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الموضوع: المادة التدريبية لكورس خدمة العملاء باللغة الانجليزية

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    المادة التدريبية لكورس خدمة العملاء باللغة الانجليزية

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    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING
    Public Understanding and Participation
    CUSTOMER SERVICE
    TRAINING MANUAL


    Funded by:

    United States Agency for International Development (USAID), under Contract
    Number: LAG-I-00-98-00011-00, Task Order Number: 804








    Principal Author: Brian McCotter, AED Program Officer

    Academy for Educational Development
    1825 Connecticut Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC 20009




    September 2003










    Customer Service is a requirement in today’s
    business environment.

    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING MANUAL




    DISCLAIMER
    This publication was made possible through financial support provided by
    the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), under Contract
    Number: LAG-I-00-98-00011-00, Task Order Number: 804. The views expressed herein are
    those of AED and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID. Much of this work was
    developed by Mr. McCotter under a previous assignment for USAID through PA Consulting
    (The Central Asia Natural Resources Management Program, Contract No. 284-C-00-00-
    00025-00, Task 12). Any other reproduction, publication, distribution, or use of the material
    contained herein must include this acknowledgement, as well as that of the current project
    and its prime contractor, AED.




    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING
    Public Understanding and Participation
    TABLE OF CONTENTS
    LIST OF ACRONYMS
    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY........................................... .................................................. .................................................. ...1
    1. CUSTOMER SERVICE BASICS............................................ .................................................. ...............................3
    1.1. INTRODUCTION TO CUSTOMER SERVICE........................................... .................................................. .............3
    1.2. THE THREE KEY ELEMENTS.......................................... .................................................. ...................................5
    1.3. WHAT CUSTOMER SERVICE MEANS............................................. .................................................. ...................6
    1.4. CUSTOMER SERVICE QUALITIES......................................... .................................................. .............................7
    1.5. TAKING AN HONEST LOOK AT YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE........................................... ................................8
    1.6. WHO ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS?........................................ .................................................. ...............................13
    2. SIMPLE ACTIONS – HUGE RETURNS........................................... .................................................. ...............15
    2.1. NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION..................................... .................................................. ..............................15
    2.2. TONE OF VOICE............................................. .................................................. .................................................. .17
    2.3. TELEPHONE ETIQUETTE......................................... .................................................. .........................................19
    2.4. FIRST IMPRESSIONS – YOU ONLY GET ONE............................................... .................................................. ..22
    2.5. TEN MAJOR DO’S AND DON’TS OF CUSTOMER SERVICE........................................... ..................................23
    3. PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH – DEALING WITH THE CUSTOMER.........................................2 6
    3.1. THE CUSTOMER SERVICE CASE STUDY – FIVE EASY PIECES............................................ ..........................26
    3.2. COMMUNICATING WITH THE UNSATISFIED CUSTOMER.......................................... .....................................28
    3.3. SOLVING THE CUSTOMER’S PROBLEMS.......................................... .................................................. ..............29
    3.4. CASE STUDY – GOOD SERVICE........................................... .................................................. ...........................31
    4. SERVICE SUCCESS IN YOUR COMPANY OR ORGANIZATION...................................... ..................35
    4.1. CUSTOMER SERVICE STARTS ON TOP............................................... .................................................. ............35
    4.2. CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING.......................................... .................................................. ............................36
    4.3. HIRING CUSTOMER FRIENDLY, MOTIVATED EMPLOYEES......................................... ..................................36
    4.4. THE CUSTOMER-ORIENTED COMPANY........................................... .................................................. ..............37


    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING MANUAL
    Work performed by the Academy for Educational Development under sponsorship of the United States Agency
    for International Development (USAID) Contract Number: LAG-I-00-98-00011-00, Task Order Number: 804
    LIST OF ACRONYMS
    AED Academy for Educational Development
    CEO Chief Executive Officer
    ERB Energy Regulation Board of Zambia
    PUP Public Understanding and Participation
    USAID U.S. Agency for International Development
    ZESCO Zambian Electric Service Company

    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING MANUAL
    Work performed by the Academy for Educational Development under sponsorship of the United States Agency
    for International Development (USAID) Contract Number: LAG-I-00-98-00011-00, Task Order Number: 804 1


    ENERGY
    REGULATION
    BOARD

    The Energy Regulatory Board (ERB) of Zambia is the regulatory authority for the energy sector
    created under the Energy Regulatory Act of 1995. The ERB started its operations in 1997. ERB’s role is to
    balance the needs of the utilities to earn reasonable rates of return on their investments while providing good
    quality and affordable services to customers.
    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
    The Academy for Educational Development (AED) through its energy and environmental
    training project (EETP) has been assisting with institutional capacity building for the Energy
    Regulation Board (ERB) of Zambia. Under the auspices of the USAID-funded Public
    Understanding and Participation Task Order for the Energy Training IQC, EETP launched a
    series of energy communications programs with the ERB in May 2002.
    As part of ongoing assistance to the ERB, AED’s Brian McCotter and Luisa Freeman
    traveled to Zambia in late-January 2003 for consultations and to conduct a training seminar
    entitled, “Customer Service – Theory and Practice.” The main goals of the seminar were to
    explore the importance of internal and external communications, consumer affairs, and public
    outreach for regulatory agencies and energy utilities. Special emphasis was placed on how to
    build credibility and trust in communities through improved customer service and
    responsiveness. The two-day seminar was attended by 20 representatives from the ERB and
    the main local electricity utility, Zambian Electric Service Company (ZESCO) and was
    opened by ERB Executive Director Moses Zama and Technical Director Silvester Hibajene.


    Through this customer service training seminar, the project is aiming to encourage ERB-
    ZESCO interaction and dialogue for the mutual benefit of energy consumers and those in the
    energy industry. Early in the project, it was determined that working with ZESCO was
    critical to the ultimate success of ERB and both groups welcomed collaboration in the area of
    energy communications. Like in many countries going through energy privatization and
    regulatory transitions, relations between the newly founded energy regulator and the existing
    utilities are often strained and distant. The PUP project customer services trainings are
    helping to build bridges between the regulator and utility and to promote a meaningful and
    ongoing dialogue.


    ZESCO Ltd is Zambia's largest power utility. It originated in 1906 when a small thermal station was built in
    Livingstone to serve a section of the town. Its generation is dominated by the extensive hydropower
    resources of Zambia, including Victoria Falls. ZESCO Limited is a parastatal company under the Companies
    Act. It was established in 1970, and its governance has evolved over time to one that defines an arms-length
    relationship with Government. This relationship is defined in the Performance Contract that was signed
    between Government and ZESCO in 1996. ZESCO is slowly evolving under privatization into a
    competitive energy service provider for the region.
    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING MANUAL
    Work performed by the Academy for Educational Development under sponsorship of the United States Agency
    for International Development (USAID) Contract Number: LAG-I-00-98-00011-00, Task Order Number: 804 2



    PUP Project Mission...
    At the heart of the PUP Task Order is the concept that reliable and efficient energy
    service coupled with an informed and responsive customer base are fundamental to the
    development of civil society and economic growth in Zambia. AED, through its local
    partner organization ERB, looks forward to continued assistance in improving customer
    service and building capacity in the areas of communications and public education.
    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING MANUAL
    Work performed by the Academy for Educational Development under sponsorship of the United States Agency
    for International Development (USAID) Contract Number: LAG-I-00-98-00011-00, Task Order Number: 804 3
    1. CUSTOMER SERVICE BASICS
    1.1. Introduction to Customer Service

    Our Customers

    “There is only one boss, and whether a person shines shoes for a living or heads up
    the biggest corporation in the world, the boss remains the same. It is the customer!
    The customer is the person who pays everyone’s salary and who decides whether a
    business is going to succeed or fail. In fact, the customer can fire everybody in the
    company from the chairman (CEO) on down, and he can do it simply by spending his
    money somewhere else.

    Literally everything we do, every concept perceived, every technology developed and
    associate employed, is directed with this one objective clearly in mind – pleasing the
    customer.”

    -- Sam M. Walton, CEO Wal-Mart

    Credo from Sam Walton the owner and CEO of Wal-Mart – an international chain of
    department stores and the most successful company in retailing in the world. Mr. Walton is
    one of the most successful and wealthiest men in the US.


    “Look before you leap.”
























    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING MANUAL
    Work performed by the Academy for Educational Development under sponsorship of the United States Agency
    for International Development (USAID) Contract Number: LAG-I-00-98-00011-00, Task Order Number: 804 4
    Customer Service in the 21st Century

    Ask any CEO of a company, president of a bank, manager of an office, minister or staff
    person and they will tell you HOW IMPORTANT the customer is to their operations and
    success. In meeting after meeting, heads of industry, the service sector, utilities, and
    government try to convince the audience how much they believe in customer service.

    “It is our mission, it is our number one priority, it is our goal, it is why we are in business,
    etc...,” often prove to be mere epitaphs. Unfortunately, these same “customer friendly”
    executives go back to their offices, de-employ office staff, fail to initiate a customer service
    improvement plan and send memos out saying customer complaints are unjustified and
    overblown.

    It is a contemporary mantra of service-oriented economies throughout the world that the
    customer is the key to success. Yet, how many of these same people are just miming what
    others say or think without ever actually considering what customers want, how to deliver
    good service, how to develop systems that enhance customer satisfaction and create a service
    friendly environment. The reality is that customer service around the world, with a few
    notable exceptions, is either declining or stagnating.

    Technological developments have dehumanized service while economic pressure and high
    employee turnover have left customers wondering when they will receive proper service at a
    fair price and in a timely manner.

    Why is customer service in such a “funk” – what is causing this service malaise despite the
    “lip service” being paid to the significance of the customer in contemporary business,
    government and public life? If customer service and contact with a customer or client are so
    important for the success of a company or organization, then why are some companies and
    organizations failing in this critical department?

    Moreover, can a company1 offer good services/products at low or reasonable prices but still
    not meet customer demands and suffer financially as a result? Can a company know the
    needs and problems of customers without having contact with them and without listening to
    them?

    This customer service-training manual will answer these questions and many more, providing
    numerous concepts and ideas of how to improve the service you offer customers.

