Sunday, October 31, 2010

Key Determinant of Business Profits

Profits Come From Sales Multiplied by Profit Margin Per Dollar Sale. Increase Your Business Profit by Focusing on Profitable Customer Retention, Rather Than High Risk Acquisition Campaigns

The key determinant of marketing success is not fussing about the best measurement of customer satisfaction, or talking a lot about customer satisfaction. It is doing something about it. When satisfaction rankings improve, shareholder value increases.

Customer Service Video

Monday, October 18, 2010

Difference Between an "Old" and a "New" Economy Employee

Since the invention of the computer chip, we have been moving from an industrial to a post-industrial economy, where the nature of work is changing.  In an industrial society, workers are expected to fit standardized job descriptions and perform their duties according to clear policies, procedures and prescriptions.

Knowledge work is fundamentally different:  Workers are expected not so much to perform standard roles but to generate creative, innovative results that surprise and delight customers and colleagues.  They are expected not only to perform a function but to design new and better products and services, and even to provide dramatic, breakthrough results. 

Dave Gray
Game Storming

Customer Service Video

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Customer satisfaction creation is a major creator of capital. The proof is in the numbers!

Not paying attention to customer satisfaction has been bad for business and America.  Customer satisfaction creation is a major creator of capital.  The proof is in the numbers.  According to Heskett, Sasser abd Schlesinger, between 1986 and 1995, the common stock price of the companies they studied increased by 147%.  On the other hand, General Motors (GM - particularly its Pontiac Division) did not respond to the voice of the customer and by 1989 its market share had slipped to under 33%!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Motor Vehicles Bureau Gets Your Birthday Wrong, Makes You Pay

A Cleveland driver paid to register his van and truck the day before his birthday, but got stuck with late fees because the Bureau of Motor Vehicles office insisted his birthday was three weeks earlier. The clerk's response when the man produced a driver's license with his correct birthday? Sorry; we can't update the computer record or refund the penalty.

The driver, Willie Robinson, called the BMV after paying his fine, and was told he'd have to pay another fee to have his birthday corrected in the Bureau's computer system:

When I called the BMV in Columbus, I was told I could run into the same problem next year if the BMV didn't fix its computer record. But they said if they corrected it, the bureau would have to issue me replacement stickers and that would cost "at least" $15 per vehicle, maybe more. Plus, they said they won't refund the $40 I already paid in late fees.

Robinson took his case to the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Sheryl Harris, who intervened on his behalf.

After investigating its records, the BMV agrees that a BMV employee mistyped information somewhere along the line. It has corrected the error. The agency is refunding the $40 you paid in late fees and issuing you replacement stickers at no added cost to you, spokeswoman Lindsey Bohrer said.

The BMV's apology was not without some finger-wagging, and a defense of a system that relies on contract workers with limited authority:

In defense of the BMV, Bohrer said that deputy registrars -- people who work in offices scattered about the state -- are contract employees and are not able to fix erroneous date-of-birth entries in computers. ...

[The BMV's Rachel Eaton] said consumers have a responsibility to review registration forms for errors because when they sign they are attesting the information is correct.

If public employees were paid by performance, a lot of them would be out of work!

Customer Service Video

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Fast and Efficient Way to Improve Customer Service:

The mistake that many companies make in efforts to improve their customer satisfaction is to try to improve too many things at once. The trick is to focus on the product or service features that most determine customer satisfaction.  Keep it simple and reward employees for improving performance.

Customer Service Video

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Customer Service Video -

"Outcare the next guy.  It's customer service.  You need to care, word of mouth is what builds businesses and word of mouth is now on steroids.  If you don't give good customer service, they are going to tell their friends. Period" - Gary Vaynerchuk

Customer Service Video

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Podcast: Why Customer Service Can Be Your Purple Goldfish

Podcast: Why Customer Service Can Be Your Purple Goldfish

August 20, 2010 Podcasts, Radio Show No Comments

On this morning’s Business Insanity Radio Show, I talked with Stan Phelps about enhancing the customer service eexperience. He is one of the founders of the Purple Goldfish Project . A Purple Goldfish is any time a business goes above and beyond to provide a ‘little something extra’.  It’s that unexpected surprise that’s thrown in. It adds to the customer service experience.

