Thank You for the Interview

A reader writes…

Hi, Anita:

I was fortunate enough to land an interview at a manufacturing plant close to where I live. I am very excited about the possible opportunity to gain employment with this company and want to leave them with a lasting impression. What can I do post-interview to continue to spark their interest?

Dear, Eager to Please:

Congratulations on your interview. Getting your foot in the door and meeting face-to-face with the hiring manager is a huge leap toward gaining employment. Now that you have aced the interview, it is time to seal the deal with a little something extra: a great “thank you” note.

Thank you notes are a great way to show how much you value the interviewer’s time and appreciate their interest in you. It also lets them know that you are serious about wanting to be their next stellar employee. In my personal opinion, thank you notes are a requirement after every interview. Follow these simple steps, and take five minutes out of your day to help land the job you desire!Thank you

  • Ask for a business card from the hiring manager before you leave the interview. You should always do this at the end of the interview to make sure you have the correct contact information and address.
  • Select a professional stationery or card on which to write your “thank you” message. Avoid unprofessional imagery or loudly designed cards. Some hiring managers may prefer email communication. In this instance, it may be appropriate to send an email. If you are unsure on which method is best, do both. Send an email and mail a hand-written letter.
  • Address the interviewer using Mr., Mrs., or Ms. For example, if you are interviewed by John Employer you would write Mr. Employer. It is best to be too formal than too familiar.
  • If you are sending a card, address the envelope and write the card by hand. This makes the card more personal and shows that you took extra time to write it just for them (not mass-produced).
  • Choose a message that resonates with the hiring manager and include some information from your interview. Below are two examples that you can use as a guide.
    • Dear, Mr. Employer: Thank you for taking the time to discuss the (Job Title) opportunity with me on (Date). I believe my previous experience and skill set make me an excellent candidate to join your team, especially since you mentioned that (Issue) was a challenge you wanted to tackle. It was truly a pleasure to meet with you, and I look forward to hearing from you. Best regards,
      (Your Name)
    • Dear, Mr. Employer: Thank you for meeting with me to discuss the (Job Title) opportunity at (Company Name). Your insights and additional information about (Job Responsibilities) were very helpful and helped solidify my belief that I am the perfect candidate for the position. I look forward to hearing from you soon, and thank you again for this opportunity. Sincerely,
      (Your Name)
  • Send the thank you card as soon as possible, ideally within 24 hours of the interview. You can either send the card in the mail or hand-deliver it to the reception desk where you interviewed.

To bring these tips together, take a few moments to view this video:

This small acknowledgement will take you very far in the interview process. It will help the hiring manager remember you and serve as a reminder to your professionalism.

Readers: What have you done in the past to make an impression on a potential employer?

Best of luck,

Anita

Have a question you would like to ask? Visit http://anitaclew.com/ask-anita/.

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Achieving the Annual Raise

Hi, Anita:

I am just about to hit my second year mark with my employer and I think I deserve a pay raise. I have performed exceptionally well and taken on other roles and responsibilities in my department. How would you suggest that I go about asking for a pay raise at my annual review?

Dear, Ready for a Raise:

Congratulations on your two-year anniversary! From the sound of things, your employer is probably very happy to have brought you on board. Now that you have shined in your current role and offered to assist in different capacities, you most certainly should open the floor up for salary negotiations. As the old sayings go, “it doesn’t hurt to ask” and “you never know you can’t until you try.”  Here are some things to keep in mind when asking for a raise.

  • Make sure your timing is right. It is typically appropriate to ask for a raise after you have been at the company for at least a year. If you ask before this time, it may be premature and come off as pushy.
  • Show your commitment to your job and the company day in and day out. Your manager will be impressed by your tenacity and loyalty to the team. This means… Show up on time each day. Don’t sneak an extra 15 minutes into your lunch hour. Don’t spend your time on Facebook or texting with your girlfriend during the work day. Don’t make jokes about how much you’d rather be in bed than at work. Even if you only do these things every now and then, your manager will notice and take it as a lack of commitment.
  • Bring a list of projects or activities in which you had significant involvement to present to your manager. You want to show how valuable you are to your team and why you should be receiving increased compensation for your efforts.
  • Similarly, bring a list of goals that you have accomplished and a list of those you wish to achieve in the future with the company.
  • Do your research beforehand by looking at comparable positions in your area on sites like Payscale. You will go in knowing whether or not you are being low-balled or asking for far too much compensation.
  • Come to your raise discussion with a goal salary in mind. If you have a number in your head, you will be more confident and set on achieving that rate.
  • Be direct with your raise request. Do not beg for a raise or ask your manager if you deserve one. Be confident and proud of your accomplishments that have spurred you toward having this discussion.

These points will help you get off to a great start during your pay negotiations. With concrete proof of performance and confidence, a raise is more likely to come your way.

Check out this clip for a few tips on getting the raise you want:

Readers, what tactics have you used to ask for a raise? How nervous were you to bring up the subject on a scale from 1-10 (10 being “pulling your hair out” nervous)?

Have a question you would like to ask? Visit http://anitaclew.com/ask-anita/.

