GFG – Unicor - nationalcia.org
GFG – Unicor - nationalcia.org
Track B: Sales, Marketing & Business
Workshop B-2: Customer Service: It’s About
More Than Just Answering the Phone
What does Customer Service mean to you?
• How is this different from the private sector?
• What is their role?
• What should they be responsible for?
• How should they deal with customer complaints?
• How much information should they provide to a customer?
• Should after sales service be covered by them?
Customer Service? How was it in the 80’s and 90’s?
Basic service was provided as business was booming and lots of
customers to sell and service. No rush to resolve issues, respond to
• Customers got used to having to rely on voice mail, fax and if they could get
through an automated phone system – usually leave a message and wait
for a reply.
• Having a person answering the phone was deemed adequate.
• Was considered a cost center and not deemed as important to company as
other areas of the organization.
Customer Service? How is it view today?
Customer Service now renamed to Customer Care. The new term means a lot.
• Primary Nerve center of the organization. First area of contact for new and
existing customers if now aware who to contact for information.
• Fast and accurate communications with customer essential via phone, fax, email,
• Key responsibility is to look after the customer quickly and satisfy their needs/
• Customer Care integrated into sales and marketing. Now viewed as a profit
• Encouraged to develop a relationship with the customer – its not just answer their
How Important is Customer Service to Government Agencies?
• Private sector must provide good customer service in all markets to
ensure long term success in today’s tough market environment. Key to
• CI is interested in creating inmate empolyment through selling goods
and services – The customer experience with CI’s must always be
positve. CI has a more limited base of customers which to call upon.
How to provide good Customer Care?
You must believe in the product or service that you are selling and
the features and benefits.
• Customer Care is the primary nerve center in the organization and must
always have a positive attitude towards all customers.
• Must be knowledgeable about all products, services and who to transfer
calls to or where to get information from.
• Show customer that you care and will support them through after sales
service by following up to ensure customer satisfaction.
• Listen to what your customers say. They will tell you their needs if you
ask the question. Show empathy to their needs.
Continuous Training of Customer Care
Most people only retain 20% of information from each training session.
Keep it short and simple.
• Conduct training monthly – Have vendors conduct annual training on
products/ services they supply.
• Review benefits, features and application of product, services, policies and
procedures. Knowledge is powerful!
• Discuss successes with sales and marketing staff because of Customer
Care support. Everyone wants to be a part of a successful team and it will
encourage others to try.
Cross Selling – Customer Care can make customers aware of other
products and services
Customer Care becomes an extension of sales with proper training.
• Easier to sell more to an existing customer that you have good relations with
than try to get a new one.
• Do not assume that customers know all you have to offer. Never assume
• Imbed a list of products and services into email signature from all Customer
• .Encourage Customer Care to reference customer to organization web site for
information on other products and services.
Customer Care– A Resource for Sales
Can provide good info to sales regarding sales leads, opportunities,
• Customer Care can help all departments improve if supported fully by
• Customer Care may be the first and last touch point for a customer.
May be the last opportunity to retain a customer.
• Pass on from Customer Service all contact info to sales and
marketing to build a database of contacts
• Losing a current customer = 20 cold calls. More cost effective to
retain your existing customers than try to get new ones.
• Going Forward
Include Customer Care in trade shows, meeting customers at facility, put
a human element into picture.
• Involve Customer Care into the decision making of how to improve an
organization, adding products, services, policies.
• If people are involved in the process they will support the changes.
• Customer Care is more able to identify problems in organization from a
customer perspective by listening and observing feedback from them.
Do a survey of your customers
Ask customers on an annual basis through a simple survey what they
think of Customer Care experience they had with your organization.
• Use free services such as Survey Monkey to make it a simple 2 minutes or
less exercise for the customer. Ask 10 questions or less.
• Look at this as a performance review of the Customer Care department.
The response will be reflective of the organization and how customers
perceive it to be.
Office Seating Market
• Industry average lifespan for an office chair is 6-7 years.
• Mature market. Its not getting bigger. Technology is reducing the number of
workers in the office.
• Projects involved architecture and design firms heavily
• influenced by major furniture manufacturers. Go for the every day sale – its
Customer Care can help with this!