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Giving Proper Credit to Employees and Building Trust

If customers are the backbone of any successful company, then employees are the foundation. When an employee doesn’t trust the company that they work for, then your company will not succeed. This is why building trust with your team is an important aspect of running your business. Employees do not want to give 100% to a company they do not trust. Your employees may just be giving the bare minimum not to get fired. When an employee likes the company that they work for, you will find that they are acting with more passion and enthusiasm for the job.

Building Trust within your Team

So how do you establish trust with your employees? There are plenty of steps to take to earn the trust of your employees.

1. Establish initial trust with employees
Since managers are in direct communication with their employees, the first step is to be sure that the managers are doing everything they can to establish trust with their employees. Managers can do this by just being honest with their employees. They must be effective communicators who offer help and support. Managers should not only be helpful, but they need to have a friendly and professional relationship with their team. Consider taking your team to lunch once a week to establish a better connection.

2. Engage your employees
The easiest way to get to know your team is to ask them questions. That’s all it takes. Once you open up communication, you can begin building trust in your relationships. If you’re not sure how to establish communication with members of your team, ask them what you can do to be better. Take this feedback and then acknowledge and act upon it.

3. Listen to your team
Now that you are getting good at asking your employees about what they feel and want, you must listen to what your employees are answering. In this regard, you must take a more in-depth look, because more often than not, your employees will sugar-coat things with surface-level conversations. It is your job as the manager to dive deeper into these conversations and find out what it is your employees are too shy to ask for.

Building Trust with your Team
Source: Stockphoto.com O#23559 ID#:100223779788

4. Respect your employees
Don’t try to scare your employees with surprise reviews. If you have something serious to discuss with an employee, let them know that it is coming so they have time to prepare. Schedule your time with employees so that way you’re not bursting in on an important project they’re working on with bad news. It is better for the overall health of your business to be completely transparent with your employees.

5. Let your team know that you trust them
An easy way to show your team that you are building trust in them is to give them a project and let them run with it. If you don’t believe they could do a difficult task without your help, start with an easy task. Try not to micromanage their lives and you’ll find that once you start showing trust to your team, they will begin to demonstrate confidence in return.

6. Treat them like humans
When you’re a manager, you may come off as intimidating to your employees without even realizing it. Although you want to maintain a reasonable amount of respect, don’t forget to show that you’re a human too. Little things like making eye contact, greeting your employees every day and listening to them can make a big difference.

7. Build up your team
Show that you have confidence in your employees by taking an interest in your employees’ personal lives. Of course, this must be done on a respectful and professional level, but it’s important to know when your employees may be struggling so you can provide support during these times. For example, if you recognize that one of your employees is going through a divorce or is having another issue at home, you might notice that it is affecting their work performance. When you can provide sympathy and take an interest in their personal lives during these downtimes your employees will feel supported and ready to give their all again. On the other side, when things are going well, don’t forget to celebrate!

10 Things You Should Never Say During a Customer Service Call

Working in customer service can be very rewarding, but it can also be very demanding. Most customer service agents must deal with angry customers daily. Customer service representatives must be able to take these unhappy people and turn them into satisfied and loyal customers. During a customer service call, this is no easy feat when a person enters the conversation angry or upset.

When someone is already upset, it is easy for problems to snowball. One wrong word from a customer service agent could mean the loss of a customer forever. However, customer service call agents cannot just placate customers; they do have problems to solve, and some issues cannot be resolved. Customer service agents should be able to walk a fine line between being stern and being friendly. All words that are exchanged over a customer service line carry weight. If you are a customer service agent or are training agents for your business, be careful to avoid these common verbal slip-ups that may ruin a customer’s experience.

