Reasons Why Many Companies Fail to adopt a Customer-First Strategy

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Reasons Why Many Companies Fail to adopt a Customer-First Strategy

June 27, 2017 Blog by admin

Most companies claim to have a ‘customer-first’ policy, but these words can too often become another meaningless statement on paper that never fully develops into an actual policy in action. There are many reasons why this can happen. Here are a few reasons to look out for so you don’t fail to adopt this strategy in your business.

Upper management makes the decree, but no one knows how to implement it

Often, CEOs and upper management figures decree that the company will take a ‘customer-first’ stance when doing business, but it takes more than just this statement to make it actually happen. Without specific details and directions, the other employees are likely to fail at creating this sort of environment. Customer satisfaction isn’t just a short-term project--it needs to be an ongoing, long-term goal that every employee contributes to. If you don’t tell your employees what their role is in this plan, they can’t be expected to fulfill their duties.

Not everyone in the company contributes to the goal

It’s easy for front-end employees like customer service reps to remember to put customers first. After all, they deal with them directly on a daily basis and more than likely have been trained to relate to their customers’ needs. However, every employee needs to know their role in contributing to customer satisfaction, not just those employees who deal with the public on a daily basis.

If necessary, provide refresher training to management or back office staff so they are reminded that customers need to come first in order to reach your goal of a ‘customer-first’ business. Make sure everyone knows and understands their role in implementing this type of policy.

The business thinks it costs too much for such a policy

Consider the cost of replacing customers who leave your business compared to the small effort it takes to retain happy ones. It is more cost effective to keep your current customers happy, especially when they bring their friends and family to do business with you, than it is to try and court new customers constantly.

For more tips on how you can create a customer-first environment in your business, visit Answer 365 today.

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Increase Customer Loyalty with These 6 Tips

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Increase Customer Loyalty with These 6 Tips

June 20, 2017 Blog by admin

Customer loyalty is an important part of any successful business, but building a loyal group of customers takes more time and effort than many businesses realize. Attracting new customers isn’t enough to sustain your business--you have to keep your existing customers happy or you’ll spend too much time and money trying to win over new ones. Here are six simple tips that will help increase your customer loyalty.

Be engaging

Does your business or brand have a back-story? Is it relatable to your customers? Most consumers want to feel like they share a common interest with the companies they do business with. Make sure your business is relatable, engaging, and inclusive enough to welcome in new customers while maintaining existing customer relationships.

Be honest and sincere

A large part of customer loyalty involves trust. If your customers can’t trust you to provide a reliable, ethical service, they’ll find someone else who can. Always be honest and sincere when dealing with your customers and they’ll be more likely to stay with you. This means owning your mistakes, admitting when you do something wrong, and doing the right thing by your customers every time.

Put your focus on your customers

While your products and services are important, they aren’t as important as the customers who buy them. Keep your customers at the forefront of everything you do and always strive to provide excellent customer service. The difference between good customer service and bad service could be what drives loyal customers away, so never stop providing the best service you can.

Offer quality products

It takes the right combination of great customer service and excellent products to keep customers loyal. Make sure you are constantly assessing the quality of the products and services that you offer to make sure they meet the needs and demands of your loyal customers. Ask for customer feedback and then act on it. Your customers know what they need and like best, so don’t be afraid to ask them in order to better serve them.

Show gratitude

Nothing makes a customer feel more special than gratitude on your part. Remind your customers of what an integral part of your business they really are by giving them the occasional gift or discount. Be genuine in your gratitude and generous with your thanks. After all, without your customers, you wouldn’t have much of a business, would you?

Stand out from your competition

Sometimes, you can do everything right and still lose loyal customers. They may leave because you are just too much like your competitors--if this is the case, you need to find a way to stand out. Go above and beyond in some way, whether it’s better customer service, better rewards for loyalty, or just a bigger overall personality in your business, and you should see better customer retention.

For more tips on providing better customer service to your customers, visit Answer 365 today.

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Creating a Powerful Customer Survey: Things to Consider

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Creating a Powerful Customer Survey: Things to Consider

June 13, 2017 Blog by admin

Customer surveys can be very useful tools that can help you provide better customer service, but often customers just won’t participate in the surveys. This is because today’s customers are inundated with surveys wherever they go. Many businesses fail to explain why the surveys are necessary and even fewer act on the answers given by the customers. Here’s how you can improve the results of your customer surveys so you can provide the best service for your customers.

