Ask 5 Questions: Then Pandemic-Proof Your Small Business

Customer service delivery has become more complex thanks to a global pandemic.  It is the customer who has leveraged control and has demanded a positive experience, not the company.  

Nearly overnight, the COVID-19 pandemic elevated the importance of delivering fast and accurate digital experiences to customers who found themselves cut off from conventional ways of doing business.

According to a global study by ESI ThoughtLab and ServiceNow, a measly 27% of companies have transitioned from recruiting underperforming in-house talent to high-efficiency automated systems in order to deliver top drawer customer experiences (CX).

So, what’s at stake?  Profitability.  As you answer the five questions listed below, consider whether your responses match what’s in your pandemic plan, company core values, mission statement, and corporate culture philosophy:

  1. Has your team developed skills to create a digital customer experience (CX)?
  2. Have you identified the touchpoint that matters to your customers?
  3. Has your team aligned its objectives & key results (OKRs) with CX?
  4. Has your company consolidated data into a single customer view?
  5. How much progress has your team made toward providing a personalized CX (creating personas specific client demographics)?

The largest returns from CX initiatives come from positioning the right people, processes, and technologies in the right departments to deliver a superior experience time after time.   According to ESI ThoughtLab and ServiceNow, almost 50% of global leaders reported a moderate to large ROI due to maintaining an efficient and  personalized CX platform, versus only 22% for others.

You may have already implemented the necessary safety measures to protect employees and clients from further complications of COVID-19 and future disasters; however, it is also important to know that protecting and growing your small business is about finding ways to anticipate the needs of your clients and to deliver superior service with laser precision.  Trailblazers constantly search for ways to implement state-of-the-art safety and delivery systems that will benefit both clients and employees as well as local and global supply chains.

Remember, clients are your “why”.  Show them that you are in this for them and with them.

Make it a great day.

New Standards: Service Sparking Community

What is keeping you up at night during this global pandemic? How is the public rating your company’s product/service on social media?

Marketers are saying that the impact of social media is so strong that companies have changed the way they set out to attract customers to increase sales.  In fact, Fortune 500 companies revamped their marketing strategies to appeal to “social media influencers” due to the power they have on consumers’ purchasing decisions—many have 500,000 and more followers.

In their book, Raving Fans, Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles introduced the concept of raving fans—customers being so impressed by an amazing experience, they can’t stop telling everyone about it.  

Prior to the onslaught of the social media craze, raving fans would communicate their experiences by word of mouth.  Now, social media magnifies the reach to global proportions. Everyday, raving fans create virtual communities in which businesses are lauded or given a poor review.

Take a look at your own company to make room for improvement.  Set the industry standard for delivering amazing experiences.  For example, create and implement a signature value proposition that sets you apart from the competition.  Encourage your team to bring ideas to weekly meetings that reveal how they will create lasting memories for each client and their families.  

Also, assign a team to go online and research your product/service/company.  Evaluate how your team responds to positive and negative reviews.  Do prospects and clients know that you take full responsibility for any short falls of customer expectations?  If so, where is it expressed?  As a statement on your social media? your website? your email signature block?

Reach out to us, we’ll show you how to score big with prospects and get repeat business with existing clients.

Make it a great day.

Three Words Your Clients Want to Hear: “Yes, Yes, Yes”

While giving top-notch customer service is a priority for your company, it’s almost impossible to appease every customer request. So, how do you keep customers happy and loyal if you can’t always give them what they want?  

During this global pandemic, if you are not acting as a concierge to your clients—no matter your industry—you are missing golden opportunities to be a differentiator.    

We recommend creating a philosophical platform (instead of a policy) to build on and train your team how to say “yes” even when the answer is “no”.

Establish a culture of saying Yes – Starting with the C-Suite (the company executive offices), a culture of yes needs to be exemplified throughout the company so that all employees understand that saying yes is a core value to uphold.

  • When company leaders and managers are constantly telling employees no, that negativity will likely pass on to your clients
  • Come up with other ways to make customers happy when the product requested is out of season or out of stock.  For example, offer a quality substitute—even if you have to obtain it from a competitor.  Be creative and innovative
  • Celebrate employees in front of colleagues when they solve difficult problems
  • Encourage employees to ask questions and offer opinions; doing so shows you respect their input
  • When resolving difficult situations, use positive language…it is key to diffusing arguments

Provide world-class customer service – When dealing with high-end clients, you have to pull out all of the stops.  Prove that you are committed to delivering gold standard experiences on a consistent basis.

  • After resolving a difficult problem, send the customer a handwritten note of thanks along with a basket of fruit or some other gift that resonates with them
  • Take extra time on the phone to answer a question or resolve an issue.  Never brag about what you did or expect the customer to thank you because that’s part of the platinum service for which you are known
  • Go above and beyond the call of duty.  Your customers will come back to you over and over.  They will become your brand ambassadors
  • Whenever possible, say yes

Your team wants positive energy from you and the C Suite.  Show them how to implement the company’s core values.  It’s one of the best ways to successfully create a Yes Culture.

The next time you have an opportunity to turn a “no” into a “yes”, consider it as an opportunity to do something extraordinary for your client (without a hidden agenda).  They will be drawn to you and will always want to buy from you.  You are their “go to” for business and consultation.

Make it a great day.

All-Star Customer Service Agents

Photo Provided by Pixaby

The quality of a company’s customer care program is as good as the people who provide the service which means that customer service training is too important to be relegated to a non-essential category.

Customer service agents are the “go to” experts who answer pressing questions about your organization’s products.  Arming them with tailored training to resolve challenges with pinpoint accuracy will go miles in retaining quality clients.  In addition, on-the-job “refresher” coaching in “live” situations provide excellent teachable moments that can be journaled for future use.  Another option is to assign seasoned agents as mentors to new hires to help them perform their duties with excellence.  Many offices have this type of set up in place.

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