Mastering Phone Skills and Customer Service: Fostering Lasting Loyalty with Mike Sember

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  1. But how do you create these ‘business superfans’?
  2. What tools and strategies should be used?
  3. How can business superfans contribute to your long-term success?

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Transcript
Freddy D:

For more than 20 years, Mike Sember has been exclusively engaged in executive business development and relationship projects within the healthcare industry. His primary focus has been on devising marketing and sales strategies to forge partnerships and explore avenues of revenue. These pursuits involved. Collaboration with various senior functions, including it, operations, sales, and marketing and finance. Before working in the healthcare industry, Mike was involved in a marketing and sales of personal development tools and helped expand the organization's presence throughout the United States. Prior to working in a personal development. Mike worked in the sporting industry as VP of sales of one of the major sporting product companies. This was preempted by Mike being an ex professional ballplayer for the Chicago Cubs. Hello, everybody, and welcome to another insightful episode of Business Superfan Podcast. I'm thrilled to introduce our guest, Mike Sember with The 20 Store. Hello, Mike, and welcome to the show.

Mike Sember:

Good afternoon, Freddy D. It's a pleasure to get a chance to talk about marketing, sales, product, and hopefully people that listen to this will be better informed and on their way to good health.

Freddy D:

Exactly. So, Mike, tell us a little bit about how you got started and how you ended up dealing with customers here at the 20 Store.

Mike Sember:

Well, the world has evolved and so have I. I was the traditional, let's go out to a sales meeting, build a rapport hear no a thousand times, and have to come back and still make the call over and over again. However, today, three years post COVID, we have to gain credibility. We have to talk people more via the telephone or our cell phones, a headset like I use for my company here. I've been doing this three years and. I started the traditional way making those sales calls. Wilson, sporting goods, cyber vision systems, a variety of consumer products. So I've always had interaction with the end user, meaning the customer. Now what's the tough part about having a customer? Freddy D yeah. God, I get a customer. How do we get a customer? So lots of things haven't changed in ages. It's still sales and marketing one Oh one. And it's just. People now are just now starting to get used to the reliability, the credibility over the telephone. I wear a headset every day when I go to work. I don't know Freddie D from Joe Smith. But I've got to get Joe Smith to fall in love with my voice. Let me talk to him a little bit about product so he has some credibility. They all have questions about ingredients and how often, dosages. But I can't play doctor. I'm not a doctor. I'm here for them to build a relationship with me. And then through me with the company and the company's products So I hope I said that simply enough because that's what it is And I we do it all day. And like I said emails voicemails cell phone Distance. I can work anywhere right now in my sales and marketing world with just the laptop. And I'm fortunate because this opportunity came my way as I aged and I was being replaced out there by younger salespeople and my managerial days not too many openings out there for sales managers. So one day this company had sent an email. And they were looking for someone to be, what my current title is, Lead Relationship Manager. And that means, got a lead, comes from anywhere, and from any place. Could be Australia, could be UK. But I'm doing it all via my laptop and on the telephone. And I had to evolve the sales pitch into, I always use the analogy, a radio broadcast versus a television broadcast. I can sit and watch the television all day and know exactly what's going on without any audio because I have a picture. When you do radio, you tell you have to talk more, but you have to create that picture. You have to get some credibility whether you're selling a comic book or in my case, vitamins and supplements for healthy for people to stay healthier. So it I got lucky. They were looking for someone in this position. I sent him an email back and within 30 days. I'm the lead relationship manager. I still have dotted line managerial, I work with Abilities because we do have people in the in the philippines That help when i'm sleeping. They're doing a lot of it work Processing things for us if there's a problem I can reach out to them They can go into our system not very elaborate, but we do have a customer a crm system Which I can keep up to date on a moment's notice So I don't once I get the customer. I don't want to lose that customer. I want that customer To actually look forward to my phone call if they have an issue. Oh, Mike, I'm glad you called me back.

Freddy D:

Right, right. So, okay tell me, I know that we've known each other for a hot minute. Actually probably several decades, and so tell me, you used to be a Chicago clubs baseball player. So how did that knowledge help you lead into getting into sales building relationships, because in sports, you gotta have a team. And so you have to count on other people. Today, you're working, like you just said, you got the team in Singapore, you've got your team in California. How does that come to play in today's world, that experience of being a professional ballplayer?