Be clear about why you are sending the survey

Why should a customer take time out of their day to help you? Explain why you need to survey your customers in order to provide them with a better service. Be honest--tell them you want to get to the bottom of any issues that customers have had in the past and that you want to know how to better serve them in the future. Don’t just ask for generic feedback--your customers don’t have time to contribute to something that won’t benefit them specifically.

Make sure you are asking the right questions

Think of the survey as a means to an end--you need the end result to be a problem solved, so ask the questions that will help you find the solution to the problem in the first place. You need to know what you will do with the answers you receive in order to ask the right questions, so keep this in mind when creating your survey. Be specific with your questions, then follow up with asking for further explanation. For example, ask how your customers feel about a certain policy or product, then ask them to explain why they feel that way. Ask for permission to contact them further if you really want to dig down deeper into your customer’s insight.

Make the surveys easy and quick

As mentioned before, consumers are overloaded with survey requests. Make yours as short and as simple as possible if you want to increase your chances of customers completing them. Try to keep the time it takes to complete the survey under five minutes. Don’t waste your customer’s time on a survey or they may think less of your business. And don’t forget to implement your feedback! Surveys are useless if you don’t act on the information you get from them.

For more tips on keeping your finger on the pulse of your customer relationships, visit Answer 365 today.

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5 Rewards of an Excellent Customer Service Culture

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5 Rewards of an Excellent Customer Service Culture

June 06, 2017 Blog by admin

You know that excellent customer service is great for your customers, but did you know that it’s awesome for your business, too? Creating an excellent customer service culture has a wider impact on your business than you might think. Here are five ways an excellent customer service culture has a positive impact on your business.

Happier employees

Employees who are passionate about their jobs are more engaged with their customers. This leads to higher job satisfaction for your employees. This is a win for everyone involved, since your customers get better service, you get happier employees, and your employees get greater job satisfaction.

Employee engagement and customer service are very closely linked, so when you create policies that boost customer satisfaction, you’ll find that they also increase employee engagement and satisfaction. Of course, you also have to hire the right employees for the job and make sure that you provide adequate and excellent training. The end result of this process is happier employees and more satisfied customers, which are both great for business.

Lower employee turnover rates

Happy employees are less likely to leave their jobs, reducing your overall employee turnover. This has a knock-on effect in reducing training costs, since you won’t have as many new employees to train.

More loyal customers

This is an obvious benefit of a customer service culture. Your customers will love the fact that you put them first and they’ll be more likely to stick around for the long term. They’ll also be more likely to bring their friends and family to you. These referrals from happy customers are worth their weight in gold because they carry the social proof many customers need to trust your business enough to engage with it.

Bigger profits

Believe it or not, you can charge loyal customers more than you could new ones. This isn’t a punishment--most consumers admit they’ll happily pay more money for better customer service. Of course, it’s not a good reason to put up prices arbitrarily, but if your company has an excellent customer service culture, you’ll have the flexibility to adjust prices upwards without losing your loyal customers.

Builds a stronger brand

Want to have a stronger brand that’s recognized by more people? Develop a strong customer service culture. Word of mouth and other forms of social proof mean that your brand will develop a reputation as one that people will want to do business with, and that’s pretty powerful advertising.

For more great tips on developing your customer service culture, visit the Answer 365 blog regularly.

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What Skills to Look For in your Next Customer Service Reps

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What Skills to Look For in your Next Customer Service Reps

May 26, 2017 Blog by admin

Assembling a great team of customer service reps takes time, patience, and a solid knowledge of what great customer service really means. Of course, anyone can provide customer service, but your customers deserve to be served by reps who truly care about the customer experience. Here are the skills you need to look out for in your next customer service reps.

Confidence

Confidence is a great skill to have in any job, but it takes a very special type of confidence in customer service roles. Your service reps need to be confident enough to take charge of any problem or situation that your customers have, yet they need to avoid coming across as bossy or overbearing. Most importantly, it’s the attitude that goes along with the confidence that counts the most. If they are cocky and inflexible in their confidence, keep looking. That type of inflexibility will be a turnoff for your customers.

Empathy

Alongside confidence, empathy is one of the best skills any customer service employee can have. The ability to put yourself in your customer’s shoes is critical in diffusing angry situations and it’s vitally important in helping employees relate to customers. Empathy requires a lot of patience, which is another great skill for customer service employees to embrace.