  1. I can’t help you with that
    Sometimes a customer service call agent has to follow a specific protocol, and some things will be outside of their jurisdiction. When you realize that you cannot help the person over the phone, it is best to forward them to a more senior person on the team or management. The answer should never be that they can’t be helped.
  2. That’s just our policy
    Telling your customers that you can’t help them is terrible, but not giving them a reason for why you can’t help them is even worse. Saying, “sorry, that’s our policy” is basically you shrugging your shoulders at them and tossing their inquiries away. It isn’t an acceptable answer to an angry or confused customer. This customer is only interested in the problem being resolved. To be that short with a customer gives the impression that your company doesn’t care about its customers.
  3. Unfortunately, no
    No is negative; it does not matter how its phrased. Saying, unfortunately, might make you think that you are mitigating the severity of the word, no, but you are not. Do not lead with a negative when speaking to an angry customer. If you are unable to help them in the way that they want you to, use a different phrase such as, “here’s what we can do for you.”
  4. Interrupting a rant
    If you are a customer service representative, you have probably had to sit through a rant or two in your time. The critical thing to remember when dealing with an angry customer is to let them get it all out. When they come up for air, that is when you can start talking to them. Never interrupt and never tell a customer they are unreasonable, even if they are.
  5. Never Say During a Customer Service Call
    Source: Stockphoto.com O#100168438628 ID#100200144052

    I don’t know
    A call center agent should always have an answer to a customer’s issues. Answering with I don’t know is unacceptable and should never be uttered by an agent. Customers call companies and speak to representatives because they want to be helped, and an incompetent agent cannot help them.

  6. Give me a second
    A second is a vague measurement of time that should not be given on the phone. If you are looking into something for a customer, it’s better to be honest about how long they will be waiting for you to look things up.
  7. Actually, it’s this
    Don’t even bother correcting a customer on a name or pronunciation or anything. It will be taken as condescending, and you will put the customer off or make them feel embarrassed.
  8. I’m sorry
    Don’t get me wrong, it is important to apologize to upset customers, but it is best to avoid it if you don’t mean it. It won’t carry the same significance if you actually do not care and are just repeating this overused phrase.
  9. I have to put you on hold
    A customer does not want to be placed on hold, and this should be avoided at all costs. However, sometimes it is unavoidable, and in those cases, you must ask the customer if it is okay that you put them on hold and be sure to explain your reasons for doing so.
  10. I don’t see your account information here
    Never announce this to the person that you are helping on the other line. More than likely you are missing their name in the database or you input the wrong information. Humans make errors, and you should never assume that the customer called you by mistake. It certainly happens, but until you’ve exhausted every possible way to find their information, they do not need to hear this phrase uttered.

5 Ways to Increase Your Sales with a Business Phone Number

Communication is critical in all relationships across the board; not only does that include your mom, your coworker, and your spouse; it also includes your customers. How is your business communicating with your customers? Are you offering your customers multiple ways to get in contact with you? Do you think that an email address is sufficient? Learn five different ways to increase your sales with a business phone number.

Businesses have been changing a lot in recent years in order to keep up with the ever-evolving digital landscape. One thing that hasn’t changed is the need for a business phone number. Nothing will ever replace speaking one-on-one with another human being who knows your business, in and out. If your company does not have its own phone number, then you may be missing out.

  1. Uphold your brand’s image
    When customers stumble upon your website, before purchasing they will often look to see if there is a contact number on the site. This ensures that if there is a problem with the order or product, they will be able to get in contact with someone who can solve their issue. Email addresses are okay, but having a phone number is much better because it lets your customers know that they can get in contact with you at any time of the day that may be convenient for them. Think of your friends; the ones that are the easiest to get a hold of are the ones that you are going to spend the most time with. As you would build a relationship with a friend, you can also create a relationship with your customers.
  2. Use your business number as a marketing tool
    A business phone number can not only be used as a tool to communicate and make a sales call, but you can also use it to track your marketing efforts. Wherever you advertise your business phone number, whether it is on your website or business cards, you can track where the phone calls are coming from. If you decide to use more than one number or change the extensions, you can place different numbers across each marketing effort. For example, if you were to create a billboard with one of your business numbers, you could track all the phone traffic from that particular number and compare it to the business phone number that is advertised on a flyer.
  3. 5 Ways to Increase Your Sales with a Business Phone Number
    Source: Stockphoto.com O#100179306428 – ID#10020014405

    Use it to solve complex problems
    The best way to solve a customer’s problem is in person or over the phone. It is easy when you have this voice-to-voice interaction because a customer can explain their problem in detail. They also will not have to endure long wait times during a chat space or over email. One phone call can solve many issues in a short period of time.

