Anything Can Happen!


I once used this title “Anything Can Happen!” as a Keynote Speech Title where many people came to attend.  Everyone enjoyed the positive message but there were not as many people in the seats as I would have liked.  So, I found a list of Keynote Speech Titles on the Internet and decided to try one.  The title was “Stop the Bleeding!”  and Another one was called “Kill the BAD RAP on (Whatever)” and I used “Telemarketing.”   Here is the interesting part about those titles.

  • The ones that were negative drew more people. We think we are being positive when in fact we kind of love the negativity.  We thrive on fixing things.  We just adore getting into the “HOW” of everything and coming up with answers.  It makes us feel powerful. 

So, I have learned over the years to deliver keynotes that are Motivational, Inspirational, and full of a Positive Message, but the titles that draw more people in are the negative ones.  Nothing is better than an Inspirational Speech, one that moves the molecules around.  But to get an audience into the room requires some thought.  We need a title that will peak their interest and drive them to want to come.  If you doubt me on this, check out all the ads. You will see they reflect this.  Titles like “Three Secret Lies In Business No One Ever Told You” or “Ten Nightmare Things That Can Happen To You!”   You can check out the titles on the WEBINARS offered or the Buy One Get One FREE things.  BOGO’s don’t draw as much of a crowd as the BAD NEWS does.

If you are an executive and you want a meeting to be filled with all the people you really want to be there, don’t promise them “Joy at any cost!”  Do not offer solutions or answers!  Tell them you will give them “The 3 ways people look for love in all the wrong places” or “Let’s Kill the Messenger!” “Start with Breaking all the RULES” and the room will be filled.  For Customer Service Speech…never use “Help is on the WAY!” instead say: “Go To The Internet And Fix It Yourself.”  I promise, your room will be packed!

When I started the LAMA TRAINING years ago, I started with “Always make your customer feel right and smart to do business with you.”  Want to know what they always remember?  “Never make your customer feel wrong or stupid.”  Guess what?  They keep coming back for more.  That’s my take on it this month.  I wouldn’t mind giving a keynote or short course at your place of business…I will find a title that will drive everyone into the seats!  Anything can happen, and I am up for it!
~Judy

Don’t Fight Your customers on the Way Out – Part 2


Empowering Your Customers by Asking the Right Question!

Judy and her team continued to work with the agents to help determine the cause of the customers’ rejection. Agents quickly had the answer (as they often do) when they told her that the customers were irritated at being asked why they wanted to cancel. Some customers even said, “It’s none of your business, just cancel.” It is a standard opening question in most call centers, and yet, it undoubtedly puts the customer on the defensive. “Why do you want to close your account?” or “What didn’t you like about the product?” may seem like decent opening questions but really causes the consumer to ‘put up their dukes.’ It was clear that the company had asked the wrong question. But how do we fix it? How do we find out why the customer wants to cancel without asking, “Why”?

The answer is to simply ask them about what caused their consideration, their choice, or what made them choose to opt out. We recommend an opening question like “May I ask what led you to your decision today?” This question gives serious importance to the customer’s right to choose. It empowers the consumer and opens a dialogue that will often reveal clues on the underlying reason for the cancellation. The approach does not just throw money or an offer at the customer. Instead, it acknowledges their choice to choose us.

Judy recently had a wonderful opportunity to work with a company that sold a continuity plan for cosmetics. After listening to a few calls, Judy got the sense that the customers felt that they had been tricked into buying some slick membership plan. It was strange; the cosmetics were AAA quality and sold at a very affordable price. So, why were there so many cancellations? After digging into the challenge, Judy realized that the real reason for the cancellations was too much product. No one could actually use all the wonderful lotions and creams in one month, so the customer was overwhelmed. Judy in conjunction with the call center management set out to re-word their scripting. Representatives were taught to simply ask, “What caused you to make that decision?” Customers responded well and were eager to tell the representatives that they had too much product. As a result reps started moving the customers to a smaller plan (instead of cancelling) and ultimately saved the company millions of dollars. Even if the customer still said, “No thanks,” they went away from the interaction saying, “Someday we will come back, we really love the product.” What a win…the company won, the customer won, as did the representative who no longer had to ‘fight the customer.’

