MVP Seminars Blogs

The past few weeks have been an interesting experience and a lesson in terms of “what good does not look like” in the wonderful world of customer service.  Here is the situation.  I am in the midst of trying to move some retirement $ around and have been doing so for the better part of 3 weeks.  Let’s be more specific.  I want to do business with this particular company and they will not call me back. After the first week of zero contact with a human being, I went to their website and found a local person in my area and figured that I would contact them.  Guess what?  It has been the same exact experience (ground hog day).  I called him approximately six times and emailed him on four other occasions.  For some odd reason, I cannot convince this “sales person” to contact me.  At this point, I am frustrated and shocked so this actually turns into more of a research project.  I call his office and ask to speak to him and of course he is unavailable and I am told to leave him a voice mail message.  Here we go again.  I am getting somewhere now though; at least I know that he is alive.  I will take a small win at this point. At wits end, I send one final email.  Here is the response that I get back, I’m in an offsite meeting in our corporate office all day today. Then we have a company wide training Thursday – Sunday and a test on Monday morning to become certified and won’t be available until Tuesday the 15th. I’ll e-mail you on the 15th or please feel free to e-mail or call me then as well.” After trying to track this lad down now over 10 different times, he has the audacity to ask me to do it again. Is this really happening to me?  I think I need Duane Chapman (Dog the Bounty Hunter) to find me a sales person. The last time I checked, we were in a recession.  At least, I thought so.  My emotions are bouncing back and forth between shock, laughter and frustration.  I have been in the wonderful of sales for over 15 plus years and I cannot imagine a time when I would be too busy to take an order.  Do you know what’s really scary?  On my voice and email messages to him, I was very explicit in what I wanted.  I want to be a customer!  Please help me.  This gent is probably doing it to others too and is a habitual offender. I wonder if his sales manager has any idea.  Does it matter?  Actually it does but I am not going to tell him because I have emotionally moved beyond their brand.  The referee just blew the whistle and it is game, set and match. Is it possible that a company could be so busy that they are okay with ignoring their customers along the way? I highly doubt it and in this case shame on me for spending so much time trying to stimulate the economy. Customer service is not a hobby nor a part-time endeavor but rather a meaningful way to differentiate your brand in the digital age.
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Have you ever had a good idea that’s been on your mind for quite some time? You believe that this idea could improve a process at work or improve an area of your life or the lives of others. You have researched this idea and have given it considerable thought yet something is holding you back. Maybe you are concerned with what others might think or maybe you are afraid that you may get stuck in the midst of the process and fail. Let me share with you a quotation from Dr. Maxwell Maltz, the author of a book titled “Psycho Cybernetics”. Dr. Maltz says: "Often the difference between a successful man and a failure is not one's better abilities or ideas, but the courage that one has to bet on his ideas, to take a calculated risk and to act.” In my opinion, some of the worst thoughts a person can have while performing a periodic review of their life are the thoughts of: “Would of, Could of, and Should of”. Let me explain. What if we only thought about our earlier idea but never implemented it? At some point in our life we might look back and say: “1. I wonder what would of happened if I had implemented that idea, 2. That idea really could of saved me lots of problems. 3. It was a good idea, I should of continued on and done it anyway.” You see, if we had the courage to bet on our idea and it was successful then we need not say anything else. On the other hand, if we gave the idea our best effort and failed, then we will regret nothing. Additionally, it is often in the midst of failure when leaders learn the most and apply what they learned not to do to their next effort or idea. I do not know of any leader that has not suffered setback on the way to their success. Remember that it is never too late! If you have a good idea that has been researched and on your mind for quite some time I suggest that you be strong and courageous. Be strong in your idea and your faith in yourself and your God-given abilities. Be courageous enough to listen to the beat of your drummer and not that of your neighbor.
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It's the official first day of the Sweet 16 for college basketball and many fans will be attending numerous game events at homes and restaurants. During a time like this, fans just want to enjoy the games, eat lots of delicious food, and oh yeah have fun. Nothing can spoil fun gatherings such as these, except awful customer service at restaurants. For many fans, it is a tradition to gather at local restaurants to watch multiple games at one time. The attitudes of restaurant employees can encourage fans to come back or never return. As a restaurant owner, it is pertinent to ensure that all employees understand the company's policy on customer service. This is definitely a time when revenue for the business can increase tremendously. For instance, a business associate of mine shared an incident that he witnessed at a local restaurant during Super Bowl. Apparently, there was a party of 30 people in one area of this restaurant, so you can imagine that the bill was going to be substantial.  There were three waitresses handling this party and one displayed a very negative attitude towards some of the members in the party. As a result, the party left the restaurant and other customers did the same thing, including my business associate. To this day, that business associate has never returned to the restaurant. How can this be prevented? Employers can implement one hour refresher customer service trainings for all employees, including supervisors. These trainings can take place beginning 2 months prior to big events, such as Sweet 16 happening.  After each employee completes the refresher trainings, observe and evaluate them before the big event. There will be some that need additional training. The way that employees are trained, observed, and evaluated should always be a top priority for any organization. Lastly, when the employees deliver exceptional customer service during the big event, show appreciation. Sweet 16 is a large revenue maker, so ensure that your employees are ready to deliver exceptional customer service to keep the customers coming back for all of the sports events.    
