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Leslie Groene Website Homepage November 2019, Vol. 172

Customer Service: Good, Bad, and Ugly- Part 1

Protect your reputation with outstanding customer service

And even when your business does define good customer service it doesn't mean you're always going to keep your reputation intact. One of the most notorious breakdowns of customer service occurred in February, 2007, to passengers aboard the Jet Blue flight who were stuck on the JFK tarmac for nearly 11 hours before Jet Blue finally decided to cancel flights due to weather.
Horror stories still circulate two years later of conditions aboard that flight. And in one fell swoop, the gold standard of airlines got a great big black eye from which they've had a difficult time recovering.
Creating a business that will define good customer service takes constant vigilance and commitment.
Take American Express, for instance. Year after year, Amex consistently tops the "10 Best" companies for customer service. Amex customers even overlook the fact that they have high rates because they provide great customer service. . .usually with a real person on the other end of the phone. On the other end of the spectrum stands AOL. In the number one spot on MSN Money's 2008 "Hall of Shame," a remarkable 47 percent of people who had an opinion of AOL's customer service rated it "poor."
That's a hard number to argue with.

Defining Good Customer Service
So what separates the excellent from the not-so-great when it comes time to define good customer service?
Well, here are some things you can do to develop extreme customer loyalty based on great customer service.

Get to know your customer.
Building a relationship with our customer is an important part of customer service.
Ask them what they need from you and from your business, and then deliver it.
Do a customer survey and find out their hot buttons. Let them know you value their opinions and value them as a person.

Courtesy is key.
No matter what, you and your employees must always be courteous, polite, and friendly to your customers and clients.
When anyone in your business is rude or discourteous, it reflects on your entire company.
Then your customer tells all their friends about the rude behavior and you lose a lot of potential business.

Develop a customer retention program.
It's tough to find new customers and clients. So once you do, give them consistent TLC.
Maybe it's giving them a few minutes of your time gratis, or a gift certificate to a restaurant for making a referral. . .Or a free product or service after a certain number of purchases.
Even something as simple as a thank you note does wonders for customer retention.
Put some thought into how you can reward your customers for loyalty.

Focus Point

98. Stay Hungry!

One way to assure your career longevity is to keep your edge by staying "lean and mean" throughout your sales career! We all start out hungry but some of us start to become a little complacent when we experience tremendous success. There is always a danger that we start to believe that the sales will just keep coming and we can put our careers on "cruise control."

Keep that edge and keep your work ethic at a high intensity level at all times especially when you experience tremendous sales growth. That's actually the best time to attempt to turn up the work volume because we will feel a surge of confidence in our abilities at these times.

When I was starting out, a good friend gave me some great advice. She told me to work hard so that you can become successful and then to work even harder because it will be more difficult to handle that success!

I can't tell you how many times I've seen successful, confident sales professionals just lose it all overnight. So, stay focused on your goals and keep easing them ever higher as you progress. Stay current and motivated by attending workshops and seminars in your industry and stay grounded as you earn more and more money.

When Tom was coaching youth football a few years ago, his young players would each put on a little show in the end zone after scoring a touchdown. After that first victory, Tom gathered all of his players in a huddle and suggested they "act as if they had been there before."

This is good advice for all of us so stay hungry and keep your focus on staying on top of your game when you experience success in your industry.