Customer Satisfaction

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25 01, 2015

“Undercover Boss” Uncovers Bad Leadership

By |2017-03-03T12:06:53-05:00January 25th, 2015|Categories: Blog, Customer Satisfaction, Training|Tags: , , |5 Comments

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Discovers some inept bosses.

Discovers some inept bosses.

After watching season after season of “Undercover Boss” I’m thinking we need  a show called “Undercover Employees.” They could find out what their bosses are doing.

“Undercover Boss” is  an American reality television series, based on the British series of the same name and producted by Studio Lambert in both countries. Just as the title suggests, the boss goes undercover to see what his entry-level employees are doing.

Two things that seem glaring; there is little customer service training and “bosses” don’t know what’s going on in their businesses. In fact, most of the bosses are amazed at what’s going on!

I was watching the “Undercover Boss” last week and was disturbed by the boss’s decisions. He was very generous with the employees he worked with, giving them large sums of money. The problem, as I see it, is that people were getting money to help with their “troubled lives” but weren’t asked to “better themselves” or attend schools, so they could obtain leadership positions.

My hunch is the people will spend their money, have great vacations or new toys but what will they have learned? I believe that people will be more apt to change is there are some conditions to these generous gifts. In fact, I feel so strongly about it. I sent a letter to the “Undercover Boss” and sent some customer service books.  I don’t know if I’ll get an  answer, but maybe the letter with my suggestions will get read! My biggest gripe, where in the  business  world do people get free handouts with no “strings attached?” And what’s the point if the gift isn’t connected with your business?

One great thing about the program is that bosses get to understand their employee struggles and help them grow. One of the best ways to help them grow is to provide opportunities for them to advance within the organization. Promoting good employees is essential to their learning.

In order for a business to perform adequately the “boss” must  be able to communicate with his employees.

There must be a way for the boss to know what their employees are doing without spying on them. This reminds me of mystery shopping; another task that I think is ridiculous. If you think, you’re employees are not acting appropriately they probably aren’t. This problem usually starts when a company doesn’t have a suitable training and accountability program. Teaching and training is one thing, if you don’t hold people accountable for what’s expected to don’t waste the training program. CEO’s must create a business model that is in line with the customer’s and employee needs.

Everything goes back to customer service and how customers are being treated. Front line employees are the ones who need the training and usually get the least amount. Because they’re not seen as the ones who “bring in the money,” they typically don’t get best training.

So far, 100% of the companies have leaders who have no idea of what’s going on in their businesses. How sad.

Many of the problems could be avoided if the leader spent time reading employee evaluations and staying in touch with their businesses.  No matter what business you have, the only thing that makes it work is the customers. The first customer of any business is the employees.

Lisbeth has been coaching business for over 25 years. To schedule a consultation or have her speak at your business, she can be reached at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com. Lisbeth lives in Historic Hudson Park in Albany, New York, with her cat Rainyday.

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13 10, 2013

Closing the Sale Sure is Easier These Days

By |2017-03-03T12:07:00-05:00October 13th, 2013|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

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Closing the sale still means understanding your customer.

You know, closing the sale in the old days seemed a lot simpler. It really wasn’t.  Remember when there weren’t any online tools to support your products or your business? How many of you remember life “before Facebook?”

It’s easier now if you have the tools in place.  Some retailers are complaining that customers “just want to look.”  It’s not just that customers are “tire kickers” or don’t want to spend money. It’s the customer is being influenced by many other factors before she gets to your store. It’s been said the customer has about 10 connections that will give her information about the product she’s considering. Few retailers know what these connections are. Figuring out what to do is not easy, but it’s not really that difficult. Many retailers just continue to deny the reality of social media and refuse to learn.

Closing the sale means infiltrating the customer’s path to purchase and creating a solid strategy to get to know the customer.

First, you must understand how customers are navigating that path and then designing the strategy. It may mean a revamping of your web site and adding a blog. One of the strategies that is continuing to grow is the distribution of content. According to B2B Content Marketers, last year articles reigned supreme, social media was reported to be the most popular content marketing tactic with an adoption rate of 87%.

Whatever you learn about the customer’s buyiing path, adapt it to your particular store. You may have to clear your own path but   those who embrace the journey are more likely to gain a competitive advantage. I’ve given you a link to competitive marketing online strategies. Once everyone knows how to infiltrate the customers’ path to purchase, then you’ve got to start at the beginning.  All things being equal the determining factor often comes down to price. If you’re smart, you will try to gain that competitive advantage over those who have their head in the sand.

