Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Quotoutstanding Servicequot Do You Know What It Means To Your Clients

Writen by Connie Scholl

When was the last time you experienced good customer service? I'm talking about REALLY good service, the kind where the person you were dealing with was pleasant and accommodating, and every little detail about your entire experience was addressed and handled exactly in the manner that you would have requested it.

Over the past six years, I've enjoyed this kind of stellar service from the BMW dealership where I have my car serviced. As a direct result of my experience, I will not only continue to purchase BMW automobiles, I will continue to use their service department and recommend them to my family and friends. Why? Because they "GET IT" when it comes to knowing exactly what I want. They let me know they value my business each and every time I'm there, and they continually work to keep me happy. They've earned my loyalty and created a raving fan out of me by meeting and exceeding my expectations with every interaction. I know I pay a little more by going there, but to me it's totally worth it.

So how can you get the same reaction from the clients in your small business or professional practice?

The first step is knowing what first rate service means to your clients. BMW doesn't guess here. They do their homework. So if you want to safeguard your business, and prevent clients from going elsewhere, it's time to start doing your homework!

Begin by compiling a list of "what does excellent service mean to you" type questions that you'll use with your existing clients.

Next, dive into your Rolodex and come up with a list of 8 to 10 "A" list clients. (These are the clients that you absolutely love working with and would like plenty more of.)

Once you have your questions and client names in hand, contact these folks and begin asking them what you want to know! Keep in mind, this doesn't have to be a long and complicated process. depending on your relationship, you can either email these people, call them, or take them out to lunch to gather your information.

If you've never done anything like this in your business before, you'll soon see that the very act of asking your clients these questions is a very powerful customer service move in and of itself.

Connie Scholl of provides self-employed service professionals with simple, effective and low-cost marketing solutions designed to quickly jump-start sales and consistently generate new clients. Get free marketing tips and "how-to-articles" at

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Customer First Customer Service

Writen by F McDuffee

The world of customer service is rapidly changing. Thirty years ago, telephones and mail services were the norm for most companies. Now, faxes, email and web sites offer more options to customers than they've ever had before. It takes a dedicated team to keep loyal customers coming back and new clients coming in.

Customer Service is about that ultimate contact between people. It's about a potential or existing customer/client walking away with the intent of buying your product either for the first time or again. Employees make countless decisions every day that directly or indirectly affect customers and strengthen or weaken your company's reputation and bottom line.

Forging lasting relationships with customers leads to long-term loyalty and referrals. The bottom line is that excellent customer service may be the most important factor in improving a company's bottom line.

Customer Service is about offering solutions that are best for each customer. As a company, you need to offer every option available---addressing everything that's important to each customer. Focus on each customer as if he were the only customer.

Everyone at your company can work together to turn customer responses into key performance indicators by:

Giving the customer confidence. When they speak out about a concern, you address it within a reasonable amount of time (call back before the end of the day or tomorrow with their answer).

Giving the customer specifics. Tell them exactly what you are doing or going to do and when (I'm going to research the invoice and will call you back within an hour).

Fulfill your promise. Fulfill it within the period given at your initial customer contact.

Be reliable. Deliver what the customer ordered, when they want it (ask the customer to be sure!) and make sure it's delivered at the price agreed to.

Every employee plays an important role in fulfilling each customer's needs:

1. Buyers/Purchasing Agents --- maintain and replenish the inventory at the best prices possible, making sure you have in stock what all your customers want/need.

2. Distribution Center/Warehouse Personnel --- receive the product, verify quantity and condition and put the product away in the right location so the pickers/pullers/stockers can easily and accurately find the product and package/load the product for delivery… in some cases placing the right stops in the right order on a delivery truck.

3. Drivers/Delivery Personnel --- delivers the product, with little to no damage, finds the correct items for each customer easily and efficiently. They also resolve any customer issues at the time of delivery (calling the center/home office/plant to resolve any billing issues or product issues, or replace damaged items at no additional cost to the customer).

4. Sales Support/Customer Service --- takes the customer orders, ensure the prices are correct and deliveries are scheduled for the correct days and times.

5. Sales Consultant/Team/Person --- works one-on-one with the customer, taking their orders, making sure they are offered new items, resolving issues and adding new customer accounts.

