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Customer Service – A Sweet Essence

Customer Service – A Sweet Essence

Article by Jim Hoyle

Due to unusually heavy call volume, our customer service agents are busy helping other customers. Your wait time is approximately 15 minutes. Please continue to hold…Please continue to hold…Please continue to hold…

First let us specifically define customer service. It is the performance of a duty or responsibility due to a customer as a result of selling them a product or service.

We must distinguish between customer sales and service versus customer service. Whereas customer sales and service is largely concerned with selling an additional item or an additional service subsequent to an initial sale, customer service is mainly concerned with customer care.

True customer service is synonymous with “ACCOMMODATION”. When we sell a product or a service we accept the responsibility and the obligation to potentially provide our customers with a broad range of possible actions. These actions we define as customer service and may include necessary “ACCOMMODATIONS” to make the initial product or service reasonably useful in the way it was intended and in the way that it was marketed.

“Due to unusually heavy call volume our customer service agents are busy helping other customers. Your call is important to us. Please continue to hold… Please continue to hold… Please continue to hold…” WILL SOMEONE STOP THIS INSANITY!!! No article on customer service would be complete without addressing automated telephone systems. We are all consumers. It does not matter what else we do, whether we are manufacturers or clerks or customer service agents. We should make ourselves available so that our customers can speak with us. Nothing beats face to face contact but the next best thing is a person’s voice. Overall, I believe that automated phone systems may be the worst single tool ever invented for all of us as consumers. There are a very few select companies whose systems serve us well by pointedly and quickly getting us fast service. But the vast majority of these automated telephone systems are nothing more than roadblocks to consumers. We have all been there and have been frustrated all too often. You might as well try to call the president of the United States.

WE, ALL OF US, ARE PUTTING EACH OTHER ON HOLD ON THE TELEPHONE LINE…!!! Why not hire a live breathing caring human being who knows their job depends on their customer. This is not rocket science!

When was the last time that you received outstanding customer service? Did you feel like you wanted to do more business with that company ? Did you like the people who were helping you ? Right there is one of the most powerful forces in customer service – customer loyalty and retention. What else is there in business with such a sweet essence ?

– Jim Hoyle

About the Author

Since 1979 Jim Hoyle has owned and operated Lamp Outlet – North Carolina’s Most Unique Table Lamps, Floor Lamps and Antique Lamps – Antique lamps and exclusive new unique table lamps and floor lamps. Contact Jim at junguljim@bellsouth.net or his company’s website http://www.hoylelamps.com.

The Golden Rules Of Customer Service

The Golden Rules Of Customer Service

Article by Kristie Tamsevicius

Everything I know about customer service I learned from working at McDonalds as a teenager. Hard to believe, but true! In this day of highly competitive cyber business, the companies that will succeed will be those that offer superior customer service. The value of a lifetime customer is immeasurable. So once you get a customer, how do you keep him? The answer is killer customer service! Here are some of the secrets that have made McDonalds the success it is today!

*Service with a Smile*

“Hi, Welcome to McDonalds! May I take your order?” Got a new prospect? Welcome him to your business. Introduce yourself and tell about your services in e-mail. Let your customers get to know you. People are more likely to do business with someone they trust. You can’t overstate the importance of building strong customer relationships.

Smile when you are talking on the phone. Customers will hear the difference in your voice. Be careful when you send e-mail. It’s easy to be misunderstood. E-mail lacks the visual and audio cues of face-to-face communication. You must make an extra effort to ensure that your “tone” is cheerful and friendly.

Also with an e-mail, people expect a quick reply. A fast, friendly response will let your customers know that you are working hard to keep them happy!

*Suggestive Sell *

“Would you like an apple pie with that today?” When a customer buys a service do you have something complementary that would add value? Business folks, who are pressed for time, will value the convenience of one-stop-shopping. Look at your line of products and think to yourself, What can I do to make this more useful to my customers?

Is there a helpful article I can send them?

Is there a service that would complement my business’s other services?”

*Have the Menu in Plain Sight!*”What all comes in the #3 value meal?” People like to know what to expect when they order from you. They want to know up front what things cost, how soon to expect it, etc. If a customer doesn’t see this information on your website, he just might leave. You know how nerve-racking it is buying a car when you don’t know what you are going to pay or if you are getting a good deal!