Mike Sember:

Well, you brought up the number one word team and there's no I in team. Okay. And so as a result, yes, I do need a California owners. I work directly for owners of the company, small company. They have another company that's very large, but we don't need to talk about that, and then I've got to send notes during the day so that when my Philippine people come to assist, they can follow up with what I started. And they're doing it through our, our system. And it becomes a team. And I'll get, I'm gonna get a message when I get up first thing in the morning, says, Mike, this prospect wants to talk to you. They're having trouble executing their sale or order on our website. Well, how about that? Majority of my customers. That I have and I still get some every day are over 50 years of age. And if we both think about it we're getting there. We may be a little, just a little bit more versed on how to use the computer than many of the people I talk to. So I've got to keep it simple, stupid. When I play professional sports, I'm one of nine guys on the field. I can't make a double play. Execute without someone catching the ball at first base or my second baseman forcing somebody out at second. So you have that team concept and then you go a little bit further. You have camaraderie with your teammates in sports and the same thing, and I've just transferred all of that expertise or skill to the product world. The office environment is a camaraderie, it's the culture. So you've got a happy, ball team that gets along with one another. Much more cohesive and in tune with one another. Likewise, in an office environment, if the team is cohesive and in tune with one another, then you can accomplish a lot of great things. It works kind of well because I'm still educating also if I believe in something, I can get that across your tone of voice, your conviction behind your service. I want them to believe I am their lead relationship manager. I'm their number one salesperson.

Freddy D:

!And that leads me to a great question here, which is, how do you make your customers feel heard and valued during a phone call?

Mike Sember:

I listen, I learned a long time ago that I guess it's why we have two ears and one month. You're supposed to listen twice as much as you talk, hard to do when you've been in sales and marketing and cause you want it to, everything like the back of your hand. Okay, the person you're talking to on the phone has to go right back to letter A. You have to bring them from they know nothing to, Oh, I think I'll try it, Mike. And so what you're doing is you're educating them your tone of voice. Some of the information I have is very technical with our company and our product. Well, we've all been there before. You can't assume everybody knows what a baseball bat is. So how do you describe a baseball bat and what good it does for you? Same thing with what I'm doing now. And fortunately, I've done a number of different companies that you've had to use the phone. You don't want to be called an outbound telemarketer. I actually don't even like that term, but what you want to do is, well, pick up the phone and after a period of time, people recognize your voice. They recognize why you're calling. And now I'm there and saying, what can I do, Freddie D? What can I help you with today? How can I assist you? Tell, I can fix it. I work directly for the company and I have access to every bit of information you need, but let's keep it simple today. But that's what it's all about and they say, okay does it work? I have testimonials. I'm building a fan base, basically, just like when I had a good month or two playing shortstop. Oh, wow. I'm player of the month. I got a fan base. I got 5, 000 people that come to see me play ball.

Freddy D:

Right. So, you're creating superfans, as I call them,

Mike Sember:

Correct.

Freddy D:

Superfans of not only yourself, but also of the services that your company and products that your company's offers. So, that kind of goes into my other question, which you started, and whats expand upon that is how do you effectively resolve order issues while maintaining a positive rapport with the customer, which is really important, 'cause they're, something's happened, they didn't get their stuff. And they're on the phone, they're irate because, they spent money and their shipments got screwed up. How do you kind of turn that around?

Mike Sember:

We still believe in the same credo, if that's the right word, that customer's always right. So I get calls, I get emails left for me or voicemails. I didn't get my product. I checked with the post office. I checked with FedEx. You didn't get your product, what did you order? And assure them within the first 30 to 60 seconds we're gonna resolve the issue. Now what do I have at my disposal? I can replace that mailing that got lost. I can expedite the shipping and make it personal. I can get their double check, their address, and if the product by one chance, I've had one where expiration date. How do you explain expiration date on a bottle of vitamins? Yep. You got to be, you got to be an expert on expiration dates. And so you, the bottom line is they're always correct. I have the ability to send out a free product to make them happy. I don't want to lose them. Okay. The only time we ever lost a customer could be for medical or health reasons. Well, my doctor says with my other medications, I shouldn't be putting a whole bunch of supplements and vitamins into my system. I don't have to agree with them or not, but I do agree with them on everything that they call about. Let me take care of this for you. Could you have a minute, Freddie D? Let me go into my other screen and let's find out where your vitamins are. And if not, we're going to take care of it. So, I have the ability to take a dissatisfied customer and it may be a return customer, not just a new one, but let's just stick with any customer. I have the ability to flip around, that dissatisfaction to them being satisfied. Mike, thanks for the call. That's music to my ears. I just gave them the best customer service I can do. other than shaking their hand and go to their office or vice versa, go to their office and shake their hand and say here. So that's how we have to flip it around.

