Category Archives: Customer Service

Achieving Excellence in Customer Service

How To Achieve Excellence In Customer Service - The Ladder Of LoyaltyThe secret to turning one time shoppers into repeat customers, and creating raving fans for your business…

The objective of excellent customer service is to profitably create ‘raving fans’ for your business. These customers not only keep coming back to you time and again – they also send new customers your way.

In order to create ‘raving fans’ you must create an experience your customer will remember – a ‘WOW’ factor – the ability to overwhelmingly surprise customers by continually exceeding their expectations.

Like most winning business strategies – excellence in customer service starts with getting the fundamentals right, and progresses toward service mastery.

Let’s introduce you to our Customer Service – Ladder of Loyalty…

The Ladder of Loyalty – first stepsladder of Loyalty

To begin with a business should look at its target market as a pool of SUSPECTS. This is the bottom rung on the ladder. These are potential leads based on your ideal customer profile.

Once the suspect becomes interested in your product or service and makes an inquiry, they become a PROSPECT. At this stage it’s up to you to start compiling a database of information and details, like names, contact information, and a reference for how that prospect heard about your company. This database can then be used in a variety of ways invite prospects to do business with you.

From Shopper to Customer

The next rung on the ladder is a SHOPPER – a person who buys something from your business for the first time but they have not yet determined that you are a vendor they want to do business with again.

The key here for your business is to confirm buyer details, and add those details to the company database so you can start building trust and a relationship with them, and most importantly – invite them to do business with you again.

What can a business do to confirm those details?

People will give information if there is something in it for them. This could be a ‘frequent buyers club’ or loyalty card scheme, or perhaps offering a gift for making a purchase that day. There are unlimited ways to create a win-win where your company gets the information you need, and the buyer feels valued for providing that information.

Rewards need not be money off; in fact you can be really creative and fun with this – the important thing is to show perceived value. A great example is British retail chain Charles Tyrwhit Shirts. Upon collecting first time shopper details, they send a letter by traditional post from the company founder after the first purchase, an extract of which reads:

“…please accept my thanks for giving a humble but passionate shirt company a chance. Quality menswear is my life and I am delighted to have you as a customer, you are fantastic….
P.S As the bearer of the enclosed voucher you will be recognised instantly as one of our most important customers, and you are assured of the very best ‘red carpet’ treatment. Do visit soon…”

I’m just after being told I’m fantastic and if I purchase again I get to use a voucher and receive red carpet treatment! Why wouldn’t I visit soon! This is an excellent example of making a customer feel truly valued in a quirky and innovative way, while also inviting them to do business with you again to move them up the ladder of loyalty.

A shopper becomes a CUSTOMER only when they buy a second time. Studies have shown it is six times easier to sell to a shopper, and ten times easier to sell to a customer than to make an initial sale to a suspect, so a second purchase is an important step in building a long-term customer relationship.

Members, Advocates and Raving Rans

On the lower levels of the ladder, there is very little customer loyalty. If a competitor comes along with a better proposal, customers are more than likely to give them a try, and you may never see that customer again.

The art of achieving a high level of customer loyalty is to move them further up the ladder, so that they become loyal clients and eventually raving fans.

With the advent of email, blogging and social media, you can remain in contact with your customers as regularly as you like for the minimum of investment. The more traditional method of keeping in touch with your customers include telephone calls, newsletters, direct mail and entertaining. Whichever method you use, you must bear in mind the appropriateness of the medium, its effectiveness and its value to the customer.

Once the customer becomes a consistent buyer of your products and services, you may begin offering incentives and privileges so that they become MEMBERS and no longer look elsewhere for competitive products or services.

Members do business with you because of the relationship and trust that you have developed. A member for example might be given membership cards which entitle them to extras such as ‘members only’ evenings where they get the first viewing of new products at specially discounted prices. This feeling of exclusivity helps to cement customer loyalty and move your customers towards the top of the ladder.

An ADVOCATE, the sixth rung on the ladder, is a member who tells others about your company, product or service without being prompted. Advocates can be true business-builders for companies, because they get businesses real results through referrals and testimonials.

Finally, advocates turn into RAVING FANS by literally selling your business for you by their word-of-mouth recommendations. They cannot help but tell everyone they meet how wonderful your product, service, or company is.