  4. Build a relationship
    Outbound calls aren’t the easiest way to make a sale, but it is still possible to do so today. When you make a sales call to a customer, you are able to listen to them directly. You hear what they have to say, how they say it, and you clearly can decipher what they want and what they need from your business. When you can gauge your customers on this personal level, you are able to create a better product to suit your customers’ needs. You will need to invest your time into making these outbound calls and forging these relationships, but it will be worth it to create a better product and see it sold to your original customers and the customers you gain through word of mouth.
  5. Easy to remember
    When choosing a business phone number, it is better to choose something easy to remember. A phone number that sticks in the mind of your customers will ensure that you have a steady stream of calls from customers. You can make your phone number easier to remember by purchasing a toll free number or a vanity number, or if you already have a number, think about adding a jingle to the number in commercials and web ads. Adding a business phone number will help you increase your sales.

Effective Problem Solving to Build Customer Confidence

Having your own business is a competitive environment. One wrong move and you could be losing customers to your competition. That’s why it is essential that your business focuses on problem solving to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. But what happens when your company makes a mistake, such as not allowing a customer to return a damaged product or putting your customer on hold for a lengthy amount of time? Your customers may take that very personally.

Building Confidence while Problem Solving for Customer Satisfaction

Your business should be focused on keeping the customers’ confidence because once you lose the confidence of a customer, you can lose everything that you’ve worked for. According to marketwatch.com, Comcast, Wells Fargo, American Airlines are the companies with the worst reputations. How did they get placed on that list? The reasons range from poor customer service, cutting employees’ salaries, cutting jobs, and in the case of BP, it is still reeling from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, which tarnished their reputation beyond repair. If you have found that your business is suffering from poor customer service reviews, public relations, or consistency, you could be in danger of losing your customers. When you lose your customer’s confidence, it can cost you everything. If you think you may be at risk of losing customers, you need to inject trust back into the relationship.

Loyal customers can make or break a business because returning customers account for much of your profits. Additionally, they are great for word-of-mouth marketing. Losing the trust of a customer who pays money for your product or service means that you could permanently damage the reputation of your company. If you’ve made a single mistake or just suffered a miscommunication, there may be a way to win your customers’ trust back. If you don’t want to see the end of your business, here are some key tactics to execute to regain that trust.

Problem Solving
Source: Stockphoto.com O#23559 – ID#100200144052

1. Effective problem solving techniques

To begin problem solving, you must find out where the leak is. Once you have figured out the source of your issues, you can take steps to rectify the problems. Sometimes you will get customers that are open about the issues that they have and will voice their opinions directly to you. However, many customers will simply switch to your competitor without saying a thing. You can find out feedback from these customers by asking customers to fill out surveys, following up with your customers after a purchase, scanning Yelp for reviews, and reaching out to once-regular customers who haven’t purchased in a while.

2. Take responsibility

Once you’ve found out where you’ve gone wrong with a customer, it’s time to own up to your mistake. Never get defensive with a customer or blame the issue on something else. Apologize so you and the customer can move on. Think about it, if you were the unsatisfied customer, would you want to the company you’re giving your money to, to get defensive when you contact them with a problem? Absolutely not. Apologizing is always the best solution.

3. Remedy the situation

While an apology is the first step to begin to remedy a situation, the next task is to rebuild the trust. Be sure that you do this by ensuring the problem never happens again. There might be a flaw in one aspect of your business, and if you do not fix this issue, you may have future problems with other customers. Retain feedback while you source out the issues and make the appropriate changes, that way you know that your business is on the right track.

4. Offer the customer something for their troubles

Problem solving issues, so it never happens again may help you to retain other customers, but if the problem was very bad, then you may have to do more to regain the customer’s confidence. Provide the customer a gift along with your apologies such as a discount or a free sample. This little act of giving shows to your customers that your business will go above and beyond for their customers’ happiness.

Your Toll Free Number is BORING – Here’s How to Fix It

It’s not a secret that it’s much easier for people to remember vanity numbers over the average phone number or toll free number. Vanity numbers are making a comeback in popularity for large and small businesses alike. Any business can benefit from using a vanity number, so here is a deeper look at what they are and what they offer. If your toll free number is boring and you are ready for an upgrade, read on!

If your toll free number is boring – Use a vanity number!

