Eric Jacobson

Posts Tagged ‘Customer Service’

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.

5 Questions You Shouldn’t Ask Your Customers

In Customer Feedback Customer Engagement on July 5, 2015 at 1:10 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:

  1. How was everything?
  2. Can I get you something else?
  3. Did you find everything you need?
  4. Will that be all?
  5. Was everything satisfactory?

Instead Ask:

  • What else can I do for you?
  • What else can I get for you?
  • What else can I help you with?
  • What else could we do to better serve you?
  • 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

Four Words To Never Say To A Customer

In Eric Jacobson On Leadership, General Leadership Skills on February 4, 2015 at 7:49 pm

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!

Why Responding To Customer Complaints Is Critical

In Customer Retention, Customer Service, Leadership on January 29, 2015 at 7:48 pm

A customer who complains and receives a fast response will actually be more loyal to your company in terms of future sales and referrals than a customer who never complained at all.  That is what author Mark Thompson and Brian Tracy proclaim, and I agree with them.

They also say in their book, Now…Build A Great Business!, that:

  • a slow response to a customer complaint triggers fear and anger

And, when that happens, the customer is afraid that he/she is going to be stuck with a product/service that doesn’t work and feels angry that he/she went ahead with the purchase in the first place.

So, lead your team to:

  • Respond quickly to customer complaints
  • Refuse to defend or make excuses
  • Offer to make the customer happy immediately
  • Be open and honest
  • Tell the truth and tell it as soon as you know it

Bottom-line…assume that anything you do or say will become public knowledge quickly. So, resolve to build and maintain trust in everything you do.

How To Delight Your Customers

In Customer Service, Eric Jacobson On Leadership on October 20, 2014 at 6:03 am

Customer Service Eric Jacobson

 

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.

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. Delivery 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
  • Cosset
  • 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 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 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 Delight Your Customers

In Company Culture, Customer Service, Engaging Customers, Eric Jacobson On Leadership, General Leadership Skills on October 26, 2013 at 11:26 am

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.

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