Increase in Customer Sales = Increase in Customer Service

October 21, 2012 at 12:33 am • Posted in Customer service skillComments Off on Increase in Customer Sales = Increase in Customer Service

One of the most popular questions asked in online business forums or even by my customers and subscribers is this :

“How the hell can I increase my sales?”


“I’ve got tons of visitors but nobody seems to be buying anything? What gives?”


Getting traffic is not the be all and end all of a successful online business. It requires skills, specific online marketing strategies designed for your site and a robust customer service strategy.

So what if you have thousands of visitors per day! That does’nt amount to success, unless you close at least 5 to 10% of those visitors.

You see, when you get a lot of traffic from your advertising and marketing activities and nobody there to guide them, is like hauling a big fishing net in the water with a major flaw… has a sizeable hole in the middle. So you can say goodbye to eating fish…for now, at least.

Would you go and pick up items on display from a store that does not offer the least bit assurance of somebody manning it? Sure! Sure, we’re on the work smart, work less attitude but hey, humans prefer humans, and they most certainly will buy from somebody they’ve talked to before. You see, they need to feel some warmth and yes, especially on the internet where items are passed on in “cold” or “digital” means.


It’s good that you have some or a lot of visitors to your website, but the bottomline is that you should have the best customer service and a lot of options for them to contact you, the soonest. The more the better!

Look around you. Take a look at the most popular sites on the net or even your favorite newsletter, they all have one common factor, customer service availability.

The most common or popular customer service strategy is through a form-to-mail which prohibits anybody from spamming your email account rather than having them email you directly, well unless you have a very good email filter software.

But you can offer them additional ways to contact you such as these options below.


Online business is a contact sport. You want to close more sales? Then increase your customer service availability and options.

Providing them with a lot of options would mean that you are always ready to receive their inquiries, or issues with a welcoming smile. It would make you more credible. It would create a halo of success to your already plumed hat.

Let us take a look at some of the free ways for you to interact with your website visitors:


Mostly, website owners would be the one manning these free chat services and if you’d like to be assumed as a pro-entrepreneur you can always advance anytime to a helpdesk solution or upgrade from your free account. – Free Webmaster Resources. Cut and paste services you can use for your site for free. They use LivePerson for their customer help service. (FREE AND PRO) – They offer free Java Chat Rooms & Advanced Custom Internet Chat Solutions (FREE AND PRO) – They’re solutios enable real-time communication on their own web site for a host of applications, including corporate interaction, moderated events, distance education, visitor retention, customer service, dating and romance, entertainment, and family fun. (FREE AND PRO) – Boldchat is a FREE live chat service for web sites to do live help and live support chats with visitors. They don’t have ads and their free account is for unlimited personal use. (FREE AND PRO)


If you want credibility then put your phone number up in your website. Make it more visible to the eye especially on your home page or on your product or service order page. This way, they’ll be more comfortable to

see that they can call you anytime. You can ask your local phone company to provide you with a 1800 number so visitors all over the world can call you for free.


VoIp is certainly getting it’s share of the market right now as more and more softphones or internet phones are coming out of the market every month.

What is voip? Voice over internet phone which basically denotes that you can now make clear pc to pc calls worldwide.

Take a look at Skype for example. They’re definitely a new player against giants like Yahoo, and MSN but they say that they have 14 million downloads up to date. I’m not against them but hey, they’re software is ad-ware so you should be aware!

There’s a new player in town and they call their pc to pc calling softphone, Buzzfonp2p. They’re giving away free 30 day trials and yes, the user surveys are in. They’re clear, the quality is amazing with no disruptions mind you even if you’re on dial up! So you can check them out. and nope, they don’t have ads on them and you can even make pc to phone calls, phone to phone calls, phone to pc calls on their advanced version of Buzzfonp2p, aptly called, Buzzfon+.


There are a lot of broadband services out there who would’nt charge you an arm and a leg for their services. One of them is Vonage and the newest player in town is Bonusfon.

They have specific target packages for different market segments and they’re basically number one in terms of broadband user surveys.

They are certainly getting their own share of the market, as what the energetic telecom owner Tam Sanchez said regarding distributing global broadband services. Their rates are highly affordable and they have a feature called pay –per-talk. Pay only for the services you need and you want. Yes, they’re lower than Vonage and more competitive and flexible in terms of packaging.


Helpdesk solutions are web applications that you install on your own server or hosted on the provider’s server that includes most of the customer support solutions like FAQ, TICKET SUPPORT SYSTEM, and LIVE CHAT. Some even have phone in support.

