Archive for May, 2012

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Move Benefits are independent employee and affinity benefits consultants.

They are experts in employee benefits strategy and implementation through the provision of innovative corporate and flexible benefit solutions as well as affordable voluntary benefit schemes.

Their extensive range of services include but are not limited to:-

  • Independent Benefits Consultancy
  • Group and Corporate Benefits
  • Affinity and Member Benefits
  • Flexible Benefits
  • Voluntary Benefits
  • Automotive Benefits
  • Pensions
  • Auto Enrolment Compliance
  • Insurance
  • Recruitment
  • Employment Law
  • Health and Safety
  • & much more

Call them on 0114 304 9050 for a no obligation discussion about your specific requirements.

As a member of The Fruit Tree Business Growth Club, I am delighted to have been asked to provide some input in the ‘Learn’ part of the networking meetings held in Sheffield, Doncaster and Leeds.

The first of these will be in Doncaster on 24 May 2012 and will be about ‘Understanding Communication’.  Learn why people communicate the way they do and use that knowledge to avoid conflict and build better relationships. This will be followed at a later date with a session on ‘Understanding Body Language’.

The Fruit Tree is an excellent business networking group that focuses not only on meeting like-minded business people but in providing educational sessions which help members improve their business.

It’s not about selling to one another.  It’s about developing relationships, increasing the awareness of each others business and, ultimately, establishing how you can help each other to grow.

Without doubt the most cost-effective and direct route to new clients is through ‘word of mouth’ marketing i.e. get someone you know to refer you.  After all, it doesn’t cost anything to ‘have a word’, your potential client hears good things about you before you meet and so the chances of converting the prospect to a client is much higher (and cheaper) than most other forms of marketing.

I am looking forward to providing some information to help my business colleagues to improve their communication skills and build better relationships.

We are delighted to announce that we have been successful in our bid to win a 12 month contract with Sheffield City Council to provide development and delivery of training for staff in their centralised contact centre.

In October/November 2011, we delivered some courses to staff at the Council’s contact centre in Customer Care, Workplace Coaching and Team leading. This was supplemented in January 2012 with similar courses for managers and staff from a variety of departments.

In March this year, along with other suppliers, we were invited to bid for a contract as a Senior Training Provider to develop and deliver training for staff engaged in the Council’s Customer First program.

Having recently been notified that our bid has been successful, we are looking forward to continuing our work with the Council to develop and deliver training to staff who work in the Council’s telephone contact centre and at the First Point enquiry offices.

Training will also involve the Council’s partner agencies and is aimed at supporting a continuing commitment to meet and exceed the Customer First standards, providing excellent customer service to the citizens of Sheffield.

Read more about Sheffield City Council

Read more about Crucible Learning and Development

Good customer service is the lifeblood of any business. You can offer promotions and slash prices to bring in as many new customers as you want, but unless you can get some of those customers to come back, your business won’t be profitable for long.

Good customer service is all about bringing customers back. And about sending them away happy – happy enough to pass positive feedback about your business along to others, who may then try the product or service you offer for themselves and in their turn become repeat customers.

If you’re a good salesperson, you can sell anything to anyone once. But it will be your approach to customer service that determines whether or not you’ll ever be able to sell that person anything else.

The essence of good customer service is forming a relationship with customers – a relationship that that individual customer feels that he would like to pursue. How do you go about forming such a relationship? By remembering the one true secret of good customer service and acting accordingly; “You will be judged by what you do, not what you say.”

Providing good customer service IS a simple thing. If you truly want to have good customer service, all you have to do is ensure that your business consistently does these things:

1) Answer your phone. Get call forwarding. Or an answering service. Hire staff if you need to. But make sure that someone is picking up the phone when someone calls your business. (Notice I say “someone”. People who call want to talk to a live person, not a fake “recorded robot”.)

2) Don’t make promises unless you will keep them. Not plan to keep them. Will keep them. Reliability is one of the keys to any good relationship, and good customer service is no exception. If you say, “Your new bedroom furniture will be delivered on Tuesday”, make sure it is delivered on Tuesday. Otherwise, don’t say it. The same rule applies to client appointments, deadlines, etc.. Think before you give any promise – because nothing annoys customers more than a broken one.

3) Listen to your customers. Is there anything more exasperating than telling someone what you want or what your problem is and then discovering that that person hasn’t been paying attention and needs to have it explained again? From a customer’s point of view, I doubt it. Forget the sales pitches and the product babble. Let your customer talk and show them that you are listening by making the appropriate responses, such as suggesting how to solve the problem.

4) Deal with complaints. No one likes hearing complaints, and many of us have developed a reflex shrug, saying, “You can’t please all the people all the time”. Maybe not, but if you give the complaint your attention, you may be able to please this one person this one time – and position your business to reap the benefits of good customer service.

5) Be helpful – even if there’s no immediate profit in it. The other day I popped into a local jewellers shop because I had lost the small piece that clips the pieces of my watch strap together. When I explained the problem, the proprietor said that he thought he might have one lying around. He found it, attached it to my watch strap – and charged me nothing! Where do you think I’ll go when I need a new watch strap or even a new watch? And how many people do you think I’ve told this story to?

6) Train your staff  to be always helpful, courteous, and knowledgeable.  Talk to them about good customer service and what it is (and isn’t) regularly. Most importantly, give every member of your staff enough information and power to make those small customer-pleasing decisions, so he never has to say, “I don’t know, but so-and-so will be back at…”

7) Take the extra step. For instance, if someone walks into your store and asks you to help them find something, don’t just say, “It’s in Aisle 3”. Lead the customer to the item. Better yet, wait and see if he has questions about it, or further needs. Whatever the extra step may be, if you want to provide good customer service, take it. They may not say so to you, but people notice when people make an extra effort and will tell other people.

8) Throw in something extra. Whether it’s a coupon for a future discount, additional information on how to use the product, or a genuine smile, people love to get more than they thought they were getting. And don’t think that a gesture has to be large to be effective.

If you apply these eight simple rules consistently, your business will become known for its good customer service. And the best part? The irony of good customer service is that over time it will bring in more new customers than promotions and price slashing ever did!


The vast majority of people will not return to a company they have left due to poor customer service under any circumstances, new research has revealed.


A study released today (3 May) by employee engagement agency Involve found that 79% of Britons have never been persuaded to re-join an organisation after deciding to end their association.

Even financial incentives from firms do not work very often, with just 8% of the 2,000 individuals questioned admitted being won back with a discount or a better deal.

Over promise and under deliver ….the most likely reason for leaving an organisation was found to be when people had found there was a significant discrepancy between the services they were promised and what they actually received, with 68% of respondents indicating this to be the case.

Jeremy Starling, managing director at Involve, said that while companies should be “heartened” by the fact most customers will not leave the first time they experience a problem, they will if attitude of their customer services personnel is poor.

How good is your customer service? How do you know? Do you really talk to your customers and find out what they want and if your service meets their expectations?

Communication is the key and people make the difference when it comes to good service.