Category Archive: Customer Service

The Dos & Don’ts of Public Relations Crisis Management

public relationsThe phrase “PR disaster” was perhaps never used more than it was last month when United Airlines forcibly dragged a passenger off of a flight, not because of any transgression he’d committed, but because the airline had purposefully overbooked the flight.

The video of the incident would have been a disaster in and of itself, but United Airlines truly dug their own grave when their social media representative seemed to blame the victim of the incident immediately after the video hit the internet. The airline’s Twitter account referred to the passenger as “disruptive and belligerent”, despite the fact that the video footage and the witness statements contradicted that.

United Airlines may forever be the poster child of what not to do in the midst of a Public Relations (PR) crisis.

To ensure that your company never follows the same path, here are the dos and don’ts of crisis management.

DON’T Blame The Customer

For a long time, the sentiment “the customer is always right” reigned supreme. Now, any business owner knows that jerk customers absolutely do exist and you sometimes have to bend over backwards for someone who doesn’t deserve such kind treatment.

When you’re in the middle of a public relations crisis, it’s important to remember the old rule about the customer always being right. Now, in the case of United Airlines, the wronged passenger was in fact an innocent victim. But even if he hadn’t been, the decision by the airline to insult him publicly still would have been the wrong one. You never want to look like you’re trying to pass the blame off to someone else, especially someone who’s given your company money. 

DO Communicate, But Wisely

United Airlines wasn’t necessarily wrong for responding to the situation promptly and publicly. It wasn’t their timing or their willingness to communicate that was an issue; rather, it was what they said.

Although saying something irresponsible or blaming the customer is the wrong way to go, staying silent can be just as problematic from a public relations standpoint. People are distrustful of any company that fails to respond to actions or accusations of wrongdoing. Furthermore, in the social media age, people have grown accustomed to lightning-quick responses. People grow impatient and frustrated if you wait too long to make a statement.

You want to think critically and creatively about your response to a situation, but it’s important that you work within a reasonable time frame. Put thought into how you respond, weigh the pros and cons of your words, but don’t wait too long. 

DON’T Be Childish

public relationsRecently, a new cosmetics company turned what should have been the launch of a promising new product into the end of their company before it ever really began. When Evie Blender launched its product, a silicone makeup sponge, it used the common cosmetics marketing technique of sending the product to a slew of popular YouTube makeup gurus to use in their videos.

When longtime YouTuber and makeup artist XSparkage announced on camera that she was underwhelmed by the product, Evie Blender could have just left well enough alone. Instead, they launched a downright childish campaign against the beloved e-celebrity, flooding her social media with petty comments and sending her a cease and desist letter that dishonestly labeled her fair criticism of their product as “libel.”

In the era of social media, this behavior by new entrepreneurs is becoming all too common. Your company’s social media presence ought to be taken seriously; these are not your personal accounts where you can be free to be goofy, sarcastic or petty. When you have a negative PR situation on your hands, don’t respond defensively to individual comments. Don’t engage with internet trolls who are trying to get a rise out of you. The second you appear to be overly defensive or childish, you’ve set the ball in motion for your company to fall apart.

The digital era has changed so much about how we approach public relations, but some rules will never change. Communicate honestly, but never be petty or blame the customer. Be polite, be professional and be honest. Customers don’t have a problem with companies that occasionally make mistakes; rather, what they have a problem with is companies that don’t know how to handle these mistakes.


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Philip PileticMeet the Author: Philip Piletic

Philip’s primary focus is a fusion of technology, small business and marketing. As a freelancer and writer, he is in love with startups, traveling and helping others get their ideas off the ground. He unwinds with a glass of scotch and some indie rock on vinyl.

https://au.linkedin.com/in/philippiletic


Permanent link to this article: http://www.leadershipgirl.com/dos-donts-public-relations-crisis/

Understanding the Science of Attracting Customers to Your Business

~by Hannah Whittenly~

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attracting customersDiscovering exactly what customers find most appealing has always been a challenge for business marketers. This is especially true today when major headlines and digital reach can rapidly transform consumer expectations. A glimpse into behavioral psychology, however, has offered some insights into why customers choose one business over another.