There are a lot of helpdesk solutions out there which are free but then always has a drawback. It’s either, chatting service are slow on your server or it just freezes in the screen while you’re online or you can only try it if you have the latest language of php, and perl installed in your server.

There are particular helpdesk solutions we like that offers a lot more for less. – PHP Live Help Messenger is the new real-time, live chat, customer service software solution allowing customer support operators to chat to potential online customers browsing your web site. (Price : $89.00) – DNA Helpdesk is a powerful yet user friendly module for the corporate helpdesk available on its own, combined with DNA Pack 1 (Inventory) or as part of our overall DNA management suite. DNA Helpdesk is a fully web based solution providing detailed recording and tracking of user Help Requests. (Price : Commercial)


There are a lot of ways to interact and create a more personalized service than your other competitors and that will surely depend on the ways and means that you want them to contact you. Provide them more avenues of interaction and they will certainly trust you more than your competitors. Help them to help yourself.

Happy Profitting!

About The Author

Maida M. Barrientos is the owner and publisher of, ( and a marketing assistant for ( and (, a premier voip solutions and broadband communitications provider. You can contact her at for partnership inquiries.

Dealing with Difficult People

October 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm • Posted in Customer service skillComments Off on Dealing with Difficult People

1. Don’t get Hooked !!!

When people behave towards you in a manner that makes youfeel angry, frustrated or annoyed – this is known as a Hook.

We can even become “Hooked” by the way people look, how theytalk, how they smell and even by their general demeanour.

If we take the bait then we are allowing the other person tocontrol our behaviour. This can then result in anunproductive response.

We have a choice whether we decided to get hooked or stayunhooked.

2. Don’t let them get to you.

We often allow the other persons attitude to irritate orannoy us. This becomes obvious to the other person throughour tone of voice and our body language. This only fuels adifficult situation.

When dealing with difficult people, stay out of itemotionally and concentrate on listening non-defensively andactively. People may make disparaging and emotional remarks- don’t rise to the bait!

3. Listen – listen – listen

Look and sound like you’re listening. – When face-to-faceyou need to look interested, nod your head and keep good eyecontact. Over the ‘phone – you need to make the occasional”Uh Hu – I See”

If the other person senses that you care and that you’reinterested in their problem, then they’re likely to becomemore reasonable.

4. Get all the facts – write them down.

Repeat back (paraphrase) the problem to ensure yourunderstanding and to let the other person know that you arelistening.

5. Use names

A persons name is one of the warmest sounds they hear. Itsays that you have recognised them as an individual. It is important not to overdo it as it may come across aspatronising to the other person.Make sure they know your name and that you’ll take ownershipfor the problem.

6. DON’T blame someone or something else.

7. Watch out for people’s egos

” Don’t interrupt

” Don’t argue

” Don’t jump in with solutions

” Allow them to let off steam

” Don’t say, “Calm down”.

8. See it from the other person’s point of view

Too often we think the “difficult” person is making too muchfuss. We think – “What’s the big deal; I’ll fix it rightaway”. It is a big deal for the other person and they wantyou to appreciate it.

You don’t necessarily need to agree with the person howeveryou accept the fact that it’s a problem for them.

9. Be very aware of your body language and tone of voice

We often exacerbate a situation without realising it. Ourtone of voice and our body language can often contradictwhat we’re saying. We may be saying sorry however our toneand our body language may be communicating our frustrationand annoyance. People listen with their eyes and will setgreater credence on how you say something rather than whatyou say.

It’s also important to use a warm tone of voice when dealingwith a difficult situation. This doesn’t mean being “nicey-nicey” or behaving in a non-assertive manner.

10. Words to avoid

There are certain trigger words that can cause people tobecome more difficult especially in emotionally chargedsituations. These include:

“You have to” –

“But” –

“I want you to” –

“I need you to” –

“It’s company policy” –

“I can’t or You can’t” –

“Jargon” or “Buzz” words –

“Sorry” –

“I’ll try” –

11. Stop saying Sorry

Sorry is an overused word, everyone says it when somethinggoes wrong and it has lost its value.

How often have you heard – “Sorry ’bout that, give

me thedetails and I’ll sort this out for you.” Far better to say -“I apologise for ….”

And if you really need to use the “sorry” word, make sure toinclude it as part of a full sentence. “I’m sorry youhaven’t received that information as promised Mr Smith.”(Again, it’s good practise to use the person’s name).

There are other things you can say instead of sorry –

12. Empathise

The important thing to realise when dealing with a difficultperson is to:

Deal with their feelings – then deal with their problem.

