. Factors That Can Cause People to Have Poor Listening Skills and How It Relates to Customer Service and Loyalty
Effective communication with customers involves paying close attention to their issues, connecting with them, and understanding how they can be helped to achieve their objectives. Good customer service representatives are excellent listeners. However, there are a couple of factors that can impede effective listening, thus distorting the flow of information. Some of the factors that can cause people to have poor listening skills while serving their customers include; inability to prioritize information, low concentration due to distractions, focusing on style rather than substance, and poor judgment (Bolton, 2016). Low concentration may result from either physical or psychological factors such as stress, lack of interest, visual or audio distractors, low volume, or personal bias. Not prioritizing information can lead to listeners not picking the most important aspects of communication. As such, it is extremely important to understand how to separate less pertinent from crucial information when listening to customers. Poor listening skills may lead to poor customer service, increased complaints, and reduced customer loyalty and retention. Lack of effective communication with customers also impedes good and faster decision-making, which in most cases breaks customer relationships.
Q2. What type of information focuses on lifestyles, modes of living, needs, motives, attitudes, reference groups, culture, social class, family influences, hobbies, political affiliation, etc.?
Q3. Describe Why Customer-Focused Service is so Important Nowadays
Businesses rely on customers for existence. Without them, there would be no sales or revenue translating to now business at all. In order to succeed, therefore, customers must be made a priority. The current marketplace has been transformed immensely, with technology giving rise to new opportunities. Customer behaviors and preferences are changing rapidly, forcing organizations to respond to markets that are challenging and disruptive. Additionally, customers now have a lot of options to choose from (Bolton, 2016). As a result, a simple mistake will lead to customers dropping one product or service for the other. As organizations continue to face new pressures due to increased competition and complexity in the marketplace, they should focus on creating customer experiences that build relationships.
Healthy customer relationships are seen as a source of value to organizations. Individuals who experience high-quality service tend to have a longer, broader, and deeper relationship with the service organization as compared to customers who experience low-quality service. Consequently, customers in long-term relationships with organizations are more likely to buy high-margin products and pay a premium price. Customer-centric firms retain their customers better, hence building residual revenues (Davey, 2017). Retaining customers is generally more cost-effective than focusing on new customer acquisitions. As a result, companies focusing on customer service are more profitable.
Q4. Why Is It Important to End Every Customer Interaction on A Positive Note?
Organizations should always strive to end every customer interaction on a positive note. The last moments of a customer interaction session are critical for every customer service evaluation. Such experience is what the customer is going to walk home with, and most likely it will be the most remembered part of the interaction process. As a result, ending on a positive note could make the difference between whether the customer is going to come back or not (Javed & Cheema, 2017). For instance, throwing a small gift, offering extra assistance, or even giving a free product may entice the customer to come back for another product or service. Ending customer interaction on a positive note lets the customer understand that the business not only needs them happy for what they have paid for but also to be happy and satisfied in general. Similarly, it makes the customer feel smarter and better for choosing the business, service, or product offered. Ending on a positive note is a great way of building a long-term relationship with customers. A simple thing such as ‘thank you or just calling to find out whether the customer was satisfied with the product could be a game-changer in deciding whether the customer is retained or gone forever. In customer service delivery, therefore, striving to end customer interaction on a positive note cannot be overlooked.
Q5. Explain Why, In a Total Customer-Focused Business, Just Meeting Customer Specifications Might Not Produce Customer Satisfaction.
Meeting customer specifications might not always produce customer satisfaction. Businesses must always strive to understand customer needs. However, customers typically provide specifications rather than needs. Simply following customer specifications may not necessarily result in a product that meets the needs of the customer. In most cases, customers do not have enough expertise and experience to implement their own ideas. As such, clients will give specifications based on their level of understanding regardless of whether such specifications may completely fulfill their needs. As a total customer-centric business, it is critical to have the necessary expertise in the market to be able to diagnose the best solution that can best meet the customer’s needs and preferences (Payne & Frow, 2013). In some cases, it might be necessary to deviate a little from their specifications, by adding new ideas or doing away with others in order to create a product that meets the customer’s needs, and not necessarily their specifications. In doing so, however, it is important to consult the customers and let them understand why it is important to transform their ideas. Doing usability tests often and early can also play a huge role in evaluating whether the final product actually meets the customer’s needs.
