Customer Service Tip of the Week

How to Show the Opposite of Indifference - 4/25/17


Sometimes the best way to define a word is to say it’s the opposite of another word – and Read more

Share a Story of Success - 4/18/17


Rebecca was continuing through the cycle of life, and she was at the stage as a mom where her Read more

Question without Questioning - 4/11/17


People great at customer service typically have the skill to artfully and effectively ask questions. By asking questions, Read more

Their Tone is “a Tell” - 4/4/17


On March 14 we shared a Tip on how to read a customer’s body language, then how to use Read more

Know When to Pause - 3/28/17


You don’t have to have the innate ability to perfectly understand the other person. You don’t have to Read more

Visualize Your Way to Success - 3/21/17


Brandon was having a bad day. Well – technically it was not THAT bad. After all, the Read more

Read their Wordless Emotions - 3/14/17


Consumer research studies have shown that customers who engage employees typically bring 1 of 5 emotions into the conversation: Read more

‘Got to’ v. ‘Get to’ - 3/7/17


I was at a community collaborative meeting in Charlotte recently, where 100+ representatives of different organizations gathered. They Read more

Do They Feel That You Care? - 2/28/17


Let’s first start by stating the obvious – you can’t control how others feel. Many of us have Read more

Set (Customer Service) Standards for Yourself - 2/21/17


A recent article noted that a European home builder lost millions of dollars in 2016 because their Customer Service Read more

How to Show the Opposite of Indifference – 4/25/17

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


Sometimes the best way to define a word is to say it’s the opposite of another word – and then define that other word.

What is darkness? It’s the absence of light.

What is lethargic? It’s the opposite of energetic – where you move and you have the capacity to move. Imagine remembering people’s names easily, getting work done – the right work at a high pace; imagine maintaining your focus and your positive attitude all day long.

Now let’s define a key customer service word by painting a picture of opposites. Many studies have noted that – roughly 68% of the time – the primary reason customers stop going to Company A and move to Company B is that they perceive Company A is indifferent to them.

Therefore the question is: What is indifference?

  • It’s the opposite of responsiveness, where you quickly reply to messages, immediately take action on issues, and effectively manage customer expectations.
  • It’s the opposite of proactivity – where you initiate conversations with clients, even when you know the conversation is going to be on a difficult subject.
  • It’s the opposite of engagement – where your eyes, your gestures, your body language, and your tone convey interest in the other person and their situation.
  • It’s the opposite of caring – where the customer feels like you are concerned with their issues, needs, goals, and feelings.
  • It’s the opposite of follow-through, where you ensure the client got that need addressed.

 
If indifference is such a retention-killer for a business, do whatever you can to ensure you’re not perceived in that manner.

Show responsiveness, proactivity, engagement, caring, and follow-through.

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Share a Story of Success – 4/18/17

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Rebecca was continuing through the cycle of life, and she was at the stage as a mom where her teenager was looking at colleges. Have you ever been with a teenager on a college tour? Rebecca had not, but after going on 3-4 with her child, there was one aspect that was especially interesting.

After a 20-30 minute slide presentation from an Admissions counselor at the college, the prospective students and their families were broken up into groups for a tour of campus.

Rebecca noticed that the groups she and her teenager were in (like the other groups) were led by current students. These students were typically managing 12-20 high schoolers and their parents, navigating throughout the campus – in and out of buildings – and talking the whole time. These tour guides seemed exceptionally knowledgeable, answered questions comfortably, were high-energy, and had the amazing ability to walk backwards for 60 minutes straight while describing the campus…without falling down – AMAZING!

While these college students were amazing in their tour guide capabilities, they also had one other subtle positive characteristic. Rebecca noticed that she began envisioning the guides as the students that her child would attend college with, be friends with, and be surrounded by during her college years. These were students that she and her child could relate to, and that made the comfort with as well as the confidence in the college grow.

So how does this relate to customer service?

Oftentimes our customers are like the uncertain parent or the indecisive high schooler – there’s not great confidence or comfort. Maybe there’s a little anxiety or uncertainty.

We often respond to that uncertainty by describing next steps or focusing on providing the soothing tone of voice – these are all good things. But here’s the lesson from the college tours.

Also address those emotions of uncertainty, lack of comfort, and anxiety by painting a picture for the customer of other customers similar to them who had success.

“I was working with another new client last week on a similar issue, and this is what we did to resolve things.”

“We’ve had other patients who were dealing with a similar concern, and our doctors and nurses were great at diagnosing the true issue so that we were able to help them feel better.”

“One of our other season ticket holders last year made a similar request, and we were able to find an option that worked for them, so I’m confident we’ll be able to help you.”

Use these examples to see how to paint that picture for customers that puts them in a place where a vision of their success is more clear.

To build the customer’s confidence, share a story of success about a similar customer.

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Question without Questioning – 4/11/17

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People great at customer service typically have the skill to artfully and effectively ask questions. By asking questions, you’re showing your interest, gaining control of the conversation, and learning about the specifics of the issue or need so you can tailor your response.

In a past Tip of the Week, I noted that asking questions (done incorrectly) can make it seem like you’re interrogating the customer – firing question after question at the customer.

There’s another risk to be wary of when asking questions of the other person. It’s the risk of the customer feeling like you’re questioning them – their motives, their honesty, their integrity, their intelligence.

You can run this risk primarily based on how your questions are delivered, not necessarily due to the questions themselves. Think body language and tone.

Imagine someone asking you the following question with their arms crossed, rolling their eyes, and emphasizing ‘that’ – “Why did you do that?”

Consider an employee with their eyebrow raised and asking you “So that was an accident?” You can almost feel them making air quotes as they say the word accident.

What if the employee said to you: “So what EX-ACT-LY was the purpose of that?”

When you want to ask the right questions for the right reasons, remember there’s a right way (and a wrong way) to do so. Ensure that your body language and tone don’t keep you from delivering a great experience.

Make sure you question without questioning.

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