Using empathy is an effective way to deal with a person’sfeelings. Empathy isn’t about agreement, only acceptance ofwhat the person is saying and feeling. Basically the messageis – “I understand how you feel.”

Obviously this has to be a genuine response, the person willrealise if you’re insincere and they’ll feel patronised.

Examples of an empathy response would be – “I can understandthat you’re angry,” or “I see what you mean.” Again, theseresponses need to be genuine.

13. Build Rapport

Sometimes it’s useful to add another phrase to the empathyresponse, including yourself in the picture. – “I canunderstand how you feel, I don’t like it either when thathappens to me” This has the effect of getting on the otherpersons side and builds rapport.

Some people get concerned when using this response, as theybelieve it’ll lead to “Well why don’t you do something aboutit then.”The majority of people won’t respond this way if theyrealise that you are a reasonable and caring person. If theydo, then continue empathising and tell the person whatyou’ll do about the situation.

14. Under promise – over deliver

Whatever you say to resolve a situation, don’t make a rodfor your own back. We are often tempted in a difficultsituation to make promises that are difficult to keep. Wesay things like – “I’ll get this sorted this afternoon andphone you back.” It may be difficult to get it sorted “thisafternoon”. Far better to say – “I’ll get this sorted bytomorrow lunchtime.” Then phone them back that afternoon orearly the next morning and they’ll think you’re great.

You don’t win them all

Remember, everyone gets a little mad from time to time, andyou won’t always be able to placate everyone, – there’s nomagic formula. However, the majority of people in this worldare reasonable people and if you treat them as such, thenthey’re more likely to respond in a positive manner.

Some more thoughts

These notes are primarily designed to help deal withdifficult people when we have made a mistake. We often haveto deal with other people where we have not made a mistakehowever the people we’re dealing with often prove to bedifficult and unwilling to accept what we say.

We therefore need to demonstrate assertive behaviour thathelps us communicate clearly and confidently our needs,wants and feelings to other people without abusing in anyway their human rights.

Some books to read

A Woman in Your Own Right – Anne Dickson

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway – Susan Jeffers

Irresistibility – Philippa Davis

Why Men don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps – Allan & Barbara Pease

Alan Fairweather is the author of four ebooks in the “Howto get More Sales” series. Lots of practical actions youcan take to build your business and motivate your team.-

Make Your Customer Your Friend

October 18, 2012 at 10:18 am • Posted in Customer service skillComments Off on Make Your Customer Your Friend

The simplest way to describe a ‘durian’ (pronounced doo-ree-ann) is to say it’s a yellowish-green fruit about the size of an mid-sized watermelon. It has a thick skin of spikes, and a rich bitterish-sweet fruit.

Known as the King of Fruits, it emits an overpoweringly pungent smell that lingers on for days, hence it’s an item that’s banned in hotels and airplanes. To those unaccustomed to its strong smell, it’s something they wouldn’t touch with a six-foot pole. But in Asia, this is an all-time local favorite.

As much as I enjoy the fruit, you’d never find me volunteering to go out and buy it from the many roadside shacks that spring up each ‘durian’ season. The reason is simple – carrying a trunkload of ‘durians’ home would mean that my car would end up stinking for days afterwards. And a leftover pungent smell trapped in an air-conditioned car can be the worst thing ever, let me tell you!!

So last year, when I found out that there’s a guy who would actually deliver ‘durians’ fresh from his orchard to my doorstep, I was delighted. Now the ‘Durian Man’ has figured out there are lots of others like me out there who’d rather go into ‘durian withdrawal’ than drive around in a stinky car, and he’s found his niche doing home deliveries.

So what is the ‘Durian Man’ doing for me, his customer? He’s providing me the convenience of not having to go out there in the heat and the traffic to buy ‘durians’ and stink up my car for something that I’m not even 100% sure will taste good.

Other ‘durian’ sellers have found their niche in selling the fruit without its spiky skin. If you’ve ever tried to pry open a ‘durian’ yourself, you’ll know it’s best to leave this thorny task to the professionals.

Some sellers offer to open the fruits as a free service to their customers, others sell the fruit pre-packaged in plastic boxes. Although plastic boxes cannot technically hold in the smell and prevent it from stinking up your car, they’re a much better option to punctured palms and bleeding fingers.

Lesson #1: Listen to your customers’ problems. If there’s anything you can do to make their lives easier, to save them time and effort, you may well have found your niche. Build your business around it, and you have

a surefire winner.

But the ‘Durian Man’ doesn’t stop there. He handpicks the ‘durians’ for me (since I’m completely clueless at distinguishing a good fruit from an inferior one) and delivers only the best fruits.

