3 Things You Should Never Say To A Customer

excellentcustomerservice

Each of these has happened to me, and they have all resulted in me taking my business elsewhere. What about you, what key customer service points are you looking for from businesses? Which ones are you delivering?

1)  “If you had contacted me earlier I could have taken care of this for you but now you will have to wait ”

Bottom line, you want clients to feel good about doing business with you, even if they have to be delayed. Most of us don’t mind a wait when we are treated kindly, fairly and with respect. Instead of admonishing customers say something like, ‘we’re working hard to get this done as quickly as possible ‘ or ‘you have my word that we will do what we can to make this work’ – now, no matter that the circumstances I feel good about doing business with you even with the delay. If you admonish your clients in a childish manner they will feel bad – feeling bad means lost business.

2) “See how poorly ‘insert competitor here’ does that job? Obviously we are the better choice”

If you have to resort to name-calling or put-downs to elevate your case, you’ve lost me. If your product, service, customer experience and follow up can’t WOW me on its own merit you need to put your energy into fixing your product or service and creating a better customer experience rather than into putting down your competitors.

3) “We understand your time is valuable and appreciate your patience” …..while you wait 10+ minutes for a customer service rep….

This one drives me crazy especially when it happens every time you call. If you truly understood how valuable my time was you would hire more customer service reps and not make me wait at all, or you would credit my account for each minute waited. Attempting to placate me with meaningless platitudes only proves to me how out of touch you are with your customer. What it doesn’t do is make me enjoy the wait, or justify it, regardless of how surprised you might be with the ” higher than average call volumes.”

Customer service is the one area that can instantly level the playing field regardless of company size or resources. One very satisfied customer with a Twitter account can beef up your bottom line in minutes. You dont even need a superior product if you get the customer experience right. So take a moment to audit yours. Pretend you’re a customer or better yet, get someone to walk through the experience of your company from every customer touchpont and see where you might be able to enhance the system. Sometimes all it takes is a second to turn a so-so experience into a WOW one.

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5 Ways for Business People to Keep Twitter Followers Happy

new-twitter-logoTwitter is the bomb. Millions of people check in every day for relevant, funny, engaging and informative updates from the accounts they follow. If you are using Twitter for business and you haven’t been around very long, you may have mistaken it for a sales pitch platform, or you may just chime in when someone insults your hockey team, or worse, your political party. If that sounds like you, read this post before you find yourself unfollowed by prospects and customers alike.

  1. Know your audience – truthfully, this is my mantra regardless of the medium but here’s why it’s a must on Twitter. Most consultants will tell you not to sell on Twitter but what if you own a restaurant and it’s lunch time and people gotta eat right? Give the people what they want – knowing your audience ensures you some insight into what they want.
  2. Do not repeat tweets. Some people will argue this point but I am sticking to it. I have unfollowed dozens of accounts, even great big, famous Social Media ‘experts’ because of this. At the very least, if you must duplicate tweets separate them by a couple of days. Ask yourself what’s worse, having some of your audience miss one of the 100 tweets you sent that day or having some of your audience stop following you altogether?
  3. Answer people. When someone takes the time to retweet your content, ask a question or comment on your tweets, give them a shout out. This is the reason you are here – to garner engagement – and interaction with your content can often be considered a qualified lead.
  4. Follow your customers. You are using Twitter for business to actually get business so make sure you target potential customers and stop worrying about increasing numbers. Growth will happen organically if you’re consistently active and that’s the best kind of audience out there – people who are actually interested in what you are saying.
  5. Reach out. Let your audience know you’re paying attention. Mention them in tweets and retweet their content. They love that, it makes them feel special and listened to, and people do business with people who make them feel all warm and fuzzy.

I’m sure I’ve left some out so feel free to share your tips on keeping your audience happy in the comments.

Frequently Asked Social Media Questions Series

“To save time shouldn’t I connect my Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts?

Short answer: No, no and definitely no.

Here’s why. These 3 platforms could not be more different and one of the best ways to show you aren’t aware of how they work is to connect them.

Look at it like this, Facebook is the backyard barbeque, Twitter is the local bar and LinkedIn is the corporate networking event. All social, but all with completely different agendas and acceptable practices.

Connect Accounts What could go wrong you ask? Picture this, a bank manager who is also an avid hockey fan tweets passionately about his team losing, using a little ‘colourful’ language. Arriving at work the next morning he is horrified to realize that every one of last nights tweets (and there were many) is greeting each of his professional contacts as they glance over their LinkedIn newsfeed.

Now, what if his boss is also a connection, or worse, what if he is looking for work?

Using social media effectively for business is about gaining awareness and exposure that translates into qualified leads, leads that increase your bottom line, right? So, saving time, although a valid idea, becomes less important when your efforts are paying off. In fact, if your social media presence is helping to increase business wouldn’t you want to do more of it rather than less?

Knowing your audience and giving them appropriate content on each of the platforms will get the job done. Connecting your accounts might not only hinder that effort but could have it blow up in your face altogether. Just ask that bank manager….

To Endorse or Not to Endorse?

” Hey, can you endorse me please?”
Sound familiar?
If you are a member of the largest professional social network on the planet, LinkedIn, it’s likely not only familiar, but starting to become a tad annoying.

LinkedIn, in an attempt to become even more of an online professional resume, has offered its members the opportunity to very easily endorse each other based on the skills you have listed in your profile.

In theory it sounds like a great idea but in practice it’s not only falling short of its target, it might even be wiping out the credibility of LinkedIn in the process.

Here’s the problem, in the past 3 hours I’ve received two endorsement requests from people I have never done business with. We may have connected through a networking event, we may have intentions of doing business in the future but nevertheless, as of the time of the request, we have not. If I were to recommend your business skills without having experienced them, wouldn’t that be a lie? What if, worst case scenario, I did endorse you and you were lying on your profile. Could that not come back to affect my credibility in a very negative way?

In fact, we should all think long and hard before ‘endorsing’ anyone, from a lawyer to a realtor to a hairdresser – not having our ducks in a row could have catastrophic consequences.

So here’s what I propose, don’t put your colleagues, clients or potential clients in the awkward position of having to turn you down. Stop asking anyone other than regular, satisfied customers for endorsements. If your skills are what you say they are the endorsements will happen naturally and no one’s credibility, resume or hair-do will have to pay the price.

2 Steps to more Followers

Sifting through the local paper this morning I noticed a lot of small businesses advertising their wares. Yoga/Pilates studios, restaurants, clothing stores, massage therapy clinics, and many many more. One thing conspicuously absent from almost every single ad were their social media links. Not a little blue ‘f’ to be seen for miles.
Now, maybe it’s because social media is my work, or maybe it’s because everyone I know spends a fair bit of time either facebooking or tweeting or tumbling, that I find it astonishing that companies who go through the time, trouble, and sometimes money to put up a presence on a social media site will not consider that presence important enough to include in their print advertising.

One of the most asked questions in my business is “how can I get more followers?” Well, you can start by telling your fans and potential customers that you are there. It’s really very easy, take Facebook for instance – Step One: Claim your user name on Facebook so a cinch to find you when people start looking, (http://facebook.com/username) and Step Two: put the little blue ‘f’ everywhere you can. On your letter head, at the bottom of every email, on your newsletters, print ads and even include it in your conversations. Just like you told everyone who came within earshot that you had an ad in the paper when you first put one there, start spreading the good news about your social media presence and see what happens.
Yes, If you built it they will come, but only if you tell them where to find you.

 

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