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Customer Service

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Customer Service _ Do not bite the hand that feeds you

Before I discuss customer service I would like to talk about customers. It is important to differentiate between your repeat customers and your one time customers. Of course when you first deal with a customer you will not know if they will be a one time customer or a repeat customer. You will know if their initial sale is large or small but that should not be counted on too heavily. Sometimes people will initially place a small order to see how reputable your company is and how you deal with them. If they are turned off they will not deal with you again. So anytime sometime has a first time dealing with your business it is best to be on your best behavior. If you have staff make sure this is ingrained in their heads. An initial big sale may lead you to believe you have a valuable customer. However, they may never deal with you again. Why? Many reasons. You had something in stock they needed immediately or on this product you had a better price or it was convenient to deal with you for this item. The point I am making is you never know so you need to treat any initial customer dealing as if they will be a long time valuable customer.

Don’t pick and choose whom you will devote your time to because care now could lead to sales in the future. Here is one of my favorite examples. My husband sold cars. One day a man walked into the dealership dressed in overalls that were neither pressed nor extremely clean. My husband waited on this man. None of the other salesmen were running up to help this man. As it turned out this man was a rancher. He paid for his car in cash. He and my husband became friends. This man referred many people to my husband. Our family was invited out to their ranch many times. We went horseback riding and were treated to lovely, lively dinners.

Do you know who much money it costs for you to get a customer? This is one thing you need to calculate. If you keep this in mind it will help you treat your customers right.

So what is customer service? Customer service is relating to your customer and offering your customer the information and assistance they need in oder to purchase from you. Customer service does not always end after a purchase. It could also be keeping in touch with your customer between sales.

Customer service is treating a customer how you would like to be treated. I find too many businesses using scripts and thinking they are practicing good customer service. Scripts make the person you are talking to sound like a robot. I like personal customer service. I like to work with someone that has a personality and a brain. I do not want to be helped by a robotic person that is reciting a script.

If you have your own business and you use scripts you will turn off and lose your customers. They may put up with the scripts from a large corporation but they will not tolerate it from a small business. It is a turn off. So talk to your customer like they are a human being and you are also.

What about the difficult customer that wants service. Once in a while you may have a customer that you think is out to get you. There is not much you can do with this customer except to be polite and stand firm. Then there is the next group of customers that you may find difficult. This is where you must be careful.

I have found that these customer are not actually difficult. What I have found is that they need more information and explanations than other customers. What I have found is that they are not actually difficult just confused. These are the customers that you must refine your sales technique for. These are the customers that you may have to be straight forward with. For example at some point I had to raise my prices. I informed my customers that I had to raise my prices. I also told my customers that their prices would be not be raised for 30 days. I also informed them that for any new customers the price increase was effective immediately. I had to raise my price but I wanted to do something special for my long time customers. Some did call me and want to know why I was raising my prices. These are the customers I was straightforward with. I told them my staff deserved a pay increase and this was the only way I could do it. My customers knew me and they knew my staff. They knew us because our company believed in excellent customer service. We believed in getting to know our customers. When our customers called they felt like they were good friends if not family.

Once they were offered this explanation they accepted it. I think it was a fair question for them to ask since it did affect them. I think I gave them a fair answer. I also let my customers know that they had the 30 day grace period because I valued their business.

Do you thank your customers when you deal with them? Do you verbally thank them or do you do this in writing. If you thank them in writing is this a personal thank you? I recommend a personal, personalized thank you note.

Always keep your word.  If you tell a customer you will get back to thme in 24 hours get back to them in 24 hours.  Even if you do not have an answer for them get back to them and let them know you are working on this issue. 

I am advocating you engage in excellent customer service. The best way to think about this is to think how much it costs you to get a customer. How much will you lose if you lose a customer? How quickly will you replace that lost customer? Will that lost customer bad mouth you to others? These are all things to consider when you deal with your customers. Lastly remember customers are your bread and butter. Treat them with respect and let them know that you want their business and appreciate their business.

Marcia, Your Confidence Coach

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February 26, 2007 Posted by | customer service, work at home business | Leave a comment

How to deal with Vendors

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How to Get Along with Vendors

Somewhere along the line in operating your home business you will have to deal with vendors. These are people or organizations you will do business with. For example if you place newspaper ads the newspaper and their representative you deal with will be a vendor.

