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Customer Service

How to Deliver Great Customer Service

 

A widely quoted statistic gets to the heart of the value proposition behind customer service: The cost of acquiring a new customer is five times that of retaining an existing one. For businesses that succeed by forming a bond with the customer, the disparity is surely even greater.

 

Good customer service is essentially a variation on the golden rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated. If people believe that they're being remembered and are known to your business, that will have a positive impact on their disposition toward your business.

 

Providing good customer service is often a matter of common sense, but that doesn't mean it comes naturally to everyone. For some, in fact, it means behaving differently than they do in other business situations. If you are used to fighting about every detail of a business deal, you may have to adjust your attitude. The same goes if you feel that selling is a zero-sum game; to win customers, you will sometimes have to make them feel they have won, too. Here are some important steps to help you with great customer service.

 

Caring for Customers

 

Great Customer Service Begins with You


You must lead by example. If you are enthusiastic and courteous, others will want to do the same.

 

A Culture of Customer Service Must Be Codified


Start by hanging on the wall a set of core values, 10 or fewer principles that include customer service ideals. We have seven and they are as follows: Customer Success Comes First, Take Ownership, Think More, Improve Everything, Congratulate the Victory, Persevere, and Customer Success Comes First.

 

Employees Are Customers, too


Companies renowned for their customer service treat employees as they would have their employees treat their customers. Employees take on more responsibility because they know they are appreciated and an important part of the team. People who don't feel like they're part of the bigger picture, who feel like a small cog in a big machine, are not willing to go the extra mile.

 

Not every business can afford to shower staff with generous pay and benefits, but not every business has to. Small companies can show "intense interest" in employees, in their welfare, their families, and their future. It's also important to recognize an employee “publicly” for a job well done. Some companies also offer incentives for exceptional customer service, but if you can't spare the cash, you might throw an office party or offer another token of appreciation.

 

Emphasize the Long Term


Short-term sales incentives can sometimes undermine long-term customer satisfaction. Prevent that by building short-term programs atop an ongoing program that rewards broader improvements. Moreover, winner-take-all incentives can drive a lot of unhealthy competition and disengage the rest of the sales force. You improve sales performance by much greater percentages when you improve the performance of the large group in the middle of the bell curve.

 

Build Trust


Use your customer's name whenever you can. And sometimes you have to give to get. Going the extra mile by showing the customer you care about making them successful, can build a lot of trust.

 

Listen


The best salespeople spend 80 percent of their time listening, not talking. Ask open-ended questions to elicit a customer's needs and wants. Once they've identified what they're looking for, use their words throughout the process, that way, they've sold it for you.

 

Sometimes It's the Little Things That Matter


Small gestures that anticipate customers' needs or attend to their comforts, such as offering a cold glass of water on a hot day or a children's area with toys, go a long way toward winning them over.

 

If You Can't Help a Customer, point to an Establishment That Can


And saying "You might try Smith's, on Main Street" won't make nearly as strong an impression as confirming that Smith's has the item in question and giving directions to their location on Main Street. This is the ultimate in customer service, and guaranteed that customer will be back.

 

Show Your Appreciation


One important element of retaining customers is communication. Personalize the thank-you note after a deal or perhaps a follow-up phone call is also a nice touch.

 

Treat Your Best Customers Better


If your company relies on a relatively small number of clients to provide a disproportionately large share of revenue, it makes sense to devote a disproportionate amount of time and energy to serving them. (Think of airlines and the escalating benefits in their frequent-flier programs.)

 

Resolving Customer Disputes

 

It's bad enough when a customer is unhappy with your product or service. But if the attempt to redress the problem is frustrating or fruitless, it makes matters much worse. A satisfied customer may tell one or two friends about your company, but an angry customer will tell at least 10. Some aggrieved customers can never be placated, but, more often, successful dispute resolution lies with a caring and qualified customer service representative.

Solve the problem when it occurs. Give the people who are the first line of response the authority to resolve problems themselves.

 

Don't greet agitation with agitation. Our first tendency is to match our tone to their tone, but you don't want to do that. If we stay calm, their voice will start coming down, and they'll begin to relax.

 

Here is a helpful hint for resolving a dispute as a five-step process called the Five A's: Acknowledge the problem. Apologize, even if you think you're right. Accept responsibility. Adjust the situation with a negotiation to fix the problem. Assure the customer that you will follow through.

