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Cedars&Oaks Consults Limited.
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Service Experience Management Company
Service Experience Management Company

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When it Comes to Customer Service, Be a Leader By Shep Hyken

I was boarding a very early morning flight to Dallas.  One of the pilots of the plane, Gerald Higginbotham, was greeting every single person who walked on the plane.  He was so outgoing and engaging.  He welcomed everyone and built rapport with many of the passengers.

He would ask, “Where are you going?”  If they said anywhere other than Dallas, he would say, “Well we’re flying to Dallas, and as long as that is on your way, you’re on the right plane.”  Then he would laugh.

He had lots of little sayings that put smiles on everyone’s faces.  I was sitting in my seat and admiring this amazing display of enthusiastic interaction.  I’ve seen pilots engage with passengers before, but not at this level.

Then came the bad news.  Our flight was going to be delayed by at least a half hour due to weather.  That didn’t scare too many people.  But, a few minutes later we found out it would be at least an hour.  Typically when this kind of news is announced many of the passengers start to get restless.  They want to leave the plane, see a gate agent, call reservations or do just about anything, to feel like they are proactively doing something to avoid missing connections or being late to their destination.  I’m one of those passengers.

But, that day was different.  I was in a different mood and so were many of the passengers.  And it was all because of our pilot, Gerald Higginbotham.  His mood was contagious.  And that is what brings me to the point.

You may have heard the old expression: Enthusiasm is contagious.  Well here’s a new one: Customer service is contagious.  Actually it might be better to say that…

Friendly customer service is contagious.

There is no doubt that Gerald put us into a better mood.  His mood made accepting the bad news easier.  It wasn’t the airlines fault that there was bad weather.  And, by the way, there are many passengers that seem to think it’s the airlines fault when there is a delay due to weather.  But, I digress.  It just seemed that the outward friendliness of our pilot made everyone a little happier, more accepting and more tolerant.

And, guess what else?  The other captain and all of the flight attendants were in a better mood too, and as a result, they delivered an even higher level of customer service.

Here’s the lesson:  A friendly, outgoing, customer focused employee can raise the bar for everyone.  Gerald set a great example for the rest of the employees to follow, and they did.  In a sense, Gerald created the plane’s “culture.” Just like any other company might have a customer focused culture, it starts with leadership.

And, here is a reminder about leadership.  My friend and colleague Mark Sanborn says that you don’t need a title to be a leader.  And when it comes to customer service, anyone can step up and be a leader and role model. So, step up.  Set an example.  Others will follow.  It’s contagious!

Shep Hyken
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BECOME A CERTIFIED SERVICE PROFESSIONAL (CSP).
“Move from serving clients the way YOU like to be served to serving them the way THEY like to be served. It’s as simple as asking their preference.” – Marilyn Suttle

Facts:
• Customers know what they want; they have expectations.
• You need to learn how to CONNECT with your customers and exceed their expectations.
• Customer experience is not just about passion, it’s about driving profitable results for your organizations.
  
Register, acquire the principles of quality customer experience and become a globally recognized Certified Service Professional (CSP).
Attain your certification under the world’s industry leading Service Capability & Performance (SCP) Career Certification program from Service Strategies Corporation USA.

Who Should Attend
• Customer service representatives
• Customer service officers
• Customer service executives
• Marketers
• Sales Representatives
• Business development executives
• Operations Staff
• Call coordinators and service dispatchers
• Anyone in contact with a customer

New Class Starts: June 21, 2014.
Time: 10am prompt.

Mode of Training
• Online training
• Class room training (Lagos, Port Harcourt & Abuja only).

Duration
• Weekends (Saturdays only): 3weeks

Installments payment allowed.

Cedars&Oaks Consults Ltd. is the sole licensed partner of Service Strategies Corporation USA in Nigeria.

6B Bendel Close off Bishop Aboyade Cole Victoria Island, Lagos.
Phone: 08134099411, 08162314354
Email; info@cedarsandoaks.com
www.cedarsandoaks.com
www.servicestrategies.com
  
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Get Certified. Get Noticed.  Get Hired. Get Recognized. Get Ahead

Certifications intrinsically provide the link between where you are and where you want to go.

Gaining a professional certification is a step that sets you apart – that benchmarks your knowledge in a recognized way.

Facts:
• Certified professional are more employable; 96% of employers’ state that a certified job applicant has a greater hiring advantage than a non-certified job applicant.
• 91% of employers state that a certified professional is more likely to be considered for promotion than a non-certified professional.
• 81% of employers believe that a certified professional has greater job security than a non-certified professional.
   
Register and become a globally recognized Certified Service Professional (CSP).
Attain your certification under the world’s industry leading Service Capability & Performance (SCP) Career Certification program. The Service Capability & Performance (SCP) Standards provide the definitive benchmark of service excellence in the industry.
The world’s leading service and support providers use Service Strategies’ Service Capability & Performance (SCP) Standards as a roadmap for service excellence and a benchmark measure of success.

Who Should Attend
• Customer service representatives
• Customer service officers
• Customer service executives
• Marketers
• Sales Representatives
• Business development executives
• Call coordinators and service dispatchers
• Anyone in contact with a customer

New Class Starts: June 21, 2014.
Time: 10am prompt.
SCP Career Certification Exam
Online Certification Exam administered at the completion of the class, successfully students become Certified Service Professional (CSP).

Duration
• Weekends (Saturdays only): 3weeks
Time:  10am-2pm.

Installments payment allowed.

Class Slots available in Lagos, Port Harcourt & Abuja.

Cedars&Oaks Consults Ltd. is the sole licensed partner of Service Strategies Corporation USA in Nigeria.

