Acknowledge Good Customer Service Enthusiastically

November 15th, 2013


As technology continues to play a larger role in our everyday lives, it will create more frustration for customers who have difficulty using or refuse to embrace new technology.  Even if you are astute in doing business online, there are times when you must talk to a person to resolve an issue. I recently had such an experience.

While away for a few months, our landline (yes, we still have one) was put on vacation stop.  I called to change the date to have the phone turned on. A very pleasant person assisted me and assured me it would be handled. A few days later, I had to call the phone company about another issue and discovered the previous request had not been implemented. I was very upset and unnecessarily took my frustrations out on the woman who was now helping me.  She remained calm and never retaliated because of my nasty attitude. She re-entered my previous request and handed the issues for which I was currently calling.

At the end of the conversation, she said: “Take my email and if you have any further problem, contact me directly and I will take care of it.” I was shocked. This meant that if I did have a problem I would not have to call back, go through the various prompts, talk to a new person and go through the whole process again.  I thanked her and hung up.

After thinking about what I had experienced,  felt I needed to do more to show this woman how much I appreciated her;  not only helping me but maintaining a positive attitude when mine was not so good. I emailed her and asked for her supervisor’s contact information so that I could send her an email about the good customer service this employee had rendered.  You would have thought I had offered her a major prize! She was so appreciative and thanked me profusely. It took very little on my part to do this.

Too often we are quick to complain when things don’t go well and fail to take time to say “Thanks” or pass along positive feedback.  When is the last time you took time to pay someone a compliment? Try to make it a habit as I am trying to do.

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Four C’s to Unlock Your Potential

November 4th, 2013


As you look at where you are in our career, you may feel that you fall short in some areas. Your concern may be how to position yourself in the company, get noticed and then get on the right career path. Or as an entrepreneur it may be how to grow your business and be a competitive factor in your industry. Being well grounded in these four C’s will get you on the right track:

 

Competence ~ Confidence ~ Courage ~ Comfort

 

Competence is crucial. Proper preparation in any field is important but even more so if you are at a disadvantage. After proper formal training, it is imperative that you be involved in continuous education – seminars, workshops, and certifications or an advance degree, whatever is applicable for your career path. Knowledge is power, the one thing no one can take from you.

Confidence means having a sense of assurance even in cases where the confidence level is low. Sometimes you have to “fake it until you make it”. To be confident you must be secure within yourself. If you have properly prepared yourself and you know you are where you are because of your qualifications and your efforts you won’t be easily shaken by those who may challenge you.

Courage means being brave enough to do something that seems bold and daring. Push yourself out of your comfort zone: take a little risk. If you stay in the same place and continue doing the same thing, your results won’t change. You will need some courage to fuel your success.

Comfort is being at ease taking credit for your accomplishments, doing so in a manner that does not appear that you are bragging. It is important to share your successes rather than assume that your work or accomplishments will speak for you.

Check where you stand on these four C’s.

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Quality Service for Business Growth

June 9th, 2013


I make an effort to acknowledge good customer service when I see it. Recently, an example of good customer service involved me indirectly. I enjoy pampering myself from time to time. That could mean a day at the spa, a massage or getting a manicure and pedicure. I take pride in my nails and my daughters know that.  As a Mother’s Day gift they wanted to give me a gift certificate to the spa I use. They had given me certificates before but could not remember the name of the salon I use.  They remembered the street name but since they live out of town they could not go there. With the help of Google they picked a name that sounded familiar and one of them called.  She explained what they wanted; told the person that I frequented the shop and that they had previously purchased gift certificates there. She then asked if records of previously purchased gift certificates were retained. The answer was no. They felt at a loss.

 

The owner came to the rescue when he asked “What’s her name?”  Upon hearing my name, he replied, “Oh, she’s the lady that travels to Florida a lot”.  Knowing that tidbit about me assured my daughters that they had the right place. As an added service, since they were out of town, he offered to mail the certificate to me to assure I got it by Mother’s Day.  Had he not been dedicated to good customer service, the conversation could have ended quickly.

 

How do you emphasize good customer service? Here are some suggestions:

1. Know your customers’ names and something about their interests.  If you have a large customer base, find a system to electronically record information about them.

2. From time to time get feedback on how they feel about your service. Feedback is sometimes more readily given if it is solicited.

3. Acknowledgement important events in their lives – birthdays, anniversary, promotions, etc. I appreciate receiving a birthday card of some reminder from companies with whom I do business.

4.  Thank them for their business.  Do this often and regularly.  Make your customers feel important.  Without them there is no need for your business.

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Evaluate the Things You Do To Reenergize

April 19th, 2013


During my grandson’s spring break, he and his mother came to visit for a week.  Together we planned numerous activities to make it a memorable experience for him. Not only was it a memorable experience for him, it was one for me as well.

 

I pride myself on taking for I call “be good to myself” days.  On those days I do whatever I want to. Those things include relaxing and planning nothing in particular, being pampered with a spa visit, getting a manicure and/or pedicure or playing a round of golf.  During my daughter and grandson’s visit, however, I spent a week not thinking about work-related items or anything that distracted from a feeling of relaxation. I even went to LEGOLAND and personally enjoyed it and delighted in seeing the excitement on my grandson’s face. I could not, however, join them on their visit to Disney.  That was a bit too much.

 

This showed me that sometimes I need to take more than a day.  This time I took a week.  Those extended days helped me rethink all the commitments I make that keep me busy. They are all important things but I realize I often have the tendency to overextend myself. I may then run the risk of not giving my best. I now give much more thought to any requests before making a commitment.

 

Think about what you do to energize yourself and evaluate how well it is working for you.  Be willing to make changes that make you a better person to yourself and to others.

 

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Remembering the Assassination of Dr. Martin L. King, Jr.

April 5th, 2013


On April 4, 2013, many in the world remembered the death of Dr. Martin L, King, Jr., a man who left this world better than he found it because of his many contributions. For some events that occur, we always remember where we were and what we were doing. For me that is the case for the assassinations for both President Kennedy and Dr. King.

On April 4, 1968, I was in my first year of graduate study at Harvard Business School. I had finished class for the day, returned to my dorm and decided to take a nap – something I seldom did.  I had set my clock to get up later and study. About 7 PM I was awakened with the news that Dr. King had been shot. Frantically, I jumped out of bed and roamed around my very small room as a caged animal. I was at a loss as to what to do. I did not feel comfortable going outside my room to share neither the news nor my anxiety with the other occupants.  As the only black person in the dorm, I was not sure what reaction I would get. In 1968, the civil rights movement was a hot topic and this was not the time I wanted to deal with negative views on civil rights. I, therefore, suffered alone in my room.

The next day, I was anxious to participate in a class discussion about Dr King that I was certain would occur. On my way to class, I was actually thinking of topics and questions to raise. How naive I was. There was no discussion in my class section about Dr. King or his assassination. His name was not mentioned.  This was the B-School, after all. Anything not directly related to business did not seem to be important. Fortunately, I think that philosophy has changed over the years.

Thinking back to this moment, I regret the lost opportunity. What a difference it could have made had we, myself included, had the nerve to stop what we were doing and address the racial divide, right there in the classroom. It could have been a valuable teaching moment for all of us.

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