The Key To Customer Service

The Key To Customer Service

Communication, Featured

listenI recently had to contact customer service from Audible, part of Amazon. After a few minutes I was convinced I was talking to Alexa. Every response was from a canned script. Despite explaining the problem repeatedly, customer service gave me solutions to problems I didn’t have. It was as though the customer service representative was only responding to certain keywords. While it seemed I was dealing with a chatbot, it was in fact a person. That person was not doing the one thing that ensures good customer service.

The person wasn’t listening.

To serve your customers, the fist key is listening to them. If your customer service consists of following scripts, you are not listening to what your customer is saying. Without listening, you can’t solve their problem and you can’t serve their needs. What you can do is aggravate and lose your customer. Listening is a simple skill. Not using can cost you business.

What Happens When A Company Reduces Its Marketing?

What Happens When A Company Reduces Its Marketing?

Communication, Featured

If you haven’t heard of Blue Apron, it is a food delivery service that ships recipes and the needed ingredients to its customers packed in dry ice. It also has a few problems. The biggest one is that there is no difference between it and its competitors, one of which is Amazon. Additionally, the market for the company and its competitors is more limited than it originally thought. Faced with increased competition and a shrinking market, Blue Apron made the decision that it had to cut costs, and the first thing it cut was its marketing budget.

What Blue Apron found out was that cutting its marketing also cut its sales. New customers dropped and when Blue Apron announced its earnings, so did its stock price. Blue Apron found that cutting its marketing was the biggest mistake it could make because it’s competitors didn’t. Since there was no differentiation between the companies, customers went to the one in front of them. They went to the company they saw in commercials and showed up on websites they looked at.

Marketing is not a luxury. Marketing is how customers learn about your company. Without marketing, your customers won’t find you. If they don’t find you, they don’t buy from you.

Keep Your Presentation from Being Forgettable

Keep Your Presentation from Being Forgettable

Communication, Featured

presentationsAdvice on giving good presentations tends to focus on structure and style, but there’s something even more important to consider: getting your audience to remember your talk. Here’s how to make sure they remember what you say:

  • Follow the right sequence. Audiences remember the beginning and end of a talk most easily; they have more trouble remembering the middle. Get your most important point out right away and reinforce it at the end.
  • Draw connections.Making connections among the key points in your talk helps your audience remember them. The more connections you draw, the more chunks of information people will be able to recall later.
  • Make the audience work. Audiences commit things to memory when they have to do a little work to understand them. Ask people questions, let them vote on something, and get them to summarize your points for themselves.
Balance Your Personal and Professional Selves on Facebook

Balance Your Personal and Professional Selves on Facebook

Communication, Featured

FacebookMore people use Facebook than any other social network, which means that you need a Facebook strategy for your business and career. This is especially true since we usually use our personal accounts when we’re on it. Here are some tips for managing your personal account in relation to your professional identity:

  • Use your lists. Creating different lists for different groups of people – coworkers, friends, and professional contacts, for example – helps you keep track of whom you’re sharing things with.
  • Target each post. Before you hit “Enter,” double-check who will be able to see it. Should the post be public? For a specific list? For only you?
  • “View as colleague.” Use Facebook’s “view as” feature to see what your profile looks like to other people. Make sure your colleagues, customers and potential customers see what you intend them to.
  • Change your defaults. If you use Facebook on your phone, set your default privacy settings to the narrowest possible audience. It’s better to share too narrowly than too widely.
Better Social Media Strategy: Show, Don’t Tell

Better Social Media Strategy: Show, Don’t Tell

Communication, Featured

social mediaMore and more social media is a visual medium. Facebook has even added features to make status updates more visual. To grab people’s attention here are tips to help you get started in creating great visual-based content.

Show off your stuff.

If you are a small business selling a product, this part is easy. Take some photos of your products, and post them on the social networks that most of your customers use. Go beyond a product catalog by sharing images of new products that you’re excited about and showing your enthusiasm. Service-based businesses can use lifestyle shots to connect their audience to the essence of what they do.

Get close.

Get up close to your subject. Make sure to fill the frame with the image. In many cases, images uploaded to social media sites will be viewed in a small, thumbnail-sized box first. So the subject of your photograph needs to be clearly visible, even at a small size.

Make your photos helpful to customers.

Sharing photographs of products, services, and staff can be helpful because when customers come visit your business, they will already know who to ask for, and what they’re looking for. You have created a connection with them and that makes their job as a consumer much easier.

Name your photos

Don’t give them generic names like, img928.jpg. Make names and descriptions key word rich.

Give Yourself A Marketing Makeover

Give Yourself A Marketing Makeover

Communication, Featured

Sales and MarketingPeriodically it’s important to look at the impression you create to make sure its the one you intend. It’s easy for a message to become outdated. To stay top of mind, freshen up your image by giving yourself a marketing makeover.

Social media: Take a look at your profile pictures and cover images on your profile pages. Social media changes, make sure you update your pages to take advantage of new features.

