April is National Home Inventory Month: Find out more
15 Jul 2020

The Importance of Excellent Customer Service

Thumbs UpAs life returns to somewhat “normal” again, people will be seeking services for their homes and businesses. As a result, you will now be focusing on scheduling appointments.

This means that you will most likely be competing against other services that many have put off.

As you speak with prospects, referral sources, and current clients, consider stressing the most important feature of a service business – a Code of Ethics. Also, include this information when posting on your social media pages.

Two key elements of the industry Code of Ethics are within the category of Customer Service. Detail how you provide excellent customer service, stressing the following points:

  • Place customers’ needs first.
  • Strive to exceed customer expectations.

By implementing these two items with every interaction, you will gain trust and earn referrals.

09 Jul 2020

Code of Ethics Course

BooksA Code of Ethics is extremely important, especially when offering a service where you are invited into clients’ homes and businesses. Therefore, we are highlighting the course titled Code of Ethics this month. Included in this course, the sub-category of Customer Service details the many facets of providing excellent customer service to your clients.

This course is the foundation that establishes the standard for all inventory professionals to conduct business. These standard business practices help to ensure a reputable and respected industry. Members of the National Inventory Certification Association agree to adhere to the standards set forth for the betterment of each individual professional and the inventory industry as a whole.

The four modules in this course cover the topics of Professionalism, Integrity, Confidentiality, and Customer Service.

16 Aug 2017

Code of Ethics: Customer Service

We are very pleased about the growth of the National Inventory Certification Association, and with that grow has been the addition of Associate Members. Five have joined us to date, so we felt it was a good time to mention this Customer Service Code of Ethics statement:

Serve customers with respect and courtesy.

As we are all aware, there is often more than one customer or client per project. When working with or for an Associate Member, you have two direct clients.

The first customer is obviously the client. When you are providing a service for another company, you are in essence representing that company as well as your own. Always provide the ultimate in customer service, such as being on time, removing or asking if you should remove your shoes, being courteous, etc.

The second customer is the Associate Member or other company that has hired you to perform your service. Once you’ve completed your part of the project, it is of utmost importance to complete your tasks professionally and on time, and delivering them to the customer as expected/requested.

Example including an Associate Member

For example, Nugent Appraisal hires you for an Appraisal Examiner project. You serve the homeowner customer by providing your service, and doing so on time, efficiently, and politely. Nugent is also a customer, as you are providing them with your expertise and the photos and typed report. This report must be presented to Nugent professionally and on time, so they in return can complete their part of the project completed and delivered to the homeowner by the promised date.

For both (or more) customers you will have with each job, remember to:

  • Respond to all correspondence quickly and completely
  • Confirm your appointment
  • Notify the hiring company when you have completed your on-site process
  • Clarify any questions prior to or while on the job (if possible)
  • Notify the appropriate person if you have difficulties

Keeping all customers in mind at all times will ensure a successful relationship with our Associate Members and the opportunity to work with them (or any company who sub-contracts you) again.

17 Aug 2016

We Asked; You Answered

SurveyOver the past few ,months, we asked you to take surveys, telling us what you think. We truly appreciate all of you who took the time to respond.

We kept the questions, and the number of questions, to a minimum, respecting your time. Knowing that everyone is busy, we truly do appreciate your responses. By giving us your preferences, you are enabling us to serve you in the manner you choose.

Survey categories

The three categories that were included were 1) member benefits, 2) continuing education courses, and 3) customer service. We discovered:

  • what benefits you find most important, so we can continue to focus on those first
  • what courses you want to see added to the curriculum, and one is already contracted
  • that we are very responsive to your calls and emails, and we commit to continuing to retain that level of assisting you.

That’s a lot of information!

You helped create the vision

We now have a vision for the remainder of 2016 and for 2017. We will use your survey results to guide us as we make these decisions of what to work on first, and what should be tabled for later.

We offer each of you a BIG thank you for your participation!

01 Jun 2016

Customer Service & Education Survey Results

Time for FeedbackWe thank all who responded to the short, 3-question survey. The results are tabulated, and we are happy to provide the feedback we received. Following are the questions and the answers you provided.

Are you a member of NICA?
71% of respondents stated they are members and 29% are not members of NICA. We appreciate that even those who have not chosen to join the association and seek certification are showing an interest in the industry.