Knowledge of what to expect takes the fear out of buying.

*The Customer is Always Right*”I’m sorry your order was wrong, how can I make it better?” Nothing is worse than a “screw up” in an order. The best way to turn a negative into a positive is to go out of your way to make it right and make that customer feel satisfied with the results. After you make it right, apologize for the screw-up sincerely, and offer an incentive for him to try you again–for example, a discount on future service.

Everyone knows one complaint will scream louder than 30 complements. Make sure to answer ALL complaints. Don’t give anyone a reason to leave and say that his or her needs were not met.

You can learn a LOT from your customers. Make sure to LISTEN. Other customers may be experiencing the same problem. Learn from your mistakes.

List your phone number on your web site. An angry customer wants to know that his complaint is being heard NOW! Sending an e-mail response from the customer service department within 24 hours might not cut it!

*Q.S.C.* Quality, Service, and Cleanliness Quality–Is there any way you could improve your service? Do you set a level of excellence for your products and services that you meet or beat? Service–Do you make your customers feel like they are number one in your book? Do you listen to customer needs and fill them? Cleanliness–Does the atmosphere of your virtual business make customers happy and want to come back? Is your website visitor-friendly? Is your website easy to navigate? Does it load quickly?

*Brand Awareness/Corporate Identity *Is your URL as memorable as those famous golden arches? Many visitors find your site not by clicking, but by remembering your URL. Is your URL on business cards and stationery? Is it listed in your yellow pages ad? Keep your URL short and simple: long URLs with hyphens, punctuation, or ones that are hard to spell won’t give customers a fighting chance. Include your company’s URL and other contact information in your email signature. Does your secretary know your URL? The answer may surprise you!

*What is your USP *(Unique Selling Point)? “We’ve got the best fries in town!” Tell customers right on your home page why they should do business with you and not the guy down the cyberstreet. Tell your visitors in one short sentence who you are, what you do, and why you are better. Will you save them money? Can they rely on your experience? Try to list these in terms of benefit to them, and NOT features of your product.

*Customer Appreciation *”Thank you and come again!” Thank your customers for doing business with you. Send them an e-mail as a follow up to see if your product or service was what they expected. Would they recommend you to a friend? How about a hand-written note or card to tell someone that you value his or her business. There is a lot to be said for good old-fashioned customer service. Treat your customers like gold and they’ll be customers for life. The most powerful tool in your marketing arsenal is a customer referral. Give your customers a reason to brag about you and you’ll have a lot of customers knocking at your door!

About the Author

Kristie Tamsevicius, is the author of “I Love My Life: A Mom’s Guide to Working from Home”! Thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs have used her step-by-step home business system to earn money working from home. Get a free ecourse Home Business Success Secrets at http://www.webmomz.com/ilovemylife1.htm

Why Customer Service Metrics Matter

Why Customer Service Metrics Matter

Article by Sam Miller

Customer service metrics are performance measures that will aid the company in realizing profits with every customer contact. With the right system and adequate employee training, profiting from every revenue opportunity would not be a problem.

Customer service, or client service, refers to the services accorded to customers before, during and after a purchase. These may come as a series of services that are meant to improve the customer satisfaction level of the target market. These supplemental services may be provided by employees like sales or service representatives or they may be provided by automated devices like self-service Internet sites and Integrated Voice Response (IVR) devices. As a response to tighter competition, a company gain competitive advantage by providing superior customer service. Recent advancements in technology have made it easier for companies to provide customer support to their customers. Some of the most common customer service tools used by companies are support websites, live chats with technicians, customer preferences databases, service levels specialist software and call centers. Companies have also devised various ways of obtaining customer feedback to help them improve their products and services.

Various research undertakings have shown that good customer service is instrumental to having more loyal and happier customers. These studies also show that with satisfied customers come happier employees. Potentially, these two conditions will lead to increased profits and revenues because satisfied customers tend to increase their purchases and make recommendations to other people. Most customers appreciate having vendor support after spending their money on a product or service. Most companies provide this kind of support through face-to-face interactions like email, telephone calls, and chat. Often, the customers choose which interaction channel they are most comfortable with. Call centers or contact centers are often hired to provide this kind of customer support. Companies that are not capable of providing customer service often take advantage of outsourcing. To minimize operating costs, other companies use offshore call centers that usually operate outside of Europe and North America.

