Tag Archives: #business

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How to give a refund, even you don’t think you should

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Have you ever had a customer demand a refund on the 29th day, after the purchase, demanding a refund… and you have a 30-day refund policy? Has one of your most difficult clients asked for a full refund after going through your program, claiming it wasn’t worth the money? How do you handle these types of situations? Unfortunately, there’s no app for that!

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Difficult customers come and come, again. Hopefully, they are a very

small percentage of your customer or client base. When customers and clients ask for a refund, it sometimes seems like a slap in the face, right? It’s like they’re saying, “You’re not good enough.” or “Your services stink!”

Don’t take this too harshly. There’s an old saying that goes, “Kill them with kindness.” Simply put… don’t get on their level of frustration and meanness. These types of people are often the same ones who almost always find something wrong with their food, customer service, etc. They almost always want a discount of some kind.

Unfortunately, these people don’t walk around with signs on their chest saying, “I’m about to do my best to make you miserable and work your butt off to please me!

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Customer Service – Comcast is a Great Example

Comcast is in the news, yet again, for its deplorable customer service. But, this customer may be laughing all the way to the bank. After your read the article about Conal O’Rourke, the poor customer service, and the lawsuit, I want to hear your input. Do you feel Mr. O’Rourke or Comcast should come out the victor in this case?

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Comcast Customer Service Reps
                          Customer Service – Comcast is a Great Example

My opinion on Comcast, after being a customer for 10+ years, is that they have a very unfriendly attitude toward customers as if to say, “But where else can you go?” It’s no wonder to me that they have so many high profile customer service complaints.

Yes, they have the fastest internet service (I am still anxiously awaiting Google Fiber to come into my area, although Comcast is making leaps and bounds in an attempt to stay in front of Google). And, yes, Comcast provides great telephone and cable service, compared to the satellite companies in our area. But, does this give them the right to shrug off providing good customer service?

I say, with every cell in my body, and with great disgust “NO!” The last, but very important part of providing good customer service (because, apparently great is not in their service description) is billing. Comcast made a whopping $2 billion profit in the 2nd quarter of 2014. You might think that Comcast could afford a top-notch accounting system that would minimize, if not eliminate, the over-billing they are too well-known for.

Conal O’Rourke’s case is based on just that… over-billing, not just once or twice, but on a continuous basis for over a year! What in the world was Comcast thinking? I’m not sure how much discretion each of their Customer Service Reps have, but wouldn’t you think that, after about two or three months, one of them Reps would bring this issue to a supervisor or someone who could finally resolve the issue? I would!

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

May this Valentine’s Day find you in the company that you want to keep 🙂 Don’t settle for less than you want. Life is too short for that! Have you given into the hype that you have to be with someone… anyone on Valentine’s Day? For what? Candy, flowers or bragging rights that you received an expensive piece of jewelry? I hope and pray that you’re not living that kind of life!

Happy Valentine's Day!
Be your own Valentine first 🙂

So, what are you up to this super-charged, romantic day? Movies, dinner… what? Are you planning on spending it alone, cuddled up with a good book, or a good tv marathon? That’s cool, too 🙂  In either case, is it what you want to do or is it by force, not by choice? Basically… are you living and loving your life, day in and day out?

I often wonder why so many people say that they live their life for themselves, but get caught up in what society says they’re supposed to be doing, and who they should be doing it with. Where along life’s journey, do people become so afraid of expressing themselves, that they eventually end up representing someone else dreams and expectations?

We all have heard the saying, “Life is too short.” That is totally true! So, what would it take for you to live the life that you could completely love? Isn’t living the lifestyle you desire, the whole reason behind every decision you’ve made? If it hasn’t been for you, then who?

I’m sure you’ve had suggestions, from family and friends, to live this way or follow that path… go to college or the military, get this degree, etc. I will say that, as a parent, it is hard to see our kids make certain kinds of decisions. We feel we know what’s best for our little one’s, and we do, for the most part. But not always for the most important part... fulfilling their dreams.

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Perfect example… I sent my oldest off to attend college in NY to major in Audio/ Video Production (his choice). He ended up a theater major. That was a hard pill for me to swallow, but it was his reality. Not easy to support, especially since I was raised by a “starving artist” and know the struggle that more than likely is in his future.

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Customer Service Is Your Business

The customer experience is ultimately what we all should be focused on. Yes, the bottom line is important, but without a positive customer interaction and reaction (i.e. selling your products or services), honestly, there’s no point in calling yourself a business.

