Customer service has always been an important aspect of any company; and it always will be; good customer service creates good PR which creates free marketing from the source which of course is the customer, and this type of marketing is precious because it can only be given not bought. The same of course is true of the opposite; bad customer service creates bad PR which creates what I call negative marketing. Social Media has expanded on this in a substantial way on both sides of the customer service spectrum. Continue reading
I have been in business and a serial entrepreneur since 1988 officially, unofficially I started in 1979 moving lawns, pulling weeds, and washing cars… So suffice to say I’ve been at it for a while. Even so it ceases to amaze me how very little some small business men and women actually know about business. One of the biggest things that frosts my hide is the lack of understanding of what is needed for marketing. I teach both graduate and post graduate marketing classes; from intro marketing to advanced marketing theories and there is one thing I do in all of those classes; I ask a very simple question. “When creating a marketing plan, what is the first thing you need?” I get a myriad of answers, I get things like:
- Find a target customer
- Segment your target
- Assess your market
- Understand your customers
- Build a website
- Create a blog
- Perform public relations
- Social Media
- Get organized
Some good answers, but not the one I was looking for. Continue reading
If you have ever spent any time in the operations side of a company than you know that every meeting the topic of sales comes up; and it should because without sales there aren’t any customers, and obviously without customers there isn’t a business. If anyone has ever seen the 1992 movie Glengarry Glen Ross than you have probably heard the sales acronym ABC – Always Be Closing. It’s true no matter how many customers you have, no matter how much money you’ve made as an organization you are only as good as your last quarter, so you always need sales, you always need to be closing. Continue reading
I found that many call centers are behind the times when it comes to customer service, and many have the mentality that because they are a call center that means that the only way a customer needs to get ahold of them is by telephone. This is false. In today’s world it is important to be flexible and realize that not all customers are the same, some want to call you, some want to reach out via Facebook or Twitter and some want to talk to you via Live Chat. Progressive call centers are offering their customers a variety of ways to contact them and if you are not, than you are operating a call center from the past, not the present. Continue reading
Have you ever called a business and got an automated answering system that made you sit through what seems like an eternity listening to the various options they have, none of which have anything to do with what you called about, they might as well have asked you to push 1 for a girl, 2 for a goat, or 3 for a stamp collection because that makes about as much sense as the menu they offered you. I recently called a company and after listening to their long introduction and menu which was about nine different options, none which applied to the reason I called, I pushed 0 thinking I was going to get the operator. But no, I got to listen to the entire recording all over again, I then selected one of the options just to get out of the main menu, and had to then listen to another long list of menu items, and them randomly selected one of them and finally one of the options was to speak to a customer service agent. It honestly should not be that difficult to speak to someone.
Don’t get me wrong, automated answering systems are fine, we have one at my company, but when you call, you get a simple menu and you have the ability to talk to someone with one simple press of a button, we don’t make you jump through hoops just to get someone on the phone. It is obvious that companies that do this just don’t want to talk to you, they are trying to force you to use the automated self help system, and this really irks people and creates a very bad image for the company. People want to be able to pick up the phone and with ease talk to a real live person. Let that person figure out what you need and transfer you if need be, but making it difficult to get someone on the phone is just bad for business. People call your business because they want to talk to a real person not an automated system. PayPal has taken a lot of heat on this issue and many of their customers have complained that they are not able to talk to a live person very easily, and they are not alone, many companies are like this, and obviously the reason is to save money, but I say that this savings is at the expense of losing customers and in the end this is the opposite of what the goal was. Customer service should be a top priority to any company and it should be an easy transaction for a customer to obtain customer service at any level. Remember as a business you only exist as long as your customers find value in what you have to offer, so keeping them happy certainly is beneficial to any company.