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

The Art of Dealing with…Yourself – 11/19/13 TOW

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I read an article in the most recent Entrepreneur Magazine issue titled “The art of dealing with difficult people.” Although the article was big on attempted humor and small on specifics, I really liked that fact that much of the article had one key focus (and I’m paraphrasing here) – most of the success you have in dealing with difficult people lies in the success you have in dealing with yourself.

Robin and Mary might both have to “deal with” Jeremy – the same ornery or obnoxious (or otherwise aggravating) individual – but Robin deals with him well, and Mary appears to be internally combusting. The reason is largely because Robin deals with the “difficult person” differently or better than Mary.

Maybe it’s just Robin’s natural “way” of handling situations, but maybe she’s more patient, maybe she’s more empathetic of Jeremy, maybe she doesn’t take things personally, or maybe Robin breathes fully in stressful situations. It could be that Robin thinks of the end goal of a conversation and is more intent on the end goal than the often-painful journey.

On the other hand, Mary might go into conversations with Jeremy anticipating a fight, and she gets upset even before the talk begins. Maybe Mary doesn’t know when she’s about to get upset, and it boils over before she realizes what’s happening. Maybe Mary wants to correct every Jeremy misstatement, or maybe she wants to win every battle. Maybe she is just principled and doesn’t think jerks like Jeremy should win.

I’m not saying that the Robins of the world are always right and the Marys are always wrong. Rather, if we want to effectively deal with difficult people, we have to focus more of our efforts on the person in those conversations that we can control – ourselves.

To deal best with others, learn more about yourself first.


Make Your Team’s STARS Align – 11/12/13 TOW

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We often talk about individual skills, principles, and philosophies that make an individual GREAT at customer service – we even wrote a book on it! But so much of customer service requires that we’re a great teammate to others, working together for the good of the customer and the company.

With that in mind, to be a great teammate, make sure your S.T.A.R.S. align:

  • Speed – Be responsive to teammates’ requests, voice mails, e-mails, issues. Be quick to them so they can be quick with their customers.
  • Take Ownership – If an issue or request comes to you from a customer, vendor, or other department, accept the responsibility of behalf of your teammate. Act on the need instead of telling the customer to look elsewhere for support.
  • Attitude – Realize that those same customer service attributes we promote with clients need to be used with teammates – be positive, open, and focused on what CAN be done.
  • Respect – Understand that your teammates’ responsibilities, their time, and their goals are important, too. Respect them with body language and tone, and respect what they do with your quality, responsiveness, and completeness.
  • Support – Be willing to jump in and help a teammate in need, willing to complete a project or take a handoff of a customer. In teamwork, it’s about the “we” more than the “me.”

 

To be GREAT at customer service, work hard to be a great teammate to others.


You are the Superhero – 11/5/13 TOW

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When I was growing up, there were so many great Superheroes I would read about in comic books or watch on TV. Superman was invincible (despite the occasional bout with kryptonite). Spiderman was a real person – a photographer – who just had this amazing power (and a cool outfit) that allowed him to almost fly through the city and catch villains in his web.

And then there was the greatest Superhero of all – Hong Kong Phooey. Okay, maybe the dog who knew kung fu wasn’t exactly a classic Superhero.

But one thing almost all Superheroes had in common was a tag line, or a motto, or some phrase that – when you heard it – made you think of him or her:

Leap tall buildings in a single bound…spins a web, any size, catches thieves, just like flies…

When I think of Superheroes in the business world, I envision those who help others, who treat others with respect. I think of those who go above and beyond the basics to make a co-worker or customer feel special. I think of people like you – people who do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. People who don’t just answer a question, but they look to find the solution. People who are amazing problem-solvers, you-first individuals who make their businesses more successful, their customers happier, and their co-workers more enriched because they are doing their thing.

So you may not literally leap tall buildings, but you address big complaints. You might not spin a web, but you can talk with the best of them. You may not catch thieves, but you get at the root causes of issues. And you might not get all the accolades of a Superhero, but you have some of the same great long-term impact.

Great customer service people should be proud of what they do. They’re the Superheroes of business.