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Good service = Satisfied customers

Customer service is key to a successful business.

Falling behind in real time

You know you have to e-mail and you know you have to chat

Customer satisfaction's not a thing to dabble at

Customer expectations are doubling fast as mice

It's insufficient to be merely friendly, kind and nice

(Poem by J. Sterne in Customer Service on the Internet)

Perfect phrases for customer service : hundreds of ready-to-use phrases for handling any customer service situation
Robert Bacal.
New York : McGraw-Hill, c2011.
THE RIGHT PHRASE FOR EVERY SITUATION . . . EVERY TIMEYou've heard it a million times: "The customer is always right." But let's face it--sometimes the customer is misinformed, confused, or downright difficult. The ability to handle such customers is what separates the serious professional from the average employee.Perfect Phrases for Customer Service, second edition, provides the language you need for everyday customer service situations--and includes simple, effective techniques that can help you meet even the most demanding customer needs. Master the most effective words and phrases for: Defusing bad situations before they get worse Handling complaints patiently and professionally Satisfying customers and increasing sales Building long-term relationships with important customers
     
Customer service training 101
Renee Evenson.
New York : American Management Association, c2011.
Evenson, a customer service management professional, provides step-by-step lessons and worksheets that can be adapted for any business and for learners of any experience level. The lessons will help employees communicate verbally and nonverbally, establish rapport, and handle difficult customers in face-to-face, telephone, and e-mail situations. The lessons are supplemented with case scenarios, discussion questions, and key points. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
     
Empowered : unleash your employees, energize your customers, transform your business
Josh Bernoff, Ted Schadler.
Boston, Mass. : Harvard Business Press, c2010.
Is Your Company EMPOWERED for Success?

You know it's happening within your organization. Your people, armed with cheap, accessible technology, are connecting with customers and building innovative new solutions. But who are these creative problem-solvers? How can you be one? And just as important - how can you lead them?

We call them HEROes: highly empowered and resourceful operatives. Your company needs them because in the age of Twitter, iPhones, Facebook, YouTube, and an ever-evolving torrent of Web information, your customers now step up to the counter armed with more data and access than ever before, and in many cases, your company is overmatched.

In Empowered, Forrester's Josh Bernoff - coauthor of the pioneering book Groundswell - and Ted Schadler explain how to transform your company by unleashing the mighty force of these HEROes. Like John Bernier and Ben Hedrington at Best Buy, who built an army of 2,500 tweeting employees to reach out to customers online. Or Ross Inglis, who tapped into Internet computing resources to open an entirely new customer channel for Thomson Reuters. Or John Stadick, who equipped 600 sales staff with iPhones and boosted profits at his construction rental company.

The truth is, one in three of your information workers already use easily accessible technologies that your company does not sanction. Empowered gives you a prescription for embracing this covert innovation. At the heart of a HERO-powered business is a new pact between these critical employees, company managers, and the IT department: HEROes build new solutions to meet customer needs, management sets clear rules while encouraging more experimentation, and IT expands its role to both support and secure these business solutions.

Fueled by data from Forrester Research, Empowered is packed with the business tools and information necessary to move your organization several steps ahead of the competition:

∑ Statistical analysis of the 16% of customers who account for 80% of the online influence

∑ The four-step IDEA process to transform customer-facing service, marketing, and mobile applications

∑ A tool to score HERO projects on value and effort, to offer guidance on which projects to support

∑ The HERO index: A scorecard of the industries and departments with the most - and the fewest - HEROes

∑ Roadmaps for collaboration systems that stimulate and support HERO innovation

∑ The game plan for IT's new role as a key partner in technology ideas throughout the company

∑ Dozens of case studies and examples from firms in every industry, from retail to business services

Armed with an arsenal of exciting and valuable new technologies, your employees are already transforming the way you do business. You can lead them or block them - it's your choice. Empowered will help you make the right decision.
     
Surrounded by geniuses : unlocking brilliance in yourself, your colleagues and your organization
Alan S. Gregerman.
Naperville, Ill. : Sourcebooks, c2010.
Consultant Gregerman gives mere mortals hope that they and the people who work with them are not just drones who go from business meeting to business meeting with coffee cups in their hands but nothing in their brains. He is convinced that every reader contains some element of genius and that every reader can convince others they do too. He believes people do not have to be brilliant to do brilliant things, that reinventing the game (particularly in strategy, innovation and marketing) to include genius is essential, and that curiosity is a competitive advantage. He gives case studies from sources as diverse as a catalog retailer, a service organizations, a circus, a premier hotel, a specialty medical center, a television show, rocket science, exercise clubs and a marketable superhero. He closes with advice on unlocking inner genius and creating and leading organizations that encourage genius. Annotation ©2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
     
Service innovation : how to go from customer needs to breakthrough services
by Lance Bettencourt.
New York, NY : McGraw-Hill, c2010.
A leader in the field of service innovation reveals the key to assessing customer needs to drive more effective development of breakthrough services and products. Special sections offer practical guidance for front-end service innovation. Foreword by Strategyn CEO Tony Ulwick, author of the bestseller,What Customers Want Bettencourt is a former professor of marketing at Indiana University and has published articles inHarvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, and other publications Lance Bettencourt, PhD(Bloomington, IN) is an executive director at Strategyn where he has supported innovation initiatives Microsoft, Colgate-Palmolive, TD Bank Financial Group, Kimberly-Clark, and other firms.
     

To be a value-added service provider you need to offer information.  You also need to add value to the customer contact.

These three basic steps lead to value added service:

  1. Make sure you ask questions to understand thoroughly the customer's inquiry, situation or problem before providing your service.
  2. Determine if there is more service you can offer.
  3. Ask if the customer is satisfied.

Measuring Customer Satisfaction

Did I completely understand what the customer wanted?

Did I present the information in a clear manner?

Did the customer receive quality service?

Is the customer satisfied?

According to a recent study 96% of unhappy customers never complain about rude treatment. But, at least 90% who are dissatisfied with the service they received will not buy again or comeback. These dissatisfied customers will tell their story to at least nine other people.

The lifetime value of a customer is based on the premise that the most expensive part of the relationship is starting it in the first place. So, measuring customer satisfaction is important. The following items can help a business measure customer satisfaction:

  • Number of new customers per month, or quarter.
  • Customer loss per year
  • Revenue per customer per year
  • Cost per customer per year

Customer loyalty drives a business. Customers who have good initial experiences will become return customers.  Even with today's technology that enhances communication, customer service is still about making people feel cared for. 

People may be getting harder and harder to please.  But the bottom line is that a successful business must do whatever it takes to keep its  customers satisfied with the service they receive.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff