Category Archive for: ‘follow-up’

Best Way To Position Your Personal Brand To Give Excellent Customer Service

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phonepicI have had an ongoing challenge about some blood work I had done last March.  Long story short, somewhere along the way my blood work got “coded” incorrectly.  If I told you what kind of a coding error they (Labcorp? Cigna? My doctor?) made, you would laugh.  Let’s just say it would be like coding a male lab work for infertility testing when he was checking his prostate.  Pretty funny, right?

As a result, Cigna would not pay for my routine lab work.  So it sat on the Labcorp books and now Labcorp is threatening collections.  I worked on the issue diligently each month, appealing it, noting all my calls and the dialogue and the times/dates.  Nothing worked. No one anywhere was willing to step back and see the lunacy around the mis-coding.  Health care at its worst. Here we are over a year later.

So finally last week I called Cigna….AGAIN!  This time I hit the abundance jackpot.  A customer service rep name Brandon T answered.  He was surprised that this issue was still lingering.  He stayed on the phone with me, acknowledged my frustration, comforted me and assured me he would take care of this. He offered assistance that no one had ever done:  he offered to call Labcorp and conference me in and get to the bottom of the issue.  Really?!  “We can do that?”, I said to him.

Then he said something that shocked me and restored my faith in the healthcare industry.  Brandon said he always goes to bat for customers the way he would for his mother or grandmother.  He said, “how would I want them treated and how much effort would I put in for them?”

I was stunned.  I was elated. I had tears in my eyes.  Since that day, Brandon T has lived up to his promise thus far. We were on the phone with Labcorp for 45 minutes the other day. Is the problem solved?  Of course not…..yet.  However, I feel heard and appreciated.  Beyond me, Brandon (and Cigna) has a brand that shines.  Brandon doesn’t treat his position at Cigna as “just a job”, but a calling. He is serving a purpose everyday and he does so beautifully. Brandon has a personal brand that is stellar. Cigna is lucky to have him.

So what does this mean for you?  Stop and think:

–  Do you treat your work as “just a job” or is it more than that?

–  What is your mentality when you provide a service to customers and clients?  Are they another number to you, another call to deal with, or are they more?

– How can you change your mentality around helping customers/clients (or even others in your personal life) to reflect a personal brand you’d be proud to own?  Every interaction is your opportunity to be of service. It all depends on how you chose to view it.

How’s Your Follow-Up?

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We are always amazed at how little people put into follow-up.  By follow-up I mean following up with prospects, potential partnerships and, in general, with people we meet at networking events.  It’s as if the moment is too fleeting for people to ask for a business card, take notes on the back of it and then follow up with that individual in a day or two or even, ten days.  What’s worse is that the implications on your personal brand by not following up are disastrous- not to mention the countless amount of lost business and connections.

I test this theory out all the time.  In fact, I’m getting ready to test it now.  I was just at the Women’s Business Enterprise Council (WBEC) West conference that came to us in San Diego. I met tons of people, as usual.  I have my list of people I will follow up with in a day or two.  My follow up was based on those I connected with personally, found good potential alliances,  and those who asked for our services.

I’m waiting to see if any of the people who asked for my card and said they would be in touch, will actually reach out to me or not. My theory is that only 30% of those people will reach out to me. It’s not personal at all if they don’t reach out- it is just bad business and poor personal brand development.  If I were to follow-up with those same people, I bet they would be more than happy to reply, but the point is that they miss the opportunity to be the pro-active ones who reach out first.

So what is follow-up, anyway?  Follow-up does not mean adding someone to your mailing list and spamming them. That is the surest way for me to dismiss people.  In fact, I really get upset when I show up on someone’s newsletter list and I didn’t subscribe.

Follow-up means sending a personalized email recounting details of the meeting between the two of you and requesting action between the two of you as a result. The action should be something along the lines of a “reunion” of sorts over lunch, coffee, etc. Better yet, follow-up can also be via a phone call, if time permits.

So don’t just waste your time attending events and conferences.  Follow-up with the folks you meet and establish connections so you can strengthen your personal brand.

So what is your most effective follow-up technique? 

First, Know Yourself So You Know What To Market.