    Throughout the course of the manual we will come back to three fundamental elements that
    must exist and be cultivated in order for good service to flourish:

    1. Expand your idea of service,
    2. Consider or reconsider who your customers are, and
    3. Develop customer friendly service techniques and systems.

    If you master these three fundamental elements, your customer service is bound to improve
    and mature.


    1
    The term “company” is utilized loosely to refer to any business, organization, department or office providing
    services/products to the external and internal public.
    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING MANUAL
    Work performed by the Academy for Educational Development under sponsorship of the United States Agency
    for International Development (USAID) Contract Number: LAG-I-00-98-00011-00, Task Order Number: 804 5
    We hope you will find that improving customer service and developing an internal system to
    guarantee continual proficiency is not the most difficult or costly endeavor in the world.
    Customer service improvement is not like sending someone to the moon, but it does require
    understanding, commitment, time and effort.

    Companies or organizations that manage customer service the best are those who develop a
    policy and then stick to it. This may seem easy, and this manual will help you along in this
    process, but in an age of political transition, mergers and acquisitions, regulation and de-
    regulation, rapid management turnover and global competition, adhering to sound customer
    service policy can be quite a challenge.


    1.2. The Three Key Elements
    Expand Your Definition of Service

    How you define service shapes every interaction you have with your customers. Limited
    definitions of service based on an exchange of monies for goods or service misses the overall
    point of customer service. “Service” should provide the customer with more than a product or
    action taken on his/her behalf. It should provide satisfaction. In essence, the customer should
    walk away pleased at the result of the transaction – not just content but actually happy. A
    happy customer will continue to be a buying customer and a returning customer.

    Of course you want to give customers want they want but this is not always possible. If you
    define customer service only as giving customers exactly what they want you have missed
    another key aspect of service – helping the customer to decide what they want. This is more
    subtle and difficult, requiring listening, friendliness, and empathy on the part of your service
    provider. By addressing these less obvious customer needs you can provide the customer with
    alternatives to their obvious desires (expanding your business) and get to know your
    customers better. Knowing the customer is critical to success.

    Who are Your Customers?

    Customers, buyers and clients want to pay a fair price for quality service or products, and feel
    satisfied they have paid for a service/product and received what they have paid for in return.
    They also want someone to take care of them. They need someone to understand their needs
    and help answer them. They need someone to hold their hands and walk them through a
    process. Customer service starts with the ability to listen to the customer and find out
    through polite questioning what he/she needs or wants.

    Customer service and contact with a client mean that the customer will be heard and his/her
    problems will not go unanswered or ignored. It also means getting to know your client,
    his/her likes-dislikes, ideas, background, etc.

    The other most important aspect to do is to listen to what the customer is saying. If people do
    not understand what is motivating the customer, they will not be successful in handling them.
    Do research on customers, their habits, and what they want and expect.

    Most customer service is defined by how a company or organization treats “external
    customers,” but there is “internal customer service” as well. While this manual mainly
    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING MANUAL
    Work performed by the Academy for Educational Development under sponsorship of the United States Agency
    for International Development (USAID) Contract Number: LAG-I-00-98-00011-00, Task Order Number: 804 6
    addresses “external customers,” expanding your definition of customer service to include co-
    workers will lead toward even greater success. Remember, the internal customer chain is just
    like the external, we are all customers both inside and outside the company or organization.
    As a Wall Street Journal article succinctly put it, “Poorly Treated Employees Treat
    Customers Just as Poorly.”2

    Develop a Customer Friendly Approach

    One commonality among all companies or organizations that provide good service is the
    development of a system and attitude promoting customer friendly service. By “customer
    friendly” we mean viewing the customer as the most important part of your job. The cliché,
    “The customer is always right” is derived from this customer friendly environment.

    Two critical qualities to the “Customer Friendly Approach”:

    1. Communications
    2. Relationships

    The two main tasks of successful customer relations are to communicate and develop
    relationships. They don’t take a huge effort, but don’t happen instantaneously either. Positive
    dialogue/communication with your customers and developing ongoing relationships with
    your customers are perhaps the two most important qualities to strive for in customer service.

    As will be discussed at length in Module Two, there are numerous techniques, systems, and
    “tips” to create the “customer friendly environment.”


















    1.3. What Customer Service Means

    As mentioned earlier, customer service means providing a quality product or service that
    satisfies the needs/wants of a customer and keeps them coming back. Good customer service
    means much more – it means continued success, increased profits, higher job satisfaction,

    2
    Bailey, Keith and Leland, Karen. Customer Service for Dummies, New York, 2001.
    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING MANUAL
    Work performed by the Academy for Educational Development under sponsorship of the United States Agency
    for International Development (USAID) Contract Number: LAG-I-00-98-00011-00, Task Order Number: 804 7
    improved company or organization morale, better teamwork, and market expansion of
    services/products.

    Think about it places where you enjoy doing business – restaurants, stores, petrol stations,
    suppliers, banks, etc. Why, aside from the actual product or service they provide, do you like
    doing business with them? You probably find them courteous, timely, friendly, flexible,
    interested, and a series of other exemplary qualities. They not only satisfy your needs and
    help you in your endeavors but make you feel positive and satisfied. You come to rely on
    their level of service to meet your needs and wants.

    On the other hand, let’s review a business you dislike patronizing maybe even hate utilizing
    but in some cases do so out of necessity. Maybe it is the Ministry of Transport when you need
    a new driver’s license or maybe it is the local department store that carries a product you
    need but who offers lousy service when you purchase. In both of these cases we are willing to
    hypothesize that the customer experience is marred by long lines, gruff service, inefficient
    processing, impolite and unfriendly clerks or salespeople, lack of flexibility, and no empathy
    for your customer plight. In these cases you feel abused, unsatisfied, and taken advantage of –
    in essence, your experience is wholly negative.

    Unfortunately, in the cases we outlined above there is no competition for the
    services/products offered or you would gladly not consider using either the Ministry of
    Transport or the rude department store. This is the advantage of a monopoly on a good or
    service because in a competitive marketplace, the unsatisfied customer shops elsewhere.

    Remember, good customer service results in consumer satisfaction and return customers and
    growth in business. Poor customer service, except for monopolistic strongholds, generally
    results in consumer dissatisfaction, lack of returning customers and dwindling business.

    1.4. Customer Service Qualities

    Customer Service = Accountability + Delivery

    Customer service is:
    · Fundamental
    · Simple
    · Daily
    · Time oriented
    · Persevering
    · Specific

    “A lot of people have fancy things to say about customer service, including me. But it’s
    just a day-in, day-out, on going, never ending, unremitting, persevering, compassionate
    type of activity.”

    -- Leon Gorman, former President of LL Bean (America’s largest catalog retail outlet)3

    3
    Glen, Peter. It’s Not My Department. Berkeley, 2002.
    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING MANUAL
    Work performed by the Academy for Educational Development under sponsorship of the United States Agency
    for International Development (USAID) Contract Number: LAG-I-00-98-00011-00, Task Order Number: 804 8
    Professional Qualities in Customer Service

    Professionals who constantly deal with customers (inside and outside the company) need to
    strive for certain qualities to help them answer customer needs.

    The professional qualities of customer service to be emphasized always relate to what the
    customer wants. After years of polling and market research, it turns out customers are
    constantly internalizing their customer service experience. What this means is they are
    grading your customer service during each transaction but you rarely know it. While there are
    a multitude of customer needs, six basics needs stand out:

    1. Friendliness – the most basic and associated with courtesy and politeness.

    2. Empathy – the customer needs to know that the service provider appreciates their
    wants and circumstances.

    3. Fairness – the customer wants to feel they receive adequate attention and reasonable
    answers.

    4. Control – the customer wants to feel his/her wants and input has influence on the
    outcome.

    5. Alternatives – most customers want choice and flexibility from service. They want to
    know there are many avenues to satisfy them.

    6. Information – customers want to know about products and services but in a pertinent
    and time-sensitive manner.4 Too much information and “selling” can put off
    customers.

    It is also very important for customer service employees to have information about their
    product or service. Service providers who answer, “I don’t know” or “It is not my
    department” are automatically demeaned and demoted in the mind of the customer. These
    employees can end up feeling hostile as well as unequipped. Customers want information,
    and they disrespect and distrust the person who is supposed to have information but does not.

    Good Information is Often Good Service

    Employees need to be empowered to satisfy customers. Employees will give bad service to
    customers if they themselves receive bad service and little feedback from their managers and
    supervisors. Remember: external customer service starts with internal customer service.


    1.5. Taking an Honest Look at Your Customer Service

    Survival in the world of customer service is predicated on critical evaluation. Honest self-
    appraisal is necessary if you are to understand the quality of service your company or
    organization is offering the customer.

    4
    Bailey, Keith and Leland, Karen. Customer Service for Dummies. New York, 2001.
    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING MANUAL
    Work performed by the Academy for Educational Development under sponsorship of the United States Agency
    for International Development (USAID) Contract Number: LAG-I-00-98-00011-00, Task Order Number: 804 9


    Self-Evaluation Questionnaire

    Use the following ten questions to see if you are delivering bronze, silver, or gold level customer service. Stepping back and
    objectively assessing yourself will help you see what your personal service strengths are and where you may need to devote
    some extra attention. Remember, be honest! Use the following numbers to evaluate each question:

    0 = Rarely 1 = Sometimes 2 = Often 3 = Almost Always

    ______ 1) When having a conversation with a customer,
    do I give him or her my complete attention and
    avoid doing other activities (working on the
    computer, writing unnecessarily, doing a
    crossword puzzle, and so on)?

    ______ 2) Do I make eye contact when speaking with a
    customer to show that I am paying attention?

    ______ 3) When speaking to a customer over the phone,
    do I make an effort to use inflection in my voice to
    convey interest and concern?

    ______ 4) Do I pick up the telephone by the third ring?

    ______ 5) When I need to put a customer on hold, do I ask
    his or her permission and wait for a response
    before doing so?

    ______ 6) Do I avoid technical jargon and use language
    that the customer can understand?

    ______ 7) When I cannot provide my customer with
    exactly what he or she wants, do I suggest options
    and alternatives?

    ______ 8) Do I sincerely apologize to the customer when
    a mistake has been made by me or my company?

    ______ 9) When a customer is voicing a complaint, do I
    remain calm and understanding –even if I think he
    or she is wrong?

