Feed The Community: ABR’s Initiative Continues

September 24th, 2014

Heather Szot, Kristin Kracaw, Dave Unmacht, Sue Zimbrich, Lisa Sobczak, Cathy De Deker, Jim McNett, Carol Gibson and Russ Lilly volunteer at Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin packaging cereal for families in need.

1 in 6 Americans face hunger. ABR and Kinsa Group (an ABR subsidiary) continue to work together to help change that by sponsoring food drives, volunteering at Second Harvest Food Bank of Southern Wisconsin and donating to  local organizations that make a difference in our community.

During the month of September, all ABR and Kinsa employees are ‘Going Orange’. The color orange is the official color of hunger awareness. Staff wear orange shirts every Friday in September and are hosting a company-wide food drive to benefit Second Harvest and food pantries in the Wisconsin communities where we do business.

You can get involved too by donating these most needed items to your local food pantry or by sponsoring a virtual food drive. Together we can make a difference!

How to Turn Complaints around in Customer Service

September 23rd, 2014


In the conclusion of our series on How To Become A Better Customer Service Representative, we offer advice from Gregory Ciotti.

Customer complaints can have lasting effects on a company if customer service representatives do not handle them properly. Believe it or not, negative comments from customers can be turned around into customer loyalty. According to a study by the Jim Moran Institute and Lee Resources:

  • Resolve a complaint in the customer’s favor and they will do business with you again 70% of the time
  • Up to 95% of customers will give you a second chance if you handle their complaint successfully and in a timely manner.

So how can you turn these complaints into opportunities for your company?

According to the blog post, 15 Tips for Successfully Handling Customer Complaints by Gregory Ciotti, there are several ways you as a customer service representative can seize these opportunities. Here’s our top five ways to handle tricky customer service situations:

DON’T be Passive:

From the customer’s standpoint, hearing the phrase, “We’re sorry that you are having this problem,” is pretty infuriating .The thing is, many small business owners use this sort of language by accident.  Even though they’re trying to apologize to a customer, they’re actually coming off as demeaning or dismissive. Instead, just say you’re sorry. Even if the customer is being unreasonable, apologize outright and ask how you might help resolve the issue.

Identify What Sort of Complainer They Are:

A recent academic publication on customer complaints presents a strong case for categorizing complainers through a selection of archetypes that most customers fall into when voicing their concerns.

  • The Meek Customer: Generally averse to complaining, but warrants a mention because you may need to inquire deeper to get them to reveal exactly what is wrong.
  • The Aggressive Customer: Outspoken and not shy about letting you know what’s on their mind. Your best bet is to avoid being aggressive back and instead react with “What else may I help you with?” Show that you’re ready and willing to hear them out.
  • The High Roller: Your “enterprise” customer; they likely pay you well and demand premium support for it. While no customers are fond of excuses, this customer hates hearing them.
  • The Chronic Complainer: This customer will contact you a lot, but that doesn’t mean that their issues should be dismissed. Patience is required here, but once satisfied this customer will have no qualms about singing your praises to others.
  • The Barnacle: Although the publication identifies this type as the “rip-off” customer, I find the barnacle label to be more accurate. This customer is never happy and isn’t really looking for a satisfactory response; they are just trying to get something they don’t deserve. Everything is not good enough unless they’re getting a handout, and your best bet is to maintain your composure and respond as objectively as possible.

As you likely noticed, these are the extremes that you’ll encounter. The average customer complaint will be far more moderate, but it’s important to recognize these potential personas when putting your tried-and-true customer service skills into practice.

Give Credence to Each Customer:

“Treat every customer as if they have 10,000 Twitter followers.”- Myers Barnes

Barnes’ quote drives home the overarching point that each customer should be treated as if they have a large following.
It’s a given that every once in a while you’re going to run across those “barnacle” customers who will never be satisfied enough to not complain. It’s good business sense to give them very little of your time, but you should still view every potential customer interaction as if the customer has a broad audience at their disposal. This will safeguard your business from many potentially disastrous mishaps.

