July 18, 2018

Why Customer Service Is One Of The Best Skills To Learn

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Customers rule. After all, they have unprecedented access to products and services from around the world. Customers can also assess other information such as product specifications and prices, putting themselves in control of their shopping experiences.

 

Meanwhile, businesses need customers to survive. For this reason, companies increasingly adopt customer-centric business models that attempt to deliver the products, services, and experiences that their customers expect and deserve.

 

As a result of the modern customer-first attitude, customer service has become an integral part of the success of a business, even if they don’t work in a customer service department. Continue reading to find out why.

Customer Satisfaction

Attorneys say the most important thing with any legal case is your confidence and comfort level with your attorney. Meanwhile, American Express reports that more than half of consumers reconsider their purchases because of poor service.

 

Simply put, the quality of service that you provide has a direct impact on the number of sales you make. If you master the ability to make clients and customers feel comfortable, valued and appreciated, you have a higher likelihood to close a sale. You also will increase the possibility of other desirable outcomes such as repeat business and positive reviews.

Customer retention

Businesses spend a lot of money attracting new customers. When those customers have a terrible experience, they most likely will shop elsewhere in the future. However, customers who have a positive experience will probably buy again with the same company.

 

Companies can serve repeat customers for less than the cost of acquiring new customers. Therefore, businesses with high customer retention rates have lower transaction costs and higher profits.

Reputation Marketing

By learning and exercising excellent customer service skills, you can create a stellar reputation for your brand that inspires others to choose your brand. Shoppers value the experiences of others more than branded marketing messages, so make sure you consistently provide excellent service.

 

Even when you do your best, some people will leave negative remarks online. When this happens, use the situation as an opportunity to demonstrate your exceptional customer service to the world. Always treat people with respect and show a willingness to find a usually satisfactory resolution to every problem.

 

In summary, customer service is one of the best skills to learn because of its impact on every business. Excellent customer service can grow your business, reduce your expenses and lay a solid foundation for consistent long-term growth. Try to see challenges with customer service as an opportunity to improve your business model and your product, which is in actuality an opportunity to grow.

 

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How To Increase Office Morale Without Breaking The Bank

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Increasing the morale of your business is an important goal to set because it can have a host of other positive benefits for the company. Being a great leader in the office has a lot to do with encouraging input from your employees on how they feel and how the office works. Many times this means providing incentives and other sorts of fun activities for employees to feel motivated by. And while you want to do best to keep their morale up, you also have to keep the budget in mind. Fortunately, you don’t need to destroy your business’s budget to create a more friendly vibe in the workplace.

Offer Refreshments

While you don’t want employees lounging on the couch and eating snacks all day, you can provide them with some complimentary refreshments. You could purchase bagels from the store and have them ready to toast in the office kitchen with spread prepared to go, or you might bring in tacos from an affordable restaurant for lunch every other week. Another option is to stock the break room with beverages and snacks. If you want to let them pick, you could always purchase used vending machines for discounted prices, or you could look into coffee that’s for sale in bulk quantities.

Host Events

You want to encourage employees to work together professionally, but encouraging them to socialize can have tremendous benefits. Employees who feel more comfortable with each other often make better team members. You could host events in the office space to reduce the cost. Also, some local activities, such as paint nights or escape rooms, may offer discounts for large groups. If you want to include food at the event, host a potluck. Asking everyone to bring in a dish also allows your employees to show off their culinary style.

Procure Updated Equipment

Imagine that it took your computer the better part of an hour to load in the morning or that the copier broke every time you needed to make handouts for presentations. Looking into companies that offer corporate discounts can help you to save on the price. Also, you may want to look into having older equipment repaired. While the end goal is likely to replace the machines, doing so might not be possible at this moment.

Provide Positive Feedback

It’s true that offering criticism of your employees is sometimes necessary as you need to let your employees know where room for improvement exists. However, when you constantly criticize your employees or do so negatively, they are likely to start thinking that they aren’t doing any of the tasks correctly. Letting employees know when they succeed is an essential part of acting as a good boss, and if you do have to give some critique, do it well. This strategy will cost you no money whatsoever to implement.

As you begin to think of ways to increase morale, you may see a significant price sticker attached to the plans. Fortunately, you can motivate your employees and make them feel happier at work without spending too much.

 

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How To Find Areas Of Improvement In Your Growing Business

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Companies that want to be successful often look to customer praise and competitor admiration as validation of their efforts and as an impetus for improvement. However, the question of how to use negative reviews should be explored as well, since it’s true in all walks of life that we often learn best from failure and mistakes. Here are some valuable ways of becoming aware of an organization’s limitations as motivation for future enhancements.

Customer complaints

Although some companies question whether the customer is always right, the fact is that customers offer a helpful perspective on what is not working effectively within the business. From waiting on telephone hold too long to sky-high pricing, customers and clients provide glimpses into the consumer mindset about what might need to be tweaked to give a better customer experience. Online reviews or customer service department complaints can be mined for thoughtful feedback on how a company can improve its services, although keep in mind that not all reviews are helpful; general trends are more likely to guide you in the right direction.

Employee tensions

When two or more employees complain about a company policy or rule, it’s time to reexamine the rule to ensure it is clear and fair to all. Sometimes the language may need to be clarified, or doesn’t fit with company culture. Other rules may merely become outdated, such as those about an office dress code. Invite employees to share their concerns through a complaint box or an email discussion board. Negative comments, unless disrespectful, should not cause backlash or discrimination to the employee, but rather a courteous thank-you for sharing a pressing concern.

