Customer Service Tip of the Week

The Passive Predicament - 4/13/21


The employee is speaking to you.  Do they have that look in the eyes like they’re hanging on your every word, like they’re processing, interpreting, and getting ready to quickly respond to your key points and questions?  Or do they have the look of somebody in the 2nd hour Read more

Regain Lost Motivation - 4/6/21


For many of us over the last 12 months, our home has also become our workplace.  Our work interaction has been 2-dimensional through the computer screen as opposed to the 3-dimensional experiences we’re used to with co-workers and customers. We are all motivated in our own unique ways.  Some are Read more

The Answer is Right, but the Service is Wrong - 3/30/21


Maggie was irate.  The gift she ordered needed to be received by the 20th of the month so she could give it to her cousin for his birthday.  It was the 19th, and Maggie couldn’t find any shipping update online, so she called the company.  The employee said “Oh!  Read more

Question Everything, but What’s the Question? - 3/23/21


The new leader joins the organization, and she decides she wants to question everything.  She wants employees to question everything.  Why have we always done it this way? Why do we continue to do it that way? Is this the best way to work? Sometimes it’s a great management Read more

The Resourceful Rep - 3/16/21


One of our clients is seeking to develop Customer Service Standards.  We’re working with them to identify those key expectations of staff that will enable the organization to deliver a consistent high-level customer experience.  One of the key attributes that this organization is seeking from its team members is Read more

Be Proactive like a Pro - 3/9/21


We constantly work with clients, encouraging them to become more proactive with customers.  Don’t just be reactive, waiting for the customer to ask questions or to complain.  Instead, go to the customer, anticipate their needs, suggest something to them. But many of us, frankly, don’t know how to be proactive.  Read more

Find One Unique Thing - 3/2/21


Many of us are not in a position to develop long-term relationships with our customers.  Our encounters are often one-time only with a customer - very brief and likely to be our only time chatting with this individual. And even though there may not be a long-term professional relationship developed, Read more

Should I Stay or Should I Go? - 2/23/21


Should I stay or should I go?  That’s not just a classic song by The Clash.  It’s also the question customers ask more and more, especially during difficult economic times. A recent study in the Charlotte Business Journal noted that 50% of North Carolina businesses are concerned with how to Read more

Optimism – A Force for Good in Customer Service - 2/16/21


Will 2021 be a better year than 2020?  I have absolutely no idea.  Maybe it would be nice to see into the future and know for certain, but I can’t and I don’t.  But as I wade further and further into this year, I can hope that the water Read more

To Assure, Ensure You Do This - 2/9/21


Vince Lombardi – famous professional football coach – became a big hit on the speaker’s circuit during his time coaching.  He applied many of his principles in football and life to business, and one of his great business quotes is:  Confidence is contagious and so is lack of confidence, Read more

To Assure, Ensure You Do This – 2/9/21

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Vince Lombardi – famous professional football coach – became a big hit on the speaker’s circuit during his time coaching.  He applied many of his principles in football and life to business, and one of his great business quotes is:  Confidence is contagious and so is lack of confidence, and a customer will recognize both.

Whether the customer is anxious or not, you want them to feel confident in what you or your organization are going to do…confident in what you or your organization says.  You want to impart your confidence to them.

You want to assure them that issues will be resolved, orders will be filled, and needs will be met.  You want them to be confident, and their confidence benefits you.  The more confident they are, the fewer questions they’ll ask.  The more confident they are, the fewer times they’ll contact you for updates.  The more confident they are, the more patient they will be in gaining closure on the situation.

So how do you build confidence in the moment?  You need to assure them.  Assurance is about your being confident – with your words and tone and body language.  It’s about conveying positivity, and it’s about more than you simply telling them the outcome that will occur:

  • Show them the plan – the steps that will get them from Point A to Z.
  • Prove how many times you’ve helped customers in similar situations.
  • Tell a story of a recent success example – how someone in their position got the outcome they’re seeking.
  • Promise or guarantee or pledge what you’ll do next or how you’ll shepherd the situation through to a final positive outcome.

