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Standing Out in a Sea of Average: Customer Service Pointers

Posted September 18, 2016 12:00 AM by ahorner_22
Pathfinder Tags: customer service

Succeeding in business is a challenging experience. What is it that differentiates your business from other companies offering similar products /services? If customer service is a priority, your business is most likely standing out in a positive way.

Growth at Radwell International has been positive for many years. I spoke with key players in Customer Service because I know that service very much contributes to growth. Each member of the customer service team that I spoke with all responded consistently when asked questions about how they approached customer service opportunities. I think it’s because they are really utilizing the principles they believe in on a daily basis.

Some key customer service points from Radwell’s Customer Service Team members:

  • Customer service in business should be immediate.
  • Proactive customer service is very much a part of daily routine for Radwell International.
  • All complaints are addressed and fixed no matter how small.
  • As Radwell International has grown, the customer service team needed to grow quickly as well to catch up and then stay ahead.
  • Handling each client with attention and a direct approach makes them feel valued
  • Learning from problems that arise is an opportunity for future growth.
  • Growing pains can make a company stronger if used productively.
  • Managing quality across many locations can be a challenge as a business grows.
  • Being able to connect directly with clients is something each customer service team member values.

There are a few “takeaways” in the above bullet points for any type of business. Although the concepts are simple, customer service execution can make or break a client experience. You can change any experience at customer points of contact but how a customer feels at the conclusion of the business interaction can be the difference between customer apathy and incredible growth.


Editor's Note: This is a sponsored post submitted by Julie Basello for Radwell International, Inc.

Photo credit: Robot/Human | Handshake/MarkMorace

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#1

Re: Standing Out in a Sea of Average: Customer Service Pointers

09/19/2016 1:52 PM

This reply is directed primarily toward Mrs. Brasello, Although other interested persons can post a reply.

I have a small business, ( evaporation cooling/ swamp coolers) often I get two types of phone calls: The first being from potential customers and the second from clients that I have performed work for.

In the first group, the scenario often goes like this: The customer will provide a long drawn out story about how the last guy who worked on their system goofed it up and how they felt overcharged and when they tried to call him, they have got no response. Generally what I do is give them time to vent their frustrations and then when they appear calm, schedule a service appointment at their home. Upon arrival, the customer will again reiterate their frustrations. Question: what are some of the methods I can use to reassure the customer that I will provide them with quality service at a reasonable cost ?

In the second group, the scenario often goes like this: I have installed a system in a customers home and when the relative humidity was below the threshold ( according to the psychometric chart) the cooler was performing correctly, when the relative humidity gets too high and the cooler can no longer cool the incoming air, the customer will complain that the system is not working properly ( I tell customers that an evaporation cooler has limitations and although it's operating cost is lower than an AC system is, there are times when an AC system must be used to provide cooling for the structure) and I need to make a service call to determine the fault. Question: Although I have provided the customer with detailed operating instructions, are there any other methods I can use to educate the laymen on the Laws of Thermodynamics without coming across too technical ?

Thanks in advance.

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#2
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Re: Standing Out in a Sea of Average: Customer Service Pointers

09/19/2016 7:52 PM

I once had a degreed engineer in Alabama argue with me for an hour, that such a thing as a swamp cooler couldn't possibly work (not just in Alabama where it's moist, but in dry climates as well).

Good luck explaining it to a layman.

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#4
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Re: Standing Out in a Sea of Average: Customer Service Pointers

09/21/2016 9:54 AM

"I once had a degreed engineer in Alabama argue with me for an hour, that such a thing as a swamp cooler couldn't possibly work (not just in Alabama where it's moist, but in dry climates as well)."

What's the customer you sell a conventional A/C unit to, instead of trying to change his belief about swamp coolers.