Warm Wishes,

Anita

Customer Service Tips and Tricks

A reader writes:

Dear Anita,

I am so excited to report that after a long and exhausting job search, I have finally landed a great customer service job through my local temporary agency. Now that I am employed, I want to make sure I have the skills and know-how to perform my job to the best of my ability. What are some pointers you can give me about being successful in customer service?

Hi, Customer Service King!

Congratulations on your new job placement! I always love hearing success stories from my readers. You are proof that you can accomplish whatever you put your mind to.

Now for your question, customer service is a great job to have if you enjoy working with people, are a great problem-solver, and have the ability to diffuse seemingly unpleasant situation. Companies spend millions of dollars a year to provide and improve the service they present to their customers. Client and potential customers base their opinions of an establishment heavily on the service and attention they receive. To be the best that you can be, here are the MUST know actions that I got from my friends at Select Staffing.

These are surefire ways to be top-rated in customer service:

Sales AssociateSmile, no matter what! A smile or the bright sound of a representative’s voice can change the entire direction of a call. When working with a customer, try to smile. Even though your customer won’t see it, it will have a positive effect on the messages you are trying to communicate to the caller or customer.

Know your goals. It is important that you are aware of the company’s goals and how you plan to achieve them before starting your day. It will help you better evaluate your position, job performance, and the future expectations of the hiring company.

Become an expert. Have a deep understanding of the products or services you will be representing. Be prepared to discuss competitor offers and products. This will be very useful when you are asked questions by the calling customer.

Be prepared to handle unhappy customers. When faced with an unhappy customer on the other end of the phone or in person, remain positive and respectful during your entire interaction with them. All customers must be handled with dignity and respect at all times. If possible, do your best to calm the customer and cool down the dialogue.

Listen to your customer’s needs or concerns. Allow the customer to fully explain why they are calling before providing a solution or alternative. Even though you may already know the answers, give the customer the opportunity to fully express his or her feelings and opinions before acting.

Remain focused on the job. Keep non-work conversations to a minimum. These can be distracting to other employees and cause a disruption in customer service.Man Taking An Order

Confirm that your call or interaction is complete. Before disconnecting with the customer, be sure to confirm that they have no other questions, comments, and concerns, and ask if there is anything else you can do to assist them.

Always go the extra mile. When working with any customer, always strive to go the extra mile to ensure their satisfaction and happiness. Your customers will greatly appreciate your commitment and dedication to fantastic service.

I hope these guidelines help you in your new employment venture. I know you will be very successful and provide the best experience for your employer and your customers.

Readers, who of you have worked in a customer service position before? What was your experience like? Anyone have a good/bad experience that they are willing to share?

Best Wishes and Luck!

-Anita

The Importance of Customer Service

A reader writes…

Dear, Anita,

I have been asked to speak at my company’s annual retreat that is coming up next month. The topic I have been assigned is how to improve customer retention in 2013. The number one reason I think that my company has trouble keeping clients for the long haul is the lack of customer service. Can you please help me explain why customer relations are so important?

Hi, Customer Service Conscious,

Thank you for the question, and congratulations! What a great opportunity you have!

Customer service is an incredibly important aspect of a business and a predictor of future success. In all businesses, your customers are your lifeline and the driving force that keeps your doors open. Without customers, we would be in a world of zero commerce and, worse, zero employment opportunities. Let’s take a few minutes to cover the 3 reasons why customer service should be your top priority on a day-to-day basis at your company.

Return Business:  As I have already mentioned, customers are required for your business to remain operational and profitable. If your customers feel neglected, ignored, uninformed, or disrespected, chances are they will run into the arms of your nearest competitor. With personal consumption expenditures increased by $41.3 billion dollars in Q3 of 2012, according to the United States Bureau of Economic Analysis, don’t you think you should be putting most of your effort into keeping the spenders happy? The more greenbacks you get from your customers, the better off your company will be. According to Flowtown, it can be 6 to 7 times more costly to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one.

New Business: Great customer service is what makes your business stand out from the crowd. If you had to choose between a business that provides lousy service and one that greets you with a smile and takes the time to understand your needs, which one would you pick? The service you provide your customers distinguishes you and puts you a step ahead of the competition. When you bring together an excellent product or service with a strong reputation for outstanding service, you will begin to create opportunities for new customers without changing your routine.

More Business: Word-of-mouth recommendations are a significant driver of business. Very satisfied customers will recommend your services to their friends. Alternately, very unsatisfied customers will tell even more friends than the satisfied ones! Either way, you have a viral self-perpetuating PR machine built into your customer service performance. According to Consumer Affairs, people that have a positive experience with a company’s customer service department will likely tell two or three others about their experience.

Tune in next week for a related blog post on training customer service representatives to perform at top levels!

Readers, what do you think about customer service? Is it a factor when you are deciding where to spend your money? What are your good, bad, and ugly customer service stories?

Here is a little something on the subject to brighten your day. Enjoy!

Best wishes,

Anita

Have a question you would like to ask? Visit http://anitaclew.com/ask-anita/.

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Disclaimer

Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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