Here are a few things for you to take into consideration for attracting customers:

Pricing vs Value

If consumers think that your prices are high, they look elsewhere. “Discount” prices can give a perception of poor quality or service. A $2,000 designer handbag isn’t really a hundred times better than the $20 department store knockoff, but people prize it much more.

The prices you advertise should reflect the reputation of your brand relative to the competition. If people want your product badly enough, they’ll pay more for it. When you establish higher value, higher prices follow.

Innovation and Outreach

One trend in today’s business is a stress on innovation. Customers are attracted to something that seems bolder and better. Yet, constantly generating new products is difficult to maintain for smaller businesses.

Instead, you should apply your creativity in cost-efficient marketing campaigns like email and social media. People are still receptive to personalized outreach. In one study done by

Brigham Young University, hundreds of random strangers were sent Christmas cards, and fully one-third reciprocated.

Service

People are social by nature. Most people will abandon a purchase even where there’s definite value if they feel frustrated or insulted. Sales and floor staff, as well as customer service teams, should be prompt, friendly and informed. Rude, slow, neglectful, or ineffective service is bad service.

attracting customersSavvy consumers recognize when they’re being pressured, patronized or hearing scripted sales pitches. Be sure your staff is customer-centric in their responsibilities and well-trained in the “soft skills” of human interaction. Never forget human ego and self-esteem. Customers will react negatively if you’re bashing theirs’.

Business Premises

For offline businesses like shops and restaurants, a customer’s reaction depends on the visual picture they get at your location. Dirty and poorly maintained premises automatically lower perceptions of your quality and service.

If you don’t want customers to move on immediately, it’s important to keep paint fresh, windows clean, debris removed, and parking lots in good repair. If your parking lot has tons of potholes in it, then it can become quite an irritating place to be. That is why you should consider hiring a professional paving company to fill them up. The same goes for interior spaces and floors. If the first impression of your business isn’t positive, you’re losing customers.

An understanding of how your customers respond to every aspect of your business is important. Marketing tricks and trends may come and go, but basic human psychology isn’t going to change.


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Hannah WhittenlyMeet the Author: Hannah Whittenly

Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She graduated from the University of California-Sacramento with a degree in Journalism.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.leadershipgirl.com/understanding-science-attracting-customers/

4 Tips for Dealing with and Surviving Rude Customers

~by Bryan Peterson~

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rude customersThese days, quality customer service is often what sets a company apart from its competitors. No one is willing to put up with poor customer service when there’s another company two miles up the road that offers the same service. Every person in retail knows that they’ll deal with irate customers at some point or another, but that doesn’t make getting yelled at and insulted any easier.

Remember also that there’s a difference between an unhappy customer and a rude one. If someone is upset about the quality of a product or service, he or she is perfectly entitled to be. But sometimes there are customers who are angry and accusatory no matter how accommodating you try to be.

Here are four tips for not letting rude customers ruin your day.

1. Remain calm, cool and collected

Whatever you do, it’s critical that you keep a handle on your emotions. Getting into a screaming match with a customer does nobody any good, and may in fact do you a great deal of bad if there are repercussions from your employer. Remember, losing control of yourself means losing control of the situation.

2. Show them you care

Acknowledge the validity of their feelings and make your sincerity evident on your face and in your voice. People pick up on attitude through tone of voice and body language, and oftentimes what you say isn’t as important as how you say it.

rude customers3. Let them vent

The customer wants to be heard and understood. Give them your full attention. Be an active listener by asking questions and repeating or paraphrasing some of what they say. Remember, body language is important. Sit up straight and maintain eye contact.

4. Do you best to solve the problem

If solving their problem isn’t in your job description, don’t let the customer know it. Keep them talking and get all the information you can, and then do what you can to fix it. But if you really are unable to help them, find them someone who can. Don’t make promises you don’t have the ability or authority to keep.

If you are a manager, remember that it is your duty to step in if the customer crosses the line from rude to abusive. It’s important that you support your associate and make it clear to the customer that the associate has been following store policy.