When asking about customer service standards that make some call centers stand out, replies such as, “Our target goal is to have 80 percent of calls answered within 30 seconds” or “We strive to respond to all customer requests within 24 hours” are very common. Indeed, customer service standards may differ from company to company depending on the call center capability and the interaction channels used. However, the bottom line of these services is that they enhance the experience of the customers with a specific brand. The interaction becomes an extension of the company’s relationship with the customer. In order to do this, employees should be properly trained so that they can effectively address the various concerns and problems of the customers.

To assess the effectiveness of the services provided to customers, managers use customer service metrics. These metrics will serve as performance indicators so that the company will know what needs to be improved and what needs to be maintained. Among these metrics, fast customer service resolution (FCR) rate stands out because of its correlation with customer satisfaction.

About the Author

If you are interested in customer service metrics, check this web-site to learn more about customer service kpi.

The Business Arguments for Investing In Customer Service

The Business Arguments for Investing In Customer Service

Article by Naz Daud

There are numerous business arguments for spending time and money on customer service, all of which have their own merits outweighing much of the downsides. Running a business without adequate customer service is one sure fire way to lose out in the long run, in terms of both customers and cost to your business. Customer service should be approached as a fixed cost that is also an investment in customer retention and goodwill, and ultimately in bottom line profits. By allotting adequate resources to the cause, your business will undoubtedly see a benefit from the customer service it provides.

One of the key business arguments for providing customer service lies in customer retention, and in maximising the lifetime value of each and every customer. Assume each customer is worth 0 a year to your business. By investing heavily in customer service, your business can retain most customers for longer, which would make each individual customer worth significantly more. However, without any thought to customer service, the short term value of each customer to your business could be much less, and there may be no guarantees of keeping each customer on after one year. Thus investing in a customer service department in your business is not only a good idea, but also one that can make or break your long term financial success.

It’s also important from a business point of view to have strong customer service as a way of protecting your brand, and ensuring the perception of your business remains intact. People talk, particularly after having experienced poor service and word can spread fast that your company is not able to deliver on its promises. If you make a habit of neglecting the customer service issues faced by your company on a day to day basis, you might quickly find that your business loses its ability to attract new sales prospects rather rapidly.

Another main business argument for establishing a competent customer service department is its impact on branding and customer acquisition. Converse to the fact that bad service will attract attention from word of mouth, so too good customer service travels fast and creates plenty of referrals. If people experience positive service, even where they may be having a problem with one of your products or services, they’re likely to tell others about the service they’ve enjoyed. This is an asset to your business, and if you get your customer service right, it can help to bring in new business referrals indirectly.

Running a business is not rocket science – it requires solid business fundamentals and the necessary support infrastructure to ensure you can deliver on what you promise and to keep customers happy. After all, happy customers are repeat customers, and repeat customers have the potential to strongly grow your business. By taking heed of the obvious business advantages to developing and strengthening your customer service department, you can benefit from a growth in your business and a stronger brand perception, which will help retain existing customers and attract new ones in equal measure.

About the Author

Naz Daud – CityLocal FranchisesBusiness Opportunity & Franchise OpportunitiesBusiness Directory & Business Franchises Ireland Business Directory & Franchises

The value of customer service

The value of customer service

Article by Jo-Rosie Haffenden

Rob Denton, Managing Director, Navigator Customer Management

Customer Relationship Management or CRM has become a real buzz word when discussing customer service. Customer acquisition as well as conversion and not forgetting the resulting retention rates of customers lean heavily on the wall of customer service. So, how good is your customer service? And what can you do to improve it?

Fostering good relationships with customers is becoming increasingly important to businesses. It is a well-worn argument that in a competitive global business environment, companies are attempting to re-learn the lessons of village traders and get up close and personal with their customers. The difference is that, instead of a few dozen customers, some modern businesses have literally millions of customers. As a result of this, nailing that ‘personal touch’ is no mean feat. Billions of pounds have been poured into CRM systems over the last decade in the hope that an overarching understanding of each customer and detailed, easily accessible customer information would enable consistent customer communication.

