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Take Your Customer Service Dept From ‘Cost Saving & Cost Reduction’ To High Profit & Business Growth
The more I deal with telephone service and sales people, such as contact/call centers and customer service departments, the more I am amazed at the reluctance to create more sales and profit opportunities through better communication with current customers, reactivating lost customers. accounts and acquiring new businesses.
Companies are forever looking for ways to cut costs and cut staff – especially in call/contact centers (turning so many into ‘call and wait’ disaster zones) – they often fail to realize the benefits they can achieve with the following formula. :
1 modest phone + 1 skilled operator + 1 established sales system = BIG PROFITS!
Here are twelve ideas that can dramatically improve your bottom line. RESULTS can create greater customer relationships and earn you (a business of any size and industry) more REVENUE.
1. Increase the loyalty of your current customers
“Not the brain” right? Why can’t so many customers contact you when it’s convenient for them?
Why do you keep offering free incentives and discounted rates to get new business opportunities?
CRM is meant to be the new elixir of service. Well, it’s worth nothing if you don’t listen to your customers.
Here’s an example – for the past six months or so, the big city daily has been offering ten-week subscriptions for $39.90 (I pay more and have subscribed for 20 years), contests (win wine when you subscribe, see a rock band concert!) and giveaways to attract new subscribers. Me, I get a membership to some special club with an odd discount or special offer. But hey, so are new subscribers! Who’s in front?
2. Get referrals from current customers
The cost of losing customers is almost incalculable. Add to that the people they tell about their bad experiences and the people they never refer to you.
Instead, offer a total satisfaction and benefits strategy to your current customers. Then encourage them to tell others.
Don’t reward these referrals (but give them full satisfaction and benefits). Reward your current customer for their referral. Develop a system that encourages customers to tell their friends, family, clients and partners about you and then say “thank you” or offer them something of value for their efforts.
3. Add VALUE to every sale
Here’s a very simple equation: if you provide value – you get more sales.
That is all. If your people are trained to provide advice and information, to educate customers, to provide them with creativity and innovation, your customers will buy more products and services more often.
Even if your prices are slightly higher. This was the IBM way in the 60s and 70s to learn from. IBM charged some of the steepest prices in the industry, but their service and support was legendary. The phrase “no one was fired for buying IBM” was coined back then.
4. Turn an inquiry into a lead
Then convert that prospect into a customer. Then turn that customer into an advocate, one of your company’s “coolest fans.”
All you need is trained people, a system and a monitoring and measurement plan. Simple? Yes, it is, and like everything mentioned in this article, I’ll bet some of your people are great at it, and many of them do simple courtesies to callers – and that’s it.
5. Create a reseller program
One becomes two. Two becomes four. Four becomes … larger than Argentina’s GDP.
It is so simple, easy and effective and so few organizations use this strategy. Many of your people don’t because they think the extra cost will drive the customer away. Won’t do it. Not when the customer actually benefits from more quantity or better quality.
6. Cross-sell whenever possible
What can your people add to their original purchase? Extended warranty, on-site service, insurance, savings when they buy additional item(s), special offer or other options?
If everyone in your organization up-sold and cross-sold at every opportunity, your sales would skyrocket. I have seen 15-45% growth in businesses with a simple up/cross sell strategy installed.
7. Price to be negotiated
Don’t just offer a discount or “best price for you”. Let me repeat, if you provide value, you will get more sales. Price negotiable. Train your people to give a margin when you lower the price. So, if you’re offering a discount, negotiate up and/or cross-sell. Package or bundle your offer to make it attractive and a real benefit to the customer.
8. Follow up
Every time your people make a quote, send a proposal or brochure via fax, mail or email, they should log follow-up time.
Between one hour and three days. Anyone requesting information should be followed up by phone. This leads to a higher close or conversion rate (I’ve witnessed 20-50%) or, if they’ve bought elsewhere, your follow-up call may be the start of a relationship…or not. But you won’t know if you don’t follow.
This rule should also apply to complaints management. Most companies have no contact with people who have made a complaint.
9. Get in touch with the program
What can you do for your customers so that you can contact them on a scheduled and regular basis?
Special offers, introduction of a new product or service or …? The best forms of contact are email along with a regular phone call.
But be careful – every call or email you send should have a purpose. Don’t just bombard your customers (and potential customers) with garbage.
10. Develop a systematic approach to reactivating lapsed customers
The longer you fail to establish or maintain contact, the more likely you are to lose customers forever.
If you check the last contact and the previous contact frequency, you can identify the customer who is lost or about to be lost. Do something to restore your business.
This is the most costly part of your operation – lost customer, lost referral.
Do you have a lost customer reactivation plan?
11. Get new customers
Why are there so few high-quality telemarketing divisions in companies? The T-word is certainly considered dirty and dirty in some quarters, and rightly so. But if you have trained professionals, well-developed goals and strategies, why shouldn’t well-executed telemarketing campaigns bring new business and new relationships to your organization?
Quality telemarketing generates leads, opens up new business channels/market segments, builds business with small, marginal and remote clients and gives you real value (as a follow-up) through exhibitions and seminars.
It is one of the most underutilized resources for acquiring (and reactivating) businesses.
12. Develop and operate your own system
If you take a systematic approach, you will find success with all of the tips, tricks, and tips previously mentioned. It is:
a) A sales and service-oriented contact management system based on a high-quality CRM package.
b) Well trained people who consistently add value to every call they take or make.
c) Monitoring, measuring and reviewing all of the above and seeking continuous improvement in contact management and people skills.
It’s easy, and what’s more, it works. Use the power of the humble telephone (and quality people) wisely and you will reap great rewards RESULTS: relations and returns.
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