We discussed:

1. The myth of meeting customer expectations.

2. Why everyone wants to go to heaven but few want to pay the price (and what this has to do with customer service).

3. Value is the new black.

4. What is a Marketing Lagniappe (LAN- yap)?

My other guests included Terri Lee Ryan who is a seasoned headhunter and writes a popular blog for Chicago Tribune ChicagoNow site, Get Employed!  An avid writer, her first published book, Life Is Just One Big To-Do List. My last guest was Stephen Balzac, “The Business Sensei”, president of 7 Steps Ahead who talked about why leadership is so often ineffective in this kind of economy and how the best leader looks nothing like your favorite movie business hero.

Listen now!

So true. Value is the new black!

Enjoy it.
Customer Service Video

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Getting started with Amazon Marketplace Shipping Service


Amazon Marketplace Shipping Service has launched and is ready for use! You may now purchase and print shipping labels for your orders through the convenience of your Seller Account. With free carrier pick up, you no longer have to leave the comfort of your home to sell with Amazon. This new and exciting feature can be found in your Seller Account on the Order Detail page. 

Here are some helpful tips to remember to get the most out of your Amazon Marketplace Shipping Service:   

  • Labels can be reprinted up to 48 hours after purchase 
  • Refunds must be requested within 48 hours of purchase
  • You may purchase up to $5000 worth of insurance through
  • Ensure that you have the accurate weight for all items at time of purchase
  • Express Mail receives $100 worth of insurance at no extra charge
  • Only postage with Delivery Confirmation is eligible for refund
  • There are no recurring fees for Amazon Marketplace Shipping Service
  • Transactions fees are waived for subscribers
  • Free Delivery Confirmation for Priority Mail

- Chris M

What a fantastic way to deliver outstanding customer service.

Customer Service Video

Thursday, September 2, 2010

How to Deliver Great Customer Service

Great article on how to deliver great customer service. 
Customer Service Video

How to Deliver Great Customer Service

Follow these 10 tips, and your customers will be very, very happy.

By Inc. Staff |  Sep 1, 2010

A widely quoted statistic gets to the heart of the value proposition behind customer service: The cost of acquiring a new customer is five times that of retaining an existing one. For businesses that succeed by forming a bond with the customer, the disparity is surely even greater.

Good customer service is essentially a variation on the golden rule: You want to meet the same expectations you would have if you were the customer. "The basic things will never change," says Tony Maggiotto, an adviser at the Buffalo State College Small Business Development Center in New York. "If people believe that they're being remembered and are known to the business, that will have a positive impact on their disposition toward your business."

Providing good customer service is often a matter of common sense, but that doesn't mean it comes naturally to all business owners. For some, in fact, it means behaving differently than they do in other business situations, says Richard Proffer, a counselor at a University of Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center. If you are used to fighting about every detail of a business deal, say, you may have to adjust your attitude. Ditto if you feel that selling is a zero-sum game; to win customers, you will sometimes have to make them feel they have won, too. The pages that follow are a guide to providing excellent customer service.

Caring for Customers

1. Great Customer Service Begins With You
Simply put, the most inspiring leadership is by example. If you show indifference to your customers, your employees will mimic it. If you are enthusiastic and courteous, your troops are more likely to be so as well.

2. A Culture of Customer Service Must Be Codified
Start by hanging on the wall a set of core values, 10 or fewer principles that include customer service ideals, suggests Susan McCartney, Maggiotto's colleague at the Buffalo SBDC. "Share them during the training, have employees sign them, and evaluate employees based on the values," she says. "But don't call them rules."

Employee training on customer service precepts should be intensive: written materials, verbal instruction, mentors, and on-the-job demonstrations all ought to be part of the coursework, says McCartney.

3. Employees Are Customers, Too
Companies renowned for their customer service -- the online shoe retailer Zappos, for example -- treat employees as they would have their employees treat their customers. "Employees take on more responsibility because they know they are appreciated and an important part of the team," says the University of Missouri's Proffer. "People who don't feel like they're part of the bigger picture, who feel like a small cog in a big machine, are not willing to go the extra mile."