Freddy D:

A story that there was an issue, someone bought and things got messed up and how you resolved it and converted that person into a superfan where they were out promoting you and buying more stuff.

Mike Sember:

Oh, there's a couple of good ones. So the most recent I had was. Real simple, even though this world is run by technology Now, I have a customer on the phone and she says, Mike, I know I ordered my product in October, and this is now the middle of November. Yes. Can I help you, Linda? I haven't received my product. And we moved. I said, oh, boy, I, I know where you're going next. You probably didn't get your product forwarded to your new address. Let me take care of that for you. Let me go and make sure we have the proper address for you in our system. You may have done it on our website, but now you've got the guy in charge of all this. She says, fine, let's go check. Go check. Make the necessary changes. And the number one thing that I'm going to help her with is, Okay, if by chance the product you ordered shows up, Linda, keep the product. I'm sending you three more bottles. I'm going to expedite them for you. I've got your new address now. You're on a regular monthly or every two month subscription basis. Any other issues over the next I put a window on everything. Three days or so, call me back. So there we go. So I didn't And they were a repeat customer. But they moved. Okay, people move. Did they take the time to go on our website and change all that? Maybe they did. Because I never go to the area of why she was dissatisfied. I go to the area of, I don't want to lose Linda. Linda's been a good customer. I can see this right in my screen and we screw it up. No, we didn't screw. United States Postal Service screwed up and I'm not going to deal with United States Postal Service. But what I can do. 'cause I can expedite and make sure that she gets what she needs. 'cause she says I don't have any product. I said, we're gonna take care of that. So, that just happened recently and I get to go into the system. I get to verify name, address, credit card number, all the vitals. I can make sure that it was done correctly. Maybe it never was updated. Maybe she didn't update it, but I'm not gonna have a conversation about he said, she said. Or maybe you didn't do it correctly, Linda we're gonna you and I together are going to take care of this today,

Freddy D:

Right, so that's how you're creating a superfan. Going back and says well, you know what you didn't update your address that's why you didn't get the stuff in the first place, which is probably what really happened. But by not going down that road you don't get into the negative conversation. You more or less keep a positive and you don't you're not finger pointing. And then the fact that you sent some extra product is an unexpected extra that in turn they feel that they're appreciated and now you've turned them into being grateful for the support and customer service that they've got. So you get a couple of double positive whammies. One you express gratitude and you gave her an unexpected extra of not only solving the problem, but actually sending her additional product at no additional cost because it's buying goodwill.

Mike Sember:

Yes. Fortunately for my company those are our methods. Again, I said the customer is always correct. We want to thank them. And what's a better way to thank somebody for their continued business than to give them, solve their problem, get them some more product. You've given us another chance. And what it does, it goes from my product. They have lots of choices out there. There's thousands of products. They chose us. Now I want to keep them because it's hard to get a customer. Number two, I gained some credibility. Number three, my company gains credibility. Oh, you should talk to the 20.

Freddy D:

That's a superfan. So let's go back into sales a little bit and how do you upsell products in ways that add value to the customer's experience rather than just increasing sales?