    ______ 10) Do I view customer complaints as an
    opportunity to improve service rather than as a
    problem that is taking up valuable time?

    ______ TOTAL

    SCORING - Add together the scores of all ten questions and then look below to see how you did. If you scored:


    0 – 12 points: you are at the Bronze Level
    13 – 22 points: you are at the Silver Level
    23 – 30 points: you are at the Gold Level

    For specifics about what your score means and where to go from here, find your level described below and read on.

    BRONZE - Scoring at this level doesn’t
    mean that you don’t care about customers,
    it is due to one of the following three
    reasons:

    ̧ You are a newcomer to the service
    field and are still learning how to deal
    with customers.

    ̧ You are a seasoned service provider
    but may have become a little rusty on
    some of the basics that you once
    practiced.

    ̧ Job suitability. Over the years, we
    have met certain people who just don’t
    enjoy dealing with customers or
    helping others solve problems.
    Nothing is wrong with them, they just
    work better by themselves. If this
    situation applies to you, you might
    consider either changing jobs or
    changing the focus of the job you
    currently hold.


    SILVER - You have a solid
    understanding of the basics, but you
    are not using them consistently.

    ̧ The probable reason for this
    inconsistency is that you are
    overwhelmed by the functions of
    your job. On good days, you give
    good service, and on bad days, you
    give bad service.

    ̧ The key is to become more
    consistent with your attitude.

    ̧ Remember that regardless of the
    time you spend with a customer
    (be it a 30-second phone call or a
    one-hour meeting) and regardless
    of how busy you are, you always
    have a personal choice about your
    attitude. It takes about 30 days to
    form a new habit, so make a point
    of practicing the items covered in
    the questionnaire every time you
    deal with a customer – especially
    when you don’t feel like it!
    GOLD – Congratulations - you are a
    professional. You seem to have the
    basics down and are ready for larger
    challenges. To continue to grow,
    consider the following:

    ̧ Once you have finished evaluating
    yourself, get another perspective
    by having a co-worker you know
    and trust evaluate you. He or she
    may see areas for improvement
    that are blind spots to you.

    ̧ Go beyond the basics of service.
    Educate yourself in the more
    sophisticated service skills by
    learning to take initiative.

    We suggest you go through the above
    questionnaire a second time and
    replace the word customer with the
    words staff member. Doing so will
    help you to evaluate how good a job
    you are doing of treating your staff as
    internal customers.
    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING MANUAL
    Work performed by the Academy for Educational Development under sponsorship of the United States Agency for
    International Development (USAID) Contract Number: LAG-I-00-98-00011-00, Task Order Number: 804 10
    Some companies and organizations never self-evaluate their service and operate in a form of denial. These
    companies fail to form an honest assessment of the kind of service they intend to deliver against the kind of
    service they are delivering.

    Self-evaluation can be done by outside experts (consultants) or through internal questionnaires as well as
    customer surveys and focus groups within your company or organization. An aspect to consider when trying
    to decide how and who to survey is the level of honest feedback you will receive from results scrutinized in-
    house. Even anonymous in-house surveys conducted under “confidential” conditions can yield less than
    accurate results. Employees and staff are often reluctant to criticize their employer for fear of repercussions.
    The critical factor in the success of self-evaluation is obtaining objective data and results. Better to
    accurately know the inadequacies of your customer service than to operate under the impression you are
    serving your customer well. In order to obtain complete information and feedback, it is important that each
    level of employee and each department participate in evaluations.
    Once adequate self-evaluation has been conducted and you know where you stand in terms of customer
    service, you can organize a service improvement strategy catering to your service needs.

    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING MANUAL
    Work performed by the Academy for Educational Development under sponsorship of the United States Agency for
    International Development (USAID) Contract Number: LAG-I-00-98-00011-00, Task Order Number: 804 11

    What’s My Customer Service Style?

    Consider each of the following questions separately and circle the one letter (a, b, c, or d) that corresponds to the description that
    best fits you. If you have trouble selecting only one answer, ask yourself which response, at work, would be the most natural or
    likely for you to make. There are no right answers to these questions, so base your response on how you are today, not how you
    think you should be or would like to be in the future.

    1. When talking to a customer or co-worker ...
    a) I maintain eye contact the whole time.
    b) I alternate between looking at the person and looking down.
    c) I look around the room a good deal of the time.
    d) I try to maintain eye contact but look away from time to time.

    2. If I have an important decision to make ...
    a) I think it through completely before deciding.
    b) I go with my gut instincts.
    c) I first consider the impact it will have on other people
    d) I run it by someone whose opinion I respect before deciding.

    3. My office or work area mostly has ...
    a) Family photos and sentimental items displayed.
    b) Inspirational posters, awards, and art displayed.
    c) Graphs and charts displayed.
    d) Calendars and project outlines displayed.

    4. If I am having a conflict with a co-worker or customer ...
    a) I try to help the situation along by focusing on the positive.
    b) I stay calm and try to understand the cause of the conflict.
    c) I try to avoid discussing the issue causing the conflict.
    d) I confront it right away so that it can get resolved quickly

    5. When I talk on the phone at work ...
    a) I keep the conversation focused on the purpose of the call.
    b) I spend a few minutes chatting before talking business.
    c) I am in no hurry and don’t mind chatting about personal things, the
    weather, and so on.
    d) I try to keep the conversation as brief as possible.

    6. If a co-worker is upset ...
    a) I ask if I can do anything to help.
    b) I leave him alone; I don’t want to intrude on his privacy.
    c) I try to cheer him up and help him to see the bright side.
    d) I feel uncomfortable and hope he gets over it soon.

    7. When I attend meetings at work ...
    a) I sit back and think about what is being said before offering my
    opinion.
    b) I put all my cards on the table so my opinion is well known.
    c) I express my opinion enthusiastically, but listen to other’s ideas as
    well.
    d) I try to support the ideas of the other people in the meeting.

    8. When I make a presentation in front of a group ...
    a) I am entertaining and often humorous
    b) I am clear and concise.
    c) I speak relatively quietly.
    d) I am direct, specific, and sometimes loud.

    9. When a customer is explaining a problem to me ...
    a) I try to understand and empathize with how she is feeling.
    b) I look for specific facts pertaining to the situation.
    c) I listen carefully so that I can find a solution.
    d) I use my body language and tone of voice to show I understand.

    10. When I attend training programs or presentations ...
    a) I get bored if the person moves too slowly.
    b) I am supportive of the speaker, knowing how hard the job is.
    c) I want it to be entertaining as well as informative.
    d) I look of the logic behind what the speaker is saying.

    11. When I want to get my point across to customers or co-
    workers...
    a) I listen to their point and then express my ideas gently.
    b) I strongly state my opinion so that they know where I stand.
    c) I try to persuade them without being too forceful.
    d) I explain the logic behind what I am saying.

    12. When I am late for a meeting or appointment ...
    a) I don’t panic but call ahead to say that I will be few minutes
    late.
    b) I feel bade about keeping the other person waiting.
    c) I get upset and rush to get there was soon as possible.
    d) I apologize profusely once I arrive.

    13. I set goals and objectives at work that...
    a) I think I can realistically attain.
    b) I feel are challenging and would be exciting to achieve.
    c) I need to achieve as part of a bigger objective.
    d) Will make me feel good when I achieve them.

    14. When explaining a problem to a co-worker whom I need help
    from ...
    a) I explain the problem in as much detail as possible.
    b) I sometimes exaggerate to make my point.
    c) I try to explain how the problem makes me feel.
    d) I explain how I would like the problem to be solved.

    15. If customers or co-workers are late for a meeting with me in
    my office ...
    a) I keep myself busy by making phone calls work working
    until they arrive.
    b) I assume they are delayed a bit and don’t get upset.
    c) I call to make sure that I have the correct information (date,
    time, and so on).
    d) I get upset that the person is wasting my time.

    16. When I am behind on a project and feel pressure to get it done
    a) I make a list of everything I need to do, in what order, by
    when.
    b) I block out everything else and focus 100 percent on the
    work I need to do.
    c) I become anxious and have a hard time focusing on my
    work.
    d) I set a date to get the project done by and go for it.

    17. When I feel verbally attacked by a customer or a co-worker...
    a) I tell her to stop it.
    b) I feel hurt but usually don’t say anything about it to her.
    c) I ignore her anger and try to focus on the facts of the
    situation.
    d) I let her know in strong terms that I don’t like her behavior.

    18. When I see a co-worker or customer whom I like and haven’t
    seen recently...
    a) I give him a friendly hug.
    b) I greet him but don’t shake his hand.
    c) I give him a firm but quick handshake.
    d) I give him an enthusiastic handshake that lasts a few
    moments.

    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING MANUAL
    Work performed by the Academy for Educational Development under sponsorship of the United States Agency for
    International Development (USAID) Contract Number: LAG-I-00-98-00011-00, Task Order Number: 804 12

    1
    a) Driver
    b) Amiable
    c) Analytical
    d) Expressive
    6
    a) Amiable
    b) Analytical
    c) Expressive
    a) Driver
    11
    a) Amiable
    b) Driver
    c) Expressive
    d) Analytical
    16
    a) Analytical
    b) Driver
    c) Amiable
    d) Expressive
    2
    a) Analytical
    b) Driver
    c) Amiable
    d) Expressive
    7
    b) Analytical
    c) Driver
    d) Expressive
    e) Amiable
    12
    a) Analytical
    b) Amiable
    c) Driver
    d) Expressive
    17
    a) Driver
    b) Amiable
    c) Analytical
    d) Expressive
    3
    a) Amiable
    b) Expressive
    c) Analytical
    d) Driver
    8
    a) Expressive
    b) Analytical
    c) Amiable
    d) Driver
    13
    a) Analytical
    b) Expressive
    c) Driver
    d) Amiable

    18
    a) Amiable
    b) Analytical
    c) Driver
    d) Expressive
    4
    a) Expressive
    b) Amiable
    c) Analytical
    d) Driver
    9
    a) Amiable
    b) Analytical
    c) Driver
    d) Expressive
    14
    a) Analytical
    b) Expressive
    c) Amiable
    d) Driver

    5
    a) Driver
    b) Expressive
    c) Amiable
    d) Analytical
    10
    a) Driver
    b) Amiable
    c) Expressive
    d) Analytical
    15
    a) Expressive
    b) Amiable
    c) Analytical
    e) Driver



    Analytical Driver
    Expressive Amiable
    More
    Assertive &
    Less
    Responsive
    Less Assertive
    & More
    Responsive
    More Assertive
    & More
    Responsive
    Working Styles Grid
    Albert Einstein Ted Turner
    Mary Tyler
    Moore Bill Cosby
    Less
    Assertive &
    Less
    Responsive
    Albert Einstein
    More Assertive Less Assertive
    Less
    Responsive
    More
    Responsive
    Total Driver Score _______
    Total Analytical Score _______
    Total Amiable Score _______
    Total Expressive Score _______
    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING MANUAL
    Work performed by the Academy for Educational Development under sponsorship of the United States Agency for
    International Development (USAID) Contract Number: LAG-I-00-98-00011-00, Task Order Number: 804 13

    1.6. Who are Your Customers?

    As the old saying goes:

    Find out what they (customers) like,
    And how they like it,
    And let’ them have it,
    Just that Way!