 

Don't forget salesmanship. The skills and techniques of good selling discussed earlier are even more valuable in difficult situations. Address customers by name, and repeat what they've said. Whether you resolve the issue or not, they'll see that you have their best interest in mind.

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Proper Names for Groups of Reptiles, Amphibians, Fish and Invertebrates

Groups of Reptiles, Amphibians, Fish and Invertebrates

Cobras: a quiver
Crocodiles: a bask
Frogs: an army
Toads: a knot
Turtles: a bale or nest
Salamanders: a maelstrom
Snakes, vipers: a nest

Fish in general: a draft, nest, run, school or shoal
Herring: an army
Sharks: a shiver
Trout: a hover

Bees: a grist, hive or swarm
Caterpillars: an army
Clams: a bed
Crabs: a consortium
Cockroaches: an intrusion
Flies: a business
Grasshoppers: a cloud
Jellyfish: a bloom, fluther or smack
Lobsters: a risk
Oysters: a bed
Snails: a hood
Squid: an audience

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Hot Hot Hot

HOT HOT HOT

 

At the beginning of the summer, I decided to try my hand at gardening! As a bonafide foodie, and a lover of hot sauce I grew a bunch of peppers in hopes that I would be able to make my own! After 3 months of watering, fertilizing, and hoping my peppers would make it through I was able to create my first batch! Take a look at the process below!!

 

As anticipated this entire process was extremely rewarding. We ended up with an incredibly hot and I mean HOT sauce. Cant wait for the next one!! 

 

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My Frankenstein Kitchen Audio System

So like many I have tried installing a Bluetooth speaker in the kitchen to listen to some tunes while doing dishes or the like. Also like many others I am let down buy the terrible sound quality, low volume and flakiness that is Bluetooth (sometimes). So as a project for myself I decided to whip up my own wireless streaming audio system.

 

To start I used the 2 rear-channel speakers from my 5.1 home theatre setup (which currently is setup in a 2.1 configuration) which were collecting dust under our TV stand. I cleaned them off and took the speaker wire that was still connected to the also-collecting-dust center channel speaker and cut/stripped it evenly so I had a pair for each speaker.

 

Next to power them I needed to get an amp. After a bit of research on what the power requirements on the rear-channel speakers were and some Amazon-ing to find an amp that I liked I ordered the LEPY-2024A+ Digital Amp .

 

Finally, I needed a way to get my music to the speakers. I had this piece in mind from the start which is a Chromecast Audio from Google. You plug it into power and into your audio output (the audio amp) and then it connects to  your home Wi-Fi network and shows this little Cast icon  in compatible apps like Spotify and Google Play Music. You just hit the button and choose where you want your music to play and away you go. It also works from inside Google Chrome on desktop in both Spotify and Google Play Music as well.

 

They sound great and are really easy to begin streaming to from any smartphone, tablet or desktop/laptop. Also a nice perk of the Chromecast Audio is it handles the streaming itself, it isn't pulling anything from your device so you don't need to even be connected to Wi-Fi after you have initiated the stream.

 

Not to shabby.

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Proper Names for Groups of Birds

Bird Groups

Bitterns: a sedge
Buzzards: a wake
Bobolinks: a chain
Coots: a cover
Cormorants: a gulp
Crows: a murder or horde
Dotterel: a trip
Doves: a dule or pitying (specific to turtle doves)
Ducks: a brace, team, flock (in flight), raft (on water), paddling or badling
Eagles: a convocation
Finches: a charm
Flamingos: a stand
Geese: a flock, gaggle (on the ground) or skein (in flight)
Grouse: a pack (in late season)
Hawks: a cast, kettle (in flight) or boil (two or more spiraling in air)
Herons: a sedge or siege
Jays: a party or scold
Lapwings: a deceit
Larks: an exaltation
Mallards: a sord (in flight) or brace
Magpies: a tiding, gulp, murder or charm
Nightingales: a watch
Owls: a parliament
Parrots: a pandemonium or company
Partridge: a covey
Peacocks: an ostentation or muster
Penguins: a colony, muster, parcel or rookery
Pheasant: a nest, nide (a brood), nye or bouquet
Plovers: a congregation or wing (in flight)
Ptarmigans: a covey
Rooks: a building
Quail: a bevy or covey
Ravens: an unkindness
Snipe: a walk or wisp
Sparrows: a host
Starlings: a murmuration
Storks: a mustering
Swans: a bevy, game or wedge (in flight)
Teal: a spring
Turkeys: a rafter or gang
Woodcocks: a fall

Woodpeckers: a descent

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Pokemon GO Phenomenon

Pokemon GO

Chances are if you see someone walking around with their head down and overly fascinated with their phone they are playing Pokémon GO.

