Ensuring quality customer service Online

Put yourself in the customers’ place. in ways that mystery shoppers can help you identify issues in your face-to-face sales experience, taking yourself through the full process online can reveal any gaps or problems with your ecommerce programs.

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Monday, 6 October 2014


Every year, the first week of October is International Customer Service Week. Are you doing anything special?  Here are ten customer and employee focused ideas (and there are a lot more) that you can do during this very important week.
1. Call your best customers, just to say, “Hello and thank them for their business.”  (Or maybe all of your customers)
2. Call customers who haven’t bought from you in over a year.
3. Have someone in your company deliver a customer service training session. 
4. Once a day throughout the week, distribute an article about customer service to all of your employees.  (Go to the website mentioned in #3 to get the articles.)
5. Use this week as an excuse to send out a survey to your customers to get feedback.
6. This is a good week for an annual review of your website (is it truly customer friendly) and any other processes in place that relate to customer service and sales.
7. Create a short video, thanking your customers, and post it on YouTube with links from other social media sites.  Consider having as many of your employees as possible be a part of the video.
8. Have a contest for employees to come up with the best customer service examples that they have created for their customers (either internal or external).
9. Have a contest for employees to suggest the best way the company can improve customer service.
10. Don’t just focus on the outside customer.  Do something for your internal customers.  Remember my Employee Golden Rule: The best companies treat their employees the way they want their customers treated – sometimes even better.

 - Shep Hyken


Welcome to the Customer Service Week 2014! This is an annual event celebrated in the first full week in October in a number of countries including Nigeria. It's a time to beam the spotlight on customer service issues and appreciate those who serve customers. Ever since the International Customer Service Association (ICSA) came up with the idea of a customer service week, the celebration has gained acceptance across the globe. In 1992, the US Congress formally recognized it as a national celebration.

Whilst many service companies in Nigeria have joined in the annual event, this has not translated to so much improvement in their service offerings. This notwithstanding, there are lots of reasons to celebrate the service week in our country.

Here are five reasons on why your organisation should join in celebrating the Customer Service Week:
·         To boost morale, motivation and teamwork among all staff
·         To reward front-line representatives.
·         To raise company-wide awareness of the importance of customer service.
·         To thank other departments for their support.
·         To remind customers of your commitment to their satisfaction

Join the celebration; Have Fun.

Courtesy: customerservice9ja team

Monday, 7 July 2014


Do you remember the first day you realized that your customers knew more than you, that they had expert knowledge that you lacked?
It was probably a humbling and, I hope, teachable moment (with you as the teachee), leading you to think about how to build a customer experience in our age of information.
Auto dealers have had these encounters for years with obsessive gearheads who come armed with stats beyond anything a salesman has time to research or rebut.
But now, for all of us in every field of commerce, the advent of Google and the transportability of Google via mobile phones have turned your garden variety customer into an expert. Simply through the power of the customer’s thumbs and soon, with Google Glass, through the power of the customer’s augmented eyeballs.

To illustrate, let’s cast me as the customer, rather than as service provider or customer experience designer, for a moment. What follows is a true story. Only the names have been, you know….
One Saturday morning I found myself trekking to the guitar store uptown because I needed strings for a ‘‘Baby Taylor.’’ (A Baby Taylor is a more portable version of a standard acoustic guitar.)
The clerk, who was knowledgeable in an approximate sort of way, told me he thought that medium-gauge, full-length guitar strings would work well: just cut off the excess length as needed to make them fit the ‘‘baby.’’ I had a hunch that his answer might be incomplete, and I vaguely wondered why the clerk didn’t look in his system for Taylor’s ‘‘manufacturer’s stringing recommendation’’ before advising me. I didn’t wonder for long, though, before turning the issue over to my iPhone. With just a few thumb strokes— ‘‘What kind of strings should I use on my Baby Taylor?’’—
I found an official, enthusiastically detailed description of which strings to use and why the decision matters:
[Here at Taylor,] we install light-gauge Elixir NANOWEB strings (.012 on high E) on Baby Taylors. We recommend you stick with lights when you replace them . . . our ever-vigilant repair guys, who are the ultimate judges of what works and doesn’t work on our guitars. . . [say that] using anything but light-gauge strings puts too much . . . ‘‘pull’’ on a Baby, [and] the intonation and one’s ability to keep them in tune become problematic.
Thus, by using self-service to address my situation as a customer, a very particular situation (probably only one out of hundreds of guitars that come into that store each year is a Baby Taylor), I found the precise answer that potentially saved my guitar from never sounding quite right.
In many service situations, it’s inevitable that the customer knows key information himself, feels he knows it himself, or has more time to invest in addressing his own situation than the human service provider does.

