five teenagers who had been charged with manning the store stood in a clump at the cash register giggling and flirting with one another as if they were at the prom instead of at work.
When my wife pointed out this fact, one of the employees, a cheeky lass of 16 or so, put her hands on her hips and said, "How rude!" The males in the group didn't react at all. They were too busy arguing over who could take a break so they could chase other cheeky lasses about the mall.Needless to say my lovely bride, who has the ability to instill fear into the hearts of even the most worthless employees, left the gaggle of giggling teen idiots standing with their mouths open in disbelief. How dare a customer tell them to do that with a pair of basketball shoes?As much as I bemoan bad customer service I celebrate good customer service. It should be applauded and the purveyor of said good customer service should be rewarded for actually delivering satisfaction to the customer above and beyond the call of duty.So let me tell you the story of my new hero, Ken. I won't tell you the name of the store in which Ken works, but let's just say they started out selling radios in a shack somewhere long, long ago.I first met Ken when I went into the store to buy a mixing board for my business that records audio products for the Web. In a nutshell, you plug microphones into the mixing board then connect it to the computer and you can record audio directly to digital format. Totally beside the point of this article, but I didn't want you thinking that I was purchasing non-manly cooking utensils.When I got the mixer installed it didn't work. So I boxed it up and headed back to the store to return it. When I told Ken my problem he didn't just grunt and give me my money back as so many bad customer service reps would do. Instead he asked, "Do you mind if I try it?""Knock yourself out," was my reply, confident that if I couldn't get it to work, neither could Ken. Ken took the mixer out of the box and went about hooking it up to one of the computers on display. He started pulling power cords and cables off the display racks and ripping them open and plugging them in. He tore open a new microphone and an adapter and kept going until he had the mixer hooked up and working. Yes, I said working. It turns out the mixer was fine. I just had the wrong power adapter.Ken could have just given me my money back and been done with me. Instead he spent 15 minutes and opened a number of other packages that I was under no obligation to buy just to help me get the thing working.I was so impressed that I not only kept the mixing board, I also bought another $50 worth of products. And the next time I need anything electronic guess where I will buy it? Even if it costs twice as much, I'll buy it from Ken.Now here's the moral of the story: if you are a business owner who has a gaggle of teenagers in charge of customer service at your store you would be better off replacing them with wild monkeys.At least monkeys can be trained.Tim Knox
Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker
Tim Knox is a nationally-known small business expert who writes and
speaks
frequently on the topic.For more information or to contact Tim please visit one of his sites:
http://www.dropshipwholesale.net
http://www.smallbusinessqa.com
http://www.timknox.com

#success #hardwork #smallbusiness #experience #business #email #e-mail #policy #professional #impres
@businessarchive UniMarter Blog@businessarchive
yesterday
***What Do You Do - Really?*** Have you ever thought about w businessarchive UniMarter
***What Do You Do - Really?***

Have you ever thought about what you do ... really?I don't mean have you really thought about it. I mean what do you really do?Many people look at their business card for a clue. I suggest you ask your clients.I know of one business coach who is seen as a marriage counselor. He helped one couple sort out their business goals and issues so well it's improved their marriage!Everyone sells products or services. The more successful people offer/sell what a client wants.That sounds so "Sales 101", doesn't it?But it's true.The key is to put what you do, not into the customer's language, but in to the customer's specific situation.Mortgage Broker: if your client is buying a new house, have you found out why they want "that one"? What feelings will be satisfied by purchasing that house? At that point you are not a Mortgage Broker, you are a facilitator of those feelings.Florist: You do create beautiful arrangements. But what are you creating for your next client? What feeling, what atmosphere are you going to create? That is what you are doing for that customer.It's more than walking in their shoes. It's feeling what they are feeling: whether it be excitement, or trepidation, or sadness.It means, to be an exceptional salesperson, or service provider, you have to be on your game. With every customer.Make sure you get feedback from your clients. Use their words when you describe your service to the next person. Become a customer when you speak with customers and prospects.Then it becomes less "sales" and more "solution". And people buy what us, our product or service can do for them. Not what we think we do.So, have a think about what you really do. What your customers say you do for them. What you really love to do.And maybe put that on your business card!Bill James-Wallace helps his clients grow their business through better and more strategic customer relationships. Drawing on his 18 years experience in the financial industry as a Sales Manager and Manager of Training & Development, he helps business owners play on the same field as corporates.Bill can be contacted at bill@resultdrivensolutions.com

