Customer Service Tip of the Week

Reach Out to Customers the Right Way - 3/31/20


Depending on what industry that you work in, business is either booming, or it’s greatly slowed down.  I’m not sure if there’s much of a middle ground these days – where industries are working as normal. If you’re in one of the industries where business has slowed, there may be Read more

LEAD them Away from Anger - 3/24/20


Last week we addressed keeping our personal sanity.  This week, let’s discuss dealing with customer insanity.  That may not be the best choice of words, but many customers are overreacting.  In last week’s Tip, we discussed dealing with emotions of anxiety and nervousness from customers, but many customers are Read more

4 Tips for Personal Sanity in Public Crisis - 3/17/20


We can only control what we can control.  There are times like these where the healthcare world is fighting a quickly-spreading virus, and governmental, business, and other organizations are making changes to try to mitigate risks and find solutions where possible. With all this activity swirling around us, we still Read more

Create Mutually-beneficial Relationships - 3/10/20


We have worked with many clients over the years who have long-term staff in customer service roles.  At some point, the company decides to add a sales component to the responsibilities of the representatives, and the sparks start to fly! I was not hired to sell. This is not in Read more

Predictability Excites these Customers - 3/3/20


Sherrie had used that airport one too many times.  Sure it was convenient to her home, only 20 minutes away, but it seemed like every time she scheduled a flight, there was a delay.  And since it was not a “hub” airport, if she had to fly any significant Read more

Who Loves Ya, Baby? - 2/25/20


Telly Savalas played Kojak - a hard-nosed detective who solved crimes while eating a lollipop.  He was a tough guy with a tough attitude but a soft side.  He used to say:  Who loves ya, baby? So, who loves their customer? If you want to see somebody who loves their Read more

6 Actions for Attitude Adjustments - 2/18/20


The battle over one’s attitude can feel like a never-ending fight… I need to stop letting little things bother me. I need to not let that customer’s anger infect my mindset.  Just because my co-worker isn’t doing what they said they’d do shouldn’t mean that I should have an attitude Read more

A Hair-Cut Above...and Below - 2/11/20


After going to the same barber for more than a decade, I decided to leave.  The customer experience went down, and the price went up.  For my last several visits, I was the one who was driving the conversations – when I could get a word in edgewise between Read more

When Employees Fight Over a Customer - 2/4/20


There’s nothing like the feeling of comfort I get from a warm greeting at a business establishment.  A feeling of “you are my most important customer” and “I cannot wait to serve you” brings a tear to the eye of a customer service consultant.  But that’s not the only Read more

LOTS of Opportunities to Appreciate Customers - 1/28/20


They give us their money, and we give them merchandise. We say “Thank you!”  That is the old-time stereotypical opportunity for a company to thank their customers.  But there are opportunities all day long for us to convey appreciation to our customers. Beyond the actual transaction, there are so many Read more

Create Mutually-beneficial Relationships – 3/10/20

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We have worked with many clients over the years who have long-term staff in customer service roles.  At some point, the company decides to add a sales component to the responsibilities of the representatives, and the sparks start to fly!

I was not hired to sell. This is not in my job description. I’m a service person, not a salesperson. Customers don’t want us pushing stuff on them.

These are the kinds of objections that management gets from staff, and many of these objections are entirely valid.  For an organization to effectively pivot from purely service to service with some sales, leadership has to instill a mindset that it is possible to have a mutually-beneficial relationship with customers.  It’s not just that the company benefits from the customer’s purchases.  We also need to see how the customer benefits from what the company can provide.

When we were conducting a workshop with a client recently, we asked how to create mutually-beneficial relationships with customers.  This is some of what they said:

  • We provide them information that might save them money, such as information on rebates.
  • We provide educational information and services on trends in industry, technology, regulations, policies/procedures, and other information of use to them.
  • We have a loyalty program for their ongoing use of our products and services.
  • We understand what they want and need, we’ve asked them about their goals, and we take action based on what they tell us.
  • We know our products, so we can make sure we match up a specific need with a specific product.
  • We know our services and how to fix issues quickly, so we can be very responsive to their challenges.
  • We have connections with other groups within our organization and with other organizations, so if there’s something they need that we don’t provide, we know how to make that match.
  • If we know something is going to be backordered, we identify it and proactively reach out to them to make an alternative offer.

