Tips for Creating Effective Custom Business Thank You Cards

Posted: October 23, 2014 | Posted by Jodi Riolo | No Comments

Custom thank you cards are a wonderful way to show your appreciation to long time customers and new ones as well. However, for many business owners and executives always having a supply of cards on hand and also having the time to write personalized notes and then mail them to clients is not feasible. As an alternative, you can you can work with a company who can design, create, AND send custom business thank you cards for you.
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Business Greeting Cards for the Holidays: Have You Ordered Yours Yet?

Posted: October 22, 2014 | Posted by Jodi Riolo | No Comments

As soon as summer fades, businesses everywhere start planning for sales promotions that they hope will attract more customers to their websites and increase sales during the holidays. As a business owner with long term goals, it is the perfect opportunity to deepen customer relationships.

One of the best ways to strengthen the relationship with your customers is to send business greeting cards for the holidays. Leaving out the sales pitch is highly recommended – and that is the perfect opportunity to choose a fun or quirky card that truly represents your business personality. Sending your cards out before the rush of December is also more likely to be appreciated.
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A “Card on Demand” Service Just For Businesses

Posted: March 1, 2013 | Posted by Jodi Riolo | No Comments

Our “Cards on Demand” Service Promises to Get You Noticed and Remembered!

 

25 Customized “Cards on Demand” Service for $72.00

(Includes stamps!)

 

What’s a “Card on Demand” service?

It is a simple and effortless service you don’t have to think about, because that’s the way we wanted it for you.  If you have 1 card you want mailed or 10 cards, we will mail your cards for you on an as-needed basis.

 

Here’s a scenario you will instantly recognize:

Do you have stacks of blank thank you cards in your desk or file cabinet waiting to be filled out, addressed and mailed?  That key task is essential for the customer experience and on-going customer connection. But let’s face it . . . it’s time consuming.  If you are like most, that job is at the top of your “to do list” and not getting done.

 

Here’s the Great News . . . We’re Going To Do That Job For You!

Wise Words

A Card on Demand Service?
Very Wise words!

No Contracts, No Inventory, No Points, No Hassle and No Time Constraints

Purchase a minimum of 25 of our personality-plus cards and we will complete the entire mailing process for you.  That means we will keep your inventory for you and mail your cards to your customers and contacts on an as-needed basis whenever you want us to.

Select a card from our brand new card catalog displaying approximately 200 personality-plus cards.  Contact us with your selection.  We’ll connect back with you for payment and get all the particulars on customizing your fabulous card(s) with your name, business name, telephone number, email address and website address.

Here’s a little bonus . . . we’ll hand sign your first name (using blue ink, of course!) in every card.

 

The Condensed Process:

1.  Select a card from our on-line catalog

2.  Contact us with your selection in the message field

3.  We’ll contact you back for payment and to get all the details on customizing your card.  Minimum of 25 cards required.

4.  Send us an email on an as-needed basis when you want a card(s) mailed.

5.  DONE!  You can now check that off your To Do List!

This is truly the easiest and most cost-effective way of getting that thank you note mailed!

13 Sizzling Customer Service Tips You Can Use Today!

Posted: January 19, 2013 | Posted by Jodi Riolo | 2 Comments

 

The Secret Sauce to Customer Service

Did you know that you stand to lose approximately 50% of satisfied customers within 5 years?  It doesn’t matter where they went, they left you! Customer service skills count.

Can you afford to lose these customers?  The answer is an obvious no.  We all know it’s a lot harder and a lot more costly to get a customer back once they’re gone, than it is to keep them once they’re yours.  So why put your company through a costly process and rigorous churn to replace or win them back?

Don’t lose any of them. Period. These customers are your revenue builders, they provide repeat business and referrals.  To keep your customers, every interaction must be memorable, in a GOOD WAY!   

Exceptional customer service skills are directly attributable to customer retention.  In case you need it, here’s a little help . . . 

