Learning from the Good and the Bad

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Regardless of how long you have worked within the CSR field, there are always new things to learn and since every customer is different, there are always new angles to approach them and gain their loyalty. Oftentimes companies have a system in place that has worked in the past, but is seriously in need of modernizing or altering in some fashion. As you seek to find a new position within this industry, coming in with fresh, new ideas for doing service better is always a nice trait to have and discuss during the interview process.

In today’s digital and social media age, if a company has not already gotten on board with the new ways to reach their customer base, then that is the first place to start. However, since most companies probably have already implemented some sort of email/text/electronic system to reach out to customers, it comes down to how to best utilize this system.

Online ad campaigns and electronic sales flyers and email are great if used correctly, but that is not always the case. There are a few mistakes that are often made which can easily be addressed with a new focus. One mistake is the idea of just trying to play the numbers game. If the current goal is simply to draw in first time customers, then the system needs rethinking. The ads are there to draw, but is there then a focus and trained staff that is ready to do what is necessary to service the customer whether for a first time customer or a repeat customer? Is there a goal to seek to establish a long-term relationship for their future business needs? Making a sale is nice, but making a relationship is preferred. How does the current system plan measure up, and what areas need attention to accomplish that goal?

Another mistake that is commonly made is pushing too much. Emails are quick and cheap, but if they are not getting read because there is too much information being pushed, then it is a futile method. I know this from experience, as I am sure most readers probably do. I currently subscribe to one particular product site, just to give one example, and I literally receive an email every single day from them. There are some companies that see no issue with even sending more than one a day. More often than not, after a few weeks of this, I simply unsubscribe, because by that point I have already stopped reading them weeks before. Ingrid Cliff at CSM had this to say on the topic:

Then you have the businesses that understand the importance of keeping in touch with their customers, except they are like over-eager suitors. These businesses send you three emails the first day, at least one or two the subsequent days and then keep up a daily stream of emails, texts and other forms of contact. Their clients may feel flattered initially, but after a while, they burn out from all of the focus and attention. Pull back a bit on the efforts to stay in touch. Allow customers to come to you through reading your blog or articles, with only a few direct contacts thrown in, rather than constantly pushing your message onto them.

A further mistake many companies make is to not respond to contacts and complaints, or when responding, sending just a canned response with no personal contact. If a company does has a complaints department or system in place, is it being utilized properly? Are complaints being quickly addressed? Silence is deafening to the customer if they have a problem or take the time to write the company especially if there is a large amount of time before receiving a response, if one is received at all. Or maybe the response they do get is just a canned “we appreciate your business…” type automated message. These do nothing to establish a long term relationship with customers and can be quite a turn off. I recently wrote on how such a canned response seems to have been used on the Domino’s Pizza Facebook page, and how it shows a lack of true service. Attention to detail is important, regardless of how big the company is. The bigger the company, the larger the service team should be, since the CSR is the lifeblood of almost any business.

Customer service speaker Shep Hyken recently wrote on the importance of learning from mistakes and successes, and one of the tips he had can be applied to most any CSR situation. While most companies take their failures and analyze them to seek a solution, the successes are often not given as much discussion, and a wealth of information may be lost. He states, “Years ago I took a course offered by the Afterburners, a group of former military fighter pilots who teach corporate America how to bring military strategy into their boardroom. One of the very powerful lessons I learned about the military way of “doing business” was that they debriefed after every mission – both failed and successful missions. To really get strong feedback, everyone in the debrief session went rankless. In other words, everybody was equal. Rank was not the issue. Open communication and feedback were more important than genuflecting to the higher ranking officers.” Likewise, a CSR team and leadership must be able to openly discuss issues of all kinds. If a leader has a do-it-my-way-or-else attitude, then the department as a whole will suffer.

So, as you seek to enter into a CSR related field, it is always good to have a good understanding of what makes for good service, and be able to share the ways that you could, if placed into the position, apply such fresh methods in order to bring about success for the whole company

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitialPhotos.net

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