Are your emails to customers as good as this email I got from Nik Collection?

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Some of  you know photography is my passion. Whenever I can steal away to take photos, I seize the opportunity. I had just such an opportunity yesterday.

Yesterday afternoon, after wrapping up a big and successful project for a client, I sat down to edit some black and white photos from my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Earlier this week I updated my iMac to OS X Yosemite, Mac’s latest upgrade. To my horror, and I mean absolute horror, my photo editing software was not compatible with Mac’s latest upgrade.

After a couple of moments of sheer panic, I realized that certainly there was a quick fix for this. I’d either remove the Mac upgrade or I’d contact the photo editing software maker and get this sorted out. So, I emailed Nik Collection and explained my problem.

Within an hour or so, I got this reply from Nik Software (You’ll need to click the image to enlarge)

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Nik Software blew me away with this email response. Here’s what I like about it.

  • It was a quick. I fully expected to have to wait 2 or 3 days for a response. So many of my corporate vendors take days to respond, so my expectation for a quick response from Nik was low.
  • They proactively also emailed my business email address. I sent the email using my personal gmail account, but I must have also had my business email on file. Nik, perhaps thinking I might have quicker access to my business email, also emailed me at work. That really helped me out as I was sitting at my work computer when the email arrived. This literally wowed me.
  • Instructions were clear and easy to follow. The simplicity and clarity of the instructions to solve my problem were right on the mark. I was able to instantly follow the links, upgrade my software and boom – have access to my video editing suite.
  • There was an option to reply to the email. I don’t have to tell you how rare it is today to be able to reply to a customer service email. Companies don’t want you to email them back. They’d rather you go back to the website and fill out a tedious form.
  • The email offered an apology. “I am sorry you are experiencing problems with your Nik Collection product keys.” I perceived this as a sincere apology and that impressed me.

How do your customer service response emails measure up?

Pull out one of your email responses to a customer. How does it measure up to my reaction to the Nik Collection email? Does your email surprise and delight customers? Or does it frustrate customers?

Here’s what I want you to do.

Look for ways to make the customer experience over email as quick and smooth as possible. And add a little surprise and delight when you can. When you do, you’ll make someone’s day with your great emails and you’ll have people bragging and blogging about you!

Here’s one of the photos I recently edited with my Nik Software (My niece on Thanksgiving)

Thanksgiving 2014-6

 

To learn more about my black and white portrait photography passion, visit my photography website.

These 3 Tips Will Help You Increase Your Likeability in the Digital Age

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Decades of research prove that people choose who they like. They buy from them, vote for them, and promote them. Not only do people choose who they like, but being likeable gives us several additional advantages in the workplace. Being likeable helps us accomplish things through people, resolve conflicts with grace, get promoted faster and be seen more positively among colleagues and clients.

In the digital age, where much of our communication is over email and text, you can significantly improve your likeability factor and standout by focusing on 3 key elements: Bringing back the art of handwritten notes, putting your smartphone away when talking to colleagues and ditching email when it comes to delivering bad news.

Get in the habit of sending out handwritten thank you cards

Every Friday afternoon I sit down and I handwrite 3 thank you notes. I thank clients, colleagues, vendors and anyone I feel gratitude towards. I write the thank you notes by hand because in the digital world, the art of handwritten notes is all but forgotten and I know my handwritten notes stand out.

Commit to writing handwritten notes to 3 people this week. Take the time to write out a heartfelt thank you. You’ll make someone’s day and you’ll position yourself has highly likeable and memorable. Then, consider this as a weekly practice.

 

Put your devices away and focus squarely on the other person

It’s very common to see people check their smartphones several times during business meetings and even take calls or send texts. It’s the world we live in today. When I’m delivering a keynote, my cellphone is on Airplane Mode. I don’t want any vibrations or alerts during a keynote for any reason. My attention is fiercely focused on my audience, as it should be. When you’re meeting one on one with an employee or coworker, or having lunch with a colleague, consider putting your phone on silent or, even better, put your phone away. Focus your attention completely on the other person. When you remove the distraction of your phone and choose to squarely face the other person, make eye contact and truly listen, you’ll send a powerful message that will result in a stronger business relationship.

