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

More Confident Customers are Less Nervous – 10/29/13 TOW

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It was just going to be a minor procedure, but Damon was still nervous. He had a hard time concentrating on what he was reading in the waiting room, and the minutes of wait seemed interminable. When the nurse came to the waiting room to bring Damon back to get prepped, his anxiety levels slowly began to fall. The nurse smiled and introduced herself and asked how he was doing. As they walked, Damon was asked several questions, with the nurse confirming his situation and the procedure that was going to take place.

She conveyed her knowledge of his details in those confirming questions, and then told Damon a little about herself, the doctor, and their experience in performing the procedure. She noted how many patients they had cared for in similar situations, and how the patients often remarked about how surprisingly good they felt right after the procedure.

The nurse then asked Damon what his understanding was of how long it would take and what the post-procedure recovery would entail. After Damon explained his understanding, the nurse used his words and his explanation and transitioned to a discussion of the process, the steps, and the timeframes.

Through this 1-on-1, personalized discussion, several things happened. He had formed a personal rapport with the nurse. He felt confident in the nurse, doctor, and the organization. Damon had a clear picture of what was to happen and how long it would take. He felt like he could ask any question and get a specific answer. He was more confident and less anxious.

Soon thereafter, it was time for the procedure. The doctor walked in wearing a surgical mask and carrying. . .a chainsaw (just kidding – it is Halloween week after all!).

Address nervousness and anxiety with confidence-building communications.

 


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.