Energy companies have a customer turnover rate of over 4 million energy customers leaving in the first 10 months of 2006 according to Ofgem. That indicates a dramatic rise to over 18% churn rate in energy companies, which has historically seen rates of 12-13%. These companies face an up hill struggle in retaining and developing their customer relationships due to the low customer engagement nature of the industry. People are simply not interested in their energy providers unless something goes wrong and they need to make contact. This gives some indication as to why customer retention rates are so low. Whilst moving to a cheaper supplier was marked as the motivation behind the dramatic shift in the wake of price hikes, power utilities are still under increasing pressure to address their growing customer retention problem if they are to stay ahead in such a highly competitive market.

But how is such a problem solved? And how can energy companies begin to abate growing churn rates? Businesses need to understand the extent to which consumers want to engage with their brands. For some businesses, particularly those where there is either a strong natural need (IFAs, Banks) or emotional attachment (Fashion Retailer, Car Manufacturer), it will be relatively easy to foster strong relationships with customers. Others companies for example utility companies, will need to work harder to alter the way in which their customers perceive them. British Gas, whose market share dropped to 48% in October 2006, recognise that to sustain profitability, they need to first improve customer service. They highlighted the importance of improving their service admitting, ‘improving the quality of our service is a critical short-term priority.’ Alongside their drive for restoring customer faith in their services, British Gas are also diversifying their brand and bringing in other companies so as to provide a more attractive package and a stronger emphasis on consistency. By broadening the utility offering and providing a higher number of products per customer, the chances of defection becomes less likely and brand loyalty increases.

This is also the case for telecoms suppliers, who face an environment of cutthroat competition and traditionally high customer defection rates, with research showing that mobile operators suffering annual customer churn of 33.4%. Despite a relatively robust level of investment in loyalty activity, the sector has still not managed to achieve a solid basis of customer satisfaction, and with a historically fickle customer base, telecommunication companies face rising apathy among their customers. To overcome this dormancy and increase their appeal, telecom operators are introducing more mobile phone products into the market place, and our technology preoccupied culture are, of course, willing to pay. A report recently published by Telecom Express revealed that 50% of UK consumers now pay for mobile phone content, with services such as extra ring tones; additional telephone directories; and “Where’s My Nearest?” information, all deemed worthy of commanding hard cash payments. This shows that by combining channels that naturally reflect the behaviour of the consumer, mobile operators are gaining market advantage and brand presence. By using affinity collaborations, companies are starting to successfully nurture relationships with their customers, building a brand that they are less likely to defect from.

For the utilities sector to really understand the inherent interest of their customers and encourage an ongoing dialogue and mutual interest, the focus needs to be on data driven customer service. Recent research reveals that what customers really value is not brand advertising, loyalty schemes or even celebrity endorsement, but good old-fashioned contact. Well informed and friendly staff that show real knowledge of the brand are what makes the difference. Organisations that give staff or agents training to become effective brand representatives, and who then support those staff with individual customer data that help them make conversations more relevant and compelling, are creating customer value that also generates commercial return for the company. Customers who obtain value are on average four times more likely to buy. The research also showed which sectors are delivering customer value most successfully, and which are not. Utilities, at 24% below the average, were found to be perceived as the worst at customer service. This will change as more products are offered under a single utility brand to the customer base.

There is clearly a serious need for utilities to invest in customer development initiatives and use data analysis to identify weak areas of customer service. By analysing where the problem concentrations are and where the majority of queries are coming from, utilities can start to form a model that spots problems early and shows where to increase effort. Both energy and telecom utilities need to repeat these analyses every year to refresh customer service data and see where changes have occurred. Simple procedures, such as spotting the nature of customer complaints and how these are handled make predictions much easier and enable companies to become more efficient without potentially unnecessary investment.

Utility companies need to continue to find ways of adding interest to the brand and making the experience of being a customer, something that promotes loyalty. Tangible value should also be considered in order to reduce defection rates and improve customer engagement. Similarly, telecoms can no longer neglect to cultivate long-term relationships with their customers and simply play on the natural interest of the consumer. By enriching the market with further content services, alongside close attention to relationship building, defection and churn rates can be stemmed and a warm bed of loyalty achieved.