If you contacted NICA via phone or email, how was your issue handled?
Customer satisfaction is extremely important to us, as we seek to serve the industry with quality and friendly service. Those who have contacted our office either by phone or email gave a 100% approval rating! We are proud of this, and will continue to strive to keep this as the normal way to do business.

Please describe the courses and certification exam.
The majority agree that the online, self-directed courses and the certification exam are neither too difficult nor too easy. One respondent felt it was too easy.

We were pleased to learn that you are happy with the “good mix of topics.” An area we need to address is offering more topics, as 29% indicated this need. Our goal is to introduce at least 2 new course per year, and the Project Management course will certainly cover a new learning opportunity.

Some of the course requests are:

  • Basic bookkeeping and accounting specific to the home inventory industry
  • Loss inventories
  • What you need to know and how to get started
  • Collections inventories

We will most likely include this question in an upcoming survey so we can learn the preferred topics by the majority of our certified an non-certified industry professionals.

One of these suggested courses (Collections Inventories) has already been pitched to an industry professional. We will take the other suggestions under advisement as we begin our planning for the final quarter of 2016 and first half of 2017.

11 Nov 2015

Customer Service Is Key Says Survey

CustomerServiceHow important is your customer service? More importantly, how important is your customer service reputation?

One of the difficulties with customer service is that it is difficult to measure. How do you put a number on the result of your interaction? Often people ask for a response on a scale of 1 to 5. What is the difference between 3 and 4, or 4 and 5? Does anyone deserve a 5? Would that mean they are perfect, or just that your recent situation left you extremely satisfied?

Often people turn to their Facebook and Twitter accounts to receive feedback regarding a company’s customer service. Unfortunately, one bad report will receive attention, while many might have been extremely happy with the service they received, but because of peoples’ nature, don’t report it.

In a recent survey, 64% of the respondents said that a company’s customer service reputation is “very important” when they are comparing and choosing which company to do business with. Good customer service is appreciated, but often it goes unmentioned. However, a company that provides bad customer service has found themselves blasted across the social media platforms and it spreads very quickly. Another 35% said it is “somewhat important.”

Knowing this, it is obvious that it is extremely important to provide a service that leaves the client feeling good about you and your company. This is true when seeking new clients, as well as being able to retain your client base. There are standards in the asset inventor industry, and this is addressed within the Code of Ethics. The National Inventory Certification Association offers an online, self-directed course, titled Customer Service. Topics covered are a variety of skills and techniques that can be utilized to aid in the success of an inventory business, as well as any service-based business.

Check it out, and learn some helpful information to help ensure that you have a great reputation for excellent customer service.

03 Jun 2015

Customer Service Course Now Available

CustomerServiceWe are pleased to announce that the course Customer Service has recently been added to the curriculum. There have been many conversations with members requesting this topic because it is such a crucial part of being a responsible and respectable company.

Good customer service (or lack of it) is commonly a topic of discussion when an individual or company does not provide the type of service expected. It is the desire of the Inventory Industry organizations to ensure that this industry succeeds in the area of exceptional customer service. To ensure the successful outcome of client experiences, we provide standards through courses such as this Customer Service Course and also through the established Code of Ethics.

You will be introduced in this course to methodologies that should aid you and your business in the development of a Customer Service Plan & Strategy that will help you offer positive customer service experiences to everyone you work with. Though created with the inventory industry in mind, all service-based small business owners will benefit from this knowledge.

Set in three modules, this online, self-paced course was written by Johanna Curtiss, CEO of the Inventory Institute, for the National Inventory Certification Association’s Continuing Education Program. The content outline is as follows:

Module 1 – Customer Service 101

  • Definition of customer service
  • Customer service is critical to your business
  • Who is your customer and what do they want?
  • Industry standards for customer service

Module 2 – A Customer Service Focus

  • Communication
  • Determine the format your customer prefers
  • Documentation
  • Methods of communication by customer type
  • Skills and characteristics

Module 3 – Customer Service for the Inventory Industry

  • Market segments
  • Guaranteed satisfaction
  • Outstanding customer service

Three (3) CEUs are awarded upon successful completion of the Customer Service Course. These CEUs can be applied toward your certification or renewal of your designation. The cost is $90 for non members; NICA members receive a 50% discount when applying the member discount code.