 Starting Today, Use These Sizzling Customer Service Tips

  1. Use your customer’s name at least 3 times in a conversation.  Keep it natural sounding. 
  2. Stay away from canned or scripted language.  This is extremely annoying and can be recognized in a heartbeat.   Keep your conversation friendly, natural and interactive.  We want to talk to someone that breathes and blinks.  
  3. You can’t actively listen to a customer and do other tasks.  Stop what you’re doing and give them your full attention.  Multi-task when you are not serving a customer.
  4. Take ownership of your customers’ problem – even if you are not the cause of it.  Don’t pass them all over the company so that they have to repeat their problem over and over again.   This is a real customer destroyer. You could easily loose them here. 
  5. Go the extra mile for your customers instead of looking for shortcuts. Customers can tell the difference right away and will appreciate the time you spend with them. 
  6. A silent minute on the telephone seems like forever.  When you are looking up information for customers, keep talking to them.  Keep it natural. Refrain from saying, “So how’s your day going so far?”  Seriously, this phrase has worn itself out.   
  7. Follow up with a courtesy call for every customer who was upset or had a difficult problem.  Then do it again within 30 days.  A necessary move on your part and a great relationship builder. 
  8. Take responsibility and fix a customer’s problem – OWN IT.  Avoid the, “It’s not my job” attitude.  Fix it so it stays fixed! 
  9. When said with sincerity, the words, “I’m sorry” can diffuse about 95% of most customer’s anger.  Oh yes . . . listen, listen and then keep listening. 
  10. Terminate calls courteously and let your customer hang up first.  
  11. Don’t speak negatively about anyone in front of a customer that you wouldn’t say for the entire universe to hear.  This could damage and destroy your reputation! 
  12. Make a sincere effort to remember personal details such as birthdays, their jobs, etc.  This makes customers feel important.  A good feeling.
  13. Keep greeting or note cards in your desk.  A card mailed (yes, the kind with a stamp) is more powerful and memorable than anything you could possibly send that is electronic.  Another good feeling.  

Do you have any bold tips you would like to share?  Let us hear from you!  Contact us . . . info@ClientRetentionInc.com

10 Killer Customer Service Tips You Didn’t Learn in Training

Posted: October 30, 2012 | Posted by Jodi Riolo | No Comments

 

We’ve outlined some very important customer service tips that are basic, but valuable in achieving good customer relations and creating that needed customer experience. 

 

Picture this . . .

You enter a room and it is filled with every customer you currently have in your entire customer base.  Those are the only people in this room, and the room is jam-packed (yeah!).    Now for the reality check and a shocking statistic

At some point in time, approximately 75% of your satisfied customers will leave that room and go to the competition.  Scary thought, isn’t it?   Can you afford to lose that many customers? Sure it happens over a period of time, but I don’t know of any company that could sustain that kind of a hit. 

Why put your company through that rigorous churn?  

 

When your customers move on, here’s what you need to ask yourself . . .  

  1. How much revenue are you going to lose?
  2. How much will it cost to get them back?
  3. How much time will it take to get them back? 
  4. What is the game plan to win them back?
  5. Who is going to work this game plan?
  6. Why did they leave in the first place since our products and services are competitive?

Here’s the hard core fact:

It’s a lot harder and a lot more costly to get a customer back once they’re gone, than it is to keep them once they’re yours.

Building customer loyalty and a business relationship is paramount if your want to retain each and every customer you have.  Remember, you need these customers because they are your revenue builders, they provide repeat business and they give you referrals.  Don’t lose any of them.  Period.

