Customer Relationship Management Training

Professional certification in customer relationship management training (CEM) can provide key employees with the skills and expertise to excel at retaining current customers. Considering that the cost to gain new customers is substantially higher than keeping previous ones, developing and maintaining positive relationships is essential to a business's bottom line. Many firms offer customer relationship management consulting seminars, workshops, and programs that can be specially tailored to an individual company's specific needs. In fact, analyzing the company's current marketing and sales efforts may be the first step that management will want to take. An objective look at past and current marketing campaigns and sales performances can reveal any weaknesses in the company's customer retention and loyalty policies. Armed with this information, the management team is better equipped to select a firm that offers the right mix of programs to address the weaknesses. The training may come in a variety of formats. The management team will need to assess whether it's best for the employees needing the training to receive it at their job location (on-site) or to attend a hosted event at an off-the-premises location. By setting customer relationship management training objectives, the management team sets criteria for determining the best, most cost-effective program. An on-site program may include an entire sales force and provide an opportunity for on-the-job teaching. Another option for department heads to consider is train-the-trainer workshops. Whether on the premises or at an off-site location, this type of program instructs a few employees, or perhaps only one, who can then in turn present the information to his coworkers. This is a cost-effective means of providing instruction, especially to a large staff.

Most customer relationship management consulting experts agree that businesses must focus on the consumer's needs and wants to achieve success. This goal may be reached in various ways, but might include such factors as understanding consumer segmentation, competitive differentiation, and procedures for exceeding customer expectations. Consumer segmentation means that the business targets a relevant demographic niche for each product. Through market research, the ideal buyer is identified. For example, greeting card companies know that most greeting cards are bought by women. Luxury car dealers know the approximate age and income of their ideal buyer. When precise demographic information can be identified for a particular product, the task of creating an exciting advertising campaign that promotes the product to that ideal target consumer becomes much easier for the marketing department or advertising agency. Competitive differentiation focuses on the differences between a business's products and those of its competitors. The marketing campaign can highlight those differences to the selected target audience. For example, an online children's clothing store may promote free shipping for orders over a certain amount. A competing shop, to stand out from the crowd, may highlight a liberal return policy. Any of the businesses in these examples, to be successful in retaining customers, will strive to exceed expectations. Perhaps some type of frequent buyer reward program will be instituted or consumers may be given the opportunity to sign up for email alerts of upcoming sales. By providing these extras, a business can stand apart from other competitors and generate consumer loyalty.

Entrepreneurs with strong marketing or sales expertise can find their knowledge in great demand as they establish customer relationship management consulting firms. In addition to innovative seminars and workshops, these go-getters often provide coaching and mentoring services that can help a company's key stakeholders in implementing and fine-tuning consumer loyalty and retention policies. With proper planning, these policies will have many positive outcomes. Depending on the identified weaknesses (if such an analysis occurs), the customer relationship management training may be designed to accomplish such objectives as increasing employee productivity, increasing referrals, or increasing revenue. As these factors are often interrelated, tactics for boosting one of them may overflow to the others. Well-trained and competent employees who are knowledgeable about the company's products will do a better job of helping potential customers see the benefits of that particular product over those of any competitors. Satisfied customers often feel comfortable recommending competent sales professionals to colleagues and associates. After all, Scripture says: "Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel" (Proverbs 27:9). When satisfied consumers return to a favorite business, and bring along their friends, that bottom line number ends up looking pretty good for the company.

Additional customer relationship management training for key employees may consist of using technology both for instructional and tracking purposes. Online courses may be devised that provide information to new employees on a company's history and corporate culture. Key policies and procedures can be reviewed and the employee can be tested on her understanding of the information through using specially created software programs. Other software programs can be used for the sales team to track the leads and contacts that they cultivate and the sales that they make. With the software database features, past sales records can be accurately compared from one month to the next. Quarterly and annual reports can be created that will provide important data on the purchasing history for key clients. Other relevant information may be created and analyzed that will assist the company's management team when it comes to making key decisions on employee performance reviews, the effectiveness of certain sales techniques, or perhaps the success of a carefully crafted marketing strategy. Professionals with customer relationship management consulting expertise can assist businesses in many different ways to target and retain targeted consumers for their products so that revenues increase over time.

