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How your business can provide superior customer support during the holiday season (Part 1)

Businesses always stay on their heels to deliver the best experience to all their customers and clients, despite the huge rush.

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Must-have customer service skills that every business needs, How your business can provide superior customer support during the holiday season (Part 1), How your business can provide superior customer support during the holiday season (Part 1), Here’s the formula for successful customer service for your business

Key Facts

  • 66% of shoppers change their loyalty if they face bad customer service. – Accenture
  • 47% of shoppers want a fast reply to all questions, problems, feedback, or complaint.
  • “If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”- Richard Branson
  • 78% of customers believe happy service can only be possible with good agents and representatives. Source: The Cost of Poor Customer Service
  • 35% of people have lost their temper whilst interacting with service.- American Express
  • 91% of unhappy shoppers will not do business with your firm ever again. – Lee Resources
  • “Customers do not expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong.” – Donald Porter

The Holiday Season (Christmas and New Year) is significant for every retailer on earth, as the period sees significant growth in sales for all markets and sectors. This spur in the purchase rate occurs due to the fact that most people buy supplies and gifts for themselves and their loved ones. Because of this surge, businesses always stay on their heels to deliver the best experience to all their customers and clients, despite the huge rush.

Customer, business, Polarization: How, attract, right, customers, ‘’wrong’,’ ones, out, A guide to identifying your profitable customers and improving your sales (1)

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Providing perfect consumer support during the holiday season may just be uphill for not only your support team but also for your whole organization. Here’s a guide on how to properly handle your client support structure during the holiday period in a very efficient and effective way.

Create a concrete plan beforehand

66% of shoppers change their loyalty if they face bad customer service – Accenture.

If you really want to tackle the holiday period as a pro, then you have to plan beforehand. Making a strategy right at the 11th hour won’t be a plausible thing to do.

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You need to quickly do the following:

  • Set up prior goals and objectives.
  • Implement feedback from existing clients.
  • Check your current workflow rate and number of successful cases.
  • Understand what your shoppers need and want.
  • Hire or give extra training to current employees.
  • Buying more equipment or overheads like tools or office space etc.
  • Dedicate a larger budget for customer support only for the holiday period.
  • Check out the trends—of your own previous experiences and of the market—to estimate and forecast on how many inquiring shoppers you will get.

[READ MORE: How to sell products that are low in demand or unpopular]

Whatever decision you make or ignore, you have to start as early as possible so that you have a proper roadmap on the table for everyone to understand.

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Use tools to make the process a breeze for everyone

63% of firms expect to spend more money on shopping support experience. – Temkin

It does not matter how good and competent your support team is if it has to trade with outdated technology and machine. As a company, you have to provide your agents with the right tools to have a meaningful conversation and interaction with your shoppers.

Provide training and empower your team

Time is of the essence during the holidays; be confident that your customer support team can handle and solve cases quickly. Empowering your team is one of the best ways to lower turnaround time. Just make sure your team has the knowledge to handle most cases, and they have the right information and data to solve issues and answer questions. Once they have the authority to make calls, you will find faster success rates. Also, train your people about your product and service thoroughly. If they do not know about the core of what you do, then they will falter at even the simplest of questions.

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Make consumer support a company-wide policy

77% of firms either want to grow or at least maintain their current support team size for the next couple of years. – Deloitte

There are two possibilities in this respect. First of all, if you believe that you do not need to hire extra people, then you can provide little training and knowledge to your people from other departments and put them in your support team just for the holiday period. This will not only save you tons of money as you won’t have to hire new people, but it would also lessen the pressure on your core support team. All of this will only deliver one single outcome – faster support results.

Provide extra things – keep your team happy and motivated

“If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients,” Richard Branson.

devland

The theory is quite simple. If you keep your team motivated and happy, then you will, in turn, make sure that they keep your shoppers happy. At the end of the day, your shoppers have to line up in front of your support team to portray their feelings. So, it is vital and essential that you must keep your agents and executives happy first, as the whole show will depend on them and their performance.

