Archive for the Customer Service Category

Giving Your Customers Acts of Service

Acts of ServiceRandom acts of kindness doesn’t have to be so random…just consistent. Throughout this series, the biggest take-away is that you should be giving your customers the experience that guarantees results for you and them. Meeting your customer’s needs through Acts of Service is a win-win across the board. Even the little things can speak volumes. Just a few:

1. Give room to move. It’s amazing how many brick and mortar stores don’t meet the needs of their physically handicapped clients. In some places, you don’t have to be in a wheelchair to feel a bit claustrophobic browsing aisles. Give people room to move and enjoy your products; they’ll stick around longer. Longer browsing time = sales.

2. Go that extra mile. During holidays, have a customer service rep pass out chocolates/coffee(!)/goodies/water bottles to those in line. It impresses the buyers and they feel valued.

3.  For online stores, give your customers an option to call to place their order. Some don’t feel comfortable purchasing online and should have options.

4. Don’t make discounts/coupons difficult. If your coupon code requirements include standing on your head by the rays of a blue moon – stop it. It’s not kind and it’s not customer service. Give them a coupon or discount code that is worthy to be spread by word of mouth.

There are so many other ways to serve your customers that are industry specific. Be creative. Ask the customers what they want. They dig that.

This is the last of the 5 Love Languages of your Customer series. I hope ideas have been going through your head and you implement some. I’d love to hear what changes you made and how it’s working for you!

 

Image credit: Pouser

Customers who need Quality Time

Quality Time NowDentists, Used Car Salesmen, Zombies – just a few people that no one wants to spend quality time with. However, for the rest of us, we have customers that need to have that extra quality time to feel they are valued.

My specialty is in marketing. I can go all Chuck Norris-ette when it comes to strategy, but if you put me in a home decor store I’m lost. I want all the things I see in Pinterest, but have no idea how to put it together. That’s when I’m looking for someone to hold me by the hand and make my place look amazing!

There is a fine line between being a lifesaver and hounding your customer – don’t be that guy. Quality of Time is not so much a love language that will make or break a deal; however, it can skew a word-of-mouth testimony. Helping a customer is not the time to be bottom-line and then yell, “Next!” If your customer is wanting your help, then give it and make them your priority.

Ask them questions. Are they finding the answers they need? How can you help them with it? Is there an opportunity to education them?

Evaluate the close. Is this visit the time to close the deal? Maybe they need more education, options or ideas. Don’t rush the process…sometime it just needs to steep a bit.

Not sure how to meet the needs of your customers whose love language is quality time? Ask around. You’ll be surprised just how many friends/customers fits this type.

Next week, we’ll wrap up the Professional Love Language series with the 5th Love Language – Acts of Service.

Physical Touch – Customer Love Language

Physical Touch for CommunicationSo…your client is a huggy-feely type. How in the world do you meet their need?!

Before you start conjuring up images of  having to hug every customer that walks in the door (or something worse), a physical touch doesn’t always mean holding a Touch Fest. It’s about building a connection with that client.

A few ideas to get our thoughts headed in the right direction:

EYE CONTACT – Giving eye contact to a person in this type of love language feels like they are getting a physical connection with you. You are saying, “I am here in this space and time with you. I’m not looking over your shoulder that more prominent client that just walked in the door. I’m making you my priority.”

HAND SHAKE– For the business person, you’re taught from day one how important that hand shake is. It is believed by some to have originated by showing that you come in peace for there is no weapon in your hand.  I can guarantee there were no weak hand shakes during that time period! Please give a solid hand shake. Nothing is worse than grabbing hold of a hand that is limpy and only half-hearted.  A hand shake is a form of communication…use it wisely.

GUIDANCE – If you ask an associate at Hyvee’s where a product is located, they will tell you what aisle it is in and then quickly ask, “Can I take you over there to where it’s located?” Personally, I’d be happy to give them my whole shopping list and let them go at it! Physically leading someone to a product/aisle/page fits in this category. You are physically in their world and guiding them shows they are very much a priority.

The point of all the love languages is to make that person feel special and wanted. Your customers who connect through the physical touch will feel that connection when you acknowledge them through eye contact, hand shakes, and physical guidance.

I would love to hear what other ideas you would include in this category!

Quality Time with a Customer is the love language we’ll talk about next week. Looking forward to this one!

Photo credit: ThinkPanama

Customers who love gifts

Receiving Gifts

I was having a Monday-to-the-3rd-power kind of day. My head hurt, I was in a fowl mood because of a deal that went sour, and I needed to be on my A-game for another meeting later that afternoon. Of course that meant a stop at Starbucks for some coffee-medication. While in the drive-thru lane, I noticed the lady in the car in front of me kept looking at me in her rearview mirror. I thought, “Great! It’s someone I know and I need to throw out a big ol’ fake smile and wave.” But after a closer look, I realized I didn’t know her, yet she wouldn’t stop looking!

I looked at myself in the mirror to double check nothing was hanging, but all was well in that department. She pulled through, got her drink, paid for it and pulled away. I started to blow it off until I pulled up to the window and got ready to pay for my nectar of life. The barista said, “The car in front of you already paid and wanted me to tell you she hopes you have a great day.” Even though I had heard about this happening to so many people, I was actually stunned I was experiencing it myself. I was so appreciative! I wanted someone else to feel this same feeling, but no one was behind me. I drove off with my free cup of joe and a complete change of attitude. Receiving gifts isn’t even my love language, but that unexpected gift from a stranger changed my day around for the better and I was grateful for it!

The love language of receiving gifts in a business setting can be confusing. One tends to think of contests or door prizes. But both of those require something from the customer. What about gifts that come unexpected from the company to the consumer? Some ideas that come to mind:

  • Randomly giving gift cards to engagers on twitter.
  • Giving a 10% discount for a frazzled mom.
  • Throwing in an extra service for free, because that client is worth it.