Vanity numbers work exactly like toll free numbers, only you can customize the number to reflect your business or products. For example, 1-800-Flowers lets you know exactly what you’re getting when you dial them.

Vanity numbers have all of the benefits of a toll free number, plus they are easy for people to remember. The more people who know your number by heart, the more often you will receive calls, and the more sales you can make. Vanity numbers are still no cost to the customer, and they can be used for marketing purposes. Vanity numbers can be placed on billboards, and the drivers whizzing by can read your ad and remember your number on their commute to work. You should also be advertising your number on your website and business cards. Customers and clients prefer the companies they do business with to have a phone number. This is because they know that they can reach your company at any time and be greeted and helped.

Why are words easier to memorize?

According to cognitive neuroscientists, when a customer wants to remember a telephone number they heard or saw, they will use their “working memory,” which is the “voice” inside of your head. The one you hear when repeating something to yourself silently, so you do not forget. However, repeating something over and over to yourself does not guarantee that you will remember it. While your brain works to try to memorize a number, anything can come along to distract you. Whether it is a crying baby, barking dog, or a car horn honk, things are always around to distract you from what you want to be doing. This is why we will forget a sequence of numbers no matter how hard we try to remember them. The best way to remember a telephone number is to link the number to something meaningful or memorable. This puts the number into our long term memories, instead of the short term, which is quickly forgotten. For example, if you associate a phone number with a word, then that word will bring up a picture in your head, which is precisely how vanity numbers work.

Oddly enough, some sequences of numbers are easier to remember for humans than other number sequences. Many American citizens have an easier time remembering a number using the series 1776, as that is the year that America gained independence from Great Britain. A citizen that is not from the US will not have that ability, unless they studied American history or it is important to them for another reason, like a date of birth. If your toll free number is boring, it won’t stick as much than a number with a more familiar number sequence.

Now that you understand how vanity numbers can work for your business, you can begin your research into choosing the right one for your business. So how do you go about finding the number that you want? It can be tricky, because some of the best number and word associations are already claimed, such as 1-800-CONTACTS. Nonetheless, you can still find a vanity number that will get the job done for you. The first step is to brainstorm a list of numbers and words that would work for your business, and then you can search for these numbers. Some of them may already be taken, but Global Call Forwarding will work with you to find you the best number. One way Global Call Forwarding looks out for their customers is that they offer other toll free prefixes. So if you won’t budge on a word, then you can make an exception from 1-800 to other alternatives such as 1-855 or 1-866. The popularity of alternate toll free prefixes is rising, and more people are becoming aware that 1-800 isn’t the only toll free option. All you need to do is use a little bit of creativity, and you will be on the fast-track to success.

How To Ring All of Your Phones At Once

Today, many people have more than just one phone, such as a simple home phone, an office phone, along with at least one mobile phone. The more phones that you have with completely different numbers can make it complicated for the people you want to speak with to get in touch with you.

multiple phones
Source: Stockphoto.com O#23559 – ID#100005077227

What is Simultaneous Ringing?

For some people, it is important to have multiple devices ring for a single incoming phone call. So when a certain phone number is called, your home phone, office phone, and mobile phone will all ring at once. This is called “simultaneous ringing” and it is useful for work and personal reasons, too. If a call is important, it is likely that you won’t miss it if all of your phones are ringing.

Global Call Forwarding offers a service where simultaneous ringing can occur from one of their virtual toll free numbers. With this single virtual number, you will be able to configure several devices to ring when the toll free phone number is dialed. This uncomplicates the way that people get in touch with you, while still being able to control the number of phone calls that you are receiving. It also enables you to receive business calls on all of your numbers without having to give out all of your personal numbers.

Benefits of Simultaneous Ringing

Many call centers opt for this service from Global Call Forwarding. All phones in a call center will ring when the same number is dialed because it maximizes the probability that the phone will get answered. If all of the enabled phones ring simultaneously, the first person to answer the call will be the one who gets connected to the call. There is no uncertainty as to who the call gets connected to.

This service is also very beneficial to small business owners or salespersons. If you step away from your business or your office to take a walk, get lunch, or if you have to leave early for the day, you might miss an important call. However, enabling simultaneous ringing to your office or business phone and mobile phone will ensure that you never miss a call, and never miss a sale. You can configure this to any phone that you like.