No matter how you do it, Google has one suggestion.  Wherever you decide to go, show up with the right content. You need to know what your customers are reading and what they want to see. Are they just looking at floor covering products? I would say it hasn’t changed over the years. They want to experience the product. They want to see it installed in someone’s home and get the “consumer’s advice.” What’s changed is the consumer is the new expert? For more ideas on this topic, go to the Google ZMOT Handbook.

We’re been talking about this for years haven’t we? Still many retailers say they don’t have time for pictures and getting testimonials. Those who do will find themselves on Angie’s list with the referrals.

I feel like we’re going backwards to where we were years ago.  Show the customer how the product will look in someone’s home. Now we can post the photo along with the dialog on social media, and the consumer can engage with the home owner about the process.

If you’ve done a great job, you’re likely on your way to a new referral.

Lisbeth Calandrino helps businesses build loyal customer relations through customer service and sales training. To book her to speak at your business, she can be reached at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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28 04, 2013

Is There Such a Thing as Customer Service for Social Media?

By |2017-03-03T12:07:01-05:00April 28th, 2013|Categories: Blog, Social Media Marketing|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

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Social media and customer service

Yes, Social Media is the ‘next hot thing’ for your company. However, like any other marketing strategy, it must be capable of bringing in customers, and you must be able to measure its effectiveness. Check out this Forbes article on social media and customer service.

Don’t get fooled into thinking that web traffic ‘likes and followers’ will bring you in customers.  Popularity and being liked is one thing, being trustworthy and believable is another thing. Both are at the base of bringing in customers. I’m talking about your ability to  influence someone’s decision-making process.  In order for a customer to want to buy from you, you must be trustworthy and believable. All of these things—web traffic, followers and likes to have nothing to do with your ability to build a connection to the customer.

Building connections falls within the realm of customer service. Knowing your customer also falls under customer service. If you don’t take care of your customers, Facebook will not save you.

Social media is not a panacea for your company. If you’re going to have an effective strategy, you must have one person who is focused on building your social media campaign.

The purpose of social media is not to send out advertisements. Its purpose is to provide a place for you to connect with the customer. Connecting and building relationships is a skill; if you’re not good at this is your brick and mortar role, it’s unlikely you will be effective at social media. This is why I tell business owners that anyone, including your 14-year-old nephew can build a Facebook page, but can he build a marketing strategy.  Your company must be presenting more than a page for people to connect with.

You need to tie your marketing and social media strategies together. Determine how you will integrate your social media  strategies and your landing pages. It can be a special offer that must be redeemed in 24 hours or something similar. Restaurants, including my personal favorite, Buca di Beppo, do this regularly.I received an offer for a free dessert on my birthday and the coupon had to be redeemed within one day.

Once you have an offer,  create a landing tied to the offer so you can tell how many people have  downloaded your coupon. This way, you’ll   know if anyone is taking you up on your offer. Isolating the effects of Facebook or Twitter, for example, on a landing page optimized for the audience your company has on these social-networking sites will quickly tell you if you are converting clicks to prospects.

Decide which social media strategies are best for your company and your goals. Twitter is quickly paced and provides a way to do direct messaging. Facebook’s fan pages are for companies that want to show their human side to the customer. If you’re a customer service based company, Facebook gives you a place to connect with your customers. It also works well for those who have a strong following. You will have to determine which one works best for you.

Google Analytics can get you real-time results of strategies using social media. Once you’ve decided which platform to use, it’s time to measure the results. Google Analytics is a free service that will measure your landing-page performance.

None of these strategies will be effective unless you  add content to your site. You must continue to write blogs, offer timely advice or anything that is valuable to your customer. Not sure what they want to hear, then ask them. Paying it forward has never been  more important.

Try various strategies to see if your campaigns are leading to conversions. Remember, connect with and talking with your customers is customer service. It’s important to know if what you’re doing to connect is making a difference.  If it doesn’t matter to the customer why bother to do it?

 

Lisbeth helps businesses build loyal relationships with their customers through social media marketing and customer service training. Her book, Red Hot Customer Service, can be purchased through her web site. www.Lisbethcalandrino.com.

 

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18 12, 2012

ARE YOU GIVING YOUR CUSTOMERS “YOUR” PERSONAL CUSTOMER SERVICE FOR THE HOLIDAYS?

By |2017-03-03T12:07:02-05:00December 18th, 2012|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

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If you consider customer service an attitude rather than a department, then it makes sense to look everywhere for a place to practice  your craft!

