Tag Archive for 'service'

Excuses are Stupid – 5 Essentials to WINNING Customers with Service

 

Gavin preparing and adding initial to mounted 24 inch open editions in his gallery. Visit his website for details.

I’m Gavin Seim. Do you want you know my cell number? It’s 509-951-4860. I offer it because if a customer or even a colleague has a problem, I want it fixed. I’ve answered that phone while standing in the wilderness making images. Answered so I could tell someone how to install their LR presets or get their order. Because service matters.

I’ve been serving customers in retail since I was about 10. I’ve seen all the excuses. But I ignored them and made a commitment not to be the company that so many become. We’re human. But at Seim Studios we operate on service and quality. Whether we’re selling a portrait, a print, or one of our editing and education products for photographers.

Below is the principles of service from our website at Seim Effects. Everyone that works at Seim Studios is expected to follow it – Please use it in your business.

“Service is not something computers do for you. It’s not something from a book. It’s not a line in a policy manual. It’s not an excuse – Service means YOU raise a finger, a hand and sometimes even an arm, or a leg. You do the footwork, you look into the problem and you do your level best to find a way to resolve it and make customer happy. That’s service.”

What I’m about to say applies to ANY company of any size. No excuses. I’m fed up with how out of touch today’s world is with service and a smile. It’s not just the fortune 500s. Your mom and pop shop on the corner is often just as bad. It goes all the way back to how we raise our kids to respect others. But here’s the thing. If we give bad service, we won’t get away with it. Word spreads. If you’re big it takes longer, but it will catch you  — I’m not writing this only for you. I’m writing this for me. So if I ever forget, I can come back and remind myself the words of a young businessman who knew what quality and service meant.

Did you know I’m running for Congress? When was the last time you got great service from your congressman? The same principle applies there. Service, communications and respect. Lets get to this list.

  • 1. YOU Are the Servant:

When a customer deals with you or calls with a problem there’s one thing that is critical to remember: YOU are their servant. This is not a joke. You are being paid to serve that person and whether they pay you again is directly related to how well-served they feel. Service is about satisfaction. It’s about humbling yourself and taking pride in giving someone what they want. This applies not only to how you behave but also to the quality of the product you sell. YOU serve them! If you cannot grasp this concept you will never be a great businessperson.

  • 2. Give them the Pickle:

A wonderful concept started by Bob Farrell, this means just what it suggests. The little things are what makes happy customers. You don’t ruin a customer’s experience by making up petty rules or finding petty charges for extras. You don’t look for subtle ways to fleece them. Are you listening fast food? People are not idiots. They may tolerate your tacky charge for a glass of water, but it will leave a bad taste and it will cost you.

  • 3. The Customer:

It used to be said the customer is always right. While occasionally this is not 100% true, you can still treat them as if they are. The truth is it’s generally only that PICKLE that they want. Give it to them. If you can’t, go that extra mile and try to find some solution. There are bad customers out there and yes, occasionally you have to work for them. Good service does not mean letting customers stand on your neck but it also does not mean letting them walk next door because you won’t give them a .10 packet of ketchup. If you take the high road and work for that customer, chances are they will love you for it.

  • 4. Anger Management:

You owe your customer service. It’s your job. You need to make them happy. Even if they are unhappy right now. From an early age I was shocked by how offended people would get when I got frustrated with bad service. But when a customer is upset, a professional MUST not take it personally. While ethically customers should be kind as well, that does not mean they cannot chide a company or person for failing at their job. The angriest of customers is rarely angry at you. They want what they paid for. Give them the pickle and take responsibility for problems and they will turn from foe to friend. It’s rare that I cannot turn an unhappy customer into a satisfied one with a few minutes of personal effort.

  • 5. SERVICE:

Pure and simple. You work for your customers and so do your employees. In a world where service seems to have been forgotten, if you give that service you will blow them away. This means making it easy for them. It does not mean hiding your phone number on your site, only offering email support, taking days to respond, making excuses, trying to get them to pay for your mistakes.

I’ve heard all the excuses folks. They are all crap. It does not matter if you’re a software giant with ten million customers or a tiny bistro on the street corner. If you say you just can’t afford to give service, it’s a lie. Service means you make it happen. You pick up the phone, ship out the package, send the letter or crawl there on your hands and knees. SERVICE is how you stay in business.

Service means you go the extra mile to make sure you’re customers are treated fair and just. Policy be hanged, efficiency tossed out the window and price left at the door. Because when you give this kind of service people remember you, they talk about you and they want to buy from you AGAIN. If you give bad service YOU will pay later and YOU will deserve every penny of that loss.