#CRM #customer #loyalty #business
@businessarchive UniMarter Blog@businessarchive
yesterday
***Great Service Means Being Extraordinary*** At the risk of businessarchive UniMarter
***Great Service Means Being Extraordinary***

At the risk of appearing flip or disrespectful, I can tell you in just one seven-letter word what it takes to build a successful business. The word is “service.” Service to customers is what ultimately determines success or failure, whether in the service industry or in any other industry or profession.If you want your business to be successful, you must resolve to deliver the best possible service to your customers. You must do everything you can to please them, protect them, enrich them, and advantage them. If you consistently do this, you will not fail. You will be perceived as a caring leader by your customers, and they will reward you for that. Your sales and profits will grow.If your business is not seen as one that offers good service, you’re in trouble. Today’s consumers have an almost limitless number of options. Disappoint them and they will simply stop dealing with you and start dealing with one of your competitors.There is a widespread misconception about what constitutes good service. Many businesses owners think they’re providing good service, when in fact, they aren’t. Just because you have fair prices, a courteous staff, a generous exchange policy, and reasonable terms, don’t let that delude you into thinking that you are providing great service.All of those things are good, but there is nothing exceptional about them. They are what an informed customer in today’s market expects you to offer. They are the bare minimum. Great service means much, much more than meeting a minimal standard. It means doing extraordinary and sometimes outrageous things on behalf of your customers or clients.Don’t be afraid to offer new clients a free consultation. Don’t be afraid to use very liberal introductory discounts. Above all, don’t be timid about offering your customers or clients, an extraordinary guarantee.Make it easy to buy from you. Review every aspect of your operations and, as you do that, try to see the business as your prospects would see it. Ask yourself, “Is our offer clear?’ “Do we have convenient business hours?” “ Do we explain in a clear and concise way how to buy from us?” “Do we offer people several purchase options and several ways to pay?”If you use an 800 number, make sure customers aren’t being put on hold too long. Test the system yourself to find out. If you ship or make a lot of mail delivers, run tracers to see that things are reaching your customers on time and in good condition. Test your Web site. Test the download time, the links, and place an order from your site. Be proactive, don’t wait for customers to report a problem.Call your customers within seven days after they have purchased and say, “Is everything working okay? Is there anything we can adjust for you or anything else you would like to buy from us to extend your enjoyment of your new product?”Accepting different kinds of payments makes it easy for your customers to buy from you. Accept all the major credit cards and accepting check debits makes it even easier for your customers to buy.Providing extraordinary service means recognizing your best customers or clients. Remember to wish your customers well on their birthdays and other special occasions. Offer them first choice on any new products you’re ordering. Give them gifts during the year-end holidays, and enclose a warm, personal note letting them know how much you appreciate the part they’ve played in helping you build your business.We’re all human and we all appreciate really fabulous service. For example, the restaurant owner who cheerfully tears up the bill and gives you a certificate for two complimentary meals after one meal is served cold. Or the dry cleaner who voluntarily replaces a garment his workers have damaged with a garment that is new and more desirable.Some retail organizations hire people to go around and make purchases in their own outlets and in stores owned by their competitors. It helps them find out how outgoing and efficient retail clerks are. It’s a way to find out what’s working well and what needs improvementIn your own business, you must have the same critical mindset. Always try to see things as your customers or prospects see them. Empathize with your customers. Try to get into their shoes, mentally, and find out what motivates them, what inspires them, what challenges them, and what frustrates them. Also find out, what else they need that you could provide, but aren’t providing. It might be something as simple as a sturdier carry out bag and tighter coffee cup lids.The more you can see things as your typical customer sees them, the better your chances are of connecting with each customer. You should call your customers on a regular basis and ask them for their ideas. Do it at random, or survey them by mail or email, or in a structured “Focus Group” where they can really tell you want they like or don’t like about what you sell.When you get in the habit of routinely investigating, it will not only help you improve your service, it will help you find the missing links in your product or service line. You could profitably fill these missing links either by introducing new products or services of your own or by recommending someone else’s products to your customers in a joint venture.Try to look at your customers from their perspective. Keep digging deeper and deeper into your customer’s experiences. Go the extra mile in all your dealings with your customers. It’s not just the right way to do business, it’s also the smart and profitable way as well.Copyright© 2006 by Joe Love and JLM & Associates, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.Joe Love draws on his 25 years of experience helping both individuals and companies build their businesses, increase profits, and achieve total success. He is the founder and CEO of JLM & Associates, a consulting and training organization, specializing in personal and business development. Through his seminars and lectures, Joe Love addresses thousands of men and women each year, including the executives and staffs of many of America’s largest corporations, on the subjects of leadership, self-esteem, goals, achievement, and success psychology.Reach Joe at: joe@jlmandassociates.comRead more articles and newsletters at: http://www.jlmandassociates.com

