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

Bank on Higher Level Service – 9/25/18

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In the recent Bloomberg article “Some banks are giving tellers more to do and better pay,” a Goldman Sachs survey is highlighted. It notes how more and more people are going to digital means to find answers to questions through self-service, and then they go to tellers or a branch if they can’t find the answer. Essentially, the article talks about how so many of the more common questions and inquiries are addressed without ever going to a human being.

So, what does this mean for the frontline staff?

Employees Deal with More Complexity
It means that when staff get questions, those questions are typically more complex. Therefore, they need to be well-versed in higher-level issues and challenges and with software applications that might not have anything to do with their own business. Maybe it’s a Venmo request, but they’re calling a bank that has nothing directly to do with Venmo. Maybe it’s a PayPal question, but their bank has no formal relationship with PayPal.

Customers Already Invested Time
Another consideration is that, if the customer didn’t find the answer to their question via the self-service methods, then they’ve already gone through a process and spent time on an issue before they ever get to a person. Therefore, they have already invested time and energy, and their patience may be waning. There may be more of a sense of urgency in their request.

Customers are Frustrated with the Lack of Results
Third, since they attempted to do this on their own and they could not, they might have a greater likelihood of being frustrated when the conversation starts. They’ve already made the attempt and not found the answer. So these frontline employees are being asked higher-level questions about other sources of information or other services that might not relate directly to their company. They are dealing with customers who have already invested time and energy, dealing with customers who may be frustrated with the lack of results from that expenditure of time and energy.

When you’re on the phone with the caller today as opposed to even 10 years ago, make sure you’re aware of those other features and functions and sources of information that your customer may go to first. Make sure you know the higher-level answers and have the patience to deal with folks who might have a sense of urgency because they’ve already spent time looking elsewhere. And make sure you understand that people might be upset with something that has nothing to do with you – maybe it’s a lack of an answer from another source – but now they’re not only coming to you with a higher-level need, they’re coming to you with a little bit of frustration as well.

In this digital world, have a sense for what the customer has gone through as a part of even getting you on the phone, because oftentimes you’re not the first source; yet, you’re dealing with a customer and the emotional baggage that their encounter with that first source left behind.

Bank on Higher Level Service.

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Relate – 9/18/18

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People tend to be drawn to people that they can relate to in life. Steph Curry is not 6 feet 8 inches and 260 pounds, built like granite. He’s about 6 foot 3 inches, but on a basketball court he looks kind of like a guy who you might work with or someone you might see grabbing a burger in a low-key restaurant. He is the most popular basketball player in the WORLD among Millennials, and people can relate to him.

When we are interacting with a customer or a co-worker, it’s not necessarily our goal for that other person to like us. We can’t control their feelings or their perspectives, but it often helps the tone of the conversation, the dialogue, the flow, the patience the other person exhibits if they feel like they can relate to you.

If they are booking a trip, and you have gone to that location before, that’s a point of relating. If they are walking their dogs in the home improvement store and you enjoy pets, that’s a point of relating. If they call you on the phone and you recognize the area code as something familiar, that’s a point of relating. If they talk about their kids or their cat or their home or what excites them or their concerns, those are all points of relating.

Now here’s the key. Address those points of relating in the conversation with the customer. Don’t just notice the location of the trip or the dog or the area code; bring it up in conversation. Don’t just let that comment about the kids or the cat or the home or what excites them pass you by. Bring it up in the conversation. Don’t let those little commonalities of life pass by like a stranger on the street. Take the time to highlight them, and take the time to relate to the other person.

It creates a different tone. It can make the encounter more enjoyable. It may even engender a little bit of goodwill and patience.

Relate.

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Dealing with the Issue of Blaming – 9/11/18

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He who cannot dance claims the floor is uneven.

A bad workman blames his tools.

Blame is like the lightning; it hits the highest.

Let’s talk about blame. Often in the world of customer service, we are responding to an issue or a complaint, and usually there is a cause for that complaint. Highlighting the cause, if done incorrectly, often includes blame. But we need to understand what blame does and does not do.

Blame does not move someone closer to a resolution. Blame does not build rapport and relationships. Blame does not keep the issue from arising again. Blame does not keep the conversation in an even and professional tone. Blame does not allow for acceptance of personal responsibility by the “blamer.”

Instead, blame can be like the lightning. It can cause the damage. It can make a loud noise. It can create an adversarial situation or adversaries. It can cause us to look at others or at other things to identify what they did wrong instead of looking at ourselves for what we could do differently next time.

In other words, blame doesn’t really get us anywhere. And when you are in a difficult situation with a customer or a coworker, you need to get SOMEWHERE. You need to find some common ground. You need to figure out how to move forward. You need to find some kind of a solution or some kind of a way to a next step. You need to figure out how to maintain or build a relationship.

When dealing with difficulties with others, avoid blame. Don’t blame the tools or the dance floor.

Look for positive and productive ways to move forward.

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