 

Don’t Use Email to Give Bad News

Tim Sanders, best-selling author and former Yahoo! Executive, said in a keynote address: “At Yahoo!, I always told my folks, ‘Email is for saying yes and for exchanging information. If you want to say no, criticize or get into an emotionally charged issue, pick up the phone or do it in person’. Email fails to communicate your intentions, so it usually looks pretty insensitive.”

Certainly, it’s going to make more time and effort on your part to pick up the phone and call a customer or colleague to communicate bad news, but you really need to take the sacrifice. Speaking to employees and clients by phone in the wake of problems gives you the opportunity to establish rapport, re-build trust, offer alternatives, or to offer a sincere and unreserved apology. Email communication is so vulnerable to miscommunication. Make life easier and be perceived as friendlier by picking up the phone when you need to deliver bad news.

Make the effort to make personal connections with people through handwritten notes, putting your devices away and not relying on email for sensitive communication. When you do, you’ll strengthen work relationships and increase your likeability factor.

 

Sources Cited

Tim Sanders, keynote address, “The Likeability Factor,” Society of Consumer Affairs Annual Conference, Miami Beach Hotel, Miami, FL, October 13, 2003.

Myra Golden Doesn’t Look Like This Anymore

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Myra Golden

I have gone natural. Or more accurately, I have returned to my natural hair.

For those of you not familiar, going natural is ditching chemical straighteners and wearing your hair in its natural state. My natural state is curly, kinky hair.

I chemically straightened my hair for 30 years. But I’m done with that. For good.

Most of you know me looking like the image above. But if you’ve had me in for a keynote or training in the past few months, you know me like this.

Myra 11.25.14._In March I chopped off my chemically straightened locks down to just over a couple of inches. Now I wear my hair kinky, big and often wild. And I freakin love it!

I’m still the energetic, story-telling, high-engagement keynoter you’ve come to know and love. I just do my thing now with kinky hair! :-)

Myra Golden helps companies completely restore customer confidence in their brands after service failures. Considered one of the leading experts in customer recovery, she has helped hundreds of organizations rethink and redesign their complaint response processes so they are positioned to retain more customers, improve customer satisfaction, and increase profits. Myra has designed customer recovery programs for such companies as Verizon Business, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, National Car Rental, Michelin Tires and Frito Lay. She is co-author of Beyond WOW! The Service Leadership Approach to Exceptional Customer Service. Learn more at http://www.myragolden.com. 

7 Ways to Spice Up Your Corporate Training Sessions

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IMG_0203(I once delivered a keynote in an old movie theater in Muskogee, OK! For break we had movie popcorn and soft drinks. Talk about spicing up a training!)

 

I’m sipping hot apple cider and being blessed by a Christmas scented candle while I read over evaluations from my recent training event in Minneapolis.

I love reading what participants loved about my creative and engaging training methods. Truth be told, I get pretty much the exact same feedback from session to session. I know what works.

Today I want to share with you the top 7 things people say they love about my corporate training sessions. I have neatly packaged these tips into an article I call “7 Ways to Spice Up Your Training.”

 

7 Ways to Spice Up Your Corporate Training Sessions

 

1. Tell a story….If there’s one thing I’m known for, it’s my stories. I teach with stories. I engage my audience with stories. Every major point I make in a keynote or training session is made through story.

2. Show a YouTube clip….Make it relevant and if it can make participants laugh or cry, even better.

Put Yourself In Their Shoes – In my Empathy workshops, I show the powerful video below. This video exercise truly gets participants to feel for another person.

 

3. Get participants to fill in blanks.I have sections in my training workbooks where participants have to fill in blanks in order to capture the concept. This is extra engagement and content reinforcement.