#businessdevelopment #businesssuccess #marketing #businessplanning #marketing #achievement #success
@businessarchive UniMarter Blog@businessarchive
yesterday
***Great Customer Service Is The Foundation Of Business Success** businessarchive UniMarter
***Great Customer Service Is The Foundation Of Business Success***

Customer Service: fundamental to success... but so often forgotten.
No matter what you’re selling, widgets or copywriting services, business success is built on satisfying customers -- one at a time. It's about delivering great customer service.Repeat business and referrals are fundamental to maximum long-term growth and profitability. After all, repeat buyers and referrals are the most profitable sales you can generate. If every customer is a one-time buyer only, you’ll need to consistently fill the pipeline with fresh new prospects to make any sales at all. Providing exceptional customer service significantly increases the odds of subsequent purchases.As merchants, we need to bend over backwards to satisfy those who patronize our businesses. This means giving the customer the benefit of any doubt. Provide the kind of courtesy, attentiveness and service you expect and are entitled to when you’re the buyer. Play the role of the buyer and upgrade your customer service accordingly.Nobody wants an unsatisfied customer – unless they’re not worth having (thankfully, this is rare, though problem customers do exist). No reasonable businessperson wants her name and reputation dragged through the mud. The easiest way to prevent this kind of occurrence is to take good care of those you serve.The worst thing any business owner can do is to not respond to emails and phone calls. Ignoring calls only makes matters worse as customers feel neglected or abandoned – usually after spending a fair amount of cash. When ignored repeatedly, a disappointed customer’s frustration and stress level can build to the boiling point.Keeping in touch with customers is vitally important.When I’m working on a copywriting project, I often exchange numerous emails with my client, providing frequent updates, getting clarification, and asking probing questions that lead to greater insights and more persuasive sales copy. It also helps foster good feelings and helps solidify the client/provider relationship. People want to know that I’m busy working on their project – not everyone else’s.Customer dissatisfaction is most often due to a lack of communication. Someone didn’t get what she anticipated. The product didn’t live up to its promise. There was a misunderstanding as to what products or services would be delivered and at what price.In the copywriting business, it might be that key issues were missed... the emphasis was off base... or the angle taken wasn’t the best fit for the market or product.Whatever the case may be, most competent copywriters will tweak or modify the copy to suit the client. When it completely misses the mark, they’ll offer a re-write without any additional charge. Refusing to do so doesn’t make sense, as it leaves the buyer feeling ripped off and unfulfilled with their purchase.It’s all about satisfying those who keep us in business. Customer service is an essential ingredient of any long-term business success.Read more at www.makeyoursalessoar.com.Robert Boduch is an author of dozens of best-selling books, reports and articles on the art and science of selling. A free newsletter targeted at anyone interested in selling more of anything is available at http://www.makeyoursalessoar.com.

#selling #sales #advertising #marketing #smallbusiness #business #sellmore #makemoresales
@businessarchive UniMarter Blog@businessarchive
yesterday
***6 Ways to Improve Customer Service*** How well do you loo businessarchive UniMarter
***6 Ways to Improve Customer Service***