It is time businesses upgraded customer services to improve the market place for themselves, for other businesses and for the customers using their products and services alike.

About the Author

Navigator Customer Management is a customer service solutions across key channels – voice, mail, internet, live, email and text. Founded in 1991, Navigator completed a management buyout in 2007 from MoonRiver Group moving the company into a new phase as a successful indep

Improve Customer Service with POWER Optimism

Improve Customer Service with POWER Optimism

Article by Dana Lightman

It was too late. I was so frustrated and annoyed with the customer service, I wanted to stop payment on the deposit, but the check had been cashed. I knew it would be nearly impossible to get my money back, so I was forced to continue to work with the company. Sound familiar?

In my case, the company in question was a landscaping firm. What should have been a simple and routine operation of having a tree planted in the backyard turned into a nightmare of phone calls over a two month period. No matter how much information I left, the owner insisted on needing more details, which I was gladly willing to supply. I left numerous messages with times I would be available, but to no avail. The return calls kept coming in during the late evening hours after I was already in bed. Finally, I spoke to the owner’s wife, who assured me her husband would call on Sunday. When I hadn’t heard by 3 pm., I called. And to my utter frustration, the call was returned at 10 pm that evening. I got out of bed to answer the phone and express my displeasure. The owner insisted his company prided itself on customer service, waxed prolific about the awards he had won, told me about the stress of his current workload, and refused to give me back my deposit because he had already purchased the tree.

Relationship is Key to Quality Customer ServiceThis landscaper lost an opportunity to cultivate me as a loyal customer for repeat business, a necessary factor for business success today. A recent study found that the average American company loses up to 20% of its customers every year, not a promising statistic in this time of economic instability. Another study reported that profits can be increased by 25-125% by retaining 5% more customers. Today, more than ever, businesses need to address the way consumers feel about their services. The average unhappy customer will remember – and talk about – a negative experience for over 23 years. I know I will!

So, what went wrong for me with the landscaping service. The answer lies in what is called relationship marketing. Put simply, relationship marketing relies on trust. Trust is what differentiates two companies that each has the right product at the right price. If there is no trust, the customer won’t buy the product. Put another way, the customer will buy the product or service from the person they like the best. In my case, I didn’t care how many awards the landscaper won or how busy he was. I didn’t trust that he was taking my needs into account or that I was an important customer. In short, he had not developed a positive relationship with me.

Knowledge + POWER OPTIMISM ? = Profitable Customer ServiceWhat is the best way for a business owner or employee to develop customer service based on relationship marketing? Certainly a base line of knowledge about the service or product is required. In other words, employees need to know what to do and how to do it. But knowledge is not the essential ingredient for success. The key ingredient for peak performance in customer service is POWER OPTIMISM?. Research shows that winning at customer service depends on the ability of owners and employees to manage their thoughts, feelings and behaviors. According to a study conducted by the Forum Corporation on Manufacturing and Service Companies, 70% of the reasons for a company losing customers and clients is due to discontent with employee attitudes (thoughts and feelings) and/or behavior. POWER OPTIMISM creates conditions for success by teaching how to choose thoughts, feelings and behaviors that get positive results.

If we translate this into an equation, it would look like this:

Knowledge + POWER OPTIMISM = Profitable Customer Service.

In the equation, knowledge contributes to profitability because customers expect a level of expertise about the field or product. But knowledge alone does not contribute to customer satisfaction or loyalty. For profitable results from customer service, it is essential to add POWER OPTIMISM into the equation for several reasons. First, POWER OPTIMISM teaches how to release negative patterns that form internal barriers to peak performance. If employees are going to develop a good relationship with a customer, they must first have a good relationship with themselves. Second, owners and employees must treat each customer as an individual. Customers are more demanding in today’s market; it is no longer appropriate to treat each customer in the same way. POWER OPTIMISM enhances flexibility in dealing with customers by teaching creative problem-solving skills and by providing tools for appraising each customer objectively. Third, POWER OPTIMISM provides training in how to restore a positive attitude when the inevitable bad days occur, leading to greater employee self-motivation and higher levels of achievement.