So what to do? Well, accept the situation. Figure out the areas where you can still exceed your customers in knowledge or, perhaps more likely, awareness and depth of sensibility. (I can read the GQ Guide To Men’s Style on my iphone till I’m blue in the eyes, but my saleswoman at Nordstrom still knows better than I that “Papaya and Neptune are great colours for you in jeans, Micah,” [thank you, Joanne Hassis at the King of Prussia, PA Nordstrom] because she has a better awareness of me than I do myself.)
In a more tech centred situation, like the Apple Genius Bar, the solution is to be as up to the minute as possible (if you’re a Genius) but also to unabashedly consult your resources – tech bulletins and so forth- rather than risk giving your customer inaccurate, inopportune, or incomplete information — just for the sake of looking like you’re able to steer without using your hands.

Credit: Micah Solomon

Monday, 30 June 2014


More people now than ever before are working in the customer service industry, predominantly in telecommunications and other lines and programs of contact centre work. Some of these folks have worked in this industry for a while, while other people are newcomers and are still actively developing. The fact of the matter is this: your own company’s agents are the first impression, the first point of contact, and the start of the conversation that your organization will have with the customer. It is easy to forget that in talking to hundreds of people per week. Believe it or not, that can take a toll on someone’s mental psyche. At the end of a workday in a contact centre, many agents prefer not to talk on the phone during their off-time. Who would’ve thought?
We have a saying at Incept that coincides with our value Present, and, basically, it is that we must be present in our work lives when we are here at the office and strive to do our best to be mentally sharp, focused, and ready to produce results that have positive impact. It does also have an alternate meaning. It can mean to also strive to be present in your home life. When you are done with the workday, it is a value meant to encourage employees to always remember they have a life at home and of their own.
What does this mean to you if you are a contact centre Team Lead or part of management?
We have all heard, “Smile! The customer can hear it in your voice.” That is a true statement. Even if there is no face-to-face contact between the rep and customer, the customer can definitely get a sense of the rep’s attitude through the way they are talking. It isn’t always easy trying to be pleasant with everyone, as a customer service agent or representative, especially when you have troubles going on in your own personal life.
What You Can Do To Keep A Positive Attitude As A Customer Service Agent Despite Outside-of-work Problems
  1. 1.     Focus on your job. Sometimes work can serve as an escape from our problems at home. One of my Vice President’s, Dave Walter, had some of the best advice for our own Conversational Marketing Experts (CMEs) who might be experiencing trauma in their personal lives that carries over to their professional work. He said, “Focus on leaving your problems at the door and relax. Your problems are going to still be there when you clock out and go home.” This is true. For some people, work can actually be a sort of getaway from the circumstances of our home lives and, ultimately, an environment in which we can better ourselves without focusing on what it might be that is bringing us down.
  2. 2.     Talk to your H.R. manager about what is bothering you. At Incept, we truly have a human resource department that goes above and beyond in helping our employees. Sometimes all it takes to feel better about a situation is an open ear to let it out to. A third-party perspective is always good to hear. Human resource managers and directors are often also sources of legitimate guidance. If you are stressing about money problems and money management, they can guide you towards groups and give you information on how to handle monetary problems. If you are having personal issues, such as domestic violence or other similar situations, they can also serve as a third-party who can help you resolve your immediate issue in a private manner. If you feel like you need mental counselling due to outside work circumstances, many H.R. managers have the resources to point you in the right direction towards receiving help. I write about this with our own H.R. director in mind, as Lee-Ann Zackiewicz has served many of our own employees with a helping hand over the years.
  3. 3.     Listen to music on your breaks or have some quiet time to think to yourself or meditate. Music has a healing effect on many people. It has the ability to convey what people feel when they lack the ability to find the words to describe what it is they are feeling. Take some time on your lunch or a break to simply get some time to yourself and listen to a few uplifting tunes. You’d be astounded at what the right song can do for your mood.

