In almost any business, the chances of losing a customer during the first year is almost twice as high as for those who have been customers for awhile. That makes sense when you think about it. Whether it’s a retail store, an ecommerce site or a supplier of business-to-business services, the scenario is the same. New customers are more vulnerable to competition and require greater attention. A strategy is necessary to make a customer feel welcomed, important and appreciated. But, just as critical, new customers should be given special considerations that even they may not know is essential; for instance, if there is an issue and it is not quickly resolved, the potential loyal customer could be lost.
Richard ShapiroThe Center For Client Retention
0 comments 230 readsPosted on 2013-12-03
0 comments 286 readsPosted on 2013-11-06
All of us of a certain age remember that great show, “You Bet Your Life,” hosted by Groucho Marx. Any contestant who mentioned the magic word of the day would be rewarded a bonus, complete with a rubber duck falling from the ceiling celebrating the moment. The prize was $100; worth a lot then and even now.
Every time a customer says a “magic” word or phrase, they too should be acknowledged. If a frontline associate doesn’t say anything, it is a missed opportunity.
Some phrases that should trigger a welcoming response are…
“This is the my first time in your store.”
“I just moved into the neighborhood.”
“My friend suggested I might like your merchandise.”
“I have never used your website before.”
“This is the first time I’m calling your call center.”
A representative who answers with just an “okay,” “that’s nice,” or says nothing at all, has failed to make an excellent first impression and to engage...
0 comments 246 readsPosted on 2013-10-22
In the retail world, the best opportunity to create loyalty and generate repeat business is through associates who are relationship builders. We all know these exceptional individuals; that person who gets to know you, welcomes you into the store with that big smile as soon as you walk through the door, and remembers your name.
So, hiring the right sales representatives and training them to provide exceptional customer service is essential. I will go out of my way to drive to the Dunkin Donuts to see Mary even if I’m closer to another place to get coffee in the next town. Joan, the local florist knows what I want even before I do and Steve, at Best Buy, remembers my name even though I’m only in the store every few months. These relationships are golden.
Loyalty is built between a customer and the person behind the counter or desk, not the brick and mortar establishment. I used to shop at a well-known department store until my special sales lady, Ruth, moved away...
0 comments 1,675 readsPosted on 2013-10-15
According to the 3rd Annual Contact Center Communication and Connection Study, conducted by The Center For Client Retention, the answer is yes. Agents are connected to the brand they represent and enjoy speaking to customers about the company’s products and innovations. However, there is a BUT; the representatives feel left out of any decision-making process involving their communication with customers.
Some other interesting findings from this benchmarking study were:
- Contact center management has done an excellent job of stressing the importance of representatives becoming brand advocates. When consulted, agents have useful suggestions to help to further increase the brand connection:
-Communicate and explain changes made to the products, making sure the representatives are “in the know”
-Give tours of plants, facilities and share brand history
-Connect the representatives with the brand...
0 comments 1,112 readsPosted on 2013-10-11
Let’s begin at the beginning with the basics: follow-up. How many times does a customer wait for a call back, that package to be delivered, or the technician to arrive and it doesn’t happen. Generally, the most dissatisfied customers are the ones who expect something and the company fails to deliver on time. Then, to add insult to injury, when a call is made or email sent, asking, “What’s the story?” and no one...
0 comments 524 readsPosted on 2013-10-10
We’re celebrating Customer Service Week. A highlighted critical objective is to thank other departments for their support. The following recommendations will assist in this effort.
Think about the company receptionist who transfers miss-directed calls from a disgruntled customer to the right department, the person in logistics who always has the answers to the status of a delivery, the clerk in billing who assists in resolving credit issues almost instantly, and the senior support engineer who can get the systems up and running after a power outage. Obviously, the Customer Service Department cannot operate successfully in a vacuum; assistance from other sectors within the company is essential. Consider their roles and keep records throughout the year so those who have positively impacted the customer experience can be thanked.
Invite Others to Share in the Team Celebration
If budget dollars are allocated...
0 comments 420 readsPosted on 2013-10-09
Invite Customer Service Managers/Supervisor To At Least One Board Meeting
Out-of-Sight, Out-of-Mind! Senior company executives need to see and hear from those frontline associates who serve customers every day. Inviting a group of Customer Service Managers to at least one board meeting a year will demonstrate their value to the company. Hearing directly from those who interact with...
0 comments 481 readsPosted on 2013-10-08
As you may already know, this is Customer Service Week. I am recommending action items to meet each of the five highlighted objectives. Let’s look at Number 2: Reward Frontline Associates.
By its design, one of the original purposes in creating Customer Service Week was to recognize and reward those associates who deliver customer service every day of every week. What is a reward? To cite, decorate, remember, compensate, pay, reimburse, acclaim, applaud, commend, compliment, hail, praise are all synonyms. The following are my suggestions for rewarding our valuable frontline associates.
Think of Customer Service Week as Customer Service Year
Special or periodic programs to reward associates definitely serve a purpose; however, it’s a good idea for any organization to create award programs that are significant and recognize superior performance on a consistent basis. Companies may want to consider team awards during...
0 comments 506 readsPosted on 2013-10-07
Customer Service Week is celebrated during the first full week of October. It’s an international event; the primary purpose being to stress the importance of customer service and to recognize those associates in the field who support customers every day of the year. The five main goals highlighted in this special week are:
- Boost morale, motivation and teamwork
- Reward frontline reps
- Raise companywide awareness of the importance of customer service
- Thank other departments for their support
- Remind customers of your commitment to customer satisfaction
I thought it would be appropriate to recommend action items that would help meet each of these objectives. Let’s look at the first one.
Boost Morale, Motivation and Teamwork
In every organization or company, the customer is the most important asset. And, who speaks to, listens to and gets feedback from the customer? Most often it is the...
0 comments 683 readsPosted on 2013-10-02
Whenever I conduct a webinar, speech or workshop, I am always asked the question: “What’s the best way to handle a customer who is really upset and demanding, especially when some of their demands seem totally unreasonable?”
I have found that acknowledging anger is a great first step. By saying to the customer, “I hear you are angry, but I want to help,” will instantly resonate that you are listening, understand and know they are upset, but you are there to resolve the issue. If, after the customer continues the story and you can find no practical resolution or one is not warranted, sometimes an about-face is in order. I have learned that asking what the customer would do in this particular situation if they managed or owned the business produces a concrete structure for negotiation. It may even provide various options not yet considered.
Additionally, calling a customer back a day or two after a problem has been resolved can go a long way to retain a patron whose...