Some important tips for companies in view of customer Service Week 2019, Polarization: How to attract the right customers, while keeping the ‘’wrong’’ ones out

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78% of shoppers believe happy service can only be possible with good agents and representatives. Source: The Cost of Poor Customer Service.

[READ ALSO: How you can shop on a budget this Christmas season]

Since it will be a known fact that the holiday period will see a substantial rise in customer complaints and feedback, you have to provide that extra incentive to your agents as well. Just take care of them, think about their working hours during the peak time, let them have the extra breaks, award them, pat their backs when they deserve it and bestow them with holiday bonuses. Do anything just to keep your team motivated and happy so that, in turn, they provide your shoppers with the best support.

Remember, they are giving up their holidays just to make sure that your company provides that all-important support during the peak period, thus they are indirectly increasing your brand reputation.

Patricia
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CITN issues rejoinder to ICAN’s claim over court case

The rebuttal claims that there are some ‘critical misinterpretations’ contained in ICAN’s claims concerning the judgment.

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CITN

The Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) has issued a rebuttal to the “critical misrepresentations” that are supposedly contained in a notice to members sent out by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) over a court case, as reported by Nairametrics.

Recall that ICAN had informed its members that Justice S. A. Onigbanjo of the High Court of Lagos State ruled in their favour by striking out “Suit No. LD/3288GCM/19 – CITN VS ICAN” which was filed by CITN. In the suit, CITN had, among other things, prayed the court to restrain ICAN members from filing tax returns with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) unless they have a CITN license.

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CITN’s position: Now, in its rebuttal to ICAN’s claims concerning the court case, a copy of which was sent to Nairametrics, CITN clarified the following points:

  1. The Ruling of the Hon. Justice S. A. Onigbanjo of the 2/7/2020 in LD/3288GCM/19 did not invalidate the MOU and TOS because it did NOT address the issues in the substantive suit, itself. However, since ICAN has resiled from the MoU and ToS it freely entered with CITN, the CITN will not stop ICAN from walking away.
  2. The Judge only struck out the suit based on the Preliminary Objection of ICAN to the effect that the suit was an abuse of court process because the issues in it were the same as the issues in FHC/L/CS/125/2019 – ICAN VS FIRS & 1 OTHER which was earlier decided in favour of CITN.  However, the issues in the two suits are completely different and distinct as has now been explicitly admitted by ICAN in its Notice under reference when it said: “The earlier ruling at the Federal High Court in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/125/2019 did not make pronouncement on the memorandum and terms of settlement between ICAN and CITN.”ICAN having admitted  that the judgment in FHC/L/CS/125/2019 did not make any pronouncement on the MOU and TOS (and this is a fact), how then could issues in that suit be the same as those in LD/3288GCM/2019 (decided by Justice Onigbanjo) which only asked for judicial pronouncement on the MOU and TOS?
  3. Regulation 5 of the Tax Administration (Self-Assessment) Regulations, 2011, was categorically annulled by the Hon. Justice Liman in the judgment delivered in FHC/L/CS/125/2019 on 21/11/2019.  None of the lawyers to the parties (including ICAN) can deny hearing the annulment of Regulation 5 during delivery of the judgment. It is unfortunate that ICAN is jumping the gun in a case with a pending post-judgment application.
  4. In the judgment delivered in FHC/L/CS/1480/2018 – CHIEF IGBAROOLA & OTHERS VS FIRS & OTHERS on 21/5/2019, the Hon. Justice A. O. Faji, declared: “CITN Act is thus superior to ICAN Act on the issue of tax practice.  The Self-Assessment Regulations being in conflict with the CITN Act is null and void.  The Plaintiffs cannot practice as tax agents without first being members of the 2nd Defendant.”
  5. In the Court of Appeal judgement of 2013 between ICAN v. CITN, it was held that the power to regulate and control the tax profession, to the exclusion of any other body, in Nigeria lies with CITN.
  6. It is, therefore, now firmly settled from all the relevant judgements at the Lagos High Court, Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal, which have all upheld the primacy of the CITN Charter, that no member of ICAN can practice taxation without first being a member of CITN.
  7. For the avoidance of doubt, no ICAN member, who is not registered with CITN, has been permitted by any law or court decision to practice taxation. The law has made it clear about the professional body that can regulate tax profession in Nigeria and CITN reserves the right to invoke the relevant provisions against any person that violates the provisions of its charter.

