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Customer Service and the Telephone

For many businesses (my own included), a good portion of our customer interactions involve the telephone. Whether we’re actually having a conversation, leaving a message, trying to get past a “gatekeeper,” or recording our own voicemail message, the customer only has the quality of our phone skills for making judgments about the quality of our organization’s customer service.

As customers, most of us have suffered through:

  • Employees answering the phone with an indecipherable greeting.
  • Being put on hold without being asked.
  • Explaining our needs only to be transferred and having to explain them again.
  • A bored, disinterested voice on the other end of the line.
  • Lengthy voicemail messages that never seem to get to the point.

I recently read a helpful article that provides some good reminders for all of us when conducting business over the phone. I hope you find the article to be helpful and, if appropriate, pass it along to other members of your team.

Telephone Manners Article

Company Vehicles – Everything Speaks!

For many organizations, their company vehicles (delivery trucks, service vans, etc.) are seen by more people than any other type of advertising they do. As those vehicles drive through neighborhoods, cruise the highways, or wait at stoplights, they are mobile billboards for the organization. The question for the company to ask themselves is, “Do our vehicles reflect our brand in the way we want it reflected?”

I recently saw the pictured Truly Nolen Pest Control stretch limo driving through a neighborhood, along with three of their traditional “bugs.” Talk about capturing attention. I even followed the limo until I got them to stop for a photo! The driver told be he gets stopped all the time for photos, and sometimes people even ask if they can rent the limo for a prom or wedding (which they don’t do).

I’ve also seen company vehicles like the other one pictured, which I cannot imagine reflects the brand image the company desires. But desire and execution are two different things. When that vehicle shows up at a customer’s home or business, an impression is instantly made regardless of the company’s desires.

If you have vehicles in the field, what brand message are they communicating to your current and potential customers? Just take a moment to think about how many people will see your company’s vehicles TODAY.

Neil Ducoff Interview – No Compromise Leadership

I recently had the opportunity to interview Neil Ducoff, author of the best-selling book, No Compromise Leadership: A Higher Standard of Leadership Thinking & Behavior. I’ve known Neil for about a year and a half, and respect him as a thought leader when it comes to effectively operating a business.

During the interview Neil discusses how to create a “no compromise” culture in which every member of the organization is committed to its success. He cautions against those seemingly “insignificant” compromises leaders make every day, resulting in significantly diminished results. I think you’ll appreciate his candidness and his ability to say things in a way that will make you consider your own situation and the decisions you make.

For more information about Neil, his book, and his speaking/consulting offerings, go to www.nocompromiseleadership.com. One thing Neil doesn’t mention during the interview is that while his book is available through his Web site, Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, etc, it is also available as an audio download on his site.

The Top Five Customer Service Mistakes Companies Make – And How Your Organization Can Avoid Them

I’ve recently put together a white paper titled, “The Top Five Customer Service Mistakes Companies Make, and How Your Organization Can Avoid Them.” The mistakes addressed in the white paper come from working with and observing hundreds of organizations, large and small, and noting the issues that seem to come up again and again.

My purpose in writing the paper, however, was not to simply point out the mistakes. For each of the five issues addressed, I’ve offered approaches for avoiding the mistake or for making course corrections if things have gotten off track.

The five customers service mistakes addressed in the white paper are:

  1. Not clearly defining what the customer experience is supposed to be.
  2. Designing processes for the company’s convenience, not the customer’s.
  3. Hiring the wrong people.
  4. Not making customer service a significant part of new-hire orientation as well as ongoing training.
  5. Tolerating poor service performance from employees at any level within the organization.

To download the white paper, simply click on this link – Top Five Customer Service Mistakes – fill in the requested information, and click the download button. Be sure and let me know if you have any problems with the download.

Please forward this post to anyone you feel might benefit from the information provided in the white paper. And I would welcome any feedback, pro or con, you might have based on what you read.

Most of all, I hope the information helps you and your organization in delivering the best possible customer service