The TDSIT Blog

6 Ways to Boost your Customer Experience (and your Bottom Line)

Posted by Tim Stanley on Mon, Oct 08, 2018 @ 12:31 PM

customer_satisfaction

When it comes to serving your customers, you can never try too hard. The quality of your customer service is directly linked to your bottom line, with companies who prioritize their customer experience enjoying a 60% higher profit margin. These techniques to personalize your customer service can help take your business to the next level.

  1. Call them by name. When someone recognizes you and uses your name, it makes the experience more positive and memorable. Calling your customers by name shows them that you value them.
  2. Spotlight customers. Having a monthly customer spotlight on your social media or office bulletin board is a public way of acknowledging your appreciation. Customers are what make your business successful – so thank them!
  3. Handwrite notes. Whether it’s a thank you note, a birthday card, or a holiday greeting, take the time to sign it by hand. It only takes a few seconds, but sends a message that you truly value your customers.
  4. Reward feedback. When a customer takes the time to give you feedback, you should listen. Complaints should be dealt with promptly, but also cause you to see if there’s something you can change to prevent the situation in the future. Customer feedback that leads to these changes should be rewarded, perhaps with a gift card or public acknowledgement.
  5. Offer educational experiences. Customers come to your business because they value your expertise. Take the time to share knowledge with your customers by hosting demonstrations and workshops to help give them a better understanding of topics related to your business.
  6. Repay the patronage. Many of your customers own or work for businesses that can benefit your company. By doing business with your customers, you are strengthening the bond between you. Supporting their businesses helps ensure they will continue to support yours as well.

From the moment your customers come into your office or make contact on the phone, they will judge your business on how they are treated. 76% of customers believe the service they receive is a direct reflection of how much they are valued. Excellent customer service helps create loyal customers who will return again and again, even if your prices are higher than the competition. By taking the time to improve your customer service, you’re investing in the long-term health of your company and your bottom line.

 

Tags: TDSIT, Small Medium business, customer service

5 Steps SMBs Can Take to Improve Customer Support

Posted by Tim Stanley on Wed, Sep 14, 2016 @ 09:24 AM

 

customersupport.jpg

If you really want your business to excel in today's marketplace, you need to focus on your customer service strategy. While you can spend thousands of dollars to promote your business and build a positive image, if your customers aren't receiving helpful and friendly support, they may not remain your customers for long. 

To help ensure that you're giving your customers the help that they need, when they need it, here are five effective tips for improving your customer support strategy:

  1. Make customer support available 24/7. An easy way to turn customers off is to have someone call your support line outside of business hours and receive a recording to call back later. If you have the resources, it's worthwhile to offer 24/7 customer support. 
  1. Appeal to millennials with text-enabled support. In an effort to appeal to the growing number of millennial customers entering the marketplace that rely on mobile devices, many businesses are expanding the ways that customers can reach them by offering text-enabled customer service. 
  1. Offer a live chat option. While we've seen a number of businesses offer a live chat option on their websites, another innovative way to use live chat for customer service purposes is to include a link to a live chat page in your email signature. This makes it extremely easy for your customers to promptly get the help that they need. 
  1. Embrace social care. The concept of using social media channels to provide customer service has quickly become known as "social care." Big brands such as Nike have done this very successfully by designating Twitter accounts specifically to address customer service needs. With so many people using social media today, it makes sense for businesses to embrace social care and consider it to be an important part of their customer support strategy. 
  1. Provide a self-service option. By creating a customer forum or FAQ page on your website to address some of the most common questions that people have, you can eliminate some of the hassle that customers go through to get answers and reduce your customer service reps’ workload.

As you develop the customer support strategy for your own small business, be sure to incorporate these five proven tactics for improving the customer service experience. 

Tags: customer service

What Business School Doesn’t Teach You: Developing a Customer Base Outside of the Standard Sale

Posted by Tim Stanley on Wed, Mar 04, 2015 @ 09:41 AM

customer relationsMy company sells hundreds of copiers every year. You’d be amazed at what our products can do. But today’s customer has so many ways to purchase those same machines, including directly from the manufacturer via the Internet.

