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25 Things to try for your Holiday eCommerce Business

Posted on December 26, 2013 by Jessica

'Tis the season for shoppers to be hitting the internet hard and fast in their quest to find the must-have products at the must-have prices. And if you're a savvy business, you'll have spent months preparing for the best time of year for any merchant: Black Friday and beyond, when most businesses are able to make sure they end the year in the black by offering killer deals that just can't be passed up. With online sales on Black Friday now surpassing 1 billion dollars, and holiday shopping during the months of November and December resulting in significant profits for businesses, you want to make sure that your website, as well as your sales and marketing staff, are ready for festive business. Here are a few tips to help you prepare and make the most of the holiday shopping season:

Plan ahead. Always plan ahead by getting as early of a start as possible on your ecommerce plans for the holiday shopping season. Begin making tentative plans and product and sale listing schedules as early as June and July.

Don't panic. Even if you didn't optimally plan for the holiday shopping season, you can still make the most of things. Jump in with some festive decor for your website, renewed interest in corresponding with customers on Facebook, and the offerings of holiday sales and promotions.

Give your site a festive makeover. With as much as 41 percent of holiday spending being done during the Black Friday weekend, make sure your site is ready to go with its holiday look no later than the week of Thanksgiving. Simple touches like adding a bundle of ornaments to your logo, setting a jaunty Santa Claus hat onto the corner of the first letter in your business name, or changing link colors from blue to red or green can go a long way in showing your holiday spirit. And on the SEO end of things, you'll definitely want to incorporate such search-engine-grabbing keywords like "Black Friday Sale" and "Cyber Monday Sale". Use these in headings, links, site content, and even as the ALT descriptions for relevant images.

Set up PPC campaigns. The opportunity to earn traffic, visitors and ultimately sales from PPC campaigns is at its best during the holiday shopping season. Utilize Black Friday and Cyber Monday keywords and banners to get the most clicks.

Add a holiday countdown ticker. Create a fun yet slightly panicky sense of urgency on your site by showcasing a holiday countdown ticker. Set the ticker to show how many days there are until Christmas. Additionally, consider placing brief information about your shipping info nearby - for example, underneath a holiday ticker you could have wordage such as, "Order by 12/20 and select 2-3 day shipping to get your package by December 24th!"

Promote gift cards. There isn't a better time than the holiday season to promote your gift cards. Gift cards are a so-so buy during most of the year, but at Christmastime, when there are plenty of parents, adult siblings, and co-workers who have no idea what to get one another, gift cards are sure to be a big hit. Offer expedited shipping on gift cards or even e-mail delivery to further entice buyers.

Show off the clearance merchandise. You may be able to finally move clearance merchandise off the shelves by showcasing some of the good, gift-worthy stuff to your holiday shoppers. Dedicate a spot on your page or within a product listing grid for your clearance items. Be sure to highlight the ultra-low prices on these items, which will attract frugal shoppers.

Offer gift wrapping and Secret Santa shipping. Many holiday shoppers don't have the time or desire to wrap gifts, especially if they have to then pay to ship those wrapped gifts to their final destination. Throw in free gift wrapping on orders of a minimum price, and be sure to include Secret Santa shipping - with this option, the recipient receives a receipt with the item, but no prices are listed.

Highlight holiday shipping deadlines. The biggest question holiday shoppers have in regards to purchasing online merchandise is, "Will I get it in time for Christmas?" Put together a simple table that lists product ship dates on the left, and product delivery dates on the right. Encourage shoppers to choose shorter shipping options (though these are usually a bit costlier) or do their shopping sooner in order to avoid stalking the postal service mercilessly in the days leading up to Christmas.

Clearly state payment and shipping info. Going hand in hand with what has already been mentioned - always be clear with stating costs and times associated with preparing orders for shipment and the actual shipment of those products. If there are daytime deadlines for placing orders that will ship on that same day, make sure you are clear with this, too. And if you offer free shipping or a free product on orders that meet a certain threshold, make sure this is clearly explained, so that you don't have disappointed customers walking away from their shopping cards.