Setting up your VoIP number to ring simultaneously with your mobile device and office phone will allow you to answer calls from anywhere, too. Simultaneously ringing is just one of several advanced features offered from Global Call Forwarding. Simultaneous ringing can work on its own or in tandem with other features. Everything is completely customizable, and you can work with a representative from Global Call Forwarding beforehand to decide what your specific needs are for your business.

How To Set Up Simultaneous Ringing on Your Toll Free Number

Customize your settings in the Control Panel by following these instructions:

  • Go to GlobalCallForwarding.com and click the LOGIN button on the right-hand side.
  • You will be taken to your Account Overview where you can then select “Call Forwarding.”
  • Select ‘Call Forwarding Configuration’ and select the toll free number that you need to configure.
  • After you have selected the correct toll free number you can click on “Call Forwarding” and once there, you can choose the “Advanced” selection.
    Now, enter each phone number that you would like to ring simultaneously when anyone dials the appropriate toll free number.
  • You can also adjust the amount of times that your phone rings before heading to its next destination, such as a voicemail box or another phone line.
    Don’t forget to “Apply” the settings!

You’re all done! Remember you can go back and change your settings whenever you need to, as long as you have access to the internet.

If you need assistance with these instructions or have issues with the control panel, don’t hesitate to contact us for help from one of our representatives. Each representative is capable of assisting you in any step of your process and is happy to answer any questions that you may have. You can also visit the FAQ page to find answers to frequently asked questions.

How To Run A Business From Home

America’s small business owners create jobs, original products, and services, and these entrepreneurs make things happen for their companies – even during the rough times. What you might not know about half of small businesses, though, according to the Small Business Administration, is that they are run from home.

man working at computer
Source: Stockphoto.com O#23559 – ID#100039699437

How to Start a Business From Home

Running a business from home can be a simple undertaking if you take the right steps to start. There is no end to the types of businesses that are run from homes, and they can range from providing financial services to selling art and antiques on Etsy or eBay. In all honesty, you are very much unlimited when it comes to the type of business you want to run from your home. In order to execute it, the most important aspects are to have the right tools to reach the right audiences, while also having the best tools to actually run the business.

Virtual Tools for Maximum Efficiency

If you are one of numerous Americans who run their small business from home or if you’re thinking about starting a small business from home, there are a few ways that Global Call Forwarding can help your business grow.

Purchasing virtual phone numbers from Global Call Forwarding can help small businesses establish a presence in places the business cannot physically be in. The numbers act as a point of contact between customers and businesses. The following includes a list of ways virtual numbers can benefit your business from home with maximum efficiency.

Keep Your Professional Life and Personal Life Separate

Having a virtual phone number attached to your home phone, cell phone, desktop, or tablet gives you the freedom to take work calls on your personal devices without having to give out your personal phone number. Now you have the choice and ability to walk away from your office phone without eliminating communications.

Set Business Hours

No one can be available 24 hours a day, but having a virtual phone number gives you access to many features. You can choose what time your business hours are, and then you can set up a voicemail message to let your customers know what time those business hours are or direct them to leave a message. Not only can you set up a personalized business voicemail, but you can also set your hours by visiting your account page and updating your settings. That way you won’t have to be bothered when you’re sitting down to dinner.

Put Them On Hold

Your customers won’t think its professional that you have a crying toddler in the background or a barking dog every time the mailman walks up to the house. If you run a business from home you may run into problems occasionally, and luckily that’s what the Hold Button is for. Once you’ve soothed your crying toddler or saw the mailman safely make his way to the next house, you can return to your call. You also have the option to transfer the call to another phone. If you run your business with another person or have someone working for you, you can simply dial their extension and forward the call over. Your small business will seem like it has all the bells and whistles of a large corporation.

Change Up Your Ringtone

Global Call Forwarding offers local ringback tones for anywhere in the country. The familiar ringing tones in each country are different from one to the next. Customers calling from other countries will prefer to hear their local ringtone, and you can customize your phone line to give them exactly that.

Call Recording

The Call Recording features will benefit your business in numerous ways. Being able to record calls and play them back will help you with your customer service skills. You will start to learn what works and doesn’t work and change your approach accordingly. It also helps when training a team of people, that way everyone can have a script of what they will say to customers. In the event of a legal situation, which is an unfortunate situation that businesses may have to deal with at some point, you can use the recorded phone call as evidence on your behalf.

