Company

How To Be A Customer 101

As service providers, we go to great lengths to ensure we take care of our customers, but what about when the shoe is on the other foot? When we find ourselves as customers, how can we get the best possible service?

Before a company can commit to exceeding your expectations, they need to know what you expect!  So, let your service provider know. It seems so simple, but how many transactions result in disgruntled customers simply because the business representative did not have an accurate picture of the customers’ expectations?

What are your expectations as a customer?

What are your expectations as a customer?

Sure, you can argue this is the business’ responsibility and we’d agree with you. But maybe this example will encourage you to make your expectations known. We were working on a video production and noticed a faulty bit of equipment. This equipment did not come cheap and this fault was certainly unbecoming of the reputable manufacturer.

So we emailed the manufacturer stating the problem. The manufacturer’s representative promptly responded advising us to call the Australian distributor. We had dealt with this particular distributor in the past over the phone and our experiences were… disappointing. Naturally, this was frustrating news to receive. But how was the manufacturer to know?

We responded by writing, calmly but firmly, that this particular distributor had been unhelpful and unpleasant to deal with and as such we were not keen to contact them again. We asked for another alternative. They suggested we ship it. When we said that would be too expensive, they said they would ship a new unit and for us to send back the faulty one. Even though this was an international company, the issue was sorted within four days.

Would it have been better if they had a more professional Australian distributor? Absolutely, but consider how this transaction might have gone if we hadn’t made our expectations of customer service explicitly clear. Our faulty unit would have gone in for costly repairs and the manufacturer would have probably lost a customer.

This doesn’t mean you should be a prima donna. Sales people are astutely aware of customers who demand excessive service at a minimal price and quickly discard them as a vocal nuisance. It’s often extremely uneconomical to try to please these divas. Instead, make your reasonable expectations clear. Smart companies will see this as an opportunity to impress you.

Next time you’re a customer, think back to the customers you’ve impressed. Chances are their expectations were clear and you knew exactly how to exceed them.

– Jakub

The Art of Answering the Phone

Answering a phone – pretty simple, right? Wrong! As one of the most common business tools, it’s often the one that’s taken for granted. That fact is only a small percentage of businesses actually train their staff to use the phone correctly. I’m not talking about holding the handset in a certain way or perfecting a dialing technique, I’m talking about the words and tone they use while on the phone.

Will you answer the call to good phone manners?

Will you answer the call to good phone manners?

At Messages On Hold, the telephone is our bread & butter. And because we do business over the phone, every employee who joins our team undergoes a thorough and complete phone training session as part of their induction. This training focuses on the words & tone they use while on the phone, as well as helpful phone techniques such as barging & transferring a call and placing a call on hold.

So, what are our top tips for improving the way you use your most powerful business tool? Read on to find out!

Answering The Phone

Bad Practice: “Hi thanks for calling, (your name) speaking”

Good Practice: “Thanks for calling (company name) this is (your name).”

To help the caller confirm they’ve called the right company, say your company’s name. And there’s no need to say ‘speaking’ after your name – they can already determine this.

Returning From Hold

Bad Practice: “Are you there?!”

Good Practice: “Thanks for holding, (client name).”

If the caller isn’t there, they can’t answer your question. Thank the caller for holding and continue with your conversation or just leap right in with what you’re returning to tell them.

The Hanging Or…

Bad Practice: “Can I take a message orrr…”

Good Practice: “Would you like to hold or shall I take a message?”

The hanging ‘or’ sounds unprofessional; if you don’t have another option just drop the ‘or’. You’ll sound more decisive.

Calling Back

Bad Practice: “Sure, I’ll call you back later today.”

Good Practice: “Sure, I’ll call you back at 2:42 this afternoon.”

Later today isn’t specific and does nothing to ensure the person you’re going to call back will be ready for your call. By providing them with a specific time (and keeping to it!) you’ll appear more committed and they’ll know to be ready.

There you have it! Use these lines effectively and you’ll have a real edge over your competitors while leaving a positive impact on your callers. The quicker you put these ideas into practice, the quicker you’ll reap the rewards.

– Lachy