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Why more and more consumers are increasingly depending on themselves for unbiased product information and turning away from Buyers Guides? Why websites and blogs have become more acceptable to consumers seeking product information for purchase decisions than buyers guide written by experts?

Buyers Guides vs. Unbiased Product Reviews why more and more consumers are preferring the latter?

Buyers Guides vs. Unbiased Product Reviews  why more and more consumers are preferring the latter?If you are on the look out for a buyers guide before going on your next shopping spree, here's something that can help you make a smarter choice! We all know there are "buyers guide" s written and compiled by product experts that are served along with the newspapers and magazines. You can get a buyers guide for buying a new lip color to a new car. Usually these buyers guides tell you everything about your new buy and aren't you excited at these when they talk about the best features of a new Nokia phone or a new motorbike that is just launched? There isn't any doubt that these guides are packed with information and still are very powerful tools in today's markets. Often these guides are compiled by a publishing house and sponsored by manufacturer of products for which the guides are meant for. But let's keep in mind that most of the time these guides are nothing short of adverts in disguise.There are several compelling reasons for these buyers guides to mimic an advertisement. One is most of the time the guides are sponsored directly or indirectly (thru advertisements) by product manufactures and so the authors cannot really write against the products and therefore have to toe the line of the manufacturers. And since there is no way that the primary players of the buying and selling game, i.e. the buyer, manufacturer or an existing consumer of the product can interact it becomes basically a one-way conversation where the buyer gets to hear all good things about the product. This is more of a biased representation of the products which it features and in most cases the authors of the guides are the company representatives or other hired people having an interest in promotion of the product. Appropriately a buyers guide, as the name suggests should be buyer or consumer-centric and primarily cater to the betterment of the consumers. If we think hard, we would know that customer satisfaction goes a long way to strengthen the business. So a true buyers guide will not only help the consumers but also the manufacturer of the products in the long run. Once a buyer criticizes a product it actually presents an opportunity for the manufacturer or the sellers to rectify that defect or lacuna or respond to the changing taste of the consumers. But unfortunately such buyers guides are not abundant in circulation and still the vast majorities are the one-way communication types where reporters and paid experts write a product review more as a part of a business deal than a critical review. Probably the authors and publishers of the buyers guide failed to realize the need of the consumers; the consumers are looking for more than brochures in the "product review" s.So what is the choice before the consumer in the absence of a true product review? Consumers gradually are learning to differentiate between biased information and true feedback. They cannot be just fooled anymore and already many consumers are turning their back to these sponsored guides. They are increasing relying on fellow consumers for information about products and services. Gone are the times when a company can form a consumer opinion by clever advertising and influence buyers to select their products. The consumers in the 21st century have a very powerful tool within their reach and that is internet. There are already hundreds of blogs which anyone can access and these online journals tell us the real consumer experience about products and services. They also narrate the harrowing experience that some consumers had to face due to unscrupulous companies and or inferior products. The information is voluntary and not paid for and so people perceive them as authentic as compared to the adverts. There are positive feedbacks too which are actually recommendations and consumers are taking cues and choosing smartly. But the battle against biased information that seek to influence and misguide consumers can only be won if there is a larger participation. It is time for consumer action that makes sure consumers reclaim their rights and their voices are heard. Also they deserve timely action as they are tired of the slow and often ineffective consumer forums that have a very poor record in India. In the backdrop of a weak consumer rights protection system and many vested interests only consumers can help fellow consumers and they can do so without spending any money or much effort. There are already few websites available where a consumer can find out feedbacks about a product and also write a review for others to read. But again discretion should be applied as some of the websites contain many bogus reviews and also paid inserts. Consumer blogs are also very good source of unbiased and authentic information. The best part is that a consumer can also interact with the author and can ask specific questions before making a buy decision. So if you are a smart consumer better listen to your folks than an expert when you want to buy a product next time. Dont worry too much about the experts, you can be an expert overnight and all you just need is to write product reviews which are eagerly waited by other consumers who want to read them.

