Customer Service Tip of the Week

6 Actions for Attitude Adjustments - 2/18/20


The battle over one’s attitude can feel like a never-ending fight… I need to stop letting little things bother me. I need to not let that customer’s anger infect my mindset.  Just because my co-worker isn’t doing what they said they’d do shouldn’t mean that I should have an attitude Read more

A Hair-Cut Above...and Below - 2/11/20


After going to the same barber for more than a decade, I decided to leave.  The customer experience went down, and the price went up.  For my last several visits, I was the one who was driving the conversations – when I could get a word in edgewise between Read more

When Employees Fight Over a Customer - 2/4/20


There’s nothing like the feeling of comfort I get from a warm greeting at a business establishment.  A feeling of “you are my most important customer” and “I cannot wait to serve you” brings a tear to the eye of a customer service consultant.  But that’s not the only Read more

LOTS of Opportunities to Appreciate Customers - 1/28/20


They give us their money, and we give them merchandise. We say “Thank you!”  That is the old-time stereotypical opportunity for a company to thank their customers.  But there are opportunities all day long for us to convey appreciation to our customers. Beyond the actual transaction, there are so many Read more

When Jack Gave Arnie a Tip - 1/21/20


Jack Nicklaus may have been the greatest golfer ever.  Many think that Arnold Palmer was the most important golfer of the 20th century.  These two greats were contemporaries, so they became competitors and friends all at once.  And when somebody who is one of the greatest of all time Read more

Make it Abundantly Clear - 1/14/20


Becky was laying in her hospital bed and staring at the whiteboard on the wall.  It had a room number, the room’s phone number, and the date.  It had the pictures of the pain scale, with happy-to-sad faces and ratings from 0-10.  It noted when the last meds were Read more

Become the Wishing Well - 1/7/20


When you don’t know if the next step will solve the customer’s problem, give hope a chance.  If you’re not certain how things will progress on their project, give hope a chance.  If you want to end the conversation by having them feel positive, even if uncertain, give hope Read more

Why Silence is Golden - 12/31/19


In the world of customer service, to begin finding a resolution, sometimes we have to initiate conversation. To keep things moving forward, oftentimes we have to proactively engage in discussion.  To have effective dialogue, we need to avoid those long periods of dead silence. But don’t let those truths of Read more

2019 Holiday Poem - 12/24/19


There is joy absolutely everywhere, Sometimes you just need to look for it. There are birds and babies. There are flowers and sweet older ladies. You just have to look for them. People hold doors open for others, with smiles. There are days when you can see for miles. You just have to look for them. There Read more

Encourage the Customer - 12/17/19


Everybody sing with me:  Feelings, whoa whoa whoa, feelings… Excellent old song, and be thankful that I’m just writing the words and not singing to you.  While not all of us are comfortable with discussing feelings, feelings are an important part of the customer experience. No, you can’t make someone feel Read more

How to Create Focus and Direction – 10/22/13 TOW

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Prior to co-founding CSS, I was a management consultant for about ten years. At my previous consulting firm, they asked me to develop and deliver training for new employees on Consulting Skills and Professionalism. It was an honor to be asked and a fun course to teach.

In looking through some of the materials from that training recently, I came across a module that addressed keeping Focus and Direction, and the tips from that training should resonate for those in customer service as well.

Oftentimes as a consultant, especially if you’re inquisitive and creative, you can create a lot of ideas, want to make many improvements, and look to promote change for the better. Those attributes and actions can also be applied to many who have a customer service role or orientation. The problem lies in the fact that all that creativity and focus on continuous improvement can create TOO MUCH WORK!

What we promoted in the training years ago to create Focus and Direction were three key questions:

  • Who’s the customer?
  • What’s the need?
  • What’s the priority?

 
The concept was that your customers and their needs should set a focus; their priorities (or if certain customers or needs are bigger priorities) should help to sort out our priorities. The direction we should go should be greatly impacted by the direction our customers desire.

So the next time you have too many items on your “To Do” list for the day, look at those items in light of these three questions.

Create a Focus and Direction for yourself by doing those things that address key needs of key customers.

 


Dan the Yard Man Keeps the Customer Moving – 10/15/13 TOW

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When “Dan the Yard Man” came to Lori’s home for a quick consultation, she was looking for advice. Many parts of the yard were having issues – grass not growing, erosion in the dirt, etc. Dan’s company maintains the feed on the yard and does aeration, but Lori had put off aerating her yard until she got more of a game plan for how to fix its issues.

As Lori listened to Dan, she realized two things clearly – what he could do and what he could not do. She also learned one other thing from Dan – he can actually tell you “No” in such a way that you feel good about it!

Dan told Lori what he could address on the lawn with soil testing, fertilizer, and weed killer when needed. But it was amazing how he handled the discussion of what he could NOT do:

  • He couldn’t aerate soon because their schedule was booked 6 weeks out, but he suggested how Lori could get some seed germinating on her own in some of the tough areas.
  • He couldn’t grow regular fescue grass in some of the shady areas, so he noted how he had been transitioning to shade grass.
  • Dan could not promise that he could get grass to grow in some especially shaded areas because they were only getting 1-2 hours of sun each day, but he suggested that Lori ask the “tree guys” she was calling about where they felt their tree trimming could impact the amount of sun the lawn receives.
  • Dan couldn’t guarantee that grass could ever grow in current conditions on the left side of the house, but he suggested that Lori consider a natural area similar to what she had on the right side of the house.

Great customer service does not always require that we find a way to personally say “Yes” to every customer request. Sometimes great customer service is about knowing an alternative when you have to say “No.”

When you have to say “No,” keep the customer moving to the next step.

 


Gauge Customer Satisfaction at Every Encounter – 10/8/13 TOW

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You may already feel you’re on “Metric Overload” (measuring customer satisfaction on surveys, getting mystery shopped, knowing your NPS, getting your CX ratings, and ensuring the ECS is A-OK).

Now – based on the title of this Tip – I’m going to tell you that you have to measure MORE?! Not exactly. What I’m suggesting is more do-able than daunting.

I want you to GAUGE customer satisfaction at every encounter. Measurement is done for many reasons, but the initial reason is always to gauge satisfaction. It’s easier to gauge (or get a feel for, an understanding of) satisfaction if you measure satisfaction.

But measurement for the sake of measurement is a waste of time and money. However, having every employee GAUGE customer satisfaction – literally at every customer encounter – is almost always beneficial.

So what do we mean by “gauge.” Hold the magnifying glass up to the customer’s body language; tune in more clearly to their tone-of-voice. What do those non-verbal communication methods tell you about what’s going on inside them, about what they’re feeling?

Literally ask “How was your experience today?’’ or “Did you get your needs met?” or “Is there anything more we can do?” or “Was there anything we could do differently/better next time?”

After many consulting engagements, I ask the client “Was this what you were hoping to receive when we started this process?” or “Do you feel like we achieved the goals you had envisioned when we began this project?”

By gauging the customer’s satisfaction during that encounter, you create – for yourself – an opportunity to learn what you’re doing well and to get positive feedback. You create – for the customer – an environment where they’re more comfortable sharing feedback, particularly constructive (negative) feedback.

At every customer encounter, you’re gauging customer satisfaction by literally looking, listening, and asking questions. You want to KNOW whether they’re satisfied before the conversation ends (and obviously address it if they’re not).

Gauge the customer’s satisfaction to better yourself and your organization.