Showing posts with label customer service. Show all posts
Showing posts with label customer service. Show all posts

Monday, April 30, 2012

Don’t make the crucial customer disservice error Hale Groves is making. Pay attention! This article can save you thousands and a lot of customers, too.

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant
Author’s program note. Have you heard of a citrus company called Hale Groves of Vero Beach, Florida? If not, you must be living in a cave. Their marketing is everywhere and in all places, online and off. They’re spending the ransoms of two or three kings on it.
But the poobahs who run the place have made at least one crucial mistake: they haven’t tried to order their product…. and as I am here to tell you, the order takers they’ve got are most assuredly NOT in sync with the hot-shots in the marketing department. In other words, if it is not actually impossible to order some of their tasty product, it is very close to it.
That’s why I’m using as today’s incidental music The Supreme’s great tune “You keep me hanging on” because that’s what the folks at Hale Groves have done to me… each and every time I’ve ordered. You’ll find this1966 hit in any search engine. You can play it while you’re on hold…
Still, let’s get into the right mood for this situation… and what Hale Groves and every other dysfunctional marketing machine needs to do before they irritate too many more of the most important people on earth — good paying customers like me!
The facts.
My family has been buying from Hale Groves for decades… and no wonder. I grew up in the snow belt they call Illinois… I went to college in the snow belt they call Massachusetts… and when I graduated… having had insufficient punishment from snow, sleet, ice and attendant miseries, I stayed on in the very same snow belt that snuffed the Pilgrims.
One of the things that made it all bearable was Hale Groves and the utterly delectable citrus… and, of course, I love getting the free citrus spoons, too. I have a drawer full of them.
The Hale Groves shuffle.
I like to place my citrus orders, indeed all orders, by telephone. Like a good citizen, I have my credit card out… and the special offer I want; the offer I am sure the order taker will want to make sure I get. Like most Americans I order when deals are good and pass when deals are not. But the great thing about Hale Groves is that they always have an offer… and I am always pleased to consider it. I am a citrus freak…. and pink grapefruit are guaranteed to brighten any day or palate, especially when the temperature is below zero and I curse the day I heard of Harvard and a frigid place named Cambridge.
Order I would, if order I could.
The citrus season begins November 1, and you can bet your bottom dollar that Hale Groves will have a special offer in your hand, an offer so good you wouldn’t think of missing it. I want to see that offer… I want to take advantage of that offer IF Hale Groves will let me… for that is by no means a sure thing.
Because memory is imperfect, as I dial the number I find my last run-in with them is not the first thing in mind; instead I am tasting in my imagination their citrus perfection… but first I must pay my dues by holding. It is a rule.
Like all good Americans I hate holding…. not just hate it but despise and disdain it. I’d like a choice… hold forever or allow them to call me back in (so many minutes); techies can easily tell them how many: “Your call will be returned in 7.5 minutes sharp.”
Okay, I’m on hold… and second by second I am working up a good head of steam, the better to craft a snide comment that they well and truly deserve. I mean, I don’t begin to have the available time I have to wait for a competent order taker to emerge and assist me. Who does?
But my torments have not even begun…
Codes. Colors. Confusion. Choler.
“I’d like to place an order from a mailing I just received.” These are the words I am hoping I don’t soon regret.
“Do you have the offer there in front of you?”
I do… and I say so proudly, even defiantly because I am hopeful history is not about to repeat itself.
But we are, the order taker and I, about to enter the twilight zone in which the order I want to place… is the order the order taker cannot seem to take. And so The Rigmarole of ordering from Hale Groves well and truly begins, to the growing irritation of both parties.
“Sir, please give me the special order code.”
Code, code, find the code.
I have an envelope full of Hale Groves propaganda… colorful brochures… a special letter from their president extolling their many virtues… I do not see and cannot find a code… and what’s worse the order taker cannot direct me by uttering such reassuring words as “you’ll find the code in big red letters at the top of page 1.” Such essential words, calming to both parties, neither of us can find… and this is what that means.
It means some bright folks in the marketing department have not tried to order the product themselves… and have certainly never bothered to train the hapless order takers who are about to feel the sharp lash of my tongue because no one knows who’s on first and where to find that flippin’ code.
And so we sink into muddle, mayhem, a disordered morass. If this were a dance it would be a tango… and that for an order process is completely unacceptable.
Finally, I say what I should have said at the first sign of trouble. “Why don’t you take down my telephone number and call me when you’ve discovered where the code is?’ But my tenacious order taker won’t let go, won’t do the sensible thing and will not proceed with the matter of doing what we both want: placing the order. In other words getting that code, no matter that neither she nor I could find it, had become more important than satisfying the customer. And that’s why this order “process” is such a mess.
But it got even worse…
The order taker, unable to direct me to the code, put me on extended hold while she quizzed her colleagues about the location of that code. No one knew, which meant no one had thought it useful to instruct them on this matter… and so while I smoldered they, with every passing minute, proved that the one hand in marketing didn’t know and hadn’t bothered to advise the other in the order department, thereby generating bad feelings instead of the satisfied customer both parties wanted.
Again, I advised the clueless order taker to take my number and call me back when she was organized and ready. But the poor woman had been instructed, perhaps with severity, to get the code upon pain of death. And she could not, would not get beyond this trifling matter… and so the matter ended in stand-off, no order, no business, and no future.
Hale Groves will now bombard me for years with sales messages and tempting offers, too, too little, too late. For I have now discovered an excellent product from Del Monte, Red Grapefruit, SunFresh. No hassle. No waiting. Already peeled. And no need to deal with the misnamed order takers at Hale who, when needed, could not have been less ready. Which is why I suggest you try to order what you sell. It could well be your weakest link. Oh, yes, and call me to finish my order.
*** Your response to this article is requested. What do you think? Let us know by posting your comments below.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What to do before you leave your office… that ensures business tomorrow!