Build a strong business with strong customer relationships

Build a strong business with strong customer relationships

Most businesses spent time attracting customers to a product or service, trying to win their trust and then ending the whole process with a sale. That tactic seems obvious to most people. What often is neglected is the post-sale follow up with customers, particularly when it comes to online businesses. We should look at the time after a sale as an opportunity not only to improve our products but also to establish long-lasting relationships with our customers.It takes much more effort to win a new customer than to maintain a relationship with an existing customer. But maintaining current customer relationships is just as critical and Id even dare to say, more important than gaining new customers. What can we do to keep our established customers feel appreciated? You need to follow up with your customers.Following up may be as simple as writing an email or giving a phone call to a customer a few weeks after a sale. At Screaming Bee, I make it a personal goal to contact every customer that buys our voice-changing software, MorphVOX, within 2-3 weeks after a sale. Does this take time? It sure does. Is it worth it? Absolutely! Not only does this allow us to get good feedback from customers in order to improve our software, but also it establishes a more solid, long-lasting relationship that goes beyond the point-of-sale. Most people were surprised that I would be willing spend the time to talk with them and were touched by the personal attention they received. And I was also surprised at how uncommon it was for online businesses to follow up on their customers. Some of the typical comments that I have received as the result of my efforts include:I really appreciate the personal touch, vs. the usual automated we have received your email garbage, followed by... well, nothing usually...Huh, never had customer support quite like this I appreciate it...People dont like being ignored and definitely like being heard. There are many businesses that are ignoring their customers and, as a result, losing them. Your current customers are the heart and core of your business. These customers provide return business and also provide the essential word-of-mouth promotion that no clever advertisement or marketing scheme will ever out-perform. Treat your customers like your own family. Go out of your way to communicate with them. If you neglect them, they will go elsewhere.

9 Steps for Coaching Call Center Agents

9 Steps for Coaching Call Center Agents

The call record method is, in my opinion, one of the best approaches to coaching agent phone calls and ensuring quality. Heres a 9-step plan for effectively coaching call center agent phone calls: 1. Randomly record 2 3 telephone calls. Random recording is important. Do not record 3 calls back to back or on the same day, as your employee may be having a bad day and this may be reflected in all of one afternoons calls, but is not necessarily reflective of their typical performance. 2. Review the calls and note strengths and opportunities. Before meeting with your employee, listen to the calls and note what they did well and identify 1 2 opportunities for performance improvement. 3. Play one tape and let your employee listen. During the playing of the tape, you do not need to respond. 4. Have your employee respond to the tape. After the tape is played, ask your employee to respond. Most employees will be overly self-critical. Your employee will likely note many opportunities for improvement and struggle to articulate what theyve done well. 5. Coach the call. Use the sandwich approach. Tell your employee what s/he did well, followed by constructive feedback, and then end with positive feedback. When offering constructive feedback, share only one opportunity for improvement. The employee has likely observed and stated several improvement opportunities so there is no need to bring these up again Try to mention one thin g the employee did not bring up and offer this as your constructive feedback. 6. Gain commitment for performance improvement. Ask the employee, What specific steps will you take over the next 5 days to improve in this area? Write down what the employee states and repeat it to her. Summarize the session by reiterating strengths and offering a vote of confidence that she can improve in the identified area. 7. Repeat steps 2 6 with a second and perhaps third tape if necessary. The point of numerous recording is that an employee may respond defensively stating that was just a bad call. If that is the response, you may choose to review a second or third tape. 8. Follow-up before the next agent coaching session. Check with your employee in between coaching sessions to keep the commitment top of mind. You can touch base with your employee via email or a personal conversation. 9. Discuss improvement in next coaching session. Before listening to calls in the next coaching session, ask your employee how shes progressing toward the goal of the last session. Look for improvement on calls reviewed in this session. This 9-step call center agent coaching model is simple, clear and it both praises employees and offers support for improvement opportunities. When you follow this 9-step process, you will set clear performance expectations, coach effectively and consistently and at the same time you will be motivating your employees.