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No matter what type of organization you belong to, you do have customers. Whether or not your customers pay you for your services they are still your customers - and ideally you will treat them with the same excellence that you would if they were paying you $1000 per hour. If you are in education, you have layers of customers. The students, the parents, the community, the alumni - all are your customers. The students need an excellent education so that they eventually have the knowledge and ability to contribute to the work force, earn decent wages and are able to raise a family in comfort. The parents need their children to be well educated so that eventually they can move out of the home and be on their own, without the parents having to financially support them any longer. The community needs excellent education so that it has a productive work force which attracts investment in the community. And the alumni need the education institution to remain strong so that their diploma continues to have legitimate meaning. If you are in a nonprofit you have customers. The people to whom you are providing services are all your customers. If your nonprofit is to survive you still need to do everything you do with excellence, otherwise those who use your services may decide that they will stop using your services, even though your services do not cost them anything. Then whoever is providing your funding may decide to stop providing funding to your nonprofit. If you are in government you have customers. The citizens are your customers. All you need do is look at the international news these days to see what is happening to governments who decided long ago (so they thought) that they didn't have any customers. And yes, even athletic teams have customers - their fans and the community. The individual players, and the teams in general, need to be role models for their fans, especially for the young children. The first day the players put on that uniform that forever changes them to a role model - and they must forever forsake any bad habits that they may have had in the past, both on the playing field and in society. So no matter what service your organization provides, it does have customers. And those customers will expect you to provide the same excellent service as they would if they were paying for that service.
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Difficult people - ya gotta love em! Or not. Whether you do or don't, it's a fact of life that they are all around us - in our families, places of employment, communities, social events, and everywhere else. For whatever reasons, we all have personal issues that cause us to behave in ways others may find offensive, challenging or just plain problematic. It is our responsibility to pay close attention not to the other person's behavior but to our own, making sure we are not the one sporting the "Hi, my name is Ob Noxious" nametag. Having ascertained that you are free from fault (in this regard only), short of severing future contact with the individual, how can one deal with someone who is challenging? Here are a few tips that will make interacting with them easier: 1. Ask  yourself, "How important is this person to me at this moment?" Being careful not to devalue them, certain people have greater or lesser significance in our lives. My sister, for instance, matters more to me than a sales clerk in Macy's. If the party in question does not hold great regard in your life, are you willing to simply let the issue slide and walk away? 2. How important is this issue? Will it matter ten years from now? Again, if not, let it go. It is not worth  your time and effort. 3. Can you accept the person as they are? "That's just the way Uncle Joe is. He's never going to change." If you do, you must be at peace with him/her so as not to become resentful and angry later on. 4. Can I change my perception of this person? Instead of "She is so controlling!", can I see her as insecure? A less judgmental  observation allows me to interact with her in a less critical manner. 5. If the party is an important part of my life, I need to set boundaries and guidelines in our relationship to ensure it is as reasonably healthy as possible for all parties. 6. Establish a common ground with them, identify something you both have in common. By doing so, this allows both parties to feel a certain connection and increases the levels of understanding and trust between them. 7. Build trust. Showing genuine interest and concern in them eases their anxieties and fears, allowing them to feel more comfortable in your presence. Once achieved, they will most likely become more cooperative with you. 8. Bring out the best in them. Avoid allowing their bad behavior to influence how you behave. Find some goodness and focus on that. 9. Remember to be fair and open-minded to what they say, believe, and do. Refrain from criticism and judgments, employing understanding and compassion instead. 10. Some of our greatest gifts in life have been the most difficult people who cross our paths. View them as an important teacher who is enabling you to learn and grow. See them as the true blessings they are. While there is much to learn from encountering those who present the greatest challenges to us, it is not imperative that we keep them in our lives. Those who are determined to continue inflicting chaos upon us may be gently released from our lives. We are under no obligation to allow anyone to disrupt our serenity and joy. Wish them well and send them on their way. To order a copy of The Secret Side of Anger or The Great Truth visit http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html
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Customer Service GURU

