REMEMBER THE DAYS when people noticed
good customer service, talked about it and,
most important, rewarded you for it? In
today’s fast-paced world, however, people
are so rushed or distracted that good
customer service is overlooked. Fortunately, there are several things you can do
to enhance your service in ways that your
customers will notice.
Be the voice of reason. You can
generally tell within 10 seconds whether
the customer is growing calm or irritated.
It’s not what you say—it’s the sound of your
voice. People who have thin or high voices,
mumble or add useless words (e.g., “ya
know,” “kinda”) garner less respect from
customers than those who are more ar-
ticulate. Conversely, people who lower their
tone and enunciate are perceived as more
reasonable and intelligent.
Show off your homework. Today’s
customers are so busy trying to juggle the
demands of work, home, family, finances
and errands that they are amazed when
someone goes to the trouble to find out
about them. Before a client meeting, spend
a few minutes doing a Web search on the
customer and the company. Start the conversation with a comment along the lines of
“I noticed on your website …”
Listen loudly. It’s not enough to just
listen to customer needs and then offer
solutions. You need to be perceived as
listening. Starting your comments with
“sounds like” forces you to paraphrase your
understanding of their needs. It’s also a
great lead-in to expressing empathy, as in
“It sounds like you’ve had a frustrating time
trying to fix this.”
Make time shrink. Imagine a customer or co-worker asks you to send information that might normally be sent the next
day. You could say, “I won’t be able to send it
to you until tomorrow.” Or perhaps, “I’ll send
it first thing in the morning.” Contrast those
responses with “You’ll receive it within 24
hours.” The 24-hour statement sounds like a
stronger commitment because it’s specific.
And it sounds faster because you’re talking
hours, not days. C
JEFF MOWATT: INFLUENCE WITH EASE
is a customer
speaker and best-selling author.
AFTER YEARS OF taking the advice of social
media “experts,” small-business owners are
growing frustrated with the lack of results.
Facebook’s ever-changing algorithms as well
as recent social media stats prove that sharing,
posting and tweeting may not be the best way
to attract more customers.
Recent statistics from Facebook and a report by
; 87 per cent of You Tube
videos are shared by only 18
per cent of users.
; 99 per cent of Twitter posts
come from 1 per cent of subscribers.
; The organic reach of Facebook
posts is around 2 to 8 per cent.
The problem is that a business’s
social media success is generally
measured by statistics instead of
results. This is due to a “culture of
conversion” created by social media
marketers, where followers, subscribers and
those who’ve liked your Facebook page are
viewed as prospects waiting to be converted
into paying customers.
The thing is, it doesn’t work very well—if
at all. A recent survey by Facebook showed
that the vast majority of Facebook users want
FOR A SMALL business to thrive, everyone on the team needs to be highly
engaged in his or her work.
“The good news
is that employee
engagement isn’t the
result of expensive
perks or time-consum-
ing programs,” says
Michael Lee Stallard,
a business consultant,
leadership trainer and
co-author of Connect-
ion Culture: The Competitive Advantage of
Shared Identity, Empathy, and Under-
standing at Work (Association for Talent
Development, 2015). “It comes from having
a company culture where people care
about each other and about their work. In
these ‘connection cultures,’ people invest
time to develop healthy work relationships,
and the resulting bond creates a sense of
connection, community and unity that
energizes the team and spurs productivity
Stallard offers the following tips.
Cast a clear vision. Employees are
more engaged in their work when they
understand the company’s mission, are
united by its values and are proud of its
reputation. Communicate goals clearly and
keep people in the loop.
Recognize the value of each individual. Your employees need to feel respected and valued. Encourage employees to
express appreciation for their colleagues’
contributions and help others achieve
Give people a voice. Having a voice in
decisions empowers people to make a difference. In connection cultures, people
seek the ideas of others, share their ideas
and opinions honestly and safeguard relational connections by not cutting others
down when disagreements arise.
Be a servant leader. Connection cultures need leaders who are willing to put
the needs of others before their own.
Doing so gains the respect of employees
and encourages others to do the same.
Celebrate committed members.
People in your company who are committed to excellence and connection are the
heart of the company, and should be
encouraged and celebrated. C
Rethinking social media for business
less promotional content in their feeds. As
well, the proliferation of ad-blocker apps for
You Tube has been growing exponentially over
the last six months.
So what can you do to reach your market
and not break the bank? First, think about
what it is you’re selling, and to whom.
Products and services have their
own unique marketing traits.
And selling to consumers requires a much different strategy
than selling to other companies.
Products are visual, while services need to be focused on the
benefits they provide.
Research what media your ideal
customer consumes. When it comes to
social media, Pinterest appeals to a predominantly female audience (82 per cent),
with a strong visual emphasis on fashion
and design. Google+ draws a mostly male
(71 per cent), tech-savvy audience.
What’s important is that you decide what
results you want to get out of your marketing
campaign. Attracting more “likes” and followers can be called a success if that’s what your
goal is. As for me, I’ll take one paying customer over a hundred “likes” any day.