Each week I read a number of articles from various online resources. Here are my top five picks from last week. I have added my comment about each article and would like to hear what you think, too.
What Customers Want: Companies That Bend the Rules by Elaine Pofeldt
(Forbes) Company owners and top executives give a lot of thought to winning and keeping customers–and they spend a lot of time and money on things like PR, thought leadership and trying to build viral Facebook campaigns. But the real front lines of building a business are in the small, daily interactions employees have with customers.
My Comment: Great article about empowering employees to deliver great customer service. Let them be creative. It’s too bad when a company’s culture/policy forces employees to seek out a manager’s permission to get something done every time a customer has a special request. One of my favorite customer focused companies is Enterasys. Their philosophy is that the only one allowed to say “no” is the manager, and the goal is that the manager never has to say, “no.” In other words. Let the team fix the problem request, etc. Take care of the customer!
The Golden Rule Of Customer Service by Alex Knapp
(Forbes) But what’s interesting to me is that all of my experience in customer service and all the advice I’ve read tells me that when it comes to delivering great customer service, your philosophy needs to boil down to just one principle: be a decent human being.
My Comment: While I believe the Golden Rule is a great “rule,” especially as it applies to customer service, there is another rule worth considering. My friend and colleague Dr. Tony Alessandra writes about the Platinum Rule, which is to do unto others the way they want done unto them. You may argue semantics. However, not everyone wants to be treated like I do. And, here is another customer service rule. I call it the “Golden Employee Rule,” which is to treat the people you work with the way you want the customer treated (maybe even better). In the end, they are all great rules!
Ace Customer Service Every Time: 5 Rules by Vanessa Merit Nornberg
(Inc) Little things often make a customer interaction a success or failure.
My Comment: While this article focuses on B-to-C, I think it is also very appropriate, with some minor tweaks, for B-to-B. These five points are universal. Hustle is about a sense of urgency. Focus is simply about paying attention. Notice is looking for opportunity. Anticipate is about this sale and the next – and the one after that. And communicate goes back to listening, asking questions and responding appropriately.
Inspire Your Workforce: 3 Tips by Matthew Swyers
(Inc) You want to inspire your employees to greatness? Use these simple tips to increase performance and morale.
My Comment: Great article about general employee motivation. As I read the article I could visualize the two different law firms used to describe the positive and negative experience. As it applies to the “bad” firm, I’m reminded of one of my favorite sayings I once saw on a tee-shirt: “The beatings won’t stop until your morale gets better!”
To Sell More, Focus on Existing Customers by Rick Reynolds
(HBR) Strengthening your relationship with your existing customer base is one of the best ways to increase sales. Your company’s account management and operating teams play critical roles in making this happen. If they’re not performing at their peak, the door opens for competitors to step in.
My Comment: Don’t let this article that appears to be focused on sales fool you. These are also great customer service strategies. And, every survey you read indicates that it is much more efficient to keep existing customers than to keep looking for new ones.
Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact (314) 692-2200 or https://www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to http://www.thecustomerfocus.com/. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright ©MMXII, Shep Hyken)