If the Landscaper Were a POWER Optimist…How would my experience be different with the owner of the landscaping company if he had been trained in POWER OPTIMISM? ? First, he would not have had to defensively tell me about his awards and accolades to prove he was competent. I was already agreeing to utilize his services, so he didn’t need to convince me of his expertise. He misread the situation and would have benefited from the work on “Moving from Self-Sabotage to Self-Insights.” Second, the owner failed to accommodate my need to be contacted prior to 9:00 p.m., and would have found the information on “Appraising Customers Objectively: Service Customized for the Individual” invaluable in turning me into a long-term user of his services. Finally, because he used stress as an excuse for his actions, learning about “Moving From Stress Build-Up to Stress Busters” would have helped him create a more positive and relaxed business day.

I still don’t have the tree planted in my backyard and I don’t know when I will. But I do know that POWER OPTIMISM? makes a difference, and I will be looking for greater customer satisfaction as I search for another landscaper for future work in the backyard.

Dr. Dana Lightman is a motivational speaker and creator of POWER Optimism. For more information, visit http://www.danalightman.com

About the Author

Dr. Dana Lightman, creator of POWER Optimism, is a professional, motivational speaker providing keynote and workshop programs to audiences of all sizes and professions.

Customer Service And How To Fail In Business

Customer Service And How To Fail In Business

Article by Naz Daud

Customer service is an aspect of any business, whether a large corporate organization or small home business run by a single individual. The way a business presents itself to customers, either potential or actual, can make a huge difference in terms of promotion, loyalty and the likelihood of success.

No business succeeds without customers, and in order to attract customers, it is increasingly necessary for businesses to be approachable, contactable, and interested in communicating with customers whenever there are any queries or issues relating to the products or services available.

In the modern world of internet technology, more and more customers today are often beginning to expect that businesses can be contacted at any time, and day, and in a way which is convenient. In the twenty first century we have shed the expectations that we had of only being able to contact a business or company between the hours of 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. With international time zones, more people working weekends, and working hours no longer traditional, we all expect to be able to pick up the phone, or send an email, and have our queries or concerns dealt with promptly.

If you are seeking to buy in to a franchise or business opportunity, it will be important to understand in advance what the customer service arrangements involve. Will you be responsible for any issues that arise, and need to provide a means by which customers can contact you directly, or is there a customer service center or arrangement already in place? If you will be relying on an outsourced service center, then you may find that giving them a call yourself, alleging to be a potential customer, reveals the level of support which your own customers could face.

Although outsourcing of service centers is increasingly common, primarily as a means to cut costs and long term overheads, it can sometimes cause problems for customers who have difficulties communicating with people who do not speak the same language fluently, or have strong accents, limited knowledge of the product or service, or limited access to relevant information about you and your account.

But the issue of providing support for customers will be something you’ll need to approach yourself if the responsibility with a franchise opportunity is left with you and if you are starting out on your own with your business idea as an independent entrepreneur.

If customers are not happy with the level of customer service, such as failing to have queries dealt with, having to wait excessive periods of time to wait for a response, having responses which make little sense, offer little support, express little concern or fail to resolve the issue quickly and effectively, then the chances are high that you will lose that customer.

More than this, by losing a customer, you are highly likely to lose any potential sales you may have acquired through recommendation. With so much choice available and so much variety, increasingly we are relying on personal recommendations, and online reviews, to help make up our mind on whether to commit to a retailer or service provider, especially if it is likely to be for a significant sum or a long term contractual arrangement.

Failing to provide adequate customer service can easily result in losing out on personal recommendations, and could easily result in publically viewable reviews advising against your company or service. The internet can easily work in your favour, but similarly it can work against you if you fail to meet expectations.

To a large extent, the importance and intensity of customer service is likely to depend on the nature of the business in which you become involved. If you’re seeking to start out as an individual entrepreneur, working from home with little direct contact with customers, then you may consider the importance of customer service to be less of a priority than those entering into a business arrangement which has massive contact with customers and relies heavily on customer loyalty.

This is turn may impact on your decision when it comes to deciding what kind of business to enter into, what kind of franchise opportunity to become involved with, or the nature of any solo business you choose to initiate. Are you a people person? Do you like solving problems and offering a high level of service to customers? If not, then a business model which relies upon this may not be for you, and the issue of outsourcing the service center becomes one to consider.

