Customer Service Tip of the Week

People will Pay for Customer Service - 10/8/19


Sometimes all you need to read is the first paragraph in an article. Here’s the title from Business Insider: Amazon charges sellers as much as $5,000 a month for customer service if they want a guarantee that they'll be able to talk to a real person. The first paragraph reads: Amazon Read more

New Ways to Celebrate National Customer Service Week - 10/1/19


The week of October 7 is National Customer Service Week. No, this wasn’t another holiday invented by Hallmark, so you have to go to work. Hopefully that’s the good news! This week is typically thought of as a time to rejuvenate relationships with customers, to refocus your efforts on treating Read more

The Error of “Everyone” - 9/24/19


A recent article in The Charlotte Observer got me thinking about a concept, a premise that is suggested all too often in society. First, the article: The story was about lawn care, and some of the people quoted in the article talked about what customers want today. They noted Read more

Between Texting and Thoreau - 9/17/19


The more people that enter the business world having grown up texting, the more the quality of business communications drops. A typical text between friends is rarely what anybody in business would call a professionally-written document. There’s nothing wrong with that, because texting is typically informal dialogue between friends. Read more

I want to be an Astronaut - 9/10/19


When I was young, if a child was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, the answers were often a fireman, a Pro Football player, a teacher, somebody who got to drive a truck, or an astronaut. Maybe the question is still asked today, and, if Read more

Don’t Mistake Kindness - 9/3/19


I have a friend who does a lot of things for a lot of other people. He sometimes has a hard time saying “no,” and he really works hard to try to be kind to others. But occasionally some of those for whom he does good works will ask Read more

Do Anything, but Not Everything - 8/27/19


We work with a lot of educational organizations, but this Tip of the Week applies to virtually any kind of business that has repeat customers. To deliver great service, be willing to go above and beyond, do virtually anything for the customer. But in the world of colleges and Read more

Be Generous to a Fault - 8/20/19


People who think they’re generous to a fault usually think that’s their only fault – American Journalist Sydney Harris. This quote reminds me of someone who views themselves as a giver – someone who is so humble that he likes to humbly tell everyone of the gifts he’s given, good Read more

Don’t Assume because... - 8/13/19


You've probably heard this statement growing up. Your parents said, “Don’t assume, because it makes…you look bad.” Or something like that… Recently my laptop screen died, and since it was an older laptop, I decided to go ahead and buy a new one instead of paying to have the screen Read more

Patience Leads to Positivity - 8/6/19


Thank you for your patience. That’s a statement I enjoy saying…when I am the customer. When I’m trying to learn something and I’m about to go into a process, I want to have a feel for what the whole process involves. Over the years, I’ve gotten tired of feeling like Read more

Between Texting and Thoreau – 9/17/19

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The more people that enter the business world having grown up texting, the more the quality of business communications drops. A typical text between friends is rarely what anybody in business would call a professionally-written document. There’s nothing wrong with that, because texting is typically informal dialogue between friends. However, when something is put in writing in an e-mail, it needs to be considered a professional business document.

Now let’s not go overboard and think that e-mails need to be the work of a poet. This should not be Henry David Thoreau waxing poetic about Walden Pond. There is a middle ground, however, between texting and Thoreau. When composing a professional business message in the world of customer service, use these guidelines.

Personalize – Use the other person’s name, and use your name as well. Have enough informality so that they feel like you were talking to them individually and addressing their situation more personally. Use the names to establish a little bit of rapport in the sense that you are viewing them as unique.

Empathize – We’ve often said that emotions and e-mails don’t mix well, so to do your best to try to convey your understanding, at least use a little bit of empathetic wording. Use the word understand, use the word unfortunately when you have to give bad news, use the phrase I could only imagine… when addressing their frustrations.

Synthesize – This is where avoiding Thoreau is a really good thing. In e-mails, people want the message quickly; they don’t want to feel they’re reading a book. In 1 minute, can you tell them the main point that you’re making, convey next steps, share timeframes, and note who’s doing what?

In order to communicate effectively and in a professional manner via e-mail, find a happy medium between texting and Thoreau.

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I want to be an Astronaut – 9/10/19

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When I was young, if a child was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, the answers were often a fireman, a Pro Football player, a teacher, somebody who got to drive a truck, or an astronaut. Maybe the question is still asked today, and, if so, I’m not sure how similar or different the answers may be from my childhood experiences. But when the question is asked, the child is basically stating what he or she wants to become. It is sharing their vision of their future.

And once a child – or anyone of us for that matter – identifies a vision, then we can start charting the course to get there. It makes no sense to chart a course to nowhere.

It’s the same thing in the world of business and in the world of customer service. We need to start with the vision.

What do we want to become or achieve as an organization or as an individual? What is our vision for the great customer experience that we’re going to deliver to our clients, and is that their vision as well?

If the vision for the great customer experience is going to help us to achieve our overall vision, then the next step is to ask: What’s our vision for the desired culture? In theory, the culture of an organization is set up to help the organization succeed, so that culture should help to deliver a great experience, it should help to deliver on the organization’s vision!

And what is culture? It is how we do things around here. It’s how we talk to each other, how we work together, how we make decisions together, how we serve each other and serve others together.

Take a few minutes individually or as an organization and just pause. Make sure that you have a clearly articulated vision. Then work back to make sure that you know what your role is and what you need to be in order to move yourself and your organization toward that vision.

Envision the future to become the future.

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Don’t Mistake Kindness – 9/3/19

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I have a friend who does a lot of things for a lot of other people. He sometimes has a hard time saying “no,” and he really works hard to try to be kind to others. But occasionally some of those for whom he does good works will ask him to do things that they can do themselves. Sometimes they will ask him to do some work at their house in the late afternoon or evening for a couple hours after he’s already worked a full day at his own job.

At times like this, he occasionally vents to me, and the phrase he uses is “Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness.” His point is that – just because I’m good to you and kind and courteous, doesn’t mean I’m a weak person.

I agree with that statement wholeheartedly! For those of us in customer service, we try to be kind to others. We try to be helpful to others. We are in the business of serving others, so we want to do what will help the customer or the co-worker. That being kind and considerate and courteous has nothing to do with weakness. Being selfless or caring or compassionate should not suggest to people that they can take advantage or walk over us.

It’s a personal and professional strength to be empathetic enough to understand others. It is a strength to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous complaints and unrealistic expectations and irrational actions of others, and to be able to handle it in a professional way that moves that conversation along, gets to a resolution, and creates some closure.

It takes a strong person to succeed in service.

So, don’t view your positive and selfless and kind qualities as a weakness, because if you view it as a weakness, you know that the other person will view it as a weakness. Realize that it’s your strength, and it’s not an excuse to allow others to take advantage of your good nature or your good deeds.

Don’t allow others to mistake your kindness for weakness. Believe in the strength that you have to be good and do good for others.

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