    Customer Surveys

    Before spending the time, effort, and resources to develop a strategy for service improvement, you should
    take actions to make sure you know what your customer expects and wants from your service.

    A base-line survey can provide a starting point from which to design and implement a customer service
    improvement plan. A base-line survey will:

    · Provide specific feedback on customer satisfaction levels, wants, needs, and service requirements.
    · Gives you objective, valid data on customer service requirements.
    · Provide a benchmark for measuring customer satisfaction.

    Admittedly, surveys require the expertise of outside consultants or market research firms and require
    expenditures on the part of your company or organization. However, these resources are well spent if you
    want to improve customer satisfaction.

    There are many kinds of customer surveys, but the basic surveys include:

    · Random customer survey
    · Company-wide attitude survey
    · Lost account survey
    · Target account survey
    · Customer exit survey

    All the survey types listed above have their merits but the most common is the random customer survey.
    The random survey is the easiest to conduct and measures overall customer satisfaction on a range of
    levels. This methodology, typically done by phone, mail or in-person, selects a percentage of customers
    and randomly surveys them. If your organization has never conducted a market survey or customer
    survey, the random customer survey is probably the best methodology for you.


    Customer Base

    The size and composition of the customer base to be surveyed is critical if the data will be valid to inform
    the ultimate customer service improvement plan. You need to assess the size of your customer base to
    determine the sample size for the survey. If your customer base is in the thousands, it makes sense to hire
    a market research firm to conduct the survey. A smaller customer base may not require the intervention of
    a professional market research firm.


    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING MANUAL
    Work performed by the Academy for Educational Development under sponsorship of the United States Agency for
    International Development (USAID) Contract Number: LAG-I-00-98-00011-00, Task Order Number: 804 14
    Service Feedback

    Other types of service feedback include:

    · Customer focus groups
    · Polls
    · Suggestion boxes
    · Telephone Hotlines
    · Public forums
    · Customer evaluation forms
    · Customer mail/email

    Remember, if you do not know what your customer thinks about your service levels and performance,
    there is no way to inform your future customer service activities.






    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING MANUAL
    Work performed by the Academy for Educational Development under sponsorship of the United States Agency for
    International Development (USAID) Contract Number: LAG-I-00-98-00011-00, Task Order Number: 804 15
    55%
    Body Language
    Words
    7%
    38%
    Tone of Voice
    55%
    Body Language
    Words
    7%
    38%
    Tone of Voice

    2. SIMPLE ACTIONS – HUGE RETURNS
    This section of the manual and training explores the often insignificant behaviours and actions that can
    lead to significant payoffs in customer service success. These techniques and ideas, seemingly obvious
    and mundane, cover a variety of communication skills leading to customer satisfaction

    When reviewing these materials keep in mind that customers are like elephants – they have long
    memories. They cherish companies who treat them well and quickly stop patronizing those who do not.

    Key statistical consumer sector data revealed:

    · Customers will spend up to 10% more for the same product with better service.
    · When customers receive good service they tell 10-12 people on average.
    · When customers receive poor service they tell upwards of 20 people.
    · There is an 82% chance customers will repurchase from a company where they were satisfied.
    · There is a 91% chance that poor service will dissuade a customer from ever going back to a
    company. 5

    2.1. Non-Verbal Communication

    Body Language

    Body language can say more than words. A recent university study on how people receive information
    had these results:

    · 55% of what we learn from others comes from their body language.
    · 38% of what we learn from others comes from their tone of voice.
    · 7% of what we learn from others comes from the words they say.

    Face-to-Face Conversations


    5
    Bailey, Keith and Leland, Karen., Customer Service for Dummies, 2001.
    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING MANUAL
    Work performed by the Academy for Educational Development under sponsorship of the United States Agency for
    International Development (USAID) Contract Number: LAG-I-00-98-00011-00, Task Order Number: 804 16
    It is often not what you articulate but how it is presented. What you wear and how you express yourself
    has a lot to do with how what you say is received.

    Have you ever noticed how a person who is dressed-up, even in older or out-of-style clothing, always
    commands more authority and respect? The impression they make and what they have to say is enhanced
    by their personal presentation, facial and hand gestures, as well as the substance of what they have to say.
    As it turns out, substance is only part of the equation of being persuasive and influencing perception.

    On one level this seems unfair and superficial because what a person says and how they behave should be
    more important than if they are well groomed, smiling and dressed-up. Yet visual perception plays a vital
    role in human impressions and reactions. For reasons psychologists do not always understand, nature and
    learned behavior have taught humans to perceive neat, smiling, well-presented individuals in a more
    commanding manner.

    For example, what better way to sell cosmetics or clothing in a large department store than to see well put
    together, groomed salespeople soliciting and serving customers? This has become a global industry
    standard because it works. People like to buy products, especially personal beauty and clothing products,
    from salespeople who look good in the very products they are buying. Customers visualize themselves
    looking like the sales people. Of course the most successful salespeople are also well trained and
    informed about their products, but it is initial non-verbal communication that first influences the
    interaction.

    The same can be said for those who smile, laugh and make warm hand gestures – these people are well
    received and liked by others. “Warm” people immediately ingratiate themselves to others. What they say
    is often openly accepted, trusted and believed.

    It is clear that just looking good will not produce the desired level of customer satisfaction. There is
    certainly a trend around the world in some of the most expensive retail outlets such as Gucci, Yves Saint
    Laurent, Giorgio Armani, and others for extremely well dressed, model-esque sales people to address
    customers in an arrogant and disdainful manner. Even these retail fashion giants can lose sight of the
    basics of customer service and the famous adage of Sam Walton. These fashionistas need to remember
    the goal is to smile and present one’s self well while at the same time delivering quality services and
    products to the buying public.

    Positive Non-Verbal Communications

    · Smiling – there is nothing like a smile and pleasant face to greet a customer, especially if he/she
    has a complaint. A smile and polite conversation can immediately disarm a disgruntled customer.
    Facial expression sets a positive tone before you even begin speaking. A relaxed or pleasant facial
    expression is the ideal most of the time.

    · Eye contact – always look into your customer’s eyes. Directly address customers.

    · How you look – personal grooming has a big impact on your customers. Dirty hands, messy hair
    and poor dress can mean the loss of an otherwise happy customer. When interacting with
    customers, dress neatly and in a professional manner so as to command respect and to let
    customers know you take seriously your position.

    · Shaking hands – when shaking hands with a customer a firm and professional handshake is
    expected. This part of the greeting is now common among both men and women in a professional
    environment.
    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING MANUAL
    Work performed by the Academy for Educational Development under sponsorship of the United States Agency for
    International Development (USAID) Contract Number: LAG-I-00-98-00011-00, Task Order Number: 804 17

    · Be attentive - when listening to a customer, slightly lean towards your customer and nod your
    head ever so slightly to indicate you are listening.

    · Tone of voice – always convey friendliness and amicability. Do not raise your voice in frustration
    or anger no matter how difficult or tiresome a customer may behave.

    · Hand gestures - use hand movements to emphasize what you say (even on the phone) and to
    emphasize your feelings.

    · Personal space – this is the distance that feels comfortable between you and another person. If
    another person approaches you and invades your personal space, you automatically move back
    without thought. You are uncomfortable. Leave adequate distance between you and your
    customer. Adequate space is important to making customers feel secure and unthreatened.

    · Posture – slumping in a chair or leaning against a wall while interacting with a customer are sure
    signs you are not interested in the customer. Your pose or posture should express attention,
    friendliness, and openness. Lean forward, face the customer and nod to let them know you are
    interested.

    · Observation - notice how your customer behaves and what he/she reacts positively to while you
    are providing service.

    Remember, the little, interpersonal actions noted above mean a great deal in the area of customer
    relations. They can change customer perceptions and ultimately affect the success of your customer
    relations efforts.


    2.2. Tone of Voice

    It’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Say It

    The moment you pick up a telephone, body language and visual perceptions disappear and your tone of
    voice becomes dominant.

    Almost the entire message you project to the customer over the phone is derived from tone of voice and
    attitude. For example:

    · A flat tone of voice says to the customer, “I don’t like my job and would rather be elsewhere.”
    · Slow pitch and presentation say, “I am sad and lonely – do not bother me.”
    · A high pitch, rapid voice says, “I am enthusiastic and excited!’
    · A loud voice says, “I’m angry and aggressive.”
    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING MANUAL
    Work performed by the Academy for Educational Development under sponsorship of the United States Agency for
    International Development (USAID) Contract Number: LAG-I-00-98-00011-00, Task Order Number: 804 18
    Tone of Voice
    86%
    Words
    14%
    Tone of Voice
    86%
    Words
    14%
    Conversations Over the Telephone














    Keys to good telephone intonation include:

    · Inflection
    · Volume control
    · Pacing the customer6


    Inflection

    Inflection is what happens when you read a book to a child – it is the wave like movement of highs and
    low in your pitch that makes what you are saying higher or lower. It is the way you emphasize aspects of
    what you are saying to make it interesting.