Ultimately it will be important to think about customer service not from the business point of view alone, taking on board the financing, the time, the means by which issues can be filed, dealt with, followed up and referred back, but also from the point of view of your customers. Happy customers equate to customer loyalty and recommendations, which in turn results in a more profitable and successful business. Get your customer service right and you’re more likely to see the business succeeding where other, perhaps larger companies are losing sight of the very blood which made them successful in the first place.

About the Author

Naz Daud – CityLocal UK Business Directory Ireland Business Directory Franchise Opportunity Featured Businesses

8 Steps to Building a Customer Service Centered Dollarstore

8 Steps to Building a Customer Service Centered Dollarstore

Article by Bob Hamilton

One of the most important steps to take when opening a dollar store is to set the principles and values for your business. Taking this step sets the standards for everything you and your employees do. One area that is strongly influenced by this effort is customer service. A customer service oriented dollarstore is a consciously focused on making every customer the center of attention. Everything that is done is tied back to the customer. In this article I present 8 steps to building a customer service centered business.

1) Be a role model of the customer service you expect from others in the organization. When opening a dollar store you?ll find everything is tied to you and how you do it. Your employees are looking to you as the leader and the example they follow. Know exactly how you want customers treated and then role model those very behaviors in every interaction.

2) Interview and hire strong customer service oriented employees. In today?s marketplace there are many very skilled customer oriented individuals eagerly looking to become part of your organization. It?s just a matter of knowing the specific training and skills you require and then focusing your interviewing on those very competencies.

3) Teach customer service basics to every employee in the organization. No matter how strong an employee might be when it comes to customer service, it is important not to make assumptions about the training they have received previously. Offer basic training in customer service as a part of the orientation every new employee goes through when first coming to work for your dollarstore.

4) Establish and communicate expectations associated with providing outstanding customer service. It?s impossible for employees to meet your expectations just by guessing what they might be. Write them down and then communicate them to every employee. It?s important to also offer an opportunity for employees to ask questions and to gain clarity about what you expect.

5) Continually monitor employee customer service performance levels. When opening a dollar store you?ll soon discover you are being pulled in a hundred different directions. Yet if you truly wish to make customer service a cornerstone to your success you must make time to observe how your employees are doing against you expectations.

6) Recognize and reward those employees who perform well in the customer service arena. Seeing performance is one thing; recognizing good performance is another. Make it your practice to note specifics about good customer service being provided by employees. Then give them positive feedback ? including the specifics of what you observed ? as soon as possible after seeing it. When opening a dollar store don?t forget to include customer service on performance appraisals. Reward those who provide outstanding customer service on a routine basis.

7) Point out issues and offer training and positive reinforcement as employee performance issues go away. Many will suggest you look the other way when employees don?t meet your expectations. However, it is important to understand what?s happening when employees fail to meet the customer service expectations of your dollarstore business. Is there a training issue? Was there a lack of understanding when expectations where presented? What?s the problem and how can it be quickly resolved?

8) Train and retrain the workforce when opening a dollar store. Don?t accept current customer service levels. Be on the lookout for training and development you can take. Then bring that same information back and train your employees. Keep raising the bar on customer service and do everything possible to provide higher and higher levels of training to everyone in your dollarstore. You?ll be rewarded as sales and profits grow ever-higher.

To your dollarstore success!

About the Author

Find out how you can open your own dollar store business.

Bob Hamilton is an entrepreneur, author, writer, business consultant and trainer.

Customer Service Solution

Customer Service Solution

Article by Seema

Do you consider your customers, your most valuable business asset that define the entire business activity? If yes, it is because at the end of the day, everything organizations do is focused on improving customer service and putting them at the heart of all businesses. This stands more true with online business, where the competition is growing fiercer every passing day. Once you have your online business up and running, you need to find ways of pulling visitors, leads and customers. For this, companies offer customer service solutions suiting different business requirements.

Why Customer Service Solution?Every sale you make to your customer is important and critical. You have to win the trust of the customers and this concludes into sales, repeat sales and referrals. To ensure that this series of sales and re-sales continues, businesses entail various Customer Service Solutions. Today, talking about innovative IT companies, they offer very smart Service Management Solutions that are more than often customized to meet specific business model.

