Keeping up with the “no’s”

7 02 2011

Superb (Customer) Service About: Keeping up with the “no’s”

Do you know what your customer service department is saying “no” to? Do you have any idea of lost sales opportunities because of these “no’s”? Do you want those opportunities? 

These questions are designed to make you think. How do you identify trends? Here’s a thought-provoking question – how often have you thought something like this – “Our company should have offered that (fill in the blank) long ago.” Or “that was a simple idea – why didn’t I think of it?” Do you brainstorm with your employees – in particular your customer service and sales people – to see what the trends are? How can you predict those trends? Are you in touch with your competitors? Seeing exactly where they are headed? What they are offering that is now completely different from what they offered a year ago? Are they following you?

Here’s a suggestion. Plan a regular brain-storming session with your customer service department. Let them talk out loud (very loud) about what they do that works. Everyone has a particular way of doing something. It may be in their greeting to the customer. It may be in their ending line in emails. It may be in their timing on quotes and follow-ups. Let them talk. Then ask them to suggest. This means you put your ego aside. You don’t talk. You ask questions and listen and take notes. Let me say that again. You don’t talk. You take notes.

I believe that lots of American innovation stops right at the door to our businesses. We don’t take into account – and listen VERY CLOSELY – to what our employees have to say. If anything, we shut them down. We tell them all the reasons why we can’t do – whatever their suggestion may be. There could be valid reasons not to make changes. The ideas are too expensive, we don’t have the manpower, we aren’t currently technologically savvy enough – there are always good reasons to shut down creativity. Stop doing that. I’m going to say that again. Stop shutting down creativity. Find a way to enhance and encourage and applaud creative problem solving ideas. Make your customer service department a huge part of your problem solving committee. Create inclusive creative responses from your team by applauding them with their ideas, having sessions (with food) in which to listen to them. Use what you can, and offer recognition when you do.

This is all a part of keeping up with the “no’s”. And using your employees as your strongest trend-identifiers. And problem solvers. With a brain storming session. Try it, and let me know how it goes.

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