4. Have participants teach part of the session…In my full-day sessions, I divide participants into small groups of 5 and each participant is given a short handout with a technique. I tell them to take up to 5 minutes to read their handout and prepare to “teach” the other members of their small group the fundamental ideas on their handout. Each participant is then given up to 3 minutes to teach their topic to their small group. (Self Teach-Back is powerful learning technique that gets the participants actively involved in the learning. Research shows that people recall 93% of what they teach to others.)

5. Conduct a demonstration….Steve Jobs always included a demonstration in his keynotes. If it worked for Steve, it can work for you. In my How to Handle Difficult Customers training, I demonstrate Aikido! My audiences love it!

6. Include technology…. Recently I assigned a case study to small groups. Participants had to use their smartphones, tablets or laptops to quickly conduct research to answer the questions from the case study. They loved that level of interactivity.

7. Direct participants to take notes….I realize this doesn’t sound exciting, but my clients love it. At least 3-4 times during my sessions I will say, “I want you to go to your note page and write down the 2 or 3 most important ideas you heard from this section.” This gets participants writing and it increases retention of your content.

Spice up your next corporate training session with one or more of these techniques. When you do, you’ll increase engagement, boost retention and you’ll be loved by your audiences.

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Myra Golden Seminars offers engaging, cutting-edge classroom and online customer service training based on the work of Myra Golden.

Our flagship program is comprised of 50 online training modules with video, interactivity, downloadable handouts, and quizzes. Customers have the option of enjoying our interactive online training on our Learning Management System (LMS) or through SCORM modules for their own LMS.

We are best known for our classroom training – and it is amazing! Our customer service training is led by the industry’s best trainers…experienced, engaging, and energetic. If you poke your head into a Myra Golden training session, you know this training is different. Participant involvement is astonishing. People are having fun and they are completely engaged. Most importantly, the participants are learning real-world strategies that will absolutely empower them to deliver exceptional customer service. Every one of our customer service training sessions is custom designed to meet our client’s objectives and every session delivers a measurable return on investment.
Customer Service Training – Classroom

Customer Service Training – Online (LMS)

Customer Service Training – Webinars

Learn more about our online training.

Happy

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Happy is how I feel right now.

Happy

In the past 5 weeks I have delivered keynotes in Newport Beach, Columbus, Oklahoma City, Scottsdale, and Minneapolis. I’ve been on my feet and racing through airports so much that I literally wore out a brand new pair of black suede pumps in one month. Seriously, I did.

When I wasn’t on a plane or in a hotel conference room speaking, I was conducting public webinars and private online workshops for clients.

Juggling family responsibilities, my kids’ sports and all that goes along with running a business has been a challenge. Yet, I loved every single moment of this tremendously busy season.

I connected with so many creative, intriguing and memorable people during my travels and after my keynotes. Feedback that continues to come in nearly daily confirms that I met and exceeded the expectations of every one of my clients.

I’m happy because I survived this busy season.

I’m happy because I nailed every single one of my keynotes.

I’m happy because I have just closed my travel calendar for 2014.

I’m happy because I am blessed to do the work I love.

I’m happy to be able to seize moments of joy. Like the moment I took my daughter out to the front yard for photos just because she walked into the room and took my breath away with her sprit and her beauty.

She was happy too. She’s a happy spirited person.

And I clicked the shutter at just the right moment to capture her happy jump.

I’m happy

Myra Golden is a storyteller, keynote speaker and customer experience designer. To have Myra deliver a keynote at your next conference, check out her speaking services here.

 

Blessings Under the Western Sky (My keynote experience for Make-a-Wish Annual Conference)

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It’s been a beautifully busy month for me. I have delivered a combined 10 keynotes and training sessions this month for amazing clients and I still have 2 more keynotes next week.

I’m home for a few days. It’s Saturday morning and I just finished journaling while enjoying an Italian espresso. I’m feeling so grateful right now and I want to share some of my gratitude with you this morning.

When I arrived at the stunning Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale on Thursday, my client, Make-a-Wish of America, had this tray of treats sent up to me.

