How do we gather feedback effectively?

How do we gather feedback effectively?

In the world of the empowered customer, feedback is the breakfast of champions.

In the ‘old world’ of one way mass communication, marketing was king, but as this changes to the world of two way mass communication, the power of marketing continues to diminish and the power of engagement and innovation around the customer’s REAL needs is the new main business driver.

And effective feedback systems are the powerhouse of this driver.

So, how do we gather feedback effectively?

The answer to this is specific to the specific situation of your organisation and situation, in exactly the same way that marketing has been. It would be churlish to write ‘just do these things and this will solve all your problems’ (exactly as it would with marketing). In short, there is no quick fix.

But here are some rules to help:

  1. Do it for a genuine reason – this is a new world, not a PR exercise
  2. Get it going little by little – test and measure every step
  3. Put robust follow up and action systems in place early – it’s not the feedback that matters, it’s what you do with it that counts
  4. Do it properly – this is not a cheap or a quick fix exercise, this is about building up long term customer loyalty, reputation, referrals and innovation
  5. Design it to enhance the customer experience in itself – not an annoyance to the customer!
  6. Make it personal – this is about genuinely building relationships
  7. Continually focus and hone it – this is now an essential business survival tool

 

For help in setting this up and auditing effectiveness, please see www.investorsinfeedback.com

Why doesn’t customer service training work?

Why doesn’t customer service training work?

Because you can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

You people WANT to do a great job, but they are faced with a million things that are stopping them:

  • How they are treated
  • How they are feeling (this one is not really in your control, but how you identify and deal with this IS in your control)
  • The way the organisation behaves
  • The processes you employ
  • The culture you promote

The only true answer to the oldest employment problem in the world (How can I make my people motivated and enthused to give great service?) lies in systems.

Great or Poor ® systems to produce a consistent and continually improving customer experience.

Sales through Service ® systems to enhance long and short term sales (and reduce costs) at every step.

In today’s’ hyper competitive transparent market, it’s unlikely that your organisation can thrive without starting to get this genuinely right.

 

‘Sales through Service’ is a proven and powerful set of systems to boost sales whilst also enhancing the customer experience – to receive a free ebook ‘The 7 Deadly Sins of Service’, please email support@salesthroughservice.com or visit http://www.salesthroughservice.com/free-sales-resources/

 

 

How do I handle complaints?

How do I handle complaints?

We all get complaints: some are maybe fairer than others, and there’s a lot of print acreage devoted to strategies to deal effectively with them.

There’s perhaps one point I’d like to try and make crystal clear in this post:

In the age of global choice, 2 way instant communication and transparent online reviews, the real issue with complaints is:

NOT the complaint itself, but

Your attitude to the complaint and how you handle it that matters.

Of course it’s important to deal with the complaint itself professionally, but customers will judge you and share their opinions worldwide about you on such issues as:

  • How easy you made it for them to tell you
  • How welcomed their feedback was
  • How well you listened and showed that you genuinely gave a s**t
  • How you went out of your way to try and ensure they left happy

These are the key issues to concentrate on – these are what will turn individual complaints into massive PR triumphs (or the opposite).

A start point is to change the word ‘complaint’ into ‘compliment’, because, by complaining, they’re giving you the message that they care about your customer experience, and believe you’re mature and caring enough to deal with their feedback constructively and kindly.

On top of that, they’re bringing something to your attention that 20 other customers have walked away from without telling you (and instead told their friends on social media).

And those are massive compliments.

How do I handle mistakes?

How do I handle mistakes?

We all make mistakes.

But in the age of global 2 way communication, and instant online feedback and sharing, they can be hyper dangerous – just ask Gerald Ratner if you want proof!

So, in this hyper connected age, it’s vital (not important, vital) to have a key set of simple principles to follow, when they occur: and of course, the flip side of all this is that in this hyper connected age, if you get it right, then mistakes well handled can be a massive boost to your reputation and business.

Want to see it done well: have a look at what M&S did when they ‘boobed’.

Before we go into the rules, we must point out that the rules are based on 4 (common sense) principles, that every customer is looking for:

  1. We genuinely care
  2. We consider the customer’s real needs above all else
  3. We focus on continual small changes
  4. We value feedback and act on it

So, here are some rules:

  1. Actively LOOK for boobs: most customers won’t tell you openly (they’ll tell their friends)
  2. See boobs as opportunities to excel, not something to be frightened of
  3. When you find one, apologise immediately (it doesn’t matter whose fault it was)
  4. Ask the customer for their thoughts and opinions empathically
  5. Reflect and agree small actions together
  6. Thank the customer genuinely for bringing this to your attention (if they hadn’t, the world would know about it via social media, but you wouldn’t)
  7. Take the actions
  8. Thank the customer again
  9. Check the customer’s happy
  10. Take a small action to change processes so the boob can’t be repeated

OK: rocket science it ain’t, but also common practice it ain’t. And this is the No 1 cause for problems in reputation and customer loyalty in organisations. Most boobs are small, but all boobs matter to customers.

