8 Golden rules

Now, we all agree that great customer service is imperative to your business and believe it or not, we have been providing this service for many years without even realising it.

Take the photo as an example… as children when we are taught to use the telephone we are instructed to say hello, ask who the caller is and most importantly, be polite.  Simple concept really… but as we morph into our teen years the communication may change slightly to: “Ma, phone”… Ma asks, “who is it”?  and our teenager responds, “I didn’t ask, but it’s not for me”.  Interesting….

So, the teenager grows a bit older and eventually gets their first job… by which the first order of business during their job induction is, how to answer the phone and deal or speak with customers.  Sound familiar?

Now, with all of this training from our wee years, you would think that we would all be experts wouldn’t you?  Well… there comes a time when a memory lapse occurs and the worst thing that can occur is for us to treat our callers or visitors like an interruption or inconvenience.

Here are 8 golden rules to help you stay focused:

  1. Answer the phone (make sure that someone picks up the phone in your business by the 3rd ring)
  2. Keep your promises (Reliability is the key to good relationships)
  3. Listen to your customers (It’s not about what you can offer, it’s about what your customer need’s)
  4. Be helpful (even if it means you’re not getting an immediate benefit, your customer will remember this)
  5. Train your employees (product and service knowledge=confidence AND it shows that you care about how your staff are representing your company)
  6. Go the extra mile (If you don’t offer a particular product or service, recommend someone who you know and trust that can)
  7. Handle complaints correctly (A complaint may feel bad, but it also gives you and the company an opportunity to learn and improve)
  8. Offer something extra (A discount, a smile or advice… any of these will help you to retain your loyal customers and win new ones)

Thanks for reading and thanks to my big sister for the perfect pose!

Nancy

Interview with a graduate

My mission today is simple…. to help showcase a talented young person’s quest for success and communicate to the public how challenging it is for the youths of today to secure their future.

In order to make this real, I chose to interview a promising soon-to-be graduate (Caroline),who will leave University this summer with a BA (Hons) degree in Journalism and enter our world as an independent adult professional.  Caroline has dreams… BIG ones I might add and as we spoke I couldn’t help thinking to myself, “I’m glad I grew up during the time that I did”.

Caroline is really passionate about helping other peers benefit from what she has learned too….  so let the interview begin!

Hands-on: Caroline, “what are your dreams and aspirations”?

Caroline: “I’d like to be a reporter for network or regional TV news like the BBC and have a particular interest in crime reporting and covering police investigations”.  “I also enjoy the travelling aspect of the job and would LOVE the opportunity to gain some experience as a news correspondent in the United States”.

Hands-on: “What do you feel are your biggest challenges”?

Caroline: “Well, my voice or rather my local Northern accent is probably number one on my list and I’m working hard on that”. “My other challenges would have to be the transition from young adult to professional, gaining trust and respect in my chosen field and getting rid of the stigma attached to the term student or recent graduate”.

Hands-on: “Caroline, what would you say are the pros and cons of your chosen industry”?

Caroline: Pro’s would be:

  • Variety of work, meeting different people from high-profile to local resident and even criminals in some cases
  • Providing a necessary service
  • The thrill and excitement of capturing a new story

Cons:

  • It’s not very well paid, considering the heavy workload
  • Being away from home a lot
  • People tend to stereotype and avoid the press

Hands-on: “What would you change to provide more graduates with an opportunity?

Caroline: “The government should provide better support for graduates”. “At the end of the day, I’ve invested in my career and future and would like to get paid back for my investment”.  “There also should be more opportunities for lesser skilled people, who don’t have the means to go to university or the experience to get a good job”.

Hands-on: “What would your message be to potential employer’s”?

Caroline: “I’ve studied non-stop, have taken the time to develop my work experience profile and I’m willing to work hard and learn as much as I can to prove that I am worthy of an opportunity”.

Hands-on: “Do you have any tips for your peers”?

Caroline: ” Yes, make sure that your work experience is based on your field of study and not just retail jobs for cash”. If your CV shows that you are passionate about your chosen study field, you’ll probably have a better chance at getting a job when you graduate”.  “Also, networking online and offline and keeping in touch with previous employer’s raises your profile and may open up other opportunities”.