Not only that, he backs each fruit with his personal guarantee that it will be of the best quality – succulent and tasty. If any of his fruits turns out to be substandard, all I have to do is to call him, and he’ll replace those fruits on my next order, plus throw in a couple more fruit as a goodwill gesture.

Lesson #2: By backing his products with a personal guarantee, he is building the customer’s trust in him, his products and indeed his business. Trust is the biggest factor in ensuring repeat business. It puts the customer completely at ease doing business with someone they know will deliver quality. And frankly, I’d rather do business with someone I know and trust than with a total stranger, wouldn’t you?

Fast forward to this week. He calls me to say, “Hey, listen, I’m driving into the city from my orchard, and I’ve got a batch of the freshest ‘durians’ this season. Really, these are the best so far. Want me to stop by your house with some?”

Would you pass up an offer like that? It’s been over six months since I last ordered from him, and frankly with the kind of schedule I’m running, ‘durians’ have to absolutely be the last thing on my mind. But hearing that ‘durians’ are in season again and knowing I don’t have to lift a finger to go buy them was tempting. Without hesitation, I ordered a batch to be delivered the same afternoon!

Lesson #3: Find a reason to contact your customers, keep them in the know, remind them that you’re still around offering the same great customer service, and there’s your repeat customer right there ;o).

The ‘Durian Man’’s business tactics are not new but they work like a charm. Think about how you can adapt his tactics into your own business.

Copyright 2004 Kit Lum. All rights in all media reserved.

About The Author

Kit Lum publishes Go Get Global Ezine which features advertising and web design services, and business and cultural resources to help small and home-based businesses profit from growing globally. Get more FREE tips like these at

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

October 17, 2012 at 7:41 pm • Posted in Customer service skillComments Off on Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

However, in the world of business, this cliché may not necessarily be true. Sometimes it can be more like ‘Out of Site, Out of Mind’.

Your existing clients are your most important business assets. They are already aware of the exceptional products or services that you provide and you have already built a trust with them.

These happy clients will be the first to recommend you and your business to others that may be in need of your services or products. It is essential to build a lasting relationship and keep in touch with these influential people…keep your name fresh in their minds. They have become ‘business friends’ and what kind of friend would you be if you didn’t stay in touch.

There are several ways to build a loyal and lasting relationship with your clients, besides the exceptional customer service and support that you are already providing. You need to set yourself apart from the competition and give customers something that will keep your business in the front of their minds, thus producing repeat and referral business.

Your first step is to ensure that you make your client feel like they are number one. This should be something that you strive for with every client you acquire. Sure, there may be some that will take this to heart and put excessive demands on you when you are really needing to get work done for your other clients, but the majority of them will be just like friends and supporters and you need to show them that you appreciate them. You need them to know that they are not just clients, but that they are a value to you and your business.

A great way to get the ball rolling is to send a letter thanking the client for the chance to provide them with a quotation and let them know that you are here to help, if they need it. Include, with the letter, a copy of your brochure, any specials that you currently have running and, of course your business card.

Once the quotation has been accepted and you both agree on the details of the project, it’s time to send a Thank You card. If the new client is a local business owner, send a card with a hand-written note and, of course your business card. If the quote is for an online client, you can send a hand-written note or try going to one of many greeting card sites and sending a personalized electronic card. My personal favorite is This is a

nice touch as opposed to just a buttered up email.

After the project has been completed, I like to send a personalized, hand-written note on suitable stationery.

Now… where to go from here? Just because this particular project is finished, it doesn’t mean that you should just put their file away and forget about them. On the contrary… you have to stay in touch with them. If they have used your services and are very happy with the outcome, they will probably need you in the future, or know someone who does.

If you happen to have the client’s birth date, send them a nice card on their special day. If you don’t have that date, there are still other ways to stay in touch. One is to send a card on special holidays, such as Christmas. With these special holiday cards, it is not recommended that you send a business card with it. These type of cards should show that you care and don’t have an ulterior motive to your action.

So, what about the rest of the year? They say that you need to be in the right place at the right time to take advantage of some opportunities. But if you aren’t in the right place, the forefront of you client’s mind when they may need your services, you may lose out. You need to keep in touch with them throughout the year. You need to send them something that they will hang onto.

The most cost effective way to do this is to send them a newsletter. If you have a business that is online and you have cyberspace clients, start an online ezine and send it out on a regular basis. Fill it full of great links and articles to help your clients. And, it doesn’t hurt to mention their business in an issue. For local clients, put together a print version of your newsletter and keep them informed about what is happening with your company and your other clients. Again, putting a free mention about their business will be something that they will really appreciate.