    When you repeat phrases and terms many times in a day, like many customer service representatives do,
    you tend to become monotone as the phrases have lost their interest to you. In telephone customer service
    inflection is pivotal and “monotone” lapses are the enemy. You can improve your inflection by:

    · Practicing to stress certain words/phrases
    · Regulating your breathing – make each breathe deep and slow
    · Exaggerating your tone of voice
    · Changing around the phrases you use – repetition equals monotony
    · Smiling when on the phone – this causes face muscles to contract, creating a more positive tone.

    Be aware that too much inflection sounds unrealistic and artificial. Classic examples of over-inflection
    include radio announcers and some television presenters.


    Volume

    Speaking in a moderate voice is the norm for customer service as high volume scares and intimidates
    people. Low volumes can be very effective, especially when a customer is irate – a low volume voice
    under these circumstances serves to calm the irate customer.


    6
    Ibid.
    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING MANUAL
    Work performed by the Academy for Educational Development under sponsorship of the United States Agency for
    International Development (USAID) Contract Number: LAG-I-00-98-00011-00, Task Order Number: 804 19
    Speaking louder for short bursts can occasionally serve to emphasize or focus attention, but this technique
    should be used rarely.


    Pace

    Pace is a great tool to build rapport with a customer. Customer service professionals recommend
    mimicking your customers pace. Speaking too fast will serve to confuse a customer while speaking too
    slow may leave the impression you are talking down to the customer.

    By controlling the pace of the conversation, you can get the customer to consider or reconsider what you
    are saying, and place emphasis on what you deem important. You are also able to articulate a solution or
    answer to a customer in a manner he/she understands.


    2.3. Telephone Etiquette

    The Dreaded Answering Service

    In the world of customer service most people hate the telephone. It has become common in the US when
    calling a large corporation, business or service provider to come in contact with an automated answering
    service that prompts the caller to choose a series of numbers to attain their desired request. Often the
    service request or query must conform to the categories designated in the main menu or the call will can
    be disconnected. It has become increasingly difficult to get in touch with a live human being.

    If you are a new customer and have never used these systems then it is even more frustrating, especially if
    you do not have a Touch-Tone phone or are intimidated by these machines. Often you have to listen to
    five minutes or more of recorded banter before even being given the chance to speak to a customer
    service representative. Even when you are connected there is often a substantial amount of time spent on
    hold, waiting for a representative to become available. In addition, some customers find that after all that
    effort they have not been connected to the appropriate department for their needs, and must repeat the
    tedious process again.

    When the proper person is finally reached, the customer is already frustrated and fed up with the process.
    The company has failed to provide adequate service even before they have learned of the problem.

    Because every telephone encounter is blind, customer frustration is greater on the telephone than any
    other communication medium. The customer can feel lost with no connection, other than the audio, with
    the person on the other end of the phone. High-tech telephone systems eliminate even this human
    element. They a cheap means of cutting labor costs but ultimately impede good customer service.
    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING MANUAL
    Work performed by the Academy for Educational Development under sponsorship of the United States Agency for
    International Development (USAID) Contract Number: LAG-I-00-98-00011-00, Task Order Number: 804 20
    Good Telephone Etiquette

    Thankfully, there are many companies and organizations that understand the significance of the telephone
    in doing business and practice good telephone etiquette.

    Good telephone etiquette is the essence of dealing with people in a polite and efficient manner over the
    telephone. It is one easy and definite way to improve customer service if you follow the guidelines
    outlined below.

    Telephone etiquette, unlike more varying body language, can be uniform and is not culturally based. The
    telephone is often the first or last place a customer comes in contact with an organization or company.
    Being telephone friendly is one of the least expensive and cost-effective ways to deliver better customer
    service.

    Test Your Telephone Etiquette IQ

    Before we give you the ins and outs of basic telephone etiquette, you may want to test your current knowledge by rating each
    of the following scenarios as true or false.

    SCENARIO ONE - The time is 11:45 am, and Harriet is at her desk putting the final touches on last quarter’s sales figure
    report, which is due to her boss by noon. She is on the final page of the report when the phone rings. Harriet tries to ignore it
    for a few moments (hoping the person will go away), but the ringing continues. Eventually, she picks up the phone and says
    with a smile, “This is Harriet, how may I help you?”

    Sonja is demonstrating good telephone etiquette:

    _____ True _____ False


    SCENARIO TWO - Ana is a sales assistant at a large hardware store. Her supervisor, George, is having a brief meeting with
    her about some new stock that has just arrived. Ana’s telephone rings. She immediately picks it up, greets the customer on the
    other end of the line, and politely says, “Let me put you on hold for just a moment.”

    Ana is demonstrating good telephone etiquette:

    _____ True _____ False


    SCENARIO THREE - Robert is a travel agent who works for a large national travel agency. His area of specialty is domestic
    travel. His phone rings and on the line is a customer who needs help booking an overseas trip to Morocco. Robert explains to
    the customer that he does not deal with foreign travel by saying, “I’m sorry, you’ve reached the domestic travel department,
    you need to talk to international. Hold on for a moment, and I will transfer you.”

    Robert is demonstrating good telephone etiquette:

    _____ True _____ False

    SCENARIO FOUR - Alex is the assistance to the vice president of marketing for a clothing manufacturer. He receives a call
    for her boss – from a person whose voice he doesn’t recognize – and says, “May I ask who’s calling please?” The customer on
    the other end of the line gives her name and Alex replies, “I’m sorry he isn’t in right now, may I take a message?”

    Alex is demonstrating good telephone etiquette:

    _____ True _____ False


    Okay. How did you do? If you marked any of the scenarios as true, think again. All of the above scenarios are false because
    they broke some cardinal aspect of telephone etiquette and could, consequently, give the customer a negative impression.

    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING MANUAL
    Work performed by the Academy for Educational Development under sponsorship of the United States Agency for
    International Development (USAID) Contract Number: LAG-I-00-98-00011-00, Task Order Number: 804 21
    Answering the Telephone

    How a company answers the phone can tell the whole story of how they treat customers and employees.
    The correct phrase said in the right order in a positive tone leaves a good impression and starts the
    customer-client relationship off on the right foot.


    1. Pick up the phone in three rings. More than three rings signals chaos in your office or
    inattentiveness on the part of your company or organization.

    2. Greet the caller, e.g. “hello”, “good morning”. Good manners shows you respect the caller.

    3. Give your name, e.g., “Hi, my name is Martha”. This is a courtesy that serves to personalize the
    customer service experience as well as allowing the customer to hold you accountable for your
    level of service. He/she now has a point of reference and someone to contact when he/she calls
    back.

    4. Ask the customer if or how you can help. Asking to help tells the customer you are there to serve
    his/her needs and to solve his/her problems. This also leaves the customer with a positive
    impression.

    Putt it altogether and you have a good example:

    “Good morning, thanks for calling the Intercontinental Hotel Lusaka, my name is Martha, how may I
    help you?”

    The greeting is key, it sets the tone and style of the whole interaction.

    Troubleshooting

    Some things which may upset a customer are simply unavoidable. Here are some tips on how to best
    handle these situations.

    “Putting a Customer on Hold”

    · Ask the customer if you can put them on hold; wait for them to say “yes” or “no” and then explain
    it will only be for a short period of time.
    · Explain to customers why you are putting them on hold.
    · Thank customers for holding.

    “Transferring a Call”

    · Ask the customer if they mind being transferred; wait for them to say “yes” or “no” and explain
    why they are being transferred and to whom.

    “Taking a Message”

    · Explain your co-workers absence in a positive light but do not be too specific. Explain that your
    co-worker is in a meeting, conference, briefing, or training. Do not say he or she is gravely ill, is
    too hung over to come to work, never called in today, can’t be found, is playing golf, that you do
    not know where he or she is, or that he or she “was just here”.
    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING MANUAL
    Work performed by the Academy for Educational Development under sponsorship of the United States Agency for
    International Development (USAID) Contract Number: LAG-I-00-98-00011-00, Task Order Number: 804 22

    The customer is JOB ONE.

    The customer is KING.

    The customer is ALWAYS RIGHT.

    · Give a reasonable estimate of when the co-worker will return.
    · Offer to help the caller, take a message or transfer to another staff member.

    If a co-worker is on holiday and will not return to the office for some time, it is permissible to say that he
    or she is on holiday. However, avoid details such as, “Raymond is at the beach and I am sure he is living
    it up.” While such details may seem innocuous and even humorous, they give the wrong impression to
    those seeking service.


    “Ending the Call”

    This is the final step in good telephone etiquette. A good customer service representative ends the call on
    a positive note, repeating any actions agreed to be taken and what is going to be done to help or serve the
    customer.


    2.4. First Impressions – You Only Get One


    Making a Good First Impression

    Every salesperson in every business knows the
    importance of making a positive first
    impression. Sales people know their success
    and livelihood will depend on how their
    potential customer perceives them in the first
    30 seconds of interaction. Good salespeople
    develop an almost instantaneous rapport with
    potential customers. Customers like them,
    follow their advice and then buy their product.

    The reality is that we prefer doing business with
    those we like and trust. Impressions are the key to developing trust and confidence in the customer.

    As the old saying goes, “You will never get a second chance to make a first impression.” This is why the
    first impression is extremely important and can set the tone for all future transactions.
    Here are some ways of creating positive impressions, some of which have already been discussed:

    · Thoughtfulness in meeting the customer’s needs
    · Personal responsibility for a customer
    · Quick problem solving for customer
    · Offering immediate assistance
    · Friendliness
    · Using customer’s name in a conversation
    · Pleasant voice tone
    · Polite and courteous manners
    · Neatness
    · A genuine smile

    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING MANUAL
    Work performed by the Academy for Educational Development under sponsorship of the United States Agency for
    International Development (USAID) Contract Number: LAG-I-00-98-00011-00, Task Order Number: 804 23
    HOW TO DRIVE A CUSTOMER CRAZY

    Nothing drives customers crazier than a service
    provider who treats them like an adversary and isn’t
    interested in looking for ways to help them resolve
    their problems.

    Some of the one-liners (said, of course, in a
    monotone voice) that reflect this negative, “I don’t
    care,” attitude are:

    ̧ “That’s not our policy.”
    ̧ “That’s not my job.”
    ̧ “I’m not allowed to do that.”
    ̧ “I have no idea.”

