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Deal With an Irate Customer, Don’t Lose Them

admin Posted in Working for Success Comments Off on Deal With an Irate Customer, Don’t Lose Them

angry customer

Irate Business Customer

Facing off with a screaming, unreasonable, irrational customer represents the ultimate test of any employee’s service skills.  It can take you to your breaking point if you’re not careful.  Staying grounded and above the fray requires you to find inner strength, and persevere beyond the initial difficulties.

Dealing with irate customers is one of the most pressure-packed experiences you will ever encounter on any job.  During every confrontation it is important to remember:

  • Every customer is a different person with a unique set of circumstances and personality traits.
  • Irate customer encounters can emerge out of nowhere—the key is to be ready.
  • You represent an opportunity to set things right.
  • Compassion is essential.
  • Despite your best efforts, sometimes there is nothing that can save a situation.

Ditch the “I’m Sorry” Script.  Sorry, just doesn’t cut it sometimes.  Saying “”I’m Sorry” is so overused it sounds insincere.  Be specific by saying “I apologize for this issue…”  Make sure your apology directly makes reference to the actual issue, and ALWAYS try to use the customer’s name when addressing them.  It adds a personal connection to them.

Get on the customer’s side of the counter.  Visualize for a moment an upset customer walking in your door and approaching you.  The first thing an angry customer does is attack you.  It’s very important to remember that you are not personally being attacked but are listening to someone who is in an attacking mode.

Partner with your customer.  Let the customer know that your job is to go to bat for them.  This tells them that you are their emissary and you want to resolve it together.

The 4 C’s of Handling Irate Customers and Difficult Situations

It’s all about:

  • Compassion – Listen carefully and react to their words, not just their behavior.  Examine the facts.
  • Calm – Remain calm and don’t lose your cool.
  • Confidence – Handle the situation knowing you are following company guidelines—and serve the customer.
  • Competence – Save the customer with your competent handling of the situation so he or she continues to be a customer.

Regardless of how a problem is solved, getting it done now is the best way to stop the venting and to bring an irate customer around.  You need to show your customer than, as an employee and as the face of your organization you are invested in solving the problem.

6 Steps to Handle Irate Customers

  1. Listen carefully and with interest. Put yourself in your customer’s place
  2. Ask questions and actively listen to the answers
  3. Suggest alternatives that address their concerns
  4. Apologize without laying blame
  5. Solve the problem quickly and efficiently.

Remember, it costs at least five times as much to gain a new customer than keep an existing one and with social media it’s even more costly.  The average number of friends on Facebook is 130.  Keeping a complaining customer, according to Tschohl, should be the top priority, and at these cost ratios you can afford to be generous in your time and effort.

Take Care Of Yourself.  Dealing with irate customers will drain you physically and emotionally and put your skills to the test.  You must find ways to take care of yourself.  As part of your “recovery time”, know that dealing with irate customers is allowing yourself to relax, recharge and assess your role.  Recovery separates you from the situation and gives you a chance to breathe.

Learn from every complaint.  Do something!  Fix the process; train staff in the issue; eliminate the fault.  Wherever possible let the complaining customer know that they have helped you resolve a problem – they’ll feel great and come back again and again (and will probably tell their friends!).

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John Tschohl, the internationally recognized service strategist, is founder and president of Service Quality Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Described by USA Today, Time, and Entrepreneur as a “customer service guru,” has written several books   on customer service including his new program Handling Irate Customers and Difficult Situations. John’s strategic newsletter is available online

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3 Tips to Getting Your 2014 Marketing Plan Together

admin Posted in Working for Success Comments Off on 3 Tips to Getting Your 2014 Marketing Plan Together

business marketing success

Marketing Success in Business

It’s that time of year to make sure your marketing plan is all ready to go – just in time to kick off the sparkling New Year that’s right around the corner.

But how do you get a marketing plan together that will actually get you the results you’re looking for? Here are 3 tips to get you started:

1. Start with the end in mind. Make sure you figure out specific and REALISTIC goals. While I’m all for having a hit-it-out-of-the-park goal (like building your list to 10K when you have 500 on it right now), you should also have a goal that’s doable AND will make you happy if you reach it.

Knowing your goals will help guide where you need to put your focus. And I would pick no more than 3-5 top ones to get done in 2014 (plus some secondary strategies to round out your calendar). So, for instance, maybe you want to build your list, launch a high-end group mastermind program and get your book done as your main goals. And maybe as part of your high-end group program launch, you also have a smaller launch as a lead in.

So now you have 3 big rocks you can get into your calendar — a product launch, a high-end group launch and a book launch. Plus you have list-building activities that need to happen regularly. Once you’ve plugged those in, now you need to make sure you have both long-term and short-term marketing covered (which is #2).

2. Do you have a balance between long-term and short-term marketing activities? Long-term are tactics like building your list and nurturing your list (for instance sending a regular ezine). Short-term are tactics like having a sale or a launch that bring money in the door right now.

Successful businesses have a balance of both throughout the year — the long-term that will lead to a healthy business with a regular stream of leads and clients and short-term for cash flow.

So now that you have your big rocks, do you see holes in either your short-term or long-term? Do you have your cash-flow covered from month-to-month? Do you have your list-building and list-nurturing activities in there? Now is the time to adjust accordingly.