Mike Sember:

I take myself away from being a salesman 'cause I'm really not a salesman. I'm a relationship manager, which I really love that title. Okay, because I'm building a relationship now, I'm also the number one testimonial somebody will say to me, does it work? Does it work? Mike? And I obviously I'm not lying, I said absolutely stay diligent, use the product, you should see some results. If you don't, call me back. Maybe we're, something's a little off here. And so what I've done, and they said, well, somebody might say after that, well, I'm reading some other things on your website. You have this other product line. That's a supplement also. Should I take that with my main product that you get, that I ordered? Yes. And that's what I know. I'm a testimonial again. I go, yes, two of these a day, two of those a day. If it's a male, we have a testosterone booster. I'm upselling it and I'm saying also I have the ability to say if you don't like it or for disagrees with you somehow you can return it and we'll get you a refund for 60=90 days doesn't matter because I already know what's going to happen. They're going to test the product, they're going to leave it on the kitchen table or counter and like missing your meds for a couple days so and I am getting an upsell. Now, the thing that everybody's sensitive today, about today is inflation and spending the dollars and having incorrect charges put on their charge card or being hacked. What they ask me is, what else do you have that I should be taking also? Bingo. There's there's my upsell. They upsold themselves.

Freddy D:

Right. That's the secret right there is really getting them to upsell themselves because now they're buying, you're not selling.

Mike Sember:

That is correct, and the only time I give them a little sales pitch is I'll say Freddie D If you get one of our products, it's 28 If you get one of our products every month automatically come into your address, I'm gonna save you I'm gonna save you five or six dollars if you want the best deal that we have from me, or the website I can get you down to. I can save you $10 and no shipping charges. 'cause shipping's, we all know shipping's crazy nowadays with charges. I can go ahead and accelerate the upsell process by using dollars and cents and everybody knows what dollars and cents are all about. And when they hear that it's music. And I said, again, if you don't like it, send it back to me. Leave me a note, I'll get your return sticker and that's fine, but I'd really like for you to stay, be a customer of ours. Thank, and I always say this, give it a try. Here's what I do. I'm the testimonial. It's worked for me for three years and I always thank 'em. I just thank 'em. Even if they don't go for an upsell, I still thank, I'm gonna say, Hey, keep reading about it on the website. You might want to leave me a message in 30 days here. Say you want to try product number two or product number three. So it's upsell, actually, I can't say it's easier. It's just a different approach now, because I'm doing all of this with a headset on, just like I'm talking to you right now on the Zoom. I don't even get to Zoom with them. Some people, you wonder what they look like when you're talking to them on the phone, because they're so nice.

Freddy D:

Right,

Mike Sember:

And I give 'em other customers feedback. Like I said, I've got people with high blood pressure. I've got a customer over here, just called me Susan. I got this guy over here. He and his wife are both sharing the product and I said, if you have health questions, and I always have to get that liability out of the way. I said, I'm not a doctor. I've been in the health business for quite a while. But I said, if you have any questions that pertain to medical or medicines or side effects. Ask your primary care doctor or take the bottle in and show them what the ingredients are because we're very proud of the way we produced and manufactured this product. So works out pretty well.

Freddy D:

Yeah, so it's really you're building in the time that you're on the phone you're building trust, you're building a relationship. You're portraying integrity and you're portraying the best interest of the customer And helping them with their needs and you let everything else sort of take care of itself naturally by having that relationship built with that person in a phone call.

Mike Sember:

Yes, then I give myself a golden star because I did it over the telephone and I took all the risk. The risk of talking to me, the risk of the product may not be up to speed or up to par on what they're thinking. I took the refund. Give me a call back. We'll take care of it if you don't like it. Or for some reason, something changes in your life. And I'll be happy to work with you on any of those glitches and and we have a few, we've got just like everybody else in the world, every company and every every customer or person one time or another gets a credit card hacked and then, they call me up and they got these charges on their credit card and they don't know what they are and this and that, and they didn't order it and everything I just said to you five minutes ago. I can restate and assist them. And get them back in the system.

Freddy D:

Right, so what your company's done by implementing this customer relationships position is really differentiate itself to where it's actually creating super fans because there's actually somebody that they can talk to on the telephone. It's not a chat bot. It's not chat, you can connect to an actual individual that will be able to handle, listen to the challenge that they've got and solve the challenge in an old school way. Which is the phone because today, as you go to some websites, you go for support. First thing you get is the the chat bot, which is automated questions and automated answers and everything else. Then you got to get past the chat bot. To get connected to somebody and that takes a few minutes and then that somebody may not clearly understand because again, your instant messaging with them and words can be misconstrued or you type in the wrong stuff, et cetera. And a lot of times you can't go edit it. So once it's sent, it's gone. And that message is that message. And so it may not be what you initially intended to say. And so that delays the process where in your world for your company, the 20 store is they've got a guy, a customer, relationship person that can help and address things on a one on one level and completely comprehend the challenges that customer's got and resolve it. Thus creating superfans for not only yourself as the customer relationship executive there, but as well as the brand for the 20 store.

