Browsing Date

April 2013

5 Steps to Building a Customer-Centric Company

By April 17, 2013 No Comments

Many small business owners joke that they would really love their business if only they didn’t need customers. For better of worse, building a company by focusing on customers is the only path to profitability.  

Here are 5 steps every company needs to take to get there:

1. Identify the pain that the company solves for customers. In any economy, customers will always buy painkillers, not vitamins. People buy when they are in pain or have a very great need. For example, most companies can’t do without a phone system for their employees who need talk to customers and prospects. When the phone system doesn’t work properly, this is a pain that affects the sales of the business. Successful companies tie their brand to solving customers’ pain.

2. Identify those customers that have the money to solve the pain. No small business owner runs a company intentionally as a not for profit. If targeted customers do not have money to solve their pain, then the company won’t sell many of their products. Companies need to focus on prospects that actually have the funds to solve their pain and are willing to spend them.

3. Focus on growing current profitable customers.  Companies need to keep the customers that make them money and fire others that cost too much to keep. Many times this is in terms of the extra time it takes to satisfy problem customers who always ask for refunds or ask for more than they paid for. Additionally look at the total lifetime value of a customer by looking at other areas besides revenue including the referrals they generate and the buzz they create. Treat current customers to special offers for their loyalty. Too often companies offer special financial incentives to new customers and forget their existing ones.

4. Tie a portion of every employee’s compensation to the company’s Net Promoter Score. This is an industry standard of the company’s level of customer service. It allows each business to identify their detractors and promoters. A higher net promoter score will always lead to an increase in sales because customers will become the company’s biggest marketers.

5. Establish a customer advisory board. Find 6 current customers that would sit on a quarterly meeting to discuss current company products and service issues confidentially. This should be a mix of customers that represent the business’ demographics. Listen to their feedback and report back to them on action plans.


Barry Moltz gets small businesses unstuck. He is a small business motivational speaker, writer, and radio host. Barry can be found at


How to Instill a Passion for Customer Service in Your Company

By April 16, 2013 No Comments

Ask any small business owner if it is important to deliver outstanding customer service and they will answer yes without hesitation. In practice, most companies never actually do. This focus on the customer gets lost somewhere between the owner’s mission statement and the employees’ actions because they miss key steps.

Here is how to ensure your employees have a passion for customer service:

1. Practice what you preach. If the small business owner is not passionate, then none of the employees will be. They need to show that they are willing to put immediate customer needs above the short term monetary gain of the company on a daily basis. This is important since every employee is always watching the actions managers take and how they prioritize profit vs. customers. The small business owner needs to be involved with customer issues regularly and reward employees that demonstrate “extreme” customer service.

2. Hire people that actually like working with other people. To work well with customers on the phone or through email, the small business owner must hire employees that actually like other people. This may seem like a silly criteria, but it is an important distinction. A good indicator is to check out their social media feeds to see if they have supportive interactions with others and just don’t post their updates focused solely on themselves.

3. Demonstrate that customer service is the new marketing. Social media allows a disgruntled customer to tell thousands of people rather than just a few. Now, buyers consistently use online reviews in their purchase decision more than company advertising. Loyal customers can amplify the company’s message and increase its sales! The danger is that customers are always more likely to say something negative about their experience with a company than positive. Both of these responses can be harnessed by a savvy customer service staff that realizes how important responding to these comments truly are.

4. Quantify the cost of a new customer. Show the team how much it actually costs to get a new customer vs. keeping one that the company has. Ensure that as much resources goes into keeping customers as finding new ones. This is rarely done as most companies are too busy chasing new customers in the front door with special offers as existing ones leave out their back door. These activities actually do nothing to increase long term sales or profitability.

How do you instill a passion for customer service in your company?


Barry Moltz gets small businesses unstuck. He is a small business motivational speaker, writer, and radio host. Barry can be found at


How to Lead with Customer Service as Brand Differentiator

By April 15, 2013 No Comments

Every place a customer goes, they are promised “outstanding customer service”. The reality is that most businesses fail to deliver this promise and instead offer horrible customer service. When a customer finally gets “amazing service”, they are so impressed that it becomes an important part of the company’s brand when they need to buy again. If a business can be remembered for their customer service, that value will make it difficult for customers to ever switch.

How can a company use customer service as a significant part of their brand?

1. Forget about asking the customer “How can I help you?” When an employee says this, it is usually ignored by the customer since it has become as common as saying hello. The customer never thinks the employee really means it. Instead ask “How can I help you feel more satisfied?” Great customer service is about the attitude and actions employees take to make a customer feel more satisfied each and every time they interact with them.  This question needs to be asked at each interaction since it’s a constant moving target and changes from customer to customer and from day to day.

2. Listen to what customers are really saying and reply even just to say the message was received. Too many times, customers reach out to companies and get no response for hours or days. The first thing customers want is to be acknowledged. They realize that their issue can’t always be resolved immediately, but the company can always be listening.  Acknowledging a customer concern in a timely matter is always the first step.

3. Give multiple ways for the customers to give feedback.  Don’t just use comment cards or other surveys, but add email, phone, Twitter and Facebook.  This will create more of a dialogue rather than a “suggestion box” model. Customers need a lot of opportunities to give feedback at all stages of the transaction. No need to offer a “bribe” to them by giving a future discount. (i.e. $5 off their next order if they fill out this survey.) The customers that are very satisfied or very dissatisfied will always reply. A company wants to get responses from those “silent customers” that will just drift away and never ever come back.

