Red Hot Customer Service

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8 10, 2013

Whether You Win or Lose, the Sun Will Rise

By |2017-03-03T12:07:00-05:00October 8th, 2013|Categories: Blog, Motivation|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |2 Comments

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Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Whether you win or lose, the sun will shine.

Like many of you, I was glued to the television to watch the President’s Cup. It was the third straight President’s Cup that Woods won the cup-clinching match — all three with Fred Couples as the captain. Golf looks easy when the pros play but it’s so hard.

I missed the woman who streaked across the course naked, I don’t think she was  worried about winning or losing. A little levity can’t hurt anything, can it? I think Fred Couples was the only one who laughed.

I think most of us take life too seriously, myself included.I have friends who worry about everything. One of my friends just started school and worry’s about taking tests that haven’t been scheduled. Instead of preparing for them she worries about them.

Yes, I understand if you’re a playing a competitive sport  you have to win or they won’t let you play. If you’re in business, you have to outwit your competitors or you won’t be in business. In the game of life, you can still play, even if you don’t win.

I believe it does matter if you win or lose. Yes it’s great if you have fun in the process but winning is more fun than losing; don’t you think? In order to win you have to work hard, be uncomfortable and push yourself. That doesn’t guarantee winning but it’s part of achieving.  I grew up in a time when you were taught to compete and winning was important. Unfortunately winning was everything.  I took me years to realize I didn’t need to win everything. I found out winning doesn’t guarantee friends in fact it alienated many people.

If you decide to compete, there’s always the possibility  you won’t win. Losing  is the chance you take but that’s life. When people choose not to compete, they lose out on the opportunities to test themselves. They don’t get to take chances and shine.

Winning is the end result of a competition. If the only thing we remember is winning, what about all the time spent in between?

Life is just a series of events; we probably spend more time practices and preparing than we do competing.  Suppose we never get to win? Does that mean our life has been wasted?

We must always have the will to win.

Winning doesn’t always mean  being first.

You can win by setting and beating your own goals. It’s called setting your own pace and playing your own game. Winning can mean just trying. I love running 5 K races and it’s been 10 years since I’ve taken first place. Now it’s just fun to run.

What a better world we would have if we set goals together and decide we could all win. Wouldn’t it be great if we could agree on a common goal for the world?

Yes the sun will come up if you lose,it just might not feel as bright. In the long run, does it really matter? As they say, “pick your battles.”

Lisbeth helps individuals and businesses win at their own game. Do you need a coach or a speaker? Lisbeth can be reached at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

 

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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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13 12, 2012

Why a Memorable Customer Service Experience Matters

By |2017-03-03T12:07:02-05:00December 13th, 2012|Categories: Blog, Customer Service|Tags: , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

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For some businesses, customer service is just a department. To others it sets the  tone for the rest of the company. We’ve all experienced great customer service as well as awful customer service. Great customer service starts  when someone goes above and beyond and creates a memorable experience.

True customer service is more than please and thank you but it starts there. If you don’t have the basics down you can’t create a memorable experience.

It means an unexpected and pleasurable  event.

Last week, I lost my very old iPhone 3. The charging port was getting worn, and it was time to get a new one but being without a phone is devastating. My contract is with  AT&T, so they were my first stop.  I looked at phones and was more confused than ever. What in the world should I buy? I talked with the salesperson Avi but still couldn’t make up my mind so I decided to check with a few other  carriers in town and see what was available.  Phones are pretty much a commodity, but the customer service person makes the difference. Notice I didn’t say a sales person.

What’s there to sell? We don’t get sold anything any  more. By the time we go to the store we pretty much know what we want.

I asked all my friends about their phones. I stopped strangers in Best Buy and asked them about their phones, and I checked on line.

After visiting six stores and  four days later, I was getting worn out. I decided to go back  my original AT&T store on Central Avenue in Albany. I said to the salesman Avi, “I just need some kind of phone while I’m deciding.” His statement, “Why didn’t you say that, I’ll get you a loaner phone while you look around!” I went home with a phone and yesterday I went back and ordered my new phone from Avi. It’s hard not to buy from a guy who lends you a phone.

Case closed.

Having a consistent customer service message is important for any company. You should know your products, what’s new, and if there’s a company policy that should be explained to your customer?

Should everyone have a script? There are certain touch points that are important to every company,  and everyone should know what they are. The message needs to be consistent, but the delivery should be sent with your personality (Unless of course, your offensive; in which case you’re in the wrong job.)

Every time you miss one of these touch points you run the risk of losing a customer so these points need to be identified.  They are  different for every company but  once identified should be part of ongoing training.

So what are the points?

  1. Show your customers love. When you call me by my name its music to my ears as they say. If you use it at least twice it’s even better. (If you use it more than twice it gets scary.)
  2. Know your customer’s standard problems and have some solutions on hand.  It’s no secret that if you’re in the northeast and delivering products in the winter that delays are in inevitable. The key is to plan on it and have  solutions on hand.
  3. Be proactive.  That means thinking for your customer. Is there something your customer always needs this time of the year? Should you remind them? Of course, you should. In the northeast, it’s time for a snow shovel, de-icer for your windshield and door locks and snow tires.  Is kitty litter still a solution if you get stuck?Suggest he get a shovel so your truck can get to this loading dock.
  4. Should you “reinvent the wheel?” Maybe so; we’ve reinvented the phone a few times haven’t we?  Is it time to change your policies or at least review them?  How about a using a square wheel; would it work better?
  5. What hidden tools do you have at your disposal? Do you have a  gift, a discount or special shipping when real problems occur? Do you have some hidden delights for your customers?  (It’s like giving the customer a loaner cell phone.) Think of your customer as your business partner. Ask how you can help them before they need help.
  6. Remember it’s the holiday season; stress is at its highest. How about calling your customers and wishing them well?

