The Challenges of Building Positive Customer Relationships In a Global World

The Challenges of Building Positive Customer Relationships In a Global World

The Challenges of Building Positive Customer Relationships In a Global World

In a global customer service world, there is a potential relationship “minefields” that can cause problems related to trust. This is because for customers from many countries (e.g. Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, Japan, Philippines, Kuwait, Turkey, Mexico, South Korea, and Vietnam), building a strong interpersonal relationship is extremely important and in many instances must be accomplished before the business is conducted. For example, in such relationship-oriented countries, it is not unusual to have a number of meetings with people in an organization before coming to an agreement. Lunch, dinner, and office meetings often occur for weeks before an agreement or important decision is reached. In such cultures, someone’s word is like a verbal contract and violations are not taken lightly. For that reason, if you are a customer service representative doing business with a customer from a relationship-oriented country, you must recognize the need to engage in some degree of conversation prior to asking for a buying decision or getting straight to business. This can present difficulty for call center representatives who are constrained by talk times or other controls or in environments where the staff has been downsized to a minimal server level. In such instances, it is wise to discuss the degree of flexibility you have in terms of the time and ways you have to deliver service with your supervisor before coming into contact with a customer.

By better understanding, the operational guidelines for your job and continuing to improve your customer service skills, the chances of creating a problem with customer trust or violating the organizational policy will be reduced.

Another potential problem area is that you can negatively impact the customer-provider relationship if you bring up certain topics to individuals from some cultures. For example, it is potentially inappropriate for a male service provider to directly address or compliment the wife or daughter who accompanies a male customer from a Middle Eastern culture without the man’s permission. This might be perceived as rude or disrespectful. Similarly asking about a man’s wife or daughter could be viewed as an unwelcome intrusion.

These cultural nuances may seem unimportant if you are from a different culture, but you must remember that people leave a country; they do not leave their culture. It is part of their personal background and value/belief system and should be respected if you plan to deliver excellent customer service.

For myriad ideas and strategies on how to deliver the best customer service possible and to better understand and work with a diverse customer base, get a copy of Please Every Customer: Delivering Stellar Customer Service Across Cultures.

The Impact of Gender Roles on Customer Service

The Impact of Gender Roles on Customer Service

The Impact of Gender Roles on Customer Service

Culturally and individually, people view the role of men and women differently. Although gender roles are continually evolving throughout the world, decision-making and authority are often clearly established as male prerogatives within many cultures, subcultures, or families. For example, in some Middle Eastern, Asian, South American, and European cultures, women have often not gained the respect or credibility in the business environment that they have achieved in many other parts of the world.

In some countries, it is not unusual for women to be expected to take a “seen and not heard” role or to remain out of business transactions. In Korea and other Pacific Rim countries, it is not typical for women to participate in many business operations. Men often still have higher social status than females. You do not have to agree with these practices, but you will need to take them into consideration when facing them as a customer service representative.

When serving customers from different countries, you would do well to remember that people leave a country, but they take their cultural norms and values with them. Failure to consider alternative ways of dealing with people in certain instances might cause you to react negatively to a situation and nonverbally communicate your bias unconsciously.

One example of what could potentially occur if you are a female customer service representative dealing with a male whose cultural background, like one of those just described, is that he may reject your assistance and ask for a male customer service provider. Another example could occur if you are a male customer service representative working with a male and female from such a culture. Do not be surprised if your conversation involves only the male. Attempts to draw the woman into a service transaction or make direct eye contact and smile with her may embarrass, offend, or even anger some male customers and/or their family members who are present.

Generally, people who have lived or worked in westernized cultures for longer periods may have acculturated and may not take offense to more direct behaviors that are meant to convey friendliness and to engage customers (e.g., smiling, engaging in small talk about families, or compliments on the dress). Even so, remain conscious of potential reactions and stay focused on verbal and nonverbal communication cues to help ensure that you do not negatively cross-cultural boundaries when interacting with customers of the opposite sex.

For additional customer service tips for interacting successfully with people and cultures that are different, get copies of Customer Service Skills for Success 6th edition and Please Every Customer: Delivering Stellar Customer Service across Cultures.

Strong Customer Relations Result From Excellent Customer Service

Strong Customer Relations Result From Excellent Customer

Strong Customer Relations Result From Excellent Customer Service

Providing excellent customer service should be the goal of everyone in your organization, not just front line customer service representatives. Ultimately, customer satisfaction and customer retention are about how well you care about your job and the quality of customer service you provide. By working closely with your customers to build and maintain strong customer relations with them, you not only have an opportunity to meet but also exceed their needs, wants and expectations.

 

To sum all this up, it comes down to possessing strong product knowledge and customer service skills and applying both anytime you come into contact with an internal or external customer.

