Tag Archive | "customer service"

EFG Companies Hits Trifecta at the Stevie Awards Once Again

DALLAS – EFG Companies, the innovator behind the award-winning Hyundai Assurance program, announced today that the company was recognized at the 10th Annual Stevie® Awards for Sales and Customer Service, a feature of the American Business AwardsSM, the USA’s top business awards program. This marks the second year running that EFG has won awards in three categories, including:

  • A Gold award in Business Development Achievement of the Year;
  • A Silver award in Sales Consulting Practice of the Year; and,
  • A Bronze award in Contact Center of the Year (Up to 100 Seats).

Last year, EFG won Stevie awards in three categories:

  • Contact Center of the Year (Up to 100 Seats)
  • Field Sales Team of the Year
  • Business Development Achievement of the Year

“These awards signify EFG’s continued efforts to set a high bar in the consumer protection product industry for client engagement and overall customer experience,” said John Pappanastos, President and CEO, EFG Companies. “At EFG, we take pride in operating as an extension of our clients’ management teams to achieve industry leading results. We believe that longevity and success is ultimately measured by a simple premise: keeping a promise to a customer when they need it most.”

Momentum in Service Excellence

In the past year, EFG Companies has received 9 national awards in recognition of results the company has driven for its clients, and for the overall experience it delivers to contract holders every day. The company’s most notable awards and recognitions include:

  • Dallas Morning News Top 100
  • F&I and Showroom Magazine Dealer of the Year Award for EFG client, Davis-Moore
  • One of first hundred companies in the US to achieve Consumer Credit Compliance Certification from the National Association of Automotive Finance
  • Powersports Business Nifty 50 Product Award winner
  • SubPrime Auto Finance News Top 125 Most Influential Firms

EFG was the first product provider whose dealer services field team was 100% AFIP certified, and the only product provider to receive a Center of Excellence certification by Benchmark Portal – a designation that less than 10% of companies achieve. EFG is also the only provider to be awarded the ASE Blue Seal of Excellence, and more than 90% of the company’s adjusters are ASE certified with an average of 15 years of experience. In its most recent client satisfaction survey, EFG’s net promoter score ranked higher than USAA Banking and Insurance, Nordstrom, Apple iPhone and Laptop, with 92% of its dealers noting a high likelihood to recommend EFG to another dealer.

For close to 40 years, EFG has developed products to protect consumers from the risks associated with costly vehicle mechanical breakdowns. As a product administrator, EFG provides innovative solutions to drive higher profitability and customer satisfaction for auto manufacturers, retail automotive dealerships, lenders, and property and casualty insurance agents. EFG surrounds its clients with an engagement model that incorporates a broad array of marketing and training services to facilitate the compliant and successful sales of consumer protection products.

Stevie Awards Set the Bar on Customer Focus

“The Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service continues to be the fastest-growing of our international awards programs,” said Michael Gallagher, president and founder of the Stevie Awards. “The sheer number of nominations is matched by the increasing quality of those nominations. We congratulate all of this year’s Finalists.”

More than 2,100 nominations from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were evaluated in this year’s competition, an increase of 11% over 2015. Entries were considered in 59 categories for customer service and contact center achievements; 51 categories for sales and business development achievements; and, categories to recognize new products and services and solution providers.

Finalists were determined by the average scores of 115 professionals worldwide, acting as preliminary judges. Several specialized judging committees, consisting of more than 60 members, determined the Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Award placements from among the Finalists.

The awards were presented to EFG on March 4, 2016 during a gala banquet at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel.

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What Does It Take To Win Back A Customer?

It can happen to any business of any size: A customer isn’t happy with your product or service and decides to express his or her displeasure, and once this happens, it’s pretty tough to win that customer back, reported Fox Business.

“It’s a real challenge [to earn back] trust and loyalty where a disappointed customer is concerned,” said Danny Rippon, chief solutions officer at customer engagement solutions provider Thunderhead.com. “The ideal scenario is to avoid disappointing customers in the first place, [but sometimes] there are gaps in what customers expect and what companies are able to deliver.”

According to recent research by Thunderhead, 1 in 5 customers will stop trusting a company after one bad experience, and 25 percent will switch brands completely. Moreover, nearly one-third of customers will share a bad experience on social media or other public forum, which could potentially reach hundreds of thousands of other consumers. [Customer Service 2.0: Satisfying Customers in the Digital Age]

As Rippon said, it’s always better to avoid disappointments whenever possible, but the occasional negative experience is more or less unavoidable. So what does it take to persuade a customer to give you another chance? Personalized, targeted engagement is the best place to start.

“The key thing you need to do to win back customers is to put the value back into the relationship,” Rippon told Business News Daily. “Sometimes things can go wrong even with your best intentions. As long as you ensure that all communication is timely, relevant and personalized to the individual who had the negative experience, you should still be able to recover the situation.”

Thunderhead’s research found that waiting too long or sending out platitudes when addressing an upset customer will only make matters worse. The vast majority of customers (93 percent) indicated that they wouldn’t change their opinion about a company if it didn’t act quickly enough to remedy a bad experience, and 82 percent said they were disappointed by companies who take a “one-size-fits-all” approach to customer service.

