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Service Quality and Sales Growth: Another Connection

A recent research project for a client opened our eyes to the impact that high-quality customer service has on growth.  This client has used our transactional survey process for five years. 

We compared the service growth over a four-year period by individual customer account with the responses from each customer account to the Net Promoter® question (willingness to refer).

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Engaging Your Employees = Working on Your Company’s Engine

I recently toured  a client’s impressive heavy equipment sales, parts and service facility and I had a realization during the tour, "Your employees are the engine of your company."

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Surprise! Delight your customers when they least expect it

In the movie Finding Forrester, Sean Connery, playing reclusive writer William Forrester, advises a young friend that “the key to a woman’s heart is an unexpected gift, at an unexpected time”.  Forrester’s friend, Jamal, acts on the advice and it works wonders.

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Who Moved My Cheese(burger)?

Imagine you ordered a cheeseburger.  But as you prepare to dig in, you discover there is no cheese.  Now you just have a burger.  I recently spoke to a customer who had a “burger only” experience.  He rented a backhoe and was ready to dig in at his construction site.  But the bucket was loose and the dig was a disaster. You guessed it -- no cheese.

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The State of Customer Service - A View from the Road

When you are out and about or even on vacation, do you observe the customer service you receive? What are your thoughts about the customer you receive every day?

I just spent the last seven weeks traveling in an RV with my wife visiting clients and prospects. Given what we do as a firm, I always pay attention to customer service I receive most anywhere. As we drove through the upper Midwest, I kept my eyes and ears open.  Here are some of my observations:

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How to Stop Playing Customer Service Whack-a-Mole

Whack-a-Mole is hilariously fun at first, yet it quickly becomes tedious and repetitive.  Just imagine having to play it for a living.  If you manage a customer facing team or function, that’s what you may feel you’re doing when dealing with customer service issues.  You run from one problem to the next, stopping just long enough to apologize or extend a goodwill credit before dashing to the next fire.

If you’d like to stop playing customer service whack-a-mole, consider using “continuous improvement,” a management method made common by Toyota and other manufacturing companies to help identify, fix, and prevent production errors.  Continuous improvement works on customer issues, too.

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The Evolution of the Service Experience: Cooperation and its Impact on Customer Expectation

I cannot say if customer service is, in general, improving or getting worse.  The American Customer Satisfaction Index suggests that customer service improved until mid-2014 but has been trending downward since. It is probably growing in some industries and not in others. Personally, I am occasionally impressed with the service, but the service I receive is “adequate.”  I give talks frequently, and I often start the presentation by asking who can recall a positively memorable service experience in the last few months. Typically, I will see a smattering of raised hands.  If asked about unsatisfactory service experiences, the number of hands raised is usually far larger. Is Customer expectation changing or is consistency slipping?

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Customer Feedback: How to Talk to an "8"

You receive a customer feedback survey and on the “likelihood to recommend,” question she responded with an "8".  In the NPS* scoring scheme, she is a passive customer.  When the interviewer asked why she gave the rating, her response was “I do not score higher than that as there is always room for improvement” and the survey comments do not provide any clues about her rating.

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Customer Loyalty: Let’s Talk About 8

What’s wrong with an 8?!  Some people just don’t give 9’s and 10’s.”

I’ve heard this question a lot from companies who measure customer loyalty using a 1-10 rating scale.  It’s a common hot-button issue worth exploring.

And the survey says… meh

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Customers Want Something in Return for Their Feedback

We have been in the customer feedback business for a long time.  For many surveys, especially those designed to measure a company’s service quality, the act of contacting the customer alone, not counting what was said on the survey, can raise customer expectations.  What are some of these expectations and how can you best manage them?

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