The Top 5 Customer Service Skills Every Employee Should Have

Sep 16, 2015 by

5 illustrated stars and a hand counting them

It should be a rite of passage that everyone work one retail position in their lifetime.

Retail positions get you out on the floor, mingling with the customers and truly learning what customer service is all about. It’s in-your-face customer service. It’s where you can get a grasp on different personalities and how people should be treated.

There are certainly customer service experts out there, and to claim everyone can be one is just not true. It takes a lot of work and finesse to learn how to delight customers. It goes without saying, though, that any human being who works needs to know something about treating customers well.

Here are the top five customer service skills every employee from any department should have down pat.

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Your Customer Service Guide for 5 Difficult Personalities

Sep 14, 2015 by

A picture of each personality type

It can be a jarring experience. You go about your day and usually only speak with kind folks who are patient and have an easy time explaining their issues. They leave, pleased with your service. And then it happens: Your business has made someone mad. No matter what you do, you can’t seem to diffuse the situation. This customer is going to let you have it.

Every business should take accountability for their part of the problem. It’s likely that your product or service has negatively affected this customers life in some way – you should always apologize for that. It is good to recognize that there are going to be some personalities that aren’t going to be easy to deal with. Humans are complex – that’s what makes the world so interesting. Here is your go-to customer service guide on handling certain difficult personalities with ease:

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3 Reasons Your Small Business May Not Make it to 2020

Sep 11, 2015 by

A stamp on a grey background that says '2020'

Small business owners are so brave.

According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), half of all new businesses survive the first five years and one-third of those survive 10 years or more. In the face of adversity, small business owners are bold and make the commitment anyway.

I could relay a bunch of statistics about how this country and its entrepreneurs are going down in flames, but there’s a positive spin: small businesses are kind of having a moment in 2015. A total of 47% of SMBs have more confidence in the economy than 12 months ago, according to the State of Small Business Report. Here’s some more good news: 57% of SMBs expect revenue growth this year.

While growth is a fantastic thing for the small business, there is still the underlying fact that many of these businesses won’t make it past the five year mark.

Here are three reasons your small business may not make it to 2020, and tips on how to stay on the positive side of the statistics.

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[INFOGRAPHIC] Why You Should Pay Attention to Customer Retention

Sep 9, 2015 by

Woman holding a magnet pulling a man toward her by his heart
It can be easy for small business owners to focus all their energy on acquiring new customers. The fact is this method is extremely costly and could potentially damage an existing customer’s perspective on the business. This customer retention infographic details the latest numbers showing why focusing on keeping current customers costs less and contributes to the overall health of your business.

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5 Tools Your Business Should Be Using

Sep 4, 2015 by

Tool set in colorful flat design

Does your business still rely on Microsoft Office to do everything? If so, you’re missing out on some crazy amazing tools that will make your business run more efficiently and keep you miles ahead of your competition.

It’s understandable to be afraid of new tools and easy to stay with what you know. Office is definitely everyone’s trusty go-to pal for creating all sorts of documents. Does it scare you when people mention using document creation tools based in the cloud? It shouldn’t, a lot of them even offer a free trial. We love a good tool at PATLive and we utilize a TON of them company-wide. Here are five of our favorite tools and why you should be using them, too!

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You’re Not the Government! Eliminate Red Tape for Your Customers

Sep 2, 2015 by

red tape
Is there anything worse than jumping through hoops?

Remembering the steps it took just to graduate college is enough to send me into a rage. Dealing with the administration was almost like doing tricks in the circus: “Jump girl! Jump through those hoops! You want to graduate, don’t you?”

It’s understandable for large universities like my alma mater or the government; it’s the way the they organize their information. It doesn’t make it any less frustrating. In fact, if you escaped college without getting angry over even one administrative issue, consider yourself the luckiest person alive.

When an organization is bogged down by restrictions and policies or there are inefficiencies within the administrative workflow, service really takes a hit on the chin. Your business is obviously not the government. Why so many rules? Why so many hoops?

It’s time to cut away everything that stands between you and your customers. Making it easy for them to do business with you will make it easy for them to recommend your product or services. Here are a few ways you can eliminate all that red tape and create a business that is easy on the customer.