Leaving a lasting impression…

As more and more industries gravitate to a centralized call center strategy, the need for Customer Care to serve as a differentiator is growing. We can continue to operate in a ‘business as usual’ manner or we can surprise our customers with a new approach. An approach that empowers our customer, one that lets them decide. Yes, we can give them options, give them all the features and benefits, try to find a plan or product that works for them, but, ultimately, if they want to go, let’s wish them all the best and not fight them on the way out.

At the end of the day, retention is not about the $24.99 product, or the 1-year membership that we are trying to protect, it’s about how the customer thinks about us as an organization as they are walking away. Let’s not deliver a knockout punch when a customer calls to cancel. Let’s hope we can all be saved by the bell. When that phone rings, let’s give our customers a chance to be the winners and unlike a boxing match, no one gets counted out, everybody wins!

My hope for every customer that touches my call center is that they walk away saying, “Well, their service was not for me, but when I called to cancel, they sure treated me well.”

What do your customers say when they are walking away?

Don’t Fight Your customers on the Way Out – Part 1


Round 1 – Ready to Fight?

Calling to cancel your membership or return a product? Put your boxing gloves on, it’s time to fight. It can be stressful these days when calling an 800-number to end your subscription or to return a product. As a call center savvy consumer, I know the representative/retention specialist on the other end of the phone is about to do his or her best to convince me to keep the service or product. Here comes the script, here come the offers, and that typical bad question, “Why do you want to cancel your service?” Ultimately, it is my decision, and yet, I am about to face someone over the phone who will attempt to talk me out of it.

Having built and trained world-class call centers over the years, and as customers, Judy and I have both encountered countless examples of how companies actually fight their customers as they are trying to close or cancel an account or return a product. Far too often scripts are written that unintentionally make our customer feel ‘wrong and stupid’, putting them on the defensive and more eager than ever to cancel. It is a challenging task to train your retention representatives to think in a new way, one that makes customers ‘right and smart.’

When did it become wrong for customers to change their minds? When did it become a fight with the consumer when they simply want to say, “No thanks”? Our representatives are really between a rock and a hard place. On the surface, it appears that there are two conflicting goals, two masters to serve; retain as many customers (and money) as possible, while helping customers cancel their account. Huh? How do I do both? Which one is more important?

Our answer is simple, but not always easy to understand or implement. We first need to recognize that this phone call, this interaction is most likely the last time that particular customer will talk to your organization. The choice is ours, do we make the customer’s last experience with our company standout as a struggle or do we help them along their way? What we need to do is make the customer feel right about calling in, right to choose our company in the first place, and, if we can’t find what caused their decision to cancel, say goodbye with a great spirit of caring.

It’s All About The Money….or is it?

Retention programs are often launched with a flawed goal at the center of their charter and the wrong plan for retaining customers. The ‘show me the money’ approach, or one that thinks we can merely throw money at the customer, does not work. The Beatles said it best, “Money can’t buy me love,” and this is true in the call center as well. Call center leaders often wonder why their retention programs are not hitting their ‘save’ goals or why they are not protecting enough revenue for the company. Have we ever considered that maybe the reason is something that money could not fix?

Several years ago, Judy trained a large credit card company in retention. Customers were calling in large numbers to cancel their cards and the retention plan had representatives immediately offering $20 incentives and when that didn’t work they offered $50 or NO annual fee. Management was dumfounded when customers continued to say, “No thanks.” Company executives could not understand the problem and spent countless hours trying to understand why customers were refusing their offer. What was wrong?

Would you rather read a romance novel or make love?

Romance novel or REAL LOVE EXPERIENCE? –     From the MIND of MCKEE

I agree with everyone who says: We as training instructors have to open up to these amazing new ways to teach and train agents who are on the phones with REAL people.

My ideas would be these.

1. Do all of the definition work in advance. Make sure every lesson has a pre-training Web Based Training (WBT) part that will engage the learner in “knowing” what they do not know. Finding out what you do not k now that you do not know is such a good thing!

2. Pre-Training is a must and can be done easily with WBT. The Instructor Led Training (ILT) portion can be faster, more interactive and completed in less time when the trainees understand the meanings of things in advance of the class room experience.

3. Homework and short tests help but will not give the learner “experience.” This is KEY…THIS is ESSENTIAL, THIS IS ABSOLUTE. I TAKE A STAND ON THIS! (caps on purpose)

Math can be learned on paper. Instructions on how to do something like put the groceries in the bag can be demonstrated and visualized and understood. BUT, when the words say one thing and the tone says something else, that takes skill in a whole new way. Say, “He didn’t murder his wife!” five times and each time put the accent on a different word and see how the entire meaning changes.