3. Are the marketing activities you’ve committed to things you enjoy? My personal feeling is the reason why entrepreneurs fail when it comes to marketing is they focus their efforts on what they feel like they SHOULD be doing, rather than what they LOVE doing. There are so many ways to market yourself — videos, podcasts, writing blogs, connecting on social networking, etc. — that I guarantee there is SOMETHING you enjoy doing. So figure out what that is and do that activity. Don’t worry about the rest. Get one thing done and get it done right, and the rest will fall into place.

(If you want some help with this, my “Internet Marketing Success Story” includes an assessment to help you figure out which marketing activity is perfect for you. You can learn more here: http://www.InternetSuccessStory.com)

Now, once you’ve figured out what you love doing, don’t forget to actually build those activities into your plan. Because it doesn’t matter how great of a plan you’ve put together, if you don’t actually implement anything in the New Year, you’re not going to get the results you’re looking for.

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Michele PW (Michele Pariza Wacek) is your Ka-Ching! Marketing strategist and owns Creative Concepts and Copywriting LLC, a premiere direct response copywriting and marketing company that helps entrepreneurs attract more clients, sell more products and services and boost their business. To grab your FREE “Ka-Ching! Business Kit” with a FREE CD visit http://www.MichelePW.com/freecd

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Mastering Life Balance: Achieving Greatness at Home and at Work

admin Posted in How To's, Working for Success Comments Off on Mastering Life Balance: Achieving Greatness at Home and at Work

 

5 Tips from Former Businessman of the Year

People are overwhelmed with the complexities of their own lives and are desperately seeking a way to maximize happiness in their home and work lives, says Gary Kunath, an entrepreneur, speaker and former CEO who works with some of the world’s top corporations and business schools.

“I used to be caught up in the spin cycle of thinking that net worth automatically afforded me life worth,” says Kunath, a speaker at top business schools and author of “Life … Don’t Miss It. I Almost Did: How I Learned To Live Life To The Fullest,” (www.lifedontmissitbook.com).

“I sacrificed time with my family with the justification that I was providing necessary material things, but at a certain point you realize that money doesn’t make you rich, it just allows you to buy more stuff.”

Priorities for professionals have shifted; now, U.S. workers seek family wellbeing above all else, he says. Companies need to recognize that it’s imperative to positively affect their employees’ lives, both inside and outside working quarters, he says.

“We need to bring humanity back to business,” Kunath says. “Leading corporations are aware that most professionals today – 70 percent – would trade a pay raise for an increase in personal wellness.”

But employers are struggling with that, he says, citing a new American Psychological Association survey released in March in which 48 percent of employees say their employers don’t value a good work-life balance.

More professionals are trying to find a path to life worth, rather than centering their behavior on net worth, Kunath says. He offers five ways career-minded individuals can achieve both:

 

• Look for signs you’re falling into the net-worth trap: For Kunath, those signs were clear. One day, he says, “it was like someone had smacked me on the head,” when his son, then 12, walked away in dismay after Kunath said he couldn’t play baseball with him because he was too busy working on a business proposal. “The look of disappointment on my son’s face was something I will never forget,” he says. Kunath dropped everything and spent the day with his son. “I promised that would NEVER happen again”. The next occurrence included a mental and physical breakdown after Kunath pushed himself to make an unnecessary business trip while sick.  After a 19-hour ordeal in a delayed flight to Spain, “…I knew in my bones that if I did not draw the line right there … I would ruin every part of my life that mattered to me.”

• Don’t be an employee, be employable: Unless you are self-employed, you are always vulnerable to someone else controlling your professional destiny, and therefore, your life worth. But employees can empower themselves by diversifying their skills so that they can have more choices about where and for whom to work.

• Bad things happen to good people: Adversity finds us all. No one enjoys the worst, most painful moments of their lives. Nonetheless, life events like loss of a loved one, financial ruin, divorce, addictions or illness tend to define us. We need adversity in our lives. Anyone can be a rock star when life is perfect. But when adversity strikes, then the “real” you is revealed. How you face adversity can either extinguish you or distinguish you.

• Believe in something bigger than you: There will be times when you are utterly helpless, with no control over an outcome. All the money in the bank and all the authority at work will do no good when it comes to, for instance, the death of a loved one. Believing in something bigger than you is an important part of having life worth; it helps you maintain your emotional health when you face life’s biggest challenges.

• Don’t Major in the Minors: As Henry David Thoreau wrote, “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” For every evening spent late in the office there are moments professionals miss out on – and can never get back. Many of us spend time on things that ultimately don’t matter. “The three greatest gifts you can give to your family are: Time, Memories and Tradition,” he says. “These are things in life that matter.”

About Gary Kunath

Gary Kunath is the founder of The Summit Group, which is ranked among the top sales-training companies in the world by Selling Power magazine. His value-creation approach received the “Innovative Practice of the Year Award” by 3M worldwide. He was named Businessman of the Year for the United States and was recognized a dinner hosted by the president of the United States. He has lectured extensively at several prominent business schools, and he is currently an adjunct professor at The Citadel’s Sports Marketing graduate program. Kunath is as an owner of several professional minor league baseball teams along with his partners, Bill Murray, Jimmy Buffet and Mike Veeck. The group is famous for managing its teams around the “Fun is Good” approach.

 

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