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#3
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Re: Standing Out in a Sea of Average: Customer Service Pointers

09/20/2016 9:43 AM

A website or blog containing content on these topics might be a good idea for a number of reasons:

  • It will help your potential customers do some research
  • It will give you some credibility so that people can get an idea of your expertise
  • It will help with SEO, bringing more potential customers to you
  • If you have a reviews or testimonials section, people will have a better sense of your credibility
  • You could have a microsite where you point customers that has some FAQ they can check before contacting you - provide them with this special link after you have finished the job

Of course human interaction, whether in person or over the phone, is always going to be a preferable form of customer service for most people. But having an online presence might cut down on some of the time you spend as well as establish your credibility in that industry.

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#5
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Re: Standing Out in a Sea of Average: Customer Service Pointers

09/21/2016 10:08 AM

"I have installed a system in a customers home and when the relative humidity was below the threshold ( according to the psychometric chart) the cooler was performing correctly, when the relative humidity gets too high and the cooler can no longer cool the incoming air, the customer will complain that the system is not working properly ( I tell customers that an evaporation cooler has limitations and although it's operating cost is lower than an AC system is, there are times when an AC system must be used to provide cooling for the structure) and I need to make a service call to determine the fault. Question: Although I have provided the customer with detailed operating instructions, are there any other methods I can use to educate the laymen on the Laws of Thermodynamics without coming across too technical ?"

Perhaps you could see about getting a supply of inexpensive 'dial-based' humidify gauges, custom printed with a 'green zone' for the humidity range where swamp coolers work best, and a 'red done' for the range where the swamp cooler cannot work as intended. You could even gave your company information printed on it, do it will double as a business card the customer puts on the wall next to the thermostat.

That should help educate people without 'talking down' to them.

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#6
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Re: Standing Out in a Sea of Average: Customer Service Pointers

09/21/2016 10:17 AM

Just fount a Psychometric chart example. Looks like it uses three variables, wet-bulb, dry-bulb, and Absolute Humidity, so it's a bit more complicated than I thought, but if a semi-accurate chart can be made using temperature and relative humidity, it' could be 'close enough' for the customer to use, and simple enough for them to understand the basics. (Like the classic 'lies to children' scenario; "This answer isn't actually right, but it will help you understand until you're old enough and wise enough for the REAL answer,")

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Re: Standing Out in a Sea of Average: Customer Service Pointers

09/21/2016 12:01 PM

The wet bulb is at the dew point. At this temperature, the vapor pressure of water is the same as the partial pressure of water vapor in the air. Water vapor condenses at the same rate that it evaporates. A swamp cooler can cool no lower than the dew point, the wet bulb temperature.

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#8
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Re: Standing Out in a Sea of Average: Customer Service Pointers

09/21/2016 12:17 PM

Ah, I see.

Now we've got an easy to understand answer for the customer, "A swamp cooler can cool down to the Wet Bulb temperature, but no lower."

So if we had a simple method of measuring and displaying the dew point without requiring customer maintenance (If they can forget to water the plants, they'll forget to maintain the water for the wet bulb.) then we've got the item to make into the 'giveaway'/'business card'/'education aid.'

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#9
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Re: Standing Out in a Sea of Average: Customer Service Pointers

09/21/2016 6:25 PM

Hmm ? Dial based humidity gauges. And ones that I could put my business name and phone# on.

That's sheer genius.

It's a wonder your not a guru by now.

Thanks.

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#10
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Re: Standing Out in a Sea of Average: Customer Service Pointers

09/22/2016 10:06 AM

I'm not sure how to read the 'tone' of that message, to I'll give a conditional response.

(If sincere) Happy to help out.

(If sarcastic) I don't claim my ideas are original, sometimes I state the obvious because there are times where people thing around a problem so much they twist their thoughts into knots and miss details.

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Re: Standing Out in a Sea of Average: Customer Service Pointers

09/22/2016 10:15 AM

Sincerely, sincere.

Nothing is gained by being sarcastic.

Sarcastic replies can lead to antagonisms.

Now that, that's cleared up, do you have a link as to where I can purchase a humidity gauge like that ?

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Re: Standing Out in a Sea of Average: Customer Service Pointers

09/22/2016 12:46 PM

I've seen nice-looking ones in those 'home and garden' catalogs for years, but a brass housing on a walnut base might be a bit too expensive to be a 'giveaway' item.