 
To build a customer’s confidence, convey your confidence, and assure them by helping them visualize the path to a positive solution.

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Let Your Goal Determine Your Question – 2/2/21

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In the early 2000s, when the economy hit the skids, companies realized that they couldn’t take their customers for granted.  They needed to ramp up customer service.  They needed to listen to the Voice of the Customer.

During the Great Recession in the 2008-10 timeframe, much of the “new marketing strategies” that developed were really a repackaging of customer relationship development and client retention and growth initiatives.

Fast forward to today, and largely due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the economy is taking a hit again.  Companies are trying to determine how to change their customer experience, but they – again – are having to retain the customers they have as they hope to navigate through these waters and be positioned for continued success down the road.

One consistent response to these economic downturns is that companies have refocused on the importance of listening to the customer.

When you listen to the Voice of the Customer, oftentimes that voice is being shared in response to your questions.  These might be questions when you’re dealing with a customer issue, but let’s think a little bit more strategically – consider the customer voice you hear through your research.  You may have questions that you typically ask in a customer survey or in a focus group, but try to avoid the typical.  Instead, let your goal determine your question.

For example, if an organizational goal is to retain customers, ask why they became a customer in the first place, what keeps them with your business, why they would consider leaving.

If your goal is growth with existing customers, ask them about their needs.  If those needs are not being met by your company, ask them how those needs are being addressed.  Inquire about their awareness of your other products and services.

If you want to differentiate your business by having an exceptional customer experience, ask customers how your experience compares to others.  Ask how they would define a “great customer experience.”  Ask them to give you an example of an organization or a situation that provided an exceptional experience.

In times like these, most organizations are holding on to customers as tight as they can, and most discerning customers realize that fact.

When you’re considering tapping into the Voice of the Customer to learn how to strengthen that relationship, discuss organizational goals before you ever discuss what research questions to ask customers.

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Excellence is Not Perfection, and that’s OK – 1/26/21

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Surveys have questions with ratings that range from Excellent to Poor.  We custom-design and deliver Service Excellence Training.  Tom Peters wrote the book “In Search of Excellence.”

But how do you define Excellence, particularly in customer service?  Let’s start with what Excellence is not.  Excellence is not something reflected in Customer Service Standards. Those Standards are typically the bare minimum expectation of every employee in every interaction.  If we are adhering to those Standards, we’re being consistent in the way of the organization, but we’re not necessarily being Excellent.

On the other side of the spectrum, Excellence is not perfection.  Perfection is something that is rarely if ever attained, and even then, perfection is usually defined through a result rather than through a perfect match of attitudes and actions throughout the entire process of getting to that result.

So, Excellence is not a bare minimum expectation, and Excellence is not perfection.  However, it is something as consistent as Standards but that continuously strives and reaches for what would be achieved in perfection.

Excellence is really reflected in Exceling through the process.

Oftentimes we don’t have control over the outcome because so many other factors are involved, but we have lots of control over how well we Excel going through the process.  We Excel when we are making decisions in the process for the right reasons with the right goals in mind.  We Excel when we take the action we need to take to reach the goal.  We Excel when we do things within the timeframe we need to do them to have the desired outcome.  We Excel when we bring an attitude that has the capabilities of drawing ourselves and others toward that goal.

Excellence does require a goal – something you’re trying to attain or achieve, something you’re trying to live into every day, something you’re trying to become.  However, when you think about how to achieve Excellence, don’t focus so much on the final achievement of some lofty goal.  When you think about Excellence, consider what you need to do in the process to give yourself and those around you the best chance to achieve that goal.

To Excel, first determine your goal; then identify what you can do to ensure that you have the decisions, actions, timeliness, and attitudes that give you the best chance of achieving that goal.

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