Bushed? Had a long day? On your way out
the door for a little liquid refreshment and some
R & R?
Not so fast! You’ve got tomorrow’s business to
think about today and some crucial tasks to
perform before you leave. Whether you do them
and how you do them determines just how
successful tomorrow will be.
1) Report to customers with pressing concerns
Like everyone in business, you have certain
high-ranking customers… certain high maintenance
customers… and those who are both. Before you
leave today, call and bring them up-to-date on
their affairs.
Can’t reach them right away? Leave a detailed
message. Make it as positive and soothing as you
can. Make it clear that you are on their case
doing your best.
2) Try to connect with that elusive prospect yet again.
Have you been trying to reach that will-of-the-wisp prospect?
Try again right now. Successful people work longer
and harder than the average.  Show this prospect
just how enthusiastic and interested you are. Call
them again now; e-mail if you fail to connect by
phone. People like to work with eager beavers.
This extra effort on your part indicates you are
one of the best.
3) Send an e-mail that will generate leads and
An excellent time to e-mail your prospects is
on your way out the door. Why? Because it’ll
produce for you while you’re doing other things.
Want to return in the morning to a handful of
prospect leads and sales? E-mailing before you
leave will deliver… especially if you make a
particularly good offer for immediate response.
4) Update your telephone answering machine
Most people never think of their answering
machine message as a marketing communication…
but it is. Keep yours up-to-date with a spiffiIng
offer… an offer that gets the prospect to stop
in his tracks, listen… and call to hear it again
and respond.
Whatever you’ve got that prospects will see,
listen and respond to is marketing… and thus
needs your focused consideration and an
offer that motivates.
5) Mend a fence
Everybody has one business (or personal)
relationship that could be sunnier. Don’t leave
your office today until you’ve e-mailed a
friendly message that mends a fence. Make
it short, sweet, upbeat. Don’t rehash the
past; make your message forward looking and,
above all, positive. Do this even if you’re the
aggrieved party. Secure the future by
graciousness now.
6) Revive a languishing proposal
Every proposal that one makes in business
isn’t going to secure a positive response. Some
will wilt. Use the time before you leave to see
whether you can revive at least one.
Make this note short, positive…. forward
looking. Ask whether there has been any further
update since you were last in touch. Suggest a
meeting, in person or on the phone.  In short,
let the person you’re contacting understand that
you are ready, willing and able to help them out!
One More Thing: Look in the mirror and SMILE!
Ok, you’re a little more tired than you were…
but what matters that compared to the successful
day you’ve had… and the even more successful
day you’ve positioned for tomorrow?
In short, smile. You’re a go-getter, someone smart
in the ways of business and human relations.  When
you return tomorrow after such an ending today,
you’ll see just how much that means towards your
bottom line. Ole!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

