|Customer Service Information||
Let us create a 3d Digital eBook for you! DigyCat.com
Client Service as a Competitive Advantage
As someone who has been heavily involved facilitating strategic planning processes with organizations during the last 15+ years, I often find it somewhat amusing how people answer the questions I pose.
For example, if I ask people, "What is your unique differentiation in the marketplace?" or "What does your organization really excel at?" They will almost always reply, "It has to be our client service." Almost no one will admit to being "lousy" in client service, any more than they will talk about living in an average town with average kids. Instead I see the "Lake Woebegone Syndrome." In Lake Woebegone it seems all the women are pretty, all the men are handsome, and all the kids are well above average.
If while getting to know someone's agency or company, I ask the question, "If I hauled you into a court of law and accused you of being a 'world class' client service provider, would there be enough evidence to convict you?" Many times, unfortunately, their answer is, "Probably not."
Therefore, if so many people think client service and satisfaction is so critical to the success of the vision and the execution of the strategic plan, why is it not usually monitored with the same intensity as the financials? After all, financials are a lagging indicator (telling what happened after the fact) while client satisfaction may be a leading indicator (it can be predicting what may happen in the future).
Many organizations go through all sorts of trial and error and purchase various software programs to keep their finger on the pulse of dollars and cents because they want to know where they are and minimize opportunity for loss. For years it has been known that "what gets measured gets done."
If that is the case, why is it that many organizations choose to almost ignore measuring client satisfaction? By doing so, they run the risk of losing established clients to the competition.
Client Service as Overarching PhilosophyIn 1960, Professor Theodore Leavitt wrote the groundbreaking article, "Marketing Myopia," in the Harvard Business Review. To paraphrase, he basically concluded that the purpose of all business is to attract and maintain customers while generating adequate profitability today and improved profitability in the future. That balancing act still holds true today. How many organizations do you know that are masters at bringing business in the front door only to lose it out the back door just as quickly? We have also dealt with organizations that service their existing business so well that the owners and principals "never get around to developing new business."
Those organizations and agencies that see customer or client service as simply a department to be managed rather than a point of strategic differentiation may be looking at the business through the lens of short-term focus. So many people that we talk with have never calculated the lifetime value of a typical insured and even those that have usually aren't communicating that number to their staff at every level of the organization on a regular basis. Knowing that number can provide a framework to make decisions for the long haul and maintain the client relationship rather than looking at it from a "transactional" basis.
To calculate the lifetime value, take the number of years that a client/insured usually stays with the agency multiplied by the estimated net profit per line of business (auto, P&C, E&O, DB, etc). The total dollars can give you some idea of what is at risk in the future if you under serve your client base.
For example, if a typical insured stays with your agency 15 years and has 3 different policies with you each generating $200/year in profit, each new insured is worth approximately $9000 going forward (15yrs x $200/policy x 3 policies = $9000) if they are treated so well that they won't even consider moving to someone else. Now ask yourself, how cavalierly would you treat a check written to your agency for $9000? Would you do the equivalent of going into your back yard, digging a hole, burying it there and walking away from it forever? In essence that is what happens when clients are taken for granted. The cause can either be by default ie. not paying attention, understaffing by design, allowing a lack of systemic follow-up and follow-through, or it can be attributed to a management team with so strong a focus on short-term results that they become almost greedy.Does your organization have a client service strategy?If you examine your strategic plan, it's necessary to differentiate the agency strategy and plan from the client service strategy. They are not identical. Organizations need to implement a "Client Bill of Rights."
Leaders in organizations need to ask themselves if they are willing to pay the price for excellent client service vs. good client service. Excellence costs, but it also pays off. Being even a little better than the competitor pays huge dividends. Yet many organizations are not willing to pay that price. Instead they are content with processes, technology and staff who are "good enough."
As mentioned before, "what gets measured, gets done." Client expectation measurements are important as are ways to monitor them. It is necessary for organizations to take the time to discover why a client has signed on with you and not the competition. It's also necessary to determine what they really want to have happen as part of the client experience. It is then up to you to make sure you are delivering what your client wants. Failure to do so most likely will result in the loss of that client to your competitor.
Once you determine what it is your client really desires, make sure you match those expectations in terms of pricing and service. Make sure you are not trying to sell a champagne policy to someone with a beer budget and vice versa. It's necessary to have processes in place to support excellent client service from beginning to end. That is, do you have the right amount of staffing resources to meet their needs? Make it as easy as possible for them to conduct business with you.
While having the proper talent is vital to ensuring excellence in client service, it is also known that 94% of failings are the result of process/system failures and not people failures.
My car recently broke down. While it was being towed to the dealer, the towing company damaged another part of the car. The dealer was willing to go ahead and fix the damage, but the towing company wanted the damage they caused handled by their insurance carrier. They had a local agent connected to an insurance company in Arizona. The problem was that the local agent did not have the necessary claim number or phone number for the agent handling the claim in Arizona. Therefore, the dealer, who was willing and able to fix the car, didn't have the information they needed to work with the towing company. As a result, repairs that could have been completed in 48 hours took four to six weeks.
The problem was that no one owned the entire client experience, each company only owned a piece of it. Anytime there is an opportunity for a hand-off where something can go wrong, organizations often rely on the client, who has no knowledge of the situation, to be able to handle the details. It is vital for organizations to own the entire client experience.
Of course, no matter what the situation is, things don't always go smoothly. Problems arise, that's why organizations should make sure they have a process in place for "service recovery." That is, if something goes wrong suddenly, they should be able to recover with minimal damage.