These are just a few suggestions towards taking an active stance on maintaining a healthy attitude and mental state in the workplace. What are some other suggestions? Leave your comment or suggestions in the comment box.

Post Credit: Brian Dodson

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Wakanow Leaves Hundreds of Nigerians Stranded in Sao Pauolo

The hope of over 600 Nigerians that they would watch the World Cup clash between the Super Eagles and Argentina was dashed Wednesday, when wakanow.com, official travel partners to the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, failed to transport them to Porto Alegre, venue of the match.
Wakanow had promised to move the fans from Sao Paulo to Porto Alegre Wednesday morning, in time for the kick-off, but the promise went unkept.
“Most of us left Nigeria believing that we were going to Porto Alegre. We were surprised to be brought to Sao Paulo. Many  are alleging that this has all the tell tale signs of a scam,” said a bitterly disappointed fan.
The disappointment was heightened by a lack of information from Wakanow which, only at the last minute, got tickets for about 50 people to go to Porto Alegre, leaving others stranded.
Major companies like MTN, Naija Bet, DStv, 360 Bet Clean soap and  Tecno, which sponsored promo winners and customers to watch the World Cup were left bemoaning their fate.
The fans who are scattered around San Paulo spent a sleepless night waiting for a flight that never materialized.
“First they told us 2 pm. Later, we were told 4pm, then 5 pm. They kept shifting the time untill they told us they couldn’t take us there anymore,” another fan said dejectedly.

Culled from PM News

Monday, 23 June 2014


With over 60 Million Facebook “Likes”, Lady Gaga gets Social Media.
Her fans check the Facebook updates, follow the Twitter feeds, and watch the YouTube videos almost religiously.
So how does she do it? Emotional Connection. Lady Gaga, even with her celebrity status, builds a direct relationship with her fans by sharing “real” stories about herself and her values. Fans can relate to her as a person. But that’s not all. She connects directly to the fans, her “Little Monsters”, by inviting them to be a part of her career.
How can your business do this?
Be Real.
Personality matters. Does your business have one? Celebrities are people with public lives so it’s easy for fans to figure out their personalities. With your business, it’s important to create a personality so that everything you do, from sales to customer service, is tied to that personality and brand. It’s not just about selling a widget. If you want to be known for incredible service, for example, then every single customer interaction has to result in a personal “wow” moment. No exceptions. Give your customers an authentic experience and have them share that experience through your Social Media.
Don’t Sell. Have a Conversation.
Nobody likes a hard sell. Especially when they’ve taken the time to visit your Facebook Page or read your Twitter Feed. It’s annoying, and a turn off. Instead, have a conversation that engages your customers. Lady Gaga, for example, once asked her fans to upload videos of themselves dancing to her latest songs which she then compiled into a cool video that appeared on Saturday Night Live. Ask your customers to share photos of them enjoying your product, or hold a contest for best product re-design. Make it interesting and do this often. This builds community and ultimately, a community is the best referral network you can have.
Unique Content
Offer your customers fresh, creative stuff on your Social Media. There is nothing worse than a stale Facebook Page, or a dead Twitter Feed. Update regularly. Share your thoughts about product design. Ask your customers what they would like to see, instead of just promoting your product. And be different. If you are a small business owner, for example, have someone interview you about your passion for your product or service. Post it on your Facebook Page or YouTube channel. This is unique content which gives your customers a chance to connect with you directly.

Lady Gaga has created a powerful “voice” through her Social Media. The recipe is simple. Be real, engage your customers, and create a loyal community. The sales will follow.
Credit: mbury.

