Customer Service Tip of the Week

Swing a Little Harder - 12/5/17


It’s a great golf analogy. The harder you swing, the more your swing faults are magnified. If you usually hit the ball slightly to the right, when you swing harder, you may start hitting WAY right. Then why swing harder, you ask? The reason you swing harder Read more

Be Great Offline - 11/28/17


I’ve purchased from many different online organizations both personally and professionally over the years, as I assume most of you have, as well. And the ones I tend to go back to are those that make a good impression from a customer service standpoint. While that’s probably Read more

23 Thanks - 11/21/17


People want to be thanked – they want you to show them that they’re appreciated and valued. In employee climate surveys, one of the key drivers of overall satisfaction and retention is whether the employee feels valued, appreciated. For customers, they want value out of the product and experience Read more

Are You a Debbie Downer or a Debbie Developer? - 11/14/17


We’ve all heard of Debbie Downer (actually, if you haven’t, that’s probably a good thing). Debbie Downer was a character in “Saturday Night Live” – a person whose general attitude and actions brought down the environment, made everyone depressed – left others just sitting there…bummed. However, I want to Read more

Build a Great Customer Experience - 11/7/17


Over the last 5-10 years, much of the management thinking about how to create a great customer experience has changed. In the distant past, to design a great experience, organizations would create the environment, the policies, and procedures that would deliver what the customer wanted the way the Read more

Imagine Being on TV - 10/31/17


You’re performing your job – providing customer service over the phone – but cameras are all around. You are on LIVE TELEVISION!! What you say, how you say it – the mannerisms, the voice inflection, the eye movement, the hand gestures – it’s all caught on tape. That Read more

The Bad Host - 10/24/17


True story: The young couple and their child walked into the restaurant and stood for a minute at the host stand. When the host arrived, she immediately and quickly said “I can’t seat you right now. I’ve got to clean a table, and you’re just going Read more

The Most Important (BLAND) Customer Service Skill - 10/17/17


People great at customer service are often responsive and efficient. Not the sexiest words to use, but I’m going to use an EVEN MORE BLAND (How’s that for hype!) word to describe much of what drives responsiveness and efficiency – Organization. Continuously work on your personal organizational skills: Save Read more

Get Better to Get a Raise - 10/10/17


I was giving a speech recently about organizational culture, and the focus of the talk was the approach to culture by best-in-class organizations. One organization I highlighted bases employee raises – in part – on how much staff have improved their own skills and capabilities. In one sense, that’s Read more

Use Millennials’ Favorite Words - 10/3/17


Okay – you got me. This tip doesn’t JUST apply to Millennials or JUST their favorite words, but I’m going to use that title as a jumping off point. In recent research conducted by Prosper-Insights & Analytics, the 5 key terms that Millennials most frequently use to describe excellent customer Read more

Swing a Little Harder – 12/5/17

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It’s a great golf analogy. The harder you swing, the more your swing faults are magnified. If you usually hit the ball slightly to the right, when you swing harder, you may start hitting WAY right. Then why swing harder, you ask?

The reason you swing harder is to test your swing at the practice range BEFORE you get on the course. You want to get a better sense of the issues, and then you can improve.

You can do the same thing in the world of customer service. You may be very effective at dealing with those 90%-95% of customers that walk through the door or that call you on the phone. You may be great in dealing with those complaints that you hear every day. It may be easy to engage that person who is smiling as they walk into your facility. You might find it a pleasant challenge to deal with that difficult e-mail the comes from a co-worker.

But if you want to understand the holes in your own personal approach to customer service, if you want to understand how to get better in how you engage co-workers and your clients, if you want to get better at those most challenging 5-10% of interactions, then swing harder. Here are three examples of how to swing harder in practice.

First, figure out how you could possibly resolve some customer complaints in half the time.

Second, ask a co-worker to come up with five scenarios dealing with product or service issues that are very unusual or complex. Then role-play those issues.

Third, use your company’s FAQ list, and identify three different scenarios that are not covered by the FAQs. Then identify specifically what you need to know about your people, your products, your processes, and your policies to address those scenarios.

If you want to get great at customer service, challenge yourself to address situations you rarely have to deal with so that – when they arrive – you’re more comfortable and more confident.

Swing a Little Harder.