Staying in touch with you clients and contacts is vital for repeat and referral business. When the time comes that they, or someone they know, are in need of your product or service, make sure that they remember you, your business and how you can help them.

About The Author

Janice Byer is a certified Master Virtual Assistant and owner of Docu-Type Administrative & Web Design Services ( See this and other articles on her website.

How to Deliver Exceptional Customer Service

October 15, 2012 at 7:51 pm • Posted in Customer service skillComments Off on How to Deliver Exceptional Customer Service

Having been in business a number of years, I’m amazed at the number of people who don’t have the slightest idea of what customer service is. Customer service is not a way of doing things – it’s an attitude.

I always love it when company’s send their people to seminars to learn about customer service. All the seminars will discuss the customer’s needs and expectations and the orator will package these ideas as new and cutting edge when in fact these very ideas were in practice over 30 years ago!

Somewhere along the line, we forgot the customer in favor of the bottom line. Some of this may also be attributed to different mind sets over time and how people tend to treat one another.

Let me wax poetic here a moment. When was the last time you could go to a gas station and have an attendant in a white shirt and tie wait on you, check your oil, clean your windows, and fill your tires just as a way of saying thanks for your patronage?

More than likely the station you went to had an attendant who’s appearance was disheveled, wearing more jewelry than you own, and here you are passing money through a bullet-proof panel!

It is said that Doctor’s make the worst patients, well my friend I’m here to tell you that Customer Service people make the worst consumers! With all the customer service people I’ve known over the years from both sides of the fence there’s a real lack of wanting to “champion” the cause of the customer. Few people posses that trait and those that do don’t last long as they’re viewed as oddities and pushed out in favor of the group consensus.

On the other hand, I have also met customers who no matter what approach you used they were bound and determined to make your life miserable. These people make the “fight” personal and will never be satisfied regardless of what you do.

Delivering great customer service is easy! We just need to get back to the basics that were laid down decades before – what we’ll call the tried and true methods.

How do you deliver great customer service?

1.) Smile on the phone. This simple act will set the tone for the entire conversation.

2.) How may I help you? You’re asking their permission to assist them.

3.) Use a proper salutation when talking to a customer unless permission is given otherwise, i.e.: Mrs., Mr., Ms., Sir, etc.

4.) Listen to their concerns. No one likes to be ignored. Everyone wants to know that not only are they being heard but that they’re being understood as well.

5.) Repeat back to the customer what it is you heard them say.

6.) Be genuine. A lack of sincerity comes across easier than you think.

7.) Care for

your customer. If you think your customer needs you, you won’t be in business long. This means what it says – too many times I’ve been in meetings where this was paid lip service and its importance downplayed.

8.) Put yourself in your customers shoes – What are their concerns? Are they legitimate concerns? Do you have a plan to assist them?

9.) Customers are looking to you to help them put to rest any fears, doubts, or apprehension they may have regarding a recommended repair, service, etc., do you posses the knowledge or skill to assist them? Often time people will try to guess at an answer rather than appear less knowledgeable when in all actuality the customer would prefer honesty.

10.) Be honest and sincere in your deliberations with a customer. This one simple act will be welcomed like a breath of fresh air. You have got to know that by the time a customer has reached you they are upset and feel that they’ve been getting the runaround or have been lied to.

11.) Never promise the customer anything you can’t deliver. That goes equally for a follow up phone call. If you tell your customer you will call – do it! Even if it’s to tell them you have nothing to report. I don’t have enough fingers to count the number of times a customer was surprised to get a return phone call.

12.) Never forget what it’s like to be a customer! We are all customers in one way or another and deserve the same respect we demand from others.

By doing these things you will inspire a customer base that’s loyal and will return to you again and again. These customers will also provide the best free advertising imaginable – word of mouth!

By the same token one bad customer recommendation can cost you a large number of potential sales by the time they’re done spreading around how they were treated. Additionally, today’s consumer has the advantage of the internet to not only entertain but to educate them as well.

This is not rocket science just basic common sense and treating people the way you would like to be treated. Somewhere along the line, we lost this concept, and along with that, revenue, repeat business, our initial customer base and free advertising.

If your customer genuinely feels wanted and appreciated, you have succeeded in delivering exceptional customer service and you will have set in motion a winning formula that will guarantee your success!

Chas Brothers is a Home Based Business Owner, Motivational Writer, and an Independent SFI Marketing Representative and may be reached at; , or

What Exactly is Customer Relationship Management?

October 14, 2012 at 1:02 am • Posted in Customer service skillComments Off on What Exactly is Customer Relationship Management?

