Happy New Year!
Each year we, as individuals, profess a litany of resolutions that we believe we can achieve. And most fall by the wayside - pretty quickly. I personally have decided to curb my enthusiasm for, shall we say, “blue” language. I have an English degree and should be more eloquent, even when I’m just sitting here at home talking to my cats or the TV.
I don’t want to make resolutions for Your Gal Friday. Instead, I just want to remind everyone of our Commitment to you this year (and every year!).
Honesty - We’re always going to be honest with you with our capabilities. I have had several people contact me, asking for services that I just can’t provide. We’d love to be able to help everyone, but it’s just not possible. We won’t like and try to fake it. That’s not cool, and it’s not helpful.
Helpfulness - We are here to help you. We want to make your life easier. We want you to succeed. When you succeed, we succeed. And we think that’s awesome. In those times when we don’t know what we’re doing, we’ll tell you. And then we’ll help you try to locate the right person to help you. We are connected with SO MANY wonderful, smart, brilliant, talented people that we would be happy to refer to you. We’re going to do whatever we can to get solve your problems.
Hardworking - We’re busting our butts to get your work done, on time, quickly and affordably. We’ll continue to stay in touch. We’ll continue to ask questions as we need to. We’ll continue to find better ways to help you succeed.
We’re committed to making your 2019 a fantastic year for your business. We appreciate you allowing us into your business lives, and we look forward to meeting new entrepreneurs and business owners who are ready to take the next step to grow their businesses.
~The Your Gal Friday Team
This JUST HAPPENED and I wanted to get it all out there while it was fresh in my brain, because it's important.
I want to take a quick moment to talk about customer service. GOOD customer service. The kind that makes you want to continue giving your hard earned dollars to a business. Here's how I spent the past hour or so of my day:
1. Siding guy bumps AT&T NID box while working and a couple of wires come loose - Uverse/Internet is down.
2. He tries to fix, can't, and tells me to call someone to come and fix and he'll pay for it because it was his fault. (That's GOOD customer service.)
3. I call AT&T U-verse support and spend about 15 minutes waiting for the girl to reach the service people. She tells me it'll be $149 someone can come out - on June 11. (Yeah, five days later) (That's BAD customer service.)
4. I'm usually pretty patient with customer service, because, well - I get it. But I was starting to get peeved. She somehow manages to find a Saturday appointment. (Three days later.) (Still BAD customer service in my book.)
5. I ask - can't someone just TELL me how to put the wires back in. No. It's a "specialist" that has to do it.
6. Siding guy decides to call AT&T because he's mad about it, too. (That's GOOD customer service.) He doesn't get anywhere with them either.
7. Siding guy takes time to search the Internet, finds a You Tube video that shows him what to do, and Voila! Here I am back online. (That's GOOD customer service.)
All AT&T had to do was get someone on the phone to tell us how to insert two wires back into the box. It literally was all of a couple of seconds of work. I would have been happy. The siding guy would have been happy. And AT&T would have been happy because they would have (A) helped a customer, (B) saved a service guy a trip out for two seconds of work, and (C) shown what good customer service is all about.
Look, I know that poop happens, and fixes aren't immediate. But when you have the opportunity to help - a simple, easy help - by all means, HELP. Sure, you didn't get $149, but you would have gained a customer that would be with you for the long haul. Now, I'm not so sure.
The holiday season is ramping up, which means the interaction between customers and customer service reps is also going to be ramping up. Questions need answering, problems need solving. How customers interact with service reps can make or break their shopping experience, and how service reps deal with customers can make or break a company. Here are some tips for each to ensure happier and more successful interactions.
You, the Customer
Understand what you want before you reach out to customer service. Reps are there to help, but remember, they’re not there to have personal conversations with you and hear your life story. They have many people they are trying to help. Know the reason for your call/email/tweet/post and be succinct when explaining. If they need more details, they’ll ask. Remember, you might be that person waiting on the line while someone else is explaining their life story - and you know waiting doesn’t feel good!
Watch your language. If you think you’re going to do nothing but swear and unload on the person at the other end of the call - don’t make that call. They don’t deserve that. Remember, they didn’t sell you the product. They didn’t make the product. They didn’t accidentally charge your card. They didn’t screw up your order. They are there when something does go wrong and they are there to help. Treat them with respect.
Escalate the problem only when it’s necessary - and then, do it politely. Service reps follow scripts. If X happens, you do Y. They don’t have any decision-making authority. They can’t just “refund your money” or “send you a new one” unless it’s part of their script. If you don’t feel you’ve gotten a proper answer, or would like to see a different outcome, you can ask the service rep to escalate the problem. ASK. Don’t DEMAND. If you’re so angry that you don’t know how to ask, use this: [insert service person’s name], I appreciate what you’re telling me, but I think I’d like to speak with a service manager or director now. Can you connect me or give me the proper contact information so I can do this?
