Customer Service Tip of the Week

Bring Magic to Your Account Management - 1/19/21


One of our first sports-industry clients was the Orlando Magic.  They were a true leading-edge organization in the early 2000s when it came to dedicating resources to season ticket holder retention.  They didn’t make customer service, relationship-development, and renewals simply a function of the Sales department.  They broke it Read more

Customers Want Easy, but Easy is Difficult - 1/12/21


New employees go through days of training to learn products and services.  They have formal workshops to learn how to use their office applications, web functions, and whatever programs are specific to their department.  They test new technology, and they get quizzed on knowledge of policies.  This is hours Read more

Make 2021 the Year of Building Relationships - 1/5/21


I’ve been very fortunate over this company’s 20+ years in business to have great and long-lasting relationships with many clients, colleagues, business partners, and co-workers.  It’s a gift to be able to call on these individuals for advice or referrals or to be a sounding board.  And it’s just Read more

Bring Warmth During Winter - 12/29/20


Winter is upon us.  Now, winter can mean different things to different people in different regions, but just the word conjures up cold.  It conjures up visions of snow.  It conjures up feelings of wind and lack of warmth. Although some of us may like the cold at times of Read more

2020 Holiday Poem - 12/22/20


When in the role of customer service,We are wired to give and give.It’s built into our DNA.It’s simply the way we live. In order to give to others,We need to find ways to give them their fill.We need to pour empathy and openness into them.To serve, we need to have Read more

It’s NOT about the Cinnamon - 12/15/20


It was happening again.  Jessica had just handed the freshly made concoction to her coffee shop customer, and less than a minute later, the customer was in Jessica’s face, red as a beet, ranting and raving:  I specifically asked for extra cinnamon on top!  Does this look like extra Read more

Locke-in from the Start - 12/8/20


John Locke was a 17th century English philosopher, physician, and researcher.  He wrote many papers arguing particular points, oftentimes using reason and facts as the basis for his position.  He noted that many disagreements start because there is – in my words – a lack of real clarity about Read more

The End of the Tunnel - 12/1/20


Have you ever heard the expression:  There’s light at the end of the tunnel… In this COVID-era world, it sure does feel like the tunnel is long, doesn’t it?  It sure feels like this is not a light that we’ll be at in 2 seconds after the train goes another Read more

A Lesson in Gratitude - 11/24/20


Mr. Robinson went to the hardware store with his teenaged son, Steve.  Steve was starting his first woodworking project – building a small coffee table – and needed supplies.  As they walked the aisles, Mr. Robinson and Steve couldn’t find the exact type of wood they wanted, so Mr. Read more

Why Your Job is Important - 11/17/20


I was speaking with a client recently, and she was telling me about one of the classes delivered by their professional development team. Her description of the course reminded me of some client workshops we’ve conducted where a part of the outcome is having individual staff develop Personal Mission Read more

Locke-in from the Start – 12/8/20

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John Locke was a 17th century English philosopher, physician, and researcher.  He wrote many papers arguing particular points, oftentimes using reason and facts as the basis for his position.  He noted that many disagreements start because there is – in my words – a lack of real clarity about the topic of discussion.

He often liked to start discussions on some pertinent topic by defining key words.  In essence, his position was:  Let’s make sure we’re talking about the same thing before we start talking about it.

For those of us working in the customer service world, communication is the source of many issues, and disagreements are especially frustrating when we are miscommunicating about the topic itself.  Here are some examples of topics that the customer wants to discuss, topics that need to be defined first:

  • The customer can’t register.
    • Did they mean register or apply? Are they registering a device or an account or for a class?  Is it for them personally or a product they just bought?
  • The customer wants to talk about their account.
    • Is it really about the account, or is it a login issue to the online account? Is it something regarding an account or an order?  Is it about an e-mail they received about their account?  Is it something odd on a recent account statement?
  • The customer has a question about their property listing.
    • Is it some misinformation online regarding their property, or are they looking at a property assessment hardcopy? Is it about their property card online or how it’s noted in the MLS?
  • The season ticket holder has a question about payment plans.
    • Is it a true “payment plan,” or are they just asking about different ways to pay? Are they concerned with options, progress, terms, how to pay off, or how to cancel?

To avoid unnecessary conflicts and address needs and issues more quickly, ensure your definition matches the customer’s definition.

Locke in a common definition of the topic from the start.

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The End of the Tunnel – 12/1/20

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Have you ever heard the expression:  There’s light at the end of the tunnel…

In this COVID-era world, it sure does feel like the tunnel is long, doesn’t it?  It sure feels like this is not a light that we’ll be at in 2 seconds after the train goes another 200 yards.  But the fact of the matter is, when you’re in a tunnel and you see light, no matter how dim the light is, it shows that there is an opening.  It’s irrefutable that the closer you get to the end of the tunnel, the bigger the light appears, and the brighter the light shines.

Same is true for when we’re going through difficult times at work.  Whether we were furloughed, lost clients, lost jobs, gained responsibilities with no additional support, or had to work from home without the best equipment to do so, COVID-19 has created its own tunnels.  But the idea of the light at the end of the tunnel is the concept of hope.  And if we focus each day on our difficulties and challenges, sometimes we can lose sight of that which gives us hope.

I was working with a client recently, and we talked about the importance of having a long-term vision, of having a goal, of having some collective rallying point that we could all move toward together.  That gives us hope.

I was listening to a Ted Talk last week, and the speaker talked about the importance of leaders being servant leaders, and he described servant leadership through a definition of what service to others means.  An interesting point he had was that if we have vision of what tomorrow will look like, it helps us to get through today.  That gives us hope.

So, a suggestion or question or a challenge I have for you as you go through your own personal or professional tunnel is to identify:  What is your goal? What is your vision of a more pleasing or productive or joy-filled tomorrow?

Take time to write it down, because it’s much easier to see the light at the end of the tunnel if we figure out what “light” means to us.

Find your own light at the end of the tunnel.

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A Lesson in Gratitude – 11/24/20

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Mr. Robinson went to the hardware store with his teenaged son, Steve.  Steve was starting his first woodworking project – building a small coffee table – and needed supplies.  As they walked the aisles, Mr. Robinson and Steve couldn’t find the exact type of wood they wanted, so Mr. Robinson suggested that Steve ask an employee for help.  Steve found an employee walking by, asked for help, and got what he needed.

After the employee walked away, Mr. Robinson told Steve:  You did a good job talking with that gentleman.  Next time, though, thank the employee.

Steve:  Why should I thank the employee for doing his job?

The dad’s temperature started to rise.  It rose because this was his son talking, and why Steve was basically stating a truth, Mr. Robinson felt Steve was missing the bigger picture.

Mr. Robinson:  You thank them because they helped you, because we didn’t waste the next 30 minutes walking up and down every aisle, looking at every bin.  You thank them because – whether they were being paid or not – you show appreciation for others.

This was a teachable moment in the dad’s eyes.  You appreciate others.  Gratitude is not a light switch you just turn on when you’re an employee getting paid to answer a customer’s question, and otherwise turn it off.  Gratitude is an all-the-time thing, whether you’re an employee or a customer.

Mr. Robinson:  People have choices – whether to serve you or not, whether to do it with a good attitude or not, whether to listen to you and ask questions…or not.  You have a choice, too.  And I want you to see the importance of choosing to tell other people thanks.

Let’s make gratitude an all-the-time thing.

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