The defintion of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) that I favor is “CRM is the business strategy that aims to understand, anticipate, manage and personalize the needs of an organization’s current and potential customers”

From this we can learn that CRM is more than just a piece of software; CRM is a business strategy, one that puts the customer at the heart of the business.

“That’s nothing new” I hear you say, and you would be right. Good business people have always understood the relationship between happy customers that come back again and again and creating long term, sustainable profitability.

You just have to think of the local shop owner who knew everyone of his customer’s names, birthdays and particular ailments to prove that point. What is new is that there now exists the technology to enable this customer-centricity on a much larger scale.

It is said that a successful CRM implementation will allow your Customer Service, Sales and Marketing people (and anyone else in your organization) to have a holistic view of each and everyone of your customers. In theory this will enable them to make quick, informed decisions, create cross selling and up selling opportunities, measure marketing effectiveness and deliver personalized Customer Care.

Sound’s great doesn’t it!

The History of CRM

Following on from Enterprise Resource Planning or ERP (the business strategy that promised to automate the “back-office”), the term CRM was first coined in the mid-1990s. CRM in those days referred to the software used to help businesses manage their customer relationships. From sales force automation software (SFA) that focused on customer contact management to integrated knowledge management solutions, these were the early foundations of CRM.

The last couple of years have seen the term broaden to encompass a more strategic approach and the investment of billions of dollars worldwide into CRM solutions and services has followed.

First Things First

Successful CRM always starts with a business strategy, which drives change in the organization and work processes,

enabled by technology. The reverse rarely works.

The key here is to create a truly Customer-Centric philosophy that touches every point and more importantly every person in the company. From CSR to CEO everyone must live and breathe customer focus for all of this to work.

At the same time you should look at your which processes could be re-engineered to make them more effective for your customers. Until you have done this, put away your chequebook!

The Right Technology

It is estimated that the global market for CRM services and solutions is currently worth $148 billion. That means a lot of choice when selecting your technology – from web-based solutions aimed at small businesses with less than 10 employees to solutions suitable for multi-national enterprises with millions of customers.

The Future

CRM has already made a big impact in the world of Customer Service and will continue to do so. As more and more companies become customer-centric those that fail to do so will lose competitive advantage. As technology increases to develop at a startling rate the key emphasis will be how we can fully utilise it within our business.

However let’s not lose sight of the fact that Customer Relationship Management is about people first and and technology second. That’s where the real value of CRM lies, harnessing the potential of people to create a greater customer experience, using the technology of CRM as the enabler.

CRM may or may not prove to be the answer to providing excellent customer care, but the philosophy of putting customers at the heart of our business is definitely a step in the right direction.

Ian Miller is Editor of The Customer Service Manager – An online resource for Customer Service Managers and professionals. On the CSM website you can read about the latest customer service trends, make use of useful management tools and sign up for a free customer service newsletter. Visit for more details.

Astonish your Customers With These Customer Service Tips

October 13, 2012 at 1:36 am • Posted in Customer service skillComments Off on Astonish your Customers With These Customer Service Tips

Customer service today is getting worse. Win customers overand you build your business for life. Proven by the leaderin the industry — Nordstrom’s. Nordstrom’s customerservice keeps improving and they continue to drive othersout of business because of it. Here are six ways you canthrill customers and snatch a larger market share from yourcompetitors.

…Offer to do an extraordinary favor

Here’s an example of what I mean: A customer of a movingfirm wanted to ship a kitchen table and chairs set to hisson in a city 300 miles away. But the moving firm had ahefty weight requirement and a high minimum fee. The firm’smanager said he made regular trips to that city. So heoffered–at no cost–to load the set in his station wagonand deliver it on his next trip.

…Under promise, over deliver

A well-known air freight company promises to deliver apackage by 10 am the next morning–but often delivers by 9or 9:30 am. A local printing company always finishes the jobbefore the due date. These are companies customers can counton.

…Give them a benefit they don’t know exists

If your business offers coupons for certain items, discountthose items for those purchases even if customers don’t havethe coupons.

…Put concern above profit

Only offer customers items they can use. Don’t sell themhigher-priced products just to make a big sale. You’ll winthe loyalty of customers if you look out

for their bestinterest.

…Follow up after the sale

The most successful salespeople follow up regularly atscheduled times–not when they have a spare moment. Helpyourself follow up by keeping a log of commitments made andwhen you promised to keep them.

