Friday, September 12, 2014

Don't Fight with Angry Customers

I want to speak today about angry customers and customer service. I've watched social media change the platform as to how certain companies deal with upset customers. Now, you will not please all of the people all of the time. You may even come across customers who are not happy no matter what you do or how much you do for them. But, if you do come across an angry customer on social media know that fighting with them in public is going to backfire on you.

So, how do you deal with an angry customer on social media? First, don't ever right with them. Next, respond in a short and concise manner. Invite the person to email or call you directly so you can further investigate the matter. Don't apologize for anything right away. Instead, focus on being empathetic and address the concern by stating you will investigate the matter. You also have to actually investigate the matter. If your company did something wrong, or not up to par, then you do need to apologize and make it right. Also, if your discover your company didn't do anything wrong, don't state that to the customer. Instead, explain how they could have misunderstood the action and that your company will work to inform customers better.

Make sure you also always draft a response and wait a few hours, if not a day, before responding. You have to make sure your response isn't vile or liable, too. There is no real way to predict every situation from upset customers, but if you use these guidelines to address social media complaints then your company (and its brand) will be better off.

Until Monday,

Twyla N. Garrett

Thursday, September 11, 2014

911 Memorial

It doesn't seem right on a day like today to post a business blog. I want to pay tribute to the people who lost their lives on this horrible day in 2001. I'm posting some links and some videos in honor of the those who have fallen.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Powerful Emails

I want to talk about writing powerful emails today. I touched briefly on this early in the year, but today I want to get to a bit deeper on how to respond to client emails.

First, never ignore an email. If you don't have time to respond to the questions or concerns, reply with "I've received your email. I will address this shortly, but I want you to know that I am aware of it and I will address it."

If you are responding to a client or potential client's email, read it twice before you send it. You don't want to send an email filled with typos or a tone that can be misinterpreted. Speaking of tone, unless you are friends with the person to whom the email is being sent to- leave emotions out of it. If a client or coworker has made you upset, walk away from the email. Again, reply with "I've received your email. I will address this shortly, but I want you to know that I am aware of it and I will address it," and wait a day or two before you do respond. Letting anger seep into an email is always unprofessional- even if you are provoked.

Don't over communicate, either. If the email chain starts to go past four responses, call the person. You shouldn't use email as a book or main point of communication. If you are starting to reply to emails- again over 4 responses- then a phone call or in-person meeting is in order. Don't allow someone else to drive the email conversation to the point of no return. Pick up a phone or schedule to meet over coffee to talk about the issue on the table.

I hope this information has been helpful. I think we can always use reminders on how to conduct email during such a virtual work space culture.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla Garrett

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Communication = Sales

There isn't anything you can do to hype up your company that will replace communication. No amount of social media development, beautiful website design, or publicity stunts will lead to actual sales if you, the owner of the company, can't communicate. Internal and external communication leads to sales... period!

Breathing patterns aren't often addressed when dealing with communication. Why? This is the most important thing a great communicator can do. You see, when someone is trying to sell you something and they talk too fast- we tend to feel rushed into a sale and that something may not be on the up and up. So, you see, leading by example through speaking slowly, using correct breathing techniques, will help your staff and clients not only trust you- but buy from you!

Remember, it isn't how fast or slow you speak- it is the content that matters. Some people practice their sales or idea pitches so much that they don't leave room for error or interruptions in the form of client questions. This said, know what you are talking about and practice answers- but never be too canned in a response or a presentation. Don't worry about not making your time in the speech to match cue cards or slides. You need to be more worried about what you are saying and if it is understandable then staying on time or rushing a phone call and/or presentation.

Communication can make or break you and your company. If you are challenged in the area of self-expressions, take a moment to slow down your speech and realize that you're selling content, not the communication form itself.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Monday, September 8, 2014

Social Media Mistakes

I wanted to start this Monday out talking about social media. I get asked about this topic often, and I don't feel the basics are covered. I read article after article online that discuss HTML5 coding and the SEO debates, but hardly nothing exists on the basic mistakes associated with social media use.

First, let's talk about your profiles. All of your social media profiles should link to one another and they all need to list your basic biography / boiler plate. Make sure you have both your phone and email contact information visible too. If you have a maiden name or nick name, list them within the confines of your profile's content to ensure searchabilty. Publishing an incomplete social profile is a major mistake and yet it happens a lot.

Pitching products through your social media accounts is also frowned about. Think of using Twitter like a walk down a virtual street. If someone jumped out at you and screamed "buy this product now", you would be annoyed! Instead, if someone walked up to you and said, "Hey, I see you're reading ABC. I loved that book so much that I wrote a more indepth version dedicated to the research of C. Here's some more info. if you want it," the sale would go smoother and you would create a REAL connection.

Finally, don't have an autoresponder do your work for you. Social media is about posting and joining live conversation in present time. I don't know how you can schedule present time two Sundays from now, but I see companies doing this all day long. Post to your own social media accounts or hire a live person to write them (and engage people) for you!

Until tomorrow,
Twyla N. Garrett

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Are You Likable?

I almost fell to the floor with laughter in the lobby of my building today. I was waiting on a client. While waiting, this man was on his cell phone screaming (probably at his wife or partner) that his employees hated him. I wonder why! He kept screaming and screaming, he was getting louder and louder. I started to think "how can you be so smart and yet not understand why you're not likable?"

Business is tough. You often have to be hard as nails, but you don't have to scream or be a jerk most of the time to get your point across or as a way to feel respected by employees. In fact, studies show that nice CEOs tend to have more loyal employees and better retention rates when it comes to turnover. So, what makes a CEO likable? I've come up with a few theories.

First, I think people like honest people. Even if the truth is going to hurt, people rather know where they stand with someone vs. being told one thing and not knowing the truth. Honesty tells the world that the CEO is about transparency and isn't into playing politics, which equates to success.

I also believe people want to be heard. CEOs who take the time to listen to their employees are more likable and respected. Even if you don't agree with what an employee is stating, simply listening validates that their opinion / concerns are heard and this will have a positive result internally.

Finally, work. Yes, work! CEOs who are out of the office "doing lunch" or "golfing" automatically cause resentment among many people. Sure, you need to wine and dine potential clients and business partners, but don't make a habit out of it. Instead, keep the blinds or door to your office open. Let your staff see you working. This will let your staff know that you are involved with the company and it will also keep them more accountable.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

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