Vendors can be your best friend or they can be your worst nightmare. To create a positive relationship with vendors there are a few simple rules you need to incorporate. Rule one, Do not trust your vendor. I am not saying that vendors are not trustworthy. What I am saying is that vendors want to do business with you so they can make money from you. They are sales people giving you a sales pitch. So listen to what they have to say and then do some research.

Some of the best research you can do is in the form of what questions you will ask your vendor. Vendors are not always big on telling you details nor things that are important to you. This information you will have to question them about. Write down the answers or ask for them in writing from your vendor.

Let’s use the newspaper rep as an example. Newspapers have deadlines. You will need to know this. The newspaper rep will probably not discuss this with you until you call to place an ad. Then you may find out you missed the deadline and you will have to wait to see your ad in print.

You will also want to know if you can proof read your ad before it goes to print. You may get credit for ad errors. However, it is not ad credit you are seeking when you place an ad.

Newspapers have contracts for frequent ads. You need to find the details of the contract and what happens if you fail to perform on the contract. Sometimes it is better to run an ad first and see if it produces the results you want before signing a long term contract.

Newspapers have categories. You will need to look at the paper to determine the correct category. Your rep can help you with this but it is best for you to make the final decision.

Newspaper ads use abbreviations especially if you end up with having one word left on one line. That one word could cost you. You need to see how you can shorten your ad if that happens. You also need to determine what abbreviations are appropriate for you.

Newspapers have different font sizes. How will this affect your ad?. Bigger fonts mean more expensive ads. Is the bigger font worthwhile to you?

Will you need a display ad or a classified ad. There is a cost difference between the two. You do not want to overspend. On the other hand you do not want to waste money by running a classified ad when you need a display ad.

How long should you run your ad? Most ads peter out after two or three days. Is is better to run an ad for a few days for two weeks or all at once?

Newspaper ads are immediate. Will you be able to deal with an onslaught of calls or customers when your ad runs? If not how will you handle that?

There may be several papers in your city. How do you decide which one to use? Perhaps the one with less circulation but a more targeted market would be better for you. You will need to check the readership. Your rep will have this information.

If your ad does not produce the results you expected how do you determine what to change?

Will you fax, e mail or phone your ad copy in? Will you be billed? Do you pay in advance?

After all these questions you can always ask your vendor if there was anthing else you need to know. 

As you can see there are many things to consider in making a business vendor decision. That is why I stress doing research and homework. Snap decisions in business can be costly and detrimental Best to get your ducks in order. As you do this more often it will become easier.

One other thing to consider is your instinct. This is not scientific. If you do not like the vendor upon initial meeting then do not deal with them. Ask for another rep. Better to work with someone you like than someone you do not feel comfortable with.  This could be a long term involved relationship.  You have the right to decide to whom you give your money to. You can choose whom you want to do business with. Always remember that.

Sometimes you may be assigned a different rep each time.  If there was one that stood out ask for that person the next time you deal with this vendor.  It is beneficial to deal with someone you trust and like.

These are things you must consider. There may be more you will need to consider. If you plan on having a long term relationship with your vendor you must establish this from the start. You need to be the one that develops a relationship with your vendor, not the other way. There is a simple and easy way to do this. If everything worked out well with the ad you placed send your vendor a card thanking them for their assistance. Your vendor will remember you this way. Your vendor is probably not thanked often so this is a nice gesture.

This analysis applies to whatever type of vendor you will be dealing with. I chose this example of the newspaper rep because it was a simple example. As you can see it was quite involved for a simple example. You can not take shortcuts when you are the boss. Mistakes can be costly so act wisely and do your due diligence. And remember to do something special for your vendor to establish a good working long term relationship. Good business is a give and take.

Marcia, Your Confidence Coach

February 22, 2007 Posted by | vendors, work at home business | 5 Comments

Organize your Mind

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Is your mind organized? Did you ever wonder what is going on with your mind? Sometimes it seems there is you and your mind. Your mind seems to have a mind of it’s own. Your mind is talking and you do not want to listen but of course you do. Your mind can keep you up at night. Your mind can tell you many negative things. Your mind can get in your way. What is the answer to all this? You have been dealing with it for your whole life. You don’t like it. Yet you can not stop it. You want to stop it. How much control do you have over your mind?

Perhaps the word “control” is not what you should be looking for. Perhaps the word is organization. What does it mean to organize your mind? What does it mean to have an organized mind? We all know that chaos is the opposite of organized. Chaos is probably what you experience when your mind seems like it is operating on it’s own. Chaos is what you experience when you have all of these thoughts running around in your head. Chaos inside your mind affects you. You can not think clearly when your mind is in chaos. You are focused on thoughts that you can not process. Usually this chaos affects you negatively. Chaos is an energy drainer. Chaos takes up a lot of your time. Chaos does not lead to anything fruitful.