Rippon said that valuable customer relationships are only possible when departmental siloes are taken down, and the customer is truly placed at the center of your business. When a customer has a bad experience with one department of your company, and you respond based only on that isolated incident, you’re failing to take that customer’s individual journey with your company into account.

“Remove the organizational barriers that prevent offering value-based interactions,” Rippon said. “Being relevant and having a customer engagement strategy [should be] a broad-level mandate.”

Using the person’s overall experience with your brand can help you offer a more meaningful response and/or solution. For example, the information you serve to a customer who has done research on your website or made a purchase in the past is very different from the content you’d give to someone who’s visiting your website for the first time.

“It’s about having value all the time,” Rippon said. “If you add value for a customer, they’ll rarely leave you.”

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6 Ways to Make Your Customer Service Better

Offering great client service not only builds a loyal and happy customer base, but can be the most powerful marketing tool due to word-of-mouth referrals, reported Entrepreneur.

A 2013 study by Dimensional Research for Zendesk found 62 percent of business-to-business and 42 percent of business-to-consumer customers purchased more after enjoying a great customer-service experience. On the flip side, the same survey discovered 95 percent of customers share bad experiences with their network, compared to the 87 percent sharing a positive experience.

How can customer service be improved? Here are six ways:

1. Truly listen. Offer expertise, but make sure employees are listening as much as they talk. Great service isn’t about forcing a strategy that doesn’t work for the customer. Try to balance being an expert with listening to concerns and providing what customers think is right for their needs.

2. Be responsive. Customers want service, fast. Even if the full answer can’t be delivered immediately, always email back the same day. Keep the customer looped into the process, and make sure they understand everyone is doing their best to ensure issues are being addressed quickly and fully.

3. Accommodate customers. Unfortunately, customers can drop the ball just as often as companies. Sometimes a client will show up late to a call and sometimes a customer won’t have all the relevant information service-team members need to provide assistance.

While it can be easy to get aggravated, it’s important to accommodate customer needs. Keep in mind that every customer or client is a potential brand ambassador, meaning every interaction can be a selling point or a barrier to attracting more business.

4. Build trust. A company-customer relationship does not need to be strictly platonic. Going the extra mile and showing passion for the client builds loyalty, trust and a longer customer relationship.

5. Live the company values. To ensure a great client-service experience, the company needs to make service an important cultural value. When creating a company culture, standard practices, or a mission statement, highlight the importance of customer service. Making service a baked-in part of the culture means employees will be more likely to live the company’s values on a day-to-day basis, and create better service outcomes.

6. Don’t grow too quickly. Don’t sacrifice quality in lieu of hunger for growth. At the end of the day, happy customers lead to word-of-mouth referrals and an overall positive company brand, image and reputation. This organic and steady growth is what will lead to a healthy company.

Client service is an integral part of any growing company. The best way to deliver amazing service is to listen, build trust and be responsive to customer needs. Keep in mind, a great service experience has the power to turn customers into fans, and clients into brand ambassadors for the company.

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What the World Cup Can Teach You About Customer Service

Whether or not you’re a fan of soccer, chances are good that you’ve at least heard or seen a bit of the World Cup. The FIFA World Cup was first played back in 1930, and since then it has become the largest single-event sporting competition in the entire world. Business 2 Community reports some of the valuable customer service lessons that are to be learned from the game of soccer.

There Is Always Competition and Only One Winner

While you might not be up against the 208 member associations of FIFA, you undoubtedly have your share of competitors. No matter what you’re selling or what industry you’re in, customers only choose one vendor which means there is only one winner. Make sure that you’re always providing and using awesome customer service to your advantage to make your customers stand and cheer you on.

Operate as a Team

No customer service employee should ever be abandoned on an island, no matter how good they might be at their job. Not only will your employees need the best support possible, your customers will to. Never forget that working in a team is more productive than working on your own as the lone ranger.

Pass the Ball When the Time Is Right

Sometimes doing what’s best for your team and your customers is admitting when something is beyond your abilities. Don’t be afraid to pass a customer along to another team mate or tell them that you’ll get back to them in a short while with a more informed answer. The customer will appreciate your honesty even if it takes bit longer. Lying is a sure fire way to fail at turning customers into advocates for your business.

Understand Your Team’s Strengths and Weaknesses

While you may like the idea of being a jack of all trades, your customers probably won’t. It’s better for your business and your customers to be assisted by employees who know where their strengths lie and when they should allow someone else to take care of a support request. Rather than “winging it” when a customer calls about something that you’re unfamiliar with, transfer them and make a note to learn more about their inquiry so that you can be better informed for next time.

It’s Important to Have Both Defense and Offense

Not only should you and the rest of your support team be in place to take care of customers when they call (defense), you’ll also want to get in touch with customers to see how they’re doing before they call (offense). Take a minute and think about how reassuring it feels knowing that you’re supported by your customer service team mates. Make your customers feel the same way.