If you found this article helpful or think someone else would, please share it.


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Bryan PetersonMeet the Author: Bryan Peterson

Bryan Peterson is a Community Outreach Specialist at ROI Call Center Solutions. Bryan’s focus includes writing about technology, business management and anything that interests him. Bryan is committed to helping individuals discover new ideas and expand their horizons.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.leadershipgirl.com/tips-dealing-surviving-rude-customers/

How to Become a Successful Leader in the Real Estate Industry

~by Lizzie Weakley~

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The real estate industry in the United States is already crowded with agents. The competition for clients is expected to increase significantly in the coming years. So agents will have no choice but to come up with new strategies that can make them have a competitive advantage over others. They have to be smart and employ effective techniques to bring business to their doors.

real estate industry

Here are some helpful tips on how an agent can stand out from others.

Determine what your competitors are doing

Sometimes it pays to be nosy. Look at what your competitors are doing. Determine what is working for them and what is not. Avoid directly copying what they are doing, as this can lead to legal problems. Instead, model them to come up with a unique but effective plan. Look at the strategies they have in place and their marketing efforts to give you insights on how to make your profession better. You can also learn from their mistakes. Go to social media or any other online platform and see what people say about them. Focus on the negative reviews and find out what mistakes they did to annoy the customers. Work to avoid making those same mistakes.

Adopt the latest technology

You should always be up on the latest technology in real estate. A majority of clients nowadays prefer to communicate and view listings in a digital platform. Make sure your services are tailored for such people, especially the millennials. Use apps to keep track of the properties you manage. Podcasts can assist you to stay tuned for the current real estate market news and trends. You can use a smartphone to take pictures and videos for showing to your clients. Not to mention, mortgage calculators make it easy for you to figure out the monthly payments right from the phone. Your main goal here should be to keep up with emerging trends in order to stay competitive.

Use Pinterest

You need to optimize your Pinterest account to get positive reviews. You can look at examples such as Success Path reviews to get ideas. Only pin real estate images that are relevant to the targeted group of people. Make your account lively by posting regularly. Your pinning frequency should be between two to eight boards per day. Use properly sized images and easy-to-read fonts for customer convenience. Consider asking for reviews at the end of your pins. If there is a bad review, respond to it as fast as you can. Reach out to the negative reviewer directly and try to solve the problem.

Know the market

real estate industryYou need to study your market in order to come up with effective and realistic strategies. Analyze the current pricing trends in the area. This should also include the market segments you plan to explore in the future. Check to see whether the average home prices accelerate faster in one area than in others. Studying these trends allows you to understand the prices that are fair for certain properties. You can then be in a position to come up with the right price for a specific property.

Build strong relationships

You need to relate well with other realtors, customers and the general public. Having good relationships is the key to getting more referrals. Agents who relate with you well will be more than willing to give referrals if they find clients who want a house matching your listings. Over-communicate and over-service. Become a trusted adviser and resource to increase the value of your services. A client will be more loyal and give a positive review if you offer more value. A positive review shows that you have what it takes to provide a good experience. It will most likely lead to more clients. You should also be honest and live up to your promises as a real estate agent. This is even enshrined in the real estate legislation.

Becoming a leader in real estate is directly related to how prepared you are to compete with others. The tips discussed above will help you make the right steps towards becoming a respected agent.


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Lizzie WeakleyMeet the Author: Lizzie Weakley

Lizzie is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky, Snowball.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.leadershipgirl.com/become-successful-leader-real-estate-industry/

The Big Picture: How to Make Your Business Stand Out

~by Lizzie Weakley~

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make your business stand outAccording to Forbes, more than 28 million small businesses exist. The number of large businesses is equally staggering. What that means for your business is that you need to do something to make your business stand out so that prospective and current consumers will choose you over the massive competition. Here are some ideas:

Invest in Video Marketing

Video marketing is a worthwhile investment because it can continue to entice new people to visit your business every day. You can hire a strong video production company that can create something for you that has high viral potential. The great thing about videos is that they can make hundreds of points about your products and services in only a few seconds.