    Body language that accompanies these responses
    includes:

    ̧ A blank stare
    ̧ Head held down
    ̧ Looking away
    ̧ Distracted fidgeting

    Here are some factors that create a negative impression:

    · Making the customer wait
    · Not answering the phone promptly
    · Not saying “please” and/or “thank you”
    · Speaking loudly or condescendingly to customers or colleagues
    · Making faces, frowning, acting distant, not smiling
    · Looking disheveled or like you do not care about your appearance
    · A poor handshake
    · Focusing on another task while addressing or servicing a customer.

    Remember, impressions stay with those you meet, especially customers, and once registered; negative
    impressions are difficult to overcome.


    2.5. Ten Major Do’s and Don’ts of Customer Service

    Every day customer service representatives face
    situations when what they say makes or breaks a
    service interaction. Below are ten phrases that should
    never be used because they frustrate and anger
    customers.

    · “No.”
    · “I don’t know.”
    · “That’s not my job./That’s not my department.”
    · “You are right – that is bad”
    · “Calm down.”
    · “I’m busy right now.”
    · “Call me back.”
    · “That’s not my fault.”
    · “You need to talk to my supervisor.”
    · “You want it by when?”

    No: Everyone hates the word “no”. It is de-motivating,
    discouraging, and disinteresting. You will hear this word throughout your life as a customer and as a
    service provider. “No” is tantamount to “bad service.” “No” is easy, cheap, unproductive and negative – it
    means failure. Unfortunately, “no” is the word we most often hear when a new idea, request or concept is
    introduced. Admittedly, there are times when you will have to say “no,” but focus on what you can do for
    the customer (accentuate the positive) and not the negatives of the situation. Better to say “What I can do
    is...” and demonstrate that you care and want to provide quality service despite your current limitations.

    I don’t know: Good service means never saying, “I don’t know.” When a customer hears “I don’t know,”
    they hear, “I don’t feel like finding the information you need.” Better to say, “I’ll find out” or “Let me
    look into this and get back to you ASAP.”

    That’s not my job./That’s not my department.: When a customer asks you to do something that you do
    not know how to do or do not have the authority to do, become a catalyst by leading the customer to the
    person or department who can help him/her solve the problem. Better to say, “Let me transfer to the
    person who can immediately help you will this problem.”
    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING MANUAL
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    You’re right – that is bad.: Many inexperienced customer service representatives think by sympathizing
    with the customer’s plight, he/she will win over the customer rather than actually doing something to
    solve the customer’s problem. If a customer expresses annoyance or frustration, do not make it worse by
    commiserating with him/her. Empathize with the customer but seek to solve the problem.

    Likewise, it does not do your company or organization any good to criticize co-workers or other
    departments within the company or to the customers. All interested parties end up looking unprofessional
    and inept. Rather try your best to accommodate the customer. Do not promise anything you cannot
    deliver but do try to serve the customer well. Better to say, “I understand your frustration, let’s see how
    we can solve this problem.”

    Calm down.: When customers are upset or angry let them vent (within reason) and they will eventually
    calm down. Telling them to “calm down” is belittling, and often serves only to infuriate them further.
    Better to say, “I’m sorry.” This is one of the ideal phrases for customer service – it helps to placate the
    angriest of customers and allows you to begin the process of solving a customer complaint or request and
    “meet him/her half way.” Apologizing does not mean you agree with the customer but it is a means to
    empathize and move beyond the emotion of the moment and negative impact.

    I’m busy right now.: It is not easy to juggle customers. You are often helping one customer when another
    calls or visits your service area. Asking a customer to be patient or politely asking them to wait is very
    different than putting them off and saying you are too busy to help. Leaving them standing there or on
    hold are two of the mortal sins of customer service. “Being too busy” is tantamount to saying that you do
    not care and they are not important. Let the customer know they are important and you are aware of their
    presence. Better to say, “I’ll be with you in one moment” or “Please hold and I’ll be right with you.”

    Call me back.: This expression conveys little interest on the part of the customer relation’s employee for
    the needs and wants of the customer. You should always call the customer back because you want their
    business and are responsive to their requests. Being proactive is part of good customer service.

    That’s not my fault: If an angry customer accuses you of creating a problem, rightly or wrongly, the
    natural reaction is to defend oneself. However, this is not the best course of action. The customer has a
    problem that needs to be solved. By resisting the need to defend yourself, and focusing on the needs of
    the customer, you can resolve the problem faster and with less stress and confrontation. Better to say,
    “Let’s see what we can do about this problem.”

    You Need to Talk to My Supervisor.: This cliché of bad customer service has angered and frustrated
    customers decades. Customers often ask for things outside the scope of your work or authority – maybe
    even outside the services/products provided by your company. While passing off these requests to your
    manager is a tempting option, it is better if you attempt to solve the problem yourself or directly go to the
    supervisor yourself and get a solution. You become a service hero for the customer and the supervisor.
    Better to say, “Let me find that out for you.”

    You Want it by When?: Customers often make unrealistic demands, especially when it comes to time.
    Your first reaction may be annoyance and you may want to make a snide or sarcastic comment. However,
    the best approach is to hold off on displaying a negative attitude and making a poor impression. Better to
    say, “I will call you right back after I find out if that is feasible.”




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    Helpful Reminders for Polite and Friendly Responses

    Wrong Approach Polite and Friendly Alternative
    “I don’t know.” “I’ll find out.”
    “No.” “What I can do is...”
    “That’s not my job.” “Let me find the right person who can
    help you with ...”
    “You’re right – this is bad.” “I understand your frustrations.”
    “That’s not my fault.” “Let’s see what we can do about this.”
    “You need to talk to my manager.” “I can help you.”
    “You want it by when?” “I’ll try my best.”
    “Calm down.” “I’m sorry.”
    “I’m busy right now.” “I’ll be with you in just a moment.”
    “Call me back.” “I will call you back, what is your
    telephone number.”
    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING MANUAL
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    3. PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH – DEALING WITH THE CUSTOMER
    This Section will employ many of the ideas and techniques discussed in Sections 1 and 2, but will
    apply them to practical customer service.




























    3.1. The Customer Service Case Study – Five Easy Pieces

    A classic scene customer service scene took place in the 1970s film Five Easy Pieces starring Jack
    Nicholson. In the film Nicholson plays a restaurant “customer” who spars with a grim, veteran
    waitress who cares little or nothing about the customer, her job or the restaurant where she works.
    She is the worst the service industry has to offer and a classic example of the “It is not my job”
    mentality.

    The scene opens with Nicholson sitting down for breakfast in a small restaurant (diner):

    Nicholson: I’d like a plain omelet, with no potatoes but tomatoes instead and some coffee and
    toast.

    Waitress: (Pointing to the menu but looking away) No substitutions.

    Nicholson: What do you mean? You do not have tomatoes?

    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING MANUAL
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    Waitress: Only what is on the menu. If you want the omelet, it comes with French fries but no
    bread.

    Nicholson: I know what it comes with but it is not want I want.

    Waitress: (Frowning and impatient) I’ll come back in a few minutes because you are not ready to
    order.

    Nicholson: Wait a minute. I am ready to order. I want a plain omelet with tomatoes but no
    potatoes, coffee and toast.

    Waitress: (Angry) I’m sorry. We do not have toast and no substitutions.

    Nicholson: What do you mean no changes and no toast?

    Waitress: Would you like to talk to the manager?

    Nicholson: You have bread so I know you can make toast.

    Waitress: I do not make the rules.

    Nicholson: Okay, I’ll make it easy for you. I’d like an omelet – plain. And a toasted chicken salad
    sandwich with no mayonnaise.

    Waitress: Okay – (Writing) One omelet and a chicken salad sandwich. Anything else?

    Nicholson: Now, all you have to do is remove the chicken, bring me the toast, give me a bill for
    the sandwich and you have not broken any rules.

    Waitress: (Points to a sign reading – “We reserve the right to refuse service.”). You see that sign,
    sir? Yes, you can all leave. I’m not taking any more of your smart-ass sarcasm.

    Nicholson: You see the sign? (Sweeps all the water glasses and silverware off the table and
    storms out).

    As we discussed in Section 2, this waitress has broken many of the cardinal rules of customer
    service. She has a bad attitude, she is inflexible, resorts to referring to the manager, acts
    disinterested in the customer, and does not address the customer directly. She cares more about
    the rules than the customer. In reality, it is the customer who is always right because he/she pays
    the bills and is the heart of any company or organization.

    Everyone has come into contact with someone in the service industry who displays this horrible
    attitude and inflexibility. I am sure you have wanted to throw something and storm out of the
    place as well. Not only was the waitress rude, but she was costing the restaurant short-term
    business and a long-term customer. Her poor customer service damages business and ultimately
    profit.

    This is clearly a blatant example of how not to act towards customers. While the first or second
    time a customer may still come back, unless you have a monopoly, eventually the customer will
    not come back. 7


    7
    Glen, Peter. It’s Not My Department, Berkeley, 2002.
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    3.2. Communicating with the Unsatisfied Customer

    How many times have you as a customer run into the problem of excuses. There is a problem
    and the sales person, technician or customer service representative is making lame excuses,
    namely:

    · It is the fault of the computer.
    · It is the fault of the other sales clerk.
    · It is the fault of the chief of the department.
    · It is the fault of the system.
    · It is the fault of the Government.
    · Or it is just the way it is – c’est la vie.

    Sometimes it feels as if nothing is anybody’s fault or is in anybody’s department. This is poor
    customer service. Good customer service means accountability, responsibility and taking action
    to satisfy the customer.

    Having discussed the importance of knowing how the customer feels and WHAT NOT TO SAY,
    let’s address the notion of how to communicate with an unsatisfied customer.

    If your customer is unsatisfied (for just or unjust reasons), you will have to use some of the many
    techniques of the customer service professional to win their support and continued loyalty. When
    coming into contact with a customer, communicating with him/her, or analyzing problems, do not
    forget to use the following methods or qualities of the customer service professional:

    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING MANUAL
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    Listen: It is of primary importance when dealing with an unsatisfied or complaining customer to
    listen attentively to his/her complaint, gripe, frustration or grievance. Be patient, attentive, and
    friendly.

