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Posts Tagged ‘Customer Service’

One of the nicest things about working at Holy Cow Branding is the flexible schedule.  If I want to leave at 4:30 to get a haircut, that is when I leave.  If I wake up early, and am ready to work, I come to the office.

That was the plan anyway.

I was so engrossed in setting up Facebook Insights for Chile Bomba that I completely lost track of time and didn’t leave until 5:30.  If I had realized it was that late, I wouldn’t have even tried to get the haircut.    When I finally made it to Sport Clips, there were a few guys ahead of me, and I was told it would be about 30 minutes.  At the check in, Sabrina, told me that if I wanted to go get a coffee at Starbucks, I would have enough time.  She even offered to call me on my cell when it was close to my turn.

With time to kill, I headed to the Harris Teeter, to get some food stuffs.  On the way thru Kameron’s check-out line I used my KeyRing App to get my reward prices.  After the usual 30 seconds of blindly staring at the receipt with the only purpose being to look like I am doing something smart, I actually do find an error.  This is an amazing feat due to the complexity that is the grocery store receipt.  Good reporting tip, it doesn’t matter how hard it is to decipher the data as long as there is one number at the bottom that says you are winning.

I went back to the cashier and he apologized and told me to take it to his manager at the customer service desk.  When I first looked in that direction I saw no one, it was a ghost town, and before I was 10 feet from the counter there she was.  The manager person, Alva, appeared from thin air, maybe not thin air, she was helping another customer.  It only took her one look at the receipt to see the error and make the correction.

Ordinarily I would not have wasted the time to make the correction, but I had time to kill and I was rewarded for it.  I got $1.87 back in cash!  (Who knew pears were so expensive) And I had that weird feeling that while the world seems like a dismal place, my neighborhood was doing all right.

After stashing the produce in the trunk of my car I made my way back to Sport Clips and as soon as I walked in am told I had great timing and that I was next.  She even remembered my name! What great customer service!

Now, fueled with a sense of community, I pull out my note pad and start writing about this whole experience.  Of course, before I get much done I am being called up.  We have the usual idle chit chat and she asked what I was working on.  I told her it was a blog article about customer service.  I am not sure if that had anything to do with it, but it was an exceptional haircut.

Post Script

Cara, the hair cutter, actually knows enough about sports to foster that feeling of the barber shop and we had a lively conversation about the National League Central division.  She is a Milwaukee Brewer’s Fan, and I am a Chicago Cubs Fan.  The next day the Brewers beat the Cubs in 13 innings.  At least I got a good haircut, and there is always next year.

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Every organization seeks to acquire many clients in hopes of profit and success in the future. However, in order to do so, it is essential that one builds and maintains a healthy, trustworthy relationship with their clients. Although this may seem like common sense, it takes just as much effort building and maintaining relationship with them as it does working on their business project. It is a continuous ladder of steps to enhance and maintain relations with them.

Tips for keeping client relationships healthy:

1. Keep Lines of Communication Open

  •  Build a professional relationship with them via phone, email, lunch meetings, conference calls etc.
  •  Keep them up-to-date on various projects you are working on and any new company info
  • Get to know your client better, what their business is about, their short and long term goals and what they need.

2. Be Transparent

  • Tell all company policies and procedures up front. Lay it out for them so no one makes assumptions
  • Explain the benefits of working with your company and the consequences if they part ways with you.
  • Be crisp and clear. Tell them exactly what you plan on doing and when you plan on doing it to sustain business with them in the future.

3. Be Willing to Say Yes

  •  Listen to their ideas.
  •  Incorporate these ideas into your brainstorming and projects for them if it meets or surpasses the requirements of the project(s) you are doing for them.

4. Be Willing to Say No

  • If a client wants something that your company cannot offer, point them in another direction.
  •  On the same hand, if they offer an idea that doesn’t work, let them know up front by pointing to various evidence of why it wont work and provide them with alternatives as well.
  •  Saying no will give you more freedom and respect in the long run.

5. Establish Credibility

  •  Let your client know they can trust you. BE THE EXPERT.
  •  Meet deadlines. If deadlines are not met, this may harm the success of your client and your success at acquiring new clients in the future.
  •  Present yourself in a professional manner (the way you dress and communicate!).

6. Don’t Just Stay Inside the Lines: Problem Solving

  • Your client has come to you because they have a problem or want to improve. Develop ways to assist and solve these problems by shedding a light on new ideas that many not be obvious to them.

Although this is easier said than done, following these steps lead to a healthy client relationship; And a happy client always equals a happy relationship.

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This week American Eagle Airline was fined $900,000 for keeping passengers on a non-moving plane for over three hours. $600,000 will be paid as a fine but almost $300,000 will be returned to passengers in refunds, vouchers and other incentives to come fly again.

What is the best course of action when a customer has a bad experience with a company? The moments after an episode of bad customer service will determine the client’s future actions. Will they return? Will they tweet or blog something detrimental to your business? There are a few ways to take control of your fate by offering outstanding service to correct a wrong.

Good customer service is organic. Either it is part of who you are as an organization or it is not. If service is the priority, everyone from the CEO down should practice it. Toot your own horn at meetings or in the company newsletter. If you are offering something exceptional, the whole company should know and follow the example.

Good customer service means empowerment. Is every member of the staff empowered to make things right for an unhappy customer? While there are boundaries around what can and should be offered to correct a wrong, a company that values the customer experience will make their policies part of employee orientation and on-going team-training. Are clients empowered to talk to whomever they need to because your company hierarchy is easily accessed on a website or somewhere else the public can find it?

Good customer service means saying, “I’m sorry.” Our society values being right more than empathy but in a good service environment, people are often seeking empathy and an apology. Being genuinely regretful that someone has had an unpleasant experience while working with your company is not weak, it’s good service.

While we may not all have $300,000 to buy clientele back, we do all have the tools to correct a disappointing experience and save a loyal customer.

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