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The Nitty Gritty: Customer Support VS. Customer Service

Aug 31, 2015 by

Business man looking confused next to question mark illustration

I’ll admit it: I am not at my best when I’m behind the wheel. If I get cut off in traffic, I immediately say something along the lines of, “(insert expletive or name calling)! Learn how to drive!”

Yet a second thought always occurs after my standard reaction. While I understand a lot of people don’t drive well, I wonder if maybe they DO have something more important to get to. Maybe there’s an emergency or this person is running late for work and could lose their job because of their tardiness. I can’t possibly know the circumstances, so how can I judge their actions?

It can be easy to make sweeping generalizations, especially when you aren’t educated on a particular topic. Too often the words ‘customer support’ and ‘customer service’ are used interchangeably and it’s easy to see why: both are about helping the customer.

The thing is, customer support and customer service play completely different roles in an organization, and each brings its own brand of help to the customer. So, we’re going to pit them against each other to learn more about how each performs – no name calling or swearing allowed.

Are you ready to rumble? It’s time to learn the essential differences between customer support and customer service.

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In the Know: Tips from Customer Service Influencers

Aug 28, 2015 by

A man with a speech bubble full of idea light bulbs with a woman plucking a lightbulb from the bubble
Here at PATLive, we fancy ourselves customer service experts – that’s what we do around the clock. To say we’ve learned a thing or two about treating customers exceptionally would be putting it mildly.

While we do have a lot to say on our blog about the subject, social media influencers are dropping customer service truth nuggets all day long. In case you aren’t aware, an influencer is defined as someone with a powerful social media presence regardless of follower amounts.

Following influencers from your industry on social media is a great way to keep up with trends and find fascinating content to share. It’s also a great way to connect to the power players in your industry. If they follow you back, even better.

I reached out to a handful of our favorite customer service influencers on Twitter: Bill Quiseng, Roy Atkinson, Michael Lytle and Shep Hyken. I asked if they would share some of their best customer service tips just for you and they were more than happy to chime in. So, if you’ve been in the market for some solid service advice, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 7 customer service tips from the influencers.

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Hiring Remote Staff? PowerToFly Gives You Wings Part II

Aug 26, 2015 by

Illustrated butterfly with drawings of women and the power to fly logo

I was laid off from a remote position I loved with a marketing agency I loved even more. I was heartbroken and doing a lot of emotional eating. Macaroni and cheese, to be exact.

As anyone can understand, I hit unemployment rock bottom. It was the beginning of March and I had wrapped up another disappointing session of the daily job hunting duties. I followed that up by turning down a perfectly fine position because they weren’t willing to work with me on a more flexible work schedule. I already have one amazing daughter and had another on the way.

After what seemed like hours on the phone with my husband and my dad, I walked away with some clarity. That was it: I was officially only focusing on remote positions. I refused to be a slave to the Houston commute and allow that beast to take away my family time.

It was that afternoon that I came across the now infamous article where PowerToFly’s President, Katharine Zaleski, was apologizing for her once negative thoughts about working moms and her current movement to create job flexibility and fulfillment for women everywhere. I cried again (I have a lot of feelings), signed up for an account and landed an amazing job with PATLive within a matter of weeks.

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Hiring Remote Staff? PowerToFly Gives You Wings: Part I

Aug 24, 2015 by

Illustrated butterfly with drawings of women and the power to fly logoI’m going to take a wild guess and say that you’ve heard of PowertoFly. No? Maybe this will ring a bell.

Back in the beginning of March, an editorial posted to Fortune went viral – an open apology to all working mothers everywhere. Penned by Katharine Zaleski, former manager of The Huffington Post and The Washington Post, Zaleski discussed the respect she gained for working mothers after having her own child. She too was now in the ship of trying to manage the demands of parenthood while being passionate about her work.  Something had to give. Or did it?

Along with her friend, Milena Berry, Zeleski co-founded PowerToFly. This global platform allows women to find highly skilled positions with reputable companies in the tech and digital realms that are prepared to offer flexibility.

PATLive has hired not one, but four dynamic individuals through PowerToFly. To say we are fans would be putting it mildly. We were ecstatic when Zaleski and Berry were willing to chat with us about this new platform involving remote staff and how it came to life.

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