Tag: Customer Service

5 Reasons Why You Should Determine Your Business’ Customer Satisfaction Rate

According to Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth, “ . . . the customer you’ve got is a lot less expensive to sell to than the one you don’t have yet.”  It’s a no brainer – satisfied customers lead to loyal customers which means more business. Boom. End of article. But businesses and the people that run them are all inherently different. Therefore, customer satisfaction is important to each business differently.


Have you determined the customer satisfaction rate for your business and how it has impacted it? If not, here are reasons why you should.

REASON #1 Customer satisfaction maximizes your marketing budget, by optimizing it

All businesses spend tons of money marketing their products and services to win new customers every day. From small “Mom and Pop” restaurants to large technology corporations. But if your customer satisfaction level is low, those customers may not return. However, as mentioned in the opening of this article the more satisfied your customers are with your products and services the more likely they will return again and refer others as well. When that happens, your marketing dollar is now stretched and optimized producing incremental business. Determining how satisfied your customers are may potentially lead to more business without actually spending more on marketing but rather making a concerted effort to keep the customers you have already originated because of it.

REASON #2 Customer satisfaction is your point of differentiation

Free market enterprise exists to produce competition in a variety of ways. So in essence, there are always options for customers to select which business they purchase from for their needs. Customer satisfaction, like anything else, quite often is the reason people select one business over another.

Take Apple for example. Apple, especially under the direction of Steve Jobs and his successor Tim Cook, has always aimed to create high-quality products and experiences with them. And as such they have a large fan base of product champions that continually grows each year. For years, Apple placed a premium on meeting and exceeding expectations of their customers that has led them to surpass technology giants like Microsoft and become the largest technology company in the world.

REASON #3 Customer satisfaction shores up operational issues and inefficiencies

Let me ask you a question – if you discovered that your customer satisfaction rate with your business was lower than expected, what would you do? Wouldn’t you look at doing business differently?

Change can often be a frightening word to people and especially those in business. But in this case, change can be a tremendous benefit. Your discovery leads to an opportunity to change operationally the things that are inefficient. New processes. New projects. And a tremendous chance to improve the overall quality of your products, services, and the rate of satisfaction your customers have for them.

REASON #4 Customer satisfaction spurs new ideas

Similar to the above bullet, knowing your customer satisfaction rate and its impact can lead to ideas that are with the customer in mind first and foremost. Apple is tremendous at this. They are quite keyed into making their products appealing, hip, fun, user friendly and simple. Customer satisfaction is at the core of what they do, and they’re notorious for not inventing new gadgets but reinventing ones already adopted and making them exponentially better. MP3 players existed before the iPod, but the iPod transformed the digital music industry. The iPhone? Same story. Apple makes the most popular personal technology products because their products are so engaging, and so customer-centric that their fans have no reason to buy such items from the competition.

REASON #5 Customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction are interwoven

When you work for a company that puts people at the center of its purpose, inevitably satisfaction levels remain high. Customers ultimately buy the feelings the products and services provide them. And employees perform with passion when they feel validated, challenged and involved. It’s a natural yin and yang.

Employees treated fairly and with a stakeholder mindset build better products and services. The customers that buy those products ultimately feel happy and satisfied about their decision to buy. And those same customers are more likely to do it again and share their experience with others. The positive mojo transfers from employees to customers and back again.

Customer Service: Communicate More Effectively With Your International Customers

Purchased ImageAbout the Author  Chris Dowling has worked in a direct, customer facing environment for over 13 years now, with four of those years with SmartDraw Software. A zealous customer service advocate who understands how a happy customer base can grow any business, and have won numerous awards for the level of service I provide to the customer. When not at work, I enjoy my time in San Diego at the beach, the local watering hole as well as on my PlayStation 4.

The Useful Clichés

We have all heard about, and more than likely experienced, the horror that is poor customer service; from inattentive customer service representatives who force you to repeat yourself, to representatives who are just plain rude or obnoxious. I have worked in a customer facing environment for years, and have seen poor service in all forms, and the dwindling customer base that comes as a result.  What follows is knowledge I have acquired over the years on how to offer the service your customers deserve. I’ll try to spare you some of the information that can be had via a quick Google search, as most of us know that being polite, attentive, courteous and respectful are all a must.

The Useful Information

However, knowing who you are talking to is also huge plus. What may be polite and courteous to one customer, may be offensive or off-putting to another customer. Knowing something about your typical customer base can reap huge benefits when it comes to making happy customers.

For example, if you work in a concierge environment for a golf resort, knowing a thing or two about the game of golf and current golf events, can go a long way when building rapport with your customers. Likewise, if you work for an enterprise level software company, knowing the industry jargon and how software interacts with hardware will convey competence to the customers.  It will also make them more comfortable throughout the interaction.