You, the Service Rep
Don’t take the anger personally. The customer calling is mad. And, unfortunately, you have to take that call. They will swear at you. They will yell. They will blame you for everything. But you can’t take it personally. All you can do is stay calm and help. They’re at a point where they are frustrated and feeling like the company doesn’t care. So when they reach you, they feel the need to lash out. It’s not about you. If they have to vent, they will vent. And then you can begin to help them.
Always be a problem solver. The worst thing a customer hears when they reach out to customer support is “I don’t know.” Instead of saying that, you can say “I haven’t come across this problem, but I want to check with my team/manager to find out more so that I can get you an answer.” That’s all they want - an answer, and they’ll be willing to hold on the line for it.
You, the Company
Train your service reps. When customers contact you, they are looking for someone with knowledge. They want a welcoming voice or message. They want to know that they’re being heard. Ensure that your service reps are training on your CSR software, that they have specific scripts and responses for repetitive questions and problems, and that they know and understand your policies and your escalation process.
Have multiple forms of customer service contact. Customers are engaging more and more over social media rather than a simple phone call. Make sure you have customer service reps that can respond to Facebook posts and Twitter tweets as well as by phone, email and website chat. The more ways you can show your customers how accessible you are, the more pleased they’ll be with using your services and products.
It was around 10:30 on a Saturday night and I was looking for some new software. Yes, that is my excitement for a Saturday night!
I came across a website that sold software that fit what I needed. I was browsing, did a slight scroll down, and read the big sale statement. And right there, in an exceptionally large font size - a spelling error. A very glaring error.
Some people would not have noticed. Those that would see it would just ignore it.
But not me.
I can’t move beyond it. So I do the only thing that I can do. I send them an email and point out the error.
And it strikes me as a bit funny. Because this is something I’ve done my whole life. And honestly, it usually isn’t met with much gladness by others. No one likes to have their mistakes pointed out.
Last month I emailed another website. They were selling a course, but the expiration date had already passed. Again, I emailed and let them know they needed to update it.
I’m not trying to be mean or critical. It’s just what I do. If there’s a mistake, I want to see it fixed. And I realize that people are busy and rushed, and those two things are a combination for making errors. We all get to that point.
And for these websites I come across, they’re going to get emails from me, and they are not going to like me.
But, if you’re one of my clients, you’re going to love that I do this. Because I’m going to do everything I can to make sure you look your best.
We are all consumers. And as consumers, we are all looking for the best that we can have. (At least, the best that we can have with the income that we currently have!) We want to make sure we’re eating the best food, getting the best medical care, having our children go to the best schools. And we, as business owners, want to hire the best workers for our business.
But are we really getting the best?
Decades ago, when I was just a youthful college student, I got a job working at a now-defunct warehouse club. And during my training, they talked to us about the products they were selling. They had plenty of name-brand labels, but they also had the store brand alternatives.
For most people, the best of those products was the name-brand label. Because that’s what advertising has told us is the best. Most people wouldn’t even think of buying of store brand. But the fact is, the food that was in the warehouse club’s packing was the same food that was in the name-brand that they were selling. Back at the name-brand factory, they just switch out the containers from Name Brand to Warehouse Club, and continue the filling process.
So, we don’t always know what the best is going to be. But we are definitely led to believe what the best is. And the same thing happens when you look at hiring a virtual assistant. (Pretty cool how I switched from food to virtual assistants, huh?)
If you do a search online for hiring a virtual assistant, or, let’s say we want to be more local and search hire a US virtual assistant, you are going to get a pages upon pages of companies, solo workers, and articles which all talk about the best.
We are the best for you because….
We are better than anyone else because….
We’re so great, we’re featured in….
Pick any site. You’ll see all the claims. But, let’s face it. Everyone can’t be the best. It reminds me of a quote by Syndrome from the movie The Incredibles:
“When everyone’s super, no one will be.”
So, what are you supposed to do?
My research will always start with the website. A website can tell A LOT about someone, long before you speak with them. Are there spelling errors? Are there coding/design errors? Does the website look professional to you? If you’re hiring a web designer and their website is a free Wix site - that tells you A LOT.
Another part of a website I review deeply is the “As Seen In” section. So many people say, look at us, we were in USA Today, or CBS.com. Okay - prove it. There should be a link that connects you to the article on this other site. Otherwise, we could all say, we’re so great, we were featured on the front page of the NY Times. Prove it!
I also like to check out the review or testimonial section, if available. Are there reviews? And if so, are the reviews from credible, named sources? Do they all tout this virtual assistant as the absolute best?
You deserve the best team member for your company. Not just someone that tells you they’re the best. Take the time to do your research and find the virtual assistant that works out the best for you.
If you’re wondering if Your Gal Friday is the best virtual assistant for you, please contact us here at Your Gal Friday and we’ll talk about it!
25+ years of business experience. 12+ years of virtual experience.