Customer Service Tip of the Week

The End of the Tunnel - 12/1/20


Have you ever heard the expression:  There’s light at the end of the tunnel… In this COVID-era world, it sure does feel like the tunnel is long, doesn’t it?  It sure feels like this is not a light that we’ll be at in 2 seconds after the train goes another Read more

A Lesson in Gratitude - 11/24/20


Mr. Robinson went to the hardware store with his teenaged son, Steve.  Steve was starting his first woodworking project – building a small coffee table – and needed supplies.  As they walked the aisles, Mr. Robinson and Steve couldn’t find the exact type of wood they wanted, so Mr. Read more

Why Your Job is Important - 11/17/20


I was speaking with a client recently, and she was telling me about one of the classes delivered by their professional development team. Her description of the course reminded me of some client workshops we’ve conducted where a part of the outcome is having individual staff develop Personal Mission Read more

Listen Even When Nobody’s Speaking - 11/10/20


Online Chats are wonderful ways to provide customer service, except when they’re not wonderful ways to provide customer service.  Note the partial chat transcript below.  The company name has been replaced with STORE, and the location was changed to TOWN: STORE Bot at 9:54: Thank you. An agent will be Read more

Don’t Publicize Pain Points - 11/3/20


Years ago, a mining company received numerous formal complaints about the noise from its operations.  The complaints primarily came from one nearby neighborhood.  That neighborhood was the location where the mining company had to build a small above-ground structure to support the operations. The community was interested in finding ways Read more

The Masked Singer is Your Customer - 10/27/20


I cannot get into this show.  I have to admit it.  I’ve watched bits and pieces of it several times, but I just don’t totally get The Masked Singer, but it seems like it’s all the rage!  It seems like everybody wants to guess who is in that crazy Read more

I Think I Think is Wrong - 10/20/20


I think that’s not going to be feasible.  I think we can do that.  I think you’re on the right track.  Methinks thou dost protest too much. Please forgive the Shakespearean reference, but it seems to fit well here.  When we are talking to co-workers and customers, and we’re giving Read more

Be Slowest, and Be the Best – Chick-fil-A - 10/13/20


About one week ago, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution had an article that analyzed the results of a SeeLevel HX research engagement on the customer experience at fast food restaurants.  The results were seemingly contradictory.  The fast food chain with by far the overall best drive-thru experience was Chick-fil-A, and yet Read more

Connect During Customer Service Week - 10/6/20


It’s Customer Service Week…woohoo!  This week should be all about the customers we serve and the staff who serve them.  This should be about conveying we value other people, and – hopefully – having other people convey that they value us.  It’s a week about people – about us. This Read more

Temper the Tone of THE VOICE - 9/29/20


The television show The Voice is a singing competition.  The opening episodes of every season begin with individuals singing while judges have their backs to the singer.  The judges can’t see the singer, so they are evaluating the performer purely based on their voice. Oftentimes, when the judge turns around, Read more

5 Steps to Valuing Another’s Time – 5/5/20

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Is your time valuable?  Is the customer’s time valuable?  I would think we would answer “yes” to both questions, but what does that really mean?  It’s important, and it’s finite.

Time is precious because it doesn’t come in unlimited quantities.  We can’t go to Amazon and buy more time.  It’s important because it’s where we do our work, our play, our fun, our learning, our rest.  In customer service, if we want the customer to feel valued, we need to convey that we value their time.  But how?  Try these 5 Steps:

  • Be Prepared. Have enough organization so that you can promptly greet someone, you can find information quickly, you instantly know to which co-worker or division to refer the customer.
  • Be Efficient. Be pleasant, but limit pleasantries.  Don’t go off on tangents unrelated to the customer or their need for the sake of rapport.  Building rapport is based on a focus on the customer.
  • Be Great at Q&A. Often time is wasted because we don’t fully understand the situation or the customer.  Asking questions to expand your understanding is not a waste of time.  Jumping to a solution before you really know the issue – now that’s a waste of time.
  • Know Your Stuff. It’s hard to have an efficient conversation if we don’t know what to ask, we don’t know what resource addresses what need, what person is responsible for what procedure.
  • Tell Them. Thank them for their time.  Tell them that you want to be respectful of their time.  Sometimes the best way for a customer to feel like you value them is to tell them so.

If you want to value the customer’s time, know that time is important and it’s finite.  Build your approach around understanding what’s important to the customer and how to respond quickly, correctly the first time.

Value the customer’s time.

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Put Yourself at the Controls of Change – 4/28/20

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You have probably heard about manufacturing plants and restaurants who are pivoting during these challenging times and starting to make hand sanitizers, masks, and gowns.  They are being forced to change, and they’re trying to find the opportunities among the obstacles that surround them.

Sometimes we, too, as individuals in our work life are being forced to change – as many of us are today.  But there is some change that we can control.

What do you want to change?  What do you need to change?

Maybe some of it is attitudinal.  For those of us who are lucky to have a boss that’s encouraging and motivating, maybe not having that boss around requires us to be more self-motivated. Set your own daily goals.  Pat yourself on the back when you reach those goals.  Be the great encourager…to yourself.

Maybe the improvement needed is more of a technical nature.  We should want to improve our computer skills since we’ll be using those so much more.  Can we become expert at using the video conferencing systems and tools?  Can we become more proficient at toggling between different functions on our computer for information, since we’re relying less and less on paper?

The improvement area could be communication skills, particularly if having that face-to-face interaction and all the body language and expressions are so much less available for emphasizing our points.  You may want to improve your business writing skills – since you’re communicating more often via messaging to others.  Maybe you need to improve your concentration skills since it’s easier to get distracted when you’re in a video conference with 10 people than if you’re in a face-to-face meeting in the same conference room.

Finally, we can look for improvement areas in how we do our work.  Improving might mean that we’re more organized in our work since we can’t simply walk to the person in the next cubicle to talk about a project or chit chat with our office colleague about something.  Those random or nearby encounters are less likely, so we have to be a bit more intentional about planning when to contact others.

Change is difficult – particularly when it’s thrust upon you.  But if you can identify your own change – your own improvement path – you can give yourself some control.

Create the change that will help you improve.

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From Team-up to Partner – 4/21/20

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The phrase used to be “Team-up.”  Company A and Company B are going to Team-up to address this big consumer need.

Now the term is “Partner.”  Organization A and Organization B are going to partner together to seek a resolution to this community issue.

Both of these phrases essentially deal with different organizations working together with a common goal.  But even within the same organization, the ultimate organizational success usually requires people from different areas or with different functions to “Team-up.”

So, what do you do when you’re asked to Team-up with someone else at your own company?

To Team-up effectively, here are 3 quick suggestions:

  • Help Others – When you see a co-worker with a need (figuring out some video conferencing app, understanding how to interpret a policy, or dealing with a difficult customer situation), stop what you’re doing and offer to help. Don’t simply bypass someone in need.
  • Know Your Role – Understand how your job, your skills and expertise, and your experience fit in the greater organization. Know how your actions and decisions affect others; often, what you say or the work you produce (your “Output”) is the Input for a co-worker.
  • Collaborate with Others – Be willing to meet with and work together in formulating plans, dealing with issues, and delivering services. Support what’s best for the whole group, even if it may not be your first choice.  Encourage your co-workers and give them positive reinforcement.

Before you Team-up with others, take a moment to truly understand what is expected of you. Seek opportunities to help, understand how you affect others, and work with others as a good teammate toward a collective goal.

Team-up.

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