4. Don’t pass the buck. Harvard Business Review reports that the biggest complaint from customers is having to explain their issues to multiple people or have to repeatedly contact the company to address an issue. The employee that starts to handle the complaint should follow it until resolution.

Is your company able to lead with customer service?


Barry Moltz gets small businesses unstuck. He is a small business motivational speaker, writer, and radio host. Barry can be found at


New to Nextiva: The Polycom VVX Series

By April 12, 2013 No Comments

The newest addition to Nextiva’s collection of VoIP-ready phones is the Polycom VVX series. These media phones are the most innovative devices that Nextiva has ever featured, offering a fully unified voice and video communication experience.

The combination of Polycom’s superior audio and video quality combined with Nextiva’s user interface and extensive features are sure to increase the productivity of executives and call attendants alike. The VVX business media phones offer premium-quality desktop voice and video communications for organizations of all sizes and intuitive features designed for multitasking needs and growing offices.

The Polycom VVX 300, 400, 500 & 600

One of our favorite devices of this new series is the Polycom VVX 500. Featuring 12-lines and a gesture-based user interface, the VVX 500 is designed to make navigation intuitive and easy. Want to learn more? Check out the extensive list of features that the phone has to offer.

The Polycom VVX 500 is available for $249.95, but this month you can enter the Upgrade Your Office contest and win a desk phone makeover from Nextiva! To become the hero of your office, simply tweet a picture of the coolest, most exciting thing in your office to @Nextiva with the hashtag #MyAmazingOffice. Each Wednesday, we will pick a winner who will receive brand new Polycom VVX 500 phones for their entire office!

To learn about the full collection of Polycom VVX phones available from Nextiva, visit our VoIP Phones page.


5 Essential Skills to Hire For Customer Service

By April 11, 2013 No Comments

It’s always one of the most critical questions in any business. Do you hire based on specific skills or the candidate’s attitude and company culture fit?

When hiring for any customer service position, attitude is everything. Only an employee with the right attitude can come to work every day and truly help the customer service effort. In a survey, American Express revealed that the most successful customer service people have experience in the hospitality area (hotels, restaurant, and tourism). This type of industry experience encourages employees to build deeper relationships with customers. 

Most customers that call with a problem or question realize it may not be solved immediately. As a result, actual problem solving skills are not high on the hiring list. Instead, here are the skills that will enable employees to give the customers exactly what they really need for them to remain loyal to a company:

1. Courtesy. Throughout hundreds of individual calls and interactions with customers, can the employee remain courteous to each customer? The caller (emailer or social media poster) doesn’t care how many other customers the rep dealt with or if they are having a bad day. Can the employee set all this aside and treat this customer with the courtesy they deserve?

2. Focus. Does the employee have a proven ability to focus on a single task and follow it through to the end? Many customers complain that they constantly get passed around a company and have to explain an issue over and over again. When surveyed, this is always a very sore point for customers.

3. Empathy. Can the employee put themselves in the customer’s shoes even if they think they are wrong? Can they truly say, “I understand how you can see things that way”. When calling a company, empathy is what customers truly want in order to be satisfied.

4. Calm. Can the employee keep calm even when the customer gets angry and begins to shout? Many people have a tendency to mirror the other person’s reaction and ratchet up the emotion. This never leads to effective customer service. 

5. Improvise. Can they improvise and not just be robotic by following a script and standard practices? Can they recognize when an exception to the rules needs to be made? Can they see the bigger profit picture and offer what is best for the customer and the company?

At the interview, it is important to actually test for these skills through work simulations before an employee is hired for customer service. Are they able to remain courteous, focused and calm in the tested situation? Do they always show empathy in their responses?  Are they able to improvise?

Which skills does your company value in customer service?


Barry Moltz gets small businesses unstuck. He is a small business motivational speaker, writer, and radio host. Barry can be found at


Nextiva Customer Success Story: 19th Ave. Dental Care

By April 8, 2013 No Comments

Last week, we met with Doctor Marc Kay, owner of Phoenix-based 19th Ave. Dental Care to chat about his office’s Nextiva phone service.  One of his practice’s most important commitments is delivering seamless, comfortable service, so we were thrilled to hear that Nextiva’s phone systems were able to help them increase patient satisfaction and overall efficiency.

Nextiva’s cloud-based phone systems offer dozens of benefits for medical practices, including:

  • The ability to swap calls between a desk phone and cell phone so that doctors can stay mobile while remaining connected
  • An auto attendant to act as an automated receptionist for patients while the office is closed
  • Call continuity in the rare case of a disaster
  • Call logging to view all incoming and outgoing calls for easy tracking of billing and appointments
  • A customized greeting message, professionally recorded by Nextiva for free
  • Shared line appearance so incoming calls ring directly to all of a doctor’s phones and front desk simultaneously

Dr. Kay’s staff has found automatic rerouting to be particularly useful in their office during everyday office hours and in cases of patient emergencies. Watch the full interview to see how Nextiva has helped 19th Ave Dental Care stay mobile and save money: