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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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Data Integration Specialist (Customer Service) - Built In Chicago


Data Integration Specialist (Customer Service)
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The Chowly Data Integration Specialist provides a 5-star customer experience to all Chowly clients. Working in-office, the Data Integration Specialist reviews, builds, and updates menu mappings between Third-party Online Ordering Solutions (TOOS) and ...

It's My Job: Brooks Mitchell, customer service and IT at The Trophy House - The Fayetteville Observer


The Fayetteville Observer

It's My Job: Brooks Mitchell, customer service and IT at The Trophy House
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Trump victory? Credit Clinton loathing, not dealmaker skill, after shutdown - Miami Herald


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And now the shutdown comes just months after he failed — twice — to help Republicans make good on his promise to repeal and replace President Barack Obama's signature legislative issues, the Affordable Care Act. And it robs of him of momentum ...

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T-Mobile's customer service is its biggest success story - BGR


BGR

T-Mobile's customer service is its biggest success story
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Since John Legere took control of T-Mobile in 2012, the carrier has orchestrated a remarkable turn-around. Through launching the Un-Carrier initiative, T-Mobile turned its scrappy underdog status into a marketing plug, and by adding the iPhone to its ...
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'Wow' customer service for dentists: a competitive advantage - Dentistry IQ


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'Wow' customer service for dentists: a competitive advantage
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IN TODAY'S MODERN DENTAL ERA, ALL DENTAL PRACTICES NEED AND WANT TO STAND OUT FROM THEIR COMPETITON. Nothing makes you stand out more than great—no, actually, knock-your-socks-off— customer service. The success of retailers such as Nordstrom and ...

Money Can Ruin Everything In Customer Service And The Customer Experience (Here's How To Fix This) - Forbes


Forbes

Money Can Ruin Everything In Customer Service And The Customer Experience (Here's How To Fix This)
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I often make the argument (when I'm designing or redesigning a client company's customer experience or customer service approach) that the best way to conceptualize the customer experience is as a movie you're producing for your customer to star in ...

For Better Customer Service, Offer Options, Not Apologies - Harvard Business Review


For Better Customer Service, Offer Options, Not Apologies
Harvard Business Review
Jagdip Singh, a professor of marketing at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, explains his research team's new findings about customer satisfaction. He says apologizing is often counterproductive and that offering ...

How Customer Service Can Turn Angry Customers into Loyal Ones - Harvard Business Review


Harvard Business Review

How Customer Service Can Turn Angry Customers into Loyal Ones
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Good customer service seems like common sense for businesses. But how valuable is it really? Until now, this has not been rigorously quantified across different companies. Businesses are understandably reluctant to share their CRM and sales data, and ...

Research Finds the IRS Gives Better Customer Service Than Most Apps - Entrepreneur


Entrepreneur

Research Finds the IRS Gives Better Customer Service Than Most Apps
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In the world of apps, it seems the latter situation is increasingly common. Unfortunately, we're seeing more of a reliance on FAQs, canned email responses and other tactics that divert customers without providing a solid end-to-end experience. This ...
Pornographic images found on children's games in Google Play store Financial Times
Malware Displaying Porn Ads Discovered in Game Apps on Google Play - Check Point Research - Check Point Software Check Point Research - Check Point Software
Designed for Families | Android Developers Android Developers
SearchMobileComputing - TechTarget
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