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Archive: Jul 2019

Our key benefits of customer service training programs

Posted: July 25, 2019 12:54 pm
Customer service is at the heart of every business, whatever the sector. Without strong customer service it’s difficult to attract and retain consumers to your brand. However, what many businesses overlook is that every single interaction a customer has with your brand will contribute to overall experience. That’s just one of the reasons why customer service training programs are becoming increasingly essential.

More committed employees

Investing in a training programme sends a clear signal to employees that they are worth nurturing. This can lead to higher levels of loyalty and commitment to an employer and staff who are willing to go the extra mile. It also provides the opportunity for employees to understand more about the organisation that they work for, which can lead to higher levels of motivation to help it grow. Staff who have been given the tools to do their job well tend to exceed expectations and a customer service training program is a very effective way to ensure this.

The impact on the bottom line

Investing in customer service training programmes can have a tangible impact on the figures that matter. There are a number of key ways in which this works:
  • Better customer service improves customer retention, which leads to more sales with less investment required from the business to generate each sale than with a new customer
  • Techniques to acquire new customers are more successful, whether as a result of positive word of mouth recommendations about customer experience or the interactions potential customers have with the brand
  • Employee turnover is reduced and so recruitment costs decrease

Improving the overall level of customer service

Ad hoc focus on customer service can improve elements of the way that consumers experience your brand. However, customer service training programs provide a comprehensive opportunity to increase the level of customer service being provided overall. Employees are trained consistently on the same level of competencies, and skills such as communication, listening and problem solving are improved across the board.

Customer satisfaction

Providing customers with a better experience of your brand is probably the number one reason that most businesses invest in a training program. This is particularly important when it comes to being able to deal with issues, concerns, faults or problems that customers may raise with your business. The way these are handled can be crucial in terms of whether there is an ongoing relationship with that customer and how they talk about your brand to others. Staff who have been on a customer service training program are often able to handle situations at the first point of contact, resolving issues satisfactorily, boosting the positive experience that the customer has of the brand. Well trained staff understand how to make customers feel valued and important to the business in any situation and this contributes heavily to customer loyalty and retention. Customer service training programs are designed to optimise human resources within the business and enable your staff to become a key tool in the experience that your customers have. Our Outstanding Customer Service Skills course is ideal for delegates who want to build upon their knowledge, skills and will to support their customers.

Tips for improving your public speaking skills

Posted: July 18, 2019 12:40 pm
If you’re not a big fan of public speaking then you’re not alone – a 2013 survey found that fear of public speaking is a more pressing concern than death for many people. However, public speaking can also be a great way to communicate ideas and information and may be an essential part of your job. Even if you’re not a big fan of doing it there are lots of ways that you can improve your public speaking skills.  
  1. Allow yourself to be nervous

    Sweaty palms, a fast heart rate – these signs of anxiety are all completely normal when you’re getting ready to speak in front of people. The key is not to let yourself believe that nervousness means you won’t be any good. Instead, allow the nervousness and focus on preparing as much as you can.
  2. Create a strong structure

    Start with something that will grab the attention of the audience in the first 20 seconds. Identify your main topic and both the general and specific points that you want to ensure that you cover.
  3. Focus on your audience

    . The talk you’re about to give is actually more about them than you. Prepare with this in mind, structuring the message and content to ensure that you communicate effectively with the people in the room.
  4. Learn to adapt as you speak

    Your audience will subconsciously (or consciously) give you feedback as you’re delivering your talk or speech and this can be helpful when it comes to improving its effectiveness. If you’re losing their attention, change direction, if you’re getting a lot of interest on a particular topic, develop it. It’s important to stay flexible when you’re speaking so that your talk can evolve alongside the reactions of the audience.
  5. Be yourself

    . There is nothing more engaging than someone who is allowing their personality to provide the context for a speech or talk. If you’re ‘real’ and authentic then your audience will be far better engaged with what you’re saying. Show some passion and enthusiasm for what you’re talking about and you’ll take the entire room along with you – and don’t be afraid to use humour.
  6. Don’t use a script

    Reading your speech or talk will result in something less than engaging, as you’ll spend most of your time looking down at the page. Instead, give yourself an outline structure to work from and make sure you know the topic inside out. Maintain positive eye contact with your audience and don’t be afraid to pause if you need to find your way back to a specific point.
  7. Avoid too many distractions

    Media and visuals can be very useful but use them sparingly so that your words are the main focus for your listening audience. Try to eliminate any other distractions, such as over using your hands or succumbing to lots of nervous gestures.
  8. Don’t forget the conclusion

    You might be so relieved that it’s over that you just want to get out of the room but the conclusion is what you leave your audience with. It’s as important to make sure this is meaningful as to have a strong opening line.
  Public speaking may feel like a nightmare but it’s actually a great opportunity to make an impression and get a point across. These tips will help you to make progress in tackling what most people consider to be a key, but challenging, skill to acquire.   Our Public Speaking training course is designed to teach delegates how their confidence, enthusiasm and professionalism are demonstrated by the way you look and speak.