6. Management Team/Owner(s) ---- provide any and all support to their employees to ensure the customers needs are met as promised. They provide a working environment that stimulates employees to be proactive, productive and pro-company…these all lead to happy customers both internal and external.

What will make your company stand out… over and above…other companies? How responsible, responsive and timely are you meeting your customers needs? The customer doesn't want to know what it took to get his product there and he doesn't want to hear excuses why his product and/or delivery were delayed. He ordered and expects delivery as promised, so he can go about his business without enduring any inconvenience whatsoever.

The customer understands the importance of measuring their own performance, so they are going to require that the people servicing them---YOU---understand their needs at a much higher level.

Partner with your customers, to provide not only products but also knowledge, expertise, follow-up and execution.

For these and other reasons, all company employees---including management and owners---must have good manners…publicly, on the phone or through email, letters or notes. You must also be accurate and neat and willing to 'go the extra mile'. It's important that the customer 'feels good'. Sometimes a simple gesture…being friendly or simply smiling both in person and over the phone does the trick.

Friendliness costs nothing and requires little effort but is worth millions when it comes to building long-term lasting relationships with customers that lead to ongoing loyalty and endless referrals. Friendliness is, by far, the most important factor in improving a company's bottom line. Besides---it's contagious!

What it boils down to is this: What a customer likes the most about any company/distributor isn't their computers…it's their employees!

Not only do the employees represent the company, when they contact prospective and current customers/clients, they are the company. How each employee performs reflects directly on what people think of your company overall.

In summary, satisfy your customer and you satisfy your bottom line.

F. McDuffee has been specially trained by one of the masters of copy--- Michael Masterson ---through The American Writers & Artists Institute. As The Words Turn© will provide creative copy that will entice new and rebuild established relationships---leading to repeat business.

Hire an experienced writer... one who will eliminate the wastebasket potential of your marketing materials. Visit© for more information on services available.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Great Customer Service Is The Foundation Of Business Success

Writen by Robert Boduch

Customer Service: fundamental to success... but so often forgotten. No matter what you're selling, widgets or copywriting services, business success is built on satisfying customers -- one at a time. It's about delivering great customer service.

Repeat business and referrals are fundamental to maximum long-term growth and profitability. After all, repeat buyers and referrals are the most profitable sales you can generate. If every customer is a one-time buyer only, you'll need to consistently fill the pipeline with fresh new prospects to make any sales at all. Providing exceptional customer service significantly increases the odds of subsequent purchases.

As merchants, we need to bend over backwards to satisfy those who patronize our businesses. This means giving the customer the benefit of any doubt. Provide the kind of courtesy, attentiveness and service you expect and are entitled to when you're the buyer. Play the role of the buyer and upgrade your customer service accordingly.

Nobody wants an unsatisfied customer – unless they're not worth having (thankfully, this is rare, though problem customers do exist). No reasonable businessperson wants her name and reputation dragged through the mud. The easiest way to prevent this kind of occurrence is to take good care of those you serve.

The worst thing any business owner can do is to not respond to emails and phone calls. Ignoring calls only makes matters worse as customers feel neglected or abandoned – usually after spending a fair amount of cash. When ignored repeatedly, a disappointed customer's frustration and stress level can build to the boiling point.

Keeping in touch with customers is vitally important.

When I'm working on a copywriting project, I often exchange numerous emails with my client, providing frequent updates, getting clarification, and asking probing questions that lead to greater insights and more persuasive sales copy. It also helps foster good feelings and helps solidify the client/provider relationship. People want to know that I'm busy working on their project – not everyone else's.

Customer dissatisfaction is most often due to a lack of communication. Someone didn't get what she anticipated. The product didn't live up to its promise. There was a misunderstanding as to what products or services would be delivered and at what price.

In the copywriting business, it might be that key issues were missed... the emphasis was off base... or the angle taken wasn't the best fit for the market or product.

Whatever the case may be, most competent copywriters will tweak or modify the copy to suit the client. When it completely misses the mark, they'll offer a re-write without any additional charge. Refusing to do so doesn't make sense, as it leaves the buyer feeling ripped off and unfulfilled with their purchase.