At the risk of sounding sarcastic myself, a good place to look for inexpensive ones would be Your Favorite Search Engine (of which there are a plethora these days to choose from) and put 'bulk humidity gauges' in the search bar. You should find a company that can provide you with the items, and even handle the 'personalizing,' putting your company logo, contact info, and the 'good humidity for swap cooler'/'bad humidity for swamp cooler' bars on the dial.

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#12
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Re: Standing Out in a Sea of Average: Customer Service Pointers

09/22/2016 12:28 PM

GA because I was going to suggest pretty much the same thing.

Giving the customer a chart or a customized slide rule gives the customer a sense of control just from the physical manipulation of the object. People feel frustrated when they feel they have no control over the situation. Even though they are just looking at a chart, the fact that they are doing this themselves and not having to ask someone else is a plus.

Adding your business contact info is a plus. Now the customer not only has less frustration and more control (even though he can't actually DO anything to lower the temperature any further), he also has a reminder of who it was who trusted him to be smart enough to use this tool.

It's all psychological. You give him control by giving him a tool. You demonstrate trust in him by acting like he is smart enough (and he usually is smart enough) to understand the situation correctly, and he will feel the need to trust you in return. You give him your contract info in a convenient place (on the tool) so that he doesn't have to look it up, and the implied permission to call you for any help. (Expressed permission if your contact info says "Call me!" right above it.) Something like this:

Heck! Now I want one! (Search for circular slide rule conversion calculator)

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#14
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Re: Standing Out in a Sea of Average: Customer Service Pointers

09/22/2016 1:58 PM

I can't read that calculator clearly enough to work out all the functions, but if you can set the Dry Bulb temperature and Relative Humidity to find the Dew Point, then that is the inexpensive 'giveaway' item we need for this. After seeing that and learning how it works, the homeowner would be less resistant to purchasing their own humidity gauge from a home&garden catalog, or a local big box home center.

Reward, you and I were definitely thinking along the same 'headology(1)' tricks to help the customers help themselves. I was just not spelling out all the psychology behind it, since I know that comes off as a bit wordy sometimes.

Notes:

  1. Term borrowed from the late Terry Pratchett, author of the Diskworld series(2). One of the characters, Granny Weatherwax, was an expert in Headology, using peoples own minds against them for their own good(3). It also helped that the people in the village believed she was a witch; that lent an air of authority and credibility to her advice(4). One particular scene had a villager visiting her shack in the woods for help with this chronic backache. Before he could knock, the door opened on its own, and Granny, sitting on the far side of the cabin with her back to the door, addressed him by name, and told him that the potion he needed was on the table next to her, and she have him the instructions for its use. As he entered to retrieve the bottle, she asked for help getting out of her chair, and during the pulling, twisting and struggling, somehow he got turned around and her bony knee was jabbed right into his spine. After he left, she sat back down and mused over the Headology she had used: the black cord, invisible in the shadows of the rafters, to open the door, the knowledge of the gossip from the town square, giving her the info on his problem days in advance, the chiropractic use of a knee to straighten the kinked spine, the 'potion' was just an herbal liniment that will ease the pain naturally while the back heals, and her cottage window overlooks a bend in the only path to her house, so she could see his approach with ease(5).
  2. And lover of extended, and often nested, footnotes.
  3. As she once said to a fellow witch, "Convince enough people that you can turn them into a frog with a single glance and you'll never have to prove it."
  4. The proper costume is always important, a witch is not truly a witch unless she's under a pointed hat.
  5. Or she WOULD have seen him through the window if she had bothered to look that way. She had watched his approach in the fires of her hearth(6).
  6. I never said she was a FAKE witch. You can let people believe the truth without having to overtly confirm their beliefs.
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#15
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Re: Standing Out in a Sea of Average: Customer Service Pointers

09/22/2016 2:39 PM

1) The picture I provided is meant to be notional to illustrate the idea I was trying to explain.

2) I am a huge Pratchett and Disc World fan. The good news is I haven't read all of the Disc World books. The bad news is there won't be any more.

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