Remember, red hot customer service means going out of your way, delighting your customer and providing a memorable experience.

Lisbeth Calandrino helps businesses build loyal customers through  customer service training and providing customer retention strategies. Her book, Red Hot Customer Service can be ordered through her web site, www.lisbethcalandrino.com.

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15 01, 2012

Hope To See You At Surfaces: Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

By |2017-03-03T12:07:07-05:00January 15th, 2012|Categories: Blog, Customer Service|Tags: , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

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Here it is again, the trip many in the floor covering industry love and dread. Despite the sore feet from all the walking,  it is definitely something to be excited about. This is where we get to see what’s hot, what’s in, what’s out as well as looking at new designs.

 I hope you are planning on attending the show In Las Vegas, being held at Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, January 23-26. The 23rd is the start of the education show with more than 78 great classes to choose from. Unfortunately you can’t attend all of them but there is a CD you can purchase which has all the seminars recorded. Of course there are product and installation seminars as well as all types of business seminars.

I will be offering two seminars that will add profitability to your business whether you are in retail or wholesale. Retention Marketing: Are your Present Customers Putting You Out of Business and Red Hot Customer Service. Everyone I’ve spoken to has a customer service horror story despite the fact that businesses are in competition for customers. Customer service is a  place where businesses can shine. If you want new ideas that will   add to your bottom line and your customer base, head on over to my seminars.

1/23 Retention Marketing:  Room MO13A 1-2:30 PM

1/23 Red Hot Customer Service: MO17A 3-4:40 PM. I am giving a free autographed book (Red Hot Customer Service) for those of you who mention this article or  bring a copy to either seminar.

By the way Fabulous Floors Magazine will be sharing a booth with Floor Covering Weekly. Stop in and pick up a copy of our latest issue of Fabulous Floors Magazine.

I have read so many comments on LinkedIn about Surfaces—the pros and cons of attending. If you’re in the floor covering industry how can you not attend this show? Every industry has a trade show a place to go and meet other people in your industry.  I’m always excited when my optician comes back from the Optical Trade Show and tells me what’s new. I also feel like he’s on top of new products.

I have another friend who just came back with some new ideas for my business which he got from the Promotions Show. Whatever your business, you owe it to your customers to be on top of the trends and products that are new in your industry. Knowing these things increases your credibility and your expertise with your customer. If you’re writing a blog or using other social media, you will find great information for your customers.

My hunch is that those who are making it through these tough times are businesses that are on top of the industry, are showing the best products and know the trends. Don’t forget to gather up as many trade publications and product information for your employees back home. Don’t forget to sign up for the CD.

I’ve been in the industry for a long time wearing many different hats. For 14 years as an owner of a 7 store floor covering and furniture chain, then as associate publisher of Fabulous Floors Magazine and  industry trainer. As the day to leave arrives I put on my Surfaces hat and begin to get excited as to who I’m going to meet in my seminars and what I’m going to learn from exhibitors and other speakers. When I get to the showroom floor I feel proud to be part of the flooring industry.

Of course I get a CD of all of the seminars and can’t wait for it to get to my mailbox.

Despite the economy, Surfaces still exists and is the best show in town. Hopefully you can come out and support our industry as well as get  great ideas for your business. To register for the seminars, go to http://www.surfaces.com/attendee/show-information/registration.aspxrror.

I hope to see you there.

Lisbeth can be reached via email: Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

 

 

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16 12, 2011

Want to Stay Employed? Stop Living in the Past

By |2017-03-03T12:07:07-05:00December 16th, 2011|Categories: beliefs, Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |6 Comments

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Being successful is hard work and not everyone likes hard work. It might be safe to say that many people are lazy, they do just enough to get by. I remember when I finished high school I knew I had to go to college so I could get a good job. When I went to work I found out I needed a master’s degree so I could keep my job so I went back to college. I began to notice that education never stopped except after college I would have to be responsible for my education. To stay competitive in the job market I would have to continue to learn and grow. Sometimes I had to learn things that weren’t interesting but were important to my career survival. Not only hasn’t this changed but it’s changing every day or maybe every minute. In my travels I often hear business owners saying, “I’m glad I’ll be out of this business soon so I won’t have to do that social media thing.” Chances are once they get out of  business social media will still be chasing them, especially if they want to communicate with the rest of the world.

This coming Tuesday morning, 9AM, EST on my radio show, indysmallbiz.com I will be interviewing Tom Denham, owner of Careers in Transition. Tom is going to talk about what we can do to stay on top of our career. Check out my Facebook for the link to the show.  

Here are 8 things you can do right away:

1. Always be curious and interested in the world around you. It may be more exciting than you think. Dive into your life, get excited. Excitement is catching. People who are exciting are fun to be around and very motivating. Look out around you, what do you see, what’s out there waiting for you? Think about an event you’re going to attend in the future and get excited. What is going on in your life at this moment that can make you excited?

2.  Read articles that keep you current with chan