What sparked the idea of writing about this topic, is while watching a Bar Rescue marathon, the one common factor I noticed with each bar, was the horrible customer service they each delivered. I mean people being serviced martinis in plastic cups without any vermouthSERIOUSLY?!

Bad vs Good Customer Service
From TheDealCutters’ “Customer Service” Pinterest board

Or what about the store clerk who politely, told a customer that she’d have to find the product herself because, “I’m the only one here and I’ve really gotta finish this. I’m sorry.” She was making more coffee. I felt bad for the customer, but was glad the employee was making more coffee.

Alright, serving a martini in a plastic cup… nothing else needs to be said except DON’T DO THAT! But, was the store clerk right in her response? Like I said, she was very polite. I’ve been in that situation before and I know it’s not easy but, I think the better response would have been, “If you can give me just a minute, I’d be more than happy to help you.” I think the customer would have been fine with that. Instead she left the store in a huff.

Businesses that operate 100% online have it a little bit harder than their competition in a physical location. Primarily because there are so many online businesses to choose from, offering the same type of product or service. According to Forrester Research, “45% of U.S. consumers will abandon an online transaction if their questions or concerns are not addressed quickly.”

The primary reason for this is that, there are so many online businesses offering the same products and services, consumers have, literally, thousands of companies to choose from. There are many reasons that result in the average of 80% “shopping cart abandonment” has nothing to do with your products or services. This reason is simply… no relationship. If the consumer doesn’t know you, will probably never see in person or have any type of relationship with you, there really is no obligation to stay and shop with you.

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How To Handle An Outrageous Customer Service Experience

Outrageous is the best word I could think of, to describe this particular customer service experience. Unfortunately, I had to witness this interaction. Fortunately, it wasn’t toward me! But, even so, I was truly disturbed by the offender, but equally proud of the employee who the verbal assault was aimed at.

Anger Management quote

So, what exactly happened? While stopping to grab some coffee for myself, and a snack for my husband, Mike, I was waiting for another customer to be helped at the counter. As usual, I was listening to my music, through my earbuds, but not too loud, so if anybody spoke to me, I could hear them over my music.

I saw and heard, what seemed like offensive words and body language, and turned my music completely off. The first clear words I heard were, “Does it look like I’m laughing?! I don’t see or hear anything funny!”. The customer was irate about something, so I listened, intently, trying to figure out what happened.

The young man behind the counter had a smirk on his face, so I figured some sort of joke or comment was made that set this hostile interaction in motion. The customer continued by saying, “Man, you acting like a little bitch right now!” Before I could think, I said, “Whoa! Whoa! What the…?” I didn’t need the play-by-play details to know the customer had gone way overboard! If he was that upset by the clerk, it was time to call in the Manager. At the very least, he should have let the other clerk complete his transaction.

I left out of the store and listened to my music for a minute, to pull myself together. Upon re-entering the store, the rude customer held the door for me. I held my tongue, and gave him a short, “Thank you.” When I walked in, the two clerks behind the counter were giggling, as if what had happened was somehow amusing.

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What a Week! What a Week!!

You know I always have some outrageous, yet true, stories to share with you. Well this week has been an over-the-top roller coaster of a week TO SAY THE LEAST! The issues actually started a week ago, Thursday, so it’s been a hell-acious eleven days. As most of you probably know by now, my bread-and-butter business is a small trucking company that my husband, Mike, and I own and operate. We run as a “team”, meraning we usually cover about 4-5000 miles per week. For the past 5 months we’d been on a sweet run under contract that paid quite nicely… same money, less miles. Pump the breaks! That all came to a halt and jolt very abruptly. Boy oh boy… abruptly is putting it mildly.

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So on that particular Thursday, our dispatcher says, “Hey, we haven’t been given the loads for next week yet. We’re meeting with their head ups in the morning so be patient with me while I find out what’s going on.” Well, Friday morning turned into Tuesday morning. Mike and I have been trucking long enough to know that contracts change with the wind, so trailer hunting we go. We finally find one Wednesday that’s finally ready to roll on Thursday. We pickup a load Thursday heading to Laredo, Tx and we’re off! Read entire post

Why Not Offer Top Notch Customer Service?

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I read an article in Forbes today titled, “4 Lessons From the Red Carpet On Customer Service“. It was so plainly explained just how easy the art of customer service is to master. Receiving great service has greatly diminished in recent years. It seems like the more competition that has surfaced in the online and brick-and-mortar retail arena, as well as the services space, the more nonchalant customer service has become. I’ve yet to understand this. I have said time and time again that customers are what you need and should want. Customers are who pay your bills (even though they don’t literally “write the check”), so why do so many… too many people feel that offering a customer their butt to kiss, because they’re having a bad day, is alright?! Just go clock out and try it again the next day.