As an author, speaker and expert trainer on customer service I often get the following question asked in my classes or presentations:

How can I influence a customer other than low price?

Answers are:

Realize that people like to buy but don’t want to be sold

Make their lives easier by going the extra mile

Over compensate for your mistakes

Practice your values and principles even when no one is looking

Do not take advantage of their vulnerabilities

Earn trust and loyalty through rapport, tact and empathy

Embrace problem solving as an opportunity to look good

Have the intelligence (EI) to manage positive and negative emotions

Understand that listening is more important than talking

Observe and react to their body language

  Add it up: Your Customer + Superior Service = Continued Paycheck   Joe Egan - Customer Service Presenter  
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Customer Service GURU

As an author, speaker and expert trainer on customer service I often get the following question asked in my classes or presentations:

How do I to deal with difficult customers?

One type you try to keep and the other type you fire.
  1. The type you try to keep might be having a difficult day and is taking out their frustrations on you. Your calm voice and patient willingness to guide the customer through difficulty results in long term loyalty.
 
  1. The other type you should fire. Chronic complainers are almost impossible to satisfy. They over consume valuable time and resources while frustrating those trying to help them. They are also the ones who love to bad mouth your company.
 

Take advantage of your freedom of choice

  Joe Egan - Customer Service Presenter
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Customer Service GURU

  As an author, speaker and expert trainer on customer service I often get the following question asked in my classes or presentations:  

Why is body language such an important communication in marketing and sales?

Because the majority of human communication is conveyed through body language. It decodes the spoken words and communicates from the subconscious level what both sides are really saying. It can’t be based on any one signal or expression, but it does reveal a difference between what you say and what you believe. Use positive body language to signal confidence, honesty, and cooperation. Observing the body language of your customers will communicate if they are interested and impressed or confused and detached from what is being said.   Body language is the most reliable and honest form of communication    
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The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show is the largest of its kind in the world. A few years ago, I attended the show and found a ring with a 22 carat pear-shaped prasiolite (green quartz). I bought the ring from a jeweler in North Carolina, who took it back with him to be sized. It would be mailed later. A few weeks passed and the ring arrived. I opened it to find that the stone was cracked. I called the shop owner and discovered that they had gone to Florida to care for an ailing relative for several weeks. While they were gone, the person sizing the ring had damaged it and mailed it anyway. The shop owner asked me if I wanted my money back or if I would like to have the stone replaced. I wanted the stone replaced because the ring was so unusual, so I sent the ring back and waited...

At least two months went by. I called the shop owner to find out the status and here is what I learned. The shop owner had purchased the ring in New York. He tried to find a replacement stone there with no luck. Then he searched the US. No luck. The ring had been made by a designer in Italy, so he contacted the designer directly to see if he could replace the stone. The designer did not have a stone that large in his inventory, so he CARVED ONE from a piece of rough that he had go in search of because of the size of the stone. The shop owner mailed the damaged ring to Italy and the designer replaced the cracked stone with the new one, then sent the ring back to North Carolina. The shop owner had just received the ring from Italy when I called. He mailed it out and I received it later that week. To my surprise, the second stone was even more beautiful than the first. What an amazing effort the shop owner made to satisfy my request! My question to you is "How far are you willing to go for your customers?". Not just your 3rd party customers, but your internal customers. Would you go as far as this shop owner to fulfill their needs or meet their requirements? If the answer is "yes", you work in an amazing company and are a part of an amazing culture! If the answer is "no", I can guarantee that costs are higher than they need to be and quality and management credibility is lower than they could be. The shop owner's highest priority was the satisfaction of his customers. What is your highest priority? How does it affect your service to customers and your relationship with other departments?
 
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