Customer Service Skills for Success 6th by Robert W. Lucas Now Available

Customer Service Skills for Success 6th by Robert W. Lucas Now Available
Customer Service Skills for Success 6th by Robert W. Lucas Now Available

Customer Service Skills for Success 6th by Robert W. Lucas Now Available

The top-selling customer service textbook in the United States, Customer Service Skills for Success by Robert W. Lucas, is now in print from McGraw-Hill. This 6th edition includes a four-color layout with more images to enhance the content and a completely changed graphic appearance.

In the book, readers will find real-world customer service issues and provides a variety of updated resources, activities, and examples for customer service representatives at different levels in an organization. It also includes tips from the author and other active professionals in the industry designed to gain and hold readers’ interest while providing additional insights into the concepts and skills related to customer service that is found throughout the book.

The text begins with a macro view of what customer service involves today and provides projections for the future of the customer service profession, then focuses on specific customer service skills and related topics.

Here’s what readers will find inside the book:

Part One – The Profession

  • The Customer Service Profession
  • Contributing to the Service Culture

Part Two – Skills for Success

  • Verbal Communication Skills
  • Nonverbal Communication Skills
  • Listening Skills

Part Three – Building and Maintaining Relationships

  • Customer Service and Behavior
  • Service Breakdowns and Service Recovery
  • Customer Service in a Diverse World
  • Customer Service via Technology’
  • Encouraging Customer Loyalty

This book answers everything from “What is Customer Service?” to “How do I handle a variety of diverse customers in various customer service situations?”.

To gain thousands of ideas, strategies and customer service tips for interacting successfully with internal and external customers in any type of customer service environment and deliver excellent customer service, get a copy of Customer Service Skills for Success 6th edition.

Changing Consumer Values Are Impacting Customer Service

Changing Consumer Values Are Impacting Customer Service

Throughout the world, there has been a tremendous amount of dynamic change in recent decades due to economic instability, quickly expanding and enhanced technology, global mobility where people move quickly and frequently, and other factors outlined in this chapter. The result has been a gradual shift in what many consumers hold near and dear or their values.

Changing Consumer Values Are Impacting Customer Service
Changing Consumer Values Are Impacting Customer Service

Because different societies view what is important from different perspectives, clashes can sometimes result when service providers encounter customers who have values that differ from their own. The important thing to remember in such situations is that neither the customer nor the provider has the “right” set of values, they are simply different and each respect and honor those of the other party.

As a result of societal values, companies often change their approach to doing business as a competitive strategy and to attract and hold customers. This often includes shifting the way they do business, the products that they deliver and their manner of customer service. For example, because many consumers are now more cost-conscious, ecologically aware, and value sustainability, many automobile manufacturers are developing vehicles that are more energy-efficient, use ecologically sensitive fuels and cost less. Examples of this trend are the Chevrolet Volt, Toyota Prius and Nissan Leaf.

Obviously, companies have lofty goals, such as, excellent customer service, generating more revenue, and improving quality of service, customer satisfaction, and customer retention levels.

For more thoughts and ideas on how to more effectively serve today’s diverse customer base, get a copy of Customer Service Skills for Success and Please Every Customer: Delivering Stellar Customer Service Across Cultures.

Customer Relations Equal Sales, Customer Satisfaction and Customer Retention

Customer Relations Equal Sales, Customer Satisfaction and Customer Retention

Customer Relations Equal Sales,

Customer Satisfaction and Customer Retention

If you are not striving to build the best customer relationships possible with those you encounter in your organization, then you are failing as a service professional.

Everyone from front-line customer service representatives to senior management has a responsibility to do what it takes to secure customer trust and continually focus their efforts (and those of the organization as a whole) on meeting customer needs, wants and expectations. Delivering excellent customer service should be not only a goal; it should be the goal every day that you go to work.

Customer Perceptions Have An Impact On Customer Relations

Customer Perceptions Have An Impact On Customer Relations

Customer Perceptions Have An Impact On Customer Relations

Most customer service representatives go to work with the determination to deliver excellent customer service and achieve customer satisfaction. They typically have the customer service skills and knowledge needed to address their customer’s needs, wants and expectations. Even so, some things occasionally go wrong during the customer service transaction.

What the customer service representative does from that moment on will often impact customer retention and what their customer tells others about their experience. This is why it is so crucial for anyone dealing with current or potential customers to learn and use strong service recovery strategies and use them immediately when things start to go wrong with a customer.

For ideas and strategies on building strong customer service relationships and successfully recover when service breaks down, get a copy of Customer Service Skills for Success.

