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Michael Casey

Pressing Ahead

By Michael Casey

About Michael

Michael Casey is the founder of Survey Advantage and strategic partner with several printer associations and franchises. By leveraging information from a printer’s estimation and production software, Mike’s business has helped hundreds of printers automate their customer feedback and lead generation process. He may be reached via e-mail or (401) 560-0311 ext. 103. Read printer case studies on the Survey Advantage Website.
 

Why CSR Frank Is So Good

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Last week I needed customer service/tech support from a business. Boy is Frank good. No wonder his employer has been around since 1909. They hire quality people who care.

Before jumping into why Frank is so good, I want to share the treatment I received from about 50 printers I called last week. I was following up after a Webinar I gave and was amazed at the greeting encounters I had with these printers.

I could just feel the culture flowing through the phone lines when they answered. Many did a great job making me feel unique and special right out of the gate without judging if I was a cold caller. Others asked a few qualifying questions to see if I was worthy of a transfer. Others did not let me get past go no matter what I said. They were jaded and disrespectful toward me.

Also, once I connected with the person I saw the same pattern as from the gate keeper. The reaction was either one of warmth, respect and openness, or one of judging, drilling me and shoring me up quickly.

Anyone that does cold calling for a living knows this story well. Companies need to be careful not to judge before giving anyone calling the business. Some of those people calling just may be a prospect, or may be able to help your business grow!

Now back to the Frank story. I have retractable ladder in my garage and the spring assembly let go. At the bottom of this 20 year old ladder there was a caution sign with 11 tips on installing and maintaining it, complete with diagrams and pictures. All on a well designed 5x6˝ red sticker. Someone at American Stairway took the time to think like a customer.

I guess I could have gone on the Internet to find the part needed, but I felt like calling this morning and the red sticker had the phone number in bold. How inviting! I had a few questions and felt like speaking to someone, so I decided to reach out the old way by calling the business instead of texting or e-mailing.

At 8:05 a.m., after one ring, I had Frank on the line. He was such a down to earth person who just wanted to help. Also he knew his stuff.

After explaining that I needed a spring assembly, he asked some questions and took the time to explain why there was a problem in the first place and what to do so it did not happen again. That was a surprise since my expectation was that they wouldn’t sell parts separately or that he would just take the order. Instead, Frank wanted me to know why it broke so I could take care of the spring on the other side and maintain the latter better in the future. The red sticker said this, but what American reads the directions? Germans, Yes. Americans, No.

Frank said he could send out the assembly right away for $17.50 plus $15 shipping. The company took credit cards and in 10 minutes it was done. Perfect. The order came in as expected within a week.

Why Frank was so good.

1) He did not judge and was totally other centered throughout the entire call.

2) He was humble and just asked the right questions to figure out what I needed.

3) He was efficient and explained the entire process as he guided me.

4) He went the extra mile without me even asking, adding those few extra tips that made me feel unique and special, and not like just another number.

5) He was trustworthy and I felt I was talking to the owner at the company. Maybe I was? (Think about your CSRs. In the customer’s eyes, they are the CEO.)

6) He demonstreated credibility with his questions and answers.

7) We got along. I felt we had a rapport.

Don’t underestimate the power of customer service and your customer-facing team members. They can make or break you.
 

Industry Centers:

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COMMENTS

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Most Recent Comments:
john polvino - Posted on January 31, 2011
Ok--so on one hand you are calling and soliciting and then reinforcing it with a story of being the "buyer". I'm not certain I see the connection here. But, never mind that. Let's talk on cold calling. None of us like making or receiving cold calls. I make them today, and I get them hourly it seems. Rule 1 on cold calls--stop and i mean STOP using subterfuge to get though. Name, company and if asked why you are calling. Do it every day and pretty soon the "gatekeeper" will help you along. If you met me--say so. If I was at your webinar--say so. Otherwise, follow rule #1 and take your chances like all the rest of poor slobs who do this for a living. Maybe, you could try sending a letter out--a real one with a real stamp. Yes it's costly--way more than email and way harder too. I appreciate all that. But one really well written letter will certainly make your cold calls less cold. Good points CSRs and the value they have in any company. I still am not sure how it relates to handling the ever present "cold caller". We should be treated and treat others with respect and courtesy for sure. But there is a line...
David - Posted on January 31, 2011
I sympathize with your treatment while calling companies, but it would be irresponsible of me to speak with each of, or even most of, the people that call me during a day. Much time would be wasted. Worse are those that just want to set up a time to "tell me more about their company" or "learn more about your company's goals" and other vagaries. If you are selling, you should tell me clearly what your value proposition is, or we won't talk. It has been years since I had a potential customer call without identifying themselves as such. If you were to call back some of the companies that rejected you and identify yourself as a potential customer my guess is that the reception and "culture" you detect would be quite different. Like our customers, we are all busy trying to do more with less. A healthy respect for the people we are calling on is absolutely required if we are to get an opportunity to present ourselves and our solutions to them. If we waste their time, we are doomed.
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Archived Comments:
john polvino - Posted on January 31, 2011
Ok--so on one hand you are calling and soliciting and then reinforcing it with a story of being the "buyer". I'm not certain I see the connection here. But, never mind that. Let's talk on cold calling. None of us like making or receiving cold calls. I make them today, and I get them hourly it seems. Rule 1 on cold calls--stop and i mean STOP using subterfuge to get though. Name, company and if asked why you are calling. Do it every day and pretty soon the "gatekeeper" will help you along. If you met me--say so. If I was at your webinar--say so. Otherwise, follow rule #1 and take your chances like all the rest of poor slobs who do this for a living. Maybe, you could try sending a letter out--a real one with a real stamp. Yes it's costly--way more than email and way harder too. I appreciate all that. But one really well written letter will certainly make your cold calls less cold. Good points CSRs and the value they have in any company. I still am not sure how it relates to handling the ever present "cold caller". We should be treated and treat others with respect and courtesy for sure. But there is a line...
David - Posted on January 31, 2011
I sympathize with your treatment while calling companies, but it would be irresponsible of me to speak with each of, or even most of, the people that call me during a day. Much time would be wasted. Worse are those that just want to set up a time to "tell me more about their company" or "learn more about your company's goals" and other vagaries. If you are selling, you should tell me clearly what your value proposition is, or we won't talk. It has been years since I had a potential customer call without identifying themselves as such. If you were to call back some of the companies that rejected you and identify yourself as a potential customer my guess is that the reception and "culture" you detect would be quite different. Like our customers, we are all busy trying to do more with less. A healthy respect for the people we are calling on is absolutely required if we are to get an opportunity to present ourselves and our solutions to them. If we waste their time, we are doomed.