The backstory: The disagreement between ICAN and CITN dates back to 2015 following a misinterpretation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Terms of Settlement (ToS) between the two organisations. Due to the disagreement, CITN took legal actions in a bid to basically make the MoU and ToS binding on ICAN members.


You may read CITN’s full rejoinder by clicking here and follow up on ICAN’s notice to its members here.

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Patricia
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UPDATED: Court rules ICAN members do not need CITN license to file tax returns

The suit, which was filed some years ago by CITN, was basically struck out for lacking merit.

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ICAN

Justice S. A. Onigbanjo of the High Court of Lagos State has ruled that members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) do not need to be licensed by the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) before they can file tax returns.

The ruling on July 2nd followed a suit filed by CITN trying to restrain ICAN members from filing tax returns for their clients unless they have a practicing CITN license.

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A notice to ICAN members regarding this development, as seen by Nairametrics, noted that Justice Onigbanjo struck out the suit after describing it as “an abuse of court process and an embarrassment to the judiciary.”

The backstory: Nairametrics understands that the disagreement between ICAN and CITN stemmed from the misinterpretation of a 2015 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Terms of Settlement (ToS) between the two organisations. Consequently, CITN had filed a suit before the High Court of Lagos State, seeking the following:

  • A declaration that the Memorandum of Understanding and Terms of Service both dated February 12, 2015 between the CITN and ICAN are valid, subsisting, and binding on the CITN and ICAN.
  • An injunction restraining ICAN whether by its agents, privies, assigns, or whosoever called, from repudiating, resiling from or acting in any manner or doing anything that is inconsistent with, contrary to or is a violation of the Memorandum of Understanding and the Terms of Settlement dated February 12, 2015, between the CITN and ICAN.
  • Determine whether the Memorandum of Understanding and Terms of Settlement both dated February 12, 2015 between the CITN and ICAN are valid, subsisting, and binding on CITN and the ICAN.

However, last week’s ruling by Justice S. A. Onigbanjo which, by the way, was delivered virtually due to COVID-19, has made it impossible for the CITN to implement the terms of the 2015 MoU and ToS. The ruling also aligned with ICAN’s earlier objection to the MoU and ToS.

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The status quo: In view of this development, ICAN has informed its members that they do not need to obtain any license from the CITN before they can file tax returns for their clients with the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS.

ICAN members were also informed that an earlier ruling by the Federal High Court on the case does not affect the status quo. This is because “the earlier ruling by the Federal High Court in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/125/2019 did not make pronouncement on the memorandum and terms of settlement between ICAN and CITN.” More so, regulation 5 of the FIRS Act was not reflected in the earlier judgment of the Federal High Court.

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China more willing to restructure Africa’s debt than private creditors

Agreements have been easier to reach with Chinese lenders than with private creditors.

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A recent study by John Hopkins University reveals it may be easier for African Nations to raise debt and also get debt relief from China than private creditors.

The report of the study comes a day after China promised to cancel interests from loans to African nations and restructure debt to Africa. The study also revealed that China has restructured $15 billion of African debt and written off $3.4 billion in the past ten years.

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After 1,000 Chinese loans, including restructured Mozambican and Republic of Congo debt, were analysed, the researchers concluded that “the agreements have been easier to reach with Chinese lenders than with private creditors”.

The Paris Club recently agreed to pause debt payment valued at $11 billion for the poorest 73 nations freeing up capital to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. However, not all eligible nations signed up citing fears of default ratings if debt obligations are not met.

The study discovers difficulties in renegotiating terms on International Bonds for African countries due to the disparate ownership structure making private creditors unwilling to grant complete debt relief, citing warnings on rating downgrades.

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China accounts for about 20% of Africa’s external debt and lent over $150 billion to the continent between 2000-2018 the study reveals. Chinese President, Xi Jinping has urged global leaders to be more pragmatic with debt suspension for Africa.

The study says much of the terms of Chinese debt to Africa has not been transparent and the relief negotiations may follow the same path.

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Patricia
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