Transfer them Quickly, but Explain Why:

No one wants to hear, “Please hold while we transfer you. Your call is very important to us.”

Never miss an opportunity to briefly explain to a customer why this transfer will be to their benefit. It’s hard to get any customer happy or excited about being transferred, but consider the two choices you have:

  • You are getting transferred. “Well, this stinks!”
  • You will be transferred to our ____ specialist who can better answer your question. “Well … okay, then!”

Without this brief but relevant insertion, customers won’t know that you are actually trying to do the right thing.

CARP Diem:

A really useful method for consistently handling upset customers can be found in Robert Bacal’s book If It Wasn’t for the Customers I’d Really Like this Job. Bacal’s practices are known as the CARP method, which consists of:

  • Control
  • Acknowledge
  • Refocus
  • Problem solve

In other words, take control of the situation with language that shows you are ready to handle customer concerns and don’t intend to play any games. Acknowledge that you completely understand their concerns and won’t be brushing them off.

Next, refocus away from their emotions to the problem at hand, outlining how you’ll take care of it. Finally, solve the problem they initially came to you with, confirming that everything has been resolved to their satisfaction.

What are some other ways you can handle difficult customer service situations? Tell us by commenting below!

Now Hiring: ABR/LHI La Crosse Long-Term Job Opportunities

September 19th, 2014

Its raining money

ABR/LHI is now recruiting for the following long term temporary positions. Work for ABR and you could win a $1,000 cash prize during our ‘FREE RENT and a job!‘ talent appreciation campaign. The first drawing will be in November, 2014; details and official rules coming soon.

Customer Service Representative (Frontline):

Pay Rate: $10.00/hr

Scheduling: Shifts are flexible. A mix of 1st and 2nd shifts, a push for weekends.

Description:  Provide courteous service to all callers, answer inbound calls, determine caller needs, and transfer to the correct department.  Will utilize a script to determine caller needs and an internal database system.

Qualifications:   High School Diploma or equivalent.  Must have previous customer service experience (a year preferred), must be proficient on computers including Microsoft Office, and be able to type 40 WPM.

Questions? Call 608-784-0760. AA/EOE

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, protected veteran status, or disability status.

Data Entry/QA Specialist

Pay Rate: $11.30/hr

Schedule: Monday-Friday, 8:00-4:30pm

Job Summary:  Responsible for timely data entry into internal and external databases.  Review data and forward all inconsistencies to appropriate departments for follow up.  Upon completion of data entry and quality assurance, paperwork is prepared and returned to the customer.

Qualifications:  High School Diploma or equivalent required.  Data entry skills preferred.  Knowledge of medical or dental terminology a plus.  Proficient computers skills including Microsoft Office programs required.  Keyboarding and 10-key experience preferred.

Must be able to recognize inconsistencies in data, work independently, multitask, and meet deadlines.  Attention to detail and the ability to be flexible with occasional long or irregular hours to meet department or company goals required.

Questions? Call 608-784-0760. AA/EOE

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, protected veteran status, or disability status.

Dental Review Coordinator:

Pay Rate: $13.69/hr

Schedule: Monday-Friday, 8-5, possible evenings and weekends

Job Summary:  Process incoming records for approved dental exam orders by reviewing the exam and radiographs.  Verify all necessary components are complete and accurate and enter information into internal and external databases.  Provide phone support to providers and service members regarding treatment and authorizations of additional treatment.

Qualifications:   Dental Hygiene Degree, Dental Assisting Diploma or a minimum of 1 year of work related experience in a dental office setting required along with knowledge regarding Microsoft office programs.

Questions? Call 608-784-0760. AA/EOE

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, protected veteran status, or disability status.

ABR Madison, Sparta, Winona Staff Appreciation Celebrations

September 15th, 2014

In recognition of National Staffing Employee Week (September 15 to 19, 2014) the ABR Madison, Sparta and Winona branches are hosting the following Talent appreciation events:

ABR Sparta – Tuesday, September 16, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Employees and ABR clients are invited to stop at the branch for a bite to eat. Enjoy hot sandwiches, chips and water or juice. Register for the $50 gift card drawing open to anyone registered with the Sparta branch. All you need to do is give us the name and phone number of someone you know who is looking for work! Submissions can be done via phone at 608-269-0542, email at Sparta@abrjobs.com , or in person.