Offer free shipping. Eat some of the shipping costs your customers will have to deal with by offering to cover it yourself. Reasonable exclusions make sense, but you should be willing to offer free shipping on smaller purchases, like jewelry, makeup, clothing, and toys.

Promote your festivity on your blog and social media profiles. The Christmas season is everywhere, so even if you're less of a Santa Claus type and more of a Scrooge, it's important that you paste a smile on your face, plop a Santa hat on your head, and take to your blog and Facebook status and Twitter update with proclamations of how exciting this time of year is. Or, at the very least, showcase and highlight some of the more festive, holiday-oriented sections of your website.

Offer themed gift shopping pages. Just as many holiday shoppers will traipse up and down the aisles at department stores, trying to find that special someone just the right gift, plenty of shoppers will be aimlessly browsing your website, hoping to click upon the perfect item. By taking the time to put together gift guides for different recipients (co-workers, children, teenagers, men, women, etc.), you'll make it easier for your shoppers to find a gift, and then purchase that gift.

Show your holiday spirit by giving back. Many businesses are giving back to communities by donating proceeds of certain purchases to charity, or even by directly donating shipments of clothing, toys, or food to neighborhood programs. You too can get on board with this, and you'll definitely want to toot your own horn by mentioning your decision to give back on social media. You can promote your decision to give to those in need on your website by offering customers the chance to give to. Offer to add on $1 donations to their purchases, or let them select a charity to send an item to if they make a qualifying purchase. Holiday shoppers are quick to notice and talk about businesses who aren't just thinking about their profits during the holiday season - this is a group of businesses you definitely want to be among.

Be mobile ready. If you're not yet mobile ready, now's the time to make the necessary changes to your website so that your visitors can easily access and navigate your website, whether they're on a laptop, a tablet, or a smartphone. 30 percent of shoppers plan on shopping online, and more than half of the purchases they make are done on a mobile device. Don't lose out on sales because your website isn't designed to be responsive and adaptable to all mobile platforms.

Update your site regularly. Do daily check-ins to look for mis-priced merchandise, incorrect inventory, and even simple things like types or mis-aligned images that need tending to.

Check in on social media. Cross promote your site and its selection of holiday-perfect items on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and even Instagram. Use your company's name as a hashtag to make it easier for others to find and chime in on your conversations.

Hit the email marketing hard. Now's a good time to put together daily email newsletters. Each newsletter can have the latest and greatest must-have products listed, maybe a few DIY gift and baking ideas, and a handy countdown to Christmas ticker to motivate customers to click and buy.

Collect emails. While you're working on building traffic and sales, throw up a pop-up that offers new customers the opportunity to sign up for your newsletter with just one click. Many consumers will do so, even if for no other reason than to hope for coupons and exclusive discounts.

Utilize coupons. Coupon codes can be a saving grace during the holiday season, when tight budgets are stretched even tighter. Offer a simple 10 or even 15 percent coupon that has no conditions to be met, and watch how your customers will suddenly swarm your site to make purchases.

Hold a giveaway. Consider holding a giveaway for a high value item, or even a $50 or $100 gift certificate to your store. Set up the giveaway somewhere on your site or blog to draw traffic to your site, and encourage entrants to browse your site, follow you on Twitter, like you on Facebook, etc., to build your social media following.

Be there and be ready to chat. Set up a live chat service, and make sure that it's actually staffed by a person who can jump in to answer a customer's questions.

Prep staff. Prepare your staff for what they can expect during the holiday shopping season, and consider adding one or two more people, especially if you offer live chat and phone support.

Staff your site's back-end. Last but certainly not least, make sure that your website's server is equipped to handle the increased load from traffic and website purchases. Considering upgrading resources such as bandwidth, and even CPU and RAM, to make sure that your site will stay up and running at all times.

Are you in the eCommerce business?  What tips would you recommend following next year? 

