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

Be a Telephone Matchmaker – 6/4/13 TOW

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Have you ever called a company, and you could just tell the employee was reading a script?

Say this out loud in a flat, MONOTONE voice: Thank you for calling Acme Paper Products. I am thrilled that you have called. Please let me know what I can do to make this a great day for you. I want to be the bright ray of sunshine on the flower of your day. Please let me know what I can do to bring you customer delight.

The employee could say the most wonderful words in the world, but if their voice is flat, with no fluctuation, then what is the employee really conveying? Insincerity? A feeling that “this job would be great if I just didn’t have to deal with customers?” A sense that “I’m stating a script that I’ve stated 100 times before?”

Until people really get to know you, they judge you (and me) based primarily on our tone of voice – particularly on the phone. So whether you’re trying to convey that you want to brighten their day or address their need, make sure you’re aware of how you sound.

There should be some relationship between the tone you use and the feeling you want to impart on the customer. If the words are empathetic (“unfortunately…”), sound that way. If the words show enthusiasm (“I want to help…”), sound that way. If the words convey confidence (“We can definitely…”), sound that way.

Link the tone to the words and the message.

Truly brighten someone’s day.


View Touch Points from the Customer’s Perspective – 5/28/13 TOW

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I received an email from my wireless telephone provider. They mentioned that I was now eligible for an upgraded phone at a discounted price (and if you’ve seen a 1990s flip phone, you’ll know why they want me to upgrade). Apparently the upgrade date had been reached, and I was eligible for the upgrade. One minute later, I received an email from the same provider telling me that it was an anniversary of sorts, and therefore I was eligible for an upgrade at a discounted price. About one minute later, I received a third email from the same wireless provider noting that I was now eligible for a discounted upgrade to my cell phone as a reward for my loyalty.

What the organization didn’t realize was that they were sending essentially the exact same e-mail at the exact same time with 3 different subject headings. The exact same upgraded cell phones were offered in each e-mail with those discounts available. So there may have been a Touch Point Plan that the provider had developed, but they were not looking at the plan from the customer’s perspective. Something that might have appeared very professional at first to the customer, turned out to be an aggravation after the third – essentially duplicate – e-mail arrived at my inbox.

If you work in a client relationship management role at your organization (for example, you’re a season ticket services representative for a sports team), this Tip of the Week is especially important for you. When you build your Touch Point Plans from the organization’s perspective, you determine when to send out information based on events or timeline triggers; make sure, however, that you’re not just looking at the plans from the organization’s perspective. Invert your Touch Point Plans to test them from the customer’s perspective to know what they’re going to receive and how they might perceive the information.

Develop Touch Point Plans from the customer’s perspective.


Same Wait, Different Experience – 5/21/13 TOW

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Jenny went to Clinic A. She waited 35 minutes after registering to get taken to a room for her annual physical. Beth went to Clinic B. She waited 35 minutes after registering to get taken to a room for her annual physical.

Jenny felt great about the experience she had that preceded her physical. Beth thought that timeframe was awful.

Here was Jenny’s situation: She was greeted as soon as she walked in the office by the registration clerk. The clerk smiled, handed her a clipboard with a couple forms to complete, and asked Jenny to return the forms once complete. After confirming that Jenny understood what was being requested, she sat down.

The forms took about 4-5 minutes to complete, and when she provided the forms to the clerk, the clerk smiled, thanked Jenny, and noted that she just found out they were running about 30 minutes behind. She apologized to Jenny, confirmed Jenny didn’t want to reschedule, and noted the water cooler, the magazines, and other items available to help the time pass. The clerk said someone would touch base with an update in about 15-20 minutes.

After 15 minutes, an employee told Jenny that it was looking like it would be 15 more minutes before Jenny would be taken back; 10 minutes later the same employee stated that it would be 10 minutes more (about 35 total), and she apologized for the additional delay. Ten minutes later, a nurse came out and called “Is Jenny Smith here?” As Jenny approached, the nurse apologized for the delay and noted she was happy to see Jenny.

Here was Beth’s situation: She walked into the clinic, found the registration window, and stood there for about 30 seconds until the employee looked up and said “hello.” The clerk provided the forms on the clipboard and asked Beth to complete and return them.

When Beth provided the forms to the clerk, the clerk said “Thanks. We’ll call you shortly.” After about 20 minutes, Beth walked up to clerk and asked when she’d be seen. The clerk said “We’re running a little behind. We’ll call you back shortly.” So Beth returned to her seat.

About 15 minutes later, a nurse came through a door and said “Johnson!” That was Beth’s last name, so she jumped up and walked toward the nurse. The nurse held the door open and pointed at the scale just inside the door and said “I need you to get on the scale to check your weight.”

Same wait time. Same paperwork. Totally difference experience.

Communications can take a bland experience and make it palatable – or even positive! It’s like taking a quarter pound hamburger patty and adding the lettuce, tomato, condiments, cheese?, and a nice bun. It’s taking the basic and making it something worthy of your business.

Make sure the blandness of some processes and products are made palatable by great customer service.