Mike Sember:

That is exactly correct. And since I've been here now three years. I have super fans already and I'm getting slowly evolving into more because some of them, a couple of them have even told me, Hey, Mike, how you doing? And I said, Freddie D, how did you know it was me? Oh, I have you in my cell phone here. I put your name right there instead of when that California number that you're using for your outsource telephone work comes through, I know it's you. And I'm thinking, this is great. What can I help you with Freddie D? And all of a sudden over three years, I've got regular people and they're not turning down my phone call as spam or spam risk and so, that's always an issue too. If you can't have call caller ID all the time you make the best of what you have and what I'm doing. I Have their emails too. I can send 'em a follow up email and say, just checking in with you. Appreciate your business, two sentences, maybe call me with anything you need. I'm here.

Freddy D:

It's a huge it's, as you and I both know the sale begins after the sale. And so that the reality is, you're building those relationships with those people. Yeah. You're going to eventually get superfans out of them because, and then they start telling everybody and that in turn increases the brand awareness for the 20 store and it's costing you nothing, but basically goodwill.

Mike Sember:

It's in there that is all over networking. You don't, you if they went ahead and to golf course or susan told But they're, ah, but they're talking about our product and they're, and they really, what's it done for you? I just feel so much energy and more energy in my system. They like doing things etc. It doesn't matter what it is. It's like, Oh, I got a built in networking system. I don't even have to have a lead. You know a lead system. I have a lead system.

Freddy D:

What I call them business superfans. They're superfans of the business, and that is a very powerful mechanism as you said they're out promoting for free, because they're happy with the products, they're happy with the service, and really it's the service that makes them, products are products, they sit on the shelf. But the fact that there's a human interaction is the game changer.

Mike Sember:

Oh, absolutely. You and I both know W O M, word of mouth. It's so powerful and to answer and clarify even further, how do you do this on the telephone? Word of mouth. How else am I going to, I can't fly to Australia and knock on your front door. I'm not even going to fly over to California. But let's talk about, I can tell you everything we need to do right now, Freddie D, how did you hear about us? Oh, my buddy, Joe, he tried your product. He said, it's great. It's priced right. And I go, man, tell Joe, thanks. Because without Joe, we wouldn't have Freddie D. So it's a nice networking. And it's making it sound like we're doing millions a day. Doesn't matter how much we do per day. The question is, we are retaining keyword our customers, our business superfans. They like the product, apparently they like me. I haven't had anybody hang up on me yet, but I can talk to them about the most sensitive issues, which it again is what money. Oh. Freddie D. You placed an order online and for some reason the payment for that didn't go through. Oh, Mike, I'm glad you called me mastercard hacked. What should do? We can doit right now, I'm screen, we're going to re order for you, put your new credit care in there and in three or four be a happy guy again. He didn't hack his credit card. Internet might have screwed s don't even get sensitive like, check your bank No, they're happy I called.

Freddy D:

Right, exactly. So, great. So how can people find the the 20 store? What's the web address?

Mike Sember:

www.The20Store.com. It's that simple and it has all our products on there, how we make 'em. the ingredients are and how they affect you, what they do for you. Very simple, very well done by the way. It was done before I joined the company, but not everybody knows what nitric oxide even is. Not everybody knows what's Citra line. They can't even spell it for sure, but just making it very simple. And we do write about it very simple and we don't have a catalog of products. We have six different products that I talk about on a monthly basis, and it's all the hot products now. It's like nitric oxide, like testosterone booster. Somebody says, oh, I saw you guys have that on the web. Going back to what you and I just talked about. They left me a message, already did their research on their reconnaissance of our company and all that. What they wanted? They wanted to hear a live voice. They don't want some telemarketer or inbound customers. So it the 20 store.com

Freddy D:

Thank you for being a guest on the Business Suoperfans Podcast and thanks everybody for tuning in to the show. We hope you enjoyed and gained some insights. To support us, please give us a thumbs up, subscribe and share the episode with your friends and colleagues. You can also donate by expanding our audience and spread the knowledge and contribute to a global business success.

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