Not every business can afford to shower staff with generous pay and benefits, but not every business has to. Small companies, says McCartney, can show "intense interest" in employees, in their welfare, their families, and their future -- what McCartney calls the family model. It's also important to recognize an employee -- publicly -- for a job well done. Some companies also offer incentives for exceptional customer service, but if you can't spare the cash, you might throw an office party or offer another token of appreciation. When he was a manager at cable provider Tele-Communications Inc., for instance, Proffer personally washed the cars of notable employees.

4. Emphasize the Long Term
Short-term sales incentives can sometimes undermine long-term customer satisfaction. Prevent that by building short-term programs atop an ongoing program that rewards broader improvements, says Paula Godar, brands strategy director for Maritz, a sales and marketing consulting firm based in St. Louis. Moreover, winner-take-all incentives "can drive a lot of unhealthy competition and disengage the rest of the sales force," says Godar. "We've improved sales performance by much greater percentages when we've improved the performance of the large group in the middle of the bell curve."

5. Build Trust
Use your customer's name whenever you can. And sometimes you have to give to get. In his book The Knack, Inc. columnist Norm Brodsky relates how he won a sale against long odds by venturing his time and expertise to help a prospect cut costs. "I was showing him not only that we could help him save money but that we cared about saving him money," writes Brodsky.

6. Listen
"The best salespeople spend 80 percent of their time listening, not talking," says Marc Willson, a retail and restaurant consultant for the Virginia SBDC network. Ask open-ended questions to elicit a customer's needs and wants. "Once they've identified what they're looking for, use their words throughout the process," suggests Proffer. "That way, they've sold it for you."

If the prospect is "just looking," don't press further. But be discreetly nearby. "Straighten the racks, or dust something," says Willson. "You need to be within earshot or eyeshot, because every retail sale involves a re-approach."


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Loan Applicant Receives Rejection Letter Calling Her 'One Crazy Ass Bitch'

Rainier Valley Community Development Fund needs some serious customer service video training !


When the owner of a Seattle beauty salon had her application for a loan from the Rainier Valley Community Development Fund denied last year, that was bad enough. When she later received what appeared to be a second rejection letter for the same loan application, she discovered that the reason for her inability to get the loan was that she is a "crazy ass bitch."

The full letter is below, but here are some highlights:

I want to tell you that you are one crazy ass bitch. It was a complete waste of time for you to come before the board though it did provide us some comic relief....

We are very interested in how our programs are working to help Rainier Valley businesses who actually operate a business and not a hobby. The CDF strives to deliver a professional service to our customers which by the looks of your establishment, you wouldn't know anything about. Your comments will help us to improve upon our program operations where we will better screen out broke ass crazies.

The letter was signed by the president of the RVCDF's board, but as it turns out, not only didn't he write it -- the letter was actually intended as an inner-office gag that wasn't ever supposed to be seen by the applicant.

The letter was the product of the fund's Executive Director, who was subsequently suspended for one week without pay. She also penned a follow-up letter to the applicant in which she apologized for her actions, but stopped short of calling herself a crazy ass bitch:

I wrote the piece in a heightened state of anxiety. Please know that it was never intended to be distributed and was written for my own personal release.

Here are the two letters in full. First, the rejection letter and then the apology:

Loan Rejection Letter Calls Woman 'Crazy-A** B**ch' [ via]

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Customer Service Video

The key to business success is customer loyalty and retention.  I thought the customer service video below showed a great technique on how to handle customers over the phone.  So many small businesses just miss the boat when it comes to business profit.  They real profit comes from retaining customers and having them buy over and over again.  Why?  Well, think about it, your small business does not have to spend on marketing and new customer acquisition costs.  I see so many small businesses always chasing the next customer.  They don't realize they are already have a gold mine in their own customer base. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Advice for Small Business Owners: Customer Service is NOT a Choice

In today's economy, customer service is the only competitive advantage small business owners have.  Taking the time to watch a customer service video to learn effective customer service techniques may save you years of sorrow.