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This gift arrived at just the right time. I had been flying all day and I hadn’t eaten since breakfast. I was literally on the phone with room service when I heard the knock on the door. I told room service I’d call them back and I got the door.

My client gave me the perfect blend of healthy fruits, nuts, grains and cheeses. Plus, they sent up two chilled bottles of water. This is exactly the type of whole energy food I need before a big keynote. I devoured the tray. Seriously, I did.

Then I enjoyed a restful evening on my balcony watching the Phoenix sunset. It was breath-taking. I was at such peace. I felt the presence of God in a real way. I wanted to cry. I felt just that good.

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The next morning I slept nice and late. I arouse at 6:50am Phoenix time, which is almost 9am CT where I live. My keynote wasn’t until 9:40 PT so I had time in abundance…nearly 3 hours to just enjoy and breath.

I enjoyed nearly an hour of prayer in my bathrobe on the balcony. I was surrounded by mountains.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of the desert land. I felt so close to the sky, so close to God.

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As great as the experience was on my balcony, I had a keynote to deliver. I got dressed, put on my makeup and did my hair. To my delight, I was having a great hair day! My hair was big, textured and full. I knew it would be a great day.

And a great day it was!  My keynote was very well received. I got laughs, people were fully engaged. If felt good. The meeting planners and the executives all gave me outstanding feedback. I didn’t want to leave. But my driver was waiting to take me back to the airport.

I am blessed, so blessed. I am doing exactly what I’ve always wanted to do: Run my own business and use the gifts God has given me. Thank you God for this life. Thank you clients, readers and friends who support me on this journey.

A nice note from an attendee of my Make-A-Wish Keynote:

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What I’m doing this morning

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Espresso for Writing

The drink: Ethiopian espresso. The scent: pumpkin spice candle. The music: Reggae. The scene: My home office. The task: Run-through for a keynote I’m delivering in Scottsdale.

I’m working from home while contractors install my new wood floor. (I’m pretty excited about my new floor.)

The tools and the men are too loud for me to hold conference calls. And I can’t leave to go out and meet with clients. So I’m using the time do a run-through for a keynote I’ll deliver in a couple of weeks.

I titled my keynote:

Dealing with Screamers, Schemers and Other Difficult People

Using the powerful martial art Aikido (合気道 aikidō) as a benchmark, I will give my audience strategies, tactics, and psychological insights for dealing with demanding, irate, and unreasonable customers.

My approach for this keynote is “serenity and maturity” versus “punches and power” as the most effective method for creating calm and reaching resolution.

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This is what my audience will walk away with:

  • The psychology of anger – Understand what is going on in the mind of your angry or scheming customer
  • How to strategically encourage calm with angry people using 5 principles from Aikido
  • You cannot ignore a person’s expression of anger – find out why you MUST assertively acknowledge a person’s anger
  • The critical importance of reflecting back the upset person’s intensity – and how to do it gracefully
  • Holding your own with difficult people: How to say what you mean and mean what you say— without being mean
  • Word-for-word (assertively powerful) phrases for what to say when a person is yelling or cursing at you

I can’t wait to deliver this keynote!

I’m going to go check in on the contractors. If your team could use help with dealing with difficult customers, you may want to check out my programs here.

 

The New Face of Debt Collection – Empathy, Kindness and Compassion

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Proud Businesswomen

The New Face of Debt Collection – Empathy, Kindness and Compassion

A couple of weeks ago I got a call from the collections division of a large financial company. The company wants to improve the quality of calls and improve the customer experience while still collecting debt.

That’s not an easy charge. Debt collectors are known to be threatening, aggressive, and intrusive, among other things.

So how will I help this company? I proposed we take a posture of empathy, kindness and compassion. Seriously, that is what I proposed for the company’s debt collectors.

I got the idea for a softer approach to debt collection from my husband. My husband used to work for a debt collector. In fact, he worked for one of the most successful debt collectors ever.

My husband’s former company, a consumer friendly company, bought delinquent debts from banks and then restructured them according to terms the customer could afford.