Instead of thinking ‘outside the box’ think about venturing into other boxes. Find ways to deliver extraordinary service and value to anyone and everyone. You will be remembered for your generosity, thoughtfulness and concern.

Do these terms sound familiar? They should be they. These terms are the essence of good customer service.

The key is for you and your employees to practice these behaviors, 24/7. Holidays are the best time to deliver your brand of customer service to your special customers.

I think about the tragedy of Sandy Hook and the outpouring of generosity. This morning I saw the therapy dogs that were delivering hugs and ‘fur’  to the town.

People throughout the world have been delivering random acts of kindness, sending good wishes and extending their personal brand of customer service. If we were to think of the world and the people in it as our customers, would it cause a change? We would constantly be delivering customer service; we wouldn’t have to wait for tragedy.

What about your business? Do you have to wait for  huge problems to arise before you and your employees are at their best?

Why not make customer service your personal mantra and take it beyond your business? Consider building your own special personal customer service package.

Consider Sprint Nextel sending handwritten letters to their customers? In today’s fast paced world they have letter writing Thursdays.  Imagine, taking time to write a note, not a text, and sending it to your customers. Can this work in our new world? Read the article.

My own personal story—ATT lends me a cell phone until I get my new one. Check out my last blog, Why a Memorable  Customer Service Experience Matters.

It’s the holiday season—times to practice your personal customer service:

Consider everyone you meet a customer. Treat them with kindness and concern.

Imagine each person you meet will provide repeat and referral business. Give them something extra like a big smile.

Stay in touch with people you like. Absence does more than make the heart grow fonder—it makes the heart lonely.

I would love to know how you’re delivering your special brand of customer service for the holidays. Please share your ideas.

Happy Holidays to all of my wonderful readers.

Lisbeth helps businesses build loyal customers’ customer retention training. Book Lisbeth to excite your group and expand your horizons.  She can be reached at Redhotcustomerservice @nycap.rr.com.

 

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6 07, 2011

When Change Is In the Wind, Change. Part One

By |2017-03-03T12:07:08-05:00July 6th, 2011|Categories: Blog, Customer Service|Tags: , , , , , , , , |2 Comments

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Change will occur with or without youI met John Gifford the way we meet everyone these days, through the internet. Actually I tagged John in one of my blog posts and he called me. With only a couple of years in the newspaper industry, John realized he would have to change. His take on “print” is different than most newspapers and magazines.

I found it very inspiring, it’s all about change. I hope it gives you some ideas.

John Gifford is publisher of “Indy Smallbiz. Indy Smallbiz  is the new monthly news magazine that will focus on the needs and interests of the small business community in Indianapolis.

“The aim of Indy Smallbiz is to help businesses grow and increase their profits. As you read our news magazine, we want you to learn something new to help your business or to appropriate a business strategy from one of our stories into your own business. Foremost, we want our publication to evoke action on your part.” – John Gifford

John Gifford is an interesting man with unusual vision and foresight. As the newspaper industry was drastically changing, John was too.

John, originally you were in the newspaper business but only for a short time.

I had a print newspaper from 2008 until January 2010. I realized that all print was being affected by the internet so I looked for a niche to fill. Most publications were focusing on large businesses so I decided to look at small businesses. In Indianapolis there are 60,000 businesses and 45,000  (the small ones) were being overlooked. I realized they needed help and so I decided to reach out to them. My idea was to establish the model, clone it and take it across the country.

What did you do when you saw that print publications were losing their appeal?

I tried to get them to move to online advertising but it was a tough push, but I continued to focus on my website. I knew that print was going away.

What did you see as the problem?

In 1880  the predominant market was selling whale oil lamps and then Edison came in with the light bulb. In 2009 and 2010 I was still selling whale oil and whale oil lamps (print advertising) when the online tip-point came;  on top of that came social media. It’s all like swimming upstream with weights on. Why do that? I changed my approach in 2010, dropped the print edition,  and concentrated my efforts on Indysmallbiz.com to increase readership and connectivity. The online delivery system has no printing costs or costly distribution. It is based on creativity rather than dollars. Generation X and Y are tipping the balance against the traditional way of getting the message out. Everyday there are more and more online venues. I don’t need a zillion customers, I just need to cover a narrow area and make it deep. Small businesses: realize that marketing is the key to your business.

It’s not good enough to “be good.” You now have to be good at what matters. You don’t need brute force (dollars);  just find the system and spend the time. Being good won’t help you unless you find something to be good at; today it’s continually changing.

People will come by word of mouth, and today everyone is in charge of their own mark