Standing Out in a Sea of Average: Customer Service Makes the Difference

shutterstock_209372407robothandthumbsup

“There are no new ideas. There are only new ways of making them felt.” -Audre Lorde

Being successful in business is a challenging experience. The pace is fast, you can be hit from all angles, and anything can happen on any given day. In almost every instance you are surrounded by competitors. All you want to do is continue to move forward and provide the service or product that your business offers in a productive and profitable way. What is it that differentiates your business from every other company out in the world offering a similar product or service? Maybe your branding is more skillful. Perhaps you use technology in a more impactful way. It’s possible you even execute better than competitors. But in almost every business, the differentiating factor truly is the customer service you provide to your clients. If your business operates with customer service as a priority, it is most likely standing out and hopefully moving forward in a positive way.

Of course everyone preaches that they are customer driven. It would be foolish for a business not to say such a thing if they hope to continue to operate successfully. But what does customer driven really translate to? What does it mean?

The key is to set realistic customer expectations, and then not to just meet them, but to exceed them — preferably in unexpected and helpful ways. – Richard Branson

Customer service, by definition, is the provision of service to customers before, during, and after a purchase. It is also how a product is delivered to a customer. During the many points of customer contact your company may have, it is important to evaluate performance. Is your product (or service) accessible? Is it easy to gain access? Is it cost-effective/provide value? Does it meet (or hopefully exceed) the customer’s expectations for that product or service?

RAD_6033MARKWEB

Some people believe that advertising is the best way to promote their business. Although advertising is important, it’s difficult to rise above the noise of everything bombarding the average person on any given day. Consumers are consistently hit with one advertisement after another, and often nothing ends up standing out as a result. In this era of social media dominance, everyone has the opportunity to gain exposure. But exposure doesn’t guarantee sales. If the points of contact with a customer are successful at each phase of the sales cycle, the customer will remember the solution your company provided but more importantly, how you made them feel. How they feel is memorable.

I heard a story recently about someone who purchased a gift for a child at a big box retailer online. It wasn’t a large purchase. It was actually a ceramic bank shaped like a popular character that children like. The shipment arrived and the bank was shattered. When the box was opened, the purchaser noticed that there was no packaging or protective wrapping in the box. The person who packed it literally put the bank in the box and taped it shut. Customer service for the retailer was called and the customer was assured this would not happen again. She was told a replacement item would be sent to her. Again the item arrived without any packaging material and again, it was shattered. Customer service offered a credit which was accepted. But ultimately the gift was not purchased and it was a disappointment. Although the correct action for the customer was taken, the desired result was not achieved and the customer wasn’t happy. Through each point of contact with the customer the company failed. Money can be returned but how someone feels is what they will remember about their interaction with a company.

shutterstock_304122293custsatisCustomer touch points vary from business to business but generally they are divided into BEFORE PURCHASE, DURING PURCHASE and AFTER PURCHASE. Some examples of BEFORE PURCHASE touch points are social media, ratings, reviews, testimonials, word of mouth, community involvement, advertising, marketing, and public relations. Examples of DURING PURCHASE touch points are store/office, website, catalog, staff/sales team, and phone system. Examples of AFTER PURCHASE are billing, transaction emails, online help centers, follow-ups, and thank you cards. How a company or small business chooses to execute on the many client touch points can make the difference between positive growth or falling flat in the sales arena.

Our growth at Radwell International has been very positive for many years. Out of curiosity, I spoke with some of the key players in Customer Service because I know that service very much contributes to growth. Interestingly enough, there is a common theme and thought process that permeates Radwell customer service and really underlines why the company has grown at the rate it has. Everyone I spoke to agreed that the best part of their job is being able to speak directly to customers and finding a win-win solution for issues. A lot of customer service professionals in other companies say that but these folks actually mean it. It isn’t surprising that each member of the customer service team that I spoke with all responded consistently when asked questions about how they approached the opportunities to impact customers on a regular basis. I think it’s because they are really utilizing the principles they believe in on a daily basis.

shutterstock_276712724robothumanhand

After many conversations, I thought it would be informative to share some key points of customer service insight from some of the Radwell International Customer Service Team members.