Q6. Things That Can Be Done To Show Leadership without Position in a Customer-Focused Business
Customer-focused leadership is an organization-wide approach to customer service and satisfaction, resulting in customer advocacy and loyalty. In customer-focused business, one can show leadership even without a position, by doing the following things;
Committing to service excellence; Leadership without a position in a customer-focused business commits to customer excellence by acting in a way that demonstrates that superior service is of utmost importance. While rules and procedures are important, customer-oriented leaders continually lookout for ways of modifying business processes to make it easier for customers to do business with the organization.
Listening to the voice of the customer; Customer-focused leadership listens to the customers and continually aligns the system to what the customer needs. Listening to customers is made a day-to-day business practice.
Building and strengthening service partnerships; the first step towards becoming a customer-focused leader is to get it internally. Leaders in customer-focused organizations understand that ‘it is not my job’ attitude cannot lead to excellent customer service. As a result, such leaders always pursue mutual cooperation among people in different departments and functions as a way of delivering superior value to clients.
Measuring what is important; a customer-focused leader pays attention to the service performance that needs to be achieved. Typically, such leadership focuses on results rather than activities.
Q7. Role of the Customer in a Customer-Focused Environment
A customer is the recipient of a service, product, idea, or a good obtained from a supplier, seller, or vendor through a financial transaction for money or any other valuable transaction. Customer-focus entails continually satisfying customer needs and expectations through an emphasis on excellent customer service. In a customer-focused environment, the customer is considered the corner-stone of all business activities (Javed & Cheema, 2017). The customer is the organization’s source of cash flows and as such, firms must create excellent customer experiences that build long and strong relationships with them. In a customer-focused environment, a customer is not just seen as a ‘buyer’ but rather as an important business partner. Without the customer, there is no business. The customer, therefore, exists to shape how business is done and how service is offered. All activities and processes must be tailored to address customer needs and satisfaction.
Q8. Everything that a business does to keep its customers happy is called ________.
Q9. Which of the following is a positive example of an interdependent environment?
Leaders and employees pitching in to complete a project by the deadline
Q10. Which of the following statements are true concerning communication with customers?
MUST extend only to internal customers
Q11. Describe several ways that a business could leverage the loyalty of a customer. Provide an example within your response
Businesses can ensure continued success by leveraging customer loyalty. According to the Pareto Principle, 80% of a company’s future revenues result from 20% of the current customer base (Forbes Agency Council, 2018). It is, therefore, imperative to focus on creating loyal, repeat customers who will help drive sales for the company’s products and services. There are a number of ways a business can leverage customer loyalty. These include;
Living and breathing customer service; excellent customer service guarantees the clients of the company’s commitment to helping them solve their problems in the fastest way possible. For example, a business can create loyalty by answering the phone courteously, responding to queries left on social media platforms, and doing follow-ups.
Never letting the customers down; consistently delivering high-quality products and services as well as staying on top of trends can ensure that customers stick to the company. Such customers are certain that they can count on the business for their needs.
Being consistent and authentic; consistency is key in creating customer loyalty. Customers must be certain that a company will deliver the same excellent products and services over time. Additionally, they must be sure that if any issue comes up, it will be sorted out urgently.
Being responsive; Responsiveness is central to building strong brand loyalty. Customers need to feel that their issues are being responded to in a precise manner. For instance, if a customer sends a message on an email or social media, it is imperative to have their questions followed up as a way of maintaining trust and loyalty.
Q12. What are the Three Golden Rules for Small Businesses with respect to CRM?
