Category Archives: Wowing your Customers

Choosing a service provider for you home or business

As a homeowner, it is very common to find yourself in need of a service provider to perform tasks that you don’t have the time or skill to do yourself.  Whether you are in search of a painter, plumber or even someone to hang your Christmas lights, finding someone to perform the needed service at the time and cost that you need can be a daunting task.

Recently, I was looking for a painter, as well as someone to clean out our fireplace.  For the painting job, I had two different companies come out to give me a quote.  The men who arrived were vastly different from one another.  The first could best be described asbusiness, composition, creativity “old school.”  He was an older gentleman who used paper, pen and a calculator to jot down the measurements in the kitchen.  He was obviously not trying to sell me anything, simply took down the information he needed and gave me just the facts regarding the job at hand.  He told me he would email the quote as he got everything calculated.  The second man was a born salesman.  He played with my son, made jokes and told me all about the charitable work his company does.  He used an iPad to take down the information and was able to give me a quote right after he plugged in the calculations.  Verdict?  I actually preferred the first guy.  His quote ended up being significantly less than the second guy and I appreciated that he a no-nonsense sort of person.  While I enjoyed speaking with the second guy, I was not looking for a friend; I just needed someone who could come in and get the job done quickly, and do it well.  It was a bonus that he would cost less, although as you’ll find from my fireplace search, this is not the most important factor.

When we turned on our gas fireplace this year, we were disappointed to find that there were no flames.  While my husband is capable of doing many things around the house, bioethanol burner, burner, ecofriendlydealing with a gas line is not one we were willing to risk messing up.  I called around to several different service locations and was able to speak with three people from whom I got quotes.  Each place quoted a different amount, and while my initial tendency was to go with the cheapest option, after speaking to the man at the most expensive place, I decided that was going to be our best bet, and here’s why:  the two cheaper places simply gave me numbers; I asked for how much it would cost, they found out where I lived and gave me a quote.  However, the third guy took a little more time to assess the situation.  He asked what kind of fireplace we had and some more questions about how it operated.  He listened to the problem we were having and gave some suggestions as to how we could fix it on our own.  When I explained that my husband had been working on it and I was just making the phone calls, he gave me his name and offered to walk my husband through some troubleshooting tips over the phone when we had time.  So when it came time to choose which company we wanted to use, we obviously felt that the third company, while more expensive, would take the time to make sure we were completely satisfied and we were confident that the work they did would be solid.  It was worth it to shell out a few extra bucks, because in return we were receiving peace of mind that the job would be done right.

Companies like this fireplace company, as well as Royal Services, never claim to be the cheapest.  But they stand behind their extra cost, offering you the added service of contact with a human being who will go above and beyond to ensure you are satisfied with the service you receive.

Have you experienced a company who has gone above and beyond, and have you been willing to pay more it?  Tell us about it in the comments below!

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When it comes to customer service, these guys are winning.

 

Consolidated Communications – Our local cable company here in Overland Park, Kansas. These guys provide incredible customer service, are very receptive to feedback, have lightning fast response times, and deliver a very high quality product. Also, theyImage result for cable television have great promotions for new and existing customers, and go above and beyond to make your experience as positive as possible. This is especially nice as this is an industry in which I have experienced some very poor companies over the years, and am so happy to be with Consolidated.

ADP – We started using ADP to run our small business monthly payroll back in April 2010 and have been very impressed with them ever since. The customer service and portal are incredible, but the thing that I really appreciate is that they were able to customize a program to meet the needs of our small corporation. They are a huge organization, but they treat me uniquely, and go out of their way to make sure that we are taken care of and not boxed into using something that doesn’t meet our needs.

Sprint – These are one of the biggest employers in our community, and I have many friends that work there. Supporting a local company definitely plays a part in my decision, but the most important items are the exceptional customer service, great coverage which is constantly improving, and flexibility with services and pricing to meet my family’s needs. There is the ability to own or lease phones, great programs such as I-Phones for life, and they are constantly releasing new concepts.

Amazon  I am always amazed that a company of this size, with such a large number of employees, manages to offer amazing customer service each and every time I need it.  When something goes wrong with an order (which is rare), they always take care of the issue and go above and beyond to make it right, even if it was not their fault.

