Customer Service Tip of the Week

I want to be an Astronaut - 9/10/19


When I was young, if a child was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, the answers were often a fireman, a Pro Football player, a teacher, somebody who got to drive a truck, or an astronaut. Maybe the question is still asked today, and, if Read more

Don’t Mistake Kindness - 9/3/19


I have a friend who does a lot of things for a lot of other people. He sometimes has a hard time saying “no,” and he really works hard to try to be kind to others. But occasionally some of those for whom he does good works will ask Read more

Do Anything, but Not Everything - 8/27/19


We work with a lot of educational organizations, but this Tip of the Week applies to virtually any kind of business that has repeat customers. To deliver great service, be willing to go above and beyond, do virtually anything for the customer. But in the world of colleges and Read more

Be Generous to a Fault - 8/20/19


People who think they’re generous to a fault usually think that’s their only fault – American Journalist Sydney Harris. This quote reminds me of someone who views themselves as a giver – someone who is so humble that he likes to humbly tell everyone of the gifts he’s given, good Read more

Don’t Assume because... - 8/13/19


You've probably heard this statement growing up. Your parents said, “Don’t assume, because it makes…you look bad.” Or something like that… Recently my laptop screen died, and since it was an older laptop, I decided to go ahead and buy a new one instead of paying to have the screen Read more

Patience Leads to Positivity - 8/6/19


Thank you for your patience. That’s a statement I enjoy saying…when I am the customer. When I’m trying to learn something and I’m about to go into a process, I want to have a feel for what the whole process involves. Over the years, I’ve gotten tired of feeling like Read more

Back to Reality...for Customer Expectations - 7/30/19


Have you ever walked into a patient registration area of a hospital and seen a sign that said “if you’ve been waiting longer than 15 minutes, please see the receptionist?” Have you ever called a customer service number and been told by a recording that “the average hold time is Read more

For Excellence to Happen, Get Engaged - 7/23/19


The customer was throwing an absolute fit in the lobby. Sitting among several other customers waiting for her number to be called, she was raising her voice and letting out the occasional expletive about the lengthy wait time. An employee sitting behind the counter thought to herself: I’m going Read more

Libby Listened to Serve - 7/16/19


Libby was new to her role with the organization. She had never been a customer service representative in a call center before, but she was hired because of her attitude. She wanted to learn, enjoyed working with people, and could carry on a conversation with a wall. After going through Read more

Chris Got Noticed for All the Right Reasons - 7/9/19


Chris was working through a temporary agency, and he got a job at a warehouse. He was packaging items to be shipped out, and his shift didn't start until 7:30 a.m. Chris always got there a little bit early because of the bus schedule, and he hated just sitting Read more

The Art of Dealing with…Yourself – 11/19/13 TOW

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I read an article in the most recent Entrepreneur Magazine issue titled “The art of dealing with difficult people.” Although the article was big on attempted humor and small on specifics, I really liked that fact that much of the article had one key focus (and I’m paraphrasing here) – most of the success you have in dealing with difficult people lies in the success you have in dealing with yourself.

Robin and Mary might both have to “deal with” Jeremy – the same ornery or obnoxious (or otherwise aggravating) individual – but Robin deals with him well, and Mary appears to be internally combusting. The reason is largely because Robin deals with the “difficult person” differently or better than Mary.

Maybe it’s just Robin’s natural “way” of handling situations, but maybe she’s more patient, maybe she’s more empathetic of Jeremy, maybe she doesn’t take things personally, or maybe Robin breathes fully in stressful situations. It could be that Robin thinks of the end goal of a conversation and is more intent on the end goal than the often-painful journey.

On the other hand, Mary might go into conversations with Jeremy anticipating a fight, and she gets upset even before the talk begins. Maybe Mary doesn’t know when she’s about to get upset, and it boils over before she realizes what’s happening. Maybe Mary wants to correct every Jeremy misstatement, or maybe she wants to win every battle. Maybe she is just principled and doesn’t think jerks like Jeremy should win.

I’m not saying that the Robins of the world are always right and the Marys are always wrong. Rather, if we want to effectively deal with difficult people, we have to focus more of our efforts on the person in those conversations that we can control – ourselves.

To deal best with others, learn more about yourself first.


Make Your Team’s STARS Align – 11/12/13 TOW

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We often talk about individual skills, principles, and philosophies that make an individual GREAT at customer service – we even wrote a book on it! But so much of customer service requires that we’re a great teammate to others, working together for the good of the customer and the company.

With that in mind, to be a great teammate, make sure your S.T.A.R.S. align:

  • Speed – Be responsive to teammates’ requests, voice mails, e-mails, issues. Be quick to them so they can be quick with their customers.
  • Take Ownership – If an issue or request comes to you from a customer, vendor, or other department, accept the responsibility of behalf of your teammate. Act on the need instead of telling the customer to look elsewhere for support.
  • Attitude – Realize that those same customer service attributes we promote with clients need to be used with teammates – be positive, open, and focused on what CAN be done.
  • Respect – Understand that your teammates’ responsibilities, their time, and their goals are important, too. Respect them with body language and tone, and respect what they do with your quality, responsiveness, and completeness.
  • Support – Be willing to jump in and help a teammate in need, willing to complete a project or take a handoff of a customer. In teamwork, it’s about the “we” more than the “me.”

 

To be GREAT at customer service, work hard to be a great teammate to others.


You are the Superhero – 11/5/13 TOW

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When I was growing up, there were so many great Superheroes I would read about in comic books or watch on TV. Superman was invincible (despite the occasional bout with kryptonite). Spiderman was a real person – a photographer – who just had this amazing power (and a cool outfit) that allowed him to almost fly through the city and catch villains in his web.

And then there was the greatest Superhero of all – Hong Kong Phooey. Okay, maybe the dog who knew kung fu wasn’t exactly a classic Superhero.

But one thing almost all Superheroes had in common was a tag line, or a motto, or some phrase that – when you heard it – made you think of him or her:

Leap tall buildings in a single bound…spins a web, any size, catches thieves, just like flies…

When I think of Superheroes in the business world, I envision those who help others, who treat others with respect. I think of those who go above and beyond the basics to make a co-worker or customer feel special. I think of people like you – people who do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. People who don’t just answer a question, but they look to find the solution. People who are amazing problem-solvers, you-first individuals who make their businesses more successful, their customers happier, and their co-workers more enriched because they are doing their thing.

So you may not literally leap tall buildings, but you address big complaints. You might not spin a web, but you can talk with the best of them. You may not catch thieves, but you get at the root causes of issues. And you might not get all the accolades of a Superhero, but you have some of the same great long-term impact.

Great customer service people should be proud of what they do. They’re the Superheroes of business.