– Posted on Jul 24, 2011 by Margie Albert
I started thinking about this as I was doing some research for my cancer-stricken brother. In the medical world it is “patient” service, in the retail world it is “customer” service, in the travel industry we are called “travelers” and in the Broadcast world we are labeled “viewers” or “advertisers.”
However, we don’t think of ourselves as any of those labels. We are individuals, we are people and we don’t want to be lumped into an impersonal group stripping us of our individuality and become invisible. We want to deal with other non-scripted people who will communicate with us as people. Yes, PEOPLE, not machines, “contact us” emails to no man’s land, phone systems that route you through countless recordings and menus, restricted hours (can you imagine the National Cancer Institute Help Line is only available M-F?), etc.
Words like “patient” or “customer” or “traveler” or “advertiser” assume we are that and will be that – how presumptuous and internally focused! Those are your terms, not ours!!
I look forward to the day when someone names their department “You Service” and establishes a culture truly focused on us as individuals rather than labels.
– Posted on Dec 28, 2010 by Margie Albert
We all have unhappy customers occasionally. TV Stations are no exception. Viewers complain, advertisers complain and employees complain. Yes, viewers, advertisers and employees are all customers. Therefore, from the General Manager on through the organization, we all need to be aware of how we handle unhappy customers.
Here are 6 rules easy to write but not always easy to live!
1. Listen, pay attention and don’t interrupt. Complainers need time. Give it to them.
2. Apologize even if the customer is off base. “I’m sorry you feel this way. Let’s see what we can do together to make this better for you.”
3. Ask questions to get to the root of the problem and try to remove the emotion. Refer back to #1.
4. Put yourself in their shoes. How would you react if this situation happened to you? What would you need to feel whole again?
5. Treat every complainer as if they were your most important viewer, advertiser, employee, etc. They may not be your favorite but at that moment you need to treat them as if they are.
6. Laugh – when appropriate! The goal is to not only resolve the issue but deepen the relationship. Nothing does that better than a smile or a laugh.
What other rules do you find helpful at your television station?
(a special thanks to Hal DeKeyser – met him on twitter and he offered me some great writing advice. Very “social” guy and much appreciated by this amateur writer!)
– Posted on Jun 22, 2010 by Margie Albert
Have you taken the time to “categorize” your customers? There are only 5:
Suspects – they know you exist and/or you know they exist. No contact, no interest expressedThey aren’t going to buy from you if they don’t know you and, more importantly, if you don’t know them! Are you targeting the right markets and developing products specifically customized to solve their problems? Do you know what their problems are? Are you chasing prospects for the sake of filling a call sheet to satisfy your LSM or are you strategically targeting prospects? Do you reach out to them talking THEIR language?
Prospects – these businesses have been identified as possible clients. They may have been identified by you or they may have identified you as a possible source. Some type of reaching out has occurred even if it’s just on paper or via email. Do you understand their needs and are you customizing solutions to satisfy them? Do you know some of the challenges their industry are facing and if you really can help them? Have you done your research before contacting them so you know what questions to ask?
Clients –you are doing business with this category. They are buying; you are delivering (spots, impressions, texts, etc.) Are you fulfilling their needs? Have their needs changed? Some clients are more passive and it’s easy to ignore them. Big mistake! Do not be afraid to ask how their campaign is working for them. In fact, as part of the sale set up measurable goals. We broadcast sellers are not accustomed to doing that but in today’s environment we must. You want them to become Advocates!
Advocates – there is a strong affinity and relationship above and beyond that of a client. These are the clients who spread the word about how great you and your station are! They treat you like one of them. They bring their issues to you to solve. They willingly introduce you to colleagues and business associates. They invite you to the trade functions. They rely on you and build your tribe. How many fall into this category? Probably not as many as you’d like! The more clients you “super serve” the more advocates you will have.
Former Advocates and Clients – yes, eventually customers and advocates will fall into this category for a variety of reasons such as management change, strategies change, they get angry (uh-oh!). You will never have a 100% retention rate and that is not always your goal. Some customers cost you money and will never become Advocates but when was the last time you contacted a former customer you wanted to retain? What did you say to them? When they were no longer doing business with you did you ask them why? Did you ask more questions to get to the real reason? Remember, we learn more from our “failures” than from our “successes.”
OK, so now you’ve got them categorized. Each category requires different interactions and triggers to get them to next level. Your goal is to feed the cycle and move businesses through keeping them as customers and advocates as long as possible. FOCUS ON CUSTOMER SUCCESS!