Eric Jacobson

Archive for the ‘Customer Engagement’ Category

Four Words Your Customers Don’t Want To Hear

In Customer Engagement, Customer Retention, Customer Service, Eric Jacobson On Leadership on May 22, 2017 at 5:24 am

Author Harvey MacKay wrote the following spot-on advice in his column in the Kansas City Business Journal a few years ago. He wisely points out that all employees at every level should never use these four words in front of a client/customer for both obvious and perhaps not so obvious reasons:

  • Can’t — As in, “We can’t do that.”  “We can’t meet that deadline.”  Unless you honestly cannot produce and then be honest and help them find another vendor.
  • Busy — As in, “I’ll call you when I’m not so busy.”  “I’m really busy right now.” The word “busy” gives your customer the impression they are a low priority.
  • Safe — As in, “Let’s play it safe.”  Customers typically want to engage in calculated risks versus playing it safe.
  • Fear — As in, “I fear that we may be moving too fast.” That tells your customer you haven’t done your homework. MacKay writes, “Common sense, thorough research and sound advice should allay your fears to a reasonable level.”

Take a moment. Are you absolutely sure every employee in sales, production, operations, marketing, etc., is not using these words, even inadvertently, in front of your customers?

Thanks for the important reminder, Harvey MacKay!

Open-ended Questions To Ask Customers

In Customer Engagement, Customer Retention, Customer Service, Leadership on August 10, 2016 at 2:14 pm

Consider this advice from author Paul R. Timm. He recommends a different twist on asking your customers questions:

  • Stop asking your customers the “typical” questions and instead ask them open-ended questions.

Here’s specifically what Timm recommends:

Don’t Ask:

  • How was everything?
  • Can I get you something else?
  • Did you find everything you need?
  • Will that be all?
  • Was everything satisfactory?

Instead Ask:

  1. What else can I do for you?
  2. What else can I get for you?
  3. What else can I help you with?
  4. What else could we do to better serve you?
  5. How else can we be of help?

These open-ended questions will let your customers really express their ideas, opinions and needs. Timm is the author of, 50 Powerful Ideas You Can Use To Keep Your Customers.

The Nine Times To Thank Your Customer

In Customer Engagement, Customer Retention, Customer Service, Eric Jacobson Leadership, Eric Jacobson On Corporate Culture, Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Thanking Customers on November 1, 2014 at 10:15 am

Eric Jacobson Thank You

In your leadership role, it’s vital that your team members know how to deliver excellent customer service. “Knock Your Socks Off” type service as book editor Ann Thomas and Jill Applegate would say.

Part of delivering excellent customer service is saying “Thank You” to your customers and knowing when to say “Thank You”.

Thomas and Applegate recommend telling your customers “Thank You” during at least these nine situations:

  1. When they do business with you…every time.
  2. When they compliment you (or your company)
  3. When they offer you comments or suggestions
  4. When they try one of your new products or services
  5. When they recommend you to a friend
  6. When they are patient…and even when they are not so patient
  7. When they help you to serve them better
  8. When they complain to you
  9. When they make you smile

You and your team members can say “Thank You”:

  • Verbally
  • In writing (and don’t underestimate the power of personal notes via snail mail)
  • With a small, tasteful, appropriate gift

 

How To Build Customer Relationships Through Phone Conversations

In Customer Engagement, Customer Retention, Customer Service, Eric Jacobson On Corporate Culture, Eric Jacobson On Leadership on October 19, 2014 at 7:50 am

customerservicepic

Every business leader should periodically call his/her company to observe how their customers are being treated by their employees — because, all too often a phone conversation becomes a customer turnoff rather than a relationship builder.

So, here’s a checklist that is primarily from sales expert and author Paul R. Timm that you can use to evaluate your organization’s customer service via the phone:

1. Was the phone answered after two rings or less?

2. Did the employee use an appropriate greeting?

3. Did the employee identify himself or herself by name?

4. Was the employee’s tone of voice pleasant and businesslike?

5. Was the call handled efficiently without being abrupt?

6. Did the employee provide accurate information or refer the caller to an appropriate person?

7. Did the employee reflect the best image for the company?

8. Did the employee thank the caller?

9. Did the employee make prudent use of putting the caller on hold if it was necessary to do so?

Businessman in the office on the phone with headset, looking cam

10. Did the employee use friendly and tactful words?

11. Did the employee accuse the customer of anything?

12. Did the employee fumble when transferring the call if making a transfer was necessary?

13. Was there distracting background noise on the employee’s end during the call?

How To Be A Customer-Facing Employee

In Customer Engagement, Customer Retention, Customer Service, Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Books on September 13, 2014 at 6:05 pm

