Are You Really Listening to Your Customers?

When you travel you get the best chance to observe good customer service firsthand. A hotel is your home away from home, and you have many places to choose from. It’s the customer service that makes the difference between a great experience or a lousy one. So, on my recent trip to NY I got to see some of both.

listen to your customers

listen to your customers

I got to the hotel quite late and was just ready to get to sleep. I quickly found out that the heat had two settings, boiling hot or freezing cold. There was a draft so bad it blew the curtains. And the heating system was so noisy I couldn’t even hear the TV. When I checked in, the only thing I asked for was a quiet room with temperature control. I didn’t care if it was the size of a closet with no frills.

An employee came up to see if he could fix the heat and said he would have to call the maintenance guy in the morning. Really? So, I would have to freeze all night? They offered me a free breakfast and a foot rub to make up for it. Okay, so they didn’t offer a foot rub, but a free breakfast wouldn’t save me from hyperthermia and lack of sleep. They finally moved me to a bigger room which was slightly better, but still very noisy. The whole time I was there I felt like I was talking to a brick wall. No warmth or friendliness. And they definitely weren’t listening. I couldn’t help thinking that the place could have been run better by robots.  [Read more…]

Are You Creating Loyal Customers?

loyal customers

loyal customers

I would be willing to bet that most people are creatures of habit. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, because when we find companies we like we tend to stick with them. That could be a brand of clothing or a type of car or the restaurants we frequent. And we usually tend to stick to our own neighborhood restaurants for various reasons.

So, when I found out one of my favorite restaurants had gone out of business, it was sad. This is where I spent many Thanksgivings and Christmases enjoying the holiday special of turkey and pumpkin pie.

I went through the restaurant reviews and found out that I wasn’t the only one that felt that way. In fact, some of the reviews were quite interesting. [Read more…]

Honesty in Business

On the way to walk the dogs today I dropped some money in the elevator. I was already at the end of the street when my neighbor chased me down to return it. She could have taken it. No one would have known. But that simple act of honesty really made my day. I already think highly of this new neighbor and will go out of my way to help her if she needs it.

honesty in business

honesty in business

The same thing happened again the other day when I went to have a workbook printed at a small print shop in the neighborhood. The owner gave me a quote a couple of weeks earlier based on a printed sample I showed him. But when I sent it in on disk it turns out it was much cheaper than the previous quote.

He charged me the cheaper rate, but I really wouldn’t have known otherwise if he hadn’t been honest about it. I’m certainly not a big customer, but after that I will be a loyal one. And that’s one of the best reasons to be totally honest with your customers. They will appreciate it and remember it. They will also be more likely to spread the good word about your business either through referrals or testimonials. [Read more…]

The Psychology of Free

I’ve noticed in the past few years that the number of things that are offered for free has really increased. Free ebooks, free webinars, and free consultations. It sounds good to get something for nothing, but we all know

psychology of free

psychology of free

that there’s no free lunch really. There’s always a catch. And I think people have finally figured that out.

I was told to give away a free webinar in order to get people to sign up for a paid webinar. It made sense, so I tried it. Even with a free webinar I wanted to give the best information possible in the most entertaining way. I polled my Facebook friends and asked what they really thought about a free webinar. Overwhelmingly, most of them said I should charge something, even if it was a small amount, because they wouldn’t appreciate it if it didn’t have some kind of value attached.

I have to say that I think they were right. I would get people to sign up, then carve out the time on my calendar, and get myself psyched to do the webinar. Then no one would show up. So, I guess it’s true that they didn’t really place a value on something that they didn’t have to invest anything into. But I can’t blame them, because I do the same thing. If there’s a free webinar, seminar or class, I will sign up for it, but often don’t show up. Not because it’s not a good class, or that I don’t want to hear it, I just forget or get busy. If you pay for something, even if it’s a small amount, you’ll make the effort to show up. [Read more…]

Learn to Love Cold Calling

For all those people that would rather get their teeth drilled than make cold calls, listen up. I really don’t know anybody that enjoys making cold calls, including me. But if you want your business to be successful you will have to get used to the fact that you are going to have to do it.

cold calling

cold calling

I know what you’re thinking, “I’ll just hire someone to do that”. Well, you could do that, but you also need to learn how to do it yourself. Nobody can sell your company, products, services, like you.

Instead of dreading it, learn to love it. “No way!” you’re saying. “I will never learn to love cold calling”. It is especially hard right now in this down economy. People are less likely to want to talk to you and definitely not in the mood to be spending money. But that is why you need to be doing it now. If you can succeed at cold calling now it will only get easier. [Read more…]