May 19, 2020

5 Tips for Delivering World Class Customer Service

Leadership
customer service
Management
Jabong world
2 min
5 Tips for Delivering World Class Customer Service

A successful business cannot be considered a success without the support of a good customer. How you treat your customers, especially if you own a service-oriented business, can make the difference between a loyal returning customer who will become an ambassador for your business and a lost opportunity or a negative influence for your company who is likely to cause more harm then good.

Frances Kweller, entrepreneur and founder of Kweller Prep, a learning incubator specializing in advanced test preparation in New York, New York, offers the following tips on how to turn a bad customer into a good one:

Call the Customer

When you know a customer is unhappy, don’t be afraid to call the customer directly.  Find out what the issue is and hear them out. Take good notes and be careful to address the problem. Let them speak their minds and give them the time to make their point. Hold off on responding until they are finished speaking.

Don’t Defend

After you’ve let the customer speak, there’s no point in snapping back to defend your business. If they are unhappy they are not going to be willing to hear your side of the story anyway.  Tell them you understand how they are feeling and try to see their point. Hearing negative commentary may be difficult but you may be able to turn a negative into a positive.

Offer Free Services or a Refund

There’s no reason not to provide a refund or a free service in order to make things better. In a service-oriented business, the customer is always right and to make things right they’ll appreciate that you’ve heard them and made the gesture.

Follow Up

It’s important to check in with a dissatisfied customer to see how things are going after you’ve provided the free service or refund. They will appreciate your customer service and most times will even spread the word about how you’ve handled the situation. Customers like being made to feel important. This simple gesture will keep them coming back for more.

Not Everyone Has to be a Customer

Your sanity is more important than money. Don't take on customers that you instinctually know won’t be good for you or for your business. They may have unreasonably high or unrealistic expectations of the services you can provide. It’s better to turn a potential bad customer down to avoid headaches later on. Use your instincts. Some people can't be pleased no matter what you do and don't put yourself into a bad situation to begin with.

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Jun 13, 2021

Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl

CMO
Kyndryl
IBM
Leadership
Kate Birch
5 min
Former CMO for IBM Americas Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl. Maria talks about her new role and her leadership style

Former Chief Marketing Officer for IBM Americas, and an IBM veteran of more than 25 years, Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl.

Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.

With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.

You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?

I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.

We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.

What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?

I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.

The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.

I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.

What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?

When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.

What does success look like to you?

I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.

What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?

I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.

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