Monthly Archives: October 2017

Key Customer Service Mistakes You Should Avoid

Customer service is the backbone of a successful business. It could be the difference between good reviews and repeat customers, and word getting around about negative customer experiences and people avoiding your business altogether.

Given that customer service is so important, it is valuable to know some of the most common customer service mistakes. Customer service experts lent their expertise to Business News Daily and shared how to avoid them.

Just because it can be automated does not meant it should be, and it also does not mean the automation will automatically translate into cost savings.

Don’t automate just because you can. Avoid erasing all personalization and direct contact with the customer. When possible, provide a variety of different communication modes, as some customers prefer online chat while others want to talk to a person over the phone.

“Give them that option. Don’t force customers to use frustrating phone trees,” said Dana Brownlee, founder of consulting firm Professionalism Matters.

Assuming you know what the customer wants, instead of listening to the customer, is a big mistake.

“Teach listening skills throughout the organization, especially to (customer service representatives),” said Brownlee. “Develop processes that ‘force’ CSRs to really listen to customers – get rid of CSR scripts.”

Instead of thinking about how to delight customers on the front end and avoid getting the calls, many companies fall into the reactive approach of being satisfied with somewhat mediocre products or service and thinking of customer service as something that happens on the back end when there are complaints or problems. Take time to conduct process analysis, continuous process improvement and root cause analysis to truly improve your product service.

“Require every employee to take (five) customer service calls a month to maintain connection to the customer. Incorporate customer service goals into every employee’s compensation/bonus structure,” Brownlee said.

It’s a shame that very often the staff members who interact with customers the most are paid and valued the least. To avoid this mistake, Brownlee said, “Hire better staff, pay them more, and reward them for providing great service.”

According to Robert C. Johnson, CEO of TeamSupport, customers want accurate answers or quick, efficient and respectful solutions, and getting that to the customer is the most important thing, even if the answer or solution is not ideal.

“Make sure the employees (who interact) with customers have access to the right information and are listening to their concerns,” Johnson said. “Ensure communication is realistic – it’s always better to under-promise and over-deliver on that promise than the other way around.”

Customer service is proving to be a vital part of a successful business. But where does it start? Employees may not know where to turn for advice on customer service, or how to get the right information.

“A culture of exceptional customer service must start at the top. It can’t be just a slide in a presentation or a cliche saying that employees are expected to follow,” Johnson said. The CEO needs to set the tone, invest in the right team members and technology, and lead by actions as well as words.

A survey conducted by Professionalism Matters also found that scripts are not the way to deal with customer service complaints. Customer service representatives need to be trained to work to resolve a customer’s specific situation, as opposed to the “if they say this, you say that” approach.

No one is perfect. Whether due to a lack of focus, understanding, guidance or diligence, mistakes will happen.

“Sometimes we move too fast, and sometimes things just happen. At the end of the day, it’s how you recover from these mistakes that’s important,” Johnson said. “Good companies own both the good and the bad things that happen.”

The key is knowing how to rectify the situation once it has happened and making sure that the customer still receives the best customer service, despite some bumps along the way to a resolution.

Johnson suggested reaching out to the customer and owning up to the problem with empathetic and sincere communication. Formulate a response strategy, such as a timeline for communication, and execute it quickly.

It’s also critical for customer service representatives to apologize on behalf of the company immediately if the company dropped the ball in any way, Brownlee said in the Professionalism Matters survey.

“There’s nothing wrong with simply expressing regret that the customer is experiencing anguish, even if they haven’t determined yet if the company was at fault,” Brownlee said.

Once the situation has been rectified, take your own internal action independent of the customer, said Johnson.

“Sit down with your team to understand all the details, including what specifically happened, why it happened, and the actions that can be taken to avoid similar problems in the future,” he said.

Be Proactive About Potential Breaches With Mobile Devices

Are you tiring of users continuously badgering you to get corporate network access for their mobile devices?  Does your corporate management want to buy tablets for the sales team? If so, your small- to medium-sized business (SMB) needs to start proactively addressing mobile security breaches such as malware.

Modifying your existing security policies and protocols, establishing new policies and educating your mobile workforce are economically sound frontline solutions for securing your corporate enterprise and trade secrets.

