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5. Be A Fanatic About Response Time. | Amy’s Message

Amy’s Message: 

The old saying “time is money” is all around the service industry. Time is a valuable resource. Therefore, it is better to do things as quickly as possible. However, with everyone connected by email, social media or cell phone, we’ve become used to having our questions and concerns acknowledged now. We know that they received our question! So what is the response?

Unfortunately, that is where the trouble begins. It is so easy to send off a quick comment or perceived answer without digging into the “meat” of the concern. E-mail chains or phone tags begin as we try to narrow down the real need. As we already know, everything is not black and white, and as easily answered in a quick response. In HR, there are many circumstances that require extra digging to address the issue. I am really lucky to work so closely with Lisa Stacks, who has built and retained such knowledge in dealing with so many internal issues. It is important to learn from the individuals around you to build your own base of knowledge. (Especially when it deals with payroll and your money.) I find that when I communicate with fellow associates, it is better to step back for an instant, fully understand their need, and not just interject with the first thing that comes to mind. We all need to work with co-workers to be consistent across the board, and give the correct information. 

It is very important to respond timely, manage priorities and set reminders to follow up. It is also important to clearly communicate and do things right the first time. We cannot rush through the day and do one without the other. Our customers and associates deserve the best, and we are “on it”!!

Thank you,

Amy

Amy Beegle

Payroll Coordinator

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5. Be A Fanatic About Response Time. | Dana’s Message

Dana’s Message: 

The first word that comes to my mind with this week’s fundamental is “respect”. First, I believe, we show respect to the person who emailed or called us to answer a question or to fulfill a request. We let that person know we respect and value their time when we respond quickly. As our fundamental says, even though we may not have an answer, it is imperative that we acknowledge the inquiry from our customers, both external and internal. A quick and courteous response sets the tone for a successful interaction with our customer or potential customer.   Famous Supply has earned a stellar reputation in our industry, and we are all privileged to enhance that reputation each day as we pay special attention to our requests.

Recently, I was able to attend my second expo in PA where a customer came to our display to view our vintage candelabra lamps.   As I returned to the office, I placed an order for the lamps so our customer could view these for a specific application. Our customer thanked me for a quick response which I hope will result in a future sale. At the very least, I hope this customer will have confidence his future questions or requests will be handled with quickness and courtesy.

As I was doing some research to gather my thoughts on this fundamental, I found an article entitled “How Fast Is Your Sales Team’s Lead Response Time?” by Eyal Orgil. In this article I found several points that stress the importance of a quick response time;

  • Responding within the first 60 minutes of the inquiry, increases the success rate by seven times
  • 35-50% of sales are won by the company that responds first to a customer inquiry increasing the chance of beating the competition to close the sale
  • Maintaining the quick response and updates throughout the sales/order process enhances our customer’s experience with Famous
  • Successful sales/order experiences help us to establish long term customer relationships

Keeping these points in mind for internal and external customers helps to illustrate how our quick response time can have a positive effect on our continued success.

Thank you

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5. Be A Fanatic About Response Time. | Drenda’s message

Drenda’s message:

Companies like Amazon and Zappos have completely changed the consumer’s expectations about customer service. Instant gratification is now the status quo. Any company failing to meet these new demands is at risk of losing customers to a company who can.

There are many facets to the new customer experience expectation. Some you can control. Some you cannot. But, one critical component that all customer-facing associates can control—one that the customer experience leaders in the industry take very seriously–is customer response time.

Responding to customers immediately, or at least same-day, even if it’s just to say “I got your message and I’m working on it,” builds confidence. It sets the customer at ease. It erases that little bit of anxiety that builds in back of their head when they send that email out into the digital abyss. It lets the customer know that things are moving forward.

The masters of customer response time aren’t that way by accident. To deliver that kind of experience consistently requires discipline and a sense of urgency. It requires systems for communication. This means having the capability to organize and access issues across the organization. But, it also requires individuals to manage their own systems for communication.

Little things like blocking off your calendar at the beginning and end of every day just to answer emails make all the difference. Categorizing your to-do list of emails to send and /or calls to make by priority makes all the difference. Even using a pen and paper to write down your to-do list of customer responses every day can make all the difference.

