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CMI Blog

Keeping Customers Requires Proactive Behavior

Posted on: December 8th, 2014 by admin

Think you can just focus on acquiring new customers? Think again! It can cost up to five times more to win new customers than it does to keep existing ones. Customer retention is your bread and butter; your existing customers are the ones you need to focus on. Below are some strategies on how to do just that:

Value your customers: Don’t solely focus on making the sale. View each person that walks into your business as a customer, regardless if they’ve made a purchase yet. The consumer should be your priority and not an afterthought after you’ve made the sale.

Continue the chase: Businesses tent to woo new customers all the time, and with dedicated enthusiasm, but once the sale is secured, the case moves onto the next prospective customer. This approach leaves customers feeling like just a number, and won’t generate a sense of loyalty for the next time they do business.

Value customer feedback: Whether it is volunteered feedback or responses to a survey, the information you receive from customers is gold. When you get feedback, your customers are telling you exactly what they want and are experiencing. Make sure to fix any complaint areas immediately, and do more of what you get compliments for.

Increase opportunities for customer engagement: The more your customers are engaged, the more valued they will feel. Consider how many employees you have interacting with customers and see if you can increase the number of employees that give specialized attention to each customer.

The Holidays: Your Chance to Let Your Customer Service Shine

Posted on: November 24th, 2014 by admin

Thanksgiving is this week, and Americans all over are looking forward to family time and good food. And while Thanksgiving is a relaxing time meant for recharging and spending quality time with loved ones, it is the calm before the storm because the holidays are coming.

Starting the day after Thanksgiving, on Black Friday, people everywhere enter into panic mode feeling the time crunch of the coming holidays. It is a busy and frazzled time, and as a company, it is a prime opportunity for your customer service to shine. Below are some tips on how to do just that:

  • Be available – While most companies are always busy, the holidays are even more so. Customers will be ordering, shopping, calling in more, and asking more questions. If help isn’t readily available, customers will take their business elsewhere. Make it easy for them to get help, and they will thank you for it.
  • Personalize customer’s experience – Offering your customers a personalized experience makes them feel valued and special. Do this and you will create a bond that leads to customer loyalty. Fail at this, and your customers will feel like they are just a number, and they won’t develop a loyalty to your brand.
  • View complaints as opportunities – Customers that complain are still considering buying from you, so don’t view complaining customers as a waste of time. When a customer complains, they are giving you a road map to earning their loyalty. They are telling you what they value, and providing you with an opportunity to follow through.
  • Reward employees – Customers aren’t the only ones under stress during the holidays, your employees are experiencing it also, if not even more. Treat your employees right and they will treat your customers right. Otherwise, nothing turns customers away like unfriendly, rude and/or unhelpful employees.

Instead of focusing on the potential for increased revenue during the holiday season, focus on your customers. They are already under a heightened level of stress, and the more you can do to alleviate that stress, the more customer loyalty you will see.

Are Women More Pessimistic Than Men About The U.S. Job Market?

Posted on: November 18th, 2014 by admin

According to a new Gallup Poll, there is a gender gap in optimism in the U.S. job market, and women tend to take a more pessimistic outlook. Royalyn Reid weighs in on KTRH radio on some possible reasons why:

  • Disparity in pay: Women don’t start at base line zero with men. American women today earn $0.78 to a man’s $1.00 as shown in this U.S. Census Bureau fact sheet. They’ve struggled over decades for equal pay for equal work, and there still is a disparity in their financial prospects within the job market.
  • Financial insecurity: Some women tend to have some insecurity when it comes to finances that men don’t necessarily have, and as a result they have a higher degree of pessimism.
  • Focus on the family: Women tend to take the lead role with the family and the children. So sometimes women may phase out and/or spend more time with the children, both of which add to women’s overall perception.
  • Economic expectations: Americans’ expectations, in general, of the U.S. job market are not met. A lot of people don’t feel that America, as a country, is where it needs to be economically, and that also translates into unmet personal economic expectations.

Hear the full interview:

Is You Business Customer-Centric?

Posted on: October 16th, 2014 by admin

Think marketing and customer service are two completely separate departments? Think again. The two departments are intertwined: marketing will draw the customers in, and the customer service will extend the marketing efforts.