Here are some tips on how to address mobile device security breaches beforethey happen:

  • Establish corporate information access guidelines. It’s important to pre-determine how mobile device users will access corporate information. Will users download data to devices? Will they access the data remotely? The answer will vary from company to company, so be sure to consider your situation uniquely.  If your company has to be in compliance with a regulatory body like PCI Data Security Standards (DSS) or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), then consult with your auditor before enabling network access to mobile devices.
  • Establish device control policies. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) can be full of benefits like saving on corporate hardware purchases and increasing productivity for your mobile workforce and SMB. However, the negatives can outweigh all those positives when a BYOD device brings malware into your network. Create a policy that governs how your corporate IT staff can gain control over a personal device, while maintaining your network security. Include information about how to keep personal information private (e.g., via a mobile device backup strategy that doesn’t touch personal data) and define corporate ownership over data and applications.
  • Enforce device-level security.  Both corporate-owned and personal devices should have secure passwords and screen locks; document this requirement in your mobile device policies. In addition, make sure it’s clear that both personal and corporate mobile devices maintain up-to-date corporate-approved (and preferably corporate-managed) antivirus and security software installed to guard against malware and other security risks.
  • Develop and deliver mobile workforce security training. Education can be just as powerful a security tool as technology. Develop and deliver mobile workforce security training built around keeping your mobile workforce productive and prepared to be the first line of defense against malware and other security threats to their mobile devices. Spell out your corporate policies and include a participant sign-off stating that they understand and will abide by the policies.
  • Determine deal breakers for your mobile device policies. In establishing mobile security policies – regardless of your industry – there are going to be deal breakers when you have to deny certain user requests.
    Deal breakers might include devices not running the current version of its OS, or they may be jail broken. There should also be a defined escalation path for deal breakers so the denial can be dealt with in an official manner with reasons formally documented in your mobile device security policies.
  • Let your business drive mobile device security policies and training. Remember to let your own business requirements and culture drive the policies, training and other upfront work you do to support your mobile workforce when it comes to mobile device security and access.

Business Achievement

What is Achievement?

Achievement is what you have done of significance at work which has benefited your company or organisation. Think about your work achievements. Or even your life achievements – these are the successes that you have had so far. Perhaps you have just passed your driving test, or maybe after many years of trying, you have learnt to swim. This is an achievement as it is something you have worked hard for, and in the end the results have been successful.

Why is this important?

In our lives it is important to have objectives so when you have reached them you can say you have some achievements. Think about when you were younger, and your ambitions. Maybe you wanted to become a doctor, so you studied hard, and you finally became a doctor. Perhaps you wanted to have a house with a big garden. Can you remember the day you fulfilled this dream? These are personal achievements and they give you the feeling of self-satisfaction, confidence, and happiness. Let us now take a look at your work achievements. When you have achievement at work it means that you are working towards goals normally set by others, but they can be set by yourself, too. Perhaps you have to reach a sales target, or you need to complete a project within a deadline, or perhaps you need to see clients or customers and help them in some way. If you succeed in helping them, or you reach your sales target, or you complete your project by the deadline, you have examples of achievements. Striving for achievements shows determination and tenacity.

How can you show you have this competency?

If you have a job interview and you want to demonstrate your achievements you need to think about different situations you have been in, the actions you have taken, and the results of these actions. Perhaps you have had a difficult customer, how have you dealt with that person? Did your action benefit your organisation? In what way? If your results were successful, state this either in your job application, or in your interview.
Think about the skills which you have which make you attractive and valuable as an employee. Remember the more achievement you can give as examples, the more you can sell and market yourself for the job.

How to improve this skill

If there is a goal which seems difficult to achieve, don’t give up easily. If you can understand your goal and work towards it this will show that you have the potential to achieve. You need to be able to face obstacles and be determined enough to meet targets. Think about a time where you have had to take “no” for an answer, did you just accept it? Don’t just accept it, find out why the answer is “no”.
Also ask for feedback as this can give you an indication of how you are doing. You could compare this to learning a language, for example, if you find some grammar difficult you can always ask your teacher for feedback on your exercises. You can apply this rule to the workplace as well and if you are not sure of how you are progressing, ask!