The answer is actually quite easy:

  1. Embed the principles in your Organisation (this has to be GENUINE or it’s nothing)
  2. Continually train the actions

Then, and only then, boobs will become massive opportunities.

 ‘Sales through Service’ is a proven and powerful set of systems to boost sales whilst also enhancing the customer experience – to receive a free ebook ‘The 7 Deadly Sins of Sales’, please email support@salesthroughservice.com or visit http://www.salesthroughservice.com/free-sales-resources/

 

 

How do we get the most out of social media?

How do we get the most out of social media?

There’s a lot of HYPE about social media, combined with a lot of activity, and usually very few real results – so here’s a very simple and effective approach.

  1. Focus on ‘getting it right’ first. People and organisations who are genuine, passionate, committed and attentive are like catnip to others, whether they get everything right or not – it’s their attitude and stance that’s so attractive. Focus on being genuine, passionate, committed and attentive in your field FIRST!
  2. When you’ve done that, make sure you’re ON all the relevant channels and have a reasonably decent profile.
  3. Then join in the conversation and seek to add value to others as an overriding principle through your genuine, passionate, committed and attentive approach.
  4. NEVER TRY AND SELL DIRECTLY – it turns people right off
  5. Welcome and respond to feedback and reviews (see our numerous articles on this subject especially the one entitled ‘There’s no such thing as a bad online review’)
  6. When you have a good profile and proven added value online – Consider adverts as they’re so easy to measure – start small and see what works first. Consider special deals via online activity.
  7. NEVER make special deals better than those that you offer to existing customers
  8. Review, measure, hone and keep it up and NEVER stop being genuine, passionate, committed and attentive

Social media is just open talk and gossip online. That’s it. So you need to act in a way that’s ‘worth talking about’ for all the right reasons, on and off line – be ‘remarkable’.

‘Sales through Service’ is a proven and powerful set of systems to boost sales whilst also enhancing the customer experience – to receive a free ebook ‘The 7 Deadly Sins of Sales’, please email support@salesthroughservice.com or visit http://www.salesthroughservice.com/free-sales-resources/

How can I develop my management skills?

How can I develop my management skills?

I would guess that we all want to be better managers – after all, better managers get better results with less effort! So what do you need to do to become one?

Here are a few rules and ideas for you.

  • Remember all employees are volunteers – they need to respect you in order to be motivated by you.
  • Have a crystal clear statement of what you and the Organisation are REALLY about (we call this a ‘customer focused mission’ but don’t worry about the name: if people are hyper clear on exactly what does and doesn’t matter to the team, and the values associated with it, then that’s the job done).
  • Lead the Mission by example, and never deviate (even when times are hard)
  • If you ever do have to deviate, tell your people why and when you’re returning, before any deviation happens.
  • Manage your time effectively
  • Communicate effectively at all levels – win/win thinking and agreements
  • Gather feedback through simple systems and ‘management by wandering about’obsessively
  • Ensure everyone else does the same
  • Use the feedback to understand people’s REAL needs, and Act effectively on feedback, little step by little step
  • Keep going: it doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you never stop!

Remember, there’s not a lot of difference between ‘a great manager’ and ‘a bit of a prat’ … focus on small things done brilliantly … by the inch it’s a cinch, by the yard it’s hard.

There’s your answer to ‘How can I be a better manager’?

 

For free resources and help with leadership and management systems that actually work, please drop us a line at support@salesthroughservice.com and we’ll send you our free ebooks on this subject.

 

 

How can I be a better leader?

How can I be a better leader?

I would guess that we all want to be better leaders – after all, better leaders get better results with less effort! So what do you need to do to become one?

Here are a few rules and ideas for you.

  • Remember all customers are volunteers – internal and external customers – they want you to be a great leader, so they have something worthwhile to follow.
  • See your internal customers as your no 1 priority – they’re the ones who need leading, inspiring and motivating to deal remarkably with your external customers
  • Have a crystal clear statement of what you and the Organisation are REALLY about (we call this a ‘customer focused mission’ but don’t worry about the name: if people are hyper clear on exactly what does and doesn’t matter to the Organisation, and the values associated with it, then that’s the job done).
  • Lead the Mission by example, and never deviate (even when times are hard)
  • If you ever do have to deviate, tell your people why and when you’re returning, before any deviation happens.
  • Manage your time effectively
  • Communicate effectively at all levels – win/win thinking and agreements
  • Gather feedback through simple systems and ‘management by wandering about’ obsessively
  • Ensure everyone else does the same
  • Use the feedback to understand people’s REAL needs, and Act effectively on feedback, little step by little step
  • Keep going: it doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you never stop!