Time of Day Routing

This feature allows you to route your calls to the device of your choosing when convenient. For example, if you normally work at a desk in your home, but step out to go to lunch or pick your children up from school, you can get your phone calls routed to your cell phone when you are away from your desk. You can also reroute your calls to an automatic voicemail message if you like to work within certain business hours. This automatic rerouting allows you to be present with your business as much as you would like to be, at your convenience.

Running a Business From Your Home

Running a small business from your home has never been easier than it is today. Your time is precious, and you deserve the freedom to work from wherever you want to be. Global Call Forwarding will help you on your way to expanding your business while looking professional and making the most of your time.

How To Deal With An Asshole Boss

Unfortunately, there are a lot of intolerable people in high authority. Sometimes that’s just the way it goes. If you are currently dealing with a boss who is making your job a nightmare there may be some tactics that you can use that will limit your time with this “asshole” boss, learn to get along with them, or even go over their heads and get them kicked out. Of course, it’s not always possible to get someone fired just because they’re a little rude sometimes, so here are a few ways to make your day-to-day life livable while surviving the tornado that is the asshole boss.

mean boss grinding teeth
Source: Stockphoto.com O#21565 – ID#10002646771

Get Rid Of The Notion That Your Boss Is Going To Change

That would be wonderful, wouldn’t it? Once you accept that your boss is going to behave like an asshole every day, you can begin working towards a practical relationship between you and her/ him. Since you can’t control the actions of other people, once you accept that their actions are not yours, you can begin to realize that they’re angry and frustrations are their problem. Not yours. You have your own problems to focus on, so do it, and try not to let them get under your skin.

Do Not Feed Into Their Frustrations

If your boss approaches you after a meeting and says something passive aggressive, don’t respond in kind. For example, they are unhappy with how you handled a client and ask if you are going to fix the issue or just continue on with your workday, say “Yes, I’ll fix it.” That’s it. There’s not much your boss can say after that since you agreed to do as they wanted. You don’t have to keep engaging. Say yes, and walk away. If your boss calls you before/ after work to yell at you, simply reply that you can sit down with them and talk to them when you’re at the office. Your time outside of work is your time, and no one should make you feel like it isn’t right for you to be enjoying it.

Go To HR

A boss that is constantly berating you and crosses the line needs to be reported to Human Resources. If you feel that you are being targeted, bullied, or if you feel that your boss is constantly overstepping their boundaries, Human Resources need to know. A person who can’t be professional at work is not someone that needs to be leading a team. If your coworkers feel the same, perhaps you can all band together and let the heads of Human Resources know how terrible all of you have been treated.

Get In Their Head

You can’t assume you know someone else’s story or struggles. If Human Resources decided that your boss hasn’t done anything bad enough that he or she should be terminated, you’re going to have to get more creative. Perhaps your boss is feeling a lot of pressure from his/ her bosses. When your boss is giving you an assignment, repeat the assignment back to them and let them know that you understood, but if what he is asking for is impossible, let him know that. For example, if your boss wants you to double your revenue this term and doesn’t give you a way to do that, let them know that it’s going to be difficult. Say, “I understand that you are looking to double revenue for this term, you must be feeling a lot of pressure from the top. I understand that, but without any new clients it is not going to be easy for my team and me to create the results that you are expecting.” He might tell you to suck it up, or he might rise to the occasion and go to his supervisors to let them know they’re asking for disappointment.

Last Resort: Quit

This person is truly terrible and is making your life a living hell. There is no reason for you to continue suffering at a job that you are unhappy at. If there is a possibility that you can leave this job and find another, then do that right away. You tried reasoning with this boss, reporting them, and getting inside their head and it all failed. Run away as far and as fast as possible, if you value your ability to earn a living without being subjected to such negativity.