Customer service is the reason customers will come back, and it is the underlying value that will drive your business. But how do you achieve a quality customer service that will drive customer retention? By keeping your message customer centric.

Below are a couple of tips to becoming a customer-centric company:

      • Focus on the customers: You can’t be customer-centric without placing your customers at the center of your focus. Understand your customers, and their specific needs and wants. Everyone likes to buy, but no one likes to be sold to. If you are marketing what they need or want, you won’t have to push the sale.
      • Sell the experience, not the method behind the experience: Customers are thinking one thing when it comes to buying a product or service, “What’s in it for me?” Any other information you supply can jeopardize your sale and customer service experience. Don’t bog down customers with the method behind the brand, product or service. Instead focus on the benefits they will enjoy. Share details about the product or service’s benefits, and less about the details behind those benefits.

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Hire for Character

Posted on: October 6th, 2014 by admin

Quality customer service starts with your employees. They are the face of your company, and it is their skills that will give brand your company as a whole. As such, when hiring, you need to look not only at the competency of the potential employee, but at what kind of character they will bring to the table, and what kind of first impression they will give to customers. 

    While conducting interviews, make sure to assess not only their resume and qualifications, but also the following key characteristics:

    • People person: You can train skills, but what you can’t train someone to do is to like people. This is an important quality to look for, but especially for employees who will be dealing directly with customers. Customers want to be treated well, and a people person is more apt to do so.
    • Humility: Those who see themselves as the smartest person in the room generally don’t work well on a team or with customers. The last thing you want to happen is for employees to talk down to customers and/or come off rude. You want employees that can get the job done in a pleasant, and humble manner.
    • Team player: If an employee can’t work as part of a team and put value into the considerations and needs of their co-workers, is not likely to do so for your customers. A team that doesn’t work together well won’t serve together well.

Racial Tensions Surge After Missouri Shooting

Posted on: September 26th, 2014 by admin

It has been several days of protesting in Ferguson, Missouri after the police involved shooting that left a young man dead. This incident and the subsequent outcry of protests needs to make us step back and consider why we as a country see these events through race colored glasses.

Before jumping to conclusions about the protesting and rioting going on, we need to look at the big picture, and get all of the facts. Who is rioting? How many? How widespread is the rioting? Is that the majority? Are there those that are jumping on the bandwagon? Is all of the rioting related to the central issue?

In addition to gathering all of the facts, we need to look at the overall cultural pattern. Is this case an isolated incident, or is it part of an ongoing patter? To fully evaluate and understand the response and backlash currently happening, we have to look at a bigger overall pattern. When we also take into consideration past cases like Trayvon Martin and even back to O.J. Simpson, we see there is still something in these cases that is sensitive to a lot of people, and we see these issues are polarized along racial lines.

When it comes to diversity and sensitivity, our views and how we respond are shaped by our backgrounds, our past experiences, and more. It is clear with the re-appearance of this issue time and time again, that we still have so many issues that just have not been dealt with as a country. Yes, we have come a long way, but there is still work to be done.

Royalyn Reid on TV on August 20th, 2014 from CMI – videos on Vimeo.

Don’t Make These Top Customer Service Complaints:

Posted on: July 18th, 2014 by admin

You may have the best product or offer the best service, but if your customer service isn’t delivering, your customers won’t care. Customers look for the best overall experience, and will pay additional to do business with a company that is friendly, helpful and easy to work with.
Below are some of the top customer complaints to keep in mind as you build your customer service department:

  • Automated messages: Nothing replaces talking to a real person who can respond in real-time. A lot of companies have automated messages to filter the calls to the correct department or associated, but this can be a big frustration to customers. Having to listen to a menu of options is time consuming, and sometimes there isn’t an option available for what the customer called in for.
  • Long hold times/multiple transfers: While being on hold isn’t desirable, most people understand a certain length of hold time. But keep your customers waiting too long, and they will be frustrated before you even start to assist them. Additionally, transferring the customer to multiple different employees can be as equally frustrating. Make your customer repeat their problem multiple times to multiple people, and you have a recipe for disaster.
  • Unknowledgeable employees: When customers call in for help, they are seeking help from the “experts.” Don’t put a new employee on the customer service team on their first week. Make sure your employees are educated and know how to help or where to get help, otherwise you are wasting your customers time, and losing business.
  • Rudeness: Want to lose business fast? Be rude to your customers. Nothing is more of a turn off for customers than having a rude interaction with a business owner or employees. A small customer complaint can blow up into a major issue with little more than a bad attitude.