This is especially important if you commonly find yourself engaging with international customers.  What is considered appropriate customer service can differ greatly around the world. Understanding what is considered appropriate for each culture you are communicating with shows that your company cares about its target market and is working to build a superb customer facing organization.

How Can SmartDraw Help?

Using SmartDraw’s maps can be a great way to keep track of your customer locations as well as important info for each customer. For multi-national companies, this can go a long way to help your customer service representatives better understand the people they communicate with every day, and how to best approach each unique customer interaction. SmartDraw’s maps can also be used for customer account management, for accounts both small and large. You open a map of the world in SmartDraw, or particular regions of the world, and add notes such as various locations showing customer contact information and their role in their organization.  In addition, it would be beneficial to document anything that might be useful in building rapport, such as customer’s birthday or employment anniversary.



SmartDraw Tip: In the Left Panel, select Maps.  In the Template Preview, select Europe.  Navigate to the appropriate country then right-click.  In the menu, select Add Note.  A new window will open and you can then begin typing in any needed information for the customer. When done, you will then see a yellow note. Anytime you hover over the yellow note, the relevant customer information will appear in a separate window.

Furthermore, SmartDraw’s Mind Maps are also a great way to track relevant information by customer location. As seen below, the mind map is a great way to categorize information by topic. Here we can connect important pieces of each culture to the location the customer is in, giving your representatives the information to properly conduct business throughout the world.


Hiring the Perfect Customer Service Employee: Top 10 Characteristics

Purchased ImageCustomer service is an essential key to building a great relationship with your customers and building a positive brand for your company. Providing excellent customer service ensures customer loyalty, and through the following skills, it transforms them from a casual consumer into a proud patron.

When tasked with hiring a new member of the Customer Service & Support team, it is critical to find individuals who can not only complete the objectives of the role they must also have excellent customer service skills.  Customer service employees are the image for your company – the first impression when a customer walks in the door or hears your voice on the phone. How that individual presents themselves to a customer factors into their satisfaction of the company, the product, and the service.

The top 10 characteristics to look for when hiring a customer service employee:

hiring_perfect_customer_service_employeesProduct and Service Knowledge

Customer service representatives must have working knowledge of your company’s products and services. Research shows that customers are more inclined to purchasing a product when there is credibility, and credibility lies within a representative’s conviction of knowledge. The deeper of an understanding they have about your products and services, the more comfortable they will be in supporting and selling to your customers.


Your customer is always your top priority. A representative should always have the customer’s best interest at heart. In the sales market, customer service representatives will encounter ideal and happy customers, as well as difficult and upset customers. It is imperative that the representative remain calm no matter what. There is no shame in taking a step back or asking a manager for help with a situation.

Ability to Empathize

Being attentive to the customer’s needs is crucial characteristic of the perfect customer service employee. Empathetic skills includes the ability to sense and understand the emotions of others. It’s important that they actively listen to the customer and pay attention to their non-verbal communication, such as: body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions.

Communication and Attitude

It begins with development interpersonal skills. Clear, concise, and effective communication is the key to excellent customer service. The customer service employee should be able to speak with conviction and poise. This will help build trust and rapport with your customers. They must also be aware of their tone of voice, no one enjoys a monotone voice. To effectively open a channel of communication with the customer, it also requires the right attitude.


There is a big difference between listening to the customer and hearing the customer. Listening to the customer requires that the customer service representative focus and be perceptive to anything that they can use to help make the sale and/or help improve the customer’s experience.


The biggest mistake an employee can make, is selling a product to just to make a sale. Customers value honesty. Treat every individual customer with respect and full undivided attention. A representative should never want to make a customer feel like just another customer.


Excellent customer service does not end when the representative is done assisting the customer. Excellent customer service is being determined and following up with the customer in a timely manner thus demonstrating that they value them and their time. It is when a customer service employee shows their concern for the individual customer experience that is what leads to generating loyal customers.


It goes without saying that representative will have several things going on at once: phones ringing, daily tasks needing to be completed, customers needing help, it can all become overwhelming. This also means more room for error if they are rushed through it all without diligence.  Multi-tasking is an essential skill, as it can affect performance and sales. The perfect customer service employee must be able to adapt to a fast-paced environment.

Willingness to Learn

There is always something to learn, whether it is to communicate more effectively, investing more time in the customer, or gaining a deeper understanding of the company’s products and services. A successful customer service representative will see lack of knowledge as areas in which to improve.


“Why should I invest my time and money on your product?” A classic tool for this skill is synchronization or “mirroring”.  This involves matching the customer’s tone of voice, gestures, mannerisms, and words. Building rapport from the start of the interaction will help the representative later on in the sale. Sharing a story or finding commonality in any way goes a long way. With that said, the representative needs to be ready to tell the customer why they should invest in your company’s product and not your competitors. With effective communication and honesty, the perfect customer service representative should be able be to gain your customer’s trust.

