Customer Service Tip of the Week

Assuming the Solution – The Great Time Waster - 12/3/19


Here are 3 customer service scenarios for a college IT department: A staff member calls in and says that they’re having trouble logging in.  The employee responds:  “I can reset your password for you.” A faculty member calls IT and says: “I need help showing a video during class Read more

Become a Best Practice - 11/26/19


When evaluating the service that our clients provide to their customers, we look at all sorts of things – from employee attitudes to knowledge, from service skills to procedures, systems, and technology.  We look at navigation to and within the facilities, and we look at layout and signage and Read more

Serve with Integrity - 11/19/19


I’ve been reading a book recently about a Charlotte-based service company, and the author of the book conveys the CEO’s perspective on management, culture, and serving customers. At the back of the book, the author noted the organization’s Core Values. They are honesty, integrity, fairness, and respect. I literally Read more

Bring Out the Best - 11/12/19


As a management consultant, oftentimes my job is to identify the key issues, determine the root causes, and provide solutions. We do a lot of strategy work, we conduct many research projects, and we train and train and train our clients. However, improvement usually involves pointing out what needs Read more

Know What You Don’t Know - 11/5/19


Twitter, Instagram, Facebook – yak, yak, yak.  In the social media world, there’s an awful lot of talk that goes on and a lot of opinions shared.  But sometimes those opinions are not based on any level of deep knowledge. Sometimes they are based on assumptions. In the world of Read more

Service, Sports, and Self-Control - 10/29/19


When I was growing up, I played a lot of golf. I practiced a lot, and I could score pretty well. However, when something went bad, when I hit a tee shot into the woods or dumped an iron shot into a lake, I would become unglued. Then every Read more

What it Means to Respect Someone’s Time - 10/22/19


Whether it is with a client when I realize that the meeting might go long, or possibly it’s in a workshop where I’m trying to end one conversation so we can move on to the next topic, there is a phrase I’ve used many times, and I mean it Read more

Be the Director of First Impressions - 10/15/19


Whether it’s in a hotel or in a coffee shop or a bank branch, first impressions mean a lot. First impressions mean “this is who we are” and “this is what you should expect.” First impressions mean “this is our definition of excellence” and “this is how much we Read more

People will Pay for Customer Service - 10/8/19


Sometimes all you need to read is the first paragraph in an article. Here’s the title from Business Insider: Amazon charges sellers as much as $5,000 a month for customer service if they want a guarantee that they'll be able to talk to a real person. The first paragraph reads: Amazon Read more

New Ways to Celebrate National Customer Service Week - 10/1/19


The week of October 7 is National Customer Service Week. No, this wasn’t another holiday invented by Hallmark, so you have to go to work. Hopefully that’s the good news! This week is typically thought of as a time to rejuvenate relationships with customers, to refocus your efforts on treating Read more

Assuming the Solution – The Great Time Waster – 12/3/19

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment

Here are 3 customer service scenarios for a college IT department:

  1. A staff member calls in and says that they’re having trouble logging in.  The employee responds:  “I can reset your password for you.
  2. A faculty member calls IT and says: “I need help showing a video during class next week; do you know Meredith?”  The employee says “Oh, I know Meredith; let me get you in touch with Career Development where she works.”
  3. The employee asks the staff person from the other department “do you know what the status is on that work order?”  The other individual responds “I’m trying to get to it as fast as I can; I’ll put a rush job on it for you.”

One reaction to these scenarios is that the person responding is being very proactive.  They are jumping on the request and coming up with a quick solution or next step. Unfortunately, these are conversations where assumptions took place, and each assumption was wrong.

In the first case, the login difficulty had nothing to do with the password.  In the second case, Meredith had worked with IT before and was suggesting that the faculty member contact IT for support.  In the third example, they weren’t looking for a rush on the work order.  They were seeking an update just to make sure it would be done when needed.

Many customer service people are so responsive and so willing to help that they can run to the next step to try to get the ball rolling and to resolve an issue.  But if that’s done before clarifying and confirming what that real issue may be, they may be solving a problem that doesn’t exist.  They may be taking action down one path without realizing they’re going in the wrong direction.

These are examples we saw at a University client years ago, and these are examples that we see in mystery shopping that we conduct for clients today.

Be proactive. Be responsive. Take action on behalf of the customer.  However, first make sure that you clearly understand what they’re seeking before you take that action.

Don’t assume the answer and waste your time and the customer’s time as well.

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Become a Best Practice – 11/26/19

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment

When evaluating the service that our clients provide to their customers, we look at all sorts of things – from employee attitudes to knowledge, from service skills to procedures, systems, and technology.  We look at navigation to and within the facilities, and we look at layout and signage and how they help to direct.  We notice when expectations are set, and how expectations are met.

The reason we’re looking at all these different factors is that different customers evaluate their service experience in different ways.  Consider the Millennial view v. the Boomer view.  This could be a first-time customer evaluation v. a long-term client perspective.  This could be the perspective of somebody who’s never utilized anyone in your industry v. those who have experienced your particular line of business in other parts of the country.

And although there are varied customers with varied evaluation points about their experiences, oftentimes Best Practices have certain key characteristics.  Evaluate yourself, your team, or your organization against some of these key qualities of Best Practice Customer Experiences:

  • The experience is consistently good, regardless of time-of-day, day-of-week, who the employee is, or whether it’s a call, meeting, e-mail, web visit, or online chat.
  • Staff are proactive, and there is an air of positivity and pleasantness from the staff.
  • Staff are patient, and processes are quick; when they’re not quick, there are frequent updates provided to customers.
  • There’s more of a focus on what can be done than what cannot be done.
  • Customers don’t need to know the process or know the business or know the employees to have a really good experience.
  • Everything from the web to the facility to the paperwork is intuitive to customers.
  • There is personalization and appreciation for the customer.

 
If you want to be the best you can be, then look at these characteristics of Best Practice experiences.

Make them a part of your everyday and every interaction.

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Serve with Integrity – 11/19/19

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I’ve been reading a book recently about a Charlotte-based service company, and the author of the book conveys the CEO’s perspective on management, culture, and serving customers. At the back of the book, the author noted the organization’s Core Values. They are honesty, integrity, fairness, and respect. I literally did a double-take on the pages, because my company’s Core Values are respect, honesty, fairness, and integrity. Yes, the order is different, but the values are the exact same!

Maybe it’s a crazy coincidence, or maybe it’s that these are just really good values for any organization to have that truly wants to care about its team members and its customers.

Among those values, the one I want to discuss is integrity. Integrity is an important word, but it’s not always the most easily understood word. There was even a commercial a few years back where elementary school children were talking about the importance of integrity and defining it in their own words.

The way the CEO whose book I’m reading defined it was: Doing the right thing in all circumstances. It includes doing what we say we will do.

The way my company defines it is: Uncompromising adherence to moral and ethical principles.

Those definitions are not the exact same, but they don’t necessarily conflict either. The point is that we will be ethical. We will do what we say we will do. And we’re consistent about it.

My company uses the word “uncompromising.” The CEO of the service company uses the phrase “in all circumstances.”

The reason why this is important is not just because it is the right thing to do and the right way to treat other people, but it implies consistency. And where there is consistency in taking action that you stated you would take, where there is consistency in doing what is fundamentally right – the ethical thing – then you build trust.

In the long-term, you don’t want to work with somebody you cannot trust. Employees will not follow a leader they cannot trust. Customers will not stay with companies which they cannot trust.

To build lasting relationships, ensure that integrity is one of your Core Values.

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