The Secret Ingredients of Sales Training That Deliver Results

Today’s guest post is from Monika Götzmann, the EMEA Marketing Director of Miller Heiman Group, a global sales training and customer experience company.

Improving the performance of a sales team is a common goal for senior managers, because it can have a very clear and direct influence on the overall performance of a business. However, while many companies invest heavily in their sales rep training, they do not always get the return on investment they were hoping for.

Sales Training That Deliver Results

Should you find that your training is falling short of expectations, it may be worth reviewing it to make sure it includes a number of key ingredients. These ingredients are explained in more details below and combining all of them together in a cohesive package will help to ensure your training program delivers real results.

Theory

The theory section of your sales training course encompasses various intellectual elements. In general, it will involve introducing new ideas to your staff, sharing knowledge, or giving them new perspectives and this could be done through lectures, presentations, case studies or group exercises.

It is quite common for businesses to focus heavily on the theory aspect of sales training and they will often rely on external trainers or speakers to share their ideas and expertise with trainees.

However, while it is important to introduce new information, research from the NTL Institute shows that long-term retention rates for knowledge shared through lectures and reading stand at five percent and ten percent, respectively. The trick is to (more…)

Enriching the Customer Experience Works in Any Industry

...Guest post by Ben Motteram

Today’s guest post is by Ben Motteram, the Principal at CXpert, a customer experience consulting company. Ben has over 20 years’ experience in customer service, and is a recognized CX thought leader. Thanks Ben!

As someone deeply involved in customer service and the overall customer experience, I am interested in identifying companies that share my love of service and how they tend to the customer’s needs.

Enriching the Customer Experience

Using a process like customer journey mapping, companies can clearly show how every role impacts the end customer.

A great example of this is Little Real Estate, Australia’s largest independently owned real estate agency with over 23,000 properties under management and 23 offices nationally.

I recently met with Brock Fisher, the National Manager of Customer Support at LITTLE, to discuss his approach to customer service.

Ben Motteram: Hi Brock, one of the things that has really impressed me about LITTLE Real Estate is their commitment to customer service. As the National Manager of Customer Support, what are you responsible for?

Brock Fisher: My “customers” are all of our Property Management staff so my main role is running an offshore team of forty personnel in The Philippines.  They relieve Property Managers of much of that repetitive, process driven, “behind the scenes” administrative work that is normally a prominent aspect of the role. This enables our Property Managers to spend more time providing a high level, value add service to our clients.

To me, it’s all about understanding where the value in (more…)

The Ultimate Customer Service KPI?

Guest post by Steve Curtin

One of the Top 30 customer service experts in the world, Steve Curtin provides today’s guest post. Thanks Steve!

Earlier this year I was asked for my opinion about which key performance indicator (KPI) was the most important. I think if you ask five different people you may get five different answers.

Customer Service KPI

As important as overall satisfaction, value for price paid, intent to return, and a dozen other performance indicators are, if I had to choose one, I’d choose net promoter score (NPS).

NPS is a customer loyalty metric created by Fred Reicheld, Bain & Company and Satmetrix in 2003. Essentially, it identifies customers as being Promoters, Passives, or Detractors of an organization, company, or brand based on their likelihood to recommend it to others.

Here’s why I like NPS so much as a KPI of customer service quality: (more…)

Customer Experience: Everything Matters

Guest post by Roy Atkinson

Host of the popular weekly #CustServ chat on Twitter, Roy Atkinson shares some customer experience wisdom as today’s guest blogger. Thanks Roy!

When it comes to customer experience, everything matters. The way a website looks and works, the way a brand’s service people talk with and treat customers, and certainly the way purchased goods and services are delivered.

Customer Experience

Recently, I was a first-time attendee at an event held at a large ski and golf resort, and despite having a terrific time with my fellow attendees, there were details that detracted from a smooth experience.

For the purposes of this post, I’ll call the resort “Tuesday Lake.” There are two sizable hotels at the resort, several miles apart. One, I’ll call the Pinnacle Grand, and the other I’ll call The Merlin.  My reservation described my room as a Grand Merlin Standard.

So, which hotel was I supposed to go to—the one called Grand, or the one called Merlin?  It was a small, confusing detail that could have been easily fixed if the resort had thought about it; it was evident that they hadn’t.

Once I arrived at The Merlin (having guessed correctly), I waited far longer at the front desk than I should have, while not one but two clerks conversed with a guest they knew personally.  Eventually I got checked in, but the clerk failed to (more…)

The 4 Must-Have Customer Service Skills to be Successful

...guest post by Lynn Macfarlane

Today’s guest post is by Lynn Macfarlane.

Early on in my recruitment career I was provided with leads to generate business but I knew at some stage I would need to get away from the telephone and the cold-calling monster and do what others were not doing, i.e. knock on doors and make face to face introductions.

4 Must-Have Customer Service Skills

It is the passion for what you do, who you are and who you work for that will help you succeed. It is not about the money – that is a secondary factor.

When you go about your work in a positive and enthusiastic way, your new customers will see how much passion and interest you have in THEM. This is how I nurtured relationships with my new customers.

Treading the streets of my City and the West End of London with “dogged” determination, I knew I had to persevere. I needed to develop and build a client base in order to establish business and to stay in business myself!

If you believe in yourself, your concept and your product it’s amazing what you can achieve.

Once a customer is established you should prepare yourself to stay engaged by regular contact, whether they make frequent purchases or not. You are in this for the long haul. Learn their needs, wants, likes and dislikes. Get to know your customers.