10 Killer Customer Service Tips You Didn’t Learn in Training

  1. Use your customer’s name at least 3 times in a conversation.  Keep it natural sounding.
  2. Take ownership of your customers’ problems – even if you are not the cause of them.
  3. Go the extra mile for your customers instead of looking for shortcuts.
  4. A minute on the telephone seems like forever.  When you are looking up information for customers, keep talking to them.  It’s an excellent time to build relationships.
  5. Follow up with every customer who was upset or had a difficult problem. 
  6. Take responsibility and fix a customer’s problem – OWN IT.  Avoid the, “It’s not my job” attitude. 
  7. Any time you blame someone else for poor service, YOUR credibility goes down.
  8. When said with sincerity, “I’m Sorry” can diffuse about 95% of most customer’s anger.
  9. Terminate calls courteously and let your customer hang up first.
  10. Keep note cards in your desk.  A hand-written note is more powerful and memorable than anything typed. 

 Bottom Line:  Question: How do you keep your customers?  Answer: By showing you care. It’s that simple.

6 Hard Core Reasons NOT to Promote an Employee

Posted: October 23, 2012 | Posted by Jodi Riolo | No Comments

 

Promoting an employee from within an organization can save time, money and be a great morale booster.  However, there can also be a down side as well.  Entitled employees can be difficult to work with at promotion time.

How many times (in your opinion, of course) have you witnessed or had to work with someone promoted to a position of authority that truly wasn’t qualified?  Time and time again manager/supervisor advancements are given to the wrong employees.  We’ve all seen it happen.

If you are in a position to promote within, here are some obvious reasons and personality types you may want to steer away from.

When Entitled Employees Don’t Get That Promotion, Here’s What They’re Thinking . . .

 

1. But I Have Seniority!” 

Longevity with the company doesn’t automatically equip an employee with leadership skills, clarity and direction.  This employee may be the “go to” person amongst their peers, but not necessarily a candidate for promotion.  

An advancement based solely on seniority may create problems.  It won’t take long for employees to build animosity toward their new leader, especially if it was “one of their own” they have to report to.

 

2.  The Teacher’s Pet 

Mighty sad, but this still exists. This is usually a high maintenance employee looking for repeated acknowledgment and attention.  Often, this employee has a self esteem problem and doesn’t feel worthy of their work efforts or track record, therefore the need to continually flatter the boss.

It’s amazing to me how one can be blind to this tactic when it is so obvious to everyone else.  Respect from the troops is just not there.  Really, who wants to report to this person?

 

3.  The Hard Worker 

Although she knows every detail about the job and completely dependable, the leadership, motivation and delegation quality is just not there and if promoted to a supervisory position, will feel totally out of her element and begin to struggle.   Promoting this person to a supervisory position could send her packing to another job before long.  Instead, reward this employee for a job well done! 

 

4.  “I Don’t Have an Ego!” 

Of course he does, that’s why he will accept a promotion without being qualified! Ego’s can drive an employee to accept a leadership role they have no business accepting.  The ego-centric often keeps his staff in a state of psychological emergency  because he thinks employees must be managed by beating on his chest.  Whoa . . . problems here!

 

 5.  “I know I Can Do This!”

There are times the promoted employee whole-heartedly accepts the position knowing full well, he/she is not a leader or possesses any managerial skills.  The assumption the employee uses to reinforce the promotion (in their mind) is that the skill set is either already there and just not tapped into, or the skill set will magically appear because after all, someone sees something in him/her.

 

 6.  “You’ll Train Me to Be a Good Manager, Right?”

Another sad situation is that the employee knows that she is not leadership material but accepts the position because the company said they would invest in training.  I don’t think this works well either.  Here’s my opinion again. You are either a leader or you’re not.  It’s a personality thing. You can be trained to sharpen up your already acquired skill set, but this quality has to come from within, which by the way, starts out at a very early age. 

 

Let’s Hear it for Those in the Trenches!

The right equation for any company is a harmonious work environment with high productivity. Employees are the life blood of every company, so without their efforts there are no customers.  Think about implementing an employee recognition program.  When employees fit their job position well; they are team players, productive contributors to the bottom line and happy!  This equates to exceptionally satisfied loyal customers, referrals and repeat business!  

Bottom Line:  If you want to promote from within your department or organization, get in the trenches yourself and do some serious job shadowing.  You’ll be amazed at what you find out.  Who knows, you just might find a more qualified candidate you hadn’t considered.

