By CAREEREALISM-Approved Expert, Deborah Shane We have come to the last step in our sales journey. We have covered prospecting, qualifying, analyzing, negotiation, closing, and now retention. People will remember how you made them feel! Follow these tips from career expert Deborah Shane to create and maintain great relationships with your customers. What kind of experience do you want customers to have with you and your business? How do you keep customers happy, engaged and continuing to refer you? We are all working so much harder today to find, qualify, develop and close new customers. The effort you put into retaining customers is almost more important than finding them. Loyalty? Gone. Poor customer service has compromised loyalty more than any other factor. Why companies cut back and cut corners on customer service is so short sighted. The impact of customer retention is felt in 3 ways: 1. Profitability: 5-20% more expensive to find a new customer than to keep one. 2. Revenue: Just 5% more retention can translate into 77% more revenue over 10 years. 3. New Business Development: Reputation plus referrals equals growth! Information from www.sba.gov. I know for me, if a vendor is NOT paying attention to me, not speaking to me with respect, and doesn’t show me an appreciation for being a customer, I am gone to one that will and does. There are very few “exclusive” companies (besides the IRS) where competition doesn’t give you a choice. So, what can and should you be doing today to ‘always be retaining?’ I love the concepts in Seth Godin’s Lynchpin, where he talks about the new world of work. He defines the lynchpin mentality as, working toward being “indispensable,” someone who makes a difference, leads and connects others. Treating your customers with this kind of attitude and mindset will set you up for long term customer relationships and success. Invest in training your employees to ‘always be retaining’ and it will pay off big! As I look back on my long career path, sales and customer service underlie all of the parts, cycles and phases. Business is sales. Without sales there is no business. I am not sure why this fundamental idea is not taken more seriously, by businesses and professionals today. They still view sales as a dreaded activity they have to do. Well, you absolutely are in sales. There is a NEW FACE AND LANGUAGE for sales today. It is based on the six fundamentals we presented plus the qualities that make you ‘indispensable,’ someone your customers can’t envision living or being without. That is a coveted position to work yourself into. So the six step sales process finding a prospect, qualifying that prospect, analyzing their needs and matching them with your assets, negotiation, closing and retention remains the same...adding that intangible quality of being indispensable is what sets you apart. Enjoying this article? You could get the best career advice daily by subscribing to us via e-mail! Enter your email address: | We are all “salespeople.” Front desk to back stage, anyone in the chain between the customer, sales person, sales team IS IN sales. When that experience is unified for the customer through the chain and they have a consistent memorable experience, then and only then can you retain them and foster them becoming you biggest cheerleaders! Here are 5 tips for creating consistent and memorable customer experiences. Train your entire staff to “always be retaining” by being: 1. Polite: Speak and act respectfully no matter what. 2. Knowledgeable: Know your company, product, service, market and competition. 3. Sense of Humor: Nothing bonds people more than an appropriate sense of humor. 4. Personal: Own your time with people on the phone or in person. Focus on them. 5. Out-Servicing Your Competition: Know what they are not doing and do it. There are so many social tools today that make communicating, rewarding and surveying your customers at the same time easy. Use them and leverage them to engage, connect and serve. Customers are hungry for real people to simply answer the phone and say, “Welcome to Train with Shane, this is Deborah, how may I serve you?” Yes, it costs more, but, trust me it costs way more when customers flee and go somewhere else! How do you retain customers? Did you enjoy this article? You can read more articles by this expert here. Also, check out all of our free webinars!CAREEREALISM Expert, Deborah Shane delivers business education and professional skill development specializing in women in business, those in career transition, sales and personal and social brand strategy and integration. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.The photo for this article is provided by Shutterstock.
8 Ways You're Being SHUT OUT Of The Hiring Process
1-hour workshop to help job seekers figure out what's getting them tossed from the hiring process
September 28, 2022
Are you terrified of screwing up a job interview? Does the thought of writing a cover letter horrify you? Are you scared to network with others? What do you even say, anyway? If you're struggling to overcome your job search fears, this live event is for you.
We get it. Looking for work can be scary, especially if you’ve been at it for a long time and haven’t gotten any results.
Understanding which fears are getting in the way and how to overcome them will make all the difference. Sometimes you might not be aware of which obstacle is getting in the way of your goals. If you want to overcome these fears once and for all, we invite you to join us!
In this training, you’ll learn how to:
- Utilize strategies for coping with your job search fears
- Be confident in your job search—from writing your resume to networking
- Face your fears and move forward
Join our CEO, J.T. O'Donnell, and Director of Training Development & Coaching, Christina Burgio, for this live event on Wednesday, October 5th at 12 pm ET.
CAN'T ATTEND LIVE? That's okay. You'll have access to the recording and the workbook after the session!
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September 30, 2022
The business seems to be doing better, but you have reporting to show how well it's actually doing? You want to collect data and turn it into information. This allows the business to make decisions based on actionable reporting. How much business intelligence (BI) does your organization have?