5 Rules For Interacting With Customers in Social Media

Posted on May 22, 2013 by Jessica

Social media has emerged as one of the best ways to keep in touch with your customers. Yet it can be a little confusing to know how to do this in the most effective manner. Social media is, after all, supposed to be for socializing. How, then, can you best utilize it for business? Let's take a look at a few basic rules.

1. Identify Where to Focus Your Efforts
You should find out which social media networks are most likely to be used by your customers. You may want to use more than one, such as Facebook and Twitter. You don't, however, want to spread yourself too thin. It's best to find out where your customers are spending most of their time online and to follow them there.

2. Keep Mobile Users in Mind
More and more people are accessing the web via smartphone and other mobile devices. They often sign into social networks using apps. This means that you should tailor at least some of your content to mobile users. People on mobile devices are more likely to read shorter messages. They also cannot usually access flash.

3. Know Your Objectives
Do you want to use social media to extend your reach and get new customers? Do you want to use your Facebook page to help familiarize people with your products or services Or are you mainly using social media to develop better relations with your customers? These are some of the possible reasons why businesses use social media. The more focused you are on your specific goals, the better your results will be.

4. Separate Customer Service From Other Types of Interaction
You don't want your company's Facebook page, for example, to be full of technical questions or complaints. It's better to separate customer service from your general social media presence. That way, you can keep your main social pages full of positive, broader topics. You can still use social media for support (though that's not your only option), but in that case create a separate page or account for that purpose.

5. Connect Social Media to Your Website
As useful as social media sites can be, you should not neglect your company website. In fact, you can utilize social media to send traffic to your website (and vice versa). Since your social pages are mainly for informal interaction with customers, you can send people to your website for more detailed information.
What other rules do you follow when interacting with your customers within Social Media? Let us know in the comments below! 

Creating Organizational Culture

Posted on April 3, 2012 by Arianna

Companies have always tried to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Whether it is by providing amazing customer service like Nordstrom, or being eco-friendly like Johnson & Johnson, their ultimate goal is to be known for their behavior along with their products. The concept of organizational culture is what defines companies such as these. Although culture in an organization has always existed, it seems that now more than ever companies are at work trying to define and cultivate it. Unfortunately for many of these companies, their understanding of organizational culture has limited their progress. I, like many of these companies, have the daunting task to define my department’s culture.

My first question was obvious, “How do I create and define our department culture?”

Since I had no understanding of the concept, some research was definitely needed. John M. Invacevich, Robert Konopaske and Michael T. Matteson wrote a book titled Organizational Behavior and Management which helped grasp the concept of organizational culture. The text explains that, “Organizational Culture is what the employees perceive and how this perception creates a pattern of beliefs, values, and expectations”.

In order to create our department culture, I went to Edgar Schein’s “Three Layers of Organizational Model” for structural help. The first layer is visible artifacts and creations. These may often be difficult to interpret, but include things like a company’s office set up such as cubicles, technology, art, and even company newsletters. The second layer is the organizational value, or what is important to the leadership of a company. And the third layer is the basic assumptions made by employees in a corporation that guide their behavior.

There are three types of organizational culture: Customer-Service culture, Ethical culture, and Diversity culture.  In Customer-Service culture the main focus is obviously customer satisfaction. An example of this is Nordstrom, who rewards employees for going out of their way to provide exceptional service. Ethical culture focuses on the well being of the environment and the improvement of people as a whole – of which Johnson & Johnson is a prime example. Diversity culture encompasses and promotes diversity in employees, customers and business relationships. Zappos, the internet retailer, has applied the diversity culture, striving for diversity in each department of their company.

Though a company can have all three types of organizational cultures it is really important to focus on one culture and branch out. Since I am merely trying to define my customer service department culture, my focus has mainly been in the Customer-Service culture. I have yet to fully define it, and though it is a long process, I hope to include my employees in the creation and definition of our culture. In the end it is all about what employees believe it is.

In what ways, has your company defined and implemented its company culture? How has that worked out for you?