 

We Tackled Our Worst Fear; Cold Calls

Posted: September 4, 2012 | Posted by Jodi Riolo | 1 Comment

This is an unusual post from Client Retention and our business greeting card business.  However, we needed to continue to challenge ourselves to grow, which means putting our vulnerability “out there.”  We did and here’s what happened.

Seriously, we would rather deal with an angry customer than pound the pavement making cold calls.

Cold calling –  not our specialty and certainly out of our comfort zone. However, there comes a time when you just have to remove the duct tape between you and your desk, bite the bullet, overcome your fear of possible rejection (no hives!) and physically start knocking on those business doors.

Our B2B, Client Retention, is getting close to the 5 year mark and it occurred to us that maybe we should venture out in the premise visit cold calling area.  Don’t get us wrong, we are not strangers to “sales,” thank goodness.  We have dabbled in it all, belong to many networking groups, organizations, have a great referral incentive in place and do our share of social marketing.  What we have been missing is the face-to-face connection with businesses at THEIR storefronts.  In other words, going out to meet the people unannounced, unscheduled, no appointment.  Well, you get it.

We figured it was about time (you think?).  Our desire was to accomplish two areas.  First,  to introduce ourselves and do a little “soft” self promoting and Second, we wanted to pass out a killer flyer for our upcoming Thanksgiving Business Card Special.   Outside of being dressed in heavy armor, we mapped out our individual trails and proceeded in foreign territory.

What we weren’t prepared for was the responses we received.  We were not target practice at all and the armor was quickly shed. What a delight! In fact 200+ premise visits later, NOT ONE person was rude. Believe me, we are far from being experts at outside sales, but we conquered our fear and realized that the monkey on our back was from our own fears of being rejected and of course all the horror stories we’ve heard since birth.

So if you are in the same boat as us, here is our recommendation:  Face your fears, pray a little, honor the “no soliciting” signs, don’t go on a Friday, don’t go when it’s 100+ degrees outside, fill the jalopy up with gas and GO GET ‘EM!   You will totally amaze yourself and may actually be rewarded at the outcome. We were!

65% – A Disturbing Statistic: Do you know your customers?

Posted: August 5, 2012 | Posted by Jodi Riolo | No Comments

You’re standing on a stage in a large room.  It’s quiet, you’re alone. You start to hear voices outside the huge double doors.  The doors open wide and within minutes, all of  your customers are walking in this room.  The room fills completely with every one of your customers in attendance. They all came, look at them, what a sight.

Wait a minute.  Who are these people? It occurs to you that you don’t recognize most of them. They have to be your customers because this event was invitation only.  Seriously, who are they? You’re feeling unsettled, because how well do you really know your customers?  These people really don’t recognize you either.

Wait! You spot Julie and several feet away, there’s Brian.  Yes, two of your best clients.  Now you’re starting to feel better.  Look over there!  There are others that look vaguely familiar, you just can’t remember their names, but you know they are good customers. Perusing the crowd, it occurs to you that you really can’t identify the majority of people in this room.

Now, hold that thought because here is a disturbing statistic that must be faced about your existing customers.  Over a period of time, it is estimated that at least 65% of those people in that room will walk out the door and do business elsewhere. Why? It’s simple.  Because they have absolutely no loyalty, no relationship and no connection with you. 

You tell yourself that you have a great product/service and competitive pricing.  But you know what?  So does the competition.  There is not one reason for them to continue doing business with you.. Why should they?  After all, you couldn’t even identify who most of them were. 

The startling fact is that your customers are just “sitting on the fence” waiting until something better comes along . . . and it will.  It will be a company that makes them feel appreciated and knows who they are.  A company that wants to build a business relationship and looks forward to seeing them.  A company that knows their name and makes them feel important.

