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28 03, 2015

“Do You Have Leaving on Your Mind?” 5 Things you can do to Stop Customers from Cheating on you

By |2017-03-03T12:06:53-05:00March 28th, 2015|Categories: Blog, Customer Experience, Customer Retention Strategies, Customer Satisfaction|Tags: , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

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Customers don't tell you when they're getting ready to leave--they just leave.

Customers don’t tell you when they’re getting ready to leave–they just leave.

I was listening to Patsy Cline sing, “Do you Have Leaving on Your Mind?” She’s asking her lover to tell her if he wants out. Customers rarely tell you their leaving—they just go.

The years 2008 and 2009 were tough years on many businesses. When the dust cleared you found you had lost many of your “regulars.” Sure some of this was due to the economy, but how much of it was due to “negligence” on your part?
The statistics in 2014 are no different than they were 20 years ago.

68% of customers leave because of the treatment they receive and 71% specifically said because they received poor customer service. Here are some ideas for keeping those “cheatin” customers.

1. Make it easy for them to talk with you. Is your voice mail filled to the brim? Do you resist picking up the phone when you’re really not that busy? The nicest thing you can do for a customer is to answer their phone call or at least sending a quick text that you will can back in a few. I love the phone app that sends a text  to callers telling them you’re driving, and you will call back once you reach your destination.

2. Have you noticed them in the “box” stores? After my gym workout, I stop at one of the “box” stores to be nosy. I walk the departments to look for signs of “cheating customers.” You know the type; they’re laughing and getting friendly with the store clerks. They are hanging around making small talk. Good businesses know that small talk can lead to big sales. Maybe the customer just needs a friendly hello?

3. How good are your salespeople at “small talk?” Some clerks are “all business” and forget that before business there’s small talk or building rapport. People still buy from people they like and feel comfortable with.

4. Can you get your customers to follow you—everywhere? If you want to get follow, it should be “around the Internet.” Are customers connected to you in the usual places— Facebook, Google +, Pinterest, Houzz and to your blog? Do they like what you post?

Customers leave because of "perceived indifference"

Customers leave because of “perceived indifference”

5. Be “nicer than nice.” Do your employees have the latitude to go out of their way for your customers or does everything have to be cleared through the manager? As a customer, we all want to speak with someone in authority.

Why not give your salespeople “perks” to share with complaining I was watching an undercover complainer at Zappos. She said she didn’t want the shoes, and the clerk said she should return them, and she would give her a free pair! This might be tough on your business, but a coupon on the next purchase shouldn’t be. Zappos motto,  “if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing with a WOW!”

RedHotCustomerService“Without customer service, a customer doesn’t have any customers,  good sales don’t necessarily bring back customers, but good customer service does.”
Lisbeth has been teaching businesses how to improve their customer service and the customer experience for over 20 years. To schedule a consultation or speak at your business, reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com. If she’s not in her office, she can often be found mornings at the YMCA in East Greenbush.

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21 10, 2013

Learning How To Sell Really Won’t Help You

By |2017-03-03T12:07:00-05:00October 21st, 2013|Categories: Blog, Sales|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments

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You need to update your tool kit.

Selling used to be a game and the rules and suggestions were always the same, “Close  them” was the cry.

The problem is we don’t sell customers  anymore, they sell themselves.

They get much of their information on line; hopefully your company has a web site and social media to engage them.

You need content, content, content as my friend Shelia Carmody, Content Specialist from Guaranteed Press. According to Shelia, “The most challenging part of Internet Marketing is creating good, relevant, engaging content for your web page and all of your web communications.” Why not consider writing your own blog or have someone do it for you? You can buy content and post it yourself or have someone take charge of your blog. The key is to get others to read your content.

If you come from “the old school of sales” this is all new and most likely foreign to you. Since when do sales people have to write, don’t they just sell?

Since when do salespeople have to worry about internet marketing, don’t they just sell?

Well the new selling is all about this stuff; the more value you can add for your customers the more likely you are to get the customer to buy. (Notice I didn’t say “sell them.”)

As salespeople you were all taught about networking. Well networking hasn’t changed it’s just gotten easier and a little more complicated. You used to say I met Sally at the Chamber, now you say I met Sally at the Chamber, I joined one of her “meetups”, invited her to join me  on LinkedIn, friended her on Facebook, following her on Twitter and signed up for her blog! No that doesn’t make it more complicated, it makes it easier and really puts you in control. Look at all the options you have! The only way you could continue to connect was through the telephone.

This is selling in a different format. It puts some of the responsibility for getting sales on the salesperson.

What are you thinking about?

That’s a good thing right?

You don’t have to wait for the owner to run an ad, essentially you’re running your own ads by being out in the public.

As my mother would say, “It’s time to make a name for yourself little girl !”

Lisbeth helps business and individuals built loyal customers through customer service and social media marketing. To have her speak at one of your meetings, send her a text 518-495-5380. How’s that for a connection?

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5 05, 2013

Consumer, Consumer, Where Art Thou?

By |2017-03-03T12:07:01-05:00May 5th, 2013|Categories: Advertising, Blog|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

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Gone are the days when you could tell the customer what to read, think or buy. The customer has his/her ideas about everything including what and where to  buy. They aren’t listening to us very much.

Case in point: many businesses are  putting their  newspaper ads on Facebook–you know the discount ads. When these are put on Facebook, they interrupt the customers dialog with their friends. If you want to know what to put on Facebook, look at what gets the most comments. Every time I see an advertisement I just skip over it. There seem to be so many bogus offers that I’m not into looking at any of them  even if they look interesting.