    Express you are sorry:

    · ‘We are sorry for this mistake/problem.”
    · “We are terribly sorry for this inconvenience.”
    · “How can we work to solve this problem together?”
    · “I can imagine how frustrated you are.”

    Do not argue and do not interrupt: This will only worsen the situation, especially if the customer
    is angry. Let him speak before you try to discuss with him what has happened.

    Do not lose your self-control: If you stay relaxed, customers will calm down.

    Point out facts: Listen carefully – and write everything down. Do not make any comments until
    the customer is finished talking.

    Admit the problem: If you can suggest a solution, do it. If not tell the customer what actions you
    will take and what actions will follow. Never make the mistake of promising something you are
    not able to do.

    Involve the customer in problem solving: Suggest the customer alternative solutions, if they exist.
    Customers appreciate the opportunity to choose the ways of problem solving.

    Follow-up: Make sure that the promised measures are taken. If you do not fulfill what was
    promised and ignore the customer’s complaint, the problem will grow. Next time it will be more
    difficult to solve.

    Give the customer a “way back”: Sometimes customers are wrong. You should let them leave
    with dignity, without feeling embarrassed.

    Do not question the customer’s correctness: From the very beginning you should believe that the
    customer may be right. Always be open minded toward the customer’s opinion, make them feel
    they deserve to be listened to.


    3.3. Solving the Customer’s Problems

    When you listen to the customer’s complaint you take responsibility to solve the problem.
    Customer service professionals:

    · Listen without interruption and with full attention.
    · Behave without aggression, and without arguing.
    · Do not extend excuses for the problem, and thank the customer for drawing their attention
    to it and helping solve it.
    · Express sympathy and full understanding.


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    IT PAYS TO PLEASE

    We love and cherish those companies that treat us
    right, and we’ll even pay more to obtain these
    services. Here are some recent statistics that prove
    the point:

    · We’ll spend up to 10 percent more for the
    same product with better service.
    · When we receive good service, we tell 9 to
    12 people on average.
    · When we receive poor service, we tell up to
    20 people.
    · An 82 percent chance exists that customers
    will repurchase from a company if their
    complaint is handled quickly and pleasantly.
    · If the service is really poor, 91 percent of
    retail customers won’t go back to a store.
    Customer service problem solving involves:

    · Ask necessary questions to get more complete
    information and completed picture of a situation
    · Find out exactly what the customer needs you to
    do for them
    · Explain first what you can do, and then gently
    add what you cannot do
    · Discuss in detail all opinions, and then decide
    what needs to be done
    · Undertake immediately what was discussed
    · Check the result to make sure the customer is
    completely satisfied


    Follow-Up with the Customer

    It is extremely important to make sure that all customer service measures that were discussed or
    promised are in fact taken. It is not enough for the customer to experience a satisfactory telephone
    or face-to-face interaction. If nothing comes of the contact they will be even more frustrated and
    unhappy. Make sure you do whatever you have promised in a timely manner.


    Initiative

    Initiative is the difference between adequate customer service and customer service that wins you
    a customer for life.

    Everyday examples of exceptional customer service:

    · Taxi driver who opens the door for you or waits at night for you to safely get into your
    destination.
    · Computer technician who does computer work and then calls back a week later to make
    sure your IT is functioning well.
    · Car salesperson that calls a month after you buy a car to make sure it is running well.
    · The petrol station attendant who washes your window or checks your oil.
    · The electric company who calls and checks to make sure your service is working well and
    apologizes for any “brown outs” or “black outs.”

    None of these customer service people HAD to make this extra effort or go to this trouble. These
    “goodwill initiatives”8 are beyond the call of duty and make the customer beyond satisfied. They
    make the customer remember the transaction or occasion.

    8
    Ibid.
    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING MANUAL
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    3.4. Case Study – Good Service

    Traits to Emulate

    “Extra effort” wins the day for customer service! Customer service traits to emulate:

    · Be on time, open on time, deliver on time
    · Follow through and deliver your promises
    · Go the extra kilometer for customers
    · Offer you customer options
    · Express empathy to upset customers
    · Treat customers as the MOST important part of your job
    · Treat co-workers as if they are customers
    · Give customers your name and contact details9

    Examples of Customer Service in the US Electric Utility Sector

    Here are a few examples of Customer Service Challenges, and how they can were analyzed and
    addressed in various cases. They are not all encompassing but provide concrete ideas of how
    electric utilities are meeting certain customer service challenges and needs.

    Some of the information and challenges presented may not be relevant to your particular
    application or customer service needs but they offer creative and current solutions and thinking
    regarding customer service. Many of these customer service examples are derived from the US
    and UK and require a great deal of time and resources, making them unrealistic for smaller
    ventures. However, the fundamentals of “knowing your customer,” “meeting their needs,” and
    “communications” are present in each case and serve to highlight how to proactively meet
    customer service needs. They provide “food for thought” and are a basis for discussion, as the
    situations facing electricity utilities are relatively transferable to different environments, contexts
    and locales.

    EXAMPLE 1: ASK CUSTOMERS WHAT THEY THINK AND HOW THE FEEL

    Across various industries, executives and managers always believe they know the customer
    already and do not need further information or input from them. However, when research is
    conducted and the customer has actual input in the decision-making process, these same
    executives and managers often come to realize they do not know what customers want and need.
    Renewable Energy is a popular option being considered by many to be clean and green, yet the
    structures necessary to install such systems can be intrusive or cause concern to people in the
    community. One way to alleviate or mitigate such concerns is to launch a survey or another form
    of communication with customers affected by a facility installation. By asking customers how
    they feel and what they think, the utility is demonstrating that communications is a two-way street
    and that they care about how customers perceive the intrusion of new facilities.

    Prior to building new wind farms that would provide clean energy and new jobs for residents, a
    Scottish firm commissioned market research surveys to find out how people felt about an existing
    wind farm. Surveys were posed to both residents, who are customers, and to tourists, who support
    the local economy and are of critical concern to the residents.

    9
    Ibid.
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    The poll found a surprisingly positive view of the wind farm. Residents did not feel that they
    obstructed view of the landscape, or caused any other local problems, and enjoyed their influence
    on the local economy. Nine out of ten tourists questioned said the presence of wind farms made
    no difference to the enjoyment of their holiday - and more said they had a positive effect on their
    choice of destination.

    In this case, perceived negative ideas about wind farms asserted by many industry leaders were
    incorrect. They were based on poor information and myth. Data proved the wind farms were
    viable and acceptable to local residents and customers. The key is to willingly solicit the opinions
    of the customers you serve in order to provide improves service and benefits.

    EXAMPLE 2: GATHER STAKEHOLDERS TO REACH CONCENSUS

    Power plants provide employment opportunities as well as electricity to local economies where
    they are located. They also can present risks and cause concern among the local population in the
    surrounding area affected by their development and servicing. In the late 1990’s, the Niagara
    Power Project (NPP), located in Lewiston, NY, decided to build a new power plant, and went
    through the process of re-licensing. As part of the process, they were required by law to consult
    the public living in the areas of operation.

    Rather than seek ways to squeak by with minimal local input, the NPP encouraged local
    governments, schools boards, manufacturers and fishermen to form a Task Force of stakeholders,
    so their views could be represented. They concentrated on addressing the Task Force’s questions
    and concerns, got the people involved in the plans for building the new plant. In the end all the
    stakeholders were satisfied the plant would benefit the entire community without detriment.

    By handling the process in such an open and consumer-focused way, NPP has set a precedent for
    future interactions with its customers. Customers know that they can trust NPP to keep their best
    interests in mind, and will more readily support future renovations and additions to facilities.

    EXAMPLE 3: TAILORING SPECIAL PROGRAMS TO BUSINESS CONSUMERS

    Many countries today are dealing with the problem of too little electricity production and too
    much demand. When this happens, the reliability of the whole electricity system is put in danger.
    In several countries programs are in place to increase customer-sited generation and to reduce
    electricity use at peak demand times. Business customers are paid to participate in these programs
    and are given additional benefits.

    This is not typically thought of as a customer service scenario. The old notion of customer service
    is answering telephone inquiries and administering complaints. These days it also means finding
    creative solutions to demand problems and customer needs. Today this new approach to meeting
    electricity needs with incentive-based programs is working, but first utilities had to sell the idea to
    large businesses and explain the logic of their approach.

    Northeast Utilities, servicing much of New England in the U.S., implemented a Demand Response
    Program in order to make their electrical grid more secure in times of high demand. Local
    facilities were audited to see which ones could spare electricity at those peak times. When they
    had been located, the utility paid to have their facilities updated to become capable of cutting back
    on load or engaging backup generation remotely. They then set up a pager system so that
    managers could be instantly notified of the need for the power. The small investment necessary to
    enable customers to participate in the program was well worth the added power obtained.
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    In southern California, an area facing a recent energy crisis, the Public Utilities Commission has
    started a program that pays qualifying businesses up to 50 percent of the costs of installing
    electricity generation systems. The Southern California Gas Company has been promoting the
    program through news releases, print and radio ads, e-mail notices, telemarketing and a dedicated
    toll-free number staffed with technicians who provide real-time responses to customer questions.
    By actively encouraging their business customers to rely on self-generated power, they are serving
    their individual customers better. Securing the electrical grid means a healthier economy for all of
    southern California.

    EXAMPLE 4: COMMUNICATING EMERGENCY SITUATIONS TO CUSTOMERS

    Customers rely on electricity for their daily needs at home and at work. When there is an
    emergency resulting in an outage, customer service is critical to helping customers deal with the
    situation. Lack of electricity disrupts lives in a way that is extreme and consequential. Emergency
    communication and timely information is almost as important as completing the repair.

    Emergencies call for extra efforts in listening to customers and providing timely information
    about repair work. Most companies faced with outage situations have plans in place for both field
    and headquarters staff to assume special roles during outage situations. For example, office
    administrative staff may be called upon to go out in the field while line crews are conducting the
    repairs just to talk with customers door-to-door, answer questions, help with coping strategies
    such as providing dry ice and flashlights, and provide reassurance regarding the repair effort.

    If emergencies are not handled properly and proactively from a customer service standpoint, the
    company can suffer from negative reactions for a long time. The key in emergency blackouts and
    brownouts is to have numerous contingency plans and a proactive strategy to deal with customer
    needs and complaints.