Getting to raving fan status is the result of always putting your customers first and having excellent relationships with them from the very beginning. A lot of that involves getting every detail right, and empowering your front line team to go the extra mile – every single time.

At this stage you have well and truly moved away from having to sell on price. It’s now about maintaining relationship. Once they become a raving fan, not only can you guarantee they will always buy from you, but they will go a stage further and start actively recommending other people to come to you, thus helping to fill your sales pipeline.

So, how many RAVING FANS do you have in your customer base? And what would happen to your business if you implemented some new customer service innovations to move everyone in your database up one level?

Massive profits do not occur by bringing more suspects or prospects into your database, but rather moving one time shoppers to customers, to shoppers…all the way up the ladder of loyalty to raving fan status.

If you would like some more advice on how to create that excellence in your customer service, just fill in your details below and one of our team will give you a complimentary call back…

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Small Business Edge Magazine

Small Business Edge4th Edition
This week we are delighted to share the latest edition of Small Business Edge Magazine with you.
What’s Inside…

Inside Small Business Edge you will find some fantastic articles by global industry leaders on:

  • How To Ensure Your Next Hire Is Your Best Hire
  • Putting The ‘Wow Factor’ Into Customer Service
  • The 6 Empirical Methods To Achieve Marketing Genius
  • How Great Leaders Move Mountains
  • And much more…

Just click here to read the digital magazine and comment below to let us know how it may help give you an edge in business…

If you would like one of our Business Coaches to give you a call to discuss how we can help you achieve greater success in your business just fill in your details below:

3 Top Tips To Generate Repeat Business

3 Top Tips To Generate Repeat Business
How To Make More Sales Without Finding New Customers

It’s much easier to sell something to one of your existing customers than it is to sell to a brand-new prospect. The key reason for this is trust. When you’ve already sold something to someone, you’ve built trust. They gave you money, and in return you gave them a solution to their problem and hopefully now have a track record of delivering on your promises.

Trust goes a long way but doesn’t mean they’ll automatically become repeat customers. Here are our three R’s to remember in order to create repeat customers from your past clients:

1. Results

First things first – make sure you product or service always delivers the desired results for your customer. The one sure way to guarantee this is to ask! Did they like your first product?  Did it meet or exceed their expectations?  Has their problem been solved?

Check in with your customer after the first sale – don’t just leave them out in the cold once the sale has been made. This is the difference between demonstrating that you’ll deliver a product versus demonstrating that you care, and will deliver a real value-add service!

One of our clients in the electrical goods industry has customers travel to their store every day from all across the country, not because they have the lowest prices, but because they have built a reputation for excellent after-sales service – if anything goes wrong, you are guaranteed they will look after you!

If you can prove that you have a quality product or service, and you care about your customers well-being, you’re already on track towards making the second sale.

 2. Relationship

Clever businesses know that the key to future profitability lies in fostering a close and enriching relationship with your customers. If you go into a restaurant and the head waiter remembers your name, or your favourite tipple, your impressed right? They have just differentiated themselves a little from the competition and made a lasting impression on you.

Don’t be afraid to be a little bit personal with your customers – it helps them remember you. Maintaining and enhancing customer goodwill will also help to generate positive word-of-mouth – a key marketing strategy in this day and age of advertising clutter.

Another tip – don’t forget to ask your customers back! It might be hard to believe, but your customers aren’t devoting nearly as much time to thinking about your business as you are.  Let them know from time to time that you’re still around.  It doesn’t have to be ‘salesy’—after all, you’ve already sold them once. Include them on a mailing list with product/service updates and special offers, or simply call once in a while to touch base or let them know of a new product or service they might really like.

 3. Rewards

Consumers appreciate feeling valued and they also relish getting a good deal! If you do not already have a loyalty programme established, why not offer your good customers an extra incentive to come back and shop more often with you.

An excellent example of this is the Dunnes Stores Shop & Save offer where if you spend €50 on groceries you receive €10 off your next week’s shop and if you spend €100, you receive €20 off. Always a lover of a good deal, I will go out of my way to make sure I get to Dunnes Stores to do my weekly shopping to use my voucher! This incentive scheme not only helps increase average euro sale, it also ties the customer into shopping with them on a weekly basis rather than chopping and changing between stores.

What can you offer your customers to make feel valued and increase their loyalty towards you?