Finally, organizations should make sure their policies protect the right people. Often, they have policies in place that protect themselves against the 1% of clients who abuse the system. This makes the other 99% of their clients who play by the rules pay the price. Many organizations, unfortunately, don't look at what they are doing through the eyes of the customers. Rather, they only are looking to protect themselves.
Excellent customer service demands a price. Are you willing to pay it?
Doug Brown is the CEO and Chairman of Paradigm Associates LLC, a strategic and executive leadership development firm based in Cranford, NJ. He combines an innovative thinking style with his conversational questioning ability to help organizations recognize and breakthrough their existing paradigms. This naturally leads them to solve stubborn problems and work through difficult situations. A Certified Facilitator for the Total Quality Institute (TQI), Brown understands the distinction between simply conducting "training sessions" and facilitating meetings with potentially complex subject matter.
Visit http://www.ParadigmAssociates.US or call (908) 276-4547.
Customer Service - Google News
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news
Call Center Software - Your Tool of Choice in Customer Relations
The call center represents your first line of communication with customers and potential customers. Whether you choose to outsource this service or to establish an in-company call center, this is one area in which quality is paramount and cannot be compromised.
Say It With Humor
When you own a business, you may find yourself in situations that may be a little tricky to handle. Dealing with customers who steal is one of them.
Saying Thank You to Your Clients
"Thanking your customers" - Why you should do it and how..
Develop Loyal Customers for a Lifetime - part 2 (11 - 20)
Traditional marketing strategies encourage business owners to continually grow their businesses by adding new customers. In today's competitive world of business, it is more important than ever to aim for more transactions with existing customers by using the power of customer follow-up and attention to good service.
5 Golden Online/Offline Business Rules To LIVE Or DIE By
Whether online or off, if you plan on running or maintaining any type of credibility within your business, there are some guidelines that are safe to say any existing or potential customer expects if they are to do immediate or future business with you.As an online entrepreneur for over 3 years I have found that even though I don't have the pleasure of meeting face-to-face with my customers, ones perception of you and your business can be viewed as good or bad all depending on the way you handle questions or comments posted by people interested in your product.
Creating the Right 'Viral Reputation'
Unless you are brand new to business, or have been under a rock for quite some time - one key marketing technique (which isn't new) - is called 'Viral'.Based on the word 'virus' - viral marketing or viral business simply means it 'spreads' like a virus.
Sorry, No Customer Service After 4:00 P.M.
A few months ago, I wrote about ingenious styles of customer service that every business should know about, mostly because their employees were inflicting them on their customers.For instance, I warned about "in your face customer service" and "run for cover customer service", two equally effective opposites.
Keeping Clients Happy Keeps them Coming Back
Whether you are a seasoned small business professional, or you have just opened your doors to new clients, your marketing strategy should not only involve bringing in new business, it should also include keeping your current clients, your most important asset, happy and coming back for more or referring your services.Top-notch customer service is the most important contributing factor in the success of your business.
4 Customer Service Mistakes Companies Should Avoid Making
1) Being placed on hold endlessly. Don't you just love it when you call a company and they place you on hold, leaving you to listen to their latest on-hold, recorded sales pitch, over and over again.
How CRM Software Works -- Creating Customer Satisfaction with a Click
When people ask, "What is CRM?" the literal answer is, "Customer Relationship Management," but that doesn't really convey much in terms of what all CRM does for a business. This CRM definition is too narrow to really explain everything the system does if it is working to its fullest potential and is user-friendly enough to expand and grow as a customer-client relationship changes and grows.
The salesman's job is to be well informed; extremely well informed. For this information is how he earns his bread.
Dealing with Difficult People
1. Don't get Hooked !!!When people behave towards you in a manner that makes youfeel angry, frustrated or annoyed - this is known as a Hook.
Customer Service For Huge Profits
Customer service is the most vital asset for Businesseither it is online or offline. It's the critical factorwhich determines if your business has a future or not.
4 Myths about Customer Value
The purpose of business is to create and retain a customer.Much has been written about customer orientation, customer relationship management (CRM), Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) metrics, Customer Centric organization models, customer retention, customer care-add any high sounding word with -customer- preceding or succeeding that word and you have a new model, a new theory.
Customer Service Tips for Mail Order Businesses
Can we be too good to our customers? No way! Our customers are the backbone of our business! They're right no matter what! But I'm sorry to disagree with you. As small, honest and legitimate businesses - we have a tendency to place our product quality above money.
How To Handle Customer Billing Snafus
Q: I just discovered that for the past six months I have been billing a client half of what I should have been. Should I just include the total of the past due balance on his next bill or contact him first to let him know that it's coming? This client has been difficult in the past, so I'd rather not deal with him until I absolutely have to.
Writing The Book On Great Customer Service
Q: One of the big chain bookstores recently opened up near my small book store. Already I can see my business starting to decline.
Handling Difficult Customers - 8 Strategies
In any business our customers are one of our most important assets. Unfortunately there are days when not all customers want to be friendly or pleasant.
Basic Levels of Consumer Integrity that Presently Permeates Society
Reality is not always pretty. But here is a tad bit of it for you today.
The Great American Customer Service Unawareness Campaign
Q: I'm so sick of you so-called business experts always saying the customer is always right. This is my business, not the customer's, so I'm the one who's always right.
AusTrade Domain Is For Sale - $15,000 For Enquiries eMail Us
© www.AusTrade.biz - 2012