Which means we have to do so much more than sell products. We have to sell our commitment to the community, and we have to market the care and compassion a faceless website cannot. How we handle our non-core business offerings makes the difference. Think about calling a customer service hotline, and growing frustrated while dealing with one automated response system after another. We can sell the kind of service that shows up at your door and shakes your hand because that’s far more pleasant than a robot.

Developing your non-core business takes time and planning. Here’s how I suggest you start:

Be a Human

I have this guiding principle I call the ‘grocery store rule.’It’s something I apply to every client or potential client I work with. If I see someone in the grocery store aisle, I should feel confident in going up and shaking his/her hand. I should never feel like I’ve cut a rotten deal and have to avoid him/her outside the walls of our offices. Always, as I make deals and work with clients, I stay accountable. You can always shake my hand. I often refer to myself as the “White Shrek.” I’m big, but I’m not scary.

Create Social Capital

I wish I had come up with the term social capital. I didn’t. I came up with the ‘grocery store rule’ instead. But they work together in so many ways. You’ve got to take care of people, and that matters internally and externally. Even a simple thank you card goes a long way. Forbes magazine took notice of social capital recently. Potential clients can research prices and product details online as per their article called “Social Capital Is Path to Social Selling”. That invites competition. Making real connections with real people is critical in that kind of market. Make it so they remember you.

Give Them Extras

We must provide things a website can’t deliver, or wouldn’t think to deliver. My company fleet consists of 14 Toyota vehicles. Once a year, I buy pizza for the service guys at the local Toyota dealership. I don’t anticipate any extras, and they don’t cut me a special deal. But maybe on a day they’re rushed, they’ll remember me and make sure the lug nuts are tight. I have the same approach with service calls. My clients know they can order a delivery of donuts from us when we visit. Not just any donuts, but donuts with our company logo on them. They look pretty funny if you don’t know the name of our company, but they work for us.

Admit Your Mistakes

Because I am part of the community, and because I do see clients in the grocery store, I have to be honest. Many sales team members at the offices of my competitors won’t be around in 18 months, but I will. And it means I may have to humble myself in front of a customer if I’m in the wrong. I’ve missed sending out a bid before. I don’t make excuses. When I screw up, I go and ask for forgiveness.

Create Partner Businesses

Forging the kind of friendships that yield long-term business opportunities takes time, but it reaps rewards. When I’m presented with an opportunity for a contract outside of the company’s skill set, we often pass them along to friends in the community better equipped to handle the task. I hope in return they’ll pass some back my way. Again, we don’t cut each other specific deals. It works when we all agree not to oversell, and keep things balanced.

Have Staying Power

For some, businesses are a transient enterprise. But we want staying power, and we find that’s an advantage. Creating long-term deals and partnerships means we can always be looking for new clients while keeping our current contacts happy. But once we get a client on the roster, we aim to make them stay. There’s a big difference between selling a machine and making a customer. We always want customers.

Remember the Basic Sales Rules

The extras go a long way into creating the social capital that generates business outside the core. But the sales basics remain. Just like you can gain momentum with a client by showing them extra care, you can lose them with rudeness or inattention. Here are some basic tips:

DON’T GET EMOTIONAL: If a deal is not struck, there may be other factors at play.

DON’T FEEL REJECTED: The bid might have gone to a cousin. It’s hard to overcome some factors.

KNOW THAT FEELINGS CHANGE: If you build a relationship, a ‘no’ may later turn to a ‘yes’ when your contact realizes their original deal wasn’t as sweet as they thought.

BE ACCOUNTABLE: If you make a promise, come through on it.

BE PART OF THE COMMUNITY: Tip well. Civic organizations can help, and be nice to the people you see, like in the grocery store.

To view the original article in InBiz Northwest Arkansas, click here.

 

Tags: customer service, developing customer base, Total Document Solutions, TDS