Friday, 20 June 2014


Whether or not you’re a fan of soccer, chances are good that you’ve at least heard or seen a bit of the World Cup. The FIFA World Cup was first played back in 1930, and since then it has become the largest single-event sporting competition in the entire world. While the World Cup only rolls around once every four years, here are valuable customer service lessons that are to be learned from the game of soccer.
There Is Always Competition and Only One Winner
While you might not be up against the 208 member associations of FIFA, you undoubtedly have your share of competitors. No matter what you’re selling or what industry you’re in, customers only choose one vendor which means there is only one winner. Make sure that you’re always providing and using awesome customer service to your advantage to make your customers stand and cheer you on.
Operate as a Team
No customer service employee should ever be abandoned on an island, no matter how good they might be at their job. Not only will your employees need the best support possible, your customers will to. Never forget that working in a team is more productive than working on your own as the lone ranger.
Pass the Ball When the Time Is Right
Sometimes doing what’s best for your team and your customers is admitting when something is beyond your abilities. Don’t be afraid to pass a customer along to another team mate or tell them that you’ll get back to them in a short while with a more informed answer. The customer will appreciate your honesty even if it takes bit longer. Lying is a sure fire way to fail at turning customers into advocates for your business.
Understand Your Team’s Strengths and Weaknesses
While you may like the idea of being a jack of all trades, your customers probably won’t. It’s better for your business and your customers to be assisted by employees who know where their strengths lie and when they should allow someone else to take care of a support request. Rather than “winging it” when a customer calls about something that you’re unfamiliar with, transfer them and make a note to learn more about their inquiry so that you can be better informed for next time.
It’s Important to Have Both Defence and Offence
Not only should you and the rest of your support team be in place to take care of customers when they call (defence), you’ll also want to get in touch with customers to see how they’re doing before they call (offence). Take a minute and think about how reassuring it feels knowing that you’re supported by your customer service team mates. Make your customers feel the same way.
Don’t Go Out of Bounds
While it might be tempting to use any means necessary to win the customer service game, always play by the rules and refrain from playing dirty. Even if you don’t get caught the first time or even the third time, you never know when the truth will catch up to you.

Credit: Ben Puzzuoli

Monday, 16 June 2014


Email copywriting has all of the hallmarks of classic direct response mailings. It’s the channel of choice for marketers who want to make sales, not #hashtags.
It could be interesting, then, to test whether or not a “customer service tone” might work with a channel that usually allows fairly aggressive pitches and selling. That’s what Active Network, a large event management software provider, did in an exceptional case study posted on MarketingExperiments.
They wanted to know how they could improve total lead inquiries from prospects who abandoned the free trial sign-up process. They saw this as a big leak for the company, and they recognized the opportunity to improve with their follow-up broadcasts.
The test, unsurprisingly, consisted of a change in tone that put the following two conversational styles against each other:
  • Treatment #1: “Prospects who abandoned the free trial sign-up were sent an email that focused on the value of the software.”
  • Treatment #2: “Prospects are engaged by addressing the elements of anxiety, or what lead them to abandon the sign-up process.”
In other words, the second treatment had a “customer service tone”—focusing on “What didn’t you like, what can we help you with?” over a more traditional sales pitch. Frankly, the results of the test surprised me:
“The direct response tone in Treatment #1 gives you a good reason to start now and the second one is a helpful tone that’s focused on reducing your anxiety,” Flint said. The marketers at Active Network saw a 349% increase in lead inquiry rate by addressing customer anxiety through the tone of the email copy.
Treatment 1
 Treatment 2
 Response Matrix

While you shouldn’t throw away your copy of Breakthrough Advertising anytime soon, it’s certainly interesting to see how an email that eschewed hard selling in favor of a personal, helpful style could perform this well.
The success of this test lead me to look into other ways this casual customer service tone might be used in communicating with customers.

Think about the companies you love to interact with—there’s a good chance they’re putting this conversation style to use already.
Culled from Helpscout