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Hot Topics

Ideas for Customer Service Excellence – Part 3

March 14, 2013

In a world where everything we consume, including advertising to a certain extent, is becoming a commodity, why should a business decision maker choose to work with you? Customer service is one of the key differentiators. Are you doing everything you can to make it easier for your customers to do business with you? The goal is for your advertisers to understand and recognize the benefit of having you on their team.

This week we continue our Hot Topics series on Customer Service Excellence.

As a reminder, we’ve divided these ideas into seven general categories:

R         = Reliable

A(c)     = Accountable

D         = Disposition/Demeanor

I           = Integrated

O         = Outstanding

 

A(p)     = Appreciation

E          = Extra Mile

 

Two weeks ago we discussed why your clients deserve to be able to hold you accountable for the actions you say you will take on their behalf. This week we continue with the idea that most business decision makers want to work with vendors that are the best in their fields. The image you present and the temperament you display will open prospects’ minds to wanting to work with your station, or at a minimum eliminate some of the excuses they might use to decide to avoid working with you. Here are some ideas for consistently presenting a professional image.

  • Establish expectations for AE dress. If necessary, have brand new AE’s meet with a clothing consultant or a personal shopper (maybe one of your existing clients). Give brand new employees a gift certificate or some other incentive to upgrade their look.
  • Always allow extra time between appointments to check appearance, eat a breath mint, warm up or cool down, and breathe calmly before meeting with customers. You’ll appear more together and the customer will have one less reason to say “no” to you.
  • State expectations for the appearance to station personalities and the staff when going to station events. Different venues and radio formats will dictate different dress styles.
  • You can “hear a smile” on the phone. Post smile signs on every AE’s telephone.
  • For major presentations, post “smile signs” in the back of the room for the speaker to see.
  • Review all station contracts and forms for ease of use, intelligibility, design and customer friendliness. Make things as easy as possible for your customer to do business with you.
  • Look for ways to complement and praise advertisers about their merchandise, stores, etc…but be sincere.
  • Review language of overdue payment notices to determine if it is insulting or insensitive, or if it is fair minded and concerned.
  • Establish a friendly rapport with your customer’s accounting/business department. Explain your station’s billing policies and procedures. If payment is tardy, call them directly first to determine if there is a problem.
  • Everyone from the receptionist on up is responsible for maintaining and improving the client relationship. Hire an expert in Business Manners and conduct a full station seminar.
  • For new advertisers, don’t use industry jargon. Explain the station benefits and marketing strategies in terms they can understand.

Remember, business decision makers are bombarded by vendors hawking their goods or services. They are constantly evaluating those options. Your goal is to give them every reason to start, or continue, to work with you. Consistently presenting a professional, friendly and positive demeanor is an important factor in providing excellent customer service.

Tune in two weeks from now when we focus on our next category, “Integrated.” We’ll talk about how everyone at the station needs to work together to provide excellent service to the customer.

-Marc Greenspan, Partner

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