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Be Great Offline – 11/28/17

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I’ve purchased from many different online organizations both personally and professionally over the years, as I assume most of you have, as well. And the ones I tend to go back to are those that make a good impression from a customer service standpoint. While that’s probably no surprise to you, what may be a surprise is how I and many others evaluate the customer service of online businesses.

Three online companies that have been great in those customer service encounters are Constant Contact, Zoho, and Zappos. These are three pretty different businesses, but the positives from my experiences with them have been similar.

First, they’re responsive to e-mails. Since I deal with Zoho quite frequently on important but non-urgent matters, I contact them via e-mail. They respond fast. They try to resolve before responding, but – if not – they’ll follow-up to let you know what investigation is taking place and by when they expect to resolve the issue or need.

Next, for these online companies, they’re great…on the PHONE! I’ve called all 3 businesses, and they pick up quickly, the representatives are consistently patient with me, and their personalities and tone are cheery and personable. With Constant Contact, they will let you know what can and can’t be done, and they ask you specific questions to give you specific answers to arrive at the holy grail of…FIRST CALL RESOLUTION – woo hoo!!

Finally, there’s a consistent theme of relaxed professionalism from website to e-mail to calls. No matter how you contact them, you get a consistent experience. They’re professional without being stuffy. They’re fun – a Zappos order receipt seems like a joyous (and abundantly clear) message from a friend about your purchase. Zoho doesn’t ask you to complete their Likert scaled survey, they give you the happy/sad face emojis to quickly rate the experience.

If you’re in a web-based business, to be a great online, be great at offline customer service. If you want to be part of a great business – one known for its customer service – don’t ignore all the different ways that your clients experience your customer service.

Be great no matter how they engage you.

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23 Thanks – 11/21/17

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People want to be thanked – they want you to show them that they’re appreciated and valued. In employee climate surveys, one of the key drivers of overall satisfaction and retention is whether the employee feels valued, appreciated. For customers, they want value out of the product and experience your company provides. But they also want to feel valued and appreciated themselves.

So, in appreciation of employees and customers everywhere and in honor of the American holiday of Thanksgiving that is celebrated this week on the 23rd of November, here are 23 ways to say Thanks!

  1. Send a handwritten note of thanks to a co-worker or customer.
  2. Send an e-mail full of specific appreciation to a co-worker, and possibly copy their supervisor.
  3. Call up the customer just to thank them for their business.
  4. Ask if you can meet with a co-worker for a minute or two, and then just go to them and thank them for something specifically they did for you recently.
  5. At the start of a meeting, thank everyone for attending and for their commitment to the project, the team, the organization, the customers, etc.
  6. At the end of a meeting, thank everyone for their focus, attention, ideas, and insights.
  7. Have a “culture moment” at the start of the Agenda for each meeting where you spend a minute or two noting how one of the group did something to support the team, improve the work environment, or build up a co-worker.
  8. Post something positive on social media to your followers about a co-worker, using their handle so they see the recognition.
  9. Post a positive note on your intranet about a co-worker and how they helped you recently.
  10. When some shares an idea or concern, before you respond, thank them for what they shared.
  11. When people have been holding on the phone, before you ask them a question (or answer theirs) first thank them for their patience.
  12. When a co-worker shares something (e.g., food in the breakroom, helpful information about a change in policy, etc.), seek them and thank them immediately.
  13. When a customer points something out that was confusing about their experience or that could have been improved, thank them for the feedback.
  14. When the customer thanks you for something, thank them for the thanks – really!
  15. When you know someone is out of the office, leave a message on their voice mail just thanking them for how they make your company or department a more enjoyable place to work.
  16. Text a co-worker some positive words of appreciation or emojis for something they specifically did for you or others.
  17. For long-term customers, send them a coupon or other unsolicited small gift as a thank you for their long-term commitment.
  18. For new customers, provide them with a personal note (on letterhead or a company branded card) that thanks them for the trust they’ve put in you or your company.
  19. When you have some 1-on-1 time with your boss, thank them for their positive style of leadership or whatever other positive attributes they share.
  20. Print a certificate of “Thanks” and have all department or team members sign it – then give it to your co-worker or customer.
  21. No matter what method you use to say thanks, tell them how their action or their attitude impacts you.
  22. Tell them why their action or attitude is important.
  23. Tell them how their action or attitude isn’t common – how it’s unique/special.

Give others thanks – 23 thanks.

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