…Comfort customers in time of need

Let’s discuss this with an example. If a customer’s airconditioning unit blinked out on the hottest Saturday of theyear. Have a backup plan for these type of emergencies.People never forget it when you ease their comfort and willbecome your biggest raving fan. Return their call no matterhow busy you are or have a plan on how to handle thesecalls. Work later than normal or have someone part-time andon-call. Talk with them on how you can ease their comfortuntil you can make it there. Ask if they would like to goto the mall or a movie where it is air conditioned and youwill call them when you arrive. It doesn’t matter if youare in the air conditioning and heating business or you’re aconsultant, think of ways you can ease customer’s comfort.And don’t forget to advertise that as well.

Catherine Franz is a Life and Business Coach and MasterPractitioner in the Laws of Attraction. Catherine guidesothers in finding the light of their own existence and walkingan attractive truth in their own lives.


From Disgruntled to Champion – How to Turn an Unhappy Client Into Your Best Customer

October 12, 2012 at 12:50 am • Posted in Customer service skillComments Off on From Disgruntled to Champion – How to Turn an Unhappy Client Into Your Best Customer

It’s a salesperson’s worst nightmare- the phone call that comes in from a disgruntled customer. Not only does it create extra work for you, but it cuts into your valuable selling time. But believe it or not, this is actually a tremendous sales opportunity and a chance for you to become a hero. Here’s how to make this situation work for you:

Empathize With the Client

Though it may be difficult to keep a tight lip, just listen and let your customer vent. Listening allows you to determine what the customer is really angry about. Is it the actual problem that is causing his rage or is it how your customer looks to his superiors? Determine what the customer is really asking for and figure out how to deliver the solution. If higher level management needs to be addressed, this creates an opportunity for you to set up a meeting and establish a relationship. If your customer’s business is being impacted, then you need to take quick action to find a resolution.

Establish a Plan of Action

Escalate the issue within your company and make sure it gets into the right hands within your customer service organization. Explain the urgency of the situation and request that the parties involved give you updates along the way. Schedule meeting times or conference calls throughout the day to give them specific deadlines and keep things moving. If you don’t receive the expected updates, call them and push for resolution. Not only does this keep the pressure on, but it allows you to be the liaison for the customer. Be sure to update your customer on the progress at every step of the way.

Move up the Food Chain

Set up a meeting with your customer contact and his superiors. Bring in your own management and use this opportunity to show everyone involved how you are going to take action. Outline the plan for resolution and commit to updating everyone involved as your progress toward resolution- then be sure to follow up and meet your promises.

A meeting like this lets you meet executives and work your way up the organization chart, laying the foundation for future opportunities. Though you are meeting under

unfortunate circumstances, once the problem is resolved, you will be remembered for your quick action and excellent customer service.

Offer a Concession

Since you don’t want to offer refunds or credits, and even if your customer doesn’t expect one, it’s a good idea to make a peace offering. Once the problem is resolved, offer your customer a free trial of another product. The trial will not only make them happy, but could lead to a future sale.

You could also coordinate a dinner or trip to a ballgame to thank your new executive contacts for their patience and time. Does your company have a user’s group meeting, trade show or annual conference coming up? Offer up some free passes. Attendance at events like these almost always leads to a sale. Whatever you do, don’t just hand them a gift certificate or gift. Be sure to offer a networking event or something that leads to a future sale.

Another way to wrap up and put a problem to bed is to set a meeting with your new executive contacts. Does your company have an executive briefing center? Offer to coordinate an afternoon event and show the executives your entire product line, introduce them to your company’s executives and learn more about your company’s vision. If your company doesn’t offer this kind of service, create your own. Bring an executive briefing to them by scheduling executives from your company to speak and present your full product line. Order a catered lunch, hand out gifts with your company logo and impress the attendees with your professionalism.

Unfortunately many clients have low expectations of sales people. But you can make this work to your advantage by exceeding their expectations, providing excellent customer service and showing them that you follow through on your commitments. It’s the best way to build trust and lasting relationship and before you know it, your most disgruntled customer could become your best source of income.

Stephanie Chandler is the author of “The Business Startup Checklist and Planning Guide: Seize Your Entrepreneurial Dreams!” and the founder of, a directory of free resources for entrepreneurs. Sign up for the BusinessInfoGuide newsletter to receive hot resources and tips every month.

We Sell For Less and Our Stores Are a Mess!

October 10, 2012 at 3:21 pm • Posted in Customer service skillComments Off on We Sell For Less and Our Stores Are a Mess!

What kind of image do you present when marketing your products? Are you professional and well organized or does your store/site/whatever scream, “sloppy!,” to those who matter the most: your customers? Let’s see how one leading retailer is winning the sales war, but losing an important battle: store organization.