The advertising channels are going through a reincarnation; it’s not that consumers don’t care what you sell, they’ve changed how they want to connect with you. The online marketing is about engagement and the traditional marketing is about ‘here we are’, look at us. The most important distinction is the customer and how they want to build their connections with businesses.   Customers want to talk with each other about their lives, not about what products to buy. Are you surprised?

If they’re looking for a product they’ll ask their friends. Where I live we have an online conversation  called ‘The Hudson Park List.’ People comment about local street problems, missing cats and ask for advice about contractors etc. This is the best place to look for an electrician or a plumber; it’s our own Angie’s List. It’s much better than looking through the classified sections.

Despite the fact that newspaper reading is down, magazine subscriptions are up and talk radio is is growing. I read that  40% of Americans now listen to audio on digital devices and it’s projected to double by 2015. I am one of those talk radio fans. I remember when I was very young, my parents listening to talk radio at night to fall asleep.  Little did I know,  that 50 years later I would be falling asleep to the same thing! With the advent of blog talk, there are more radio shows than ever. It seems that everyone has something to say and they want the world to hear it. My favorite is the repeats of Car Talk out of Boston.

It really is difficult to reach customers unless they want to be reached. In fact, the statistics are quite staggering.

  • 200 million Americans have registered their phone numbers on the FTC’s “Do not call list.”
  • 86% of people skip the television ads.
  • 91%of email users have oversubscribed from a company email that they previously opted into. This is important for us bloggers!
  • 44% of direct mail is never opened.

The number of smart phones is staggering; 46% of consumers in this country have smart phones.  Mobile networks are clogging up the airways. Emergency 911 numbers have not been allowing text messages up until recently. Several states have decided that texting should be allowed. Often times an accident victim can’t speak on their  phone but might be able to text. Accident victims have been posting  their help messages on Twitter and 911 was asking them to not do it. It was slowing down their response time. After Twitter, 911 still had to be called.

65% of people surveyed believe that social media is better than call centers. There was one case where a person had complained to UPS and couldn’t get any satisfaction. Instead of continuing to feel ignored, the customer wrote a note on Twitter. Apparently within 2 hours the problem was resolved .

The idea is to decide who are your customers and what are you trying to achieve with your marketing? Why not bring your video camera every time you step out of the house and see if there’s anything your customer might like to see. You might find something that would be useful for your newspaper ad or your  social media.

How about taking your television commercial and put it on YouTube or your Facebook page? You may want to shorten it into several minute clips instead of one 5 minute clips. When your taping your television clip, think about how you might use it on social media.

Lisbeth helps businesses build loyal relationships with their customers through customer service training and social media. She can be reached for training or speaking  at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com. Her book, Red Hot Customer Service can be purchased on her web site, www.lisbethcalandrino.com.

 

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1 02, 2013

Knowing Your Customer Will Make All The Difference In The Success Of Your Business

By |2017-03-03T12:07:02-05:00February 1st, 2013|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

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Today, 43% of the world’s population is 25 years old or younger. This youthful group is impatient and ready to change the world. Change for this generation “has everything to do with people and very little to do with political ideology,” according to a new global survey, some 70% of young people believe that social media is a force for change, says the survey. To read the rest of this article, click on the link.

After I posted this statment  on Facebook, I received several comments about how difficult it is to know your customer.

I understood the comment but thought, a customer is still a customer, what has really changed is how they communicate. Through the years the demographics may have have changed but how they communicated was still the same. We all used the  telephone,watched  television and  read newspapers.We also used the Yellow Pages.

It appears that this is about to end.

Think about it; the new generation isn’t reading the traditional newspaper. They’re subscribing to Google feeds.   If you’re not familiar with Google feeds, check out this highlighted link.

Here is the list of the generations:

2000/2001-Present – New Silent Generation or Generation Z
1980-2000 – Millennial or Generation Y
1965-1979 – Generation X
1946-1964 – Baby Boomer
1925-1945 – Silent Generation
1900-1924 – G.I. Generation

Ask yourself, how are they communicating? Who is my present customer and am I speaking their language? Will they be my customer in ten years? If not, who will be my customer and what communication tools are they using?

The Baby Boomer and earlier may respond to direct mail, emails, or a newspaper advertisement. If so, get their addresses and find ways to communicate using direct mail. Next ask yourself,  how long will they be my customer and am I prepared for the next generation?

Which of your  customers are using  social media, smart phones, texting and ‘show rooming?’ (Looking through your showroom and then ordering online.) Are you up on these tools? What is your strategy?

Are you joining  your customers on Facebook, Pinterest, etc.? This is probably the Millennial and Generation Z.

Imagine that  Generation Z knows little about ‘life before Facebook.’ Can you communicate with their language?

Customers give a business worth; without them there is no business.  Today’s business owner must be savvy and able to deal with today’s sophisticated consumer.

If you’re planning on being in business in 10 years,you must be prepared to connect using their language.

Whether you like social media or not, your next wave of employees will expect it. They have grown up with social media and it’s their primary communication tool. If you choose not to use the tools, you run the risk of alienating and losing employees.

By using social media tools, communication can be a lot quicker both internally and externally. Social media helps with internal branding and commitment. Looking at your Facebook page and positive comments will make everyone in your company feel proud. What about the generation after them? They will come with  their own set of social media tools and standards. Other challenges will be your training program. What are your online standards?

Once you define your customer base, connecting will be much easier.

Lisbeth Calandrino helps businesses build loyal relationships with their customers. She uses various tools including social media communication, customer service training and customer retention strategies.

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