 

Remember, there’s not a lot of difference between ‘a great leader’ and ‘a bit of a prat’ … focus on small things done brilliantly … by the inch it’s a cinch, by the yard it’s hard.

There’s your answer to ‘how can I be a better leader’?

 

For free resources and help with leadership and management systems that actually work, please drop us a line at support@salesthroughservice.com and we’ll send you our free ebooks on this subject.

 

 

How can we improve customer service ?

How can we improve customer service ?

This is a familiar answer, which encourages acres of print, mainly aimed at telling horses to drink (which doesn’t work, of course, because you can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink).

And one the main problems is that it’s actually the wrong question.

Your customer isn’t the slightest bit interested in ‘customer service’, they won’t be less or more loyal to you because of it and you can’t measure it.

Customers might think and say they’re interested in ‘customer service’, but, in fact, they’re actually meaning ‘customer experience’.

‘Customer Service’ is what you do to customers.

‘Customer Experience’ is how they perceive what you do.

And the two are very different.

So, the question is not ‘How can we improve customer service?’, it is ‘How can we improve customer experience?’

And that’s great news because ‘customer experience’ is measurable, motivational and very quickly improvable.

Focus on measuring and improving customer experience, with motivated people (more on that another time), and then using this solid base to build sales through service, and you’ll be well on the path to success.

 

For free resources and help with customer experience systems that actually work, please drop us a line at support@salesthroughservice.com and we’ll send you our free ebooks on this subject.

 

 

What customer loyalty schemes work best?

What customer loyalty schemes work best?

We want loyal customers!

We want customers to buy more and refer others to us!

Of course we do, and there’s acres of print on ‘how to run customer loyalty schemes’, and what to offer as incentives.

There’s just one small problem …. It’s all rubbish!

Recent in depth research shows what we all know as common sense: customer loyalty schemes generally cost significantly more than they generate (not taking into account all the time taken up by them), and they generate no REAL loyalty, just loyalty to the treat.

It’s like training a dog: if a dog only sits in order to get a treat, it hasn’t really learnt to sit, and this ‘training’ will fall apart completely under pressure.

Customers cannot be bought.

I repeat: customers cannot be bought: they can only be seduced (over the LONG TERM) to WANT to be loyal to you and recommend you.

This comes about by obsessive focus on and adherence to ‘customer reputation and loyalty systems in everything we do’. I.e. we see ‘customer reputation and loyalty’ as the No 1 purpose of our existence, around which all our systems and processed are designed, and truly believe that:15. What to do to build cust loyalty

‘If we do this well, the profits will follow … not the other way round’

Of course customer loyalty rewards can play a part in this (look at the Richer Sounds VIP club, or the Naked Wines Angel network for an example of this done well) … but it’s only one smallish part of the overall business strategy, and NEVER an effective strategy in itself.

Otherwise you just get a fat dog that sits when you have a treat in your pocket, and buggers off at any other time …

For free resources and help with customer loyalty systems that actually work, please drop us a line at support@salesthroughservice.com and we’ll send you our free ebooks on this subject.

Acres of Diamonds

Acres of Diamonds

In the famous story ‘Acres of Diamonds’ a wealthy farmer sells all he has in order to seek out a ‘river that runs over white sand between tall mountains’ because he’s sure he will there find acres of diamonds.

His search ruins and bankrupts him and he dies a pauper, far away and all alone. Back at his original farm, the new owner notices a glint in the stream as his camel stoops down to drink, so he scoops up some gravel only to find it is full of diamonds.

Of course, the point of this is that all you need is right there at your fingertips, and we’d suggest in Business it means this.

  • Your customers can tell you want you’re doing wrong and what you need to do to get it right
  • Your team can tell what you’re doing wrong and what you need to do to get it right
  • Your suppliers can also help you find your diamonds
  • And, above all, your lapsed customers and those who have been in touch with you but haven’t purchased from you will have acres of diamonds to share with you

Every time.

You just need to ask them properly (which VERY few Organisations do): sometimes they think they’re asking by doing ‘customer surveys’ or ‘suggestion schemes’, but these tend to be very barren on the diamond front because they’re the wrong tools!

So instead, most people instead waste vast amounts of time and money on quick fix marketing and searching for the Shangri La solutions to their problems.

And all the time, it’s right there in front of them.

Please contact us at support@salesthroughservice.com for our free SHORT ebook on this subject called ‘The 7 Deadly Sins of Feedback (and what to do about them)’!