None of us are perfect, Things go wrong. But every now and then step back and ask yourself “How would I want to be treated?”

Serve and be served — Gav

Essentials of Customer Service, That Most Companies are Failing At

This is Gavin Seim. And I am fed up with companies who do not understand the most basic tenets of customer service! So I’m going to try and counter it. A few companies get it. But sadly, most don’t. Service reps always say that on a personal level they “understand” But policy says, etc. What they don’t understand is that the personal level is ALL that matters. Is the customer walking away happy?

After getting off the phone with my bank recently and having not experienced real service, I researched and emailed the top dozen of so key executives of US Bankcorp. You see they have forgotten about what service really is – So this is what I explained to them.

“Service is not something computers do for you. It’s not something from a book. It’s not a line in a policy manual. It’s not an excuse – Service means YOU raise a finger, a hand and sometimes even an arm, or perhaps a leg. You do the footwork, you look into the problem and you do your level best to find a way to make the customer happy. That’s service.”

As owner of Seim Studios and Seim Effects Photo Tools, I’m proud to say that we offer real service. Every time a company blows me off, I’m reminded how much I hate bad service and why I WILL NOT do that to my customers. I may be small and have limited resources. I may not be not perfect. But we get things done. Whether it’s one of my software products, a portrait, an art print. If we sell it, we back it up. That’s why returns here are nearly non-existent.

After the recent bout with my bank I went to the Seim Effects Facebook page and posted about this. I also posted my cell phone number saying if anyone EVER has a problem they could call me directly. Interestingly enough that post got more interaction than I’ve seen on Facebook pages in a long time.

On a side note. The emails got thru. I did not hear back from the CEO (though I have had phone calls direct from CEO’s in the past after going straight to the top). I did however hear back from a USB Regional manger and my problem was resolved. This brings about the theory that if a company is giving you terrible service, don’t waste time with the chain of command. Go straight to the top. Because CEO’s don’t want to be hearing from you and it tends to get things done FAST.

I plan to write a bit more about service soon and look at ways we can leverage quality service to stand out in business. Until next time… Gavin

Gavin’s Thoughts on Photoshop CS5. The Straight Dope

by Gavin Seim: I’ll keep this brief because Photoshop CS5 has been out for months now and reviews have been floating all over. Rather than get redundant with an ultra in depth review, I’ll just talk a little about what I think. I’ll be frank and you can make your own decision from there.

Photoshop CS5. Full = $699 – $999.
My overall rating 6.5/10.

New features worth noting…

  • Content Aware tools are the big news in CS5. It works when lassoing and deleting sections of an image, using the healing brush and more. Neat tool, but not perfect. More on that below.
  • New “Mixer Brushes” blend color like paint, similar to something like Painter (but less powerful).
  • Crop has a rule of thirds overlay now (finally).
  • Remastered HDR tools and Pseudo HDR with HDR toning. Better, but not perfect.
  • Remastered Refine Edge. Will find more detailed edges for better masking and has automatic edge decontamination.
  • Puppet Warp allows you to modify in a new ways. Move limbs, horizon lines and more by defining control points.
  • New process versions and improved camera RAW.
  • Mini bridge right within PS.

Content aware fill. This feels more like a beta feature. It got hyped a lot prior to release. Probably over hyped. Once we got the product in our hands, reality set in. Content Aware was not the magical tool that Adobe made it out to be in demo videos and they took some flack for it. I think the problem was that they showed it as being so perfected. Erasing entire areas of photos, cleaning out power lines with a single stoke. It looked wonderful in theory.

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How NOT to run your business. The Majestic Theatre:

Image from Despair INC. Their funny people.

by Gavin Seim: How often have you walked from of a business, annoyed at the lack of service? Businesses close everyday because people didn’t care enough to please. No matter what you sell, you need to give customers a happy experience. As photographers this is especially true. We’re selling quality and an experience, not a piece of paper. Similar in many ways to a movie theater, so today I’m using them as an example.

Last night I went to a theater called the Majestic in Yakima WA. Yep, I’m naming names. This is one of the worst Theaters in Washington because they don’t care. Poor management and inexperienced kids run the show. This “could” be a really nice theater, but you can almost feel the chilling lack of interest the moment you walk thru the door.

I went to see UP with family (fun movie by the way). The last show of the evening started and about half way thru I went to grab snacks. I was met by dimmed lights and told by a group of kids around sixteen that they were closing and cleaning so they could go home. Questioning this, I was informed that the owners make the decision. Then one young employee proceeded to make snotty remarks saying she likes the way they do it just fine and that they have lives too! Not kidding.

Continue reading ‘How NOT to run your business. The Majestic Theatre:’