Southwest Airlines – Very few changes to flights means more convenience for travelers, lots of direct flights, great rewards program with Rapid Rewards, bags travel for free, Transfarency with no hidden costs, but most importantly is the company culture and the incredible employees who make flying with SWA such an enjoyable experience. Personally, I really appreciate the transparency with things and the flexibility that they provide to their passengers. Last month, I had a flight booked with SWA but when I went online I was able to find the flight at a lower cost. There was no charge to cancel and rebook, and the refund hit my account within 24 hours. These guys put the customer  first in every decision that they make.

My Doctor – This obviously is a huge decision in everyone’s life. I am so lucky to have such an incredible medical professional who listens and treats me as an individual, takes the time to make sure that my needs have been met, displays an incredible knowledge of her content, and shows genuine interest, rather than just doing what a textbook tells her to. She is extremely compassionate and has a great bedside manner which makes me feel very comfortable when visiting her.  I occasionally have to wait a little longer than expected, but I know this is because she is giving all of her attention to the patient she is with, and I can expect the same when I am in her office.

State Farm – my family do a lot of business with State Farm including auto insurance, home insurance, personal property, life insurance, 529 college savings funds, andstate-farm-logo personal retirement accounts. We have been with the same insurance agent for the past 4 years as he is reliable, honest, trustworthy, knowledgeable, dependable and always there when we need him. However, the thing that sold us on the front end was the fact that instead of just throwing a policy at us to make a quick buck, he took the time to get to know us, asked questions about our dreams and aspirations, and customized a program that would meet our needs and allow us to achieve our financial and personal goals.

Real estate agent – We found our Realtor by chance as we visited an open house, but her low pressure approach, knowledge, and outgoing personality made it an easy decision for us. She was able to get asking price for our place as well as negotiating on our behalf for our new home. She was always there for us during the process, which was especially helpful for myself, as I was the primary decision maker. The thing that has really impressed us with Megan is that she was not just after the sale, but was, and is still keen to develop a long lasting relationship.  Almost 3 years after purchasing our home, we still receive a newsletter and fun gift frequently, and now socialize with Megan and her family when our schedules allow!

Cantina Laredo – My husband and I stumbled across this little slice of heaven while in Branson, MO, celebrating my birthday. After quickly reading some online reviews, I Image result for cantina laredo branson modecided that this would be perfect venue for our family to celebrate this special day. From the moment we walked in we were taken care of by every member of the team. Eli, our sever, was spectacular. His knowledge and tenacity, combined with his outgoing personality and sense of humor created the perfect atmosphere for this occasion. Definitely worth a visit if you are ever in the area and hungry for some excellent Mexican cuisine!

Go through each of the qualities listed above and see how many of them you and your company are currently doing, you might surprise yourself! Qualities such as being knowledgeable, diligent, trustworthy, honest, and understanding have allowed Royal Services to evolve into one of the nation’s leading facility maintenance companies, and we hope that these ideas will help you take your company to the next level.

Make sure you and your team are not only attracting new customers, but also retaining those that you already have. New customer acquisition is much more expensive and much less enjoyable than taking care of your existing clients.

Customer Service Checklist

And here we go again…

Any veteran Expect The Exceptional reader out there will know that customer service is one of the most common topics discussed. This could be because in so many businesses,  customer service is dying as a focus on short term profits overpowers building customers for life. Today we take a look at things from the business owner’s side of things and provide you with an editable template that can be used to evaluate your team and their treatment of your clients.

One of the best pieces of advice that I can provide to business owners is to set the expectations for superior customer service from the very first moment that you interact with your candidates. Throughout your entire business there needs to be a consistent message of how crucial your patrons are to your business. This information needs to be present in job ads, needs to be addressed in the interview process, and should be a key component of your training process, weekly meetings, and work reviews.

The following checklist should be a good start to getting your customer service up to the levels you desire if you aren’t currently there. Please modify as required to make this more applicable to your individual business. This checklist can be used for quarterly reviews with your team, and you can also get a little more complex if you wish to create some quantitative metrics. This will allow you to compare employees across your network, and will also give you valuable data that can be used for training and evaluations.

Check out some of

  • Customer Interaction 
    • Greets customers in a friendly and professional manner at all times
    • Services all customers the same regardless of their age or appearance.
    • Makes suggestions based on customer comments.
    • Makes eye contact with customers.
    • Appears engaged and interested in what the customer is telling them.
    • Minimizes any wait time.
  • Brand Awareness
    • Confidently explains the company’s products and services.
    • Has a good working knowledge of the company’s goals and objective
    • Is able to explain the features and benefits of each product.
    • Understands how to match specific products and services with particular customer needs.
    • Shows a passion and enjoyment of the company’s products and purpose
    • Goes above and beyond to demonstrate your competitive advantage over your competitors
  • Diffusing difficult situations
    • Acts within the chain of command in conflict situations
    • Understands who can authorize actions or changes
    • Remains calm during conflict situations
    • Acts to diffuse or alleviate the situation
    • Applies best practices effectively and offers different problem-solving options to customers to ensure they are pleased with the outcome of their interaction with your business
    • Resolves customer service issues in a fair and equitable manner
  • Attitude and behavior
    • Displays professionalism in their appearance, timeliness and interaction with customers
    • Is a team player who is prepared to listen to and help their colleagues
    • Shows an interest in wanting to continue their education and excel further in their position

You could also collect comment cards from your customers, or have them submit a simple online survey after an interaction with your business. This is usually very helpful as typically it is the customers at both ends of the satisfaction spectrum that will take the time to provide feedback, whether it be good or bad. All of this data is extremely valuable and can be used to steer your ship in the direction you desire.

This might sound daunting if your business is not currently known for it’s excellent customer service, but this is something that can be changed. This will also allow you to differentiate your business and take your immediate revenue and long term success to new levels. Now what are you waiting for? Get out there and start making changes today!

Have any customer service tips that set your business apart from the competition? Have a favorite business who take exceptional care of their customers? Please share them in the comment box below.

Our personal favorite here at #ExpectTheExceptional is Southwest Airlines. These guys are pioneers in their field, aren’t prepared to go against the grain, and put their customers at the top of every priority list they create. The company culture is incredible as any of you who have flown with Southwest will attest.

Company culture at Southwest Airlines

Until next week, be safe, make the most of every opportunity that comes your way, and Expect the Exceptional in everything that you do.

 

 

 

Taking Ownership

Recently, I ordered some headbands on Amazon.  As my hairstyle of choice has been ponytail lately, and I occasionally like to be active, I thought some nice headbands to hold my hair back, as well as collect sweat if I’m doing something particularly strenuous, would be a nice item to have.  I read the reviews on Amazon, as I always do, and ended up choosing this particular brand because of the mostly 5 star reviews; the only low star reviews were about how tight they are, and my head isn’t huge, so I thought this would not affect me at all.  Upon receiving them, I realized I probably should have paid a little bit more attention to those negative reviews!  The bands were so tight that they slipped right off the back of my head after wearing them for only a few minutes.  I even tried using clips to keep them in place, but this did not work either.  So I packaged them up to return them, and also left an honest review of my experience on Amazon.  The next day I had an email from the headband company.  I hoped that they were informing me that they had made changes in production, or had a different option I could try, but it was nothing like that.  They said they saw my review on Amazon and my plans to return the headbands and they offered to refund half my money, as well as let me keep the headbands.  They worded it as though they were looking out for me, as Amazon would make me pay shipping for the return and they were here to save me the hassle of returns!  I declined, however, as I knewbuying-stars that Amazon would cover the shipping and I would just end up throwing the bands in the trash if I kept them.  They responded that they would look into offering me a full refund, if only I would “consider the review” I left. I asked them to clarify, and basically, they said they will give me my money back if I will change my review.  What?  That certainly should not be how reviews work.  I purchased these headbands based upon positive reviews; were they all paid for?
I contacted Amazon and they said they would “investigate” as this is against their policies.