ABR Madison – Wednesday, September 17, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Employees are invited to stop at the branch for a bite to eat. Enjoy hot sandwiches, chips and water or juice. Don’t forget to pick up your small gift!

ABR Winona – Thursday, September 18, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Employees are invited to stop at the branch for a bite to eat. Enjoy hot sandwiches, chips and water or juice. Don’t forget to pick up your small gift!

 We hope to see you there!

ABR Brookfield To Offer Money Management & Interviewing Workshop

September 12th, 2014

In recognition of National Staffing Employee Week, ABR Brookfield will be offering two FREE workshops for you! Please join us for these fun and interesting workshops next week.  Register by calling 262-787-1730 or by emailing milwaukee@abrjobs.com.

Workship 1: Money Management

When: Thursday, September 18, 2014 from 3:30PM to 4:30PM

Presented By: Brian Wendt, Bank Mutual

Do you know where all of your dollars are going every month? Join us for this “educational workshop” which provides basic financial information to help an employee to find ways to make “every penny” work as hard for you as possible. A big portion of this workshop is to help you evaluate all your expenses and help you to manage your spending better. This program will help to teach you about making a list of priorities and making yourself accountable for your spending. This whole workshop is very practical and basic, but it can help make a difference if you follow the guidelines and keep a close tab on how you spend your money.

Workshop 2: Interviewing Strategies

When: Friday, September 19, 2014 from 9:00AM to 10:00AM

Presented By: Deidre Garrett, ABR Employment Services

Nervous about what to say, how to act, or what to wear on an interview? Learn effective strategies to develop strong interviewing skills. This workshop will teach you how to answer those “tough” questions. For example, “What are your weaknesses?” and “Why should I hire you over someone else?” As a participant, you will get to practice answering these tough questions to feel confident in future interviews.

Register today by calling 262-787-1730 or by emailing milwaukee@abrjobs.com.


9 Ways To Become A Better CSR

September 9th, 2014

9 Ways to Become a Better Customer Service Representative FINAL

In part two of our three part series on How to Become A Better Customer Service Representative, we offer this 9 point infographic. Looking for a new customer service/call service job or know of someone who is? Search our open CSR positions or apply online now; select the branch location nearest you!

Premier Issue: ABR HR Insights Magazine

September 3rd, 2014


Our first issue of HR Insights magazine is chocked full of suggestions from top industry experts for improving your retention numbers. Click on the image to read it now.

When companies put it in the time and effort to identify, attract, and hire top talent, they generally want those employees to stick around for a while. Retention isn’t something that just happens, though—it’s the result of an organization’s active efforts to appeal to employees’ needs and interests.

First, consider how you do your recruiting. If, like most companies, yours lets HR handle all the search and hire process more or less on its own, you may change your mind after reading “Recruiting: It’s Not Just for HR Any More!” With branding, SEO optimization, and social media use key components of today’s recruiting, he suggests getting help from the people who are experts at those functions: the marketing department.

Once you hire your “right people,” keep in mind that if they are not happy, they won’t stick around.  In the article “3 Things That Make a Huge Difference in Employee Satisfaction” current research suggests that the quality of the work experience will be a deciding factor for whether average tenure length increases. Companies need to foster a positive workplace and clear strategies to ensure the presence of job attributes that employees seek.

 As you read through this issue, we hope you found plenty of inspiration and suggestions for ways to improve your organization’s recruiting, development and retention practices. We know that people lie at the heart of any successful business.

Contact the ABR Branch nearest you to learn how we can help you find and develop your company’s greatest assets.

Customer Service Career Tip: How To Improve Listening Skills

September 2nd, 2014



In part one of our three part series on improving your customer service skills we offer tips on improving listening skills. Click on the image to launch this YouTube video brought to you by telephonedoctor.com.