Great salespeople keep updated files on their customers; birthdays and anniversaries are tracked, frequency of purchases monitored, etc.  They also send a thank note or card or just to say “how are you?” Let your customers know you care and value their business.

Here are 4 must-have customer service skills you need to be successful… (more…)

Why Don’t Today’s Car Dealerships Provide Service Like They Used To?

...are we buying so many cars that we are all just a number now?

Today’s guest post is from retired hotelier Ken Vincent, author of “So Many Hotels, So Little Time”. He shares a story of how customer service has changed from days-gone-bye.

Car Dealerships.
The year was 1958…

Provide Service Like They Used To

I bought a new 1957 Plymouth from a dealer 25 miles from where I lived. The car came with a drive-train warranty for 12 months/12,000 miles. Thirteen months later on a Sunday, the transmission went bad. I called the dealer on Monday morning and without hesitation he agreed to pick up the car and fix it.

On Monday afternoon the tow truck arrived and took the car. Wow, that was quick.

Tuesday morning the dealer called to say that he would have to rebuild the transmission and I could have the car back on Friday afternoon. The cost for this out-of-warranty repair would be $1,600, ouch! I explained that I didn’t have that much money so he agreed to take $400 now and I could pay off the balance over 12 months and he would even waive the interest charges. Another WOW.

On Wednesday, the dealer called to say that since he was waiting for a needed part to be delivered, the car wouldn’t be ready until Saturday afternoon. But, since it wouldn’t be ready as promised, he would have the car delivered to me, which he did.

When the driver arrived with my car he gave me a note from the dealer saying that he had sent the original bad part to the manufacturer and they agreed that it was inferior.

Now here comes the best part: (more…)

Customer Service: Listening Beats the Checklist Every Time

Guest Post by Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Today’s guest post is by Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, Founder & President CAS, Inc. She uses real life stories to ignite true customer focus, and here is her story.

You can’t have a discussion about customer service without customers stressing the importance of listening. Yet so many customer service managers and teams focus on checklists and procedures above listening and adapting to customers.

Listening beats the checklist

A Hospitality Story…

A customer arrived at a well known hotel chain on a Sunday to deliver a workshop on Monday and Tuesday at her client’s site.  She checked in and went to the room.  The bed was made and the room was in order.  Then she went into the bathroom and saw a white tub that was black on the bottom with filth.  She had to go out to a local store anyway so she planned to stop at the Front Desk and let them know.

There was a long line at the desk so she went to the store with the intention of stopping at the Front Desk when she returned.  Upon her return, she told the Front Desk clerk that the bathtub in her room was filthy.

The clerk turned to the computer, checked something, and then said to her:

That room has been cleaned.”

The customer became (more…)

The Leader’s Role in Customer Service Today

Guest Post by Tal Shnall - Leadership and Customer Service Mentor

Today’s guest post is by Tal Shnall. With 20 years of hospitality experience he writes about what ‘true leaders’ can do to provide great customer service.  Thanks Tal.

Creating a service culture in your organization is not a one-time, skills-training event. It’s an ongoing leadership commitment driven by effective leadership.

role in customer service

When I joined the hotel business back in the 90’s, I was lucky to begin my career with great mentors. They exemplified leadership qualities that made me want to emulate and become a manager one day. Customer service was part of their DNA and they took the time to develop more service leaders for their organization.

Imagine a culture where leaders are able to truly drive customer excellence through on-going employee engagement of empowerment and legendary service.

Why do so many companies fail at consistently achieving customer excellence? Think of a restaurant, a hotel, grocery store or even an on-line store.

The answer is leadership!

Many companies seek easy ways to fix their (more…)

When Great Customer Service Is Inappropriate

Guest post by Matt Heller, author of "The Myth of Employee Burnout"

Today’s guest post is by Matt Heller, founder of Performance Optimist Consulting. Matt writes about how great customer service almost ruined his RUSH concert!

stevedigioia.com/blog

You know me; I am all about great customer service… knowledgeable, friendly, thoughtful customer service.  Why then, am I about to tell you a story about an incident about knowledgeable, friendly, and thoughtful customer service that was actually (in my mind) inappropriate?

Because there is one other factor that indicates great customer service:  Timing.

Here’s the story…

On May 24, I was traveling from Asheville to Tampa to see my favorite band Rush for possibly the last time (they have indicated this might be their last tour of this magnitude.  After 40+ years, they’re entitled to a break!)

To say I was excited was an understatement. Imagine my horror when I (more…)

Stop Serving Like You’ve Given Up

Guest post from Tony Johnson - Customer Service Speaker & Author

Today’s guest post is from Tony Johnson, named one of the top 10 customer service influencers. Thanks Tony.

Ever feel like those serving you are just mailing it in?  I feel like that fairly often – and having worked in the service industry for two decades, I tend to grade on a curve since I know how hard it is. I know five hundred things that can go wrong before the doors open and the pitfalls of dealing with labor issues, productivity targets, and supply chain difficulties.

Never Give Up

The worrisome part for most businesses is that guests don’t know how hard it is to serve them, and they honestly don’t care. They want to feel good about their decision to give you their hard earned money and they want the service for which they are paying.

For that they have to feel good about the people serving them.

Unless you are running a robot company with robot cashiers and robot workers, you will need to take ownership of what is likely your single biggest line item on the balance sheet – as well as one of the biggest differentiators in the market place – your people.

But you have to start with meaning that. You can’t blather on that your team is the most important thing to you then ignore them, under-train them, or

(more…)