This long, drawn-out situation was over HEADBANDS.  The company could not even take ownership of a faulty product as small as a headband.  So what about companies that are hired to do much, much bigger things, like build a house?  Or rollout new display cases over hundreds of stores?  Can you imagine the nightmare you would be in if that company acted like the headband company?  “Sorry we sealed a raccoon into your roof.  We’re going to leave it there, but would you consider giving us a positive review anyway?”   Hiring a company to take on a big project can be a stressful ordeal.  You need to consider quality, cost and time and if you’re like me, you will also pore over online reviews for hours.  The last thing you want is to invest a ton of money into a project only to have a mediocre finished project, or worse, a project that is not finished at all.

But mistakes happen; the people working for you are only human, after all.  The important thing is that they take responsibility for any mistakes that are made, take ownership of the originally agreed upon cost of services, and do their very best to make sure you are completely happy at the end of the day.

I’m sure everyone has a story about a project gone bad, either for your home or business.  From projects that take months too long, to end results that are dangerous for the home or business owner, it’s always a gamble when you begin working with a company who you have never worked with before.  Thanks to the wide world of the internet, we are lucky enough to be able to research the heck out of a company before hiring them on.  If you are thinking of hiring a new project management or facility maintenance company, Royal Services actually encourages potential clients to speak with current partners about their experiences.  They are so confident in the work that they do and the high-quality service they provide,  they know you will be impressed with the feedback you receive.   Royal Services has five key pillars that they stand by, the first of which is Ownership.

Assume accountability for completion of all steps and ensure the best outcome for our clients through planning and execution.

As a business owner, you know the risks involved in a big project.  Don’t hire a company who refuses to stand behind their finished product!  Find a company who is with you even after the job is complete, truly standing by everything that they do.

Honesty in sales SHOULD be the norm

When you work in retail, or any service industry, it is easy to forget why you are there.  In high school, I worked at Victoria’s Secret.  It was a fun job, but like most retail locations, it did become a little repetitive.  Day after day, I refolded the same table of underwear that people continuously destroyed.  Occasionally I had the pleasure of helping a man who was looking for – it pains me to even type this word – “panties” (ick!) for his wife.  Don’t get me wrong – I loved helping those men!  Especially the older ones; it made me feel happy that the love was still alive after many years of marriage.  But since I brought it up, here is a public service announcement: Men, please, I beg you – do NOT use the “p” word.  It is gross.  But I digress.  The point is, I would at times forget that the reason I was working there was to help people with their shopping and make sales.  I’ve never been great at sales; I actually realized that at VS when a young college student came in looking for a teddy for a gag gift.  I could not stomach selling him a $75 piece of lingerie for a GAG when the man could have gone to Walmart to get something for ten!  I also had the “pleasure” of working at a for-profit university as an admissions advisor, which can be translated into “high-pressure sales” advisor.  Once again, I found myself sending people away to the community college down the road to receive the same degree at a much, much, MUCH lower price.  Probably not what my employers were hoping for, but while my sales skills were lacking, at least I can sleep at night knowing that I was truly helping the customers.  That is not something that can be said for all sales associates.  Often, you will find someone utilizing hard-core sales techniques without the best interest of the customer in mind.  Think about your experiences at car dealerships – most of mine have involved this kind of salesman.

Many commission-based sales jobs will cause the salesmen and women to feel added pressure to seal the deal, which may in turn force them to lose sight of the full purpose, helping customers and making the sale.

Chances are, if you are looking out for the best interests of your customer, that sale will make itself because people are far more likely to purchase from someone they can trust.  And if they trust you, then they will most likely return again and again!  So remember your customers, and remember to do the best you can for them.  This is key to building a loyal client base!

 

Giving your all

When do you feel your best?  When do you feel the happiest, and the most satisfied with the way things are?  For me, I feel my best when I can look back over the course of the day and know that I have truly accomplished something.  I’m not always going to complete everything on my to-do list, and that’s OK with me.  However, I do feel satisfied when when I’ve gotten something important done.  This feeling can translate over a number of different life activities.  When you have a great workout and know that you absolutely did the best you possibly could, it might have been the most difficult workout of your life but you will most definitely feel better than if you had only given a part of what you have within you.  And what about when you’re playing sports?  Everyone has the kind of day
where they don’t feel like they have it in them to beat the other player to the ball, or to theBusiness man with the text You Will never Know Your Limits Unles base.  But on those days, it’s even more satisfying when you do.  There are many other times when giving your all truly pays off: job interviews, college exams, even parenting
(although parents know that the measure of our day is not always up to us)!  But one thing that we do Monday through Friday is go to work in order to earn a living, so this is the possibly the most important place where we should push ourselves to the max.

