Customer Service Tip of the Week

Bring Magic to Your Account Management - 1/19/21


One of our first sports-industry clients was the Orlando Magic.  They were a true leading-edge organization in the early 2000s when it came to dedicating resources to season ticket holder retention.  They didn’t make customer service, relationship-development, and renewals simply a function of the Sales department.  They broke it Read more

Customers Want Easy, but Easy is Difficult - 1/12/21


New employees go through days of training to learn products and services.  They have formal workshops to learn how to use their office applications, web functions, and whatever programs are specific to their department.  They test new technology, and they get quizzed on knowledge of policies.  This is hours Read more

Make 2021 the Year of Building Relationships - 1/5/21


I’ve been very fortunate over this company’s 20+ years in business to have great and long-lasting relationships with many clients, colleagues, business partners, and co-workers.  It’s a gift to be able to call on these individuals for advice or referrals or to be a sounding board.  And it’s just Read more

Bring Warmth During Winter - 12/29/20


Winter is upon us.  Now, winter can mean different things to different people in different regions, but just the word conjures up cold.  It conjures up visions of snow.  It conjures up feelings of wind and lack of warmth. Although some of us may like the cold at times of Read more

2020 Holiday Poem - 12/22/20


When in the role of customer service,We are wired to give and give.It’s built into our DNA.It’s simply the way we live. In order to give to others,We need to find ways to give them their fill.We need to pour empathy and openness into them.To serve, we need to have Read more

It’s NOT about the Cinnamon - 12/15/20


It was happening again.  Jessica had just handed the freshly made concoction to her coffee shop customer, and less than a minute later, the customer was in Jessica’s face, red as a beet, ranting and raving:  I specifically asked for extra cinnamon on top!  Does this look like extra Read more

Locke-in from the Start - 12/8/20


John Locke was a 17th century English philosopher, physician, and researcher.  He wrote many papers arguing particular points, oftentimes using reason and facts as the basis for his position.  He noted that many disagreements start because there is – in my words – a lack of real clarity about Read more

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

Moving toward Normalcy: The Face-to-Face Keys – 5/12/20

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As we slowly go back to a face-to-face world, here are a few quick reminders for what positively differentiates employees who understand the importance of body language and expressions v. those who don’t.

Especially if you’re wearing a mask and serving customers, ensure your eyes are focused on the other person as opposed to the activities and technology that surround you both.  Spend one minute or two a day in front of a mirror to refresh on the kind of messages the forehead and the eyebrows convey when you’re looking at somebody. That might be all of your facial expression that the customer sees. Ensure that the smiles are visible in these other aspects of your expressions.

Maintain that 6-foot distance, but make sure you have a comfortable posture and the tension is not visible in your arms, your hands, or your shoulders.  Lean in to show you’re listening, but don’t move toward the customer.  Keep the comfort zone between the two of you.

Realize that it can be awkward and uncomfortable for the customer, just like at times it’s awkward and uncomfortable for you – having a mask on, keeping distance from the customer, having a plexiglass between you and the other individual.  But that awkwardness and the uncomfortable nature shouldn’t come across in your body language and expressions.  If anything, we need to be as proactive, gregarious, pleasant, and kind to the other person as we ever have been in order to create that rapport and establish that comfort level.

The facility itself is creating barriers to comfort, so the individual needs to go beyond what they would normally do to create that engaging encounter with the customer.

Since we’re not going to be back to normal anytime soon, be clear on those little extras we need to focus on and deliver to make sure customers are as comfortable as possible.

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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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