Tips for Winning Over Angry Customers

Posted on December 21, 2011 by Arianna

Winning over angry customers has to be the single hardest problem customer service team’s face every day. Thankfully, in our field we do not deal with face to face interactions, so it can often be easier to handle angry customers then in person.  By far the best thing you can do to win over angry customers is to give your “5-star” attitude: Sit up straight, breathe, give your full attention, be extremely patient, and be efficient. When you need some extra tips though, here are a couple great ideas that should help you provide excellent service to rude customers.

Create a Personal Connection
Remember to make a personal connection with angry
customers.  When you begin to connect with the customer, they start realizing that you are also a human. Customers tend to calm down once they start to understand that you care about whom they are or what their issue is, rather than just being another call they had to take.

Find the Real Issue
 It is also really important for customer service representatives to dig deeper and find the real issues behind the ranting and raving. If giving the
customer their options, apologizing for the inconvenience and trying to resolve the customer's issues are not good enough for the customer and they start using foul language,  it is okay for representatives to say, “Customer, there is nothing more I would  rather do than resolve your issue. With the language you are using right now though, it is making it difficult for me to assist you. Can we bring down the tone please?” If they continue to scream and yell then finally say, “I’m sorry you feel this way…I can see you are really upset and so I recommend that we continue this conversation at another time. I will give you a call tomorrow at a designated time to continue our conversation then. Thank you.”

Connect and Motivate your Customer Service Team
Trying to provide a “5-star” attitude, making sure we connect with the
customers and also protecting our feelings, can help you stay positive with angry customers, while maybe even getting the customers to calm down a bit as well. But regardless of how much you try to stay positive, the feeling that you are left with after dealing with rude and angry customers is hard to explain. With all of my focus being on handling angry customers I decided to give each team member a goody bag. Each bag contained a pack of Q-tips, a mirror, a smile file, LaffyTaffys and thank you cards. Each item had a specific meaning.

Smile file and goody bag

The Q-tips were to remind each representative to Quit Taking It Personal – when an angry customer starts attacking their self-esteem they need to take a Q-tip out of the box and once the phone call is over throw away the Q-tip; hopefully the box still has some Q-tips at the end of the month. The mirror was so that the representatives can look at their attitudes while talking to angry customers. A customer can always sense a smile over the phone and it is important that we try to kill anger with kindness, and having a mirror in front of them can force them to smile. The smile file was so that at the end of the call, the representatives can go through and read the emails of other customers that were glad they talked to them and had a great experience. The LaffyTaffys, were so that in the end they can just laugh it off and move on. Lastly, the thank you cards were so that our representatives could send their individual customers personal thank you cards for ordering with our company.

The team loved the bags and the representatives have been using all of the items. I have seen a great impact in our overall attitudes and we have learned to love those angry customers that can make our job difficult!

What are some of the tips you and your team use to win over anger callers?


A Story for Customer Service Managers

Posted on August 11, 2011 by Arianna

As customer service supervisor, I am always focusing on my experiences with other company’s customer service and comparing them to how my team treats our customers. For the most part my experiences provide examples of how we can improve; however, the other day I went to a large shoe store to buy some shoes and my experience was less then stellar.  I had not been to this store in about four months, and unbeknownst to me, the stores sales representatives are now commission based. When I walked into the store, it took forever to try and find a representative to assist me in getting the size shoe I needed. When I finally was able to flag down a representative he brought me the shoes and then walked out of the shoe department. I later found out this was because he was going on his lunch. After trying on the shoes and finding a couple of outfits to wear them with, I decided to purchase them.

I went up to the counter and there was no one around. I waited patiently, might I add, but 5-10 minutes waiting was a bit long for me. As another representative came up to the counter to check on a price for her customer, I asked her if she could help me with purchasing the shoes. Now what I am about to say is verbatim – word for word her response was, “I am helping my customer and they are my priority right now, I’m sorry.” That was it. She continued checking stock and I was left speechless. No 'I'll get somone to help you", no “I’ll be with you in a moment”, nothing.  She could have showed me she was at least considering helping me, but she didn’t.  The words she used showed how unimportant my purchase was to her. The customer in line behind me, also needing help, immediately asked the young lady for a manager.

The manager came down and said that we needed to understand that they are commission based and so they need to help the customers they are currently working with. She did apologize for the way the representative explained it, but the deed was done.  I left the store without the pair of shoes and strolled right into the one next to it in the mall, also a commission based job. I can’t even tell you how much more I enjoyed the experience, but know this: I would rather pay more money to be treated as a worthy customer then pay less and have to force someone to help me.

Now, my experience may not be the norm for that shoe store and their employees, but I tell it so that I can provide employees with some advice. These are the three things I got out of the experience.

•      Treat your customers exactly how you would like to be treated

•      Remember that you have a job because of your customers – no customers = no job

•      Every customer can become a loyal customer, so do you best to make a good impression

I also found this article on tips for commission based salespeople and the first tip on the list was: “to make a customer feel special and important [you need] to greet them as soon as you see them. They need to know that you are there, that you are willing to help and that you are available for them to ask questions.” The shoe store failed to do just that.  From the famous words of Aretha Franklin, “all I’m asking is for a little respect, just a little bit” and so do our customers.

Three Tips for Problem Solving in the Workplace

Posted on June 13, 2011 by Suzanne

I was never a fan of problem solving in school. I would always question when I was going to actually use it in real life. Well, I may not be solving math problems all day, but I do have to do a lot of problem solving in business that can be tied back to what I learned in school. So, here are the three basic steps that I walk through when a problem arises in the workplace.

Step Back and Gather All the Information 

I often find that many problems happen because the person that has the problem is overwhelmed / stressed, and unable to see the big picture. What I find helpful is to take a deep breath and start from the beginning by answering three simple questions. What am I trying to accomplish? How did it get to this point? and How can I resolve the situation and still achieve my goal? In asking these questions it helps me step back and see what I may have missed before. Gathering this information can be vital to a successful resolution to the problem.

Make the Call

What I have learned during my time at Gordian Project is that every vendor, customer or team member has a different personality. Some need to be white gloved and others just chug along without much stress. It is important for me to understand that when there is a problem, sometimes the best thing I can do is get on the phone and talk to the person directly. What I usually find out is that there is information that was not given to me in the first place, or one or both of us misunderstood the other.  The computer revolution has given us many amazing pieces of technology; however, we still do not have a device to help interpret the tone an email is sent in. Calling that person allows you to directly diffuse any tension and remind both parties that you’re only human.

Follow Up

Following up after a problem is solved is a great way to build confidence with your customer’s, vendors or team members. It lets them know that you took their issue seriously and that you are going to be available to them if another one comes up. I personally find the follow up to be one of the least used aspects of problem solving. Following up is essential to making sure all parties involved were happy with the outcome, while at the same time building up trust in the relationship between those involved. Make sure you always follow up.

Of course in problem solving every situation is different, so all problems may not fall into these tips. However, these basic steps always help me to get straight to the critical thinking and leave the stress and frustration behind, allowing me to better answer and address problems when they start.

What about you? How do you tackle problems when they arise? Any tips we left out? Make sure to leave them in the comments.

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The Importance of a Good Apology in Business

Posted on May 18, 2011 by Arianna

Have you ever made a giant mess of a situation at work? I have. I remember the first time I started working for Gordian Project, my boss asked me to complete a task by the end of the day, and I completely forgot. I felt so bad and didn’t even know what to say; I didn’t want my error to ruin the trust in our work relationship. I could have given an excuse, gotten offended because of how he reacted to my mistake, or apologized, but I took the coward way out, and provided an excuse. Come to think of it, our relationship as boss and employee could have been nurtured if only I had apologized and moved on. We often want to be forgiven without having to ask for it. The fact of the matter is that we did screw up and in order to make everything right an apology is necessary. But no ordinary apology will do, as I see it a good apology has three parts – “I’m sorry; it was my fault; and how do I make it right?”

Saying I’m sorry has more to do with attitude than with words. William James, and American philosopher, once said “Whenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude.” The attitude you have when saying I’m sorry will display your sincerity.  Sincerity is the first step to rebuilding the trust that may have been lost.

Taking full responsibility for your mistakes is the hardest part of apologizing, especially in the business environment. However, putting yourself in the other party’s shoes will help you say the words: “It was my fault.” When we are wronged we expect someone to fess up and or need to know who to blame.  Though not taking responsibility can seem more appealing, doing so gives up your power to change. In order to learn from your mistakes, you must first acknowledge your mistakes.  Note, there is a big difference between admitting your mistake and beating yourself up about it. Once you have taken responsibility for your mistake, remember that you are doing the right thing by providing a good apology, no self pity will make your apology any better.

Fixing your mistakes is a step that many of us subconsciously chose to skip. Some mistakes are easy to fix while others have bad consequences. Saying sorry and even accepting fault are easy words to say, but as we all know, actions speak louder than words. Ask the person you have let down what they would like you to do in order to rebuild trust and be worthy of their forgiveness. In the business environment, making sure you complete this step will also help others to be lenient the next time you make a mistake, as they know you are not one to simply sweep it under the rug.

A good apology goes along way - Do it right and do it fast. Remember that a good apology is essential in any relationships. When you make a mistake at work and you apply the three parts of a good apology, your boss and coworkers will respect you for how you handle your mistakes.

We all can use a little help with dealing with apologies and mistakes, if you have any recommendations make sure you leave them in the comments.



Three Simple Tips to Make You a Better Manager

Posted on April 13, 2011 by Arianna

When I took the team lead position in customer service, I had no idea what I was going to deal with, or how to even manage a team. Over the last couple of months our employee retention rate had decreased, and the new team in place was now looking to me for guidance.  To be honest, that was pretty scary, considering I had no idea what I was doing. One thing I know is that a good manager is one that knows how to get the best out of his/her employees while keeping them happy. Though I am still in the learning process, including taking self assessment quizzes every so often to see how I am doing and where I can improve, the below phrases have helped me to more successfully manage my team.

One of the best tips I received from my husband while venting to him my frustrations was: Don’t take it personal. If employees call out, if they are unreliable, inefficient and/or always have a bad attitude, there may be other personal issues at hand that are affecting their work. If you stop taking everything as a personal attack, you can start showing compassion, and your hurt or anger can turn into motivation for these types of employees. While demonstrating an open and understanding attitude toward your employees, you will see their attitudes and employee investment change for the better.

When working as a team or managing a team, you meet different types of people. There are those that respond to what is being asked of them and those that regardless of how understanding you try to be, will still be difficult employees. Teamwork is an important key to employee productivity, if one person starts excelling than others will want to do the same; but if that one difficult employee does not carry their own weight, others will start questioning their productivity. When not taking it personal and being understanding does not work, you must nip it in the bud. Sit down with the employee; explain to them how you have been trying to be understanding, but they have not changed the way they work.  Give them new guidelines and draw a line. They can continue being that way elsewhere, but the company and the team needs their full investment. Doing this, will not only stop the problem before it escalates but will show other employee’s that such attitudes will not be tolerated.

During the day we as team leads or managers have to deal with the pressures of the day, not only of managing a team but also of tasks that we have to accomplish. If your day is getting so overwhelming and you just want to give up, don’t give up…instead take a walk. The ability to walk out of the office/building and just be alone with your thoughts can rejuvenate you. Don’t take a cell phone; don’t take a friend, just you… well and maybe your iPod if it helps you relax.

With all the days frustrations the most important thing you can do at the end of your day, is to check your drama at the door. Don’t take it home, and don’t bring it back to work the next day. Each day will have another frustration and if you keep bringing them back you will start piling the drama not only on yourself but on your employees. Their simple questions will turn into annoyances; their error’s will turn into mountains of problems, turning you into a difficult manager - the manager that no one can go to, the quick to anger manager who people keep away from. Your family and employees will thank you for keeping the day’s frustrations outside of your home, and letting each day be a new day.

Though applying these few phrases throughout your day will not single handedly make you a good manager, they are stepping stones that can lead you to becoming a manager that can manage, and can get the best out of his/her employees, while still keeping them happy.

What do you think, are their other tips that you use when managing employees? Make sure to leave them in the comments!



Upselling Techniques for Ecommerce Part 1

Posted on January 13, 2011 by Joelle

We all have heard the phrase “would you like fries with that?” which in its most basic form is upselling. For internet retailers upselling must be approached tactfully and create an E-experience that provides avenues as well as encouragement to add value to a final purchase through incentives, bundles, add-ons, or complementary items. The online retailer must not be quick to copy and paste the “would you like fries with that” upselling technique as it is often not effective in e-commerce, even turning your customer away from your entire domain by creating uncertainty. E-commerce upselling requires more planning, more programing, and more stylistic and unique soft selling.

A sample from the top ten internet retailers support this theory:

  • Amazon offers a soft sell incentive through Amazon Prime.
  • Apple offers over 26 possible add-on’s before checkout.
  • Staples offers easy reordering options that encourage customer loyalty.
  • Walmart offers a range of complementary items in more than 4 places before checkout.

For those skeptical or unwilling to practice upselling, the greatest opposition I have come to find is that they fear pushing customers into buying something they do not want. I must clearly state that this is not effective upselling. Effective upselling is quite the opposite, it is capturing value from something the customer does want, but simply needed to be reminded of. An example of this would be when I went to the car wash last week. I have always selected the basic wash and interior clean, but this time I upgraded! The salesman informed me that the difference between the basic and the deluxe (which was one level up) was that it included exterior wax, more detailed interior cleaning, and tire conditioner for about $2 more. He had no way of knowing that I actually would be driving some friends to an event and the extra care was valuable to me, and I was stuck in my routine and did not think to ask for additional treatment. The salesman did not push me into anything I did not want, he offered me an upgrade, and if valued I could accept.

Upselling is one of the best uses of a sales person’s time, it takes seconds to a couple of minutes and historically adds a significant margin increase. You can simply calculate the seconds in dollars that it costs a customer service representative to offer an upsell and discuss benefits, to the dollars it adds to each order that grew in value. This transforms a customer service representative from an order processor to an active sales person. Making upselling a natural part of the conversation will show that your company wants to fill all the needs of the customer and that you have the resources to do so. See my next blog for best practices for upselling!


Christmas Cheer From Customer Service

Posted on December 28, 2010 by Rissa

The holiday season seems to add extra stress to any eCommerce company. I know for us in customer service, we have a higher volume of calls and emails gearing up for the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. For the most part, customers will call us in a holiday rush to grab that last minute item they need for a renovation or a Christmas gift. Whether you are remodeling, giving a gift or in customer service yourself, the holiday season seems to be the best and busiest time of year for all of us.

In preparing for the weather delays and stress the holidays bring, I like to pick out some of the "stories" that helped me remember how great this time of year is. Here is my favorite.

I recieved a call from a sweet elderly lady asking about a chalk board. As we continued talking, she told me it was a Christmas present for her granddaughter and I could not help but tell her how excited she was. I told her a story of a little girl that wanted a chalk board for Christmas and her parents got one with colored chalk and she was so excited. Fifteen years later and I still love chalk boards so I told her if I was that little girl again I would want some colored chalk to go along with it. She thought it was a great idea and confessed she did not think to buy anything but the chalk board. I was able to find her colored and white chalk to go along with the board. Allowing me to relive a favorite childhood memory, and hopefully, allowing her to create one for her granddaughter.

Customer service can be hard, and some days it is so easy to forget there are people with stories waiting to be told. It is such a joy to assist these customers with the type of customer service that goes beyond what is required, when you realize Christmas morning there will be a young girl opening up her Christmas presents to play with that chalk board. Having moments like these remind me of the holiday season, while showing me that even during times of stress we can still make a difference.


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