Training issues

Sometimes a training class does not go as planned. It might be that an external trainer does not fully understand the company’s culture or the issues being dealt with. Other times, employees can be resistant to change and reluctant to embrace new policies and goals. These situations provide valuable opportunities to discuss employees’ emotions and concerns so that the company can adjust its approach if necessary, or provide employees the necessary support and incentives for embracing change, which will increase employee retention.

Product feedback

Whether a company sells products or services, it is a good idea to solicit customer feedback about goods or services received. Product feedback is an invaluable resource for companies. This can be done anonymously by return postcard or online via the company website. Showing interest in improving the product will impress customers build confidence in the company as well as possibly generate more sales.

Negative criticism can render positive results if used productively for company enrichment. Look for ways to encourage customer feedback, including critical comments.

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Bare Minimum Background Checks for Hiring on a Small Budget

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handshake, business, partnership

When you are running a small business with limited resources, you may consider foregoing background checks to cut employment costs. However, personal and professional references often don’t provide enough information about a person. Even simple background checks can make candidate selection decisions faster and easier. This is especially important for a small business that might lack the resources to address problems that can arise from poor hiring decisions.

Criminal Background Checks

Running a basic criminal background check on applicants before officially hiring them can keep a small business from becoming a victim of fraud. While many issues that might come up through a criminal background check may not be relevant to the individual’s ability to perform their job, crimes related to fraud or theft should be considered during a hiring decision. While large corporations can handle some losses, one wrong employment decision can drive a small business to close. For this reason, money spent on criminal background checks is an essential insurance policy for the overall security of your business.

Credit Reports

A credit report is another background check that can offer employers valuable information about applicants. However, small employers can afford to be more discriminating with which positions require credit checks. Applicants for jobs that require a high level of financial accountability or that will have access to business finances should be screened using a credit report. Be aware that the states of California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Oregon, and Washington have state laws prohibiting employers from using employee credit reports in hiring decisions.

Legal Considerations

For all types of background reports, employers must be careful to follow specific legal requirements. You may not run a criminal or credit check on an individual without their written consent. Most employees will ask applicants to sign a background check consent form at a later stage in the hiring process. After viewing a background check, you must send the employee a pre-adverse action disclosure, a copy of the report, and an explanation of their rights to dispute reports if you think you may not hire them based on the report. When you make the final decision to not hire them based on information in the report, you must send applicants an adverse action notice to let them know.

Vetting

Transparency in hiring, on the part of the employer and the employee, is essential to building trust. This transparency can be achieved through proper vetting processes. Vetting assures that potential employees are who they claim to be and have done what they claim to have done so that you can choose the best talent for your business with confidence. In order to establish trust with potential employees, your business can join the Clear Business Directory by completing an annual vetting process which shows your community and potential hires that your operations are reputable and trustworthy.

Small business owners should always run a criminal background check on potential applicants; doing so can save a lot of money in the long run.

 

References

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Retention Problems? 3 Ways to Keep Your Employees on Board

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Employee retention is an issue that every employer faces. In fact, employee turnover costs US businesses $160 billion each year. You stand to lose a lot when your employees feel dissatisfied by their work experience—especially since happy employees are more productive and more effective workers.

If you’re worried about employee retention within your company, then try these tactics to keep your people engaged and on board.

1. Use a Rewards and Incentives System

No matter the industry, all employees appreciate incentives, rewards, and positive feedback. You can cut down on turnover rates by showing your employees that you value them as assets to your company.

For example, you can have an awards ceremony once a year or once every quarter to show your appreciation. Some companies even acknowledge their employees’ work each day. For example, according to Womply’s Glassdoor reviews, their company holds morning “stand-ups” where they meet to define goals and give acknowledgments and praise where it’s deserved.

You can also give annual raises to your workers, which is something that not every establishment does. Offer employees benefits and discounts for working for you. They can be anything from discounts on merchandise to memberships to local programs and services.

2. Conduct Surveys

Company surveys give you insight into how your employees feel about their jobs. Issue a company-wide survey and ask questions regarding their feelings and experience with the company. Keep these surveys anonymous and analyze the information so you can come up with strategies to keep them satisfied.

You may find that they aren’t thrilled with the pay rates, or maybe they would like a full-blown cafeteria instead of just a break room. Surveys will make this information come to life so that you can see it and act on it before employees decide to leave over their concerns.

Pay attention to exit interviews and read online reviews from former employees. While you may not like hearing negative reviews, you need this information to ensure that you won’t continue to lose employees for this same reason. While some retention problems are beyond your control, a majority of the reasons why employees seek new employment are well within your control.

3. Maintain a Friendly and Caring Company Culture

The company culture is often the reason why people leave jobs. They may love the position and adore their pay, but they will still leave a company that has an unpleasant culture.

For that reason, companies need to put some effort into their company culture if they want employees to stick around. That means nurturing an atmosphere that is friendly, motivational, and empathetic to other people.

In Glassdoor reviews of Bain & Company, an employee observed that “the company values are practiced and seen everyday; the environment is fun, supportive, and interesting; and the people are intelligent, caring, and, for the most part, all wonderful to be around. I hope to be at Bain for many years to come.”

This is the kind of feedback all employers want to hear from their team. If you can create and maintain that type of environment, then your employees will want to work for you and excel in their position.

These are just a few tips that can help you keep your employees happy at work. Really, the best strategy for improving employee retention is listening to your employees. Be open to criticism, ask for their feedback, and be willing to address employee concerns—that’s the best way to keep your people on board.

For more information on developing a high-performance team and managing your business, book a complimentary 30-minute strategy session with Shannon.

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