6 Customer Service Representative Attributes That Lead to Better Customer Relations

6 Customer Service Representative Attributes That Lead to Better Customer Relations

Customer relationships are formed through the use of sound customer service skills and a variety of service strategies that are used to welcome, serve and support each customer or client as an individual.

Customer service representatives should be hand-picked by management, provided with the best customer service training possible, given the proper tools and supported by supervisors and top management. Only then do they have a chance of being successful at their jobs and winning the hearts and minds of customers who contact the organization.

To help ensure that a customer service representative is able to exceed customer needs, wants and expectations, deliver excellent customer service and help encourage brand loyalty, they must possess the following minimal attributes:

Ability to Listen Well

One of the most important attributes that a great customer service representative needs is the ability to listen effectively. When interacting with a customer or potential customer it is crucial that an employee ask open ended questions to discover a customer’s needs and then shut up to allow the customer to communicate their issue, need, concern or complaint. Once these are adequately understood, the representative can then start to address what their customer said.

Attentiveness

It is not enough to just listen to a customer’s verbal messages. To be an effective service provider, they must also be able to “read” nonverbal cues and interpret them effectively.

Flexibility

It is sometimes hard to tell what a customer wants or needs. During a conversation, a good customer service representative will recognize when a customer shifts gears or changes the direction of a conversation. This may be through the words they use, questions they ask or nonverbal signals that come across during the conversation. When this happens, the employee should be ready to change their posture, tone, selection of words and do other things to address the new issue or situation.

Determination

Customers expect to be appreciated, listened to, and served to the highest possible level. That is why anyone working with customers must have a sound product and service knowledge, strong customer service skills, and the tenacity to do what it takes to try and meet their customer needs and expectations.

Empathy

When a problem arises, customers typically expect that customer service representatives will put forth the effort to try to understand their issue and will then go out of their way to help resolve it.

Positive Attitude

Ultimately, what comes through and is remembered in any customer-service provider encounter is how the customer believes they were treated. If they walk away feeling that they were recognized and served as an individual and not with a cookie cutter approach strategy, they are more likely to maintain customer loyalty. They are also more likely to tell others about their positive service experience.

To make that happen, service providers must be conscious of their verbal messages and nonverbal cues. A smile, upbeat voice tone, willingness to take extra time and effort serving the customer and other similar positive approaches to building a customer relationship can go a long way toward customer satisfaction.

If you are looking for specific ideas and strategies for building and maintaining sound customer relationships, get copies of Please Every Customer: Delivering Stellar Customer Service Across Cultures and Customer Service Skills for Success.

Customer Satisfaction Helps Build Brand and Customer Loyalty

Customer Satisfaction Helps Build Brand and Customer Loyalty

Customer Satisfaction Helps Build Brand and Customer Loyalty

To be successful as a customer service representative, it is important that you recognize that consumer behavior has changed in the past decade or so, and that this impacts your customer’s needs, wants and expectations.

There are several important things you can do to provide customer satisfaction and help ensure brand and customer loyalty:

  • Work to maintain a positive customer service attitude.
  • Ensure that every action that you take is focused on providing excellent customer service.
  • Identify and focus on assisting all internal and external customers to the best of your ability.
  • Practice positive customer service skills with any encounter you have with a current or potential customer.
  • Strive to identify trends in customer service and regularly upgrade your customer service skills to address changing expectations and attitudes.

For additional thought and strategies for dealing with a changing customer service environment, get copies of Customer Service Skills for Success and Please Every Customer: Delivering Stellar Customer Service Across Cultures.

Brand and Customer Loyalty Is Earned Not Given Freely

Brand and Customer Loyalty Is Earned Not Given Freely

Brand and Customer Loyalty Is Earned Not Given Freely

Consumer behavior and spending habits, customer needs, wants and expectations and customer satisfaction levels change constantly. There can be wide differences in the way that customers perceive an item or event when seeking services and products depending on diversity factors, such as, age, gender, race, ethnic background, and other individual factors.

A key to developing brand or customer loyalty is to hone and upgrade your customer service skills and product knowledge regularly as a customer service representative in order to increase satisfaction and customer retention. By providing excellent customer service, you help ensure continued business and positive word-of-mouth publicity.

One simple strategy to work on is to develop solid customer relations skills (e.g. verbal and non-verbal communication, dealing with diverse customers, and handling service breakdowns and conflict).

For hundreds of ideas on how to create and maintain a customer service environment that allows customers to feel comfortable and enjoy their customer-provider interactions, get copies of Customer Service Skills for Success, Please Every Customer: Delivering Stellar Customer Service Across Cultures and How to Be a Great Call Center Representative.

Thanks for visiting our website!  If you need or want a copy of this content - please contact the author to request purchasing it. Thank you!