 

The viral mobile game has taken the world by storm and had a record breaking release.  Almost taking out Twitter for the most daily active users, Pokémon GO has the most downloads on iOS devices than any other iOS app in history. Surveys are starting to state downloads of the cultural sensational app are starting to plateau, but are future updates planning to recharge these numbers?

 

What’s All the Hype About?

 

Players use their mobile devices to hunt, capture and collect little digital monsters. These creatures pop on to the screen alongside real world environments. (activated by the user’s camera) This augmented reality technology paired with the geocaching and the 90's nostalgia has proven to keep trainers hunting.

 

The Nintendo game is forecasted to make at least $25 million this year and even local businesses are profiting using the in game 'Lure" features to attract not only Pokémon but people to their shops.

 

A handful of us here at REM have downloaded, and play the app. With a Pokéstop right next to our office we are surely not likely to run out of Pokéballs anytime soon! Even if all we can catch are the Rattata's

 

Gotta Catch 'em all!

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Colleague Reviews

I have spent the last 2 weeks working away at writing mid-term reviews for my colleagues.  I have a couple more to wrap up early next week.

 

This is my first time writing reviews.  It is a very time consuming task when one wants to do it well and I want to provide my peers with sincere and helpful reviews.  My colleagues deserve it.

 

While writing these reviews I am so strongly reminded of what an incredible team we have here at REM.

 

The amount of knowledge, initiative and productivity that this team encompasses is brilliant.  Our communication skills, our problem solving skills and our enthusiasm towards process improvement are top notch.

 

Individually and as a team we are a force to be reckoned with!

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Customer Profile for July 2016

I want to thank everyone at REM for their hard work on the successful launch of St Jacob's new website.  Everyone on the REM team had a part in this project.  This new website turned out great.  The design is fun and easy to navigate.  There is an a new business directory that was built to help visitors find what they are looking for between the market and the village, quickly and easily.  The site was also updated to make it completely mobile friendly. 

We enjoyed working the team at Mercedes Corp and appreciate their hard work on the project to make sure it was a successful launch.

 

Take a few minutes and visit the new website or better yet take a drive a check out all the fun things to do in St Jacobs this summer.

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Car Stuff

As my fellow REMer's [Is that a thing? It is now!] will agree, I'm a bit over the moon with my latest vehicle. I recently replaced an older Civic Si with a newer model and I'm constantly pricing out car parts to upgrade its performance and handling... and maybe add some visual flare as well.

 

In the future, I might post some links here to the progress made on the car, but for now, I'll leave you with this:

 

SiriMoto strut bars vs Megan Racing strut bars? Which do you prefer? SiriMoto offers a stiffer ride, but is it worth the additional discomfort when travelling across railroad tracks?  Leave your thoughts in the comments!

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Growing Avocado Plants Part 2: Outdoors

You might remember a couple of months ago I wrote a blog post about “Growing Avocado Plants.” This is part 2: the great outdoors. I have narrowed down my avocado plant to one; it’s doing so well and I want to concentrate my attention on it

 

Back in May, it was still too small and the weather was still too cold for me to leave it outside. But when the end of May came I took the plant out, and what a difference that made! Because avocado trees originated from Central Mexico, it does really well in hot conditions. It loves the mid-day sun it gets, which encourages the plant to grow more leaves. Also its trunk has become much stronger thanks to the breeze my backyard gets.

 

Avocado plant growing outdoors

Avocado plant growing outdoors

 

My fiancé and I have other plants on our deck as well. As you can see from the photo below, we also have:

  • cherry/assorted tomatoes in the back row
  • a couple of kale
  • a hibiscus
  • 2 cabbages
  • 2 lavenders
  • a few snow-peas
  • and 2 gooseberries

 

Plants on my deck

 

I’m looking forward to the day that we can finally have vegetables to eat from our little garden.

 

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