Track B: Sales, Marketing & Business Development Workshop B-2: Customer Service: It’s About More Than Just Answering the Phone What does Customer Service mean to you? • How is this different from the private sector? • What is their role? • What should they be responsible for? • How should they deal with customer complaints? • How much information should they provide to a customer? • Should after sales service be covered by them? Customer Service? How was it in the 80’s and 90’s? • Basic service was provided as business was booming and lots of customers to sell and service. No rush to resolve issues, respond to inquiries. • Customers got used to having to rely on voice mail, fax and if they could get through an automated phone system – usually leave a message and wait for a reply. • Having a person answering the phone was deemed adequate. • Was considered a cost center and not deemed as important to company as other areas of the organization. Customer Service? How is it view today? • Customer Service now renamed to Customer Care. The new term means a lot. • Primary Nerve center of the organization. First area of contact for new and existing customers if now aware who to contact for information. • Fast and accurate communications with customer essential via phone, fax, email, Skype etc. • Key responsibility is to look after the customer quickly and satisfy their needs/ inquiry. • Customer Care integrated into sales and marketing. Now viewed as a profit center. • Encouraged to develop a relationship with the customer – its not just answer their question. How Important is Customer Service to Government Agencies? • Private sector must provide good customer service in all markets to ensure long term success in today’s tough market environment. Key to success today. • CI is interested in creating inmate empolyment through selling goods and services – The customer experience with CI’s must always be positve. CI has a more limited base of customers which to call upon. How to provide good Customer Care? • You must believe in the product or service that you are selling and the features and benefits. • Customer Care is the primary nerve center in the organization and must always have a positive attitude towards all customers. • Must be knowledgeable about all products, services and who to transfer calls to or where to get information from. • Show customer that you care and will support them through after sales service by following up to ensure customer satisfaction. • Listen to what your customers say. They will tell you their needs if you ask the question. Show empathy to their needs. Continuous Training of Customer Care • Most people only retain 20% of information from each training session. Keep it short and simple. • Conduct training monthly – Have vendors conduct annual training on products/ services they supply. • Review benefits, features and application of product, services, policies and procedures. Knowledge is powerful! • Discuss successes with sales and marketing staff because of Customer Care support. Everyone wants to be a part of a successful team and it will encourage others to try. Cross Selling – Customer Care can make customers aware of other products and services • Customer Care becomes an extension of sales with proper training. • Easier to sell more to an existing customer that you have good relations with than try to get a new one. • Do not assume that customers know all you have to offer. Never assume anything. • Imbed a list of products and services into email signature from all Customer Care representatives. • .Encourage Customer Care to reference customer to organization web site for information on other products and services. Customer Care– A Resource for Sales • Can provide good info to sales regarding sales leads, opportunities, history. • Customer Care can help all departments improve if supported fully by all departments. • Customer Care may be the first and last touch point for a customer. May be the last opportunity to retain a customer. • Pass on from Customer Service all contact info to sales and marketing to build a database of contacts • Losing a current customer = 20 cold calls. More cost effective to retain your existing customers than try to get new ones. • Going Forward • Include Customer Care in trade shows, meeting customers at facility, put a human element into picture. • Involve Customer Care into the decision making of how to improve an organization, adding products, services, policies. • If people are involved in the process they will support the changes. • Customer Care is more able to identify problems in organization from a customer perspective by listening and observing feedback from them. Do a survey of your customers • Ask customers on an annual basis through a simple survey what they think of Customer Care experience they had with your organization. • Use free services such as Survey Monkey to make it a simple 2 minutes or less exercise for the customer. Ask 10 questions or less. • Look at this as a performance review of the Customer Care department. The response will be reflective of the organization and how customers perceive it to be. Office Seating Market • Highly competitive. • Industry average lifespan for an office chair is 6-7 years. • Mature market. Its not getting bigger. Technology is reducing the number of workers in the office. • Projects involved architecture and design firms heavily • influenced by major furniture manufacturers. Go for the every day sale – its easier! Customer Care can help with this! Questions?