Computer Consulting: Excellent Customer Service Inspires Growth

Computer Consulting: Excellent Customer Service Inspires Growth

From a customer service perspective, what can you do to sell more monitoring and managed services? What would it be worth to a computer consulting client if you could predict and prevent a major problem before it occurred? For example, if someone incurred $1,700 in billing last quarter due to some virus-related problems, is there something that you could offer them, a solution that you could give them going forward that could have prevented this? What's The Best Service Choice?Is it a matter of upgrading them to more complete virus protection? Is it a matter of giving them more thorough end user or internal guru training? You should be looking at your service tickets and your invoices proactively so you can make some of those suggestions. Thats phenomenal customer service because youre anticipating your "computer consulting" clients' needs.You and Your Computer Consulting Staff Should Be ProactiveThe same way that when people are married for a long time, they start anticipating their spouses needs, these client relationships evolve over time. You should be able to spot these a mile away as long as you know what youre looking for.Also, reward your technical staff for spotting and passing along some of these additional opportunities for you to follow up on. Also compensate your account managers and your technical staff based on their customer satisfaction ratings. These essentially become their report cards.Copyright MMI-MMVI, Computer Consulting 101. All Worldwide Rights Reserved. {Attention Publishers: Live hyperlink in author resource box required for copyright compliance}

Tips to Improve Your Customer Loyalty

Statistics show that, on average, U.S. companies lose half of their customers every five years.It's true that acquiring new customers will help your business grow. However, your current customers are the lifeblood of your business and keeping them happy should be your highest priority. Here are a few ways to make sure your customers keep coming back.* Understand lost customers. Many business owners mistakenly believe that customers choose to patronize other companies solely because of better prices. While pricing can be a concern, customers often head to the competition when they don't feel valued.A change of lifestyle may have also created a situation where customers no longer need your product. By staying in touch with their needs, you might be able to adjust your offering to continue servicing them.* Know your customer's top priority. Maybe it's reliability or speed or cost. Your company should know your clientele's No. 1 priority and consistently deliver it. Remember, customers' desires change frequently, so ask yourself this question every six months.* Acknowledge the lifetime value of customers. The lifetime value of your customers is the income you would gain if a customer stayed with you as long as they could possibly buy your product or service.For example, the lifetime value of a customer employing a financial adviser could be several decades and could span several generations. Treat the parents well and you could win the children's business.* Create a positive first impression. Good first impressions tend to generate loyal customers, and you get only one chance to make a positive first impression. Appearance is important. The exterior and interior of your business should be neat and clean.* Listen to the customer. Employees should listen actively to customers. Reassure your customers that you genuinely want to help them. Customers will judge your business based on the politeness, empathy, effort and honesty of your staff.* Address and resolve complaints quickly and effectively. Inevitably, your employees will encounter unsatisfied customers. Whether they're returning an item or changing a service, customers expect a fair policy. If you cannot offer a resolution immediately, let the customer know when he or she can expect an answer.

