Don’t neglect your customers complain

When a customer presents you with a complaint, keep in mind that the issue is not personal; he or she is not attacking you directly but rather the situation at hand.

Think about the times when your customers have complained about an inconvenience. There is a great opportunity for improvement if you have ever responded.

If you know that something is annoying your customers, change it.

  • The climate of a business needs to be set with the comfort of the customers in mind. If multiple customers complain about being too hot or cold, adjust the settings.
  • Banking customers need pens. When they are chained to the counter, it sends a message to customers that they cannot be trusted. These are the same customers who are trusting the bank with their money! What is the point of providing pens if they are out of ink?
  • Why not provide a tray of pens imprinted with the company name, website, and phone number? That way, if customers do take one along, it will provide them with easy access to important information about the bank.

Fix the root cause of the problem.

Customer complaints are process improvement alerts. If several customers complain, it creates a great opportunity for your team to improve on methods for delivering exceptional service. When a business hears the same complaint from more than one customer, it’s time to identify and fix the root cause of the problem.

Otherwise, they will eventually go away. Customers are too valuable to ignore their feedback. There is no point in listening to your customers’ complaints if nothing is going to be done to correct the issue. Dealing with the same complaints, again and again, creates frustration and employee apathy. It is also a considerable waste of employee time that could be better-spent building positive relationships with customers.

So in summary, the next time you receive a customer complaint, follow these tips to help transform it into a golden opportunity for your business.

  1. Listen and understand. Always listen to your customers. …
  2. Don’t be afraid to apologize for a mistake. …
  3. Find a solution. …
  4. Follow up with the customer. …
  5. Exceed Expectations.

To grab your customers attention, surprise them

Ways to grab your customer’s attention  in a distracted world

Who doesn’t like a surprise? The best way to form an instant connection with your customers is to surprise them. Creating a sense of delight among your customers can help them in staying connected with you for a longer span of time

Target the right audience

If you choose the right audience, it ensures that your brand has a higher probability of success. You need to begin with narrowing down your potential audience. This can be done by analysing current customers and studying demographic trends.

Thereafter, you could study the market and figure out the kind of people that would use your product or service. Once you have done this, you could look at the marketing activities of your competitors in order to identify gaps in the market. Finally, after identifying the gaps, you need to create a compelling brand copy that can grab the attention of your customers and hold it.

By choosing the right audience, you are ensuring that your campaigns are reaching customers that are already interested in the product. You just have to form a connection with them. They are also more likely to share your campaigns with others, giving you free publicity.

Keep it simple

Any campaign that you design needs to be simple. This is because complexity can often prove to be a turn off for your customers. You do not want that to happen, especially in today’s world.

Nowadays, people are exposed to brands all the time. Be it in the online world, or in the real world; brands have become omnipresent. This means that there is a lot of competition that needs to be dealt with. Often, simplistic brand campaigns can work like a charm.

People do not have the time to go through elaborate product descriptions and features. Instead, they tend to look for something that is much more simplistic and yet serves the purpose. By keeping things simple, a brand can ensure that it can appeal to the masses and grab their attention for longer periods of time.

Simplistic campaigns also help your customers in making a quick decision. This can prove to be a game-changer in today’s competitive environment. Once the customer begins to feel that they have seen what they want, they are ready to make a decision. This helps your brand in quickly realizing sales and building your customer base rapidly.

Feuding Employees: How to mediate conflict between employees

 How you can tactfully turn conflict into consensus between feuding employees

Image result for dealing with employee conflict
How to mediate conflict between employees – Customer service mediator

It’s natural to try to avoid conflict, but as a manager, you’re going to eventually have to deal with a conflict between employees. It is inevitable that there will be some amount of conflict on a team with a variety of industry experts and leaders. Some amount of conflict can be healthy, as long as it is discussed and a conclusion is reached. Clashing personalities or opposing viewpoints can actually bring new thoughts and discussions on aspects of a project that had not been imagined before.

Use the following methods to create harmony in your team and your project.

  1. Be Aware That Conflict Occurs. …
  2. Set the Ground Rules. …
  3. Learn About Destructive Conflicts. …
  4. Stop Conflict When it Happens. …
  5. Get the Whole Story. …
  6. Meet for Resolutions. …
  7. Discuss Both Sides of a Perspective. …
  8. Make Compromise a Goal.

The type of conflict you have to worry about more is unspoken resentment that can erupt in an outburst, or even more deadly, in quiet mutiny or deviation from agreed upon roles, tasks and goals.

So first be aware that conflict occurs

Knowing that conflict may and will occur is the first step to resolving it, especially if you know that certain team members may disagree with each other. By recognizing that there will be conflict, a project manager knows what to expect.

Secondly, set the ground rules

At the beginning of your project set some ground rules in your first meeting. Be sure to address what process will be taken to address conflicts, as they are bound to rise and will need to be taken care of before they spiral out of control. Tell team members that everyone’s ideas are valid and that they shouldn’t be dismissed, even if you do not agree with them.

Then learn about destructive conflicts

Conflict becomes destructive when no resolution is in sight or the issue cannot be resolved. A psychological model for explaining destructive patterns is the persecutor-victim-rescuer triangle. The persecutor would be the bad-guy or bully in this scenerio, but the rescuer is also placing him or herself in a position of superiority over the supposed victim. Stop yourself if you see yourself slipping into any of these roles and also try to recognize it in your team.

How you can tactfully turn conflict into consensus between feuding employees
It is inevitable that there will be some amount of conflict on a team with a variety of industry experts and leaders. Some amount of conflict can be healthy, as long as it is discussed and a conclusion is reached. Clashing personalities or opposing viewpoints can actually bring new thoughts and discussions on aspects of a project that had not been imagined before.Use the following methods to create harmony in your team and your project.

  1. Be Aware That Conflict Occurs. …
  2. Set the Ground Rules. …
  3. Learn About Destructive Conflicts. …
  4. Stop Conflict When it Happens. …
  5. Get the Whole Story. …
  6. Meet for Resolutions. …
  7. Discuss Both Sides of a Perspective. …
  8. Make Compromise a Goal.

The type of conflict you have to worry about more is unspoken resentment that can erupt in an outburst, or even more deadly, in quiet mutiny or deviation from agreed upon roles, tasks and goals.

Painless way to Free Yourself of Problem Clients

Letting go of your first “problem client” can be an emotionally charged experience, but honestly it’s one of the most important milestones in your businesses.

It’s important because with each problem client, you’re able to get clearer view on what your “deal breakers” are and which customers are your ideal customers. So while you’ll never be able to filter out every “problem client” regardless of how good your client intake process is or how fine tuned your contact form is, letting them go does get easier with experience.

Here are things you should remember when ending the relationship.

  • Politely explain the situation
  • Focus on their interests
  • Be professional, you never know where people will be 5, 10, or 15 years in the future.
  • Set expectations of what next to expect.

Why You Should Be Radically Transparent With Your Customers

Always set yourself up for success with your customers

Being more open about your products, prices and results will set you up for success. For example when you say, ‘we list our fees on our website and level with potential clients about what they can realistically expect from us’. It makes them feel relaxed and willing to do business with you. 

When it becomes clear that a potential client is hoping, then you will deliver incredible results in an exceedingly short time-frame, be frank with them about how achieving their desired results could require more time. Contrary to what you might think, this level of honesty isn’t killing your sales. Potential clients respond well to straightforward talk about what you can and can’t do for them. Since you don’t over-promise, you are less likely to under deliver. 

In an effort to stay under the radar, sometimes it’s easier for employees to keep concerns to themselves. Given how uncomfortable some companies are with transparency on the inside, it’s not hard to imagine how afraid they’d be of being transparent with their customers.

But as scary as the idea of transparency might seem, in the long run, it’s good not only for your customers but also for your business. In addition to attracting new customers, transparency allows you to better serve your current ones, ensuring they stick with you.

Easy way to tell customers they aren’t right – without saying, ‘You’re wrong’

Image result for wrong customer

Let’s face it: Nobody likes to be wrong. But sometimes clients aren’t as receptive to the bad news as we may hope. When it comes to opinionated clients, at times, they have an idea of what they want, but we, as the agency, have the market knowledge and experience to know that these expectations may be unrealistic.

 Be Diplomatic and Communicate Effectively

Diplomacy is crucial when it comes to communicating with your clients. Your clients are entitled to their opinion and (many) suggestions, which is why you can’t tell them that they are flat out wrong. To avoid belittling them, make sure to provide reasons why they are right, first.

Give honest and Constructive Feedback

Nobody wins with dishonest feedback. Always remember to give the valuable feedback that you would like to receive. A survey revealed that 92% of professionals agreed that negative feedback can improve performance if presented appropriately. And when applied to client relations, by letting them know what isn’t working, your team can follow that up by providing a solution that will provide results that better fit with what your clients originally had in mind.

In summary: 

  1. Stick to the facts. Avoid pointing to what’s been said, and focus on what’s been done and is documented. …
  2. Bring up “miscommunication.” When using the word “miscommunication,” you don’t point blame. …
  3. Change his perspective. …
  4. Offer alternatives.

Measuring Customer Satisfaction Without Surveys

Measuring customer satisfaction doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.

In fact, it’s fairly simple to incorporate customer satisfaction measurement into your current customer success strategy. Besides the use of surveys, brands can measure customer satisfaction by monitoring and analyzing other metrics such as social media sentiment (to see what customers are saying about the brand), frequency of complaints or enquiries, level response to loyalty promos (coupons or seasonal sales) and frequency of repeat purchases by the customers. 

Have you ever been upset about an interaction you’ve had with a company? It probably happens with more frequency than many of us would like to admit, and it could be in your personal life or with your business. What did you do about it?

Many people, of course, just chalk it up to how things are and don’t think much about it. There are others, however, who want to flex their level of displeasure and want to let others know that what happened isn’t right — and that it wasn’t fixed, either.Thanks to social media and the internet, you can now share what you feel and hopefully persuade others to avoid that same situation.

But therein lies the problem and the peril with social media. If you don’t manage your customer service interactions or you have a call centre that’s less than dedicated to doing a good job, your brand could very easily find itself with a negative situation that goes viral.

Many call centres haven’t really figured out how to adequately measure all the different forms of customer feedback and their level of satisfaction. They’re relying on old-school methods and measurements. But then all of a sudden, one person’s experience that went poorly becomes an experience that everyone is keen to avoid. It goes viral.This makes it important to understand how your customer service department is doing and how you can improve it. You must measure various pieces of the customer satisfaction puzzle. The specific solution isn’t necessarily the important part here.

The important part is stepping back and saying, “If we see that a segment of our customers is unsatisfied, what will we do about it?” Feel free to share and drop your comments on the comment segment below.

How to Understand Your Customers’ Journey

Your Customers’ Journey Determines A lot

The customer journey can be defined as the total sum of experiences that the customer goes through when interacting with your brand; from the moment he/she becomes aware of your brand, to their post-purchase experience, and ultimately advocacy (or detraction).

All customers will go through a series of steps and have varying experiences at each step before they make the decision to use your product or service. The customers’ experience during this journey determines whether or not the customer buys from a particular brand or its competitor.

To improve customer experience significantly, your customer journey must be well understood by the entire organization. If this isn’t happening already, then you’re missing out on opportunities you can leverage on to increase loyalty and profit.

A lot of businesses still believe the customer journey ends at the point where he/she buys a product (or service). This is completely wrong – A customer buying your product is only at one step of a long journey, made possible by all the moments leading up to the purchase.

The customer journey continues well after the point of purchase, and a negative experience at any stage could lead to a lost customer. This makes it important to pay attention to how customers experience your brand every step of the way. 

One of the most popular and effective tools for understanding the customer journey is the Customer Journey Map. A Customer journey map is a strategic tool that follows the journey customers have with an organization and describes all the experiences they have at every touch-point. 

Here are the key steps for creating journey maps that unlock valuable insights on your customers journey with your brand. 

#1. Profile Your Personas

Knowing your ideal customer is important, hence the need to build personas of your key customer segments. Customer personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers.

The best customer personas are born from market research (surveys and interviews of your target audience) and insights from actual customers. Some examples of good questions to ask during such research include:

  • How did you first hear about us?
  • What are the goals you want to achieve with us?
  • What was the deciding factor that made you make your first purchase with us? 

#2. Identify Potential Obstacles

After you have identified the various touch-points, try to identify what roadblocks could prevent customers from achieving their desired goal.

You might be surprised to discover seemingly trivial things like a lack of detailed product information, slow website, return policy or car park space are pushing your customers and prospects to competition.

Knowing what these obstacles are, is the first step toward eliminating them or mitigating their impact on the customers’ experience during their journey with your brand.

#3. Put Yourself in the Customer’s Shoes

Put yourself on the customer’s journey, go through it and consider all the touch-points at each stage; from viewing ads to searching online, to filling out registration forms.

Compliment your findings with feedback from customers, ask them to walk you through their experience with your brand to ensure the scenario you’re building aligns with customers’ actual experiences.

Walking yourself through the customer’s journey stage-by-stage will give you a new perspective and help you see areas where you can improve the customer’s experience at the various touch-points. 

#4. Visualize The Customer Journey

The customer journey map should capture all the insights you gathered from your customer research – the steps customers take, their emotional states at each touch-point and areas where you identify opportunities to improve the experience. 

#5. Implement Changes

By now you have uncovered a lot of insights and opportunities to improve the customer experience during the course of your typical customer journey.

Now is the time to take action and implement any changes (no matter how big or small) that would make the customer journey faster, easier or more pleasant.

Understanding your customer journey helps you identify those areas where you can make improvements that ensure your business is offering customers the best possible experience at each stage of their relationship with your brand.

Kelechi Okeke

Five ways to eliminate customer service friction

The biggest friction point of all with customers is making them wait and disrespecting their time. So the basic ways to eliminate frictions are as follows: 

  1. Duration: How long do we make customers wait? It could be on hold for customer support or in the waiting room of a doctor’s office. Waiting is friction. Wasting our customer’s time is friction. That little recording you hear when you’re on hold should say, “Your call is NOT really that important to us. Otherwise, we wouldn’t make you wait!”
  2. Memory: I’m always frustrated when I call a customer support number that I’ve called in the past and have to retell my story. Same goes for when I’m transferred to another person. There is no reason for this. Employees should be armed with information about the customer’s past calls, purchases, and any other interaction they have had with the company. Making a customer repeat their story is a waste of time. It’s friction!
  3. Consistency: Consistency isn’t the problem. It’s lack of consistency. Specifically, I’m referring to inconsistent information. One day I called my cellular provider with a question about an international calling plan. I didn’t like the answer I got, so I called back and a different agent gave me a different answer. My assistant asked me which plan I thought was correct. I jokingly said, “the one with the lower price.” Inconsistent information derails confidence and trust.
  4. Empowerment: When we talk about empowerment, we’re usually referring to empowering employees to take care of the customer. In this case, it’s empowering the customer to take control of their situation. Self-service tools are a powerful way to take care of the customer’s questions and problems quickly and efficiently. Customers like a good self-service solution.
  5. Proactiveness: With today’s technological capabilities, why should a customer have to reach out for help to begin with? In many instances, companies can know a customer is having problems before the customer does. Predictive support will soon become a customer expectation.

In truth, there are lots of ways we can eliminate friction for our customers. The above list is a reminder of the most painful points of friction, meant to give you an idea of where to start. So, take a look at your business. Listen to your employees and, most importantly, your customers. Where do they encounter friction? And what can you do to eliminate that? Give your customers the experience they expect and deserve—one that is easy, convenient, and friction-free.

Is Your Focus on You or Your Customers?

Having a customer focus is usually a strong contributor to the overall success of a business and involves ensuring that all aspects of the company put its customers’ satisfaction first. Customer service is a series of activities designed to deliver customer satisfaction. The process of providing customer satisfaction is based on an understanding of what customers want and need. Effective businesses aim to anticipate and meet or exceed these needs.

Complete focus on customer simply means the orientation of an organization toward serving its clients’ needs. Having a customer focus is usually a strong contributor to the overall success of a business and involves ensuring that all aspects of the company put its customers‘ satisfaction first.
So to maintain customers focus on your customer and not necessarily you, you will need to do the following: 

  1. Get aligned with your customers’ wants and needs. A customer focus should go beyond product, to the way a customer prefers to do business with you.
  2. Work with your customers to fully understand their business model.
  3. Provide value-added services to establish a direct relationship with customers.
  4. Make the Effort to Follow-up: Some customer service situations require a follow-up contact. The big question is who should take responsibility?Let’s say a customer calls to check the status of an item she ordered. The customer service rep verifies the order is in production and is scheduled to ship the following day for a Friday delivery. A transactional customer service rep might say, “Give me a call if it doesn’t arrive by Friday and I’ll track it down for you.” While a customer-focused rep might say, “I’ll monitor the status of your order and follow-up with you on Friday to make sure it arrived in good condition. All you need to do is, make sure you follow-up. 

Customer-focus is a powerful skill. It helps you better understand your customers, which in turn makes it easier to meet and often exceed their expectations. I encourage you to try at least one of these exercises right now and see how they can make a difference!