Customer Service Tip of the Week

Challenges Create Opportunity, People Create Change - 4/20/21


There are so many great things that have been said over the years about overcoming challenges, pushing aside the roadblocks of life, dealing with difficulties.  And these are important points of discussion because challenges are all around us.  There are challenges with our personal health or in our personal Read more

The Passive Predicament - 4/13/21


The employee is speaking to you.  Do they have that look in the eyes like they’re hanging on your every word, like they’re processing, interpreting, and getting ready to quickly respond to your key points and questions?  Or do they have the look of somebody in the 2nd hour Read more

Regain Lost Motivation - 4/6/21


For many of us over the last 12 months, our home has also become our workplace.  Our work interaction has been 2-dimensional through the computer screen as opposed to the 3-dimensional experiences we’re used to with co-workers and customers. We are all motivated in our own unique ways.  Some are Read more

The Answer is Right, but the Service is Wrong - 3/30/21


Maggie was irate.  The gift she ordered needed to be received by the 20th of the month so she could give it to her cousin for his birthday.  It was the 19th, and Maggie couldn’t find any shipping update online, so she called the company.  The employee said “Oh!  Read more

Question Everything, but What’s the Question? - 3/23/21


The new leader joins the organization, and she decides she wants to question everything.  She wants employees to question everything.  Why have we always done it this way? Why do we continue to do it that way? Is this the best way to work? Sometimes it’s a great management Read more

The Resourceful Rep - 3/16/21


One of our clients is seeking to develop Customer Service Standards.  We’re working with them to identify those key expectations of staff that will enable the organization to deliver a consistent high-level customer experience.  One of the key attributes that this organization is seeking from its team members is Read more

Be Proactive like a Pro - 3/9/21


We constantly work with clients, encouraging them to become more proactive with customers.  Don’t just be reactive, waiting for the customer to ask questions or to complain.  Instead, go to the customer, anticipate their needs, suggest something to them. But many of us, frankly, don’t know how to be proactive.  Read more

Find One Unique Thing - 3/2/21


Many of us are not in a position to develop long-term relationships with our customers.  Our encounters are often one-time only with a customer - very brief and likely to be our only time chatting with this individual. And even though there may not be a long-term professional relationship developed, Read more

Should I Stay or Should I Go? - 2/23/21


Should I stay or should I go?  That’s not just a classic song by The Clash.  It’s also the question customers ask more and more, especially during difficult economic times. A recent study in the Charlotte Business Journal noted that 50% of North Carolina businesses are concerned with how to Read more

Optimism – A Force for Good in Customer Service - 2/16/21


Will 2021 be a better year than 2020?  I have absolutely no idea.  Maybe it would be nice to see into the future and know for certain, but I can’t and I don’t.  But as I wade further and further into this year, I can hope that the water Read more

Keep On Going – 9/22/20

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Thomas Edison once said “Many of life’s failures are experiences by people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

You are close to success – Keep On Going.

Winston Churchill once said “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”  This quote has been taken to another level in a recent country song by Rodney Atkins:  If you’re going through Hell, keep on going; don’t slow down.  If you’re scared, don’t show it.  You might get out before the devil even knows you’re there.

When you’re going through the toughest of times – Keep On Going.

Ed Gagnon once said “Today is harder to get through if we forget that we got through yesterday.”

Even if you can’t envision how this day could possibly end well – Keep On Going.

Too often we’re stumped by that failure, and the frustration causes us to stop.  But there’s a lot to be said for viewing our mistakes or failures simply as stepping stones to what will eventually be success.

Too often we’re dealing with rough times, and doing nothing seems like the only thing to do.  But there’s a lot to be said for making a decision and moving on – continuing to move towards some ultimate goal.  That long-term view can often pull you out of the mire of these short-term concerns.

Too often we’re so immersed in today’s challenges that we can’t see the promise of tomorrow.  But there’s a lot to be said for realizing that this too shall pass, because rough days in the past have ended, too.

The tip for today is Don’t let things stop you.  Don’t let that angry customer or that broken technology or that frustrating colleague or that restrictive policy or the difficulties of that new world that we’re living in cause you to stop.

Continuous improvement requires movement and progress. Getting better requires we Keep On Going.

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Create a Common Definition of Customer Service – 9/15/20

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Peter, Paul, and Marie are co-workers. They are all customer service representatives.  When Peter thinks of good customer service, he defines it as being friendly to the customer. “And I am friendly,” Peter says.  “That’s why I don’t know why they send me to customer service training.”

Paul thinks customer service is about being responsive.  When he gets e-mails, he replies right away that he got the message.  When he gets a voice message, he calls right back.  If the same customer calls 5 times for updates, that’s OK to Paul, because he’ll get back to that customer immediately every one of those 5 times.

Marie defines customer service as getting the customer what they want.  “If I do my job in getting them what they want, that’s all that matters. I hate when they whine that I was rude to them or short on the phone.  They got what they wanted, didn’t they?”

Peter, Paul, and Marie all have different definitions of customer service. They are all right…and they are all wrong.

Great customer service has a cordiality peace – a friendliness aspect.  Having that warm and positive engagement with another human being should always be a part of great customer service.

Delivering exceptional customer service also has a component of speed.  Being respectful of people’s time and responsive to their needs is a part of the process of serving a customer effectively.

And great customer service, in the end, should be about giving the customer what they need – it should be about striving to achieve outcomes as much as possible.

So, Peter, Paul, and Marie were all correct – what each emphasizes is part of the definition of customer service.  But they’re also wrong – each person has a limited view of what it means to deliver great customer service, and each individual’s version of great customer service will lead to a positive experience for only a subset of their customers.

For organizations to deliver great customer service, they need to create and instill a common vision among all staff of the desired customer experience.  Organizations need to make sure that definition is broad enough to address the attitude, the process, and striving for the desired outcome, as well.

Create a Common Definition of Customer Service.

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Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance? – 9/8/20

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This is a quote by Edgar Bergen.  He’s one of the most famous ventriloquists of all time, but I guess he wasn’t necessarily one of the hardest workers of all time.  By sharing this quote, I am not supporting the idea that we shouldn’t work hard…or am I?

We only have so many work hours in the day – hopefully we have some time for our personal lives and for sleep. But the work is still there to be done.  The question is, how do we find ways to work less hard?

I’m not suggesting we find ways to be less productive or less quality-oriented or less customer-service oriented.  I’m just posing the question:  How can we find ways to work a little bit smarter and a little less hard?

Ask yourself a few questions:

  • When do I write things on paper that I have to keep track of and manage (or rekey into a computer) which I could instead log directly into the computer and save?
  • When do I touch a document or a project or spreadsheet or report or an e-mail 3-4 times, when I could touch it once?
  • When do I copy 5 or 10 or 20 people on an e-mail who all now have to read that e-mail, when I could copy 1 or 2? Similarly, when do I get copied unnecessarily when I could reach out to those senders and let them know they don’t need to copy me under certain circumstances?
  • Could I do a better job of planning my day today – and working my plan today – so I don’t have to constantly think today about what I need to be doing tomorrow?
  • Is there a report or document that I produce once a week that I could stop producing and no one would ever notice or ever care?
  • If I slept an extra 10 minutes or drank an extra cup of water or ate 1 less candy bar (Milky Way is my preference), would I be able to work a little shorter day and have the energy to get a little bit more done?

 

These are some simple questions, and if we can come up with answers to a few of them and implement solutions, maybe we would find ourselves working a little less hard and yet being a little bit more productive, more focused, more energetic, and producing a little higher quality work.

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