Think in Neon

An amazing sign made by a sign and graphics company could be a huge asset to your company. You can catch out-of-state visitors and lost drivers just because you have a sign that looks unique. Consider having someone create a vibrant, abstract or bold sign for the front of your building.

Offer a Short-Term Abnormal Sale

An abnormal sale is a sale that makes people wonder if your business has gone mad. It’s a sale that will create enough of a buzz to bring in people from all over.

make your business stand outDeliver Knockout Customer Service

Customers will always appreciate awesome customer service. They will always love service that sticks to the traditional procedures such as greeting them quickly, answering all of their questions, being honest and trying to save them time or money. If you can have your team go the extra mile with their customers, you can almost guarantee that your customers will walk an extra mile with your company.

Keep the Inside Super-Clean

A clean building is always welcome no matter what type of business you run. It shows that you care about the way your establishment looks, and it invites people to come in and make themselves feel at home. You can hire a nighttime cleaning crew to come in and conduct the cleaning tasks if you cannot spare your employees for the work. The few dollars that you invest in that cleaning crew will make a huge difference.

Start with this list of tips and then come up with some additional creative ones on your own. You could turn your business into a top performer in no time.


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Lizzie WeakleyMeet the Author: Lizzie Weakley

Lizzie is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky, Snowball.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.leadershipgirl.com/big-picture-make-business-stand-out/

Make Your Customers Comfortable; Keep Them Coming Back

~by Dixie Somers~

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When customers feel comfortable in a business, they return. Ensuring your customers’ comfort is a smart, low-cost investment that pays off. Below are a few ways you can make sure that customers are comfortable in your establishment.

Provide Refreshments

make your customers comfortableStock your store, front desk and waiting room areas with coffees, teas and light snacks. Always have a purified water station. Particularly in winter and summer months, these refreshments can help customers settle down from the elements and focus on your business.

Make sure all hot and cold beverages maintain the proper temperatures to be safe. Limit refreshments to common pick-me-ups such as mints, hard candies and nut-free chocolates to avoid liabilities for potential exposures to allergens.

A Greeter

Many brands made names for themselves with a simple policy of boisterous greetings for all customers who enter their locations. Greeting customers is also an excellent opportunity to pass them your latest discount flyer and introduce them to new services.

Smaller businesses can invest in a doorbell to signal the arrival of new customers and welcome them inside. Businesses with large floor areas and busy offices should station a guard or cashier near the entrance to perform this function.

Help the Disabled (and the Able-Bodied)

The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) makes accommodations for the disabled mandatory for most businesses and workplaces. In addition, customers may fit your business into a long day of errands and work, and bring their families.
These considerations keep everyone feeling comfortable:

  • Push-buttons to power entrances and exits for disabled customers and those managing small children
  • Handicapped bathroom stalls and changing tables in all restrooms
  • Sofas and chairs with back support in lobbies and waiting rooms
  • Area rugs or carpeted runners in highly trafficked common areas to reduce impact on feet and fall risks

make your customers comfortableAir Curtains

Installing air curtains creates a stream of air as a seal against warm air escaping and cold air entering. This keeps customers in a comfortable temperature no matter what the season is. Air curtains also save energy and cut heating and cooling costs, trapping warm and cool air inside where customers need it most. Clean air curtains regularly to discourage dirt build-up and poor performance.

Positive Restrooms

Customer restrooms must be clean and pleasant at all times. Create a restroom check schedule with set, memorable times and post it in the employee areas. Designate responsibility to check the bathrooms for essentials, overflows and damage.

Increase your bathroom’s amenities by stocking hand lotion, tissues and air freshener. Call a plumber immediately to fix stopped-up toilets and non-working faucets.

Comfort can determine if customers return to or storm out of a business never to return. These simple strategies ensure your customers feel good, keep you in accordance with the law and save you money in the long-run.


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Dixie SomersMeet the Author: Dixie Somers

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer who loves writing for business, finance, and those with an entrepreneurial spirit. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.leadershipgirl.com/make-customers-comfortable-coming-back/

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