Customer Service Training

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“If you want to interact effectively with me, to influence me, you first need to understand me.” – Steven Covey

A powerful statement. Simple and eloquent, profound and meaningful.

Taken a step further, we might add that you also need to understand yourself. After all, you can’t really communicate effectively with someone else without first recognizing how you prefer to communicate—and how you may be perceived by that person as a result.

But once you have the foundation, the bigger leap—one that only a few truly master—is to understand and adapt to the person you’re communicating with. That’s where your biggest opportunity lies.

As most of us are keenly (and perhaps, at times, painfully) aware in our relationships outside of work, people view the world through different lenses. This, in turn, affects how they communicate and like to be communicated with. We do our best to work through the communication challenges because, as much as technology has infiltrated everything our daily lives, we still strive for those personal connections.

The same applies in the workplace. New technologies and fads come and go, but being able to understand what your customers value most and then being able to effectively communicate with them from that vantage point is often what differentiates you and your organization from your competition. It’s also what forms the basis of strong, sustainable customer relationships.

A Corporate Executive Board study found that 53% of customer loyalty is driven by the sales experience. This supports the notion that perceptions are reality. So an important question for you to think about is this: How are you perceived by those you’re communicating with? Your ability to connect with people certainly weighs on that perception.

And the next question is, are you doing everything you can to build deeper, trust-based relationships?

The Behavior Styles Connection

You probably have some familiarity with the concept of Behavior Styles. It’s literally been around forever. Even Socrates grasped the value of understanding different behavioral approaches as he helped shape Western philosophy and evolved his Socratic method. The Behavior Styles Assessment, which reveals your personal Behavior Style and helps you understand the Behavior Styles of colleagues and customers, gives you a way to create personal chemistry and build rapport with diverse people—fundamental skills in sales, management, personal relationships and everyday life.

Let’s take a closer look at how Behavior Styles can help you strengthen customer relationships and improve your sales effectiveness.

In his classic book The Loyalty Effect, Frederick F. Reichheld says that the best way to move from transactional, rational dialogue to a more meaningful exchange is to focus on creating an emotional bond. When you communicate in such a way that your clients and co-workers feel valued, the outcomes of your conversations will yield better returns.

Easier said than done? Well, with the right level of awareness and commitment, anyone can master the ability to sell, serve and coach others by understanding and adapting to different Behavior Styles. The information you learn about their Behavior Styles can help you shortcut the process of connecting with them in a more personal and meaningful way.

A rule of thumb is to follow the three A’s:

  • Awareness of your personal communication preferences and how you may be perceived by others
  • Alignment of your communication strategy to another’s, once you determine their primary Behavior Style
  • Action, including successfully adapting on the fly as you communicate with others

The Compound Effect of Loyalty

Why should you bother? Ultimately, your ability to communicate effectively with clients and prospects—to move from transactional to emotional conversations—is what can move them from neutral to satisfied to loyal. And once you reach a true “partner” status, that loyalty will compound itself. Your loyal, fully engaged clients are not only willing to spend significantly more wallet share, they’re also the ones who will go to bat for you, becoming your best sources of referrals and new business.

No matter how much technology evolves, sales is a business of relationships. Having meaningful conversations that engage people in a way that they value is always going to be one of your most powerful selling tools. And that means you have to understand their Behavior Style so that you can focus in on what they care about most.

How many of your customers are fully engaged? How might more effective, engaging communication (as defined by the customer) help you achieve both your goals and theirs?

If you’re a leader seeking that competitive advantage, ask yourself this: What am I doing to equip my team to maximize every interaction?

Source:- https://www.integritysolutions.com/insights/blog/value-connecting-customers

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MG_2840-e1492457924939

By Steve Schmidt, Partner

“If you want to interact effectively with me, to influence me, you first need to understand me.” – Steven Covey

A powerful statement. Simple and eloquent, profound and meaningful.

Taken a step further, we might add that you also need to understand yourself. After all, you can’t really communicate effectively with someone else without first recognizing how you prefer to communicate—and how you may be perceived by that person as a result.

But once you have the foundation, the bigger leap—one that only a few truly master—is to understand and adapt to the person you’re communicating with. That’s where your biggest opportunity lies.

As most of us are keenly (and perhaps, at times, painfully) aware in our relationships outside of work, people view the world through different lenses. This, in turn, affects how they communicate and like to be communicated with. We do our best to work through the communication challenges because, as much as technology has infiltrated everything our daily lives, we still strive for those personal connections.

The same applies in the workplace. New technologies and fads come and go, but being able to understand what your customers value most and then being able to effectively communicate with them from that vantage point is often what differentiates you and your organization from your competition. It’s also what forms the basis of strong, sustainable customer relationships.

A Corporate Executive Board study found that 53% of customer loyalty is driven by the sales experience. This supports the notion that perceptions are reality. So an important question for you to think about is this: How are you perceived by those you’re communicating with? Your ability to connect with people certainly weighs on that perception.

And the next question is, are you doing everything you can to build deeper, trust-based relationships?

The Behavior Styles Connection

You probably have some familiarity with the concept of Behavior Styles. It’s literally been around forever. Even Socrates grasped the value of understanding different behavioral approaches as he helped shape Western philosophy and evolved his Socratic method. The Behavior Styles Assessment, which reveals your personal Behavior Style and helps you understand the Behavior Styles of colleagues and customers, gives you a way to create personal chemistry and build rapport with diverse people—fundamental skills in sales, management, personal relationships and everyday life.

Let’s take a closer look at how Behavior Styles can help you strengthen customer relationships and improve your sales effectiveness.

In his classic book The Loyalty Effect, Frederick F. Reichheld says that the best way to move from transactional, rational dialogue to a more meaningful exchange is to focus on creating an emotional bond. When you communicate in such a way that your clients and co-workers feel valued, the outcomes of your conversations will yield better returns.