Website: Is your site up-to-date? Does it include all your current information? If you are not a business owner, do you have a personal page. Setting up your own website allows you to promote yourself to your customers and keep your audience if you move companies.

Networking Commercial: If you’re an avid networker, shake up your introduction periodically. Change your focus to grab attention and bring focus to new areas of your work.

Boost Your Credibility And Confidence When Speaking

Boost Your Credibility And Confidence When Speaking

Communication, Featured

SpeakingMost people experience nervousness or fright when speaking. Whether you are talking to people you don’t know, or presenting to existing clients or coworkers, here are some steps to take to help you come across as confident and knowledgeable.

  • Familiarize yourself with your subject: Go through your presentation repeatedly. Learn all you can about your subject so you can deliver your deep knowledge of it confidently. Your audience will sense that you know more about the subject than they do and you are keeping a considerable number of facts, ideas, and arguments in reserve.
  • Believe you will do well: Believing in yourself is critical since it shows in your body language. Your expectation of doing well is a language that your audience will respond to instantly and clearly.
  • Look at your audience directly: It might not be easy to do this from the beginning even if you are thoroughly prepared. Cast your glances almost randomly until you settle into your speech. When you’ve caught and held them, establish direct eye contact to judge their understanding of what you’re saying. This will help you change your delivery pace if need be.
  • Don’t read from a sheet: Notes, a quick reminder of your point, are better than reading from a sheet. Reading from a sheet dulls your presentation, makes it sound boring and suggests unpreparedness. Prepare a list of subject headings that you can fill out as you speak. It shows you know what you are talking about.
  • Speak clearly and don’t rush: It will help your audience assimilate your ideas easily and keep their attention on you. It will also make you appear confident. Regulating the level and tone of your voice keeps your audience interested. Project your voice and speak firmly without shouting. In the important passages, reduce your volume to get closer attention from your audience.
What Is Networking?

What Is Networking?

Attitude and Mindset, Communication, Featured, Leadership

handshakeDuring the publicity tour for the book “Captivate,” author Vanessa Van Edwards appeared on CBS This Morning. Discussing her book, she made it clear that she had no idea what networking was. The reporters asking her questions were similarly uninformed. Despite the importance of networking in the success of a business or a career, there is still a great deal of misunderstanding about what it is and how to do it.

Networking is a process. The first mistake most people make is thinking that by attending a single networking event they are networking. The networking event is the first step in the process that has the goal of creating long-term relationships with will connect you to the resources you need. People you networking may never use your service or buy a product from you. They will introduce you to people. This people may or may not buy from you. They will introduce you to more people. Get the idea? You are not networking so that you can sell. You are networking so that you don’t have to sell. Ideally, your network will recommend you to people who want to buy.

Networking is not about trading business cards. Many people  treat networking as though the one with the most business cards wins. This is wrong. Having someone business card is irrelevant. The one who wins is the one who follows up. When you meet someone at a networking event, you need to follow up and meet them again. People do business with people they know, like and trust. While meeting someone once could be considering knowing them, it is by no means enough to generate like and trust. This takes several meetings and the time to really get to know each other. The business card is just so you have the person’;s contact information. It is not the goal and it is not an invitation to sell.

Ultimately, you want to be a superconnector. A superconnector is someone who meets people and introduces them to others who can be useful to them. Real networkers know that you must approach networking asking the question, “What can I do for you?”, not “What will you do for me?” Networking is about helping each other.

Own Your Mistakes

Own Your Mistakes

Attitude and Mindset, Communication, Featured

By now there aren’t many people left who haven’t seen the video of a doctor being dragged off a United Airlines flight. It was a mistake that has caused them embarrassment, outrage, and a drop in their stock price. Part of the problem is that when the incident happened, the CEO of United tried to deflect blame instead of accepting it. Mistakes happen. It is worse if you don’t own up to it.

The ultimate playbook on how to handle a crisis was written by Tylenol in the 1980s. When Tylenol packages were tampered with, they immediately went to work. Tylenol could have said it had nothing to do with them and shifted the blame to the drug store where the tampering occurred. Instead, they pulled all product of the shelves, redesigned the packaging, and redesigned the pills to make them tamper proof. The plan cost them millions. Not doing it could have cost them their business.

Tylenol took responsibility, even more than they had to, and fixed the problem. When you make a mistake, own up to it. Fix the problem and accept the blame. You’ll get more out of it in the long run.

Recommendations Reflect On You

Recommendations Reflect On You

Communication, Featured

Recommendations are flourishing on social media. While they have been a staple on LinkedIn for a long time, they are appearing on other sites that are popping up as well. Directory sites, smaller social media sites such as Alignable and others are all adding them. As a result, people are getting more aggressive in asking you to recommend them, even if you’ve never used their service.

When you put your name on a recommendation, you are putting your stamp of approval on it. You are telling people you believe that business or service is high quality and they should try it. When you recommend businesses you haven’t had experience with and they fail to live up to expectations, you lose credibility.

A recommendation or referral should be taken seriously. Only recommend people you know will provide good service. You are vouching for their service with your reputation.