Don’t forget, if you are interested in Sales Training or yourself or your team, why not join us at our Sales Success Workshop this Friday 5th February.  Click here for more information and to register your place or call us on 01 891 6220.

ActionCLUB Email Signature Sales 5Feb16

Make Your Customers Sell For You

Customer_Success_Map

Raving fans are customers who are so over the moon with the business and the service you provide that they will not only tell all their friends and colleagues about you, but actually bring them to you and help you make sales to them.

It’s a frightening fact that we spend six times as much money attempting to attract new customers to our businesses than we do to up-sell, on-sell and generally care for, and retain our existing customers.

Another frightening fact is that 68% of customers who stop buying from an organisation do so simply because of a perceived indifference. The business actually didn’t do anything wrong; the customer just thought the organisation didn’t care enough!

Would you like your customers to shout your name from rooftops telling people why, if they’re not dealing with you, they’re missing out on something amazing?

Here are some simple tips that you can introduce in your business today. These tips will help keep your customers not only coming back with more repeat business, but bringing their friends with them as well:

  • Use their name frequently.
  • Send them thank-you cards.
  • Ask them to come back.
  • Sell them everything they need to gain maximum benefit from the purchase.
  • Call them just to make sure everything is going well.
  • Call them when something new arrives in stock that you know they would like.
  • Follow-up & follow-up again.
  • Under-promise and over-deliver.

Try to implement just a few of these tips. As a Business Owner, you must lead by example; your team will do what they see you do.

The bottom line is that if you care for your customers, your customers will care for you and help you grow your business. It really is as simple as that.

If you would like to learn more about Sales and then come along to our half day Sales Success Workshop Friday 4th September.
Click here for more details and to register your place today.
ActionCLUB Email Signature Sales

4 Great Ways To Build Customer Loyalty

Build Customer Loyalty

Retaining customers has never been easy, and in the digital age that we live in today, it has only got harder, with cutthroat competition and aggressive marketing strategies all around. To maintain a consistent customer base, one has to put in the effort. Any efforts toward building customer loyalty will certainly pay off. Follow these 4 tips to build strong customer loyalty.

1.     Provide Great Customer Service

Go the extra mile to keep your customers happy. Listen to their concerns and complaints and respond appropriately and promptly. Ensure that there is an accessible way for customers to communicate with you, be it by email, telephone, or social media. The reputation of your business is at stake here, so remember to always maintain an upbeat attitude towards your customers.

2.     Provide Customer Incentives

Give the customers a reason to return to your business by offering them incentives – frequent shopper points, buy two and get one free offers, etc. Make sure that the incentive is appropriate for the target audience by co-ordinating your incentive program with your marketing efforts.

3.     Stop Hiding behind Technology

Not being able to reach an actual human being at business is a common frustration, and all of us have experienced waiting so long to talk to the customer service representative that we gave up halfway. It is less likely it is that you will see that customer again if it is difficult for them to speak to the relevant personnel when they have a problem.

4.     Build Employee’s Loyalty

You will earn your employees’ respect if you are competent. Display willingness to protect your employees, and remain consistent in your actions and decisions – it will help you earn the employees’ trust. Employees will feel good about their job if you are loyal to them, and  in turn it will ensure that loyalty is passed along to your customers.

Follow these top tips to guarantee customer satisfaction and build a loyal following for your brand.

By Ailina Calip – ActionCOACH

 

5 Reasons To Improve Your Sales Process

ActionCOACH Business Coaching Ireland Sales ProcessWhen was the last time you reviewed the process by which you convert prospects to paying customers? If it’s been a while, here’s why it would be a good idea:

  1. Consistency – Your prospects expect it and you need it.

    ActionCOACH Business Coaching Ireland Consistency Does your sales team follow the same process with every prospect? Consistency builds confidence for your prospects and assures you of relevant results. Customers and prospects want to know what to expect. You need to test and measure your conversion rate. Consistency helps you manage expectations and lower resistance. On the other hand, if every sales person does it differently, it’s very difficult to tell what is working, what is not, and what needs to be changed. Execute your process the same way each time. Then, if improvements need to be made, this will be based on an informed decision.