Some of what the client personnel told us related to positioning yourself as an educator for customers.  Some examples related to understanding your business exceptionally well so you can match their need with your solution.

Some comments related to being proactive on sharing information that might save the customer money, or being highly responsive when issues arise that might challenge them.  And some of these ideas simply dealt with knowing the customer better as well as knowing where to go to meet customer needs, even if it wasn’t within your particular organization.

If part of the customer service representative’s responsibilities is to sell, make sure that the organization and staff first understand how to create a mutually-beneficial relationship.

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Predictability Excites these Customers – 3/3/20

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Sherrie had used that airport one too many times.  Sure it was convenient to her home, only 20 minutes away, but it seemed like every time she scheduled a flight, there was a delay.  And since it was not a “hub” airport, if she had to fly any significant distance, she’d have to make a connection, and then more delays would occur.  Delay after delay, and re-route after re-route.  There was too much uncertainty about her arrival time or her ability to make connections.

The next time she had to fly, Sherrie decided to go to the larger airport that was located over one hour away.  Sure the fare was no better, but she had a direct flight to her destination.  She traveled the extra distance to the larger airport, and she got on her non-stop flight.  It took off late but made up time in the air, and it landed early.  On her return, she was late getting back because of air traffic, but there were no worries about making a connection.  There were no worries about getting re-routed to a different city for the second leg of a trip, since this trip was non-stop.  There was none of that uncertainty.

Some customers aren’t as concerned with product price if they know what’s going to happen.  Some people’s goal is to avoid hassle.  They’re more concerned with process predictability than product price.

People concerned with process predictability, those concerned with avoiding hassles – those are the people that customer service-oriented companies love.  Because those customers put a premium on the aspects of their experience not driven purely by the product.  The service processes, consistency, and quality are differentiating factors.

Identify the types of services you provide that are very process-driven or time intensive.  Identify the customers whose satisfaction and repeat business are driven by these key factors of customer service.

Then help your company become more predictable for your customer.

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Who Loves Ya, Baby? – 2/25/20

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Telly Savalas played Kojak – a hard-nosed detective who solved crimes while eating a lollipop.  He was a tough guy with a tough attitude but a soft side.  He used to say:  Who loves ya, baby?

So, who loves their customer?

If you want to see somebody who loves their customer, walk into a vet with your pet. Oh Bosco! I’m so happy to see you!  How have you been lately!  It’s like the dog is the receptionist’s long-lost friend or the doctor’s favorite cousin.

Congratulations, Zappos Zealot!  You’re one step closer to getting your holiday shopping done! We’ve received your order and are busy picking your gifts from our shelves as we speak. So jingle your bells, and roast your chestnuts, ‘cause we’ve got you covered this holiday season!  With Love, The Zappos Customer Loyalty Team.  Zappos must love that customer who they just sent that e-mail to…

Thank you for coming in today! Is there anything else I can get for you? Oh!  You want some potting soil for those plants you’re buying?  We have some good fresh bags in the back; let me call somebody to bring one up for you. Less than a minute later, a gentleman walks up with the bag, and the customer checks out with a dozen plants, fresh soil, and some helpful advice on how to get things growing quickly. Nice experience at Myers Greenhouse.

These are all experiences that I’ve had, and you may have had similar experiences where companies seem to love their customers.

It’s the organization that is sincerely excited to see the customer, even if the customer is a puppy.  It’s the business that is not just sharing an update on an order, but they’re sending an e-mail that’s shows their excitement to serve and conveys the enthusiasm of what you’ll do with their merchandise.  And it’s an employee that freely gives advice and goes an extra step to quickly give the customer a little something extra.

So, who loves ya, baby? These organizations and their employees seemingly love their customers.  Why don’t we take a few tips from them with our enthusiasm, respect, advice, guidance, and appreciation.

Let your customers know who loves them.

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