Customer Service Management Training

In any economy, customer service management training is an important part of growing a successful business. It is even more crucial when businesses are competing for customers due to economic downturns. After all, without satisfied customers, there is no business. Customer service management training, therefore, becomes a vital concern. All kinds of customer service training seminars are available to help managers and their employees deal with the great variety of issues faced by those who wish to provide a high level of support for their company.

Support issues do not only involve handling complaints from dissatisfied customers. Wise managers will also realize that providing a pleasant work environment and teaching employees techniques for relating to their coworkers as well as disgruntled customers are issues which need to be addressed at customer service training seminars if the desired workplace environment is to be achieved. Happy employees will perform better at tasks than those who are stressed and uncertain about whether they make any contribution to the company's goals. Managers also need to be able to use tools to gather data about the results of their efforts in these areas. This will help them to refine procedures for greater effectiveness. Such information is also useful to remind higher levels of management of the importance of the department upon the business' bottom line. Concrete examples of how the department has advanced the efforts of the company are a kind of insurance against layoffs and cutbacks to the service department.

Whether one runs a small department or a large call center, the basic skills which may be covered in customer service training seminars remain the same. Workshops and seminars may cover such topics as time management, listening skills, and working with those of other cultures or personality types. Managers can also benefit from seminars or professional assessments of their own work. During this customer service management training, help may be extended in areas such as pinpointing the strengths and weaknesses of current policies, receiving specific recommendations for improvement, and learning how to establish baselines and metrics for measuring future growth in these same areas. There are a variety of online resources for managers as well. Websites which deal with customer service management training often offer tools, advice, and articles regarding current issues and techniques. News of magazines and conferences devoted to the industry or reviews of various customer service seminars may also be provided. Online communities have also sprung up which address the concerns of the service industry.

Employees benefit from customer service training seminars in many ways. A company-wide definition of customer service can be established, so that everyone is on the same page. Workplace attitudes and expectations can be addressed. Defining how the department is an integral part of the business helps employees to better understand the goals they are trying to reach. Clearly defined goals, along with specifically assigned responsibilities and frequent ongoing assessments, help to accomplish a company's goals and allows employees to see concrete advances. This also allows a manager to correct problems before they become disasters.

Customers are an interesting lot these days. There is quite a high level of expectation for how they wish to be treated. A Christian might immediately think of the Golden Rule found in this verse from Matthew 7:12 -- "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." This is a valid instruction, and it is no wonder that it comes after a place in Scripture which has just spoken about not being judgmental, and about asking God for help if one is in need of anything. It is also followed by a passage acknowledging that the way to life is a narrow path, rather than the broad highway that others may follow. These passages, as well as the practice of keeping a firm grasp on the tongue with one's teeth when customers become unreasonable, may help a customer service representative avoid some very unpleasant situations.

Interestingly, although most customers appreciate having a choice of products or services, having too many choices can lead to indecision and abandoning the sale. Instead of being a passive consumer, many customers seem to want to be actively involved in a transaction. They will tell the employee in no uncertain terms about their expectations, too. While ordering meals and beverages, or any other items, assumptions are made that one should be able to provide exactly what is desired, in an efficient and timely manner, which is otherwise known as NOW. A customer service representative is expected to be ever so polite and cheerful, although unfortunately, some customers do not hold themselves to the same level of expectations. Customer service training seminars can help stressed employees deal with such persons, and avoid the high level of turnover found in this sector of business. They may also be instructed that, in rare instances, a business may have to politely yet firmly suggest that a customer take his or her business elsewhere.

Training those whose jobs are involved with dealing directly with customers can yield excellent results. Goals can be established and monitored, and then further adjusted as the need arises. Increasing benefits can be documented as to the effects of training seminars on a business' bottom line. Workers can benefit from clearly defined responsibilities, and diligent managers can see the results of their own efforts in the form of productive employees and that true benchmark of business success -- satisfied, repeat customers.

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