Let’s continue on.  As these customers leave, you have to replace them. After all, you have depended on their repeat business, referrals and revenue to stay in business.  So what are you going to do?  Ugh, it’s time to pound the pavement, start an email marketing campaign, knock on doors, cold calls . . . do whatever it takes to gain, acquire, obtain, bag, get, capture the sales.  Of course we need sales!  No sales, no business, period.

Now you think about how much money it’s going to cost to replace every customer that leaves.  Shun to think.  Referrals aren’t even coming in.  How much money would it have cost to show your gratitude and thank them?  How much time would you have to spend to keep them coming back?

The answer may surprise you because it is about 80% or less than what you are probably spending today to gain a new customer.

You already know this, but here it is in simple terms. It’s a lot harder and a lot more costly to replace or get a customer back once their gone, than it is to keep them once they’re yours. Don’t forget about your existing customers.  Don’t take them for granted. Don’t think that they won’t “move on” because seriously, they will.  It’s just a matter of time.

Bottom Line: Repeat business and referrals are the reason businesses survive. Connect with your customers on a regular basis. Tell them, “thank you”.  Show your appreciation and build a lasting relationship with them.  And in doing so, you may just find your new best customer and your new best friend!

Got Attitude? 9 Painless Ways to Improve It!

Posted: June 8, 2012 | Posted by Jodi Riolo | No Comments

Research shows 68% of customers who stop doing business with a company leave because of a bad attitude by a single employee. 

The sad story here is that when a customer leaves as a direct result of how he/she was treated by an employee with a negative attitude, the company will never know why.  

And the customer?  Well imagine how many times the story is going to be told about the “cranky employee.”  Not a way any company wants to lose a customer or have their reputation tarnished.

Attitudes among employees improve drastically when they see the CEO and top managers (regardless of their department) demonstrate great customer service skills,  These “higher ups” must realize that their primary customers are their employees.

Ultimately they must set the example of displaying smiles and positive attitudes when they are walking in the halls, visiting various departments, break rooms, and anywhere they are face-to-face with their employees, regardless of where any of them are in the chain of command. 

Your attitude is your personal signature.  How do you want people to remember you when they see or hear your name?  

Here are some “attitude improvement tips” you can use right away:

  1. Don’t take yourself too seriously for most of us, nothing we are doing today will make any bit of difference in the world a hundred years from now. So, why take yourself so seriously? Laugh (for those that know us, this is our forte!) and learn to laugh at yourself.
  2. Keep Your Spirits Up No matter how difficult the situation, maintain a positive attitude. It really will turn out just fine. (How’s that for a positive attitude?)
  3. Learn to FailHeard the quote, “learn to fail . . . but fail quickly?” Deal with it, learn from it and then move on quickly.
  4. Leave Your Ego at Home “The bigger a man’s head gets, the easier it is to fill his shoes” ~ Henry A. Courtney. What can we say?!
  5. No Screaming! – No matter how bad things get, no situation warrants an angry response. It shows a total lack of control and makes you look bad . . . very bad.
  6. Stop Whining A whiner is like an infection, it spreads. No pity parties and stop it immediately at the source.
  7. Dump the Drama It sells tabloids but has no use in the workplace. It’s draining and zaps valuable creativity.
  8. SmileIt increases your face value. It also increases your success. Remember, people aren’t happy because they are successful, they are successful because they are happy. A smile totally effects those around you. You just might make their day too!
  9. Tell Good Stories The world is often too serious for us humans. Chances are, you have been through a lot to get where you are today, so share some of your humorous adventures.  (You’d be surprised at the camaraderie this might create.  It’s called relationship building :))

Bottom Line:  Customers respond better to an employee that is positive and upbeat, so share your new attitude and that smile in your voice with your customers. You will love the outcome!

10 Tips On How To Deal With Angry Customers

Posted: May 29, 2012 | Posted by Jodi Riolo | No Comments

With summer around the corner and rising temperatures approaching, here are some tips on how to deal with angry customers and heated tempers in the workplace.

In every business, mistakes happen and customers get angry.