    Last year in the Midlands, England, more than 40,000 homes, mostly in rural areas, lost power
    after a wind storm. Over 100 utility emergency crews were called into service. Although they
    were hampered by the strong winds, they managed to restore power to three-quarters of affected
    homes by that evening. Headquarters staff manned the telephone lines and supervisors knocked
    on doors to provide updates to worried residents about the repair efforts. The response to the
    utilities efforts was so warm that local pubs opened their doors to the workers to provide free
    meals (cooked on gas stoves) for the stamina required to complete the repair work. In spite of the
    hardships, customers expressed appreciation for the prompt services and ongoing communications
    about the status of repairs.

    The success of the utility in this example is based on having customer-oriented contingency plans
    for emergency power outages. They developed emergency communications and public relations
    plans, and worked closely with the media and the local community. Rather than being a public
    relations disaster, this outage turned into a favorable situation whereby the rapid repair response
    and professional attitude and courtesy demonstrated by utility staff won over customers and the
    community.

    More recently, a hurricane turned off the power of over one million people in Washington, D.C.
    The main utility, PEPCO, immediately surveyed the damage and reported that it would take a full
    week to restore power to everyone. As the week went on many customers became frustrated and
    angry. They weren’t just angry because their power wasn’t on, they were angry because the utility
    was not giving them any information on when it would be on. Specific neighborhoods were not
    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING MANUAL
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    informed, and people had no way of knowing if theirs would be one of the first or last areas to be
    serviced. Service representatives were forced to answer their requests with “I don’t know.” This
    event will have a lasting effect on the reputation of PEPCO, and could have been avoided if better
    communications had been employed.

    EXAMPLE 5: SEGMENT YOUR CUSTOMERS BASED ON NEEDS

    Not all residential customers are alike, and it is important from a customer services standpoint to
    understand what each type of customer needs for a successful relationship with the electricity
    provider. For example, you may think you know the answer to the question “How do customers
    pay their bills?” But one utility’s experiences revealed that different types of residential
    customers pay in different ways, and that the variety of options was important to maintaining both
    a good relationship with the customers as well as timely payments to the utility.

    Successful customer service offers the customer bill paying options and caters to the predilection
    of customers in target segments to choose certain methods of payment. For example, some
    customers may choose to pay by mail, while others typically pay in cash at kiosks or others over
    the internet. However, even if it is not possible to offer customers a variety of means to pay their
    utility bills, the most important fact is to make sure they are offered a convenient and easy-to-use
    method. The easier the payment, the more customers will pay their bills.

    During a customer survey the utility PEPCO found that most elderly customers prefer to pay their
    electric bill in person at either a utility business office or a bank. Paying bills promptly and in
    person are important to this segment of customers. Households pay differently depending upon
    their income levels, with poorer customers paying in cash at pay stations (utility business offices
    or banks), working families by mail, higher income families and small businesses by automatic
    bank draft or through the Internet. In many countries of the former Soviet Union it has proved
    more effective for utility representatives to go door-to-door on a periodic basis, using the bill
    collector model, to assure payment. Of course this approach is only successful when it is done on
    a predictable schedule and by responsible, trustworthy utility representatives.

    In yet other countries, prepayment meters are used for those customers that have very limited
    electricity uses in their homes. One example is South Africa, where local vendors at small
    community shops are empowered by the utility to sell Smart Cards to residents. These cards are
    then inserted in prepayment meter on the outside of the home. Electricity flows into the wires
    until the amount of money prepaid on the card is used up. Then customers have to go back to add
    more money to the Smart Card. By making this prepayment card service available locally, at
    small shops within each neighborhood, residential customers do not have to travel far to have their
    prepayment cards debited.

    The only way to gather information about how consumers want to pay their bills is to know them
    better through surveys and focus groups. One cannot hope to provide great customer service
    without truly knowing your customer. Different ways to do this include forming stakeholder
    groups, holding public forums, studying focus groups, tracking paying habits, or discussing utility
    issues in informal gatherings.



    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING MANUAL
    Work performed by the Academy for Educational Development under sponsorship of the United States Agency
    for International Development (USAID) Contract Number: LAG-I-00-98-00011-00, Task Order Number: 804 35
    4. SERVICE SUCCESS IN YOUR COMPANY OR ORGANIZATION
    4.1. Customer Service Starts on Top

    Managers rarely understand how their actions, tone and attitude affect the performance and
    success of their staff. As a manager, the first step to motivating your staff is to demonstrate the
    customer service qualities you want them to emulate.

    Here are a number of factors to take into account as you seek to mold your team into a successful
    customer service unit:

    1. Greet your staff in the morning: Start out the day with a positive attitude.

    2. Discuss your feelings: Do not ever vent or rage in front of your employees, but always
    remail calm. If you have a problem with one employee discuss it in private. Explain in
    detail why you are frustrated with their behavior, and allow the employee to speak openly
    and express their opinions. Try to come to a mutual solution with the employee.

    3. Do the right thing: When faced with a difficult customer, follow correct customer service
    practices. In other words, practice what you preach.

    4. Support your staff’s decisions: As a manager, customers often ask to speak to you when
    upset, thinking you will overturn your employee’s decisions. While sometimes you will
    correct an employee’s mistake, often the employee was correct in their reasoning. It is
    important to build morale by sticking up for your employees. Collaborate with your staff,
    empower them to be flexible and act resourcefully.

    5. Be willing to learn from others: Managers do not have all of the customer service
    answers; there is nothing worse than a “know-it-all” manager. There are opportunities for
    learning everyday if you are paying attention.

    6. Learn to listen to what their customers need: A good manager, in order to reinforce this
    practice, should listen to employees and take their ideas, opinion and input into account.

    7. Take time to socialize: Try to know your staff, their personal lives, and what is important
    to them. Take the time to celebrate achievements and noteworthy occasions. People are
    individuals and a positive work environment makes for better performance and a more
    content staff.

    8. Use good telephone etiquette: Be your staff’s best example of good telephone manners
    by following the guidelines.

    9. Say “thank you”: Be generous with compliments and praise your staff for their efforts.
    Thank them for a job well done and foster an environment of recognition. People enjoy
    praise and strive for recognition – give them something to work for!

    Technical competence is not as important as people skills and attitude when it comes to customer
    service. The technical skills can be learned later but the motivation, attitude, and desire to provide
    good service is much hard to find.

    Remember to be successful in customer service, you want people who enjoy treating people as
    individuals and who are prepared to accept responsibility for delivering what the customer wants.

    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING MANUAL
    Work performed by the Academy for Educational Development under sponsorship of the United States Agency
    for International Development (USAID) Contract Number: LAG-I-00-98-00011-00, Task Order Number: 804 36
    4.2. Customer Service Training

    One of the foremost ways to see improvements in customer service is through systemized
    customer service training programs. A training program enhances not only customer service but
    also teamwork, communications, and management’s understanding of its role in service. Customer
    training is not a panacea but it is a key component in your service improvement plan.

    Comprehensive training programs include different types of workshops on a variety of topics,
    including:

    · Awareness building
    · Customer service skills
    · Internal customer service
    · Service management

    Training methods vary depending on the size of your company or organization and the resources
    available. Classroom training or outside consultants can craft a short-term course for employees or
    more extended, ongoing training – however, it is critical that whatever type of training initiated it
    be part of an overall management approach to customer service. In-house or external training
    programs will serve no long-term benefit if they are not integrated into an ongoing customer
    service improvement strategy. There is nothing worse for trainees or employees than to attend
    training, become empowered with new techniques and ideas and then come back to an
    environment where they are underappreciated and their new skills are not utilized. In the end, staff
    need to be able to practice what they learn.

    4.3. Hiring Customer Friendly, Motivated Employees

    Companies that provide good service devote time, energy and resources into influencing customer
    service. Training is important but you can only train so much, better to pick the right types of
    people and then mold them into good service providers than to try to create a great employee out
    of a person who is not interested in providing good customer service. Motivation is the key to
    successful employees and is an integral part of good customer relations.

    Everyone has their own hiring system, but in the specific area of customer service there are a
    number of key questions to ask potential customer service representatives and employees who will
    represent your organization or company to the buying public:

    · Does he/she really want this job?
    · How does he/she feel about meeting the public/customers?
    · What kind of a communicator does he/she believe they are?
    · How do they feel about themselves?
    · Are they easily upset, moody or prone to loosing their temper?
    · Do they like helping people?
    · Does he/she feel service is important?
    · How does he/she define service and good customer service?
    · What type of attitude or outlook does he/she have?
    · What kind of person do you like to serve you?
    · What type of service do you like to receive?

    These questions are critical in hiring the “right” type or profile of person for customer relations.
    CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING MANUAL
    Work performed by the Academy for Educational Development under sponsorship of the United States Agency
    for International Development (USAID) Contract Number: LAG-I-00-98-00011-00, Task Order Number: 804 37

    Individuals who are less social and are more interested in technical areas than communicating
    with people are better suited for other types of positions. You are looking for a “people person”
    who is not easily upset and understands the nature of customer service. Customer service is not
    unlike public affairs or public relations in that personal qualities and human contact are critical
    factors in professional success. Define your companies shared values and make sure the person
    you are hiring shares these same values. If your company or organization’s management does not
    place a premium on customer service, then employees will not emphasize customer service and
    will be frustrated by management’s lack of interest in this critical area. Remember, you cannot
    make people happy or motivated but you can hire happy and motivated people. People who smile,
    people who enjoy interacting with other people

    4.4. The Customer-Oriented Company

    The customer-oriented company or organization knows that success is directly affect by good
    customer service. They have taken into account the techniques and qualities discussed throughout
    this manual.

    Customer-Focused Company Chart

















    In summary, we have learned that the customer-focused company/organization has these qualities:

    · Recognition is earned by employees who provide quality customer service.

    · Managers support their staff in doing their job so they can in turn fulfill the customer
    service function.

    · Internal promotion is based on job performance AND customer relations.

    · Training staff in customer service techniques and etiquette is a priority.

    · Employees know customer service is a priority and see themselves as an important link in
    the customer service chain.

    · Participatory management style is common throughout the company.
    [/LTR]
    التعديل الأخير تم بواسطة فريق العمل ; 21/4/2016 الساعة 15:05

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