Flexibility

Customers can have a wide variety of problems every day of the week, so you need employees who are flexible enough to be able to work through these challenges to provide individualized service to every employee. Flexibility is also important when your business experiences a particularly high volume of customer calls. You need employees who are happy to help above and beyond their normal duties in times like that.

Sense of responsibility

Customer service reps who can own up to their mistakes are more likely to be better problem solvers in the long run. If they assume responsibility of their customer’s problems, they’ll be more likely to give better customer service, too. Encourage responsible customer service reps to provide followups to your customers once the problem is resolved to help strengthen customer relationships.

Follow the Answer 365 blog for more great tips and advice on providing excellent customer service to your customers.

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Fix Your Broken Customer Service With These Ideas

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Fix Your Broken Customer Service With These Ideas

May 19, 2017 Blog by admin

If you suspect that your customer service is lagging, or worse, broken altogether, there is hope. Small changes can make a big difference to both your business and your customer experience, so don’t be afraid to make those changes now, before the problem gets worse. Here are some things you can try to fix your broken customer service today.

Offer your customers the tools they need to help themselves (if they want to)

Some customers are happier doing most of their interaction with your company alone, that is, they prefer self-service most of the time. Don’t think of things like customer account dashboards and online ordering as an alternative to great customer service, but rather as tools to enhance your customer experience. Anything that makes your customer experience easier or more pleasant for your customers is a great investment in customer service.

Give customer service employees the tools they want and need

What do your employees say is the biggest challenge they face in providing better customer service? Is it a lack of training, a lack of technology, or maybe even a lack of the ability to own each customer’s problem fully? Give your employees the space to provide excellent service, and give them the tools, and they’ll be more likely to embrace their roles more fully. Just make sure that you’re not making changes for the sake of change--in other words, don’t fix areas that aren’t broke. Listen to your employees, work with them to determine what they need, and work together to fix your broken customer service.

Have a clear philosophy for your customer service

You can’t give the best customer service if you don’t know what exactly ‘good’ service is. Create a company philosophy about what type of service you want to provide, then draw up a statement that shows your intent. Build your customer service around this creed and then build your company culture around that great service. Make your statement short, sweet, and to the point, then drive it home by living up to it every day.

Visit Answer 365 often for more great tips and advice on creating a great customer-centered corporate culture.

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5 Steps to Building a Customer Focused Culture

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5 Steps to Building a Customer Focused Culture

May 12, 2017 Blog by admin

One of the most important things you can have in your business is a customer focused company culture. If you don’t put your customers first, you’re risking long-term success for your business. Here are five steps to take to build a strong, customer focused culture within your business.

Train employees to cultivate customer focused culture

Your employees play an important role in creating the kind of culture that values customer service. Start them early by offering training in how to provide the kind of customer service that your customers crave. It helps if you only hire people who show a clear aptitude for great customer service, so take a little extra time to fill your customer service jobs with the right people.

Make rewards service-based

Employee rewards should be linked directly to their performance in company culture. In other words, the better they cultivate a customer service focused culture, the more rewards they’ll receive.

Don’t let poor service bring down morale

If you have employees who don’t fit with your customer service culture, don’t be afraid to fire them quickly. Some people won’t be a good fit, no matter how hard you try to mold them to your company culture. Negative employees can quickly bring down the morale of all of your employees, and this can lead to poor customer experience.

Personalize your customer experience

No matter how big your company is, there are tons of ways you can make each customer feel appreciated. Act like a small, personal company whenever you can. Whether that means calling customers to thank them for their orders, or sending them a thank you card, customers will appreciate the attention as long as you avoid trying to turn these situations into ‘selling’ encounters.

Set a good example

Lead your company culture creation by making a commitment to your customers in everything you do. Don’t pass off customer problems to your staff--make a commitment to resolving them personally whenever possible. Once your employees see that customer service is everyone’s job, your customer focused culture will begin to thrive.

For more great tips on customer service, visit Answer 365 today.

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3 Strategies to Get More Customer Feedback

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3 Strategies to Get More Customer Feedback

May 05, 2017 Blog by admin

Customer feedback is very important for any business. If you don’t know whether or not you’re doing a good job, you have no idea whether or not your customers are likely to stick around. There are lots of different ways to gauge customer feedback. Here are three strategies to get more customer feedback for your business.

Surveys

Surveys are the tried and true, most common way to get customer feedback (apart from maybe the good, old-fashioned suggestion box). You can send surveys out at the point of sale, randomly throughout the year via email, or by telephone (think text message surveys these days). Mobile surveys are quickly becoming the norm for many companies, since many customers do so much on their smartphones. However you send them, surveys can provide valuable insight into your customer experience.