What would happen if you organized your mind? How would you organize your mind?

The first step is to devote some time to organizing your mind. This is not a one time deal. This is a daily deal. Think about your desk. If you file and put things away where they belong your desk is devoid of clutter/chaos. If you let things pile up you will have clutter and chaos again. Therefore you will need a schedule to do this. How do you begin? The first step is to set aside time to review the things in your mind what you need to organize.

Of course you want to start with the negative thoughts. Devote a period of time to review them. Discard the ones that serve no benefit to you. Create a garbage pail in your mental organization and throw these thoughts out. Why do you need them? Why aren’t they in the trash?. If they were tangible objects that you no longer needed you would throw them out. So throw them out. If you are a saver you will have to change your ways. If you are nervous about discarding these thoughts keep them for a week. If they still are of no benefit to you throw them out. You will have to part with things that are not useful to you. Sometimes there is no way to tell someone how to do this. You just have to do it.

How about the positive thoughts? What do you want to do with them. Keep them of course. But remember you are trying to remove clutter. So if you are not using these positive thoughts you need to put them somewhere. You need to put them somewhere you can easily find and retrieve them. These are probably the thoughts that you should write down. Keep them in a tangible file where you can look at them as needed. It is only necessary to use them as needed. You do not have to carry them around 24/7.

There is a reason for this. The more you can empty your mind the more you can be open to new ideas. You need to create space for these new thoughts. New ideas is what will propel you onto better actions. New ideas will transform your life. New ideas keep you going forward. New ideas will enlighten you. New ideas relieve you from drudgery. Try this and let me know how it goes. Let me know how it feels to organize your mind. Let me know how many and what new ideas you experience. Check out the self improvement toolshop in the links section. There are many products to help you on your journey. Marcia, Your Confidence Coach .

February 20, 2007 Posted by | self improvement | Leave a comment

Brittany Spears Shaved her Head

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Brittany Spears shaved her head. Did she show confidence by doing this? Did she show she was goofy by doing this? That is for you to decide.

I am sure there are a variety of opinions about why she shaved her head. Like wise there are a variety of opinions of how people think she looks with her head shaved.

I suppose it was a bold move to shave her head. I also suppose that confidence was involved somewhere in her decision. It also seems to me a whimsical move. Perhaps even one lacking thought.

This leads me to the question what is confidence?

On some level it is a personal choice. It is not actually an absolute thing. The culture and times you live in will affect the definition of confidence. For example back in the 1950’s women were “supposed to” get married, have a family and be a homemaker. The women that choose a different path were considered outcasts. Perhaps some viewed them as confident. Now in 2007 this has changed. There is not a “supposed to” anymore. There are now options. You have a greater choice in what you want to do.

Let me give you the 2007 definition of confidence. The 2007 definition of confidence is to do what you are comfortable doing. You need to make your own choices and decisions.

When people are asked what they would like in their lives it is easier for them to respond with what they do not like in their lives. So let’s make this easy. What do you want to be different in your life? Are you confident to change that? Will you be comfortable living your life if these things do not change? Addressing this will help you in defining confidence for yourself. It will allow you to see yourself in a new light. It will clarify what you want to work on. You will never get the right answer if you ask the wrong question. So ask yourself these questions.

Once you do you will see that you do have the confidence to create the life you want.

Marcia, Your Confidence Coach

 

 

 

 

February 19, 2007 Posted by | brittany spears, confidence | 6 Comments

Why Bother to Change

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Did you ever have that mental conversation in your head that goes like this? 

  • I don’t like this about myself
  • I should have done that
  • They didn’t like what I said
  • I wish I had this

I think you get the idea.  Thoughts run around in your head. These thoughts bother you.  You dwell on them.  You review them.  Basically they make you feel bad.  Good reason to consider change.  Here is the annoying part.  You have these thoughts.  You spend a lot of time with these thoughts.  You do not enjoy these thoughts.  You try to ignore these thoughts.   And you remain the same.

So why bother to change?  You try and try to change and not much happens.  What can propel you to change?  Perhaps it is not these negative thoughts.  Perhaps the missing ingredient is something else.  Perhaps the motivation (that overused and elusive term) comes from somewhere else.  Perhaps it comes from a vision.  A vision you have of how you want to be. 

