Continual Learner: 4 Ways to Hone Your Professional Skills

14 Dec, 2015 | Tags: , , ,

In order to remain competitive and competent, employees should continually polish their professional skills and knowledge. Employees who continually engage in professional development will enjoy an enhanced reputation and improved expertise in their field. Below introduces four of the best ways to hone your professional skills.

Productivity Proficiency

According to personal productivity guru David Allen, it is entirely possible for a business professional to be overwhelmed with tasks, yet still function productively with a sharp mind and strong sense of control. There are fundamental techniques that professionals use to improve their organization and productivity skills, such as morning planning sessions and day planners. However, technology has created tools like Outlook, as well as cloud-based and smart phone calendars and schedules that must be continually synced. Nevertheless, anyone serious about personal efficiency will explore and adopt the best practices that fit their personality.

Presentation Skills

Personal knowledge and abilities are dormant unless they can be publicly shared with others. Therefore, those serious about professional development should expand their presentation design and delivery skills. It is also important to be able to smoothly respond to any concerns in a persuasive way with supporting facts. In fact, being able to courteously diffuse contention during a meeting, while allowing people to save face, is a valuable skill. In the end, being able to logically present and respectfully defend ideas will be very beneficial for anyone hoping to move into management.

Be a Team Leader

Anyone who wants to move into a managerial position must begin by becoming a team leader. Increased leadership accountability will enhance maturity, responsibility and transparency. It will also involve common interpersonal and organizational problems. For example, lack of trust, avoidance of accountability and unwillingness to commit are three of the most common problems that new teams face. Learning how to mitigate these obstacles while keeping all team members happy will help the team leader develop valuable problem-solving skills.

Formal Education

One of the best ways to comprehensively improve your professional skills is through continuing education. There are many options available, such as local community colleges or community centers. Due to the fact that most working professionals have limited time, online education through institutions like Global Learning Systems is the preferred professional development method among corporations. In this way, employees can take classes during slow periods at work or they can also take them at home. Either way, online learning offers flexibility and convenience.

No matter how you look at it, professional development is essential for both personal and career growth. Increasing productivity, leadership and presentation skills is highly recommended. Finally, online learning courses allow working adults to access exclusive educational content.

5 Tips to Convert a First Time Customer into a Lifetime Customer

17 Nov, 2015 | Tags: , , , , ,

Congratulations!  You have sold your product (or service) to a new customer.  It’s a great feeling!  Then you say something like “Thank you, let me know if there is anything else I can help you with in the future.”  Basically, right there, without realizing it, you killed it, and not in a good way.  You see, the translation to what you just said is really, “I got my sale, I’m done at my end, and if you want anything else then you’ll have to contact me.  I’m not going to put any additional effort into you because I came for the sale and I already got it.”  That may not be your intention, but that’s how it may have come across. 

In reality, it doesn’t even matter if you got the sale just now.  You might be scratching your head over this statement, but it’s true.  If you are sincere in wanting a forever customer then you need to build a relationship.  That’s the key.  Most times they can get the product or service from someone else so why should they do business with you?

Build a Relationship.

  A potential customer wants to see that you are interested in them, not as a paycheck, but as someone who wishes to serve them, to help, direct, educate, to build a customer for life.  They want to know that you’re in their corner.  If you are sincere is wanting to be in their corner than that brings us to the next step, listening.

Ask Open-Ended Questions and Listen to the Answers.

Find out about them.  The more information they share, the more you can see how your product or service can help them now or in the future.  Note:  Keep a journal and jot down info on them so you can bring it up in the future.  And remember, you might be doing something totally different in the future, and they may too.  So, I hope you see that a relationship is more important than one sale.  If it is, then that brings us to the next step, finding out how they want you to connect.


How does your potential customer like to be addressed?  How do they like to share communication?  By phone? Email? Text?  There’s nothing more irritating to a potential customer than communicating to someone that you don’t want to communicate via phone and would prefer email and they keep calling you, over and over again.  Is this person really connected to their potential customer’s needs?  Absolutely not.

Your New Product or Service to Their Needs

. Always inform your customer if there is something new or something on sale that you feel would be of interest to them.  Let them hear your enthusiasm, and explain to her/him that you wanted to share this new product/service because “you remembered how fill in the blank was so important to them.  Take the time to explain how it may meet their needs.  As you grow this relationship, remember to note how their needs have changed; don’t be afraid to ask them why they’ve changed.  Did they get married?  Start a new business venture?  Downsize or have kids?

New Life Event?  Special Occasion?

Remember special occasions and send a card, call or in some cases, send a little gift.  Maybe they just had a child, or it’s their company’s anniversary or they just returned from a fabulous vacation.  Reaching out to them reminds them of your sincerity to be there for them when needed.  My husband and I have a realtor friend and he sends a calendar with his name and phone number on it to us at the end of each year.  He calls us twice a year just to check in, remind us that he’s there for us and asks if we have any questions about the market.  I say realtor “friend” even though he’s not a social friend.  We view him as such though because he builds relationships and we know whether we buy or sell a house soon, he is there to help us with any questions.  He’s a great example of creating a customer for life.  Without a doubt, we will be calling him if and when we decide to sell and would feel very comfortable recommending him to our friends and associates.

