Please find some links and notes from the 2 Regular Guys Podcast. Terry and Aaron dig deep into what customer service really means and how you can improve that within your business. We discussed the do’s and don’t and talk about things that have and have not worked in customer service. We also talk about our best customer service experiences and worst.
We also recapped the 2104 Reggie Awards Categories. To make your nominations, we are going social this year. Use the hashtag #2014Reggies and post to Facebook or Twitter. Nominations are being accepted until November 20th, 2014 at 5PM CST.
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Terry: Last week when we announced the categories for the Reggie awards, one of the topics we kind of took off on was the customer service award. We figured since it seemed to be a hot topic to us, we should explore it. So where do we start?
Aaron: I guess to me the first place to start is to discuss the why… Why is customer service important?
- Companies like Amazon who have flat-out said they want to be the best customer service company in the world, the success of Zappos and how the internet and social media has changed the landscape.
- Over 65% of a typical company’s business comes from existing customers and it cost 5 times more to get new customers than it does to market to existing customers.
Terry: So what does customer service mean though?
Aaron: My take is that it is a deep-rooted wish to do the right thing. All too often people mistake customer service for just rolling over and taking bad business for the sake of customer service. It’s about working together with your customers to be partners in their business, about being open and transparent with all of your stakeholders and just following the golden rule.
Terry: So how can a company improve their focus on customer service?
Aaron: I think it starts with what I just mentioned, have a deep-rooted wish to do what is right and make sure the people who interact with your customers have that same passion. Get your passions down on paper, have a motto and actually live it. Don’t just throw it on your business card and leave it at that. Make decision based on that motto and what your company is at its core. Then continue to work on it, check it and leave the ego at the door. I have seem way too many small business get involved in emotional ego driven spats with customers or even make decisions about running their companies based on emotional decisions. Heck go read many of our industry forums or Facebook groups. Filled with small businesses complaining about their customers and why they suck to work with. It is not your customers fault that you priced your job too low or didn’t get the full explanation of the project or didn’t have them sign off on a proof or, the list goes on.
Personally the way I look at it is – Don’t make your problems your customers problems. They come to you to solve their problems, not to get new ones from you. This means before you start explaining why you can’t do this or that for them, ask yourself, why do they care? Can you fix your problem without even letting them know about it?
Terry: So how do you provide great customer service then.
Aaron: First off, your questions are perfect. We have followed the golden circle and started with why and are wrapping up with how. If you have not watched Simon Sinek’ Ted Talk or read any of his stuff, I highly suggest you do, but I won’t digress.
Again I fall back to getting your beliefs and policies onto paper and then reviewing them regularly with your staff and even at times with your customers. Especially if you have staff or others involved with your business, your customer service is only going to be as good as your worst person so you need to clearly state your policies on paper and then go over those policies with your staff to make sure they clearly understand them. This goes for all of your staff even if they don’t interact with customers as they need to know how their jobs can affect your customers. In our company the warehouse guy packing the box is just as important as the sales guy or customer service rep as their can make the customers have a bad experience just as easily.
Make sure that the sales people are getting a clear understanding of the entire job, make sure policies are in place to decrease errors and issues would be the next area.
Then if a problem does arise, now is the time to really shine. Own the problem and let the customer know you want to work together to solve it, and not have it be adversarial. Remove the word “they” from your vocabulary and stop trying to explain why it happened and instead work to explain how you are going to fix it.
The hard part is the being really good at customer service is fairly opposite of most human instincts. We naturally want to deflect blame to others, we want to be ready with a good comeback, and in many of us we just want to win every battle. With customer service you have to listen with empathy and ask the customer what they would like you to do to make it right for them. The think that my team has found once we started addressing problems that way is that more often than not if the customer has to suggest their own solution and they have been listen to and trust we are empathetic to their needs, their suggested solution is less costly than the one our reps would have suggested. Then the solution satisfies the customer truly. Only in rare cases are the customers demand completely out of line when the before mentioned items were put in place.
Terry: So how does social media and the internet factor into customer service.
Aaron: I think one of the biggest impacts is that in today’s world because of social media, the internet and sites like Yelp, Angies List etc. it has made being good at customer service not just important to businesses, but it has made it a necessity. No longer can you just hide from your deficiencies in customer service. Now with Social Media and internet review sites you can get raked through the coals and in a lot of cases never recover. On the positive side of all this though Social does allow us to more easily watch and respond to customer service issues and can also help rally your customer behind you and then can become your best customer service reps and brand hero.
2014 Reggie Awards
The 2014 version will feature the following categories:
- Best New Product – This category is for products that have made an impact on our industry in 2014 that are relatively new to the market place. It maybe have been around for a few years already, but really affected our industry in 2014. Please give as much detail as possible.
- Best Sales or Customer Service Representative – This category is to recognize a specific person who has stood out as someone who has supported our industry, helped people be successful in their businesses and provided outstanding customer service or support. Please provide an individual name and the company they work for.
- Company that Provides the Best Customer Service – This category is for a specific company that exemplifies what it means to be customer service oriented. These company have specific policies in place that are customer service oriented and put their customer first in our industry. Please provide the name of the company and why you have nominated them.
- Most Helpful Industry Forum Poster – This category is to recognize those people who spend time out on the forums answering questions and pointing people in the right direction. These people provide the correct information, not just the information that helps their company and are very active in the community. The nominees can be from any of the stand along industry forums, LinkedIn Groups, Facebook Groups or other online communities. Please provide their full name and online community they are active in.
- Best Trade Show Seminar – This category is to recognize a specific trade show seminar that was helpful to the attendees. This is a specific seminar that was presented at any of the industry related trade events that are out there. Please provide the name of the show it was at, the title of the seminar and the presenter.
- Best Industry Trade Show – This category is to recognize the industry trade show that did the most for our industry. The show should exemplify a show that provides a good meeting place for exhibitors and attendees and brings cutting edge technology and events to the people involved. Please provide the name of the show and the city in which it was located.
- Best Guest on the 2 Regular Guys Podcast – This category is to recognize the guest on the 2 Regular Guys Podcast that provided the most information that helped your business and was entertaining. Please provide the name of the guest and the topic covered.
Upcoming Trade Shows
- NBM Charlotte – November 6th – 8th, 2014
- ASI Orlando – January 4th – 6th, 2015
- ISS Long Beach – January 16th – 18th, 2015
- Exploring All Garment Decorating Methods to Find the Best Fit For Your Business – January 18th, 2015 at 10:30AM PST
- Secrets of Starting a DTG Business – January 16th, 2015 at 1:00PM PST
- Complete Screen Printing Business Course – Atlas Screen Supply in Chicago – November 8-9, 2014
- Complete Screen Printing Business Course – Workhorse Products in Phoenix – January 31 – February 1, 2014
Screen Printing: A Practical Guide to Starting Your Own T-Shirt Business Just $4.95 as an e-book.
Direct to Garment: A Practical Guide to Starting Your Own T-Shirt Business Just $4.95 as an e-book.
This show is brought to you for a full hour by: Equipment Zone, with 20 years experience selling garment printing equipment nationwide. Equipment Zone offers the new Epson F2000 SureColor direct-to-garment printer, their own VelociJet-XL DTG printer, and the all new SpeedTreater-TX automatic pretreat machine with a full 16”x24” pretreat area. Introductory price is $3,895. Equipment Zone also carries a full line of DTG inks and supplies. Go to EquipmentZone.com
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