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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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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Customer Service Goals and Promises

It takes time to develop a good team. As a manager you’ll find that once you have a team of great employees you’ll need to learn how to balance their skills. For example, some are better at building personal client relationships while others are better at doing the technical aspects of their jobs.

Once you develop a strong team you’re going to have to take a step back to look at the way your team members interact with your customers. From there, you’ll need to develop a strong customer service plan. A good customer service plan involves day to day interactions, retention, and future development but before you can dive into the details you need to work on something a bit more generalised – your main customer service promises.

My research has led me to four main promises every good customer service team should be able to keep. They are as follows:

  • A good customer service team has the ability to attract good customers – the kind they want- and win them over;
  • A good customer service team has the skills necessary to convince those customers to remain loyal and stay with them;
  • A good customer service team has a strong brand that emphasizes the value of good customer relationships; and
  • A good customer service team always has a positive attitude when it comes to client relationships.

How does your team rate when it comes to fulfilling these promises? Are you able to keep these promises or are there things you can or should change in order to build better relationships?

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

http://www.mtdtraining.com

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What is Marketing?

A lot of people view marketing as the method of selling a product. Marketing, to them, means creating a print ad, television commercial, or radio segment and hoping it brings traffic so that they can make a few sales.

Marketing, in reality, is really much more than your ability to advertise your products, though. Marketing is your ability to brand yourself and make yourself known amongst members of your target audience, including your current client base. Marketing includes the way your organisation treats the public as a whole. It’s a culmination of your values, your philosophies, your team members, and their mindsets.

So when you next start to train a group of new employees, how will you explain your company’s marketing campaigns? The truth is that most of your employees don’t have all of the real skills necessary to develop a strong marketing campaign from A to Z but if you utilize the skills they do have and supplement them with outside resources you’ll do a bang-up job putting your company in the public spotlight.

These are a few things you should consider as you market your organisation:

  • Develop a customer service agreement outlining your organision’s mission or goal with respects to customer service. How will you let your customers know what your standards are and how will you get your customer service team to live up to those standards?
  • Set a procedure for complaints. Your customers should be allowed to complain if your customer service team doesn’t meet their goals or expectations. You should set a complete system, including who will take the initial complaint and how it will be handled up until it is resolved.
  • Don’t ignore those complaints, either. The better you handle them, the less likely it is you’ll lose a customer later on down the line. Even handing a complaint well is a mark of good customer service.
  • Constantly communicate with your customers. Let them know what’s going on within your organisation and how you are working to solve problems with your systems to make their experiences with you even better.

Keeping your customers happy IS a marketing method and its one you should take very, very seriously. After all, your current clients play a huge role in your marketing as well – and if they are spreading information about bad experiences you won’t receive as good a response from your traditional marketing campaigns either.

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

http://www.mtdtraining.com

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What’s the Difference between Hype and Excitement?

You’ve all been excited about a new product or service launch at least once over the course of your career. If you haven’t, I’d have to question whether or not sales and management are the right career paths for you.

I find that one of the most important things we have to consider when training our customer service representatives is teaching them the difference between hype and excitement. Knowing the difference will make it easy for your customer service reps to present new products to clients without making false statements.

Hype…

  • …is deceptive.
  • …attempts to predict outcomes.
  • …makes unrealistic promises.
  • …doesn’t last long.
  • …is impossible.
  • …is sales-driven.
  • …is not trustworthy.

Excitement…

  • …is honest.
  • …doesn’t eliminate flaws.
  • …is wild and unpredictable.
  • …has no set time frames.
  • …is realistic.
  • …is value-driven.
  • …is believable and trustworthy.

Are you starting to see the differences? We can hype up a new product or service but much of what we say will have been fashioned to sound good whether it is true or not. If your customer service team is really excited about a product they’ll be able to talk about it and sell it without making false statements or misleading your current and new customers.

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

http://www.mtdtraining.com

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Does Your Organisation Matter?

Today I’d like you to take a step back and think about not only your customers and what they think of you but also about your organisation’s position within the marketplace.

I’m going to ask you three important questions and you really need to answer them as honestly as possible:

  1. If your company fell off the face of the planet overnight would its disappearance impact anyone (individual or organisation) and, if so, what difference would your disappearnce make?
  2. If your company disappeared, would your customers miss you? Which ones would miss you most and why would they miss you?
  3. If your company disappeared, how long would it take for another one to take your place? And would they do a better job?