How well do you look after your customers? Most companies probably think they do a good job, but the addition of technology into large, national call centers has caused many organizations to focus on technology solutions as opposed to people solutions.1. If your call center uses a feature where a customer can leave a number where they can be reached by the next available customer service representative, turn it off and hire more customer service representatives.2. A call center manager must rely on technology to track important statistics like the amount of time a customer waits on hold. Any time greater than one minute should be considered to be inadequate. By monitoring these statistics, priority can be given to improving staffing levels.3. If your first point of contact with your customer is having a recorded message telling them how important their call is, you may want to look at changing the message. If their call was important, it would be immediately answered by a real person - not a computer.4. If your marketing team suggests that a marketing campagne should be created around a "focus" or "commitment" to customer service, laugh at them and tell them they should take the marketing money allocated for that campagne and spend it on actually improving customer service.5. Here's a great idea. If your company sends invoices or bills to your customers, reduce the amount of calls to the call center by simplifying the bills. Bills that are too confusing are a leading cause of calls into a busy call center.6. Make your executives and managers spend a day in the seat of a customer service representative. Give them a good idea of the challenges that are faced by your front-line workers.Jim Rutherford is the webmaster for http://www.doing-business.info/ and http://www.livingnow.info.

#customerservice #business #technology
@businessarchive UniMarter Blog@businessarchive
yesterday
***Is It OK To Fire A Customer...?*** Or is the customer alw businessarchive UniMarter
***Is It OK To Fire A Customer...?***

Or is the customer always right? That's what you've always been
told. If you’re in business, you know how ridiculous that
statement is. The customer isn’t always right, the customer is
often wrong. Worse yet, you know it, he knows it, and he knows
you know. However, that is not the reason you fire a customer.Sometimes a confrontational attitude is just a way for a customer
to save face when he knows it was his fault and not yours. There
is nothing wrong with letting the customer save face. You
apologize for the screw-up and tell him it will be taken care of
and, sometimes, this leads to a very good relationship with that
customer. Sometimes not.There will be customers that no matter what you do, it's not
right or good enough. They seem to want an argument, not fix the
problem. The more you try to appease them, the more aggressive
they get.Even though you may want to please every customer, you just
can't. It really hurts when you can't please a customer. I've
been in business for 20 years and it still feels like a kick in
the gut when I can't please a customer. You may get 100 "what a
great job you are doing" from customers, but that one complaint
stays with you. Hopefully, you're tougher than I am and will be
able to deal with complaints without the emotional trauma.Few customers understand what a business owner goes through to
build his business: the problems that have to be dealt with; the
vendors that give you headaches and always the shortage of money.
The last thing you want to do is screw-up an order or offend a
customer.Every business owner needs a "pain in the ass" measuring stick
that tells him when the pain and aggravation out-weighs the
money. This measuring stick will be different for each business
owner based on his tolerance for bad customers and his need for
the money from that customer. You have to decide for yourself
when you've had enough.So, its OK to fire customers. Just make sure you've thought about
it and its not just a reaction from the heat of the moment. There
is a certain peace that comes from firing a really bad customer.Michael Gravette is a highly accomplished entrepreneur. He is a mentor to other aspiring business owners alike. To find more success tips visit http://www.safetytechnology.com

#customers #business #businessdecisions #financialdecisions
@businessarchive UniMarter Blog@businessarchive
yesterday
***10 Reasons Why People Won't Buy A Second Product From You*** businessarchive UniMarter
***10 Reasons Why People Won't Buy A Second Product From You***

1. You didn't follow up after the first sale. After the
sale you could have introduced your other product
on the thank e-mail.2. You didn't ship the product in the about of time
you stated. If they needed it in a hurry and you
didn't provide, they won't rely on you again.3. Your product didn't do as promised. If your
product didn't accomplish their desired goal they're
not going to think your second product will either.4. Your customer couldn't get a hold of you in time
when they had a "after question" sale. You could
have added extra lines of communication.5. Your customer doesn't want to revisit your web
site because it didn't offer much. You could have
offered more original content or freebies.6. Your competition is offering free shipping with
their product. You should have been more aware
of how they are targeting your customers.7. Your customer forgot your web site address.
You should have given your customers your web
site information in your product package.8. Your customer service couldn't solve a problem
they had with your product. Your customer service
should be trained to handle most problems.9. You didn't up-sell when they were already in the
buying mood. You can always try to sell your other
product when they're ready to buy your first one.10. Your competition offers a stronger money back
guarantee. You must always be thinking of better
ways to remove the risk from your customers.About the author:Rojo Sunsen is a specialized bounty hunter who prefers to work quietly/confidentially for the benefit of her clients.

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