How To Deal With Rude Customers and Not Go Insane

If you work in customer service, at some point or another you will eventually have to deal with some angry and rude customers. It is important for your job and your own sanity to be able to handle these people correctly. If you fight with every customer that comes your way with an attitude, then you probably will not have a job in the near future. Take a look at these 10 tips to learn new and creative ways to turn that customers’ day around and more importantly to make sure that your day does not get ruined in the process.

man yelling into phone
Source: Stockphoto.com O#20999 – ID#100008468055

Do Not Mirror Their Emotions

It is important that you remain calm and polite during the entirety of the conversation with an angry customer. Do not smile or laugh in an effort to get them to change their emotional state. Smiling at an angry customer might enrage the person more as it seems like you are not taking their problem seriously. Make sure that you stand your ground and try your best to not escalate the situation. It is your duty to try your best to resolve their issue.

Actively Listen and Ask Questions

Be sure to portray to the customer that their problem is valid and that you care. Ask them questions to fully understand what happened and why there is a problem. If you take the time to listen to what they are trying to say, then you might just agree with them. Perhaps you wouldn’t choose to react the same way, but you can still take the time to understand where they are coming from.

Remind Yourself That This Is Their Bad Day, Not Yours.

Try to understand that this person is mad at a situation and taking it out on you. They are not angry at you as a person. Relax and remind yourself that this person chose to react in this way, while you can offer compassion instead.

Breathe

Take a deep breath and try to relax. Focusing on your breathing when you become angry can help you to calm yourself down. Breathing from your stomach is a helpful way to naturally relax your entire body. With a calm and reenergized mindset, you will be able to approach the situation with a fresh take.

Apologize and Empathize

Since you have now found out what the problem is through asking questions, you can properly apologize to the customer. One way to make the apology seem sincere is to empathize with what they are going through. Once you have actively listened to the issue at hand and ignored their outburst, you can now understand how they may be feeling. If you do not think that the customer deserves an apology, still offer one anyway. It is the quickest way to start resolving the conflict and getting the customer what they need. Extinguishing the flames is the most important thing; not fanning them.

Be Informed

It is important that you are aware of how the business you work in runs. If you are on your first or second day, then you should direct the person to someone who is more informed. Not knowing what is going on in the business that you are in will only make the customer angrier. For example, if you work in a restaurant and a customer has an issue with the food, knowing what is in the dish is vital to solving their problem.

Control Your Tone of Voice

Raising your voice at a customer is the quickest way to never work for that company again. There are some tricks available to you that will help you with any conflict you may find yourself involved in. Speaking in a lower voice at a slower speed will put the other person at ease during the conversation. Do not give an angry customer a reason to get even angrier by firing back at them. Lowering your voice will make you sound more professional and that will portray to the customer that they are dealing with someone who is not only competent, but able to maintain control in an uncomfortable situation. Slowing your voice down can also have a natural soothing effect on the recipient.

Solve The Problem Or Don’t

If there is a solution to the problem, offer that solution right away. If there is absolutely no solution then be upfront about that. There are many situations you may find yourself in where there is no solution. If you work at a franchise that shares a corporation with other businesses but often partakes in separate promotions from other franchises, you may run into many issues. For example, if someone comes in with a coupon for another store that your store is not equipped to honor then it will not be possible for you to solve that particular issue. The customer may get even angrier, but once they have realized nothing can be done for them they will have no choice but to leave.

Get Help From A Supervisor

It is best to send an angry customer to the proper management or division right away. If you know immediately that you cannot be of service to them once you have heard their problem, then let them know politely that you are going to direct them to the person that can help. Apologize first and politely excuse yourself to find management. For example, “I’m so sorry to hear about that, let me get my supervisor so we can get that issue resolved for you right away.”

Let It Go

Once the problem has been resolved you may be feeling a bit on edge. Dealing with rude, angry, and insulting people can put a damper on your entire day. Go back to your breathing exercises or simply take a timeout. If you can, take a walk around the block, grab some chamomile tea, or simply head to the restroom to compose yourself. Try not to take the issue home with you, or take it personally. When you feel yourself being reminded of the angry, rude customer, switch your thoughts to something positive. Think positive things about yourself or fantasize about how much fun you’re going to have this weekend. Remind yourself that this angry customer did not come into your life to wage a personal attack on you. They were simply unhappy about an issue and were unable to contain their emotions. You, however, were able to contain your emotions to get through a conflict while maintaining your professionalism. That is something to be proud of.