Customer relationship management (CRM) encompasses the different aspects of sales, marketing, and service functions of businesses working together to create positive customer experiences. Companies are starting to realize that their strongest selling points boil down to treating and serving the customer as they wish to be treated or even better (Payne & Frow, 2013). It is in the area of CRM that small businesses can outdo their big competitors, sometimes even making customers pay more due to the service differential. The three golden rules for small businesses with respect to CRM are;
Golden Rule 1: Putting the customer first
Golden Rule 2: Staying close to customers
Golden Rule 3: paying attention to the details
Q13. Jonathon composes inspiring articles that encourage his readers to consider a variety of viewpoints. Jonathan is skilled in which method of communication
Q14. Explain the rationale for the total quality approach to doing business
Total quality is an approach to doing business where organizations attempt to maximize their competitiveness through continuous improvement of the quality of their services, people, products, environments, and processes. Typically, quality denotes the ability to meet or exceed customer expectations. Quality is an ever-changing state in the sense that what is seen as quality today may not necessarily be considered as quality tomorrow (Javed & Cheema, 2017). As a result, businesses must continually assess their customers’ needs and expectations and tailor their services and products to meet any new expectations. When the total quality approach is implemented effectively, the end results include superior value, global competitiveness, and organizational excellence. Total quality not only focuses on the results but also on the quality of processes and people. Key elements of total quality include customer focus, teamwork, strategically based processes, employee empowerment and involvement, scientific approach, long-term commitment, unity of purpose, and freedom through control. The total quality approach enables organizations to foster customer satisfaction, retention, and loyalty. Essentially, customer satisfaction is achieved by producing high-quality products that are able to meet or even exceed expectations. Customers’ needs must be known and understood by all employees in a business. However, these needs are not static. As a result, constant contact and improvement are essential. The total quality approach is, therefore, vital in promoting customer loyalty through enhanced customer service and satisfaction.
Q15. Describe the skills required in an employee who handles product returns. Write a one-paragraph response
Handling customer complaints, returns, and problems effectively is vital for customer service personnel. How a business deals with product returns can determine whether the customer will come back or not. Similarly, wrong handling of customer complaints and product returns may lead to bad-mouthing which might scare away potential customers. As a result, employees who handle product returns must possess some critical skills-set that enhance problem-solving, understanding, and foster relationships. These skills include; excellent two-way communication skills, problem-solving skills and helpful attitudes, and product knowledge and competency. Employees handling product returns must be able to foster excellent two-way communication with customers. Great customer service experience results from effective listening, followed by clear and articulate verbal messages. The ability to both listen to customer complaints and communicate precisely is a great skill needed for return clerks. Customers must never feel as if their concerns during product returns are being dismissed. Rather, employees handling them must possess a great deal of problem-solving skills and a positive attitude that guarantees continuity of healthy business relationships. The skill encompasses the ability to listen to customer’s problems, identify sources of conflict, and come up with alternative solutions. Handling product returns from customers’ demands that employees understand the products fully in order to effectively address any concerns raised. If the employee does not understand the product, it becomes difficult to confidently handle complaints.
Q16. Describe How Customer Service is a Source of Market Research and the Three Ways to Collect Market Research Information
Market research entails a set of techniques and methods used to gather information and better understand an organization’s target market and customer needs. Businesses use information obtained from market research to design their products, improve user experience, and craft a good marketing message that can improve conversion rates and attract quality leads. It is only by understanding customers’ needs that one can offer products and services that can achieve customer satisfaction (Bolton, 2016). Customer service is a powerful source of market research. Customer service representatives interact with customers on different levels, with customer complaints, reviews, and suggestions being key among these interactions. While customers are being offered services, they often highlight their expectations and needs. Similarly, customers may provide crucial information that can help businesses access their service delivery compared to that of competitors. The information provided by customers during reviews and complaints acts as important market research data that can be used to improve products and services.
The three common ways of collecting market research information include; surveys, interviews, and observation. Surveys can be implemented in different forms such as paper, telephone, online, or email surveys. Information collected from surveys is easy to analyze, making the method very common among entrepreneurs. Interviews can be done through face-to-face, phone, or online interactions. The target audience is asked the necessary questions, and the answers are analyzed. The observation method entails exploring the markets to monitor a certain trend. For instance, an entrepreneur may explore the retail market to monitor how competitors are operating. The information gathered can then be used to enhance business processes, products, and service delivery.
Bolton, R. N. (2016). Service excellence: creating customer experiences that build relationships. Business Expert Press
Davey, N. (2017). The Big Picture: How to Build a CRM Strategy. https://www.mycustomer.com/selling/crm/the-big-picture-how-to-build-a-crm-strategy
Forbes Agency Council (2018). 15 Ways to Increase Brand Loyalty and Retain Your Customer Base. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2018/03/12/15-ways-to-increase-brand-loyalty-and-retain-your-customer-base/#7d7b0f267733
Javed, F., & Cheema, S. (2017). Customer satisfaction and customer perceived value and its impact on customer loyalty: the mediational role of customer relationship management. The Journal of Internet Banking and Commerce, 1-14.
Payne, A., & Frow, P. (2013). Strategic customer management: Integrating relationship marketing and CRM. Cambridge University Press.