The article uses Beyonce as an example, but shouldn’t each and every one of your customers be a Beyonce? Do they have to be a mega-celebrity or be filthy rich for you to do your job to the best of your ability? NO! I’ve said it to Customer Service Reps, on the phone and face-to-face, if you don’t like dealing with customers, go buy an island and treat yourself like crap! It’s ridiculous to think that a customer is going to pay a dime for someone to suck their teeth, roll their neck (and, no, this is not a racial thing) or make a negative comment in another language and think that the customer should just deal with it… SERIOUSLY?! I beg to differ! 

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The Personal Side Of Customer Service Part of 3

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Last week I wrote the first part of this three-part post, going into the traits of an optimist (see The Personal Side Of Customer Service Part 1 of 3). This week, I’m going to explore the traits and habits of an A-typical skeptic. I’ve inserted the Wikipedia definitions for all three personalities for a quick reference.

(Photo via Kevin Lisota)

1. Optimist – (see the Wikipedia definition of optimism) – This type of person sees the cup as half-full, meaning they see each situation as being a great one. It’s hard for the typical optimist to get down about people or life in general. Instead, they’ll explore and suggest all the options they think might improve, or solve the problem. What I do know is, it’s rare to find optimists in close personal relationships with the following two types.

2. Skeptic – (see the Wikipedia definition) – I believe the majority of people, in this country, live in this category. Why? It seems that we are the most positive, upbeat kids. But, by time we get to junior high school, something happens and our view of the world has greatly diminished. We still have dreams about what our future holds; college, family, etc., but they are streamlined from what they had been. Gone are the days of being the first female President or winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

3. Pessimist – (see the Wikipedia definition for pessimism) – This is the person who sees, or foresees, the most negative outcome in every situation and person. A blue sky is seen as somewhat cloudy by this person. The idea of doing something out of the norm, is automatically shot down with a comment like, “That’s not going to work.” or “Who told you that was a good idea?” AVOID THESE PEOPLE! If you have any dreams or imagination about doing anything different than what mainstream society says, you do not want, or need, this person in your circle. Dream-killers is what I call them.

Ok. So what does a typical Skeptic look, sound and act like? Well, let me take you back to the above picture. Does it look like the makings of a gloomy day? Or could it be the clouds are opening up for the sun to shine through? Who you ask will determine the response you receive. If you ask the Optimist, you’ll most likely get the latter of the two descriptions. But if you ask a Pessimist, it is probably always gloomy, no matter what the sky looks like.  However, if you ask a Skeptic, their answer may be on either side of the spectrum or somewhere in between, depending on their thought process. How the sky looks will not have much to do with what they think is going on with it. (The picture above came from an interesting article, “Employee Satisfaction:The 50 cities have the happiest workers“… good read)

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A Skeptic looks like most of us, but may frown a bit more. A Skeptic sounds like most of us, but tends to be more argumentative. Lastly, a Skeptic acts like most of us, but is more apprehensive and calculating in just about every aspect of their life. This is what we’re going to get in to in the post. I want you to think about this slight, but very significant differences as you read the entire article. Then, I want your input on if you feel you are an Optimist or Skeptic (no judging over here) and how that has helped, slowed you down or prohibited you altogether from working toward your ideal lifestyle. Read full article

 

The Social Side Of Customer Service

Being savvy in social media is not only important, but imperative in establishing your brand and obtaining new customers. It is a key element needed to build your business and brand. as well as retain and build relationships with current customers. You need to get with the social times, because according to best-selling author Erik Qualman, as he reported in his video Socialnomics 2014:

  • 93% of shoppers’ buying decisions are influenced by social media 
  • 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations 
  • only 14% trust advertisements
  • Shoppers have an attention span of :06 seconds (:07 for goldfish)

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How are you using social media to get potential customers to know, like and trust you and your brand?

Every business, large and small,  should focus on obtaining new customers. Unfortunately, too many companies allocate more resources into getting new business, neglecting, to a degree, their current customers. It has always been said that repeat customers are every business’s goal. So why doesn’t it feel like that with every company I deal with? Do you ever feel a bit jealous when you see these killer deals say, your cell phone service provider, is offering to new customers only? I’m sure they are aware of the 80/20 rule. We know that 80% of your business will come from 20% of your customers. Shouldn’t it be just as important, if not critical, to include your current customers in your social media strategy? It’s easier to market to people who have already bought what your selling, right? Read more