Caroline: “Always be polite and courteous, regardless of the type of company you’re dealing with”.

Thanks Caroline, with your dreams in tact and a determination to succeed, I’m sure I’m not alone in saying we wish you all the best for the future!

These keys will open doors

It’s 2:30 pm on a Saturday and once again, I find the need to express my feelings about a topic that runs through my very being.

Customer Service…. now before you think this is another “business” blog about how to deliver great  customer service, let me re-assure you that I’ll be taking you on a different journey all together.

Great customer service  can not always be taught in the traditional way… it is a characteristic of who you ARE.  What I mean by that statement is, although you may intend to be courteous, polite and kind to others in the business world and within your personal lives, an individual has to be raised with a strong foundation of kindness, the  desire to be a good listener and a people pleaser in a genuine way. These building blocks allow a person to grow and develop to an exceptional level.

Here are a couple of positive examples:

1) Personal life: You visit the grocery store and as you begin walking down the cereal aisle, you notice a person who is shorter than you struggling to reach the item they want. They begin looking around for a store assistant to help them… but there is no one in sight.  YOU come to the rescue (because you’re taller and can easily reach the item) and say to the shopper, “Let me get that for you”.  The other shopper is grateful and delighted that someone took notice of their struggle and went out of their way to help.  Kindness is the “key”.

2) Professional life: A customer contacts your office asking for a particular service that your company does not offer. They mention briefly that an associate of their’s recommended you and were told that you definitely carry out this function. After you have “listened”, you begin  explaining some of the services you DO provide and tell them that you’re sorry for the mistake their associate has made. You  ask them a few more questions to help determine the company they are looking for. (Google comes in handy for that)  Area, service and perhaps other clues that could help…. Eureka! You find the company and contact details and happily present them to the caller. The caller was not expecting you to go out of your way, but you did it because you exude excellent service qualities.  This wrong number caller now becomes an “open door” and you were the “key”.

These two examples are quite different, but both of them clearly show you the type of people recommended  for customer-facing or customer service roles.

  • Helper’s
  • Listener’s
  • Carer’s
  • Problem solver’s
  • Do- gooders

The qualities above were instilled in me as a child; which is slowly diminishing in today’s society.  These qualities my friends are the “keys” that will most definitely open doors both in life and business.

As a child and young adult, I was raised to  say please, thank you and you’re welcome or excuse me in every social situation.  It is who I am and who I will always be.  I do have to admit that when I was little, the word “please” if said a certain way became a persuasion tool! (but that’s another story)

Thanks for reading,

Nancy

If lost, leave a trail

Have you ever thought about who you are and what your purpose in life is?

I know this topic is rather deep, but I’m confident that everyone has explored themselves at least once in their lives.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you doing what you’ve always dreamed of?
  • Is your family life content and complete?
  • Have you found your soul mate in life?
  • Are you happy with the person you’ve become?
  • Do you challenge yourself personally and professionally?

All good questions I know, but how many of us will answer YES to all of the above?

I’m not saying that if you don’t answer yes to all, you have failed…what I am saying is; when was the last time you actually asked yourself these questions and explored the answers?

Let’s move on, because I’d like to explain the subject title.

If you have no answers and are feeling somewhat lost in life, it’s important to leave a trail.  Hang in there… I’ll explain this.

Leaving a “trail” means that even if you explore areas in your life that you haven’t yet reached to your satisfaction, you can always go back to your comfort zone. For example; if you challenge yourself to try something new and don’t succeed, you haven’t lost anything.. you can always go back knowing that at least you tried.

The same goes for love… and of course your professional life.

Finding yourself and your true purpose is slightly more difficult, but the best remedy is being honest with yourself.  Be positive, find your strengths and be realistic with your goals and aspirations.

You cannot change some decisions that you’ve made in life, you have to accept that you’ve made them for a reason (a gut instinct) and move forward towards a life that can be very fulfilling.

The best tip I can give you is: Don’t be hard on yourself for not achieving all that you dreamed of… but rather make the most of what you have achieved and enjoy your time on this planet.

Thanks for reading,

Nancy