  • Customer service in business should be immediate. It needs immediate action and issues need to be handled as they occur. No delays are allowed. Immediacy helps differentiate service for customers.
  • Proactive customer service is very much a part of daily routine for Radwell International. A representative contacts customers proactively every 60 days to validate that all is well. If there are any concerns, the issue is immediately escalated to upper management.
  • The most important thing when handling customer complaints is putting oneself in the customer’s shoes.
  • Seek to understand how mistakes have impacted customers so a better solution can be found.
  • All complaints are addressed and fixed no matter how small. It keeps customers coming back because they know that even if there are problems, Radwell International will stand behind what they do.
  • As Radwell International has grown the customer service team needed to grow quickly as well to catch up and then stay ahead. Customer service will continue to expand as the company continues to grow. Keeping the team properly staffed to handle the growth is important to keeping customer service operating successfully.
  • Servicing customers properly create repeat business and that continues to fuel growth.
  • Having a “no worries” approach to addressing issues immediately is important with no questions asked.
  • Handling each customer with special attention and a hands-on approach makes them feel like valued customers and not just numbers.
  • Dividing customer service departments into groups helps get issues and concerns specifically addressed as quickly as possible.
  • Learning from problems that arise is a big opportunity for future growth. Any issue is a potential growth and learning experience.
  • Growing pains can make a company stronger if used productively.
  • Managing quality and consistency across many locations can be a challenge as a business grows. Creating best practices and validating that practices are consistent across the board in each location is helping combat this situation.
  • Being able to connect directly with customers is something each customer service team member values. In fact, more than one person stated direct customer interactions as a privilege and the best part of their job working in customer service.

There are probably a few “takeaways” in the above bullet points for any type of business. Although the concepts are simple, execution can make or break a business in terms of the customer experience. Best practices and training can help promote positive experiences for a customer. But most importantly, how a customer feels from their interaction with a business is truly the best measurement of how a business team is executing. You can change any experience at the points of contact throughout the customer experience but how a customer feels at the conclusion of the business interaction can be the difference between customer apathy and incredible growth.

 

-Julie Basello

for

radwell logo 2935 blue

Contributors-Radwell International Customer Service (Teresa Kissel, John Chwastyk, Mark Morace)

Four Ways Your Manufacturing Operation Can Go Green and Save

shutterstock_110471801LIGHTBULBWEB

In the business climate of today, it’s no longer an option to run a manufacturing facility as greenly as possible- it’s a necessity. With the rising cost of doing business, finding ways to help the environment and reduce costs is a new standard. It’s a standard that many are working hard to achieve in their daily business operations.

For manufacturing facilities, with their large working spaces and equipment-driven operations, going green can be even more critical. Finding ways to help the environment can be challenging but there are four simple ways to make a decent level of “green” impact:

Continue reading “Four Ways Your Manufacturing Operation Can Go Green and Save”

Meet the Team: Derek Nelms (Radwell-Indiana)

In this week’s Meet the Team, we’re highlighting Derek Nelms, a Repair technician at Radwell-Indiana.

Fun fact about your job that others might not be aware of: Sometimes on these drive repairs we get to make service calls to help our customers. These service calls have led to many more opportunities heading into the future.

Favorite quote: How does the posi track on a 1967 Pontiac work? It just does.

What would you change if you knew you were never going to die? I would probably change nothing. I consider myself to be an introvert and tend to stick to myself. I guess if I was to change something I would take more chances and live a bit more dangerously. What’s the worst that could happen? Die?

Tell us a unique fact about you that others may not know. I love shooting guns and going fast. However you are not allowed to do both at the same time. Still haven’t figured out why yet.

RADSTAR COLLAGE-Derek Nelms WEB

Meet the Team-Deepak Gupta (Radwell-UK)

RADSTAR COLLAGE-DEEPAKGUPTA WEBThis week we’re highlighting Deepak Gupta, a PLC Technician at Radwell-UK in our MEET THE TEAM feature.

Fun Fact about your job that others might not be aware of: I perform analysis of the circuit before repairing by staring at it. J

Favorite Quote: I Live for the day to see my last nights dream into reality. –Me

If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be and why? I would be a Bird, because I can fly and reach the sky.

What TV show do you most identify with and why? I don’t watch TV shows as I prefer to watch news on various channels. I have a great interest in world news as it’s informative and I believe it’s an important tool in modern life.

Where do you go or what do you do to relax and destress? I go to my office and do research to do something new, something unique, and something different in the field of electronics. This is because electronics is my passion.