Picture this:  you have an amazing weekend with your family and friends, canoeing down Camping In Mountainsthe most beautiful river and sitting around the campfire before retiring to your luxury tent (with a blow-up mattress of course).  You wake up on Monday morning with a smile on your face, until you remember that you are home now and need to get ready for work.  Even those who truly love their jobs may take a little time to get back into the swing of things.  Mondays aren’t easy; but imagine if you walked into the office feeling less than thrilled, but still managed to work your hardest and accomplish everything you possibly can.  Wouldn’t that be satisfying?  Not to mention the fact that the rest of your week will be much easier now that you won’t be making up for what you missed on the very first day!

The team members at Royal Services strive to go into work with this attitude every day.  Their partners are their number one priority, and they depend on Royal to give it their all in order to keep their businesses running smoothly.  The Royal team can’t afford to have an off day, so if they are feeling in a slump, or still dreaming about their weekend, they simply pull themselves back into the present and get back to the task at hand.  This positive attitude, and the sense of accomplishment that goes along with it, is the reason the turnover rate at Royal is next to nothing.  The only reason people leave is to retire!    So if you need a facility maintenance/project management company who will always put your business first, even ahead of their weekend daydreams, Royal is the way to go!

Worth the Money

One of the first things that we did after returning from our honeymoon was to purchase a timeshare. We both love traveling, we were looking forward to starting a family, had experienced REALLY bad vacations in the past, and liked the idea of paying a monthly maintenance fee which we hoped would “force”us to take time away from work.

We recently returned from spending the Labor Day weekend in Branson, MO where we will return later this year, and in between these two trips we will be heading to the Lake of the Ozarks to celebrate my husband’s birthday.

The way that the system works is pretty straight forward. We paid an upfront amount which gets us a set number of points each year. We then have a monthly maintenance fee and everything else is covered. We decide where we are going on vacation, find a nearby resort, check availability and book our trip. There are times when availability is limited, but for the most part we are able to get the resort that we are looking for.

If you are only looking at the upfront cost, then of course it would be much cheaper to stay in economy properties such as Motel 6, Days Inn or Super 8. However, in the Wyndham properties we experience several benefits that ultimately make the total cost much lower than staying in an economy resort, as well as giving us a much more enjoyable experience, guaranteed.

Image result for good vs bad hotel

The condos are equipped with a full kitchen, dishwasher, washer/dryer, and cleaning supplies. We love being able to do our end-of-vacation laundry before heading home so that the transition into everyday life is much simpler! We will do a supermarket run before arriving at the resort so that we don’t have to spend money on food and drink during our time away. We don’t have to take a trip to the local laundromat or pay extortionate fees at the hotel for their laundry service.  We also save money when we fly, as we do not need to pack a separate outfit for each day, increasing the number of bags required.  Instead, we can pack a few staples and mix and match outfits with the opportunity to throw them in the laundry after wearing them.

The resorts are family friendly and safe.  There is security on site, they are well lit and include well maintained grounds and literally hundreds of amenities for the entire family to enjoy. From swimming pools and shuffle board to table tennis and horseshoes, the resorts are designed for family fun. If you so desired, you could easily spend an entire week of vacation without having to leave the resort.

These are all huge benefits of the timeshare that we own, and we truly enjoy the overall experience. We know that we are going to have an incredible time in a gorgeous resort where we are made to feel like royalty.  There are never any concerns that we will check in to a hotel, only to check out as soon as we see the unacceptable state of the room.

The high quality service that we receive at our timeshare is exactly what Royal Services, the leading national rollout company want their customers to receive. Royal will definitely not be the cheapest provider when looking at upfront cost but when you look at the overall picture and the total cost, Royal will be the best provider.  There is not a concern that the job won’t be done to your satisfaction; there is no worry that it won’t be completed on time.  You won’t have to fret about losing business due to shoddy workmanship.  Royal takes pride in their work, and they are worth every penny.