What is that vision for you?  A vision is not a daydream.  It is real.  It is something you can actually do.  A vision comes from your heart.  A vision is not someone else’s idea.  It is yours and yours alone.  It is with you all the time.  People that have transformed their lives acknowledged their vision.  They  changed their lives with their vision. 

Why bother to change?  Don’t change – just start living your vision.

Marcia, Your Confidence Coach

February 16, 2007 Posted by | change, vision | Leave a comment

What is Your Addiction

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We all have a mental picture of ourselves.  We have a list of our assets.  We also have a list of our shortcomings.  If you wrote down your list and showed it to someone that knows you fairly well I bet you would be surprised at their reaction to your list.  Possibly they would they would add to your asset list.  They may also add some shortcomings.  But they would probably also subtract some of the short comings you listed. 

You may believe that the shortcomings they subtracted are real.  You may disagree and believe that those shortcomings should remain on your list.  Are you addicted to these shortcomings?  This is the definition of addiction. 

  1. The condition of being habitually or compulsively occupied with or or involved in something.

Are you compulsively and habitually occupied with these shortcomings?  Probably.  Your friend that knows you well is asking you to cross off these shortcomings.  You do not want to.  Sounds like you are attached to these shortcomings.  Why not let them go?  Why not give them up?  Why not get over your addiction to these shortcomings?  Why not increase your asset list by getting rid of these shortcomings?  If you got rid of these shortcomings you could add to your asset list.  You could add “ability to end my addiction to non factual shortcomings.”  Or it could be worded as, “ended my addiction to the following shortcomings.”

If you end your addiction to these shortcomings you will free yourself.  You will free yourself to focus on your asset list.  Once you end your addiction to these non factual shortcomings you will find more assets. 

Shortcomings are okay.  We are not perfect.  It is important to recognize your shortcomings.  Once you recognize your shortcomings a world of solutions open up to you.  Now you can ask for help.  Or you can embark on path way to learn how these shortcomings influence you and get in your way.  You can decide that you will live with these shortcomings because they are not that important in the path you are on.  You can also take a look at these shortcomings and turn them into assets.  For example the short coming ” I am aggressive”  with some work on your part can be turned into “I  am assertive.”  Big difference between being aggressive and being assertive. 

So take your list and end your addiction to those shortcomings that are not yours. 

Sign up for my free newsletter.  It is inthe links section.  Send me your questions and comments.

Marcia, Your Confidence Coach

February 15, 2007 Posted by | addiction, assets, shortcomings | 2 Comments

Are you an Anna Nicole Smith?

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Who is in Charge of Your Life?
 

I have been doing a little research on the life of Anna Nicole Smith.  What I discovered is that she grew up in a small town.  I also discovered that Anna Nicole had a burning desire to leave that small town and become famous like Marilyn Monroe.  She wanted this very, very badly.  And she did become famous or perhaps infamous.  So what went wrong.

I believe that Anna Nicole had a desire.  She had a burning passion.  She wanted something very, very badly.  She got some of what she wanted.  Yet she was never really respected.  She was famous for being famous due to legal issues, marriages, bizarre behaviors, tabloid actions, her appearance and tragedies.  Clearly not the way you or I would probably want to achieve fame or wealth.  One problem was her fame was hit or miss.  Her ability to earn money was  also hit or miss.  She had the desire, she had the drive but she lacked something that was crucial.  What she lacked was of the utmost of importance.  Because she lacked this one thing her life just happened to her.  Her life just happened to her whether it was something good or something bad.  She was not actually in control of her life.  She was not actually in control over whether something good or bad happened to her.  The reason being was she lacked that one valuable ingredient to make her life her own. 

This one valuable, “must have” piece of the puzzle is a plan.  This ingredient was missing.  Think back to the times you had passion, a brilliant idea, a burning desire.  Maybe you achieved something with this passion.  More likely what probably happened is you filed this passion in the draw with other burning desires that you never fulfilled.  Perhaps you saw someone with your same idea make it happen.  And you told everyone that you thought of that idea first.  That was your idea. Maybe they did not believe you.  Maybe they did not believe you because if you had that idea first why weren’t’ you the  famous one.  Why weren’t you recognized for that wonderful idea?   It did not make you feel very good that you had an idea and someone you never met made it a reality.  What is the difference between them and you?  Probably only one thing. You both had the idea.  You both had the passion.  But only they had the plan.  They devised a way to turn something in their head to something real and tangible.  This can only happen if you have a plan. 

