This past Wednesday, Deb Topka and HRDQ-U hosted a free webinar entitled, What Customers Really Want. Topka brings 20 years of experience in designing, developing, and implementing regional and nationwide education programs for major corporations. As the owner of her own consulting firm, a few of her projects include the development a leadership training program for the Delaware National Guard, the redesign of the training department of a biotech firm, and the design of a new hire program for sales personnel at an international travel insurance provider. Recently she has provided program management and consulting services to major pharmaceutical clients engaging in virtual staff development programs.
Over 320 people registered to listen to the webinar live. If you want to watch and learn, you may do so here.
The agenda for the session was as follows:
- Explore the concepts and benefits of extraordinary customer service
- Set extraordinary customer service standards
- Identify ways of building customer rapport
- Be an influential communicator
- Implement strategies to stay cool and avoid burnout
The cost of acquiring a new customer is on average five times greater than the cost of retaining an existing customer.
In spite of that statistic, most organizations spend more effort on acquiring new customers than on investing in the maintenance of current ones. This is both foolish and poor business. Retention equates to lower acquisition costs, greater word-of-mouth referrals, more stable and predictable customer interactions and generally improved organizational morale.
In order to be effective, “extraordinary” customer service must be translated into every behavior and action that all employees understand. These “standards of excellence” are the minimum level of acceptable performance from any member or process at any time.
Extraordinary service = Out-of-this-world helpfulness, usefulness, value, teamwork, or friendliness. Going beyond what is expected.
When you provide this type of service customer, responses may include:
- Tells others
- Pays more
- Overlooks imperfections in the product
- Promotes you/your product
You have many types of customers—not just your obvious direct, external customers. You also have internal customers such as coworkers you support, and indirect customers who are not direct customers, but who influence your customers. Recognizing your various customers is essential to serving them well.
A moment of truth is anytime a customer comes in contact with your organization and thereby forms an impression of it.
Every contact makes an impression and the last interaction is often a lasting impression.
We can all think of a time we were dissatisfied with service and it left a bad taste in our mouths. Years of good service can be forgotten in one moment of truth gone wrong.
The lifetime value of a customer is the total revenue they will bring to your organization across their entire relationship with you. This changes the way we view single interactions. These are not stand-alone events, but part of an ongoing marketing strategy. Every interaction moves the relationship forward or can send it backward.
Another key to providing customers with good service is when employees view themselves as “owners” of a company. Then they often tend to be ambassadors and not just pawns.
Employees who interact with external or internal customers need to understand their empowerment boundaries. They should fully comprehend the level of authority, spending limits, and scope of decision-making they have to satisfy a customer. Individuals, teams, and management need to work together to clarify these boundaries of authority before customer transactions.
There are seven steps to resolving customer complaints. They are:
- Listen actively
- Listen for feelings, then facts
- Paraphrase and record
- Determine expectations
- Provide a solution
- Confirm the resolution
- Follow up
What Customers Really Want is a great training which will dive deeper into workplace communication by examining the do’s and don’ts of technology, and how to use these advances to further their customer alliances. Further groups will practice learned skills in dealing with difficult situations and making every interaction a positive experience. There is a discount on this program for all attendees of the webinar!
For much more information on how set extraordinary customer standards and be an influential communicator, click here.