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

6 Actions for Attitude Adjustments – 2/18/20

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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 of indifference toward promises I made to others. Sure, I’m having a good day, but that negative political link on the internet sure looks interesting.  I really enjoy my customers, but all I can think about is this frustrating computer system that I have to deal with every day.

We may want to be optimistic or have a great attitude, but there are challenges and obstacles and negativity around us.  Our attitude is a decision we make, and it is reflected in how we go through the day, how we respond and react to others, in what we do and what we decide not to do.

So, if Attitude is Everything, how do you maintain the best attitude possible?

What we’re talking about here is how we’re wired, our mindset.  The attitude we employ is based on who we are, how we talk to ourselves, and what we view as our purpose.  Granted, it has many obstacles.  It is a sum total of every day we’ve lived, it is affected by the challenges we face during the day, and it has the worries that we think about what could happen tomorrow.

While I don’t have that silver bullet answer that will help you win the battle over your attitude every day – trying to make it positive/optimistic – here are 6 actions that I take to get my mind right:

  • I read something positive when I wake up in the morning, and I read something positive when I go to bed at night.
  • I avoid information sources or articles that have no bearing on my work or my life, but which have an obvious negative tone or slant.
  • I tend to gravitate toward people who seem more positive and who seem to share my values, and I try to reduce the amount of time I have to engage with those who are perennially negative.
  • I try to empathize and understand others who may be different or negative or complaining, because in that understanding my negativity toward their attitude tends to go away.
  • Many times throughout the day, I give thanks or celebrate small successes, even if it’s a success only I experience.
  • And as I’ve mentioned a couple times in these tips over the years, at the end of a work day, I total up a list that I create through the day of successes, and I just read it back to myself. It is too easy to forget all the successes when you’re in the midst of just trying to get 100 things done during the course of a day.

So much of how our lives turn out is based on the attitude we bring in. It’s easier for some than others to have that kind of attitude that will help us to live out our purpose and to engage others positively.

But whether it is easy or hard for you, be intentional about filling yourself up with the kind of things that bring out the attitude in yourself that you’d love to see in others.

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A Hair-Cut Above…and Below – 2/11/20

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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 my barber’s preferred banter with his co-workers.  The cuts were becoming less consistent, and his price kept inching up; the last price increase was just for his customers – they weren’t changing the posted pricing or the pricing of the other hair stylists, so that was equally confusing and troubling.

So it’s the 21st Century, right?  Therefore, I decided to try one of the more modern shops where you sign-in online.  Four times I went to the new shop, I had 4 different stylists with 4 different approaches to how to cut the hair.  The experience (other than signing in the same way, going to the same facility, and paying the same way) was different each time.  Each stylist had their own style of engagement (or lack of engagement), and the inconsistency in quality and connection was too much.  I decided to leave.

Enter Shop #3.  On my first visit, they asked me questions about my style preferences and about me in general; they took some notes, described the process of working with them, and did what they said they’d do.  The stylist had a great attitude, and overall it was a good experience.

I went back a second time; the notes from the first cut were there – the stylist confirmed the information, and I had an equally good experience and a very similar approach to the cut.

There are several little nuggets to mine from this story.  Here are just a few…

Don’t drop the quality and hike the price.  Inconsistency leads to customer loss.  The process can be the same, but the experience can be totally different.  Make the customer feel more important than your co-worker.  Don’t make your customer drive the conversation.  If the customer tells you something, don’t make them repeat it next time – just confirm whether the circumstances are the same.

Make sure your customer experience is consistently a cut-above!

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

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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 thing that can bring a tear to my eye.

Walking into a fast food restaurant, I stood back from the cashiers to determine what I wanted.  After deciding, I walked to the counter and the two cashiers, both of which were available.  This is how the conversation started:

  • Cashier #1:  “Can I help…oh, she’ll take your order.”
  • Cashier #2:  “No, she’ll take your order.”
  • Cashier #1:  “No, she’ll take your order.”
  • Cashier #2:  “No…well, okay.  What would you like?”

 

This dialogue would have been very flattering had they substituted “I” for “she,” but the conversation made it obvious that, even though neither was doing anything, they’d prefer continuing to do nothing rather than help me buy their product.

Sometimes we complain about how many companies and many employees are more task-focused than customer-focused.  But this company was more focused on inaction than action.  While we desperately hope this experience is a rarity in your business, there are things to learn from the interaction that can help any business succeed.

First, hire people with not only the attitude of wanting to help others but also the energy to act on those impulses.  Next, come up with a mantra that promotes productivity.  One restaurant tells its staff to remember during slow times that “if you’re leaning (against the wall) you should be cleaning.”  Finally, create a proactive work environment.  The more reactive a culture is, the more likely they are to be passive when there’s not a fire to fight.  Proactive cultures promote the seeking of action and progress.

Work to create an atmosphere of “I’ll take your order.”

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