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Great Customer Service

   In my over 30 years of leading and consulting with companies to improve their sales growth, I’ve never heard anyone argue with the idea that customer service is important. This is one of those “Mom and Apple Pie” statements that is a given. 
   With that said it is not unusual for a company to not have a clear definition of what great customer service actually looks like. I would like to offer up a simple and actionable definition for your consideration: Strive for all customer contacts to be perceived as Caring, Competent and Convenient.
   If you experience caring, competent and convenient service from a company, don’t you feel pretty good? Here is a list of observations, techniques and tactics that can move you in the right direction.
   “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”  - Dr. Seuss
   Get your mindset right! Every employee should recognize that it is their responsibility to help clients and prospects however they can.
   People are contacting you because they believe you can help them. They are not “Dumb or Difficult!” They have varying perspectives, pasts and personalities. We need to strive to understand their story and help them.
   A fundamental technique is “Ego Suspension.” You are not trying to win a debate. People may come across anxious and excited. Listen and let them communicate. The discussion isn’t about you or the company but rather about them and their issue.
   Another effective baseline technique is “Validation.” Let them know that it is understandable to feel the way they do. Validating a person’s feelings is not the same as agreeing with their statements. 
   The simple response... “I understand why you would feel like that”…can quickly build a connection and lets them know that you “get” them.
   “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” - Dr. Seuss
   Everyone should know the FAQ’s! (Frequently Asked Questions). As in most areas the 80/20 rule holds up.
   The majority of customer issues are going to revolve around a few items. This list of questions should be well thought out and the proper response and actions should be well understood by everyone. 
   Appropriate authority. Make sure that your employees are clear on their levels of authority to make decisions. No one likes to hear “I will need to check with the boss” over something minor. We are often guilty of saving pennies while wasting dollars in good will and future business.

   “People seldom do what they believe in. They do what is convenient, then repent.” – Bob Dylan
Offer multiple communication options. Give people the option to contact you online or by phone. Well-structured websites that are easy to navigate can be extremely effective.
   Give quick responses. A fast reasonable answer will usually be received better than a slower “perfect” one. 
   Ban the “Hold!” Putting people on hold should be done with great reluctance. Ask for permission or offer to take their information and have someone get back with them. 
   Research shows that the majority of people, when asked why they quit doing business with a company, stated it was due to an indifferent attitude displayed by the company.Don’t let this be you!

For additional information to help your organization go “Further, Faster,” contact Rick Horn, the Growth Coach of Michiana, at (574) 536-4426,, or  

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