Contents

Do you provide a service to your customers? You do, if you do any type of work. Are you interested in setting yourself apart from the pack? If so, you can make more money as long as you are committed to providing service that goes above and beyond what is expected.

Customer Service Done Right

Customer Service Done RightAre you a stickler about receiving top notch customer service? Do you routinely "come through" as a provider of exemplary services to your customers? Chances are you have been greatly disappointed at one time or another regarding the service you received from a salesperson, an internet hosting company, a hair colorist, or any one of thousands of different service providers. Frankly, "customer service" in many areas -- retail, for one -- isn't what it used to be. However, where there is poor customer service there is also a great opportunity. Read on and I will explain.Let's say you are in a field that routinely provides so-so service to customers. It could be that customer expectations are low and no one expects top notch service. Maybe most customers are simply "price sensitive" and could care less about how fast or how well you deliver. However, you can bet that there are a percentage of customers out there who appreciate service that goes above and beyond the industry standard. These same customers typically will pay a little extra for service that really serves them. If you can tap into this customer base, you can create a niche, raise your prices, and make more money in the long run.Depending on your industry, you could command a price premium of 10-25% over the average provider. That may not sound like a lot, but it could spell the difference between eating hamburger or eating steak. I don't know about you, but I would prefer eating steak!Naturally, providing a high level of customer service means you will have to break a sweat. You may have to happily redo [its all in the attitude, baby!] or improve on an existing project in order to satisfy a good paying customer. This is what sets you apart from the pack.If you are satisfied with the "status quo" then that's okay too. Just don't expect to have customers beat down your doors for work. At least the better customers will not!

How to Get Your Customers Saying Wow

How to Get Your Customers Saying Wow

Just imagine. You have walked out of a shop or put down the phone after purchasing something and your immediate reaction is Wow! How do you feel? Excited; satisfied; fulfilled eager to return and buy again?Wouldnt it be great if you could get your customers to feel the same way about dealing with you?Lots of small business owners (and not so small!) seem to think that the customer is merely an interference. But how can you get your customers all pumped up and ready to do business with you again?Ill share some tips on exactly how you can get a Wow! response and show how it can positively impact your bottom line. Get promising These days too many businesses seem reluctant to commit to anything. As a result, you walk away with a nagging doubt that nothing is going to happen and so the whole experience is not pleasant. What a refreshing change to get a business that provides a firm promise on dates and times or opening hours.Can you provide a clear promise to your customers? Have a think about each aspect of your business and highlight all your promisables in your sales and marketing material. One great tip under promise and over deliver. Promise delivery in 7 days, knowing you can do it in 3 days. When the goods arrived 4 days before expected, thats a Wow factor if ever there was one!Important point if you cant deliver it, dont promise it! Be a TiggerRemember Tigger from Winnie the Pooh? Hes all over the place; bouncing up and down with endless energy and enthusiasm. He just leaves his friends breathless! What a great person to be with and do business with.Are you enthusiastic when you speak and deal with your customers? Are your staff brimming with enthusiasm? If you cant project an image which says Im happy to be here, how can you expect your customers to feel different? So, have a Tigger day every day! First impressions If you have a shop or office where customers visit you, what do your premises say about your business? Is it modern, fresh-looking, clean and tidy? Or is it worn, tired and generally looking run down? Like it or not, customers will judge you on what they see. They may say Wow but for all the wrong reasons!A pot of paint and a splash of colour can make all the difference and it doesnt have to cost the earth (these DIY programmes have a lot to answer for!). Be a problem solver Despite all businesses believing they have great customer service, the fact is that the majority dont. The main reason is that when people complain, most feel that they have not been listened to and their problem has not been solved.Be a solver of problems - quickly and efficiently. Heres a motto for you Resolve to Solve. Be their friend I dont know about you, but I am a sucker for business owners who take their time to know me and recognise me when I next call or visit! The bond and the desire to do more business with those types of entrepreneurs, is strong for me.Do you take time to build a relationship with all your key clients? Do you go out of your way to greet them when they next do business? As the saying goes, aim to turn strangers into friends and friends in to customers. Value for money In this day and age of new technology, and the hefty prices that go with it, the concept of giving great value is sometimes forgotten. Creating a Wow moment can be as simple as giving a little bit extra, something unexpected. It doesnt have to be of huge value, its genuinely the thought that counts. Dont restrict this idea just to price. Price on its own may not work, it has to be tied in with something else 2 for 1, a small gift etc. The quality of your product must also reflect value for money. Dont try and pass off an inferior product with a superior price youll again create the wrong type of Wow moment! Medium price and great quality a definite and positive Wow. Call them The real killer Wow is calling your customer a few days after he has bought. Asking him if the product is fine, whether it does what he wanted it to do, is one sure way of stopping him in his tracks! If everything is great, then you have a customer for life. If there is a problem, wonderful; you have the opportunity to put it right and have a customer for life. This is a very simple and powerful way of creating Wow. So thats it. If you follow theses simple ideas, all your customers will be saying Wow and they will be coming back time and time again. Who knows, they may even tell their friends? Now theres a thought.