‘How come you do me like you do, do, do?’ What your customers are saying about YOU!

In 1924 America’s first crooner, red-hot pop star Rudy
Vallee (and his Connecticut Yankees band) had the nation
humming along with the catchy rhythm of his latest hit:
“How come you do me like you do, do, do?”
The legions of liberated “flappers” who followed
Vallee everywhere (unleashing a national debate
about the “new woman”) sang along with America’s
boy next door:
“Why do you try to make me feel so blue?
I ain’t done nothing to do!”

“You better treat me right, or let me be!
’cause I can beat you doing what you’re doing to me.”
It was a phenomenon, and a golden marketing model
was born that in due course produced Crosby, Como, and
The flappers, and Vallee himself, are now history…  but
the song’s lyrics carry on as insistent questions customers
ask business owners worldwide:
“WHY do you do me like you do, do, do? WHY do you
do me like you do?”
Your customers are talking about you.  Do you like
what they’re saying?
Now hear this: EVERY customer who steps through your
door, calls you on the telephone, writes or emails you is
going to talk about what happened. Were they treated
properly, professionally, promptly…. or was it a case of
“Why do you do me like you do, do, do?”  Remember,
what they say is a direct result of what you do. Thus, you
have it in your power to ensure that they never say — and
you never suffer from them saying — ANY of these:
1) “They never returned my call!”
Not so long ago, every business made it a point to
return calls promptly and have the information the customer
needed readily at hand when they did. No longer. Now, there
is not even the pretense by most businesses that they return
every telephone call… much less promptly and thoroughly.
Yet, let’s be clear, customers WANT their calls  returned…
and they are certain to complain to friends and family
when YOU don’t!
Make it a point to return all calls within 24 hours, even
if you only report that you are working to get what the
customer wants. The returned call itself signifies volumes!
2) “I filled out their online questionnaire and heard nothing.”

This really bugs your customers… and rightly so. This is
how the customer reckons: “you posted a questionnaire on
your web site. I took the time and trouble to complete it. Then
nothing, absolutely nothing, from you.” Oh, yes, you can be
sure the customer will tell the people he knows with a “can
you believe this?” slant to a tale which you may be sure
will lose nothing in the telling.
3) “They promised to send me… but never did!”
Customers are literal. They expect you to do what you
say you’re going to do… and they will shout it from the mountain
tops when you don’t. So, do.
If you can handle the customer’s request today, do so.
If you can’t, then explain to the customer when she may expect
to hear from you.
Don’t just promise action, however; deliver it. Otherwise, in the
words of the song “why do you try to make me feel so blue? I
ain’t done nothing to you.” Believe me; they will start doing
something, something you won’t like, if you don’t come through!
4) “They never told me what was happening.”
When a customer says this, what they are really saying is this:
“Can you believe this? Can you believe that those yahoos would
treat ME like this… ME the all-important customer?” In short, the
customer will make it clear to everyone who will listen that you
are little better than a jerk and certainly far from delivering the prompt
professional service they have every right to expect. Ouch!
Solution?  If you want to impress your customer, instead of
providing the fuel for the fire that ends up scorching you, then
follow-up and keep the customer in the loop. Always.
5) “I waited and waited for service while the staff  gossiped
about what they did over the week-end.”