6B Bendel Close off Bishop Aboyade Cole Victoria Island, Lagos.
Phone: 08134099411, 08174727568
Email; info@cedarsandoaks.com
www.cedarsandoaks.com
www.servicestrategies.com
  
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Tips to delivering customer service excellence

It costs you five times as much to win a new customer than to keep a current one. But, customers are not loyal by nature and research shows that emotion influences purchase decision six times more than rationale. Connecting to your customers on an emotional level is the key to establishing a lasting relationship with your brand. You must go beyond simply delivering your product, and develop strong bonds with your customers. It is essential that you provide a unique customer experience by proactively anticipating your customers’ needs and expectations and exceeding them, every time.
Service excellence is an attitude engrained in every department and it begins and ends with your people, from cashier to CEO. It requires more than a streamlined customer service department or a slogan on the lunch room wall. Excellence is a consistent, premium service at every pass set by a service oriented tone that drives your company strategy at every level.

Tips:
•    Always Focus on Service before anything else
•    Give the Best experience possible
•    Create a unique customer experience
•    Use the Customer as a marketing vehicle
•    Always remember that you are Selling “WOW”
•    Always improve on your service
•    Always respect your customer (time and opinion)
•    Measure their satisfaction and engagement
•    Educate, encourage and use incentives on employees to deliver service
•    Differentiate your Brand from competition
•    Know your customer base (segmentation)
•    Integrate your operations processes into your customer marketing strategies
•    Understand that Customer Satisfaction is based on loyalty, identity, values, and relationships
•    Special Interactions keep customers coming back
•    Solve problems quickly and turn complainers into advocates
•    Customer Service agents must have the authority to make decisions
•    Listen to your customers; Change their attitudes, and fix their problems
•    Measure your relationships, and refine your processes, and proactively solve and prevent the same mistakes from happening again. (Continuous improvement)
•    Improve your supplier relationships, and hold them to the same standard as your customers do
•    Exceed expectations and treat customers as if you would treat a guest in your own home.
•    Spread the word – promote your brand promise by empowering your employees to act as ambassadors
•    Hire good employees from the start; study your culture, and find the right fit
•    Always remember what your corporate values and purpose are, and set mission to that goal.
•    Tell the customer the truth, and love what you do
•    Personalize your service to meet your customers’ needs
•    Listen to Customers; Take appropriate action; keep it simple
•    “The most common thing about common sense is so uncommon”
•    Leaderships should stay involved in the business, and respect employees and customers
•    5 P’s of Customer Service Excellence – Process; Product; Presentation; Price and most importantly People!
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The Business Value of Niceness

Literally -- hugging.
Hug your employees, the cleaning staff, and any number of other people to whom he wants to give support and recognition.

 "Hugging" isn't necessarily a physical embrace. Figuratively: making employees feel invested, included, and cared for. Hugging is building a culture of niceness, hiring the right people, and making work fun.
Hugging is profitable and nice.

If you don't enjoy what you do, then it just seems a shame. We only go through this life once, and it's not a dress rehearsal. So why shouldn't we have fun? We want to hire and keep people who have fun together.

A hug is something that makes people feel warm and good. It's what we try to do every day with our own people, and then they pass that on to the customers.

Niceness creates an environment where people want to come to work, and they become more productive because they're happy, engaged, and motivated within that environment.

In a niceness culture, they support each other as teammates. The business value is high productivity; people can grow themselves to be themselves.

We don't "empower" people, we enable them to grow -- we give them the tools they need, and then they become themselves, and they have fun doing it. The economic value is tremendous, because you can do more with fewer people.

They are more productive, and you can pay them more. And because they're more productive, everybody goes home at night feeling great. 
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The Importance of Customer Focus

The experience a customer has in dealing with your business drives much more than the prospect of repeat business or sales growth.

Typically, business believes that delivering great service will cost them too much, and so they simply deliver what they think they need to. Or worse still, they focus on the timeliness, not the quality.

What most businesses fail to understand is that bad service is actually more costly to your business than great service. Bad service drives much, much more than just a poor customer experience – it reduces revenue and drives up costs. It‘s the last half of the equation that so many people fail to understand.

The experience your business delivers is a reflection on your ability to balance the demands of customer service (volume and type of interactions) and the supply of resources and processes (effectiveness of response).

The hidden costs of bad service are:
•    Rework: every error your business makes, costs money to rectify, and typically slows cash flow. Not all of those costs are measured or visible. The intangible cost is the effect on the customer

•    Loss of potential business: as the level of competition increases across nearly all industries, product quality becomes less of a differentiator. If you make your service offering less attractive than your competitors, price is the most important consideration.

•    Higher contacts per transaction: the number of interactions you need to have with a customer at each stage of the process adds to your costs. Minimizing the number of quality interactions not only saves you money, but improves the customer experience.

•    Staff turnover: despite what some people choose to believe, most staff want to take pride in where they work. They are the ones that typically “wear the heat” for poor service and it can have a major effect on loyalty. Every time you lose a staff member you incur the costs of recruitment and training, and the hidden costs of low productivity during the initial periods, and typically lower quality as they learn their roles. These are real costs that can be avoided if you can retain your frontline staff - a key driver in retaining them is the satisfaction of their job. Few staff find responding to service failures or fixing errors particularly satisfying.

On the other hand, delivering great service delivers these savings:
•    Lower cost to manage and service your client base = higher profits
•    Increased customer loyalty = increased revenue and lower marketing costs
•    Increased staff loyalty - low costs, better service = higher profits

It’s often a hidden opportunity, so ask yourself these questions:
•    Have you looked at your business from the customer’s perspective?
•    Have you looked at your business from your staff’s perspective?
•    Do you have your service priorities right?
•    Are you missing out on a source of competitive advantage?
•    What could you do differently?

Address these issues and you’re on the road to improved profits.
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