Customer Service Tip of the Week

Hear Them, and Tell Them What You Heard - 6/18/19


CSS has conducted close to 1000 research projects over the years, many of which were web-based surveys. And oftentimes, in addition to or instead of completing the online survey, respondents e-mail us directly with questions or comments – and we respond personally to every message on behalf of our Read more

It’s Decision Time. What are you going to do? - 6/11/19


Serving others is tough. Whether it’s dealing with an irate customer, having to field the same question from the 100th different customer this month, or keeping 10 plates spinning while still smiling in front of the client, it’s hard. You want to do a great job, and you’re constantly put Read more

You Do Know Jack - 6/4/19


Have you ever had a co-worker who causes more problems than they solve? Simple things they do are often, from a procedure standpoint, correct. But the way they handle situations makes them come off as indifferent. Let’s call this co-worker “Jack.” Even though certain actions by Jack may seem innocent Read more

How to Give the Right Kind of “No” - 5/28/19


In a perfect world, you never need to say “No” to the customer. But as we all know, this is not a perfect world. There are a lot of issues in the world, and there are a lot of issues in customer service. Our companies are not perfect, our Read more

Make it Crystal Clear - 5/21/19


Sometimes we communicate so well, and sometimes we don’t communicate as well as we think we do. When you’re trying to set or manage another person’s expectations, what you say may be very clear to you, but the reality is it may not be clear to the other person. Read more

Harvey Wrote the Book on Focus...and Golf - 5/14/19


In Harvey Penick's Little Red Book, the famous golf instructor provides many key tips about golf that just as well could apply to life in general. One such tip is the following: Once you address the golf ball, hitting it has got to be the most important thing in Read more

Stop Rolling Your Eyes - 5/7/19


Most of our customer service tips offer advice and guidance. But advice and guidance is useless if the individual receiving it is not willing to listen, learn the theory behind it, and try to apply what they’ve heard or learned. I’ve personally facilitated hundreds of training sessions with clients over Read more

Should you tell the customer? The Employee’s Dilemma - 4/30/19


Last week we looked at the dilemma that many companies face – When there is an issue that is going to happen, should they tell the customer? This week, let’s address that same question from the employee’s perspective. I personally experience employees struggling with this question when I’m in Read more

Should you tell the customer? The Company’s Dilemma - 4/23/19


I have a lot of clients that struggle with this question, both at a company/strategic level as well as an individual representative level. When there is an issue that is going to happen, should you tell the customer? This week we’re going to address the question at the Read more

Customer for Life – The Final Step - 4/16/19


Two weeks ago, we addressed the Third Step of keeping a Customer for Life: Address what will keep them. Now, we’re sharing the Fourth and Final Step. To have a Customer for Life, you have to grow your relationship with them. While the 3rd step is the Read more

The Customer is Always Right? – 6/25/13 TOW

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The customer was so upset, but about what? The event was “general admission,” so this customer thought that she and her husband could sit anywhere. Logical, right? Well, the e-mail from the arena staff noted that general admission only applied to certain sections. The husband got the e-mail; the wife was the one who got upset. After dialoguing with a customer service representative, the wife realized that her husband forgot to tell her that it was only for certain sections, and they were trying to get into a section which wasn’t general admission. They apologized to the representative and walked away.

At another arena well before game time, a fan arrived, and the seat attendant asked if she needed help finding her seat. The fan said “No, I’ve been here before.” She walked down a few steps and turned left down the row to a seat.

A few minutes later, two couples walked up to the seat attendant, and the seat attendant asked if they needed help finding their seats. The fans said “No, we’ve been here before.” So they walked down a few steps and turned left. They walked right toward the lady. The seat attendant watched as they talked with the lady. She then stood up, and the couples sat down. Then the lady walked toward the seat attendant and started complaining, griping, and blaming HIM for her sitting in the wrong seat.

The customer is not always right. Sometimes they’re really, really wrong. But the best in customer service find a way to treat the customer right, even if they’re wrong. It’s not easy to do; it may not be natural to do, but it’s the right thing to do.

Be the bigger person. Be in a service mindset even when the customer is wrong.

 


Round 1 – Sales v. Service – Ding, Ding! – 6/18/13 TOW

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They worked as a team…an individualized dysfunctional team. Let me know if you ever heard a story like this before.

Darla was just about the greatest sales rep ever. She could take someone from suspect to prospect to client literally in a matter of a few minutes or 2-3 conversations. Steven was the consummate professional when it came to customer service and client retention. He thrived in those 1-on-1 moments of truth, and he was strategic enough to nurture and grow relationships over time.

Darla and Steven hated each other. It wasn’t love-hate; it was more like respectful hate-hate. The way the business was organized, the sales rep made the sale, and then they’d turn the account over to service from that point forward. Darla only got commission off the initial sale, and she didn’t think that was fair since the organization earned thousands of dollars a year off renewals of contracts. She would actually earn more money if the client would cancel every year and sign a new contract with her the next day. “Why don’t I get compensated for future contracts that I started for the company?”, Darla would think.

Steven got evaluated and compensated on renewals, but he was always upset because Sales never obtained or shared the kind of information he needed to retain the new client, so he was essentially starting from scratch in relationship building with every new client. “Why can’t Sales think of anyone but themselves when they get a new client?”, Steven often wondered.

Darla and Steven were so good at what they did individually that they saw the shortcomings of the other very clearly.

This all-too-true story is about siloed organizations and misaligned incentives. If you want the organization to succeed, you have to incent staff to do what’s best for the long-term benefit of the customer and the WHOLE company – not just their own division or department.

Look at your incentives. Do they promote the department or the company? Do they focus on the short-term or long-term?

Ensure departments know how they impact each other – how their “output” is their co-worker’s “input.” Then incent long-term success.

 


Houston, We Don’t Have a Problem – 6/11/13 TOW

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It was the first time that I had used this shuttle service, and it was also my first trip to Houston. I decided to take the shuttle from the airport to the hotel since I had extra time and because it was about half the price of a taxi. After paying for the shuttle at the check-in desk, I was told that the driver was en-route, and it would be no more than 20 minutes before he arrived. The driver did arrive about 15 minutes later; a good start, and from then on, it was a perfect experience.

After taking my luggage, Barry, the driver, suggested that I sit on the front row since I’d be the first one dropped off at my destination. He asked if I had been to Houston, and since I hadn’t, he became my tour guide for the next 25 minutes, picking up other customers and then heading into town.

He raved about my hotel and its proximity to sites and restaurants. He mentioned the new bicycle stands that the City had put up around town. He pointed out the baseball field and the convention center as we arrived. At this point, Barry seemed more like a representative of the Houston Chamber of Commerce than he did an employee of the shuttle company.

He described how and when to reserve the shuttle for my return to the airport (which I did), and he noted that I could track my pickup shuttle real-time online to know exactly where the van was at all times (which I did).

As I was preparing to leave Houston two days later, I got an automated call noting that the shuttle would arrive in 10 minutes. And the shuttle arrived 10 minutes later.

This experience (to and from the hotel) was a combination of great attitudes, processes, and systems.

How customer-oriented and integrated are your organization’s attitudes, processes, and systems?

Look for a little shuttle magic in your organization.