Posts filed under Customer Care

3 Real stories - how customer service training can help your organisation!

Story One

Having been asked to choose which one of my two existing stationary suppliers to give all our orders to, I called to chat to them about this. During both calls we chatted about my children going on holiday together briefly before discussing my needs at length.

In response to this, one of them sent a lovely email mentioning that she hoped my children would have a great holiday, together with a standard quote offering an additional 5% discount.

The other one emailed a standard quote with an additional 5% discount. Doh!

Who do you think I spent my £3,750 a year with over the next seven years - a total of £26,250?

Customer service training would have helped the other sales person to have the personal touch too and she might not have lost £26,250.

Story Two

A member of a sales team sent information to a customer, followed up with an email, then a phone call, then a visit, then another email before getting a £3,200 order.

This took a lot of time and effort but now he had another customer on his books who would hopefully go on to make repeat orders requiring much less time and effort and therefore being much more profitable.

Two weeks later when the invoice came through, the customer didn’t understand something and so he called the accounts department for clarification. He spoke to an efficient, rather abrupt woman who was more concerned with numbers than with people. After all, as she often said to her colleagues ‘I don’t work in sales’. Doh!

After feeling that the staff weren’t all that helpful he placed his next order with another company.

Guess who was costing the organisation £1,000s without anyone really understanding how or why?

Customer service training for the person in the accounts department would have stopped that hard won customer being lost.

Story Three

A friend of mine had a hall, stairs and landing carpet fitted costing £1,100. It looked fab. The carpet fitter was very good at fitting carpets and a quick worker but he didn’t apologise for being late on the first day, didn’t put all the loose odds and ends in a bag and was unnecessarily scruffy. Doh!

Guess who my friend didn’t call six months later when she needed a new bedroom carpet? Will that company ever know that they just lost £600 due to the behaviour of one of their most experienced and skilled carpet fitters?

Customer service training would have given that carpet fitter the awareness to be very courteous in someone else’s house and he would not have lost the business £600

Posted on September 11, 2018 and filed under Customer Care.

So who are your customers, and who works in customer service?

That question is not as daft as it seems.  Obviously the people who pay for our products and services are our paying customers but the following two categories are customers too:

1.    Anyone who passes the shop, hears us on the phone, sees the way we interact, supplies us with their own products and services, or meets us at an event is a potential customer.

2.    Anyone we work with by giving them information, advice, or any type of service from lunch in the staff canteen to a brief at a management meeting is an internal customer. This could be our colleague, our manager or our member of staff.

Customer service training is a really effective way of ensuring that everyone who works with your customers understands this wider definition.   If you develop a culture of treating everyone as a customer albeit it in slightly different ways, this will be very noticeable to anyone who comes into contact with you and your company.  That will translate into more business, more recommendations, less complaints and more profit.

Many people don’t have customer service training because their organisation doesn’t realise that they work in customer service, yet customer service training is a more effective way of creating more business than sales and marketing.  This is because it costs on average five times more to attract a new customer than it does to look after an existing customer really well.

So many organisations have a sales budget, a marketing budget, an advertising budget but no customer service training budget.  It’s daft!  It doesn’t make good business sense.

So who does work in customer service?

  •  The doctor who examines your throat
  • The bin man from the council who empties the bins
  • The new starter who answers the phone
  • The woman in the accounts department
  • The girl who drives the delivery van

I’m sure you would agree - everyone who has anything to do with representing your organisation in any way works in customer care and is responsible for generating profit.  

Posted on November 18, 2016 and filed under Customer Care.

Yet more quotes about customer service

I just love it when someone manages to crystallise your thoughts into a few well chosen words. Here are some great examples:

Being on par in terms of price and quality only gets you into the game.  Service wins the game.

This is a great quote because it reminds us that price and quality will bring a customer to your business but it’s the customer service that keeps them coming back for more.  Despite this simple concept many companies don’t invest in customer service training, yet it’s one of the least expensive ways of ensuring repeat business and referrals.

People expect good service but few are willing to give it.

