Archive for the 'Hints, Tips and Secrets' Category

Have you ever had the problem that management and employees who are not on the front line, don’t focus on how they personally impact customer satisfaction? This is a common problem in large organizations. In my years at IBM, it was one of the key challenges. Often decisions made in departments removed from day to day interaction with customers set policies, designed systems or created products, services or promises that were not customer friendly or could not be implemented in the real world. Here are some tips to get buy in and focus internally.

One of the things I always ask myself when our service organization wants to say that the customer is wrong, is …what made the customer think this way? Did our sales force sell it wrong? Is there something wrong on our website or our packaging? Read about a car manufacturer that misled customers but could weasel out of it legally through a disclaimer on the web. A few tips are given on how to handle situations where you have to say ‘no’ to a customer.

One of the key trends in the free world today is that corporations and people can not longer hide what they say or do. Here’s an example where parents have had to turn their own children into the police for crimes due to social media pressure. This affects businesses, governments and not for profit organizations as well. See 4 tips on how to handle mistakes.

Sometimes, in business and in life, we make mistakes and need to apologize. I have written several articles in this blog on how to effectively say you are sorry. I found this interesting article called The Science of Effective Apologies by Guy Winch, Ph.D. which has some research behind it. According to the scientific research by Ryan Fehr and Michele J. Gelfand of the University of Maryland, the way you apologize depends on the nature of the relationship you have with the other party.

Word of mouth (and with the internet, this has become World of Mouth) is having a bigger and bigger effect on who customers chose to do business with. One of the key sources of information consumers use today are ‘reviews’ (in customer satisfaction terminology- ‘testimonials or references’). Here’s an interesting technique to help an organization gather reviews: Run a contest. Check out what Lenovo, a PC Manufacturer is doing.

One of the best practices for Customer Satisfaction is to prevent known problems. One technique to help with this objective is to create systems to notify customers of issues that might affect them, that are affecting them or that they should be aware of. This post covers why is it important to set up a notification system and what constitutes a notification system.

Customer service representatives, complaint managers and senior executives are often confronted by irate customers. When the interaction is in person or over the phone, there are techniques to calm the customer and get to the heart of the matter. Here are 7 steps I used at IBM when I handled critical customer complaints.

Ensuring an organization has References and Testimonials for its products and services is a well established customer satisfaction best practice. A new trend in the industry is accessing these on line and now through mobile phones. Pictures of actual reviews on mobile phones (smart and regular cell phones) are included in the article.

When things go wrong in your organization, it is far better for the organization to be the one to announce the news. Tell your story rather than allowing someone else to break the news with their story. This will minimize damage control. Read the 7 things you should do right away.

How many times do you hear of a company firing a front line employee, either in sales or service because the front line employee was unable to appease a dissatisfied customer. As a general rule, most organizations do not have bad employees, just broken processes.

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