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Be the Customer: See Yourself as Your Customers Do


What do your customers experience when they interact with your business? As a mystery shopper, I help businesses see themselves through the eyes of their customers by posing as a typical customer and evaluating their service, quality and cleanliness. Was it easy to find what I needed? Were the employees polite and helpful? Was everything neat and clean? Was I thanked for my business? What happened when I made a return?

Whether your business is an international retailer or a small one-person shop, what you don't know about your customers' perceptions of your quality and service can hurt you. Put yourself in your customers' shoes and test your business. Depending on the characteristics of your business, you may conduct the evaluation of your business yourself, enlist the help of a few friends, or hire a mystery shopping company to implement a formal, ongoing program. You might be surprised (pleasantly or not) by what you learn.

Call your office. How long does it take to get an answer? Is there a professional greeting? What do you hear when you are put on hold? Go through the voice menus. Are any of them dead ends? How long does it take to get to a human, or at least a place where you can leave a message?

Call your order line and place an order. How long does it take to get the item? Was it packaged well and did it arrive safely? What else was in the package (e.g., a catalog, thank you note, extra gift)? Inquire about returning an item. Is the service you receive as good as that you got when you ordered? Does the customer service person try to save the sale by offering alternatives to meet your needs?

Walk through your retail location. Is merchandise attractively presented? Is everything clearly priced? Are the aisles clear so you can walk comfortably? Can a shopping cart fit? Is the rest room clean and stocked with supplies?

Go to your web site and place an order. Does your site load quickly? Is it easy to find specific products? Does the order form work? What communication does a customer receive when they place an order (e.g., an email confirmation)? Submit a question via email and see what response you receive. Are the links on your web site (internal and external) working? You also want to know if proper sales techniques are being followed. Although a customer will never complain because your staff didn't attempt to upsell them, your bottom line can suffer when this important step is missed. Plus, helping customers get everything they need in one stop can increase their satisfaction and loyalty. Are sales people recommending additional products and telling customers about optional services, such as a maintenance agreement? If they are not, your business is losing revenue and profit.

When you see yourself as your customers do, you can identify problems that may be costing you sales. Make it easy to do business with you and watch your profits increase!

Copyright Cathy Stucker. As the Idea Lady, Cathy Stucker helps entrepreneurs and professionals attract customers and make themselves famous. Get free marketing tips at http://www.IdeaLady.com/. To learn about mystery shopping, see http://www.IdeaLady.com/shopping.htm.


MORE RESOURCES:

Customer Service - Google News

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Letter: 'Customer service' often lacking service part - The Ledger


The Ledger

Letter: 'Customer service' often lacking service part
The Ledger
We as consumers rely more and more on customer service. I've come to realize how much “service” is actually lacking in businesses these days. Customers can either make or break a business depending on their satisfaction. People rely on a service that ...

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Travel Network Group recognised for customer service 'excellence' - TTG


TTG

Travel Network Group recognised for customer service 'excellence'
TTG
Speaking at the consortium's annual overseas conference in Monaco, Jo Causon, chief executive of the Institute of Customer Service awarded TTNG the organisation's ServiceMark, a recognition “of achievement in customer service, and a company's ...
Travel Network Group honoured for 'excellence' by Institute of Customer Service Travel Weekly UK

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The Bot Revolution Can Save Your Customer Service, Says Tony Jamous, President Of Nexmo - Forbes


The Bot Revolution Can Save Your Customer Service, Says Tony Jamous, President Of Nexmo
Forbes
Chatbots and other AI-powered virtual agents have changed the structure of customer service considerably. But, this is just the beginning. Chatbots are evolving with APIs, being given access to deep learning and popping up in spaces that we never ...

Thanks A Latte: How To Fix A Customer Service Failure, Per Starbucks, Marriott And Me - Forbes


Forbes

Thanks A Latte: How To Fix A Customer Service Failure, Per Starbucks, Marriott And Me
Forbes
Every company needs a customer service recovery framework, a sequence of best practices for interacting with, and turning around, upset customers. Settling on such a framework and then providing customer service recovery training in order to achieve ...

Spirit Airlines turns to Disney to improve its customer service - Los Angeles Times


Los Angeles Times

Spirit Airlines turns to Disney to improve its customer service
Los Angeles Times
The Disney Institute is a Florida-based company that offers business courses to improve leadership, employee culture and customer service. On the institute's website, the company cites its work with Haagen-Dazs International, the National Football ...

Exceptional Customer Service And Low Cost Are Not Mutually Exclusive -- Here's How To Achieve Both - Forbes


Forbes

Exceptional Customer Service And Low Cost Are Not Mutually Exclusive -- Here's How To Achieve Both
Forbes
Singapore Airlines (SIA) cabin crew undergo some of the most rigorous service training in the industry, instilling a business culture that is exceptionally customer-centric. As a result, it is regularly voted one of the best airlines in the world. Yet ...

These Two Customer Service Formulas Can Improve Employee Performance By 100% - Forbes


Forbes

These Two Customer Service Formulas Can Improve Employee Performance By 100%
Forbes
Even the most engaged, best-intentioned employees (and their managers) can benefit from knowing a couple essential expert formulas that will improve their customer service performance day in and day out. Today I'll share two rules of thumb how to ...

Seven Customer Service Practices That Will Help You Win Over Clients - Forbes


Forbes

Seven Customer Service Practices That Will Help You Win Over Clients
Forbes
Back in the mid-90s when Amazon was first starting, I felt that Amazon gave me the best customer service and best customer experience. Instead of jumping around different websites, I had everything in one portal. In Amazon I found a company that gave ...

Why is Customer Service in Asia so Terrible? - Forbes - Forbes


Why is Customer Service in Asia so Terrible? - Forbes
Forbes
Asia's service sector is booming. This article takes a closer look at how this lucrative sector is developing. Don't miss out on the investment opportunities that are ...

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