It's all about satisfying those who keep us in business. Customer service is an essential ingredient of any long-term business success.


Robert Boduch is an author of dozens of best-selling books, reports and articles on the art and science of selling. A free newsletter targeted at anyone interested in selling more of anything is available at

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Keep Shopping Its The Best Way To Beat Lousy Customer Service

Writen by Dr. Gary S. Goodman

My vacation could have been a comedy of errors, because nearly all of my initial plans didn't pan out. Yet, it ended up being the best all around sojourn I've ever had.

How did this happen? I'll tell you in a minute. First, let me mention some of the crucial adjustments I made.

I booked a hotel that had all of the right amenities, including a killer ocean view, but when I called later on, to check about a discount, I dealt with a real bozo. Instantly, I hit the Web, searched for alternatives—just in case—and I found a substitute at half the price, also with a killer ocean view.

That phone call saved me the equivalent of all of my meals during the entire trip.

Not bad!

I asked the airline agent to find me the longest legroom, and I ended up with the shortest.

Instantly, I asked to deplane to see what the gate agent could arrange. Momentarily, I was relocated in a section where I could spread out across three seats with my laptop and other tools.

The impact was that I wrote an article during my five hour flight that wouldn't have emerged from my cramped seating arrangement.

My watch's stem broke on the plane ride over. Upon arrival, I called the biggest ad in the Yellow Pages, and was informed by the stuffy manager that my timepiece would take three weeks to repair, and that I should wait to schlep it to a special service center in Beverly Hills, upon my return. Undaunted, I called another ad. The owner said, "Bring it over, and we'll repair it in three hours."

A half hour later, I entered his shop and he said, "You're lucky. I have three repair specialists working right now. Go have a coffee, and your watch will be ready in an hour. I'll save you a cab ride."

A one-day tour that I initially chose was oversold. Improvising, I picked an alternative, which ended up being spectacular, with a 200 foot waterfall and an unspoiled beach. Cool.

On a free day I decided to rent a car, and the first outfit I called gave me fits. They didn't have the model I wanted and they were going to force me to make separate calls to discover my frequent renter number and couldn't tell me if having it would give me a discount. When I asked for a supervisor, my call was mysteriously disconnected.

Two seconds later, I called a competitor. It had a red T-Bird convertible at a great rate with no drop-off charge for taking it to the airport. Also, I could pick it up 100 paces from my hotel, instead of having to cab it to the other outfit's inconvenient location. Wow, what a difference!

I could go on, reciting adjustment after adjustment, each of which ushered in economies, and added pleasures to my trip. Looking back, I can see that receiving poor initial service can be a godsend. Instead of being cursed, better karma is around the corner if we'll only open ourselves to it.

Here's what we can all do to improve our results as consumers:

(1) At the first hint of dissatisfaction, be willing to shop the competition. Don't ever accept as conclusive the opinion of a single source.

(2) Don't bother arguing with bozos. A tenth of the energy you'd expend can be more productively channeled into finding their replacement.

(3) Trust your instincts as a consumer. If you think they're incompetent, unconcerned, too expensive, or just a bad temperamental fit, be willing to walk—make that run, to another provider.

(4) Treat bad news as good news. If you look hard enough, you can find the silver lining in any problem.

(5) Be flexible, and be willing to change plans as often as necessary, to improve your results and satisfaction.

Lots of companies seek our loyalty and expect to receive it by throwing a few frequent flyer miles or occasional discounts our way. Look beyond these baubles. If you're earning them by forgoing the best prices and benefits, you're simply rewarding them for their complacency.

Fortune favors the bold—remember this when you're about to plunk down your money for a vacation or for anything else. When you encounter lousy service, keep shopping! With a little effort and a few adjustments, you too, can transform poor service into a great adventure!

Dr. Gary S. Goodman, President of, is a popular keynote speaker, management consultant, and seminar leader and the best-selling author of 12 books, including Reach Out & Sell Someone® and Monitoring, Measuring & Managing Customer Service. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, worldwide. A Ph.D. from USC's Annenberg School, Gary offers programs through UCLA Extension and numerous universities, trade associations, and other organizations in the United States and abroad. He is headquartered in Glendale, California, and he can be reached at (818) 243-7338 or at: