Tag Archive for 'customers'

Celebrate your customers this week

This week is National Customer Service Week.  It’s always the first full week of October, which this year is October 6 - 10. Started by the International Customer Service Association (ICSA) in 1988, it has become a national event as proclaimed by the U.S. Congress.
Photo courtesy of Lifecare-EdinburghAccording to the ICSA, the purpose of National Customer Service Week is “to create a positive message that lasts all year long and to provide a productive opportunity to generate an even stronger commitment to customer service excellence.”
This week, I challenge all small businesses — including my own — to rededicate our businesses, our thinking, our training, and especially the execution of our business activity, to focusing on delivering customer service excellence.
As we strive for this noble goal, let’s not forget that you and I don’t get to be the judges of how effective we are at customer service excellence. Only our customers can have that role.
And if your customers aren’t telling you that you’re doing an excellent job, either you aren’t, or you aren’t asking. If this is the case, perhaps we’ve just identified a good place to start in your quest for customer service excellence.

Smartphones and customer expectations

There are several reasons why more people - 77% of respondents in our latest poll - are increasingly using smartphones for tasks in their lives.  For example, it now costs no more to manufacture a smartphone than a dumb one, mobile apps increasingly appeal to the non-technical user, mobile networks encourage them in a number of ways, and perhaps the most important - the cool factor.

I’m pleased to see that small business owners are increasingly owning and using smartphones. When we polled our audience about this not long ago, barely half owned a smartphone. For several years I’ve told you in my articles and on my radio program that if you don’t have and use a smartphone, you can’t keep up with the ever-evolving expectations of your customers.

In my new book, The Age of the Customer, I devote an entire chapter to mobile computing. From Chapter 13, one of the most important points I want you to remember is, “Global computing was not any part of your small business’s past, but it will dominate your future.”

My friend and Brain Trust member, Chuck Martin, has written books about mobile computing and, indeed, has devoted his entire career to the topic.  I encourage you to increase your understanding of the impact of mobile computing with my thoughts and then graduate to Chuck.  Here’s his website where you can find all of Chuck’s information:MobileFutureInstitute.com.  And here’s a link to interviews on mobile computing I’ve had with Chuck on my show.

As a small business owner, using your smartphone for more things delivers two benefits: It will help you become more efficient and productive personally, while providing key insights into what your customers expect from the companies they do business with.

“Thank you” is golden, “No problem” is a problem

It has happened to all of us: You’re being waited on at a restaurant, buying a product or returning something to a merchant, and as an employee is delivering some kind of service you say, “Thank you.”

Good for you; your mother would be so proud.  But she wouldn’t be impressed by what has become an unfortunate response to thank you. After you say thank you for having your water refilled or your order completed, there is sadly a good chance the employee will say, incredibly, “No problem.”

So, from this response are you now to think that simply allowing service to be delivered is some sort of problem you’ve created, for which forgiveness should be granted?  Should you feel relief that you’ve been redeemed by this person with “No problem” absolution?

Clearly, American English has devolved to a level that makes many of us nostalgic for casual. It’s difficult to pinpoint where things ran off the rails. But somehow the sublime “it’s my pleasure” has deviated into the subpar “no problem.”

Well, my friends, let’s get one thing straight: No problem is a problem. When small business employees say no problem to a customer instead of you’re welcome, it’s a serious problem that over time could be the equivalent of a business death wish.

Think I’m overreacting?  How much money do you spend getting a customer to do business with you?  How much energy and resources do you invest into making sure your products, pricing, display, etc., are just right?  How many sleepless nights do you spend worrying about how to compete with the Big Boxes?

Now that we’ve established the enormity and consequences of these answers, are you sure that no employee of yours ever causes one of your customers to think — even subliminally — that the mere fact that they do business with you could be some kind of problem?

In The Age of the Customer, the only thing unique about your relationship with a customer is the experience they have with you — how they FEEL about doing business with you.  Everything else is a commodity. Everything!

So, pray tell, in what universe does “no problem” help your business maximize the positive emotions of an excellent customer experience? Stop saying it, and train your employees to stop saying it.  If success is your goal, this is non-negotiable!

There must be 39 different ways in the English language to express your delight in serving a customer without saying “no problem.” Use one of them.

Write this on a rock… In The Age of the Customer, “Thank you” is golden, “No problem” is a problem.

Jim Blasingame is the author of the award-winning book, “The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance.”

VIDEO: Are you practicing Age of the Customer prospecting rules?

The rules of prospecting have changed and control of the primary elements have shifted along with it. As the Age of the Seller is replaced with the Age of the Customer®, it’s more important than ever to prepare for the moment of relevance. Are you ready?

Click the link below or click the image to begin the video.

Are you practicing Age of the Customer prospecting rules? from Jim Blasingame on Vimeo.

VIDEO: Allow customers to see your business’s authentic side

Your customers no longer want to know just about your business — they want to connect with you and your brand on a new level. This connection means you need to shake up your communication game, too. In this New Age of the Customer®, it’s more important than ever to prepare for the moment of relevance. Are you ready?

Allow customers to see your business’s authentic side from Jim Blasingame on Vimeo.

VIDEO: Differentiating between users and customers

Understanding the difference between users and customers is vital for the success and growth of your small business. In this New Age of the Customer®, it’s more important than ever to prepare for the moment of relevance.

Differentiating between users and customers from Jim Blasingame on Vimeo.




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