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If you’re in the business of satisfying customers, the only thing that matters is what you DO It’s almost a cliche to see and hear organizations advertise to prospective customers about how great their service is. As if somehow, great customer service were just that…bragging about how much you care. You see it all the time, no matter if you’re at the car dealer, the bank or the grocery store. We’ve all heard the sage advice that “It’s what you do, not what you say.” “Actions speak louder than words.” “Deed, not creed.” “Talk is cheap.” If you’re in the

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A caller’s first impression of your company is formed by how well that call is handled by the person who answers it. You are a “Welcoming Committee of One” for your organization. Here are ten simple, yet crucial reminders for delivering exceptional customer service on the phone. Skill #1 — Answering a Business Call A three-part greeting will get your calls started smoothly. The three parts are: buffer words, the company or department name and your name. A pleasant buffer phrase such as “Good Morning,” or “Thank you for calling XYZ Company,” sets the stage for the call. It is

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A Mindset for Serving Customers Skills and techniques are important in providing excellent service to customers, but they aren’t the only keys to success. Leading organizations have identified seven traits they see in their highest performing service providers. We call the seven traits The Service Mentality. These characteristics create a mindset for serving customers. Let’s look at each one. Empathy is the capacity for understanding, being aware of and sensitive to the feelings, thoughts and experiences of your customers. They want to know they have been heard and understood no matter how large or small their problem. They want to

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Training and the infinite return on investment by Seth Godin (distributed with permission) Training pays. Sometimes, it’s easy to underestimate just how much it pays. Consider an employee who is going to work 2000 hours for you this year. It’s not unusual for an organization to spend only 10 or 20 hours training this person–which means about 1% of their annual workload. How much training would it take for this person to be 10% better at her job? If you invest 100 hours (!) it’ll pay for itself in just six months. There aren’t many investments an organization can make that double

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A position opens up in your company and you’re part of the interview process. This will be a brand new experience for some interviewers and a repeat performance for others. Regardless, hiring the right candidate is an anxiety-inducing process for all parties, with much at stake.   There’s a simple technique to help you avoid the “Jitters” when conducting pre-interview telephone screenings, face-to-face interviews, and appraisals, as well.   It’s called “The Power of You.”   Here’s how it works. Many candidates in an interview or appraisal will be pleased to tell you about their previous experience and success, describing these things by

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A triage nurse takes a call from a patient who says, “I’m not feeling well.” A quick assessment is needed to determine the next step for this patient. This person needs help to pinpoint the likely cause of the problem before any determination can be made about how the nurse can assist medically. The problem could be anything from an anxiety attack to simple dehydration to a major health crisis—this nurse really needs to get to the heart of the matter quickly.  The story illustrates a common and challenging client service opportunity that begins by helping a customer communicate their

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Few business phrases can be as disheartening and conversation-stopping as “Sorry, that’s our policy.” Rules, regulations, and policies are there for a reason, and ideally, your team members will provide the best service possible within those guidelines. But the reality of some situations is that a one-size-fits-all approach simply doesn’t always fit. Sometimes, customers make reasonable requests that may run counter to the black-and-white rules outlined in your company’s policy. The important thing for you, your employees, and your organization to consider is that your customer is your customer: they’re normally not out there to rip you off or to

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Ethics in the workplace is a unique topic. Ethical matters normally don’t deal with issues that can be assigned a number, a value, or a quantity. In other words it doesn’t exactly fit in the cell of a spreadsheet. “Ethics” is about behavior and conduct. Dealing with ethical matters usually conjures up feelings like pride, shame, anger, or guilt. In short, to talk about ethics is to talk about right versus wrong. These are huge concepts, the sort of feelings that can turn your stomach and keep you up at night—especially when you’re the one being asked to make an

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by Nancy Friedman, the Telephone Doctor Normally, I bet my audiences the cash that’s in their wallet that they have one or more of these phrases on their cell or office phone at that moment. I’ve never had to pay! When was the last time you checked your own voice mail message? It’s probably been a while. Well, now’s the time to double check it. Because I’m betting you have one or more of the frustrating phrases on your voice mail. I don’t. If you don’t, congratulations! Here they are: 1. Hi, I’m not here right now. DUH? Well, that’s a hot

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Everyone aims to deliver proactive customer service. Whether you refer to it as cross-selling, up-selling, suggestive selling, or – as we like to say — “soft question” selling, a basic component of effective customer service is to offer your customers additional choices. Some customer service representatives might fear being perceived as pushy or assuming. No one wants to offend the customer. To successfully ask the soft question, you need to know the right technique. The key is to remember to ask if your customer has any need for other products or services your company offers and that they might not

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