This quote reminds me of a time I was waiting in the queue in a smart but untidy waiting room of a private dentist listening to two of the staff moaning about the poor service they had received in a clothes shop.  I don’t think they were aware of the irony, and they probably never noticed that I never went back for the £2,400 dental implant that I was quoted for.  I went somewhere else with a better atmosphere.  I’ve no idea whether the dental work was better or not, but the overall impression certainly was.  The staff may well have been trained to use phones and computers, but they did not appear to have had customer service training.  

Here is a simple but powerful rule - always give people more than what they expect to get.

I really should remind myself of this more often as it’s so powerful.  If you say you are going to get back to someone tomorrow and you get back to them today, they are really impressed and they remember that feeling.  A little bit extra makes a massive difference.  I’ve seen bike shops give out energy bars to customers costing about 15p at trade price.  Because of this small gesture their potential customers were so delighted, they bought a £1,435 bike there rather than buying exactly the same bike at a competitors.  

Posted on October 20, 2016 and filed under Customer Care.

My favourite quotes about customer service

The people who wrote these quotes may not have worked in customer service training, but they certainly understood its importance.  Which is your favourite quote?  Mine’s this first one by Sam Walton.

“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” SAM WALTON

This is a great reminder that the customer is the most important person we interact with, whatever level we are at.  It doesn’t mean they are always right but they should always be treated with respect, even when they don’t deserve it.

“It’s all to do with training.  You can do a lot if you’re properly trained”  QUEEN ELIZABETH II

I’m guessing our Queen (and I’m not a loyalist) has had loads of customer service training.  It just won’t have been called that.  She will have been trained in public speaking, understanding politics, understanding cultural differences so she that she can present the best version of herself and the monarchy to her subjects, aka her customers, lest we overthrown her!

Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it.  It is what the client or customer gets out of it. PETER DRUCKER 

Peter Drucker is always good value reading and he is a massive exponent of the commercial value of customer service training.  A quote like this reminds me that quality is in the eye of the beholder, after all with a gazillion Mc Donald’s purchases every year, they must really have their quality sorted.  They consistently deliver their popular product at the right time, in the right way, the same way, practically every single time.

Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends. WALT DISNEY

I particularly like this quote because it reminds me of the importance of repeat business and word of mouth.  The most profitable films are the ones that people love so much, they want other people to share the experience.  Customer service training, can help your teams make each interaction such a nice one, that your customers will go out and talk about how good you are, and do your advertising for you.

Posted on September 26, 2016 and filed under Customer Care.

Who works in customer care?

If you asked most organisations about the level of customer care in their organisation, they would say it was very good, but how do they know that, and do they even know what very good means?

In most cases, staff and managers are not trained in customer care, whether that is telephone work, writing emails, managing relationships and so on.  They are just left to get on with it.  This means that they will not be as good as they should be, which means their organisation will be losing repeat business.  So - these organisations are losing hundreds and thousands of pounds.  No question!

Posted on July 4, 2012 and filed under Customer Care.

A costly case study

Have a look at this ‘day in the life’ of a man who thinks he’s OK at customer care and see if you can spot the 11 mistakes?  Make a note of them on a separate piece of paper

Mike is a delivery man for one of the big supermarkets.  He’s a good driver, and he likes his job and the people he works with.

He sets off for work at 8a.m. as usual and clocks in at the depot by 8.30am – his usual start time.  The woman on the front desk seems a bit grumpy today so he doesn’t smile at her as he takes the delivery schedule off her.

He checks the order thoroughly and plans his route to make the most of his time during the day.  He then checks every order with his colleagues as they are loaded onto the van.  He knows that accuracy is important and mistakes waste time.  Since he is loading fruit, veg and other food produce into the van he makes certain that the inside is clean but doesn’t worry about the outside as that doesn’t affect the food.

Some yoghurt spills onto his uniform but he sponges it off so it doesn’t look too bad.  As long as the food is good and the orders are accurate – that’s what counts.

Posted on June 13, 2012 and filed under Customer Care.