Customer Service Center Management Solutions are primarily designed and developed for Service Centers. Such solutions are integrated, modular in structure and have multi-user functionality. The IT companies who develop service center management solution offers various features and benefits like:

? Online Complaint Registration/ Enquiry? Service Related user-friendly MIS? Inventory Maintenance? Effective and on-time functioning between all departments

Service Call Logging, Mobile CRM and Service Call Center Management System are few ways of providing customer Service Solutions to build Brand Value and Customer Loyalty among your customers. Let us discuss them in detail:

? Service Call Logging- The motive remains the same- to improve customer relations and increase productivity. The service call logging maintains the data of the customers who call to the service center for getting information about their product/service. In a brief, the users log a service call and the Service Call Logging applications allow the user to view the customer’s details and call history.? Mobile CRM (SMS Application)- A Text message is an easy, effective and quickest way of reaching to the customers. Today, IT companies that develop custom mobile applications offer effective Mobile CRM Solutions which help the companies to keep a track of their customers? actions. For example, if a customer lodges a complaint against the entailed service/product, the SMS application generates a message to the concerned department and simultaneously to the customer about his complaint status.

? Service Call Center / Customer Care Solution- Many business firms that require call center need a scalable service call center solution that can help them outsource the technology, simultaneously retaining all the control and security they need. A managed service call center allows the company to choose the attributes they want to keep with themselves.

Above mentioned are few examples of Service Management Solutions. All these solutions are customer oriented and ensure their satisfaction at every sales level. So if you are looking forward to augment your business sales, you need to satisfy your customer?s needs – and what better way than automated online Customer Service Solutions that empower your business with real-time services and keep your customers glued to your business.

About the Author

Seema is a online marketer of zed-axis.com. Zed Axis is a leading Sales Contact Management Software Company. For more information about our Sales Contact Management Software Service Please visit www.zed-axis.com now!

Customer Service Management Software: 3 Important Buying Tips

Customer Service Management Software: 3 Important Buying Tips

Article by Seema Ch

Customers are a prized possession for every company. Organizations do every bit to ensure their clients’ satisfaction at every sale and post sales level. Customer service is all about retaining the existing customers, while keeping the doors open for new ones. Hence, Customer Service Management is not only a need, but also a responsibility of a service provider. For better and enhanced customer service management, companies use Customer Service Management software that automates client-vendor communication and several related functions within the organization.

Following are the main features and benefits of a Customer Service Management Software:

* Keeps track of various interactions between the customer and the company* Keeps track of sales related communication* Keeps track of financial aspects of customer’s transactions like invoice generation and payments received * Keeps track of order history and buying pattern* Streamlines customer service desk processes* Serves customers more efficiently and intelligently

Following are some important tips that would benefit your decision before you buy a Customer Service Management Software.

Analyse your requirements: A Customer Service Management Software is available either as a separate module for each feature, or as a combination of two or more features. So analyse your needs before the purchase. Your business requirements differ from others. Hence many companies design customised solutions rather than “one-size-fits-all” solutions. Same goes with Customer Service Management software. You might need a customized application and not ready-made software. If this be the case, search for a custom Customer Service Software Solutions company that designs tailor-made solutions according to your specific business needs.

Vendors Analysis: A Customer Service Management solution is a broad solution that cannot be condensed to a single term. Hence, Customer Service Management is categorised into different service offerings like Service Call Logging, Service Call Centre/Customer Care Solution, Service Reports Automation, Online Product Registration, Web Based Warranty Tracking Application, Mobile CRM (WAP Application) and Service Centre Management Solution. Your business might need all these solutions, or a chosen few. Make a list of the vendors who offer the solution you require and then decide.

Software Features: You have studied your requirements and chosen a vendor. The next logical step is to ask your vendor about the important software details like whether the software would be compatible with your existing platform and whether your existing software modules (if any) could be integrated in the new solution.

About the Author

Seema is an online marketer of zed-axis.com. Zed Axis is a leading Software Development Company in India. For more information about our Custom Software Development services India & Software Development Service please visit http://www.zed-axis.com now!