Customer Service Tip of the Week

Be SomeBODY to Your Customer - 12/18/18


Jenny lives on a farm, and she's often running errands to get things for the animals or the family. She goes to one particular store to get her hay, and she always chit-chats with the person at the register. Marie is always friendly and cordial, and Jenny always buys Read more

A Representative Success! - 12/11/18


I was in a meeting recently with a client, and it was interesting to chat with one of their best customer service representatives. This is an employee who works with the same business clients every month, and when she described what she does, best practices started flowing. She knows her Read more

Of Carly Simon and Corey Feldman - 12/4/18


Anticipation. It's a fine song by Carly Simon. She talks about how it (anticipation) is making her late, and it is keeping her waiting. The song is also the theme for the cheesy Corey Feldman 1970s Heinz Ketchup commercial. But that definition of “Anticipation” talks about the Read more

Use Customer Comments to Continuously Improve - 11/27/18


It’s that time of year when all good Americans due their duty – to purchase holiday gifts online. Okay, maybe it’s not as much a duty as it is a joy or chore, depending on your point-of-view. Before I purchase anything online, I seek out reviews. This may Read more

No Matter How You Say It, Say Thanks! - 11/20/18


Gracias. Grazie. Gratias tibi. Obrigado. Tack. Merci. Danke. Thank You. No matter how you say it, say it. Say Thank You. You can say Thank You in many different languages (shout out to Google Translate for what's written above!). You can say it Read more

Why to Become an Empathy Expert - 11/13/18


People who are great at customer service, understand that one of their most important attributes, one that is a must, is the ability to empathize with others. People want to be understood. They want to be heard. And before you can meet their need or address their feelings or Read more

Love is never having to say you’re sorry - 11/6/18


Love Story – great movie. Alli McGraw. Ryan O’Neal. And a surprisingly poor rating on Rotten Tomatoes – but I digress. The most famous line from the movie is “Love is never having to say you’re sorry…” Unfortunately, great customer service isn’t about love, per se. Read more

Words that Convey You Care - 10/30/18


Of course you care about your customer and your co-worker. You wouldn’t be reading these tips, trying to learn and improve, if you didn’t care. But sometimes that caring doesn't get translated based on the words that we may use. So, we're going to walk through 3 Read more

Execute at a High Level - 10/23/18


The football coach was in the midst of a season where his team had not won a game. After a recent loss, the head coach entered his press conference. One of the reporters asked a simple question: What do you think of your team’s execution? The head coach Read more

Be the Culture - 10/16/18


As a customer service consultant, I am often in situations with clients where we're trying to figure out how to deliver a better experience to the customer. It might be an effort undertaken to retain more clients and grow the top line. It may be an effort to streamline Read more

Love is never having to say you’re sorry – 11/6/18

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Love Story – great movie. Alli McGraw. Ryan O’Neal. And a surprisingly poor rating on Rotten Tomatoes – but I digress. The most famous line from the movie is “Love is never having to say you’re sorry…”

Unfortunately, great customer service isn’t about love, per se. Many customers want to hear “I’m sorry” before they can settle down, move on, and forgive/forget.

So how do you say I’m sorry?

The Terrible Transfer – Let’s say that you answer the phone, and the customer immediately tells you they’ve already been transferred 4 times. Consider saying “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. That’s not how we like to do things around here.” Then do the following; either: (A) Make sure you personally take care of the need, (B) Make a “warm” transfer once you identify the employee who can help and that they’re available, or (C) Offer to take their contact information and call them back with the answer.

The Technology Troubles – Let’s say that a customer is trying to understand how to use some technology platform your company provides or navigate your website, and they’re having issues. Consider saying: “I apologize for the difficulties in getting the system working.” You could then offer to walk them through the process on the phone, staying on the line until it works; you could offer to visit them to educate them on the process; you could also provide documentation on the key steps to getting their need addressed.

The Protracted Process – Maybe it’s a situation where a process is taking way too long (whether they want to get an application approved, get a meeting scheduled, get a return or request addressed). You could state: “Sorry that the process it taking longer than anticipated. I’ll personally make sure we get this addressed quickly.” After you’ve received details on the situation, take 2 approaches. First, immediately work on the issue and/or bring in someone to get the need addressed. Second, communicate actions to the customer while the process is in place (to manage expectations and keep them in-the-loop) and when the process is completed (to ensure they know the process was done and to confirm satisfaction).

Unfortunately, great customer service DOES MEAN that sometimes you have to say you’re sorry.

Handle apologies with aplomb.

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Words that Convey You Care – 10/30/18

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Of course you care about your customer and your co-worker. You wouldn’t be reading these tips, trying to learn and improve, if you didn’t care. But sometimes that caring doesn’t get translated based on the words that we may use. So, we’re going to walk through 3 different scenarios, and for each scenario we will suggest what NOT to say (Because it may convey that you’re indifferent), and we’ll offer alternatives on what TO say to convey you care.

SCENARIO 1: The customer requests something from you, and you’re not sure it can be done.

  • Don’t say “That probably won’t work.”
  • Tell them that “I HOPE we can help…” The word “hope” displays your desire to help. Then, explain how you’ll investigate their request.

SCENARIO 2: The customer requests that you personally do something, but it’s not your responsibility.

  • Don’t say “That’s not my job.”
  • Tell them “Let me get you in touch with the person who can best help you with that.” This response conveys you’ve taken ownership at least to the point of getting them in touch with the right person. You care enough to help them get their need met.

SCENARIO 3: You are asked to help with something that is a low priority to you (although it’s a “big deal” to the customer).

  • Don’t say “That’s not important” or “That just doesn’t matter” or “That’s a low priority” or “That’s not a big deal.”
  • Say “I understand that this is important to you. Let’s see what we can do.” You acknowledge – with your words – the importance to them. You are looking forward toward a solution.

Ensure your words don’t convey you’re indifferent. Use words that convey you care.

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Execute at a High Level – 10/23/18

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The football coach was in the midst of a season where his team had not won a game. After a recent loss, the head coach entered his press conference. One of the reporters asked a simple question: What do you think of your team’s execution?

The head coach replied, I’m in favor of it.

OK, now before we go too far, let’s define “execution” in customer service. Execution is the successful delivery of a procedure or application of a process. It is taking what is expected and documented and planned out, and then performing it as designed and at a high level.

Let’s think about that for a second. We’re talking about executing as taking action as somebody who serves others, works to retain clients, works to develop relationships with customers, works to grow business with those fans or accounts or guests. We’re not just talking about implementing a procedure.

The way I’m defining execution goes beyond the basics. It’s not just doing steps A & B – what you have to do – but it’s doing them responsively and quickly and accurately and timely. It’s not just saying what we are to say and taking the action we are to take. It’s doing it in a way that conveys to the other person that they are more important than this procedure that we are enacting. They are being cared for through a process but by an interested and empathetic team member.

The next time you utilize a procedure for a customer or work through a process for a client, think about how you can execute the actions at a high level. Consider how to make that customer feel the caring you have for them and their situation as you still follow the appropriate steps. Make execution a good thing in customer service.

Execute at a High Level.

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