Where ever you or your customer may go in life, there’s always an opportunity to take them with you. 

  By Karen Orem

In-Store Connections: How to Teach Employees Better Customer Service

22 Oct, 2015 | Tags: , , , ,

To attract customers, you have to set your business apart from all others in your industry. You can accomplish this by making your products or services spectacular, but attractive offerings only make up one part of the equation. You also have to make your clientele feel welcome by providing better customer service.

Look through the tips below to improve your customer service skills and your employees’ skills as well. Together, you and your staff can transform your company into a business customers adore.

Don’t Neglect Online Customers

Every modern company needs an online presence. But you can’t just stop at a website. You also have to give customers a way to interact with your business over the Internet. Your online customers likely have more questions than people who visit your store, so use a service like Enterprise instant messaging (preferably on your website) and social media platforms to give your clientele someone to contact.

You don’t have to have a presence on every social media website, but make sure you at least use Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Hire a team or a third-party partner to handle these online interactions for you. Make sure they are trained to know how to handle all questions they might encounter.

Don’t Waste Time on Distractions

When business gets slow, you and your employees might feel tempted to chat, watch movies, play games, or do things that distract you from the storefront or the sales floor. But you cannot give in to this temptation. Have your employees on alert at all times so they can welcome customers to your business and ask them if they need assistance. You’ll likely have fewer frustrated shoppers with this strategy.

Ask Every Customer If There’s Anything You Can Do to Help Him or Her

Even if a customer looks like they simply want to browse, your employees should still greet them and ask if they can be of assistance. A smile and greeting show customers you care about their opinion, and they’ll more likely turn into repeat customers as a result. Additionally, if you ask every customer if he or she needs help, no shopper will leave dissatisfied.

Remember to Treat Each Customer with Respect—Be Genuine

You’ll likely see a few angry customers from time to time. They may have had a bad day, or maybe had a bad experience with a product or service. But not matter what they say or do, you have to treat them with respect. Teach your employees to exercise patience and understanding. Teach them to smile and stay calm and courteous in the face of anger.

When your employees treat your clientele with respect, they can resolve many emotional problems. And even if they can’t fix problems, they can at least avoid making them worse.

Have an Intimate Knowledge of Products and Services

Sometimes customers feel frustrated because they ask the staff questions and get lackluster answers. Train each of your employees on every aspect of your business so they can answer every question thoroughly.

Customer service plays an important role in your business’s success. Boost your company’s ratings and revenue by implementing the tips in this list.

Tricks to Give Your Business a More Personal Touch

21 Aug, 2015 | Tags: , , , , ,

According to a recent Gallup poll, customer engagement is more critical today because consumers prefer to have an emotional connection to a businesses. Fully engaged customers are emotionally bonded and loyal to the company. On the other hand, actively disengaged customers easily switch between products or services. For example, fully engaged bank customers add up to 40 percent more annual revenue, compared with disengaged customers. Below explains three ways to personalize your customer’s experience with your business.

Genuine Engagement

Surprise your customers by actively engaging them through genuine interactions. Set the standard that employees address customers by name and require that all employees wear name tags or state their name at the beginning of an interaction. Most customers appreciate not being treated like just another face or account number. Encourage employees to engage customers in polite conversation while focusing on meeting their needs. Whenever a customer has a problem, instruct employees to actively listen and problem solve at the lowest possible level. Employees should not simply transfer the phone or pass the problem along to someone else. If the problem is more complex, a timely follow up is critical, even if there is no immediate solution available.

Elicit Feedback

Many businesses want to adjust their business practices to meet their customers’ needs, but are unsure how to go about doing this. Improving the customer experience begins with properly documenting and responding to customer comments and complaints. Hard data and numbers work best when it comes to improving the overall customer experience. Consider formally surveying customers through email, phone, or in-person surveys. Monitor social media sites for postings that shed light on improvement opportunities. Cloud-based platforms that customers can access, such as healthcare communication systems like Solutionreach Patient Engagement, offer Patient Reminder Software and allow customers to easily connect to the company more personally.

Improve the Customer Service Experience

According to Forbes, certain industries are better suited to excel at customer service, such as the real estate and healthcare industries. However, retail and social media are at the bottom of the list. According to Forbes, the key to a satisfying customer service experience is through personal relationships and ample self-service resources. Every customer service interaction should begin and end on a positive note. As mentioned above, genuine and helpful customer service interactions will resolve most problems. On the other hand, many savvy customers can take care of their own problems, but often lack the means to do it. Be sure that your website and social media sites offer right resources, such as FAQs and Forums, so customers can answer their own questions as well.

To recap, businesses today can offer a more personal experienced through genuine engagement, eliciting feedback, and improving the customer service experience. Businesses that offer a personalized experience will increase the number of fully engaged, loyal customers and increase their revenue as a result.

“Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.”