 

Radwell International Europe Invests Over £300k in 2015

 

More than £300,000 has been invested in Radwell Europe’s facility after significant growth in 2015 due to the increase of employees and test capabilities.

Continue reading “Radwell International Europe Invests Over £300k in 2015”

Meet the Team: James Croxton (Radwell-UK)

RADSTAR COLLAGE-JAMESCROXTON WEBIn this week’s MEET THE TEAM, we’re featuring James Croxton who works in web sales at Radwell-UK.

Fun Fact about your job that others might not be aware of: I get to tell a morning joke in the team meeting everyday.

Favorite Quote: If at first you don’t succeed, sky diving isn’t for you.

What do you imagine your life will be like 10 years from now? Married with another child. Hopefully seeing one of my staff fill out this questionnaire

How do you spend the majority of your free time? I’m a professional 8 ball pool player, so I’m up and down the UK playing in competitions. I also like to watch my son play football

Describe a great adventure you have had in your life: I recently went to Bulgaria for my 30th and tried paragliding and jet skiing for the first time. Good fun!

 
 

Robots for the Real World: Is a Collaborative Robot Right For Your Company?

shutterstock_276712724robothumanhand

What is a collaborative robot?

A collaborative robot or cobot is a robot designed to assist humans as a guide or helper in completing a specific task or set of tasks. A regular robot is designed to be programmed to work mostly autonomously. In contrast, a cobot is programmed to work alongside a human in a helpful capacity. Depending upon the capacity, having a robotic “helping hand” can make a big difference in terms of productivity.

Continue reading “Robots for the Real World: Is a Collaborative Robot Right For Your Company?”

Meet the Team: Don Jackman (Radwell-Indiana)

RADSTAR COLLAGE-DONJACKMAN

In this week’s MEET THE TEAM, we’re featuring Don Jackman, a Repair Technician from Radwell’s Franklin, Indiana location.

Fun Fact about your job that others might not be aware of: I work on a lot of items including consumer electronics

Favorite Quote: Another day another dollar

What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done? Buying a house and thinking I could fix it up by myself.

What is your favorite place on earth and why? I think Alaska because it is different than anything here.

Meet the Team-Travis Jones (Radwell-Indiana)

RADSTAR COLLAGE-TRAVISJONES

In this week’s MEET THE TEAM, we’re featuring Travis Jones, Senior Sales Team Coordinator from Radwell-Indiana.

Fun fact about your job that others might not be aware of: I have seen the Franklin, Indiana office grow from a small few to a nice team functioning and maturing into an established branch with a great reputation that is being established across our community.

Favorite Quote: I have two favorite quotes. “A great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do”-Walter Bagehot and “All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again” –Ecclesiastes 1:7

What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done? There are so many things! I love a good adventure filled with mystery and suspense. Fishing in the storm surge on the Mediterranean Sea as water slammed us into a retention wall…roof jumping at 2am across downtown Columbus, Ohio…driving across the desert in a mustang convertible with two friends as we raced to Hollywood, CA and somehow found ourselves in the middle of a parade on the strip, so we smiled and waved and acted like we were part of the parade…and so many other untold tales.

What is your favorite place on earth and why? Sanibel Island, FL where I surprised my wife for our honeymoon over 13 years ago. It wa her first flight, farthest trip from home and we swam with dolphins…unexpectedly. My second favorite place is East Jerusalem, Israel. I spent nearly 4 weeks there on my first big trip away from anyone I knew. It changed my heart, my mind and my life.

 

 

 

Continue reading “Meet the Team-Travis Jones (Radwell-Indiana)”

Meet the Team-Stuart Mcclymont (Radwell-UK)

RADSTAR COLLAGE TEMPLATE-McclymontWEB

In this week’s MEET THE TEAM, we’re featuring Stuart Mcclymont, a PLC Center Technician at Radwell-UK.

Fun fact about your job that others might not be aware of: Day to day to day, I never know what I’m going to get so I have to keep on my toes

Favorite Quote: They don’t think it be like it is, but it do.

If you had to go back in time and change one thing, if you HAD to, even if you had no regrets, what would it be? I would have carried on studying for a degree in Computer Science and Electronics.

If you could do anything or wish for anything that would come true, what would you wish? The Hoverboard from Back to the Future movie.