COTS Applications For Actionable Reporting
Most COTS (commercial-off-the-shelf) applications will have standard/canned reports. These are the “common” reports used by customers. If you’re implementing a new system and there are many standard reports, start with 10 top reports so you don’t overwhelm the end users. If you’re not sure what these are, ask the vendor to recommend them (especially if you’re changing your process and following the vendor’s best practice). Then the end users can utilize other standard reports as they get more comfortable and familiar with the application.
For example, if you just purchased a new phone system for the call center, find the reports that detail measurements such as the number of calls, dropped calls, wait time, peak times, etc.
Identify and define key performance indicators (KPIs), which are measurable values to analyze for better decision making. KPIs may be related to a specific function, line of business, or group of individuals. You can take a group of KPIs and create a dashboard. For example, some KPIs related to the help desk are:
- Tickets by status (e.g., open, on hold, completed, canceled)
- Tickets assigned by technician
- Average resolution time
- Rate of first-time resolutions
- Customer satisfaction
Once you’re comfortably leveraging the standard reports, you may want to ask the vendor (or your team’s developer/programmer) to customize standard reports or create custom reports with additional specific information you’re looking for. This may involve combining data from multiple tables within the application.
Two typical ways to serve these reports: 1) “push” reports to the end users on a scheduled frequency such as via email daily; or 2) have the end user “pull” reports which gives them the ability to access the reports as needed.
But reporting isn’t limited to COTS applications. You can create remarkable reports using Excel such as PivotTables, Pivot Charts, or Slicers.
Other Tips & Tools For Actionable Reporting
Another phenomenal visualization tool that is part of Office 365 is Power BI. It’s part of the Microsoft family (similar to Excel) so it’s straightforward to use. You can create a dashboard visualizing year-over-year comparisons, market segmentations, drill downs, etc.
If you’re new to Power BI, you can download the free desktop version (which admittedly does have limitations). If you find that Power BI does meet your basic reporting needs and you want more, then you can upgrade to the Pro license.
If you have enormous amounts of data, you may want to consider creating a data lake (raw data) or data warehouse (structured data). You can pull in data from multiple disparate systems into one central repository. There are ETL (extract transform load) tools to load the data into the data warehouse. You can cube the data so that the end users can roll up, drill down, and slice the data, do “what if” scenarios, etc.
TIP: If you allow end users to create their own reports, it’s critical that they understand the various data fields. Are you able to give them some type of data dictionary, or are they able to certify the results? It would be disastrous if they selected the wrong date or revenue field which produced incorrect results and sent the report to the board of directors.
Other reporting considerations:
1. Have a separate reporting database so that you don’t affect the production database. You don’t want an end user to kick off a complex query inadvertently causing production response to come to a crawl or even freeze.
- If you do set up a reporting database you need to decide how frequently the data will be updated—real time, once in the evening, etc.
2. Data needs to be secured appropriately (security). Who should have access to specific data fields should be determined by the data owner. For example, only a small handful of people should be able to access salary/payroll information.
3. Data should be classified such as public, internal, confidential, or restricted. Access should be controlled as appropriate.
4. Create a customer portal (extranet) to empower your customers (also partners and vendors) so that they can pull their own reports and information.
There is a quote by Lois Horowitz: “Not having the information you need when you need it leaves you wanting. Not knowing where to look for that information leaves you powerless. In a society where information is king, none of us can afford that.”
For more information on actionable reporting, follow me on LinkedIn!
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September 30, 2022
The interview is one component of the job search process that most people love to hate. While it serves as a sign from the employer that you are being strongly considered for a position, it also can be a source of angst for candidates who fear they'll make mistakes that will cut them out of the running.
A great way to overcome the anxiety interviews produce is to begin feeling good about the process. Need help getting there? Here are five ways to build confidence for a job interview.
One great way to build your confidence going into the interview is by conducting plenty of research on the company and the position that you're going after. A common question interviewers ask is, "Do you know anything about our company?" Most times, candidates give vague answers, or—in a worst-case scenario—answer, "No."
If you're able to share the company's background information and showcase knowledge of its future goals for the position in question, you'll have an opportunity to impress the interviewer.
Review Common Interview Questions And Practice ThemBigstock
By understanding how to answer common interview questions, particularly behavioral interview questions, you'll build a lot of confidence going into the job interview.
Another great way to build confidence for a job interview is to practice before the big day. You can do this by answering questions in front of a mirror to read your own facial expressions and body language, or you could have a friend help you with a mock interview.
It's also great to find a professional outfit you feel comfortable wearing. Feeling good in your clothes and knowing you've fully prepared can work wonders for boosting your confidence before a job interview.
Make Sure You Have No Skeletons
An important step in preparing for your interview is being able to recall your own career history and discuss prospective goals with the company and in your professional life as a whole. But, as you look back over your career, be sure to research yourself online to ensure there are no skeletons on the internet that could be brought up in your interview.
Remember, companies conduct background checks often via search engines, so it's up to you to ensure your social media profiles are professional and/or private.
It's normal to feel some anxiety before a job interview, but you can take steps to minimize those nerves. We hope these tips help you build confidence for your next job interview and shine in the hiring process!
Need more help building confidence for a job interview?
We'd love it if you signed up for Work It Daily's Power Hour Event Subscription! Get your career questions answered in our next live event!
This article was originally published at an earlier date.
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