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Hot Topics

Ideas for Customer Service Excellence – Part 4

March 28, 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 disposition and demeanor play an important role in determining if you will get the client’s business. This week we take that concept one step further, looking at how everyone at the station plays a role in how the client perceives your station and ultimately decides to work with you.

  • In a common meeting area, post the following description of the importance of customer service:
    • A customer is the life-blood of every business.
    • A customer is a person who brings us his wants–it is our job to fill those wants.
    • A customer is not a cold statistic–he/she has feelings and emotions like our own.
    • A customer is the most important person in any business.
    • A customer is not dependent on us–we are dependent on them.
    • A customer is not an interruption of our work—he/she is the reason for it.
    • A customer is part of our business–not an outsider.
    • A customer is not someone to argue with or match wits with.
    • A customer is deserving of the most courteous and attentive treatment we can give.
    • Source: Repeat Business, by Larry Dennis
  •  Make sure everyone from the receptionist to the business office to the sales team has an updated list of all programming features, program times, personalities and a brief format description.
  • Provide “Excellence in Customer Service” awards monthly or annually for employees.
  • You are the message. With everything you do you’re sending a message about the kind of place you’re running. Details count, from clothing to language to the quality of presentations and research.
  • Have the receptionist or auto-attendant answer phones by saying the station(s) brand, not mega-group or corporation name.
  • Establish a customer service plan, ensure that all policies and procedures support customer expectations. Make sure that all departments understand the mission and procedures.
  • Attention to customers is everyone’s responsibility. Train all station personnel on the goals of the sales department and commitment to excellent customer service.
  • Give individuals the ability to resolve most of the problems that arise. It’s always frustrating to the advertiser/customer if they have to “talk to another level” to get satisfaction if problems occur.
  • Before interacting with customers, all new employees must complete a new hire program which teaches the company mission statement, importance of the customer, handling customer complaints, business manners, and company policies and procedures.
  • Reward employees with “Bright Idea” awards for improving customer service.
  • Provide sample scripts or guidelines for station voice mail recordings. Provide an alternate method for customers to receive immediate attention during the voice mail message.
  • Show team spirit by having all AE’s and managers sign birthday cards or thank you cards for advertisers.
  • Inform all station personnel about new advertisers. Each week, post a memo for all to see.
  • Include the importance of customer service and satisfaction in your station’s mission/vision statement. Post the mission statement for all station personnel to see.
  • Train the sales staff on pros and cons of all Media, not just Radio. Teach them how to plan complete marketing strategies for advertisers.
  • Once a month, take the Station Manager/Sales Manager on sales calls to core advertisers.
  • Once a quarter, take the Program Director to meet with core advertisers. This illustrates that the entire station is on the team.
  • For one “sales” meeting each month, focus on Customer Service and Customer Retention.
  • Review service techniques, encouraging repeat business and the super-serving of core customers.

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. In order to provide excellent customer service, everyone needs to do their best at their part of the customer interaction. The client could perceive that the sale, the schedule, and the results are good. But if they have a problem with the invoice and even more problems getting it cleared up, that negates all of their satisfaction with your company and reduces the likelihood of repeat business.

Tune in two weeks from now when we focus on our next category, “Outstanding.” Business decision-makers have a lot of choices for their ad dollars. We’ll share some ideas to help make your company stick out from the pack.

-Marc Greenspan, Partner

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