My biggest FEAR is we won’t use people on the phones at all someday. (SAD huh?) I can see the writing on the wall…can’t you?” ROBOTS everywhere. They are there now but not one hundred percent. YET.

Right now we need people desperately because we need to learn to talk to one another, (Are your children talking to you?) engage one another in conversation, talk with a customer and not AT THEM. This can be learned intellectually but “Communication Skills” require people to WAIT-FOR-IT…. to Communicate, Converse, Relate And Engage…with each other. This requires Skill in the following areas.

  • Listening to the other person, not interpreting but hearing the other person and discovering the emotional needs of that person with a willingness to help.
  • Acknowledging what you hear without judgment in your tone of voice and with sincere acceptance of the other person having a point of view that may or may not agree with yours.
  • Making some type of comment that is not threatening, smug or arrogant, not too long or pushy , that lets the other person know that you heard and understood them and that you have a comment on it, support for it or simply a concern for the person and ‘their’ issue.
  • And in order to continue this intercourse, ending your side of the conversation with a question that does not make the other person feel wrong or stupid while engaging them by talking in a way that makes them feel smart and right at the same time.

In order to do this, you may have to transform your way of handling others. You need to work with people and hear their tone, their emotional needs, the feelings that are being expressed, if you don’t do that, you may be able to pass the Quiz but can you actually converse with another human being???

To me, it’s like baseball…if you read about it, does that make you HIT IT OUT OF THE PARK?

Like riding a bike. If you read a book about it, took a web based training about it…Can you ride a bike?

When you read a recipe do you actually taste the food? or Customer Service Sally

It’s like love, do you want to read a romance novel or “love somebody?”

Let’s love our Customers enough to talk to them. Let’s love our Trainees enough to give them what they need to know and then communicate to them with INTENTION.

It’s simple, it isn’t easy.

Create your training program in three parts.

1. Lessons, DATA, Definitions and Information

2. Classroom: Refresh the information and teach Communication with INTENTION to have your trainees “experience” the lesson. Role-Play and Practice listening, acknowledging the other person, speaking and commenting about IT and asking questions that move the conversation along.

3. Quiz and test and interact on E-Learning in small bits and pieces so learning can be incremental.

It can be done but remember Judy’s advice…Don’t CAVE on Communication, Sales, Customer Service or Retention…Take a STAND!

Call me and let’s talk about it.

~Judy McKee

GOOGLINESS and All That Jazz

For years I have had a small but persistent itch to get even with all the ‘techies’ who make my life a problem. I know it’s generational thing. Still, I have a problem with the same things.

  • Accountants near the call center want the ‘agents’ to be QUIET. I want them to be loud and full of energy, vitality and pzazz!
  • The GEEKS of the world are out to get me… They usually do because they have brains and apps and I only have guts and all that jazz.

Last night I saw a movie that made me feel so good. I ended up liking the ‘geeks’ and loving the fact that that the star of the movie was a ‘salesman’ who saved the day in the end. I love to be right! Sometimes the most positive people in the world just don’t fit in. They seem to be out of touch with GOOGLINESS. But they are really never “out of touch with rhythm and blues.” (Billy Joel wrote that line)

Watch the film and see how you can learn this lesson if you needed it like I did. The ‘geeks’ are here to stay and boy oh boy do I need them! I now will give up my resistance to them and keep in mind…I have “googliness” it’s a feeling of team spirit and believing in myself and others. The Movie is “Internship!”

I give it 5***** because of the great message. It is funny and now I want to get even more in touch with GOOGLE, GOOGLINESS, and having FUN at work. I always did have that last part.

 

~Judy

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Outbound Tele-Sales and Tele-Marketing

BE Brilliant on the BASICS of Phone sales – this course is often called

“THE LAMA Training”

It’s unforgettable because it teaches both communications Skills and Self-Esteem.
It never fails to create success.
Consultative Selling Skills always meet the needs of the customer and the company by
Asking the “right” Questions and Listening to the answer
Then offering service that works for all!

This course covers in a 7 hour day
Intention, Relationship, Self-discipline and Skill
• Call Path Control – LAMA Technique
• Seven Steps to a Successful Call
• Learn to Sell Consultatively
• Asking for the order
• Handling Objections
• 3 ways to Closing for the Sale
• Wrap-up for Future Business

You can use this course at home, too!