In all three of those ideas, you’re not doing it to win them over or giving them something on your timeframe. It’s purely an acknowledgement that says, “I care about you as my customer; no strings attached.” Those customers not only will be back, but you can bet they’ll be talking about it on Facebook!

It might not be your norm, but I suggest budgeting for Unexpected Kindness. This takes pressure off you and allows the freedom to engage with and take care of those who are loyal to you.

Do you already do this throughout the year? I’d love to hear about it!

Next week we’ll tackle the love language of Physical Touch. Oh yes, this will be very interesting!

Photo credit: ThomasHawk

Affirming Your Customers

Don’t you just love a good ‘Atta boy!’? Children, in their rawest emotional form, are constantly looking for that positive confirmation. Those words that tell them they are as great as they think they are. We may have grown up enough to know that we shouldn’t be so forward about wanting open acceptance, but in the core of a lot of us, we want verbal approval.

As with all five of the Love Languages, giving words of affirmation can be time consuming, but the loyalty of those customers and the word-of-mouth marketing that comes back from that is priceless.

With so many social media platforms it makes it easier for your customers to talk with you. It’s great for them, but lousy for you if you don’t respond to them. On Facebook, respond to every single comment…even if that just means ‘liking’ their comment. If they say something conversation-worthy, encourage it. The only time you shouldn’t respond is if it’s racist or vulgar (of course depending on the mission of your company). On Twitter, be sure to search keywords regarding your company so when people talk about you, you can respond and build a relationship with them.

Some of the simplest forms of affirmation is acknowledgement. If a customer tweets that they spent their birthday at your establishment, give them a birthday shout out. If they’re showing off their dogs/kids/grandkids and it’s connected to your product, tell them how great it is.

All this being said, if you can’t be sincere, hire someone else to do your social media management. There is nothing worse than digital slime. Mom’s everywhere say it best: If you don’t have anything nice (or sincere) to say, don’t say it at all.

What are some ways you have changed how you communicate digitally to your customers to engage them and meet that verbal affirmation need?

*Next week we’ll talk about Receiving Gifts.

Love Language of Your Customer

You can lose a customer at a moment’s notice with today’s social listening tools. I love the story of how Dave Kerpen commented on Twitter how long the line was at the Aria hotel in Las Vegas. Aria never responded, but Rio did. No guessing where he stayed next time he was in Vegas. Customers want to be heard and responded to so much quicker than ever before…because of the ability to keep track online. It can be very nerve-wrecking to a company not prepared or trained in how to handle the wants and needs from their customers. If you don’t meet their needs, your competitors will.

When a marketing company wants to get the general consensus about a certain product or thought, they will take a survey from a variety of people from different backgrounds. What they are looking for is a common denominator on how to best market that product. Even though, more than likely, they’ll find some thread of commonality from most of those they surveyed, they’ll also find there is no way anyone can make everyone completely happy. We are unique individuals with quirks and needs.

So how do you meet the service needs of these individuals if they’re your customers? Some people will come into your store and complain that they weren’t helped enough; where others complain they weren’t left alone to shop. It all depends on the personality of your customers.

If Gary Chapman’s book the Five Love Languages works for a married couple, brothers, or a family trying to understand how to best praise their daughter – why can’t it work on B2C situations? The answer is it can.

Over the next few weeks we’re going to look at the 5 Love Languages and how it can help you service your clients. The first one we’ll dig into is Words of Affirmation. Please chime in. We’d love to hear how you adjust strategies to better meet the needs of your customers.

Photo Credit: frankrizzo805

NoFollow = NoCommunity

Sharing handsCustomer-centric

Community-a-holic

People-person

So many trendy titles, but the bottom line is do you care about people? Whether you “get” something from them or not?

Somewhere along the line I have almost grown a chip on my shoulder over businesses that don’t make their clients a priority. The lack of good, old-fashion service has been lost. It’s in the little things, really. That’s what makes the clients smile and feel just a bit more loyal to you.

At Boundless we try to focus on the little things that make a difference. Even something as small as turning off the nofollow attributes to this blog.

It became the norm to have nofollow as a part of your blogs makeup to put the kibosh on so many spammers trying to get linky love. Akismet has done a fabulous job on staying on top of it so we are turning the nofollow attributes off. We want to encourage discussion here and giving some Google love  never hurt anyone! 😉

I look forward to chatting with you all on here, Facebook or Twitter!

 

Photo credit

Rights vs. Service

Shaking handsThe full-serve marketing field can be a cut throat world. It’s full of marketers trying to pee on their bush and make their customers loyal through threats. I’ve heard countless firms say, “I’ve done so many things for these companies, they owe me.” Or even wondering where the “thank you’s” are at. Our industry is no better than any other. Marketers should be in the business of servicing the crap out their clients. If you’re that good, then your prices should show it. If you’re going to advertise that you know how to give a certain kind of service (ie: social media) then by golly, you better knock it out of the park.

Unfortunately, “service” has turned into an overused word that has become lost in the power shuffle. During an economy where new customers were hard to find, we knew that keeping the clients we had demanded incredible service. Now that the economy is starting to turn and new customers are coming back, what happened to that great service?

Have you called up a client just to see how they were doing? Not to see if you could sell them something.

What about going above and beyond that retainer? Just because…

WOM is a cinch if you just do the job you promised when you wooed that client in the beginning.

Speaking of rights…your client also has that right to walk away from you and they will if you don’t make them your company’s priority.  Be pro-active and have systems in place to hand-hold your current clients. Whether you truly believe in karma or not: what goes around, comes around. It will always be worth the effort if your systems are running smooth and you treat your employees and clients like gold.

Photo credit: Mel B.