Customer Service Tip of the Week

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

To Assure, Ensure You Do This - 2/9/21


Vince Lombardi – famous professional football coach – became a big hit on the speaker’s circuit during his time coaching.  He applied many of his principles in football and life to business, and one of his great business quotes is:  Confidence is contagious and so is lack of confidence, Read more

Get Your Guru On – 8/25/20

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You may have heard of management gurus – these people who seemed to know all and be all, to have the wisdom of 1000 leaders.  Maybe you’ve heard it in your industry as a guru in sports psychology or the master of economics or sociology or human behavior.

And so you don’t roll your eyes at the thought of you being a guru, it’s always helpful to understand the origin of the word.  Upanishads in 10th century to 6th century BC said “The syllable ‘gu’ means darkness, the syllable ‘ru’ means dispeller; he is therefore called a ‘guru’ because he dispels darkness.”

I really like this definition – it goes away from the modern interpretation that gurus are far more brilliant than any of us could ever imagine being, that they are somehow superior intellectually to others.

The Situations with Darkness

With Upanishads’ definition in mind, how can we become gurus in our respective jobs?  The definition talks about gurus being people who can dispel darkness.  So to be a guru, you don’t have to have knowledge far exceeding others.  You just have to have a given situation where you can dispel darkness.

Maybe it’s dealing with the sports fan who is unsure whether to invest in tickets for games this year.  You could be dealing with the local contractor who is struggling with tasks he’s done 100 times because he’s so overwhelmed by economic concerns.  You could be dealing with a patient or a family member whose anxiety and fear of the unknown is understandably high.

How to Bring Light

Einstein once said that darkness is an absence of light, so how can you bring light in these situations?

You bring it in by listening to the other person.  You bring it in by truly trying to understand what they’re going through, even if you’re not going through it yourself.  You try to identify what is causing that darkness and see if there are some solutions that can be brought to light.  You try to bring some lightness in tone to the situation – often people are so concerned and burdened that just the positive/pleasant/upbeat tone and some levity, appropriately delivered, can bring light in the situation.

Being a guru can mean dispelling darkness.  It can be you enlightening them on new information.  It can be you bringing to light something that’s unknown to them, that may work for them.  It can be you being light at times in the tone you take.

To truly be a guru, understand what could be causing their darkness and dispel it by enlightening them, bringing solutions to light, and bringing a lighter tone whenever possible.

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Whether You Believe You Can Do a Thing or Not, You Are Right – 8/18/20

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This is a famous Henry Ford quote, and the quote is all about self-belief, all about confidence.

We’ve often spoken about the need to be confident and how to gain confidence, because that confidence – or the lack thereof – is imparted on the customer.

But how does a customer tell if you’re confident?  And why is that important?

As a customer, I’ve been in a situation far too many times when I’m seeking guidance or input.  I’m trying to understand the process or I’m trying to understand a deadline.   If I know the process and the deadline, if I know how they’re going to get to the answer or how they’re going to fix this product issue, my expectations get set.  I have a game plan.  And where there is no game plan, often there is anxiety or worry.

You don’t want your customers feeling anxiety or worry.  And if that anxiety or worry comes from you, then it is attached to your company, and the perception of you and the company is lessened.

As a customer, when I sense that lack of confidence, I’m sensing it because there are long unexplained pauses before answers.  Because there’s a lot of “I don’t know” without a lot of “I’ll find out.”  Because they never say that they can answer that for me or help me with that.  Because I’m put on hold without being told why or am transferred without being told to whom.  Because the voice wavers and there’s a lot of “ummm” and “hmmm.”

So much of that perceived lack of confidence comes from things employees do that they should simply eliminate.

Eliminate the long pauses – keep the conversation going.  Don’t say “I don’t know” unless you follow that up with “I’ll find out.”  If you want to help, don’t avoid saying that you want to or you can help.  Don’t put people on hold or transfer them without letting them know to whom and why.  Don’t provide the unnecessary “ummm” and “hmmm.”

Sometimes saying less conveys more confidence.

Convey your self-belief – your confidence – to your customer.

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Grind it out Today for a Better Tomorrow – 8/11/20

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It’s been said that You Learn Perseverance by Persevering.  You are becoming mentally tougher right now.  The pain and the difficulties and the change today are making you stronger for dealing with the uncertainties of tomorrow.

We’re all having to be more flexible.  We are all facing less consistency, less predictability.  Work processes are different.  Customers are different.  Expectations of us are different.  Communications with teammates are different.  And for many, our personal lives and those of our loved ones are very different.

In the future, when we look back on today, we may remember all the difficulties.  We might not remember all the positives, but we will be stronger in the future.  We will be better equipped to deal with the difficulties that come next.  And though work…and life will be difficult again, we will be more prepared – mentally, physically, spiritually – to get through those tomorrows because we got through these todays.

You are building wisdom, strengthening your character, and having experiences that will guide your future decision-making and your direction.  Maybe there are a lot of small defeats today, and maybe some big defeats today, but they can be stepping stones to big joys and victories tomorrow.

So, grind it out today, this hour, this minute.  Persevering through today’s challenges is a victory in itself.  Tomorrow will be there tomorrow; no use worrying about it today.

Persevere through this day.

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