Want your customers to see red… and tell the world? Then
ignore them. Don’t bother to show your staff how to treat
customers; don’t treat them properly yourself. Just continue
to ignore them while chatting away. This is an absolutely
sure-fire way to lose a customer and launch a stream of
comments, the worse because they are absolutely true.
You and your staff do gossip in front of customers.
Indeed, you seem to not even see the customers, much less
regard them.
As a result, thoughtless, avoidable rudeness by rudeness you
are helping your customers create the negative image that kills your
profits and enriches your competitors. Ouch again!
6) “He was texting his girl friend while I waited for assistance!”
Inappropriate and untimely text messaging has become a worldwide
problem and a sure-fire way to get your customers to bad-mouth
you and  your business.
Be assured that if you text message in front of customers,
particularly about personal matters, you will tap into the
rich, inexhaustible vein of customer irritation, exasperation,
and rage. Text in front of customers, and you can be sure the
customer will retaliate in ways that hurt your bottom line. Count on it!
“cause I can beat you doing what you’re doing to me!”
7) “He left for a break right in the middle of ‘helping’ me!”

More avoidable customer exasperation and disbelief. OK, so you want
your break! OK, you “need” that cigarette… or that sugar high RIGHT NOW.
But must you make your feelings about your acute boredom with
and disdain for customers quite as clear as you do by walking away
from them when you’re supposed to be assisting?
We live in rude, vulgar, selfish, acute me-centered times. These are getting
worse and worse as general acceptance of boorish behavior grows.
Customers, however, continue to expect businesses like  yours to
exhibit service and civility… the more so since they get so little of it otherwise.
Last Words

So,  WHY do you do your customers like you do, do, do when they are
the life blood of your business? WHY do you allow behaviors and actions
which not only irritate customers but hurt yourself and your business? You
see, every negative situation cited above is entirely avoidable. Instead of
doing things which infuriate customers, start singing them Rudy Vallee’s
greatest hit — “My time is your time” . With that as your focus, they’ll stop
moaning “How come you  do me like you do, do, do?” and start whistling
a tune you’ll like a whole lot better.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Relationship Building is Good Business, here’s why.

If you want to set your business apart from your competitors spend some time creating and fostering relationships with your current and prospective customers.
Strong business relationship lead to long term customers and this is good for your bottom line. If you have been ignoring social media it’s time to recognize that you are turning your back on a vital direct connection to the people who have supported your business and those people who may be your next customers. Your customers are a vital source of information for any company. They can help you understand how to better meet their needs and therefore, retain their business while attracting new business. One of the most powerful ways to tap this valuable resource is by finding more ways to connect with your customers and build lasting relationships.
Relationship building is an ongoing process on and offline. Social media makes it easier to start and build relationships with current and prospective customers all over the world. Your marketing plan should include dedicating resources for building your online presence through posts, blogs, backlinks, bookmarks, commenting and more. Your website is simply not enough any more. If you want to speak to your customers and grow your sales you will need to connect with them using popular social media.
Social media makes it easy to build relationships with your customers, here’s how.
- Instantly create connections
- Expand your reach to new markets
- Ability to jump on customer service issues right away
- Better identify gaps in your service provision
- Know what people are saying about your company
- Increase awareness of what your business offers
- Increase referrals and sales
- Generate new sales with offers
- Post Product or Service Reviews
- Improve customer experiences with your company
- Generate fresh online frequent content that you control
What to do next:
Have a look at some of the popular Social Media sites to see which ones are the best fit for your company, products or services. Don’t limit yourself to just the large sites, if you can find niche sites directly related to your purposes this can be ideal and easily found with a Google search. Here’s just a few of the top ones ranked by
Before the Internet, building business relationships meant greeting your customer by name when they came into your store. Today, it means using social media to better connect with your customers and in the process of helping them you help your own company grow stronger. Companies and their customers are connected in a way never seen before and it’s your job as a business owner to facilitate this process.

Please Share This.Thank You.

Welcome To Our Wealth Building Blog Network. Click here to view our home page and find out more about us.