WalMart is dominant in so many categories with the various products that they sell. In 50 years the company has gone from a local player to a world powerhouse and is on track to expand throughout the land of the largest consumer market in the world, China.

As much as WalMart is conquering new horizons and dominating the American landscape, one problem is arising: their stores are a mess. Visit your local WalMart store at any given time and you will find throngs of shoppers but few workers. Most workers are busy at the front end of the store ringing up sales, while others are scattered throughout the store putting up stock.

Why is this a problem? Quite frankly, WalMart is a victim of its own success. Stock turns over so fast, that the store must replenish during peak store hours in order to keep everything on hand. A good problem to have, right? Not if you are a customer who wants something and you cannot navigate aisles to find what you need as boxes of stock partially block

you out.

WalMart’s chief competitor, Target, seems to have gotten it right. Their stores are neat; the signs to help you find various sections are big, bold, and color coordinated; and stock replenishment does not take over the aisles. On the other hand, KMart was once an industry powerhouse and many of their stores are old and disheveled. More importantly, KMart is now an “also ran” as other retailers — including WalMart — have presented a better place to shop for customers.

As much as price is a driving factor in winning the sales war, store organization and cleanliness can eventually undermine sales as customers are turned off by a messy environment and choose to go to your competitor.

While many customers will accept a lower level of customer service [less floor help available, for example], clutter will drive them away faster than low prices will pull them in. You can tout, “Always low prices, always” in your motto, but your customers will flee if they find your store to be disorganized. Competitors wait in the wings to grab what you will lose: can you afford the loss of sales?

Matt Keegan is The Article Writer who covers topics as diverse as business, customer service, aviation, human interest, employment and travel. Please visit his site at for samples of some of his work.

What Every Employee Should Know About How to See Customers Problems from Their Creative Side

October 9, 2012 at 7:48 am • Posted in Customer service skillComments Off on What Every Employee Should Know About How to See Customers Problems from Their Creative Side

Customer Service is a blessing and a curse; a blessing to the customer and a curse to you, the employee. At least so it seems. Although as the Customer Service representative for your employer, you are faced with a never-ending barrage of complaints, problems, and questions on a daily basis, the pressure of the job could easily become a source of anger, frustration, and other forms of counter-productive behaviors. You seem to live in a pressure-cooker of stress.

Rather than let the pressure get to you, why not develop attitudes that will help you become more cheerful, positive, and productive?

Did you know that a winning attitude, especially while exposed to stress, actually puts less wear and tear on the body than anger and frustration? And did you know that you chronic anger and frustration could cause you to end up in a hospital bed? And, depending on the severity of the symptoms, could lead to options beyond hospitalization? It could very well lead to imprisonment or interment?

The human mind seems to be like a calculator. Before you can solve a problem with it, it must be cleared of all previous problems. Anger and frustration jam up the mechanism; it short-circuits the whole operation.

It has been proven many times that by a simple change in attitude, in mental outlook, the same amount of time and energy most of us for anger and frustration could be used to solving them.

Creative people look at problems as challenges. They realize that without problems, everything would come to a stop. Problems do to our emotions and psyche what pain does to our body: They keep us moving forward searching for a solution. They are responsible for every forward step we take, collectively and individually.

So, if you want to have a

lot more fun and a lot less worry, try the following:

* Put your customers’ problems in their true perspective.

* See yourself as a vital part of their problem-solving world, and the world as a part of the universe, and the universe as a part of a great and mysterious living picture.

* See problems in their true light: a temporary inconvenience for the customer and an immense steppingstone to success for you. (You never know where solving someone’s problem may take you.)

Every problem has a solution. The customer may not see the immediate solution, but solutions are always available. They may not like the available solution, but in taking time to show you care and are willing to do whatever it takes to satisfy, other options may be explored and utilized.

Think about these the next time you are faced with a problem:

* No problem is permanent.

* Every problem has a solution.

* You have the God-given powers to solve any problem.

* There are probably a number of ways to solve a problem.

* The same kind of problem has been solved a million times before some where around the world.

Remember: When you maximize your potential, everyone wins. When you don’t, we all lose.

© Etienne A. Gibbs, MSW

PERMISSION TO REPUBLISH: This article may be republished in ezines, newsletters, and on web sites provided attribution is provided to the author, and it appears with the included copyright, resource box and live web site link. Although advance permission is not required, please notify us at when you use this article.

Etienne A. Gibbs, MSW, Management Consultant and Trainer, conducts seminars, lectures, and writes articles on his theme: … helping you maximize your potential. He offers management, marketing, and parenting resources at his Maximizing Your Potential blog.