Tax Goddess hosted Heather Ballard, an expert in Customer Service on Fireside chat Episode one podcast. Heather shared tips on how to consistently delight clients every time you speak
What is the most important thing that our audience is going to get in this broadcast?
Heather: How to consistently delight clients and give a phenomenal first-time experience every time you speak.
Why is it important to look at Customer Service?
Heather: It’s really important because a typical business hears from 4% of its dissatisfied customers. 78% of Consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience. On average loyal customers are 10 times worth their first purchase which is pretty significant. Selling to an existing customer is 60% to 70% while selling to a new prospect is 5% to 20% and again you can see how that customer service role is important.
How was life for you when you were growing up?
Heather: Life for me was very laid back, very slow, very sleepy blessed beyond measure and I grew up in a very small town here in Louisiana. So it was just not your typical hustle and bustle and run & go. Everything was family oriented and maybe 60 people graduated in my high school class so that should tell you how small we are. Very close knit with people helping each other.
So you are in Louisiana, the Tax Goddess is based in Arizona, How did you end up in Tax Goddess?
Heather: In the caves and jungles of Belize! You obviously remember my husband and I were on our 10 Year Anniversary & we happened to be staying at the same place and we just hit it up. I might have stalked you on facebook just a little bit, we connected & here we are.
What’s your favourite hobby right now?
Heather: My favourite hobby right now would probably be selling quilts and I got into that because of Facebook. I saw this posts for Quilt on Facebook and I always wanted to learn how to quilt. I knew traditional quilting was probably way above my level right now & I knew that I wanted to make basic, simple clothes. From there, I took a quilting class. I wanted to make sentimental sewing projects like quilts made out of peoples loved ones that may have passed from their old clothes to make pillows. You can Upcycle maybe a grandfathers shirt into a babies dress. That’s what drives me into sewing to ensure that people can carry on their loved ones.
What’s the most dangerous thing you have ever done?
Heather: I visited Scottsdale during the summer thinking that I was from Louisiana & had this heat bag.
What was dangerous about it?
Heather: It was difficult to breathe! We wear this little rubber sandals & the plastic on them started getting really soft & I am here like “I know my shoes are not melting.”
When you think of a person being successful who is the first person that comes to mind?
Heather: My husband! He is super successful because of how faithful & committed he is. He has done a phenomenal job of taking care of his family. Success for me is making sure your loved ones, your spouse & children beyond taking care of them just don’t have to worry.
Tell us a bit about what you do & why you got into this industry?
Heather: What I do here at Tax Goddess is to make sure that our clients are taken care of and that we handle them with care. I sincerely go through with professionalism, as if they are family. If I would not say it to grandma, then I would not say it to anyone. That’s how I look at Customer Service because you always want grandma to come back. You don’t want them to complain.
How did you get into this industry?
Heather: I had prior banking experience where customer service was high on their radar.
What drew you to do this instead of anything else?
Heather: Often times I saw sales was the most important thing. End all be all even if it was not the best thing for the client as long as you got those numbers and you hit those numbers. I saw people being treated as numbers and it’s definitely not what you want. I was on a mission to change that stereotype & let people know you can have best of both worlds and if you do the one thing right on customer service the number will definitely follow. So to me, it was more about customer service than the numbers then. But when I got on board here I thought I would not do sales but when you get the Customer service aspect right and when you focus on that first, sales become fun because it’s not like you are pushing a product to someone or strangling every life-saving dime because you sincerely want to help them. For me, if you put that together sales become more what is best for the client & how you can help them to be successful.
What are you going to do in Your Retirement?
Heather: In retirement, I just want to Travel.
What are your top 3 destinations?
What is it that you wish business owners knew more about?
Heather: I wish business owners knew more about getting customer delight right. I think most business owners are under so much stress to hit the numbers to generate so much revenue because they don’t have to just take care of themselves but their employees behind them. For me, I would always like to say things are butterflies and rainbow even if they are not we turn into them. I mean it rains… great, then you get a rainbow, it’s all wonderful. I just wish they could understand how customer service is soo simple & when you get that right then everything will fall into place.
What is the one customer service thing that business owners can implement that cannot cost a lot of money and time?
Heather: I would like to call it compliment and acknowledgement. So if you have someone coming in & everything is going great just make sure you are giving them a compliment in an appropriate manner. Like you can say that’s a nice dress and really mean it. Who doesn’t like a compliment? When I say acknowledge you want to acknowledge their concern when they come to you upset or angry. So if we can acknowledge to let them know that you are hearing them, repeat what they said so that they know you are listening and then offer a solution. Even a solution as simple as I totally get it and throw an example how it happened to you before. Nothing is bad as telling someone who is upset that you are going to take it up and then you don’t follow through. That goes a long way. When you are talking to them talk as if you are friends, like you are talking to grandma. It all comes down to feelings. It doesn’t matter what was said in black or white. It is how you made them feel.
We have different types of owners, we have the engineers who are good with numbers and black & white and then we have the fuzzy entrepreneurs who are good with relationships, feelings and communications. So If I am an engineer type owner, how can I get better at learning all these new skills or learning in the other direction?
Heather: Compliment what they do. Allow them to speak their expertise. Something they are good at.
If I am an engineer how may I learn to compliment?
Heather: Put a sticky note on the computer to start practising. Give a list of 3 things to look for in others.
What is the biggest mistake that you see business owners making in customer service and client delight?
Heather: Its ok to make mistakes. They fear to say I totally screwed this and am going to fix it. They always say customers are right but when they are really right, acknowledge. Let them know this is what we did and this is how we will fix it.
What is the top tip for making your customers become a raving fan?
Heather: You check on them, make them feel you sincerely care about them. Their Birthdays, their kids birthday. Just acknowledge and keep in touch with them every quarter or every month however your schedule would be. Don’t only let them hear from you when you need something from them. Customer Service is very proactive and not reactive.
Do you have a software that can help you track to make sure that you are giving clients a good customer experience?
We use insightly to track reminders and all of our projects. I am human, business owners are human. There is no way they could remember all of this things. But it’s the little special touches that insightly can do. We love it for the tracking purposes, automation & things of that nature.