The strategy was successful. They were able to help 4.5 million consumers resolve $15 billion in debt, all of it without ever suing a consumer, producing net margins as high as 48%.

The company’s secret: Kindness, empathy and compassion.

I proposed to my prospect that I teach employees how to handle customers’ crisis with empathy. I told them that this empathy would bring in more money than any hard-hitting tactics ever could.

The company my husband worked for shut down. Long story.

But the owner, Bill Bartman, started another collections company, CFS II. (The original company was CFS). CFS II uses the same successful principles of kindness to collect. And it’s working big time.

Take a look at this video to get an inside view of how empathy, kindness and compassion work together to help consumers get back on track to pay their debts.

CFS II works off of the preface that people in debt don’t have money. What a novel idea!

They don’t hire debt collectors. They hire people with customer care experience.

Collectors aren’t rewarded based on how much money they collect. They are rewarded on the freebies they give away.

By freebies I mean help with consolidating debt. Resume writing. Pointing customers toward community resources. (This will make more sense when you watch the video.)

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Want Your People to Deliver Better Customer Service Over the Telephone?

On Demand Webinar – A video recording that you can download immediately and have forever.

How to Talk to Customers: Empathy, Tone and Making Personal Emotional Connections

The biggest problem with the customer experience in most companies is how employees talk to customers. All too often, employees come across as indifferent, cold, uncaring, rushed or rude. This employee “attitude problem” can be the tipping point that sends customers to the competition. This attitude problem is what drives customers to tweet and blog about a poor customer experience. The great news is, with the right training, monitoring and coaching, employees can learn how to soften tones, truly convey empathy, make customers feel taken care of and even make memorable personal emotional connections with customers.

In this extended training event, Myra shows your employees, step-by-step, how to talk to your customers. You’ve gotta read this outline!

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AT&T’s Text Customer Satisfaction Survey Impressed Me

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Chat customer experience

So, I was sitting on my patio surfing the Internet on my iPad and I came across this news story:

AT&T doubles data on high-end plans, starting at 15GB tier

The doubled data is part of a limited promotion, but customers who sign up keep that data for as long as they’re on the plan.

 

I have ATT wireless and data service for both my business and my family. So, yes, this caught my interest.

My first thought was, why didn’t ATT personally notify me of this promotion? I have much to say on this, but I’ll save it for a future blog post.

My second thought was, I have to sign up for this now.

The promotion is real. All you have to do, if you are a current (or new) ATT wireless customer, is call ATT and request the upgrade. I literally doubled my family’s data plan and that makes my children very happy. I don’t have to pay a penny more and I didn’t have to sign a new contract. That makes me happy.

I signed up for the promotional plan yesterday and today I got a survey from ATT about my experience. I was impressed with the survey and I want to share it with you.

The survey came via text. That impressed me. That’s fast and it’s cutting edge.

ATT Customer Satisfaction Survey Sample 3

The initial text thanked me for calling and invited me to participate in a short 4-question survey. Four questions. Sure, I have time for that.

I responded to the first question and then boom. The second question arrived.

ATT Customer Satisfaction Survey Sample 2

Within seconds the survey was over. But ATT was smart. They gave me an opportunity to free form explain why I answered the way I did.

ATT Customer Satisfaction Survey Sample

Brilliant. This was their opportunity to get real feedback.

Text surveys are unique, fast and convenient. If a text survey is a good fit for your industry and product or service offering, consider reaching out to your customers via text.

Here are details on the ATT double data promo, just in case you’re an ATT customer.

DALLAS, Sept. 27, 2014 — Beginning Sunday, Sept. 28, AT&T is offering new promotional Mobile Share Value plans that include double the amount of data offered on Mobile Share Value plans with 15GB to 50 GB of data. New and existing customers who proactively sign-up by October 31* get 30GB of data for the price of 15GB** – perfect for families and small business customers.  AT&T customers will benefit from this offer, which includes domestic unlimited talk and text, as well as unlimited international messaging from the U.S. to select countries. – See more at: http://tinyurl.com/nwmyzxq

 

Myra Golden’s Slide Deck from ICAE in Newport Beach: Verbal Aikido as a Strategy for Handling the Consumer Vigilante (Extremely Difficult Customers)

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Verbal Aikido

I had such a fun Monday! I taught Aikido!