Customer service is essential in every company. Your customer must feel like they received the support they were expecting and then over deliver on that expectation. If your customer service employees are able to do all of this, then they will be able to achieve mastery in customer service.

To further your customer service skills in the tech industry, read Customer Service: 10 Tips for Technical Support Representatives.

About the Author

With a B.A in Communication Studies and 10 years of experience in sales, Sandra Lopez-Denman understands the importance of providing excellent customer service. It is Sandra’s tenacity and passion for her job that has attributed to her successes in her professional career. Lopez-Denman moved to San Diego, CA three and a half years ago from Santa Monica, CA. She recently married a diehard Buckeye fan and is a proud mother of two fur babies – Onyx and Snowcap.

Customer Service: 10 Tips for Technical Support Representatives

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Technical support representatives may be the first and only point of contact your customers have.  Therefore they are often seen as the face of the company.  Each positive interaction a customer has with a company can lead that individual to become not only a loyal customer but an evangelist.

Here are 10 tips that technical support representatives should always be aware of in order to maintain customer service excellence.


Listen before providing a solution.  Technical support representatives usually want to jump in and come up with a solution right away.  Insufficient data may lead to misinterpretation.  Be respectful by actively listening to the customer’s needs.  Allow the customer ample time to report their situation and take notes.   Too many times we believe we are listening, when in fact we are really thinking about what we are going to say next.


Build trust with the customer by demonstrating your understanding of what was said.  Repeat or paraphrase what you just heard.   As a result, the end user or customer knows that you comprehend what was said and they can trust that you’re truly listening.  As a best practice, always confirm with the customer that what you’ve paraphrased is correct.


It’s important that technical support representatives take a genuine interest in the customer’s questions or concerns.  This will make the interaction more enjoyable for both the representative and the caller.  Addressing technical support calls can be monotonous.  Yet, the representatives should keep the call fresh and upbeat by expressing their genuine interest in each customer’s unique situation.


Sometimes it can get frustrating for both the end user and representative, especially if the technical issue is a tricky one.  The situation may get heated or even escalate to the point where the end user feel like giving up. One approach to keep the customer motivated is to make them feel as though they, along with the representative, are in this together.  Use phrases like “we can” or “let’s try” gives the impression that it is a team effort.

Tip #5. BE CLEAR

Effective communication is key to ensure that the end user comprehends the information or solution provided by the representative.  Learn more read Tips for Effective Communication in the Work Place.

Tip #6. BE CALM

When practicing patience, staying calm is essential. If, for example, the end user is hysteric, the representative can de-escalate the situation by maintaining a calm a collective demeanor.  This can be achieved by maintaining an even tone and allowing the caller time to vent or share their frustration.  There is a balance that must be met between staying calm and also having a sense of urgency.  One objective is to ensure that the customer feels that the representative cares about the situation and is there to help.


Be mindful that not everyone is tech savvy.  If there is a direct solution, take your time to walk through it with the end user.  Let the customer know that you will send an email that contains the steps in detail.   This will put their mind at ease.


It’s important for the representative to think outside the box and understand that sometimes a solution is not always black and white.  A workaround may be necessary in order to get the desired result or something similar.  Of course, this comes along with product knowledge which is developed over time.


Should this be escalated to a higher tier of support? If the representative has tried to troubleshoot the issue with no success, it’s probably time to escalate to a higher tier of support.  This new person may have more product knowledge or can catch something the representative might have missed.


A situation may arise where the representative may not be able to resolve the customer’s situation due to the fact that the feature or functionality does not currently exist in the product.  Assure that the customer that their feedback or request has been heard by taking action and communicating the feature request internally.  That information is invaluable to the development team as they work on enhancing the product for future release.

Since the technical support representative may not be privy to the plans of the product, they should refrain from using absolutes, such as “always” or “never,” when engaging with a customer.   Who knows . . . the functionality that the customer is looking for just might be available in the next release of the product?

Your Quick Reference Guide

Click here to download a pdf of the Customer Service: 10 Tips for Technical Support Representatives Quick Reference Guide. Print it and keep it next to your phone.

10 Tips for Technical Support RepresentativesAbout the Author

Vee Macalino’s attention to detail, phone etiquette, and commitment to excellence have proven invaluable in resolving customer technical issues within the assigned average handle time (AHT).  As a result of her dedication to delivering quality customer service, she has become a mentor within the SmartDraw Product Specialist Team.  By day she’s a Senior Product Specialist, by night a Belly Dancer.  She also enjoys traveling, camping, wine-tasting, and exploring new restaurants in lovely San Diego, CA.