Are you Serious about Customer Service

Are you Serious about Customer Service

Is your online company really serious about Internet customer service? When it comes down to it, excellent customer service is pretty much the only way you will convert visitors to customers. You can also increase your ROI and improve online sales with excellent customer service.If you are truly serious about offering quality customer service, your best option would be customer service software. With customer service software you can reduce customer service costs and increase your conversion rate at the same time. All the while, you will be making your customers happier, which will lead to more sales and an increase in ROI.Customer service software helps small businesses and large businesses alike by offering customer service messenger, support messenger and support messenger. These offer 24/7 customer service to customers and potential customers. They can also allow you track customers online and track consumer behavior online as well.Customer service software can offer live chat help and/ore animated avatar help, animated avatar service, animated avatar support and animated avatar guide. Many people prefer the avatar because it makes them feel more like they are talking to an actual person.Serious quality customer service means a serious customer service solution. Consider customer service software for your online business if you would like to convert visitors to buyers and improve your ROI.

Is It Really Worth The Money?

Is It Really Worth The Money?

When it comes to services I sometimes wonder if the asking price is really worth it. I can usually find the service that I am looking for online. Then I have to look around to find witch one is going to give me the most for the money. Well I have found that if I go with the low ball guy, he is reeling me in for a huge sales pitch to asks me to spend more than I would with the high roller guy. Maybe thats where I should have started my search. Then again I wrote an article a couple of months ago about an auto repair shop that promised to fix my truck for $1,000.00. Fair price to install a new rear end and I agreed. 2 months later I could not get my truck out of the shop for less then $2,000.00. They actually told me two grand or we will auction off your truck to pay the charges. I was robbed!!I found out once again that maybe checking with a higher priced guy may have been a good idea. I am sure the price is higher because the put all of the add on stuff in the original quote. The quote is supposed to at least be close to the actual price, right? The gist of my article is this. I have been in the carpet cleaning industry for almost ten years. We get a bad rap, no doubt about it. We have to earn the respect that others have spit on and ripped off. There are a lot of great cleaners out there and there are a few that kill the reputation of the entire industry.Now we all have to make a living and I have chosen to make mine honestly. I may not be the cheapest, but my quotes are on the mark. If I give you a quote and then try to charge more for the same amount of work after you let me in. I am sure you will kick me out then or never call me back, so I prefer giving a little extra than taking what ever I can squeeze out of you.I say go with the guy in the middle when it comes to choosing your service providers. If it seems to good to be true then it probably is. If it seems way too high compared to the competition then it probably is for the more elite or just plain over priced. Talk to others to find out whom they use and give an honest man the job.

Getting the Most Out of Your Next Customer Support Call

Consumers will spend millions of dollars on electronics this year.Now we all know the frustration that can quickly set in if the new piece of electronic equipment you purchased doesn't work as described out of the box. That situation can be even more frustrating if there are children involved.There generally are two types of issues that come into customer support centers. First is a standard "not working properly" problem where a piece of equipment doesn't work as it's supposed to. For example, you purchase a new digital video disk player and the movie won't play.The other type of issue is missing parts or accessories when the manufacturer doesn't include all the necessary components in the package. For example, your new personal computer does not have the power cord.These types of issues are inconvenient to the consumer but are often very easily resolved. Consumers can take several steps to prepare themselves before they call customer support:* Research. We're all eager to get the new electronic gizmo up and running, and we sometimes forget to look over the manual. There are plenty of basic problems that consumers encounter that are often addressed in the user's manual or on companies' Web sites.* Information. Make sure you have all the information the customer support representative is going to need. Having everything in front of you will speed up the process. This information is the real basics like make, model and serial number of the equipment.* History. You should be prepared to detail what happened before you encountered the problem or explain previous issues the device may have had that were resolved.* Timing. If you don't want to wait on hold, the best time to call customer support is in off-peak hours. Typically, call centers deal with their heaviest volumes in the morning and late afternoon. If you can call during late morning or early afternoon, you'll get quicker assistance.Finally, remain calm. Take a deep breath before you pick up the phone. Remember, the customer support agents are there to help you, so having a friendly tone and attitude will make your experience a better one.Bill Owens is vice president for service and support for IBM. - NU

