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Management Blog

Tips, advice and musings to help you improve your management
and leadership skills

3 Tips On Dealing With An Irate Client Over The Phone

November 30, 2016

No one likes speaking to an angry person, but this scenario is even more difficult to handle when the person is a client of yours.

This is a unique relationship where you have to tread very carefully to make sure the client is left happy, lest they take their business elsewhere. Learn More

3 Latest Trends In Customer Service To Consider For Your Business In 2017

November 17, 2016

Making improvements to customer service can provide many advantages to a business.

First, by offering a more helpful, faster and friendlier experience to customers, a company can benefit from higher sales, less returns and overall happier clients. Learn More

2 Quick Methods That Hugely Improve Customer Experience

August 12, 2016

Customers are what make any business a success or a failure.

You may have the most innovative products or services, but without tailoring them to your clients, you will not make any sales. Learn More

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The Role Of The Leader In Customer Service

August 29, 2013

Customer Feedback

If you are a leader in a larger business or public sector organisation then you are probably not dealing with external clients on a regular basis. It is therefore easy (once you have agreed with them) to leave the policing of your customer service standards to other people. Here is the danger when you do that! Learn More

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How To Create Market Value Through People

July 18, 2012

Paradoxically, the financial performance of your department or business is not something you should attempt to directly control. It is better achieved by providing superior service to the market place. Learn More

10 Steps To Creating A Customer-Focused Culture

Many people who manage teams in customer service are aware of the need to display vision and customer focus in their businesses, but less people are able to apply this in the real-world atmosphere of the hot-house business.

To create a culture takes time and effort. And you can’t demand this quality service from people; they have to want to deliver it from their hearts, and that’s not an easy concept to transfer to people.

How can you create a culture that breeds customer loyalty and continuous satisfaction? Here are some steps you can take:

1) Be clear on what the core values of the business are in respects to service excellence

2) Ensure everyone in the business knows them and understands them

3) Ensure top management agree with and live those values

4) Plan for improvement programmes that can be run in-house, rather than waiting for external customer service courses to come around

5) Identify what areas need to improve in their quality of service to hit the desired standards

6) Ensure all values are driven internally and offer internal customers the same standards as you would for external customers

7) Decide how the behaviours of front-line staff can be agreed and monitored

8 ) Get the right people to be the service ambassadors for your business. You don’t want all your efforts going to waste because people don’t believe in this stuff

9) Plan how you are going to monitor and reward performance at the sharp end

10) Carry out recognition programmes that reward the behaviours you are seeking from your teams

By highlighting how the business will succeed by promoting a customer-focused culture, you are more likely to get support and recognition from the people in authority, whose support is vital for the success of any programme, and from the people who really matter – the teams carrying out the front-of-house jobs that determine how successful the culture will bed in.

Thanks again

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

http://www.mtdtraining.com

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The Best Way To Provide Quality Service

How do you know if you are offering excellent customer service? Most companies tell us they use focus groups, surveys, response cards, mystery shopping, etc, and all these are valuable to create an awareness of exactly hat you’re doing right and wrong.

But unless you use another, cheaper, closer-to-home method, you might be missing a trick.

Who has the closest interaction with your clients and can often see where the glaringly obvious but often overlooked areas of improvement are?

Naturally, it’s your customer-facing staff, and they have the best opportunities every day to share data and customer responses in real time and from right at the coal face. It shows also that you value their opinions, respect their viewpoints and show that you’re serious about providing the environment for quality customer service.

How do we go about it?

Any system you introduce must be organised so that customer-facing staff understand what information will be useful and how that information can be gained from customers

The system should be simple to use and be quick in its operation (check sheets, report forms, etc)

There should be a simple way of reporting the information, so staff know it is important and will be looked at

Action has to be taken on the feedback

This can provide a good analysis of training and development needs within the department, like coaching in questioning and listening skills, building rapport or empathy

What’s your role in all this?

You need to lay the foundation so everyone knows the reason why the process is being carried out. It shouldn’t be seen as a spying exercise on staff, or to add extra inconvenience to them; they should see the benefits of any such process and how it all aims for excellence in customer service.

You need to walk the talk. If staff see you spouting excellence in what you say, but see you cutting corners and complaining about customers in reality, they aren’t going to take any programme like this seriously.

Staff can be then be involved in group discussions or individual meetings. Managers can begin by asking some or all of the following questions:

* How do we know if our clients are satisfied with our service?

* How would we know if they didn’t?

* What do we need to know to find out about our clients’ perceptions?

Then you can determine the style of questions that can be asked at any time when you contact clients.

Ensure that all staff get to see the results of any work they contribute to, This will mean you are serious about improving quality and they are more willing contribute.

Make sure that the data collected is used to make decisions regarding service improvement. You could design a meeting to share results on report, interpretation, actions and improvements. Make sure you put some consistency into it, and it’s not seen as an ad-hoc process, looked at when you might have the time. If you give it high priority, so will your staff.

Then, put the action plans to work. Ensure your goals are specific and measurable, and have an impact on the areas your staff said needed improving.

Share the successes and otherwise. Let people know how you are measuring excellence and make it a topic of discussion regularly.

Check on whether anything you have initiated needs changing, and actually make those changes. Nothing will kill a new initiative quicker than if you don’t create changes when the very people who are driving that change do not get responses from management.

If you create an atmosphere of excellence, your people will follow and will actually want to be excellent in all their contacts with customers. And that could be the very thing that drives your business forward in the future.

Thanks again

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

http://www.mtdtraining.com

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Do You Have a Skilled Customer Service Team?

Chances are, whether you have direct client contact or not, you and your team members are providing some sort of customer service. You may not be dealing with outside clients, but in almost every situation you have some sort of internal client (another team, accounting, human resources, etc). Regardless of who your client may be, you need to have the customer service skills necessary to make your customers happy.

But how do you offer great customer service, from a management standpoint?

  • Start by hiring a great group of people. We’ve spoken quite a bit about interview skills – so use them. Make sure you aren’t only hiring people who can get the job done, but who can get the job done while remaining friendly and interested in their work.
  • Make sure you outline a clear set of customer service standards for your team members to follow. They should dictate how they speak to customers, how they act in the presence of customers, and how they respond (in both attitude and time frame) to the needs of their customers. Once you’ve set the standards, hold your team members to them.
  • Ensure your team member are getting the training they need. Believe it or not, most people aren’t born working in customer service industries and, as such, the skills needed to deal with people do not come naturally. Ongoing training will support your cause.
  • Develop an incentive program through which those who go above and beyond the call of duty can be  rewarded for their efforts. Sure, you should be paying well, but you should show your team members a bit of respect by acknowledging their hard work from time to time as well.
  • Take criticism seriously. People who are unhappy with your business aren’t likely to tell you about their experiences – they’ll tell everyone else they know instead. If someone has something to say – listen. Others probably have the same sentiment.

The happier your team members, the more their attitudes will rub off on their customer interactions – guaranteed.

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

http://www.mtdtraining.com

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