Monitor what your customers do on your website

There are various services and tools that allow you to see every move your customer makes when they visit your website. If you sell online, this can be very useful for creating an online customer experience that’s conducive to great customer service. If you can see what actions your customers take at every point on your site, you can plan future sales campaigns to better meet their needs and boost your sales. It’s a win for everyone when your site is customer-friendly!

Social media

There’s no denying that social media plays a huge role in doing business today, but did you know it’s also a great tool to help you get more customer feedback? Keeping an active conversation flowing between your business and your customers on social media not only helps you glean what they like and dislike, it also helps to build a strong customer focused culture. You can also use tools to monitor social media for keywords that relate to your business and address problems before they ‘go viral.’ Plus, social media doesn’t cost you a dime, so take advantage of it to really find out about what your customers want.

For more tips on engaging with your customers, visit the Answer 365 blog regularly.

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3 Ways to Invest In Your Customers

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3 Ways to Invest In Your Customers

April 21, 2017 Blog by admin

While gaining new customers is always important, you really shouldn’t overlook the importance of keeping your existing customers happy. You can invest in the customers you have right now and build a lifelong business relationship, or you can work twice as hard to find new ones. Here are three simple ways you can invest in your customers so they’ll be with you for the long term.

Know their names

It sounds so simple, but just knowing and using your customer’s name can be the difference between just another business transaction and actually doing business with someone you like and respect. Customers want to be remembered. They don’t want to be nameless faces in a sea of people--they want you to appreciate them for who they are. Make a point to address each customer by their names and try to identify something unique about each person so you can reference it in the future.

Build a personal relationship

Whether you make a point to learn about their pets, their children, or even their hobbies, using these personal details will really make your customers smile. Ask them about their day, listen to their replies, and make an effort to develop more than just a business relationship with each one--make a point to grow a business friendship, too.

Don’t forget that your social media platforms are a great place to help grow these personal relationships. Encourage your customers to share their lives on your business Facebook page or tweet about how they use your business. This promotes a sense of social community that can help your brand grow.

Offer a brand your customer can depend on

Your brand is as much about your company’s values as it is about your logo. There’s no point in being a widely recognizable brand if your business isn’t providing a great experience for your customers. Your customers should know what you stand for and never have to guess about the type of service that you’ll provide them. It’s no good if your customers can’t rely on you to provide excellent customer service every time--they’ll just go elsewhere for their needs.

For more great ideas about providing excellent customer service to your customers, visit Answer 365 today.

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Healthier Customer Service

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Healthier Customer Service

April 17, 2017 Blog by admin

Want to ensure you’re providing the best customer service possible? Well, then you’d better make sure that you’re taking care of yourself first. Customer service jobs can be stressful - long hours spent sitting at a desk, rushed lunch breaks, and high stress levels can all take a toll on your health. Here’s how you can stay healthier while working in customer service.

Get out of your chair

According to some health experts, sitting is as bad for you as smoking, so customer service staff should try to incorporate some movement in their days whenever possible. This can be done by taking quick walks throughout the day (which also help boost your energy and help you focus better).

You may even want to consider using standing desks or even desks with a treadmill if there is adequate space. Of course, you can’t really talk and run at the same time, but if your customer service is mostly online (typing responses to customer queries), it might be ideal.

Watch your posture

Back problems are rampant in customer service. This is another negative to sitting at a desk for hours on end, especially if you aren’t using good posture. Try using ergonomic chairs to keep your back and neck in alignment while you’re sitting. Also, set a timer to remind yourself to stand up and stretch every half hour to hour. This will help you become more aware of your posture so you can stop yourself from slouching too much.

Mind your diet

It can be tempting to grab fast food lunches or skip meals when you’re working at your desk all day, but don’t do that. Instead, try to keep healthy food choices on hand for snacks and meals. Not only will choosing healthy foods make you feel better, they could make you better at your job, too. If you feel sluggish, tired, bloated, and generally unwell from a poor diet, your mood is likely to suffer. But if you’re fueling your body with smart choices, you’ll be mentally better equipped to handle the stresses of the job.

Get enough rest

Fatigue makes it harder to provide great customer service. Do yourself a service and get enough quality sleep so you can feel your best for your customers.

For more tips and advice on providing excellent customer service, follow the Answer 365 blog.

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