Easier said than done? Well, with the right level of awareness and commitment, anyone can master the ability to sell, serve and coach others by understanding and adapting to different Behavior Styles. The information you learn about their Behavior Styles can help you shortcut the process of connecting with them in a more personal and meaningful way.

A rule of thumb is to follow the three A’s:

  • Awareness of your personal communication preferences and how you may be perceived by others
  • Alignment of your communication strategy to another’s, once you determine their primary Behavior Style
  • Action, including successfully adapting on the fly as you communicate with others

The Compound Effect of Loyalty

Why should you bother? Ultimately, your ability to communicate effectively with clients and prospects—to move from transactional to emotional conversations—is what can move them from neutral to satisfied to loyal. And once you reach a true “partner” status, that loyalty will compound itself. Your loyal, fully engaged clients are not only willing to spend significantly more wallet share, they’re also the ones who will go to bat for you, becoming your best sources of referrals and new business.

No matter how much technology evolves, sales is a business of relationships. Having meaningful conversations that engage people in a way that they value is always going to be one of your most powerful selling tools. And that means you have to understand their Behavior Style so that you can focus in on what they care about most.

How many of your customers are fully engaged? How might more effective, engaging communication (as defined by the customer) help you achieve both your goals and theirs?

If you’re a leader seeking that competitive advantage, ask yourself this: What am I doing to equip my team to maximize every interaction?

 

Re-blogged from Integrity Solutions

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Sales Training

What’s easier? Getting a customer or keeping one?

What’s cheaper? Getting a customer or keeping one?

Whenever we ask a sales leader these questions, the answer is always the same: No doubt about it, it’s easier and cheaper to keep an existing customer than to go out and get a new one.Opposites

Yet many companies still spend a disproportionate amount of money and time on sales training compared to their investments in the development of customer service skills. As the environment gets more competitive and the war for sales talent heats up, this is a trend that could have very serious business consequences.

The Cascading Impact of Poor Customer Service

Here’s a scenario that will be acutely familiar to many salespeople, particularly those who are dealing with complex, long-term sales cycles.

The salesperson spends several months—or even years—developing a relationship with the potential client, who we’ll call Jim. Over time the salesperson builds up a reputation as a partner and trusted advisor, one who is committed to uncovering Jim’s needs and supporting his individual and broader goals. Eventually, the deal comes together and Jim makes the purchase.

But then one day, a problem, question or need comes up that requires the help of customer service. As a prospective client, Jim had the time and attention of the salesperson who was focused on understanding his issues and finding the best solutions for them. Now, as a customer, Jim feels like he’s being rushed through the call by a customer service rep whose primary goal seems to be to run through a script to get a quick resolution—whether it meets Jim’s true underlying need or not.

It’s not that the rep isn’t nice or friendly necessarily, but the problem hasn’t been solved, at least not beyond the surface level. As a result, Jim has to keep calling back or stumble his way through the issue on his own. He grows increasingly frustrated and annoyed, thinking maybe this solution wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Or maybe that salesperson was pulling one over on him.

In an instant, the trusted advisor and partnership status is gone. And it’s only a matter of time before Jim is, too.

“It took me 18 months to get that sale,” the salesperson thinks. “And customer service lost it in less than six weeks.”

It gets worse: It’s not just that customer.

Twenty years ago, it took a relatively long time to build a bad reputation. Today, with the megaphone of social media, it can happen in seconds. And when it does, all that good will your salespeople have worked so hard to build up will be wasted, creating a deeper hole for everyone to dig out of.

Many salespeople we’ve spoken to who’ve been burned before aren’t risking it any more. They’re protecting their accounts by stepping in and handling the customer service issues themselves. That way they can be confident the person will be listened to and understood and that the problem will be fully addressed.

But if they’re focused on customer service, then that inevitably means they’re taking time away from their primary role—selling and growing the business. Not only is that borrowing against future revenues and commissions, it’s not the kind of work most top-notch salespeople want to be doing.

So consider: How much sales did that one instance of poor customer service really cost you?

4 Reasons Why Customer Service Training Doesn’t Always Help

Because of these tangible financial, talent and long-term business consequences, when we work with companies on sales training initiatives, we’ll typically ask them what their budget is for customer service training. A lot of the times the answer we hear is simple: “We don’t have one.”

But even those that do have a program in place can be missing the mark.

Here are some of the reasons customer service training fails to solve this problem:

1- It focuses on scripts rather than a problem-solving process: Without a concrete process and formula for problem solving, consistency is tough to maintain—from rep to rep as well as from call to call. While most reps love to help people, everyone has an “off” day or moment. A process keeps you focused on task and helps consistently draw out what you do best so your bad day doesn’t win out.
2- It’s primarily product focused. Product-focused training focuses on the issues that might go wrong or common questions about the product. It doesn’t help people develop the skills and insights to engage with customers based on their needs and behaviors. And because problems are often unique, it doesn’t necessarily help the rep get to the true realization of the issue.
3- Success is measured by call volume/length of calls: If reps are being measured by how quickly they can get to resolution or how many calls they take in a day, it’s not likely they’re going to be able to get to the root cause of problems and get the issue fully addressed.
4- It’s disconnected from sales training: Having a common language and approach is the expectation in sales. But it doesn’t always carry through to customer service. Considering customers may interact with various different reps when they call, a common sales language (not a script!) that extends from before the sale to after is essential to ensuring the company’s values are consistently demonstrated.
When was the last time you conducted customer service training? Was it just a “one-and-done” initiative? Are you focusing on what really matters? Make sure you’re not inadvertently sabotaging all the good work you’re doing on the sales side.

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