When someone is screaming in your face, you might be saying “good riddence and get lost” under your breath, but don’t forget that when they walk out the door, how many people they are going to tell about their experience with you.  Anywhere from 9 to 20+ and it grows from there.  If they use social media, add several zeros to those numbers.

Don’t risk your untarnished reputation because you failed to properly handle their problem. Take care of the situation in the right way, build their trust once again, and enjoy their continued repeat business and referrals.

Because every person is different, nothing is certain 100% of the time. However, these tips will help you increase your chances to keep your customer.  He/she will walk away feeling that you were honest and believe that you did everything you could to help.  How great is that?!

 

1. Don’t Take it Personally

Customers are angry at a situation, not you. Until you hear them out, you will have no idea why they are frustrated.

2. Let Them Vent

Their perception is their reality.  Let them tell their ENTIRE story without interruption.   Typically an angry person will “talk themselves out” within a short amount of time.  If you interrupt, it is like fuel to a fire.  It maybe very hard, but don’t say anything until he/she is done talking.  Take notes if needed and listen to what is being said, OR not said.

If they are using abusive language:  Here’s what you do . . .

Talk slowly and lower your voice. Say, “I can handle your problem. I am not able to handle your abusive language.” 

3. Ask for Clarification if You Don’t Understand

Better to ask what might seem like a dumb question than to start off on the wrong path to solve the problem.  If you begin by answering a question that was not asked, the anger will escalate. 

4. Validate Your Customer

Empathize and sympathize as much as possible.  Tell the customer you are sorry they are so frustrated. THIS IS NOT THE SAME as admitting fault or accepting blame. 

It reinforces that you want to help and interested in their situation, not the company’s bottom line.

This is where the rapport building starts!

5. Repeat Back What You Heard Him/Her Say

Paraphrase back what you heard.  Two reasons . . . 1) it shows that you were listening intently and 2) it gives you an opportunity to clear up any details you may have missed before you respond.  Remember to talk slowly and lower your voice.  Seriously, this technique works well.

6. You Don’t Have to Have All the Answers

It’s OK to say “I don’t know.”  One of the worst things you can do is not respond truthfully. Be honest and tell the customer you will find out and call him/her back.  THEN DO IT!

If you don’t have a resolution at the agreed upon “return call” time, still make the call.  If for some reason you can’t, get someone else to make the call for you.  State that you have not forgotten about them and that you are still researching.  

The resolution may still be pending, but you just made great headway. The customer feels appreciated that you kept your promise to call back at the time you said you would, even if you didn’t have any answers.  Great anger reducer and trust builder!

Note: Not getting back to the customer at the time you committed will feed additional anger.  Don’t put yourself in that position, it’s completely avoidable.

7. Share What You Have in Common

Do you have something in common? Tell him/her a short story that is similar to what happened to you.  This builds camaraderie between you and him/her. 

8. Tell Your Customer What You Can Do for Him/Her

If you correct the problem exactly the way your customer requests, HALLELEUJAH!  

If not, have another solution ready that FITS the problem. Don’t offer a fishing pole for a defective lawn mower.  Perhaps a discount or a replacement that is better than what they originally purchased? Exceed their expectations on this one.

9. You May Have Limitations on What You Can Do

If it’s simply not possible to do what the customer wants or it’s too costly, explain that honestly, but come up with a mutual resolution.  Avoid bantering back and forth.

10. Thank Your Customer!

If their issue is something that is going to better meet the needs of your customers, you certainly want to know that.  

Thank your customer for bringing the situation to your attention which in turn will now provide better service/product to your other customers. They will appreciate that their problem and your solution is the catalyst for a positive change in your company. You can also be pro-active about thanking your customers by sending a greeting card customized for your business.

Bottom Line . . .

Take special care of your angry customers, they are like gold. 

You have just been given a second chance

because they cared enough to bring the problem to your attention.

When a problem is fixed properly and stays fixed,

customer loyalty actually increases!