Don’t Go Out of Bounds

While it might be tempting to use any means necessary to win the customer service game, always play by the rules and refrain from playing dirty. Even if you don’t get caught the first time or even the third time, you never know when the truth will catch up to you.

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National ASE Institute Awards EFG Companies Blue Seal of Excellence

DALLAS, TX – EFG Companies, the innovator behind the award-winning Hyundai Assurance program, announced today it has been awarded the Blue Seal of Excellence by the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), based upon the required certification level of its claims organization. This certification exemplifies EFG’s commitment to customer service excellence while also enhancing the company’s ability to negotiate quality vehicle repairs on behalf of contract holders.

EFG continuously strives to raise the industry bar when it comes to providing superior products, administration and compliance. Earlier this year, EFG achieved 100 percent field team certification from the Association of Finance and Insurance Professionals (AFIP). With these two certifications, the company sets the industry example for leadership in effectively training, auditing and administering their clients’ business to whom these services are a critical priority.

“Our clients rely on our expertise when it comes to negotiating quality repairs for their customers,” said Barry Carter, Chief Operating Officer. “Our claims administration reflects back on their business and brand. By demonstrating our high level of expertise with this certification, we are giving our clients even greater confidence that all claims will be handled expertly, efficiently and respectfully, promoting a positive overall customer experience and driving greater customer loyalty for their business.”

Established in 1972, the National Institute for Service Excellence (ASE) seeks to improve the quality of vehicle repair and service by testing and certifying automotive professionals, and the ASE National Institute exists to protect the automotive service consumer, shop owner and automotive technician. This certification provides legitimacy to both the repair shop and the claims administrator by signifying their level of expertise and recognized standard of their technical knowledge.

Throughout its 37-year history, EFG has continually demonstrated its commitment to exceed customer expectations. Customer service and claims administration standards and real-time performance is continuously projected on the company’s walls as a constant measure of performance. 95.88 percent of claims calls are answered within 90 seconds, and 96 percent of all claims are paid by corporate credit card within one hour of receipt of invoice.

EFG believes longevity and success is ultimately measured by a simple premise: keeping a promise to a customer at a time when they need it most. EFG prides itself on being a claims-honoring third-party administrator, and this certification only enhances the company’s ability to fulfill that promise.

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The Value of Good Customer Service

One of the biggest challenges facing any business is keeping in balance. In many automotive businesses, more emphasis is put on getting new business than serving existing clients. And that’s no way to succeed long term.

Next to sales functions, customer service functions are vital to overall success and must be given appropriate emphasis. By customer service, I don’t just mean vehicle service. That’s another issue altogether.

Poor customer service will cost a company as much business as will having a poor salesperson on the lot. Both can damage a company’s reputation and potential for future growth.

When businesses don’t properly serve their clients after the initial sale, the clients go elsewhere the next time they need a vehicle. And in today’s times most families have at least two cars. If you’ve helped them get involved in one, why wouldn’t you serve them well and be the person they call when they need another?

If you don’t serve them well, you can’t expect them to be loyal to you, can you? Unfortunately, when a client doesn’t make a second purchase, all too often those businesses assume they weren’t good sales in the first place – that the client moved away or has not yet made another purchase. If you had a solid follow up system in place, you’d know what was going on, and probably have made that second sale.

If the client did make a second purchase elsewhere, you’ll want to know why. Besides the question of why they left you, the other question you should be considering is where did they go? Where do customers go who don’t stay with your dealership once they’ve made a single purchase?

Many simply buy from someone else. If you had followed-up, you would have discovered that the prospective client was either waiting for contact from you, or was not happy with the first buying experience, whether it was the vehicle itself or something else. Either way, you need to know the answer.

If they bought from another dealership, they either found a product or service that they liked better or a more persuasive sales professional.

I have a philosophy to share with you. Please commit to this statement: “If I am a pro, they will buy from me unless we go out of business, or the client dies.” Commit to yourself that you are going to be so professional that they are going to invest their money with you unless you are no longer in business or the decision-maker passes on to his or her heavenly reward. That may sound extreme, but that’s the way you have to feel if you want to get the business every time.

If you have lost them to the competition, I hope you will be mature enough to say, “If I lost the business, I got beat because of skill and talent. I’m going to increase my skill level so it won’t happen again.”

There will always be those clients that you simply cannot please. I’ve had clients I’ve given so much service to and I know I earned the business, but for one reason or another I didn’t close. I used to blame everyone else for these failures. However, the more I look at selling, the more I realize that if you lose to the competition, it’s usually because they outperformed you. That’s when you need to set a goal to get better at this game of selling.

The last reason customers don’t buy from you is because they no longer like your line of vehicles. It’s happened every time manufacturers go through major design changes. Some clients will hate the new look and start looking at different brands. Other people who may have never thought they’d own your brand of vehicle, though, will be attracted to the new design so there’s still plenty of new business to be had.

If existing clients have a change in their needs that requires them to go with a different manufacturer because you don’t have the product they need, accept it gracefully and move on to someone else you can serve. Your attitude at a time like that can earn you future business, should their needs change or, even better, a referral or two of friends or relatives who do like your brand.

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