Customer Service Tip of the Week

The Passive Predicament - 4/13/21


The employee is speaking to you.  Do they have that look in the eyes like they’re hanging on your every word, like they’re processing, interpreting, and getting ready to quickly respond to your key points and questions?  Or do they have the look of somebody in the 2nd hour Read more

Regain Lost Motivation - 4/6/21


For many of us over the last 12 months, our home has also become our workplace.  Our work interaction has been 2-dimensional through the computer screen as opposed to the 3-dimensional experiences we’re used to with co-workers and customers. We are all motivated in our own unique ways.  Some are Read more

The Answer is Right, but the Service is Wrong - 3/30/21


Maggie was irate.  The gift she ordered needed to be received by the 20th of the month so she could give it to her cousin for his birthday.  It was the 19th, and Maggie couldn’t find any shipping update online, so she called the company.  The employee said “Oh!  Read more

Question Everything, but What’s the Question? - 3/23/21


The new leader joins the organization, and she decides she wants to question everything.  She wants employees to question everything.  Why have we always done it this way? Why do we continue to do it that way? Is this the best way to work? Sometimes it’s a great management Read more

The Resourceful Rep - 3/16/21


One of our clients is seeking to develop Customer Service Standards.  We’re working with them to identify those key expectations of staff that will enable the organization to deliver a consistent high-level customer experience.  One of the key attributes that this organization is seeking from its team members is Read more

Be Proactive like a Pro - 3/9/21


We constantly work with clients, encouraging them to become more proactive with customers.  Don’t just be reactive, waiting for the customer to ask questions or to complain.  Instead, go to the customer, anticipate their needs, suggest something to them. But many of us, frankly, don’t know how to be proactive.  Read more

Find One Unique Thing - 3/2/21


Many of us are not in a position to develop long-term relationships with our customers.  Our encounters are often one-time only with a customer - very brief and likely to be our only time chatting with this individual. And even though there may not be a long-term professional relationship developed, Read more

Should I Stay or Should I Go? - 2/23/21


Should I stay or should I go?  That’s not just a classic song by The Clash.  It’s also the question customers ask more and more, especially during difficult economic times. A recent study in the Charlotte Business Journal noted that 50% of North Carolina businesses are concerned with how to Read more

Optimism – A Force for Good in Customer Service - 2/16/21


Will 2021 be a better year than 2020?  I have absolutely no idea.  Maybe it would be nice to see into the future and know for certain, but I can’t and I don’t.  But as I wade further and further into this year, I can hope that the water Read more

To Assure, Ensure You Do This - 2/9/21


Vince Lombardi – famous professional football coach – became a big hit on the speaker’s circuit during his time coaching.  He applied many of his principles in football and life to business, and one of his great business quotes is:  Confidence is contagious and so is lack of confidence, Read more

The Passive Predicament – 4/13/21

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The employee is speaking to you.  Do they have that look in the eyes like they’re hanging on your every word, like they’re processing, interpreting, and getting ready to quickly respond to your key points and questions?  Or do they have the look of somebody in the 2nd hour of a 3-hour documentary on the origins of cardboard?

Passive people are often considered poor at customer service.  Proactive people are generally better at customer service.  Neither group is all bad or all good, but there are many more benefits of being proactive when you’re in the role of serving customers, developing relationships, and resolving issues.

Proactive people are better at perceiving their surroundings and the customer’s needs, because they make it a point to care enough to be aware; it’s hard to be proactive if you’re not aware something needs to be done.

Proactive people anticipate future customer needs and next steps; this helps needs to be met more quickly and often met in one communication or transaction (rather than multiple contacts with the same customer).

Proactive people are – by definition – action-oriented.  They do things.  They move things (decisions, resolution, fulfillment) forward.  And proactive people tend to respond quickly, thereby helping customers feel important – that their issue/need does matter.

Passive people generally do not anticipate well, they are not as perceptive (because they don’t care to be that engaged), they lack action, and they lack responsiveness and speed.

If you want to be great at customer service, avoid the passive predicament.  Use the power of being proactive.

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Regain Lost Motivation – 4/6/21

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For many of us over the last 12 months, our home has also become our workplace.  Our work interaction has been 2-dimensional through the computer screen as opposed to the 3-dimensional experiences we’re used to with co-workers and customers.

We are all motivated in our own unique ways.  Some are money-motivated.  Some are personally motivated to do a great job.  Some are motivated by incentives or accountability measures.

But when COVID hit, we lost one big motivational factor – that is a more personal human touch and interaction with those that we work for and work with on a daily basis.

We are in the process of getting that motivational factor back.  We’ve gone from no remote to fully remote; now we’re moving toward the hybrid model or maybe even back to some semblance of an in-person model over the next few months.  And whereas there are challenges with that change, one of the big benefits of this movement is that we regain some of our lost motivation.  For some of us, the informal and formal interaction, the human touch, the encounters with folks in a 3-dimensional kind of personal way is a motivating factor.

It’s one thing to have those ZOOM calls; it’s one thing to have those e-mails and texts and phone calls going back and forth. But for many of us, it’s a better thing to be with other people.  It’s a better thing to form relationships with others.  It’s easier to feel a part of something, and not so isolated from everything.  It’s easier to be motivated instead of having to constantly motivate ourselves.  And for many of us, that motivation comes from being with other people, even if what we’re doing is the business aspect of life.

I know there will be a lot of challenges as we transition back into more in-person activities.  But also realize that the challenges we’ll face will also come with the joys of getting back in touch with co-workers and customers alike.

Regain your lost motivation.

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The Answer is Right, but the Service is Wrong – 3/30/21

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Maggie was irate.  The gift she ordered needed to be received by the 20th of the month so she could give it to her cousin for his birthday.  It was the 19th, and Maggie couldn’t find any shipping update online, so she called the company.  The employee said “Oh!  That item was backordered.  The problem is that you ordered it online.  If you would have placed your order over the phone, we would have been able to tell you that the color you selected wasn’t available.”  While that response may have been technically correct, it made for a poor experience.

The small business owner was talking with a customer service representative at his internet service provider, and the customer told the employee that he had a question about his account.  There was silence…for 1 minute…for 2 minutes….“Are you still there?” asked the customer.  “Oh yes,” responded the representative.  “It’s just taking a while to get into the system; it’s really slow today.”  What the representative stated was technically correct, but the unexpected silence made it a poor experience.

The Robinson family had just been seated at the restaurant, and they began to look over their menus.  As they were chatting, someone said “What would you like to drink?”  A server had walked up, those were the first words out of his mouth, and the tone was flat as a pancake, but it was a question he needed to ask.  He could have greeted the family, apologized for interrupting, stated his name, smiled, and spoken with an upbeat voice.  What he did was technically correct (he asked the question he was supposed to ask), but it was a poor experience.

We can ask questions of the customer, share our knowledge with the customer, and provide facts to the customer.  But sometimes the right answer or the accurate facts are delivered in the wrong way – leading to a bad experience despite the good information.

When the answer is right, make sure that the service is right, too.

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