Communication: The Key to Good Customer Service

Posted on: May 21st, 2014 by admin

Customers love to buy, but they don’t like to be sold to. So, how do you sell without over-selling? Improve your communication.

Below are some communication tips to keep in mind:

Open up a dialogue with your customers: Don’t just talk to your customers; make sure you LISTEN to them. Tune in on complaints, suggestions, and even comments and interactions on social media. There are so many avenues for listening to your customers, and there is no excuse for not using them.

Don’t make assumptions: Assuming you know what a customer or employee is going to say, and interrupting them with a response is poor customer service, and is a sign of bad listening skills. Doing so can create frustration, and take longer for the customer’s need to be communicated and solved.

Even if you think you know what is being asked because you’ve heard the same story from a hundred other customers, wait it out and listen to everything. This situation may be different, and require a different response. Not making assumptions will help you stay present in the moment, and eliminate opportunities for misunderstandings.

Encourage curiosity: Cultivate a culture where customers and employees alike feel encouraged to ask questions. Encourage questions, and make it known that there is no such thing as a stupid question. The more questions asked the fewer assumptions that will be made both on the part of customers and employees.

Be attentive: Take the time to actively listen to customers. Ask yourself if you are fully engaged in the conversation or if you are trying to multitask. Stop whatever you are working on, and look your customer in the eyes. You can’t help your customers adequately if you are not focused on helping them.

Royalyn Reid of the CMI Team Honored at WBENC Summit and Salute

Posted on: April 17th, 2014 by admin

The 2014 Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) Summit and Salute in New Orleans was three day event featuring a variety of workshops, networking receptions, committee meetings, panel discussions.

At the conclusion of the event, Royalyn Reid of the CMI Team was honored along with thirteen other exemplary women with the nation’s premier award for excellence among Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs) bestowed by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).

Below are some highlight moments of the awards gala dinner:

Kathy Anderson Photography © Kathy Anderson

Legacy pic at reception before the award dinner: Royalyn’s daughter Madisen, Royalyn, Royalyn’s mom (Billye Rayes)

Kathy Anderson Photography © Kathy Anderson

Selfie taken by Roaylyn’s daughter (Madisen) and Roaylyn with Nettie (Debbie’s daughter) and Debbie Hurst, President of the Women’s Business Council Southwest (WBCS).

Royalyn is the National Honoree representing the WBCS Region.

Kathy Anderson Photography © Kathy Anderson

Debbie Hurst, president of Women’s Business Council Southwest(WBCS) and Pam Eason, President of Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)

Debbie receives Royalyn’s award from Pam to present to her.

Kathy Anderson Photography © Kathy Anderson

Benita Fortner, WBENC Chairman of the Board and Director of Supplier Diversity at Raytheon; Debbie Hurst, president of Women’s Business Council Southwest(WBCS); Royalyn and Pam Eason (WBENC President)

Kathy Anderson Photography © Kathy Anderson

Picture of the 14 WBE Stars and their Regional Presidents (Debbie behind Royalyn), Benita Fortner, WBENC Chairman of the Board and Director of Supplier Diversity at Raytheon, and Pam Eason (WBENC President)

 

 

Photos by Kathy Anderson Photography © Kathy Anderson

Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)

Posted on: April 3rd, 2014 by admin

This year’s Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) was held in New Orleans from March 18-20. Royalyn Reid of The CMI Team, was honored at the awards gala during the last evening of the three day event with the nation’s premier award for excellence among Women’s Business Enterprises.
Check out the following blogs and news articles:

WBE USA Magazine Article: Click here to read the full magazine and see the other thirteen WBE Stars.

WBENC_blog1

WBENC Star Congrats: Click here to see all of the 2014 WBE Stars.

WBENC_blog2

 

Women’s Business Council Southwest Blog: Click here to read more about the Summit and Salute, and Royalyn’s award.