How to Develop Excellent Networking Skills

Developing effective networking skills is an important way to build your business or organization. Networking involves more than just attending mixers and local business meetings, though these can be useful. These tips will help you develop excellent networking skills and avoid the most common pitfalls when you’re developing business contacts.

 

Choose Your Goal

At the outset, it’s important to ask yourself what your goals are. That way you will pick network meetings that will help you achieve what you’re looking for. Networking groups can be quite diverse. For example, some may be focused on learning certain business skills, whereas others are intended specifically for making contacts.

Be Genuine

Remember that networking is about being genuine. Be sincere and work to build trust with the people you meet. Talk to your new contacts about how you can help them. Networking is not just about exchanging business cards, it’s about sharing ideas and skills, and building relationships based on mutuality.

Become a Volunteer

Not only does volunteering allow you an opportunity to meet new people within your community, it is also a great way to learn new skills and gain insight into different businesses and career situations. Additionally, you will gain satisfaction from knowing that you’re giving something back to your community.

Prior to an Event

Always be prepared when you attend a networking event. Bring along plenty of business cards and a small notebook and pen. Make sure you are fully aware of the nature of each particular event and think about what you expect from it. For example, do you want to make new contacts or to strengthen an existing relationship? Remember to ask the host about the dress code, some events may be business formal while others may be more casual. If you know in advance, it will ensure that you feel comfortable within the group.

Make sure you have a clear understanding of your role in business and how you can use your skills to help others. In order to get referrals, you must be able to articulate what you can do for the other people at your networking meetings. Also take some time to think about what you are looking for, and how people you meet may be able to help you.

During an Event

It’s best to arrive a little early when the group of attendees is still relatively small. Always enter the room with a smile so that others will find you easy to approach. Don’t isolate yourself among just the people you know; mingle and greet other attendees. When you meet a person for the first time, shake their hand. As you are talking to them, listen attentively and sum up your personal details succinctly. Make sure you say their name several times during the course of your conversation, this will help you hold their attention and to remember their names. Ask questions that will help you evaluate whether the person will be a useful contact for you and you for them. Try to spend no more than ten minutes talking to each person, this will give you time to circulate the room. Exchange business cards and take notes after you have finished talking to help you remember what each person has said.

After an Event

If you have collected a number of business cards from the networking event, make sure that you follow up with each person within 48 hours; otherwise, your new contacts are likely to forget who you are. If you want to strengthen your newly-forged relationships, call the individual and invite them to lunch. As you add future networking events, add some time in afterward in case you want to have a follow-up meeting with any new or current contacts.

Don’t expect too much too soon. Take plenty of time to establish each relationship through follow-up meetings or communications. If you try to rush or put pressure on contacts, you will lose them, and that may cost you other referrals down the road.

Common Networking Mistakes

Here is a rundown of some common networking pitfalls to avoid:

  • A lack of professionalism: Spend some time improving your brand image. Take a look at your website and social media platforms and make sure they express your professional persona.
  • Too much vagueness: Don’t fall into the trap of not being specific about your skills when you meet new contacts. Make sure they know exactly who you are and what you have to offer.
  • A Lack of Patience: Business relationships can be fragile things, particularly in the early stages of formation. Don’t be in a hurry to toss out your pitch. Be patient, and focus on the other person for a while and look for ways in which the two of you can connect.
  • A lack of politeness: You may be surprised to know that one of the most common mistakes in networking is forgetting to say thank you. Not expressing your gratitude can present a very negative impression and undermine all your hard work. This is a really simple way to keep things on the positive.
  • Insufficient face-to-face contact: While the internet is a convenient way to network, don’t underestimate the value of personal contact.
Are your Networking Skills Adequate?
  • Can you broaden the resources you already have?
  • Are you involved with networking groups that interest you, and where you can make a contribution?
  • Do you go to network meetings prepared?
  • Are you confident that you communicate well?
  • Do you follow up with new contacts within the first 48 hours?

If you answered no to three or more of these questions, you probably need to develop more effective networking skills. Consider how you can broaden your resources by finding out about different networking groups in your area.

Make sure you attend meetings equipped with your business cards and bring your passion and enthusiasm to the table. Be open to possibilities regarding what you get from the meeting. Don’t forget to follow up with contacts within the first 48 hours; or they are most likely to forget you.