I want you to go back in your mental draw and take out those passions.  Can you create a plan to make them happen?  Or are you an Anna Nicole Smith?  Someone that knows what they want to do but has no actual plan to make that a part of your life?  Will your life be out of your control?  Or will you be in control of your life?

You need a plan.  You need to think seriously about ways to make something happen. The reason you do not have a plan is because you do not take yourself seriously.  If you took yourself seriously you would devise a plan  for one of  your dreams.  You would devise a plan that could turn a dream into a reality.  

Maybe you do not have a grand dream.  That is fine.  Any dream will do.  Just start taking yourself and your life seriously.  Don’t be an Anna Nicole Smith.  Be YOU,  the person that has a dream and the plan to make it happen.

Marcia, Your Confidence Coach

February 14, 2007 Posted by | anna nicole smith, burning passion | 1 Comment

Confidence and Questions

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Earl Gray Stevens: Confidence … never comes from having all the answers; it comes from being open to all the questions.

I really like this quote for many reasons.  Confidence is something we all want.  We think our lives would be so much better if only we had confidence. 

To me this quote states that confidence is not a stagnant trait.  Confidence is not a black and white trait.  It is not either or.  We can be confident and we do not have to know everything.  We can seek questions and learn things.  Asking and learning makes us confident.  Confidence means we remain open.  Open to re thinking what we once thought was absolute.  Confidence means we seek answers to the questions we have.  Being open to our questions lets us look at things in a new light.  Being open to questions others present to us lets us see someone else as well as ourselves in a new light.  Being open is being confident.  Feeling comfortable with our questions gives us confidence. 

Now that I have presented confidence to you in this unusual way can you see that you have confidence.  Can you also see that sometimes you do not have confidence about something.  Can you also see that by questioning you can easily gain confidence?

Marcia, Your Confidence Coach

February 12, 2007 Posted by | confidence, questions | Leave a comment

Successful Thinking

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The Rockefeller Files 

I just added a new link for you.  It is called the Rockefeller Files.  It is a free report.  It is a wonderful free report in pdf so you can read it.  There is an extra bonus with this report.  There is also an audio file so you can listen along as you read.  You will absorb more info if you listen as you read.   

You may have a plan for succeeding.  Yet you feel like you are just spinning your wheels.  Change your thinking and you will be propelled forward.  This report will show you where your thinking can get in the way of success.   

This report will tell show you how to change your thinking from getting by to being a success.  If you want to be one of the successful people you need to learn how.  You need to think like a successful person.  This report shows you how.  This report will help you transform your thinking just by reading and listening to it.  This report is full of information.  This report will show you how to get the confidence you need to succeed.   

Check it out. 

http://www.therockefellerfiles.com/?download=457 

Happy Successful Sunday 

Marcia, Your Confidence Coach

February 11, 2007 Posted by | confidence, how to succeed | Leave a comment

Be Competent, Get Confident

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Be Competent, Get Confident Question: How does a confident person spend their work time?  Answer: Getting things done. 

Question: How does a person who lacks confidence spend their work time?Answer:  Worrying.  Worrying they will not get things done. Question:  Why/How does a confident person get things done?Answer:  They just stay on task and do them. 

Question: Why/How does a person who lacks confidence not get things done?Answer:  They spend time worrying not completing the task. I think you are getting the picture.  The most efficient way to get things done is to focus on doing one thing at a time.  The most efficient way to get things done is to complete one thing at a time.  The most efficient way to get things done is start the task. The most efficient way to get things done is to work on the task.  A confident person will devote the majority of their time working on the task.  A confident person will spend the majority of their time doing things that get results.  A confident person may worry or contemplate from time to time.  A confident person will spend the minority of their time worrying and contemplating.   

There is no secret to being confident when it comes to tackling your work.  The secret is to do the work and then the confidence will come.  Let’s compare Larry and Lana.   Lana rates herself as mediocre.  Lana would love to have confidence.  If you give a task to Lana she does it. 

Larry is about bragging.  He thinks he has confidence.  If you give Larry a task he procrastinates.  He may get it done but his work has errors.    Here is the difference between Larry and Lana.  Lana takes pride in her work.  Larry takes pride in bragging.  Lana will eventually feel confident.  People count on her and trust her.  She can get the job done.  Larry will keep bragging and eventually be looking for work at another organization.   The moral here is that being competent will lead to you to feel confident.  The moral here is in order to be competent you have to start the task.  The moral here is being competent leads to trust and respect by your peers as well as self respect.

February 10, 2007 Posted by | competence, confidence | 1 Comment