On Earth Peace and Good Will Toward Men
By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
This month I’m not going to write about the telephone answering service industry or customer service or any of the things I typically address in TAS Trader. Instead I have a seasonal thought—sort of.
In considering our society as a whole, the past several months have been rough: divisive news, polarized rhetoric on social media, and a general loss of civility. The shouting is deafening. Everyone I talk to is sick of it and looking for us to move beyond the constant turmoil and return to some degree of mutual respect and decorum. I so agree.
Maybe this holiday season can mark a shift toward a fresh start. Let’s start by taking a line from the Christmas story: “On earth peace and good will toward men.” I like that. We need more peace (less fighting) and increased goodwill (less conflict). And then our world—or at least our space in it—will be a much better place.
While we can’t compel other people to promote peace on earth and goodwill to all, we can each do our part to bring it about. Little by little, day by day, we can each do one thing for peace and goodwill. Perhaps others will notice and do their part too.
A little less fighting and a little less conflict will make our world a better place. And there is no better time to start than this time of year.
So I wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and on earth peace and good will toward men.
May it be so.
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Achieving Greatness Through Customer Service
By Jason Gazaway
There’s good customer service, and there’s great customer service. What’s the difference? The answer is simple: human-to-human contact. People like to know that when they’re dealing with a company, they’re not just another dollar sign. They’re human beings who want to be listened to with respect. Achieving this level of excellence is no easy task.
The Human Voice: Genesys surveyed 9,000 consumers and found the most important aspect of doing business with a company was human service. One key method for attaining this kind of personal contact is a telephone answering service. In today’s web-driven world, few things beat the authenticity of a one-on-one conversation.
Yielding Returns: Of course, you can’t just put anyone on the phone with a customer. You have to put a great deal of care into the way your company is represented. Most customers are very likely to do business with, or switch their business to, a company known for good customer service. This means that service excellence is not only a good business ethic, but it actually yields returns.
The Qualities of Greatness: Though human-to-human contact is necessary for great service, it has yet to be determined what kind of contact this entails. You can’t have just anyone answering your phones. You need someone who:
- Has experience
- Exceeds the expectations of the customer by empathizing with his or her situation
- Handles the needs of an irritated person calmly and efficiently
- Makes the customer feel heard and respected
A Culture of Respect: How do you get high-quality customer service representatives? Look at your business holistically. The only way you can expect your staff to achieve excellence is if you yourself treat them as excellent. Creating a culture of respect, where every member of the team is valued as essential and indispensable, is necessary if you expect brilliant customer service.
Two Bonus Tips: In addition to these general principles, there are two specific tips. The first is simple: Know the customer’s name and address them by it. This may sound obvious, but it’s easy to overlook. Studies show that a person’s name causes a completely different part of the brain to light up, making it clear that a name is special and, in this case, useful. Plus, it shows you have genuine concern for who they are and what they mean to your business.
Similarly with the second tidbit, if the customer has a history with the company, refer to a specific aspect of his or her relationship to the business, even if it’s as simple as, “Thank you for your business with us for the last five years. I really appreciate it.” Notice the use of the singular pronoun, “I.” This indicates a personal relationship and communicates to the customer this is not just a transaction with a business but also an interaction with a human being.
In order to achieve excellence in customer service, each representative must treat every customer with respect, listening to their concerns with an open ear, which will result in long-term business relationships.
Jason Gazaway serves as the marketing communications specialist for VoiceNation and as a marketing consultant for Georgia Calls. With over fifteen years of experience managing digital and traditional marketing campaigns, he handles all marketing communications, public relations, and branding projects for both organizations.
Telephone Answering Service News
2017 ATSI Annual Conference: Education, Networking, Fellowship: The Association of TeleServices International (ATSI) will host the 2017 annual conference, “Education, Networking, and Fellowship,” June 27-29, 2017 at The Palmer House Hilton Hotel in Chicago, Illinois. The conference will bring together industry leaders who will share and discuss important topics in the contact center and telephone answering service industry such as hiring talent and training, revenue enhancement techniques, and sales and marketing tactics. Additional sessions will explore HIPAA agent training, business operations, and planning and financial management, upcoming changes in legislation, telco competition, new technology, and equipment. The trade show and exposition provides an opportunity to view the latest in contact center equipment and technology. Registration opens in early 2017 at www.atsi.org.
Executive Services Earns Gold Call Center Certification: The Association of Teleservices International (ATSI) announced that Allgood Communications, Inc, dba Executive Services, has re-qualified for a fourth time and has been awarded the Gold 24/7 Call Center Certification Award. “This qualification is another milestone in our continuous investment in technology, people, and processes,” said April Kasza, Executive Services’ general manager. She continued, “Tom Sheridan, Executive Services’ president and part of the founding certification process, has committed to provide the highest quality services to our clients. Together, we are able to offer the best call center and information technology available, as well as innovative applications and quality service.”
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Quotes for the Month
“Of all nature’s gifts to the human race, what is sweeter to a man than his children?” -Marcus Tullius Cicero
“Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it.” -Andre Gide
“The short fortune teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.” -unknown