How to Get The Best Out Of Your Phone

When Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, little did he realise the positive effect it would have on customer service or the negative effect it could also have!Yes, the telephone can be a great tool in helping to provide exceptional customer service but it can also quickly destroy a customers perception of your service. What steps can you take to ensure that, whenever you or your staff use the phone, it adds something positive to the customer experience? Here are some ideas.Answer PromptlyIts an old tip but one usually ignored! You are sitting at your desk, deep in thought, writing your monthly report and the phone rings. Ill just finish this sentence quickly you say to yourself and before you know it, the phone has rung 10 times. The caller is unlikely to be in a good mood assuming he hasnt already hung up!Just try and remember the last time you sat on a phone with it ringing and ringing. What pictures came into your mind while you were waiting? An image of the person you are trying to call sitting at his desk chatting or casually drinking a cup of coffee? Didnt get you in a good mood did it? So why put your customers through it?Aim to answer your phone within 3 to 5 rings. A prompt pick-up will get the conversation off to a positive start and also avoids you having to open your conversation with an apology.So, get to the phone as quick as you can.Be EnthusiasticWhen you answer the phone make sure your voice conveys the message, Really happy to be speaking to you! Make your voice light, bring a feeling of enthusiastic emotion to your tone and most importantly sound eager. You dont want the caller thinking that you would rather be doing something else even if you do!Get a real upbeat feeling into your opening greeting. Say your Good morning or Good afternoon with a strong, enthusiastic tone. This will immediately lift your callers spirits and get you both off to a good start.If you really are having a bad day (and we all get them!), and enforced enthusiasm is going to be struggle, stand up and take the call. This helps makes your voice lighter and the change in position and body language can have a positive impact. Try it out. Listen To What They Have To SayYou may think that you listen intently to all conversations you have. Its difficult enough to do this when you are face-to-face with someone, but over the phone without eye contact, keeping your attention is even more difficult. Its too easy, especially if the caller has a habit of padding out every point he wants to make, to think about the task you were just interrupted on, or about that chat you had with one of your suppliers earlier. Before you know it, youve lost track of what the caller is on about.Actively listening to what is being said is a skill everyone needs if they are to use the phone as a tool for great customer service. But how can you keep your attention focused on what is being said?First of all, commit to yourself that you will actively listen. Without a clear commitment nothing ever happensTake notes during every call, even if you dont need to. The act of having to capture the callers key points, will force you to listen. Just focus on writing down keywords, not complete sentences otherwise youll be concentrating on writing and not listening!If an important statement has been made, repeat it back in your own words. This will force you to listen for the key points worth repeatingAsk questions. Dont go too far with a constant barrage of questions but ask just enough to keep your mind alertActive listening is not just about making sure you pick up all the key points; its also about respecting the caller. They will feel they have been treated with importance and respect if its clear you have been listening. Relevant questions and the occasional Umm can go a long way to making the caller feel they have been listened to.Avoid DistractionsIf possible, try and remove as many distractions as you can while speaking on the phone, especially if the call is important. If your office door is open and general office noise is affecting your listening, ask the caller to hold for a moment and close the door.If someone walks into your office while you are taking an important call, indicate for him to stay outside or come back. It can be very distracting having someone sitting at your desk while you are talking.If you were working on your PC when the call came through, turn and face away from it. You dont want your eyes and mind wandering back to look at the document you were working on!Respect the callers time and remove or avoid anything which may cause your mind to drift off.Finish StronglyWhen the call is coming to an end its important to finish in a strong, convincing way. Summarise what has been agreed, what actions are to be taken and by whom. Leave the caller in no doubt as to what the next step is.Just as your opening was full of enthusiasm, so should your closing statement. A good, strong and positive, Good to talk you and speak to you soon closer will bring the call to a satisfactory end. Your customer will hang up knowing that the call was worthwhile. Answer Phone and Voicemail MessagesIf you are not at your desk or in the office, any recorded message you leave is just as important in creating the right impression as the actual call itself. Some people dont like leaving messages but if your phone has the capability then use it. By leaving a message at least your customer will have the opportunity to partly satisfy the reason he called. Not being able to say anything can be frustrating.Here are some thoughts on how to record effective messages:Write out the message before you record it. Dont do it off the cuff as it will probably be full of umms and pauses. It wont sound professionalWhen recording, speak slowly and carefully, making sure that the caller can understand everything you say. This is especially the case for telephone numbers where you can be reached in an emergencyMake the message punchy and too the point. Dont fill it with unnecessary informationCall your number and listen to the message. If it doesnt sound right record it again and again until it doesRegularly change your message to reflect what you are doing. If you are going to be away on holiday, give a date when you will be back. If you are out only for the morning, tell the caller you will return their call in the afternoon. Messages which are up to date will make the caller more confident about leaving a message If used correctly the telephone can be a great asset in building a reputation for providing exceptional customer service. Used incorrectly, it can damage your business and give another reason for your customers to go and take their business elsewhere.

Summary

Why more and more consumers are increasingly depending on themselves for unbiased product information and turning away from Buyers Guides? Why websites and blogs have become more acceptable to consumers seeking product information for purchase decisions than buyers guide written by experts?