All courses are customized and include training workbooks and one-on-one coaching using
The Positive Coach Approach method.

We will customize this course to the situations you have exactly.
Let us give you a program that will be accepted by your Customers, used by your Agents, and
retain your Customers for Life.

B 2 B Account Management Program


My business finished a record year with 31% growth year-over-year. This has never been done in the history of the training materials business. Our success towards the end of the year had a direct correlation with your (McKee Consulting) training and coaching in December.
Dale at DuPont

Sell the Product, Sell the Relationship, and Sell the Long Term Customer Care

It’s always about three entities; in the end, it has to work for all three.
• The Company who wants to succeed in business
• The Customer who would like to do business with a company with integrity
• The Agent who actually has to communicate with the customer

This course will not only be about sales skills but personal account and activities management.
When an agent has accounts:
•The accounts matter
•The money matters
•The persistence matters
•The ability of the AM to keep personally motivated and inspired is key to their success.

This is not only sales training but about personal goals.
NO more: “Is there anything I can get for you today…”
New daily habits that will make any Account Manager increase their personal success
Meet the goals of the company by meeting the goals of the customer

Keeping it real means keeping it interesting for the Account Manager and the Customer

The 5-5-5 method -Start with new customers – Call on past customers – Find the customers who are dead
We will teach AM’s to revive the dead and increase sales and referrals
And have fun doing it with a little self-discipline

All courses are customized and include training workbooks and one-on-one coaching using
The Positive Coach Approach method

We will customize this course to the situations you have exactly
Let us give you a program that will be accepted by your Customers, used by your Agents, and
retain your Customers for Life

Outbound B2B Tele-Sales Training


The customer must be engaged in this Relationship

It Takes Conversational Communication Techniques, and you can find them in the LAMA© Sales Training course. Our experts will customize training for you and your agents and they will “get it” with constant demonstration and role-playing throughout the day!

This training isn’t for the tricky or the hardcore salesman.
It’s for the company and the agent who want to engage their customer, support the customer, and seriously find out the needs both real and emotional. This is authentic.
• McKee Consulting Outbound B2B Course is a customized 7-hour course
• Train your agents in the essentials of building a Business To Business relationship
• In this program the LAMA Technique will take the FEAR out of any customer contact experience
• There will no longer be a mystery about what to say and how to say it
• The training covers elements of Selling and Cross Selling while building long term relationships
• Your agents will learn to build long term relationships using the Art of Asking Questions
• The course is interactive: the Role-Playing is a significant learning tool
• The whole course revolves around Communication Skills for relationship selling
• Delivered at your facility by an experienced trainer
• Our coach will work one on one to ensure that the learned techniques are practiced and used immediately.

Every first call has to lead to a second one.
Discover the needs ask for the quote, the sales, the appointment, or the next step in the relationship. We will customize the script and the training to meet your needs. You will make money and double your leads. Maybe even assume the sale.
It all depends on you, your service or product. Have it your way!

All courses are customized and include training workbooks and one-on-one coaching using
The Positive Coach Approach method.

We will customize this course to the situations you have exactly.
Let us give you a program that will be accepted by your Customers, used by your Agents, and
retain your Customers for Life.

Customer Service Center as a Profit Center


Customer Service is a Soft Selling Skill

We will get the Buy-In and teach your team:

• It is a Service to Ask for a Sale – Believe it!
• You are not “Pushy” if Your Offer is Appropriate to Your Customer
• “Customers Don’t Know What They Don’t Know”
• Serving the Customer May Include a Sales Offer
• Let the Customer Decide

Customer Service Representatives can learn to offer a new product or service in a timely manner and not feel like they are pushy.

Using the LAMA Technique and a little bit of timing, the CSR can increase your sales dramatically.

Seeding the Sale can be the biggest and most popular way of introducing a new product or service.

We will teach a simple and non-aggressive way for the Customer Service Rep to turn your call center into a profit center.

These methods will never fail.

Use Our Program and save time, money, and energy.
We created it for fortune 100 and we will bring it you.
It works every time.

All courses are customized, include training workbooks, and one-on-one coaching using
The Positive Coach Approach method.

We will customize this course to the situations you have exactly.
Let us give you a program that will be accepted by your Customers, used by your Agents, and
retain your Customers for Life.