The answers to these questions should tell you quite a bit about your organisation. If the products and services you provide aren’t memorable are you really making the impact you want on the marketplace? Shouldn’t you be offering stellar customer service rivaled by none coupled with services that no one else can even come close to offering?

If not, you need to step back, think about your customer service skills (and products) and consider what needs to be changed. You are, after all, in business to survive and succeed. Make sure your customers know you want them to succeed as well. Only then will you really matter.

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

http://www.mtdtraining.com

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Customer Service and Customer Loyalty

We all know how important it is to provide great customer service. Happy customers tend to become loyal customers and a loyal customer is likely to stick with you for years on end, regardless of minor price changes.

There are some additional benefits to developing client loyalty, though, and each has a significant impact on your organisation as a whole. Consider the following:

  • Your revenue will grow because loyal customers are more likely to purchase additional products from you as the need arises. They’re also more likely to refer prospects that will result in sales.
  • The costs associated with operating your business will decrease. This will happen because you won’t have to spend as much time and money on the acquisition of new customers and because providing good customer service to loyal customers is a very efficient process.
  • Your employee retention levels will increase because your employees will be happier with their jobs and satisfied with the work they are doing (which, in turn, creates additional customer loyalty and reduced costs).

It’s easy to see why focusing on strong customer service is important to customer loyalty and the overall success of your business. Do you do anything special to encourage your employees to give better customer service – or to encourage your customers to remain loyal?

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

http://www.mtdtraining.com

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The PACT Customer Service Model

Now that you’ve had a chance to determine whether or not your customer service team members have the skills necessary to get the job done, let’s take a look at a model you can follow while training and monitoring your group.

The PACT customers service model was designed to ensure that all major aspects of the customer service process are covered with every transactions. The model itself is as follows:

  • P – Process
  • A – Attitude
  • C – Communication
  • T – Time

In short, you are responsible for making sure that your customer service team members know exactly what process they are to follow from the beginning of a transaction straight through to the end and they should have a positive attitude throughout the entire experience. They should be able to clearly and effectively communicate with not only your client but with other internal teams who may play a role in completing the job as well. Finally, they should have a good sense of time management – getting the job done within a reasonable amount of time and reporting back to the client as soon as possible.

Does your customer service team follow the PACT model? If not, can you make a few simple tweaks to get them back on track? You’ll be surprised at the increased customer service satisfaction levels you may achieve by doing so.

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

http://www.mtdtraining.com

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Three Key Factors for Incredible Customer Service

What do you see when you lookat your current customer service team? Do you see a highly functioning group of individuals capable of keeping your clients happy or do you see – well – something else.

I’ve spent years working with customer service representatives as well as HR managers and salesmen. We train IT helpdesk staff on how to hone their own customer service skills; we teach customer service representatives the proper steps for dealing with complaints, and we even provide customer service trainers with their own training courses.

What I’ve found, after years of watching these people in their different roles, is that there are really three core factors that make up a great customer service team. They are:

  • The ability to listen and communicate – with themselves, their customers, and their management teams;
  • Reliability – including consistent responses, fair decision making, respect for others, courtesy, and ultimate dependability; and
  • The ability to solve problems. That’s what they’re there for, right?

Do the members of your current customer service team exhibit these qualities and skills? Are they polite and productive at the same time? Do your customers love working with them?

You should have answers to all of these questions. If not, you need to take a closer look at your team!

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

http://www.mtdtraining.com

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Is Your Customer Service up to Par?

How well do you rate with your customers? Are you providing them with the absolute best customer service possible or is your service quality, or the quality of your product, viewed as being low?

Here are a few key indicators that will help you determine whether or not there is something serious that needs changing:

  • You spend a great deal of time fielding complaints;
  • You feel as though you waste a ton of time making corrections and backtracking;
  • Your or your team members frequently feel frustrated and/or hassled;
  • You are confused and don’t know why things aren’t going smoothly;
  • You are overloaded with work; or
  • You don’t have enough work.

Poor quality control and customer service can seriously backfire on any organisation. It causes duplicate efforts, negative attitudes, and either an overabundance of work (due to constant corrections) or a lack of work (because no one wants to deal with you).

Are you experiencing any of these problems within your department or team? If so, it’s time to resassess your customer service procedures and make some changes before it’s too late.

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

http://www.mtdtraining.com

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