 According to author Micah Solomon, to ensure you have customer-facing employees, help them to:
  • Display simple human kindness
  • Sense what another person is feeling
  • Have an inclination toward teamwork
  • Be detail oriented, including having the ability and willingness to follow through to completion
  • Bounce back and do not internalize challenges

How To Create Customer Satisfaction

In Customer Engagement, Customer Retention, Customer Service on September 3, 2014 at 6:08 pm

Here are four great customer service tips from author Micah Solomon’s book, High-tech, High-touch Customer Service:

You provide value when you deliver the four components that reliably create customer satisfaction:

  • A perfect product or service
  • Delivered in a caring, friendly manner
  • On time (as defined by the customer)
  • With the backing of an effective problem-resolution process

How To Drive Value For Customers

In Customer Engagement, Customer Retention, Customer Service, Eric Jacobson Leadership on April 6, 2014 at 6:35 am

 

Great customer service tips from author Micah Solomon’s new book, High-tech, High-touch Customer Service:

You provide value when you deliver the four components that reliably create customer satisfaction:

  • A perfect product or service
  • Delivered in a caring, friendly manner
  • On time (as defined by the customer)
  • With the backing of an effective problem-resolution process

 

Micah has been named by the Financial Post as “a new guru of customer service excellence.” He is a keynote speaker and consultant on customer service issues, the customer experience, and company culture.  He previously coauthored the bestselling Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit.      

Delight Your Customers

In Customer Engagement, Customer Retention, Customer Service on April 4, 2014 at 8:02 pm

If you want to delight your customers, then the book by Steve Curtin, Delight Your Customers — 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary, is a must-read for you and your employees.

Published this summer, the book explains the seven ways for you and your employees to demonstrate exceptional customer service:

  1. Express genuine interest
  2. Offer sincere and specific compliments
  3. Share unique knowledge
  4. Convey authentic enthusiasm
  5. Use appropriate humor
  6. Provide pleasant surprises
  7. Deliver service heroics

“Exceptional customer service typically costs no more to deliver than poor customer service,” explains Curtin.

For example:

  • How much does it cost to express genuine interest in customers or to anticipate their needs?
  • Does it cost more to display a sense of urgency or to pay attention to detail?
  • Do you pay your employees more to smile, to make eye contact, or to add energy to their voices?

Curtin reminds readers that:

  • Customers don’t establish relationships with businesses.  They establish relationships with the people inside the businesses.

And, here are some of Curtin’s recommended best ways to express genuine interest in your customers:

  • Offer personalized greetings
  • Use names
  • Practice assertive hospitality
  • Ask questions
  • Anticipate needs
  • Remember preferences
  • Pay attention to detail
  • Display a sense of urgency
  • Solicit feedback
  • Offer personal farewells
  • Follow up on service

And, finally, when soliciting feedback, do so without marginalizing your customers’ suggestions or sounding defensive.

How To Find And Retain Customers

In Customer Engagement, Customer Retention, Customer Service, Eric Jacobson Leadership on February 13, 2014 at 7:50 am

Are you a leader in need of ideas for how to retain your customers and how to find new ones?

Here are 12 ideas for you:

  1. Offer payment plans.
  2. Conduct customer satisfaction surveys.
  3. Develop a system to track your customers.
  4. Ask all customers how they heard of your business.
  5. Identify a market you may have overlooked.
  6. Return all telephone calls.
  7. Ask your customers to come back again.
  8. Offer incentives.
  9. Learn customer names.
  10. Keep track of customer comments.
  11. Make follow-up calls to customers.
  12. Provide regular customers with discounts.

Thanks Bank of America and SCORE Association for these ideas from your Small Business Basics handbook.

Additional Leadership Resources From Eric Jacobson:

How To Find And Retain Customers

In Customer Engagement, Customer Retention, Customer Service, Eric Jacobson Leadership, Eric Jacobson On Leadership on February 2, 2014 at 7:53 am

Are you a leader in need of ideas for how to retain your customers and how to find new ones?

Here are 12 ideas for you:

  1. Offer payment plans.
  2. Conduct customer satisfaction surveys.
  3. Develop a system to track your customers.
  4. Ask all customers how they heard of your business.
  5. Identify a market you may have overlooked.
  6. Return all telephone calls.
  7. Ask your customers to come back again.
  8. Offer incentives.
  9. Learn customer names.
  10. Keep track of customer comments.
  11. Make follow-up calls to customers.
  12. Provide regular customers with discounts.

Thanks Bank of America and SCORE Association for these ideas from your Small Business Basics handbook.

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