Taking personal responsibility for customer response time means figuring out what system works for you. When you try to manage customer responses by the seat of your pants, something is bound to fall on the floor—no matter how good you are. You’ve got to have a process that keeps you on track. You’ve got to be intentional about how to ensure your customer issues are addressed as quickly as possible. Marla Iverson, in our Cleveland showroom, has taken this fundamental to heart. Her daily routine includes flagging all emails she cannot immediately respond to. She keeps a list of voice messages as well that she cannot immediately call back. At the end of each day she has dedicated time to review the flagged emails and unanswered voice mails and reaching out to the customers. If she can’t resolve any issue that day she at least lets the customer know that she is still working on it and will contact them again the following day with resolution.

Take a look at how you access and deal with your customer requests. Do you occasionally let an email slip a day or two too long? Do you forget to get back to someone, even if it’s just every once in a while? Anything less than “always” delivering on the promise to respond quickly is not good enough. So, what can you do to make sure you get there?

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5. Be A Fanatic About Response Time. | Pete’s message

Pete’s message:

 We live in a world that moves very, very quickly.  Both at work and at home we are constantly trying to keep up with the pace of our lives that have become more hectic mostly due to the internet and the evolution of email and social media.  Between email, text messaging, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. we are constantly bombarded with communication, and it can be a challenge to filter what is important and to decide what to respond to first. The point is things are moving faster and I believe our business and personal lives will continue to speed up.

Customers have needs and want answers quickly.  And we are committed to respond to their needs and concerns quickly, even if we simply acknowledge that we are “on it” as our fundamental describes.  Although we are committed to a quick response lets remember that the right, thoughtful response is always better than the quick, incorrect response.   There is absolutely nothing wrong with an immediate “I will be back to you promptly” while you determine what course of action meets Fundamental Number 1 – Do the Right Thing Always. In place of an electronic communication you might also do something really “Old School” as an option like picking up the phone and calling the customer to say “I am working to address your needs.  And by the way how are you?  How is the family?”

Although we may not have time to do this in every instance and we need to prioritize our messaging and manage our time, a phone call no doubt makes a more personal contact with our customers. The most important part of the conversation is to understand the customer expectations during your call.   The customer knows you are concerned but will feel better if you understand what they expect from you / Famous. Remember, we can return a call at 10 am tomorrow and be perceived as a hero or a bum, based on when they expect the call. Let’s make it a priority to always be clear on what a customer wants. We have become so reliant on electronic communication and the pace that it creates that sometimes we forget that the spoken word can make a “Fan” out of a customer who expects you to be a “Fanatic” about response time.

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5. Be A Fanatic About Response Time | Marc’s message

Marc’s message:

When I think about this important fundamental, one word pops into my mind Š RESPECT.  I say this because in business or one’s personal life, people value their time.  And when we take the initiative to respond swiftly and according to one’s expectations, whether it’s our customers, internal customers (associates), suppliers, your friends, family members, or others, I believe you are showing those individuals respect.  It reveals your character and that you care about them and value their time, so they don’t have to follow up with you or wonder if you are working on what they need.  As society and business evolves, I also believe the demands and requirements for responding on time and with lightning speed will continue to increase.  Therefore, we must condition ourselves to have this mindset every moment of the day.  Those that have achieved this level of excellence are committed to it as a way of life.

In order to respond effectively, first we must prioritize.  We most often also rely on others.  This is why responding internally is so critical to our ultimate success.  Your organization and attention to detail and your handoff of information to a fellow associate allows them to most effectively pass it along to others and our customers.  As we do this more consistently, our customers will see that everyone at Famous is a fanatic about response time.  They will inevitably provide us more opportunities to serve them because they are not only confident they can count on you / us, but they know we respect them and their time.  Think for a moment who you would want to deal with if the shoe was on the other foot:  Someone who shows a lack of respect, concern, and response time, or someone who lives and breathes being a fanatic about response time?  I’ll bet we would all choose the latter for sure.

I’ve had the good fortune of working very closely with Julie Wright and Michelle Morgan for many, many years.  I’ve seen firsthand the personal pride they both display when it comes to being absolute fanatics about response time.  It’s fun to hear and see them in action.  They are both shining examples of living with a sense of urgency and always taking those extra few precious seconds to show others how much they care about them, as they follow up on their priorities and all their daily tasks.  There are so many others at Famous who are quick to follow up. Your peers like Judy Noll, Tammy Brothers, Don Short, Cindy Herrington, Laura Caughey, and Dale Kosco, to name a few, are some of the best when it comes to response time.  The medium of communication isn’t always critical.  In response to an email, you can simply reply to that email, or as Dale often does, pick up the phone and make personal contact.  What matters is WHY you respond – because you care, it is important and respectful.

Thank you in advance for your commitment to making Famous the very best distributor when it comes to being a fanatic about response time!

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