The Three Bs of Customer Service

We are all consumers of products or services offered by organizations. Whether shopping in-person or virtually, consumers account for the most important piece of any business. Without a clientele, organizations would not break even or earn a profit, and they would eventually cease to exist. In order to keep customers interested and returning, companies work tirelessly to generate innovative communications in hopes of achieving a sale and developing a business-client relationship. However, not all corporations stress good customer service. Here are some steps labelled the three Bs that entrepreneurs can take to ensure that their clients have a positive experience:

Be Attentive Without Being Overwhelming

All consumers likely remember a time when they were walking through a shopping center, minding their own business, when they suddenly found themselves hounded by a sales representative shoving a product into their face. The majority of us tend to not like this approach, and we end up ignoring the product and quickly walking away from the scene. While there is no harm in wanting to attract a potential customer to your product or service, do not come across as abrasive or forceful; you will likely end up pushing the potential client away from you. A simple “Can I help you?” or “Have you found everything you were looking for?” goes much further than “I know what you need without you even asking for it.”

Be Courteous and Listen

Organizations with empathetic and knowledgeable customer service representatives ultimately succeed in igniting and retaining relationships with clients. Not every customer that locates your website or comes across your store will be familiar with your product. Therefore, it is important to strive to fulfill and exceed customers’ expectations without being forceful about the sale. Customers want to be treated better than “just another customer” and having someone who politely approaches them, listens to what they have to say, and finds ways of resolving the situation are a few factors that can initiate or continue the business–client relationship.

Be Positive and Never Demean your Client

When consumers reflect on their former sales experiences, they tend to remember first impressions—whether they were positive or negative. We all likely remember a negative first impression, and it can be hard to earn our trust again. Although an organization’s representatives must be knowledgeable about their products, they must also be conscientious about how their clients will interpret and decode their message. While organizational representatives are probably more knowledgeable and experienced with the product than their customers are, they should never be arrogant or demeaning to their clients. Representatives who do this often come across as rude before being regarded as helpful. Instead, share your knowledge through your passion for the product, and take the time to help your customer feel as though they are valued.

Jerri Lyons | Contributing Writer

Payment Systems

Over the years, the Canadian payment structure has taken big leaps that prompted banks, e-commerce companies and global payment providers to offer more options to the public. Each decade is characterized by a specific “evolution” – paper instruments (cash and cheques) dominated the 60’s; the 70’s birthed credit cards; ABM usage increased during the 80’s and 90’s, paving the way for a period of convenience and security; and huge technological advancements led to innovations such as chip and PIN technology, electronic, online and mobile transfer from the 2000’s to the present.

Transactions can flow between individuals, businesses and governments; each party may use different systems when transferring funds. The following are the most commonly utilized:

Cash
Cash consists of paper notes and coins issued by the Bank of Canada. In spite of a remarkable decline in usage, it is still widely used especially when making retail purchases particularly low-value acquisitions. Zero transaction costs, instant processing time and “privacy” help cash relevant as an integral part of the payment landscape.

Cheques
Cheques are traditionally employed in business-to-business and certain person-to-person transactions. These are paper notes “directing” a bank to reimburse x-value of money to a stated individual(s). Cheques still exist in material form but processing has gone digital thanks to imaging options and computerized recognition systems.

Debit Cards
Debit card (Interac, Cirrus, Plus and Maestro) has become the more preferred way of paying for goods and services, bill payments and withdrawals. It eliminates the need to carry cash all the time and it ensures that funds are readily available at the point-of-sale, as well as allowing easy access to ABM networks.

Credit Cards
Credit card (MasterCard, Visa, AmEx) functions through a revolving account where a financial institution grants an individual with an account from which to draw funds. Aside from flexibility and access to capital, one of its advantages is enabling the user establish and earn a good credit history. Additionally, in case of fraudulent activities, it offers zero liability.

Nowadays, the most commonly used method for regular and recurring activities, such as mortgage, bill payments, payroll deposits, tax refunds and government benefits, is through Automated Funds Transfer (AFT). Transfers are done based on the payer’s authorization and instructions. Due to its traceability, there is a lower risk attached to AFTs. And since the funds go directly to the recipient’s account, the risk of losing the money is significantly reduced.

Online banking. Mobile payments. Wire transfers. All these fall under Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), which allows for a fast and safe way of processing or receiving remittances. Business dealings are settled instantaneously, guaranteeing a seamless transfer within organizations, between parties, across the globe or banking networks. The sudden boost in EFT transactions over the past decade has created many paper-free systems (public and private).

The emergence of smartphones and the increasing need for protection and convenience has driven the popularity of digital wallets or e-wallets, which has both a software (security and encryption) and an information (user-inputted data) component. This processed is utilized for online or point-of-sale purchases. Essentially, it functions in the same manner as a traditional wallet but without the physical cards or papers.

From bartering or exchanging goods to the hi-tech world, payment systems have indeed adapted to their environment. Each mechanism has its own benefits and disadvantages. We may be moving towards 100% automation, but the future is still unclear. One thing’s for sure, expect more innovation.

 

Z. Ricafrente | DBPC Blog