10 Critical Decisions for Successful E-discovery Part 2

The Information Management Journal/September / October 2007- Todayีs explosion of electronic data, coupled with the December 2006 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) concerning electronically stored information (ESI), requires information and legal professionals to expand their knowledge about handling electronic discovery. The recent changes to the FRCP include:* Definitions and safe harbor provisions for the routine alterations of electronic files during routine operations such as back ups [Amended Rule 37(f)]* Information about how to deal with data that is not reasonably accessible [Amended Rule 26(b)(2)(B)]* How to deal with inadvertently produced privileged material [Amended Rule 26(b)(5)]* ESI preservation responsibilities and the pre-trial conference. [Amended Rule 26(f)]* Electronic file production requests [Amended Rules 33(d), 34, 26(f)(3), 34(b)(iii)]There are many opinions about how ESI should be planned for, managed, organized, stored, and retrieved. Some of the available options are extremely costly in terms of their required financial and time commitments. Constantly changing technologies only add to the confusion. One area of confusion is the distinction between computer forensics and "electronic discovery" ; there is a significant difference. These are described in the sidebar Computer Forensics vs. Electronic Discovery.Making the Right ChoicesSuccessfully responding to e-discovery within the constraints of the amended FRCP requires organizations to make many critical decisions that will affect the collection and processing of ESI.Processing ChoicesBecause of the volume of information available in even the smallest of collections, it becomes necessary to manage the process to control time and budget. The following questions need to be answered:1. Who are the key people?The people important to a case should be identified. These key individuals include not only executives, but also assistants and other support personnel from the technology, accounting, sales and marketing, operations, and human resources departments.2. Where are the files located?All the potential locations of electronic evidence should be identified. These include home computers and all computers that a key person would use elsewhere (such as a girlfriend or boyfriendีs home), cell phones, PDAs, Blackberries, and any other digital device that might be used. It is important to note that MP3 players, such as iPods, can also be used to store documents or important files.3. How can the collection be culled?Methods for limiting the number of files collected may include collecting only those in certain date ranges or only those containing selected key words or terms. This can be done either before or after an entire hard drive is collected forensically. Known file filtering can also reduce the collection by removing standard application files common to all computers (such as the Microsoft Windowsจ logo file).4. How should password-protected/encrypted files be handled?Encrypted files cannot be processed until the encryption is broken. In some instances, files with exact or similar names may be available without using passwords or encryption. File locations may also provide information about the value decryptions provide. Decryption may require significant time. Sometimes a password can be obtained simply by asking for it, so this should be the first step. If that fails, using a subpoena may be successful.5. How should duplicate and near-duplicate documents be handled?Electronic file collections almost always include duplicates. Multiple individuals may have the same e-mail, with the same attachments. Two or more people may have reviewed key documents, saving them on their hard drives during the process. In processing electronic collections, it is possible to identify exact duplicate files and limit the number of documents that require review.Identifying exact duplicates usually occurs during the phase in which the metadata is identified and extracted from the files. De-duping the collection will minimally delay the processing.Standard de-duping involves identifying files that are exact duplicates and eliminating them. If anything has changed within a document, including formatting such as a change of font, it is no longer an exact duplicate and is not de-duped.It is imperative that both sides of a case agree on what is meant by าde-duping.ำ Many electronic discovery systems literally delete the files so they are gone from the collection. The forensic tools used in law enforcement, however, usually do not delete the duplicates, but merely identify them for future use.Discussing this definition during the pre-trial conference to ensure that all sides of a case use the same definition is imperative to ensuring that there is not a discrepancy in the number of files that each side later has.A more significant portion of any collection will be าnear duplicates.ำ This includes files that have been significantly altered or contain only a portion of the main document. For some projects, the sheer file volume requires that near duplicates be identified and reviewed as a group. This significantly reduces review time and costs when compared to traditional linear review.Identifying near duplicates requires comparing each document to every other document or using sophisticated software applications that require additional processing time. This technology increases consistency of review categories, reducing the chance of near-duplicate documents being identified as both privileged and non-privileged.6. What form should the collection take?The new rules state that the parties will meet and determine the format in which they wish to receive electronic evidence. In the absence of an agreement, the format will be that าin which it is ordinarily maintainedำ or in a าreasonably usableำ format.The choices a legal team has include whether each side prefers to receive the electronic evidence in native file format, converted to TIF or PDF, or in some other form. Often, this will depend upon the teamีs standard litigation review system.Such systems handle both native and converted files, with or without associated metadata and full text. There are pros and cons for both options. Native files with extracted metadata reflect the exact original file; however, they cannot be Bates labeled, which is a technique to mark documents with a unique identification code as they are processed, and are subject to inadvertent change.Converting native files to TIF or PDF is time-consuming and is the most expensive task in electronic discovery. Because 60 to 80 percent of the files in a collection may be non-responsive or irrelevant, both the time and finances expended in conversion may be counter- productive.The best compromise involves receiving files in native format, reviewing them for relevancy, and choosing only those that may be produced or used extensively for conversion to image format.Managing the vast amount of electronic files for litigation requires preparation planning for the production, organization, and retrieval of pertinent and relevant documents and managing both cost and time budgets. Because every case presents unique circumstances, there are no absolute correct answers to the questions above. But a team that understands the choices and their ramifications is prepared to make the informed decisions that will result in the best possible outcomes for the case and the organization.

Summary

Do you provide a service to your customers? You do, if you do any type of work. Are you interested in setting yourself apart from the pack? If so, you can make more money as long as you are committed to providing service that goes above and beyond what is expected.