Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Good business

Purloined verbatem from an e-mail. For all except the first article, tou will have to register with BNET, but it's free.

  • BusinessWeek has a great interview/book review on the importance of details to customer service.

    Author Michael Levine says that operational details, such as limited hours and dirty bathrooms send a message to customers about the general quality of a business.
    These details have a more significant effect on customers than you might think:

    "The consumer mind has a logical and emotional part, and if you don't speak to both, you will lose them, especially when they're hungry, tired, angry, or lonely.
    "We're living in an age of anxiety. When people are not hungry, tired, angry, or lonely, the emotional side will win the debate with the logical part of the brain 80% of the time. When they're hungry, tired, angry, or lonely, emotion wins 100% of time. We are often hungry, tired, angry, or lonely, so it's exceedingly dangerous if you're a business to ignore the emotional part of the brain."
    What do the details of your operation look like? If they could use a tune-up, these BNET resources will help you get started.

  • Best Practices in New-Customer Service
    New customers are a delicate client sector virtually for any organization. Because they do not have a history with the company, they have no reason to be loyal-until, through excellent service, the company gives them one. Article discusses a study commissioned by Entergy, to learn how leading organizations define excellent customer service and achieve the high levels of service to new customers that lead to their retention. The scope of the study included discovering how "best-practice" organizations: optimize new customers' experiences, elevate first impressions, improve customer interface, provide beneficial new customer services, emphasize a focus on the customer, and follow up with new customers within six months to one year.

  • Perfect Customer Service: Bigger is NOT Better
    The bigger the customer service department is the less efficient it is at serving customers. If management developed alternative solutions to customers' needs, some or all parts of the customer service department could be eliminated. Customer service departments would look very different than they do today if products showed up on time, employees did what was expected, orders were completed with precision and products rarely, if ever, failed.

  • Organizing for Customer-Centric Marketing
    Marketing communications is shifting away from mass media toward an approach informed by deep audience knowledge. This places database marketing groups -- and the customer insight they have amassed -- into the organizational spotlight. But many of these groups play a service-focused role that hampers customer -centric communication. To help firms map out a vision, road map, and skills portfolio for customer-centric direct-to-consumer marketing, Forrester has developed a four -stage maturity model.

  • Differentiate Your Business Based On Outstanding Customer Service
    Outstanding customer service requires several things: 1) a sincere and powerful commitment to serving customers and prospective customers at the highest possible level each and every time, 2) excellent people, 3) stringent expectations and policies regarding how customers are served along with a high level of accountability for enforcing those expectations and policies and 4) a discipline about serving customers consistently in manner that not only meets customer expectations, but often exceeds them. Achieving outstanding customer service means hard work and attention to detail as well.
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