  2. Make it easy to buy. 

    ActionCOACH Business Coaching Ireland Easy to BuyHow many times have you attempted to purchase something online and got frustrated with the complexity of the process? If you’re like me, you give up and go somewhere else. The same thing happens in person as well. Examine the process (time, paperwork, etc) to consummate the transaction once the purchase decision has been made. How many “hoops” does our customer have to jump through? What can be done to smooth the way? What lessons have we learned (and applied) from previous mistakes?

  3. Spice it up. 

    Questions_To_-AskI heard sales author/trainer Jeffrey Gitomer say: “If the prospect isn’t interested, it means you’re not interesting!” What is your conversion rate? Maybe it’s time to jazz things up a bit. Examine your presentation: script, charts, marketing materials, etc. Formulate some new provocative questions that will stimulate interest. There are bound to be some “hot button” issues relative to your product, service, or industry. Ideally, you want to hear your prospect say: “That’s a great question.” Or “Hmm. Nobody’s asked me that before.”

  4. Create attraction. 

    creating-value-and-driving-customer-satisfactionAre you tired of constantly chasing prospects, shaking the bushes, begging for appointments? When you create attraction for your product, service, knowledge, expertise, etc. you never have to chase them again! Remember that perception (for your prospect) is reality. What value do you bring and how obvious is that prior to the sales presentation? If you have (or develop) a strong value proposition AND effectively articulate that in advance, you heighten the perception of value. And real value trumps price every time.

  5. You probably can do better. 

    Unless you have all the business you can stand right now, either the volume of prospects and/or the conversion rate can be improved. Do you want more leads or more sales? Start by measuring your cost per lead and cost per new customer (acquisition cost). Look back a year or two. Is it lower, higher, about the same? Same thing with conversion rate. What you measure, you can change. Take action today!ActionCOACH Business Coaching Ireland Crossword

    If you would like to learn more about Sales and the Sales Process then come along to our half day Sales Success workshop Thursday 30th April. Click here for more details and to register your place today.

How To Get Award Winning Results In Business

how to get award winning results in your business

 

Congratulations to all the finalists in the SFA Awards 2015. It is a great         acknowledgment of all your hard work and a fantastic opportunity to celebrate your achievements as a Small Business in Ireland and to recognise the vital contribution of the Small Business sector to the Irish economy.

Check out these fabulous results from our clients and programme participants:

ClevaMama, Co.Dublin

Finalists in the following categories:

  • Innovator of the year (up to 50 employees)
  • Small Business Exporter of the year (up to 50 employees)

Awards:

  • Overall National Small Business of the year 2015
  • Innovator of the year 2015ClevaMama Overall National Small Business of the year 2015
Clubstohire, Co.Dublin

Finalists in the following categories:

  • Innovator of the year (up to 50 employees)
  • Small Business Exporter of the year (up to 50 employees)

Awards:

  • Highly Commended in Small business exporter of the year
Eight Degrees Brewing, Co.Cork

Finalists in the following categories:

  • Manufacturing Category (up to 50 employees)
  • Food & Drink Category (up to 50 employees)

Awards

  • Highly commended in the Food and Drink Category. Eight Degrees Brewing, Highly commended in the Food and Drink Category.
Kevin Egan Cars

Finalist in the following Category:

  • Outstanding Small Business (up to five employees)

So how do you become an Award Winning Business like these companies?

The answer is simple really – you need plenty of focus which in turn leads to results in your business. Here are some top tips to help you achieve the award winning results in business :

  • Have a Strategic Plan which outlines your businesses Purpose, Values, Goals and Envisioned Future. This allows you to identify and put in place the correct management structure to bring the company forward.
  • Make sure you allow time to work ON your business rather than IN your business, focusing on key areas to develop in such as innovation, strategic alliances and planning.
  • Communication with your team is vital to ensure everyone on the team has the same vision for where the company is going and how it is going to get there.
  • Always be learning and make time for education and training for your team. As your business is growing and evolving your team should be to.
  • Have Systems in place for all areas of the business.  This ensure your business an run efficiently and effectively without you! An example of such a system would be a Sales Pipeline with specific targets, sales process, scripts, KPI’s and incentives.This will help the focus in the business and will achieve better results.

Best of luck growing your business and achieving brilliant results, we hope to see you on an award stage soon!

Business coaching from the world's #1 business consulting firm: ActionCOACH. Professional Coaching and Training for Irish SME's, Executives and Corporates