How to run effective meetings

Posted: July 11, 2019 1:39 pm
Meetings can be useful, innovative and constructive – a great use of everyone’s time. However, they can also be quite the opposite. Recent research established that ineffective meetings waste an estimated £29 billion a year. Not only that but it’s become accepted that meetings are often a waste of time, even for those who wouldn’t dream of being inefficient with their working hours in any other way. Being able to run effective meetings not only ensures positive use of resources within the business but also marks an employee out as someone with useful skills. So, how do you do it?

When is a meeting not a meeting?

When it’s a presentation, an update or an assessment. When you’re setting up a meeting in the first place, make sure that you’ve given it the right description. Then, trim the guest list to ensure that those who you’ve invited to attend really do actually need to be there.

Prepare for the meeting in advance

Create an agenda and make sure that everyone gets a copy of it beforehand – this not only ensures others will be prepared but will also highlight if the meeting is actually necessary. 40% of meetings start late so be clear about the need for attendees to be punctual. It might be useful to assign roles to people for the meeting before it starts and to schedule a check in with those in the room every 10-15 minutes to ensure everyone is still engaged and participating.

Encourage active listening

The more engaged participants are with the meeting the more effective and useful it will be. This requires active listening, which you can encourage in a number of different ways:
  • Create the right environment. Comfortable (but not too comfortable chairs), effective lighting and food and drink can all be useful
  • Start the meeting with an engagement exercise e.g. an icebreaker
  • Ban tech. Make sure that everyone in the room is focused on what’s happening in the present, not on their phones
  • Schedule the meeting for the right time – avoid the afternoon slump, first thing in the morning or right at the end of the day

Nurture more participation

If meetings are just one or two people speaking they can quickly become ineffective. You can nurture participation by making attendees feel that they are encouraged to speak and contribute and by creating an open forum for discussion. It might also be useful to break the meeting down into chunks, each of which is led by a different person – or to have break out sessions within it where attendees work in small groups.

Sum up and create next steps

When participants leave the meeting room they should have a good sense of what just took place – and what is required next. Sum up at the end of the meeting, assign action points and think about whether it might be useful to circulate minutes for reflection after the meeting. A well run meeting can deliver a wealth of benefits to business and make you a very valuable employee – it’s a skill that is well worth nurturing.

Our top 7 tips for closing sales over the phone

Posted: July 4, 2019 1:36 pm
Closing sales over the phone can be a real challenge. Without being able to read body language or look someone in the eye it can be tough to navigate your way to closing a deal. However, it’s not impossible – and once you acquire the skills for closing sales over the phone you’ll feel unstoppable.
  1. Nurture client-centred selling

Rather than talking solely about yourself, your business and your product, focus instead on the client. What do they want, what issues do they currently have and what do they think? Switching perspective to a client focus is more professional and will make it easier to engage over the phone.
  1. Avoid following a script

It’s very difficult to be conversational if you’re reading from a script and most customers will be able to tell if you’ve gone through it a hundred times before. Instead of a script, prepare an opening question – something that will get the client to describe their ideal situation or identify the biggest issues. From there it should be a natural progression into talking about their business’ market, budget etc.
  1. Do plan a few questions

Blank airtime isn’t productive in cold calling so, although a script is inadvisable, it is often a good idea to have some questions prepared, as well as the one you open with. Start by planning general questions you could use at the start of the conversation and then move to those that are more specific. Make sure the questions are tailored to the individual client and not generic.
  1. Keep it simple the first time you speak

In the same way as you wouldn’t want to overwhelm a client with facts, figures, presentations and spiel if you were meeting for the first time in person, keeping it simple also works over the phone too. Provide enough information so that the client or customer is interested and then plan to follow up with more rather than pushing everything at them straight away.
  1. Don’t make selling your focus

The first cold call should be all about gathering information and establishing a relationship that could potentially lead to a sale further down the line. If you go for the hard sell straight away it’s likely that the customer will simply switch off, as most find this type of approach over the phone off-putting and overly aggressive.
  1. It’s important to get the customer to relax

Whether you use humour or familiarity, the more relaxed the customer is when you’re speaking to them, the more likely they are to be open to what you’re saying and selling. This means being personable and taking a step back in terms of the hard sell.
  1. What is the customer’s trigger?

Everyone has something that will make them buy from you and all you need to do is find out what that is. That could be identifying a specific benefit or overcoming an obstacle or doubt. That’s why it’s so important to ask questions and listen when you start cold calling. These tips will make closing sales over the phone easier to do.