Well, I taught verbal Aikido.

On Monday, I had the privilege of being the opening keynote speaker at the Insurance Consumer Affairs Exchange Conference (ICAE) in Newport Beach, CA.

As you know, much of what I teach is focused on how to most effectively deal with difficult customers.

So, for ICAE I designed and delivered a keynote (and workshop) on how to deal with extremely difficult customers. I call these customers collectively The Consumer Vigilante.

In my keynote, I explained that today’s consumers are impatient, savvy and relentless. Some customers, the consumer vigilantes, will stop at nothing.

I walked my audience through the toll difficult customs are taking on employees and organizations:

  1. Extremely difficult customers are putting serious stress on employees. This stress is bringing down morale and inviting burnout.
  2. Difficult customers cost companies money! The time it takes to deal with unhappy and extremely difficult customers is taking time away from your best customers and resulting in a poor customer experience because staff can’t deliver the best service to the best customers.

I shared thoughts, stories, perspectives and research to inspire my audience to take a more focused approach toward handling difficult customers. And then I offered a powerful solution to handling difficult customers, the consumer vigilantes of the world:

Verbal Aikido

My keynote was very well received. We laughed, engaged and learned 5 principles from Aikido for dealing more effectively with extremely difficult customers.

For the benefit of my wonderful ICAE audience and as a treat for my blog readers, I am posting my slide deck from the presentation. I also have a link to the videos I talked about in my keynote.

Enjoy. Share. Learn. Download the slide deck right here.

“Put Yourself In Their Shoes” video http://youtu.be/cDDWvj_q-o8

 

This is such a powerful video that truly gets participants to feel for another person.

And here’s the Jack Nicholson clip I talked about near the end of my keynote:

I actually feature this clip in my full-day customer service workshops. It gets hilarious laughter for sure, but after the clip we discuss how the waitress could have handled this customer better.

Watch the video, paying careful attention to the waitress. Note your first impression as she approaches Jack’s table, her facial expression, attitude, etc. Next, flip the script. What might she have done differently to have the situation end MUCH differently?

Enjoy!

The lesson here, of course, is to be flexible and friendly. These two attributes will take you a long way with customers, even the most difficult of customers.

Need a Keynote Speaker to Talk to Your Organization About the Customer Experience? By all means, consider me!

Myra Golden runs Myra Golden Media, a customer experience design agency that specializes in helping brands create the best possible customer experience throughout all contact channels. Myra has designed customer experience platforms for such companies as Verizon Business, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, National Car Rental, Michelin Tires and Frito Lay. She has been named one of the Top 10 Customer Service Bloggersand she is co-author of Beyond WOW! The Service Leadership Approach to Exceptional Customer Service.

All of Myra’s presentations will be fiercely tailored to meet your objectives. Most of her presentations can be tailored for keynotes, breakout sessions, or interactive workshops. Myra requires at least one face-to-face or telephonic meeting before every presentation so she can customize her presentation with razor-sharp content and relevant examples. In some cases, a Myra Golden representative will also conduct a “Mystery Shopper” visit by phone or in person to survey your service practices and problem handling processes. A good speech requires an understanding of your business.

Explore my Customer Experience Speaking Topics

Special Webinar Teaches How to Handle Difficult Customers

How to Get Angry, Irate or Unreasonable Customers to Back Down

Imagine your next phone call is from an angry, irate customer and you’ve only got a few seconds to gain control.

Are you 100% confident you can handle it?

If not, I’ve got the perfect program for you.  Attend my special webinar entitled “Stop Screaming at Me” and you’ll be able to Handle Any Difficult Customer. Learn more about this special webinar.

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