Customer Service Tip of the Week

People will Pay for Customer Service - 10/8/19


Sometimes all you need to read is the first paragraph in an article. Here’s the title from Business Insider: Amazon charges sellers as much as $5,000 a month for customer service if they want a guarantee that they'll be able to talk to a real person. The first paragraph reads: Amazon Read more

New Ways to Celebrate National Customer Service Week - 10/1/19


The week of October 7 is National Customer Service Week. No, this wasn’t another holiday invented by Hallmark, so you have to go to work. Hopefully that’s the good news! This week is typically thought of as a time to rejuvenate relationships with customers, to refocus your efforts on treating Read more

The Error of “Everyone” - 9/24/19


A recent article in The Charlotte Observer got me thinking about a concept, a premise that is suggested all too often in society. First, the article: The story was about lawn care, and some of the people quoted in the article talked about what customers want today. They noted Read more

Between Texting and Thoreau - 9/17/19


The more people that enter the business world having grown up texting, the more the quality of business communications drops. A typical text between friends is rarely what anybody in business would call a professionally-written document. There’s nothing wrong with that, because texting is typically informal dialogue between friends. Read more

I want to be an Astronaut - 9/10/19


When I was young, if a child was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, the answers were often a fireman, a Pro Football player, a teacher, somebody who got to drive a truck, or an astronaut. Maybe the question is still asked today, and, if Read more

Don’t Mistake Kindness - 9/3/19


I have a friend who does a lot of things for a lot of other people. He sometimes has a hard time saying “no,” and he really works hard to try to be kind to others. But occasionally some of those for whom he does good works will ask Read more

Do Anything, but Not Everything - 8/27/19


We work with a lot of educational organizations, but this Tip of the Week applies to virtually any kind of business that has repeat customers. To deliver great service, be willing to go above and beyond, do virtually anything for the customer. But in the world of colleges and Read more

Be Generous to a Fault - 8/20/19


People who think they’re generous to a fault usually think that’s their only fault – American Journalist Sydney Harris. This quote reminds me of someone who views themselves as a giver – someone who is so humble that he likes to humbly tell everyone of the gifts he’s given, good Read more

Don’t Assume because... - 8/13/19


You've probably heard this statement growing up. Your parents said, “Don’t assume, because it makes…you look bad.” Or something like that… Recently my laptop screen died, and since it was an older laptop, I decided to go ahead and buy a new one instead of paying to have the screen Read more

Patience Leads to Positivity - 8/6/19


Thank you for your patience. That’s a statement I enjoy saying…when I am the customer. When I’m trying to learn something and I’m about to go into a process, I want to have a feel for what the whole process involves. Over the years, I’ve gotten tired of feeling like Read more

Libby Listened to Serve – 7/16/19

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Libby was new to her role with the organization. She had never been a customer service representative in a call center before, but she was hired because of her attitude. She wanted to learn, enjoyed working with people, and could carry on a conversation with a wall.

After going through her training on the computer and phone systems, she began to work in the live environment. Day after day she took the calls from the customers, answering their questions and handling their complaints. As her supervisor would monitor her production on the phone, he noticed an alarming statistic. Her average call length was about 30 seconds longer than the organization’s target.

The supervisor needed to know why this was happening. He knew that she was a good conversationalist based on their employee meetings and her initial interviews with the company. Maybe she was talking way too much.

So he began auditing her calls, listening in for long periods of time during the day. Suddenly, several things became obvious. First, she surely was not a big talker. She had a friendly tone when she did talk, but she was actually quite quiet. Then the supervisor noted when she did talk that she would either affirm something the customer was saying or she’d ask a question. Then he realized that she was resolving their issue herself, or getting the most appropriate answer herself to the question on that one call. There would be no need for that customer to call back on that topic again. This was First Call Resolution at its best.

Then he realized her secret. She was a great listener. The customers loved talking with her, they got their items addressed, and they felt that someone cared about them. And at the same time, she didn’t talk too much, and she addressed their topics on the spot. There would be no repeat calls on the same topics from Libby’s customers.

The supervisor was so pleased with what he found that he redesigned their call-handling procedures to focus on effective listening techniques. He focused on owning the customer’s satisfaction. And he focused on using effective questioning techniques to resolve issues on the first call.

The volume of calls dropped because of the resolution, customer satisfaction soared, and employee morale grew. All because they learned how to listen.

Listen to your customers and your employees to serve them better.

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Chris Got Noticed for All the Right Reasons – 7/9/19

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Chris was working through a temporary agency, and he got a job at a warehouse. He was packaging items to be shipped out, and his shift didn’t start until 7:30 a.m. Chris always got there a little bit early because of the bus schedule, and he hated just sitting around; so he would pick up a broom and sweep the break room. He would take some Windex and clean off the tables. Occasionally he would mop up the floor or use elbow grease on some countertops.

He was doing all this while he was waiting to do the job he was getting paid to do.

One of the managers noticed him cleaning before his work started, and he asked about Chris’ background. Chris had a lot of experience in custodial services, and the manager and his peers were impressed with his initiative and the quality of his work. He moved into a role with the custodial staff and eventually became full-time.

The owner of the company noticed how the windows in the front lobby were clearer than they had been in years, and he asked around as to how that was happening. The lobby staff mentioned how they had noticed Chris working extra hard on the front windows. The owner called Chris into his office, and he just thanked Chris for the quality of the work and for making the lobby look so bright for the first time in years.

A lady who worked in the facility who had never met Chris before had noticed Chris working out in the 95 degree heat, cleaning signs and sweeping off the front entrance. He was obviously working hard to make the place look good not only inside but outside as well. The lady had never officially met Chris before, but she bought a soda and brought it to him, telling him how she noticed how hard he was working out in the heat.

Sometimes being a great team member means seeing something that needs to be done and just doing it. Sometimes it means making your company look better to others. Sometimes it means having a great work ethic and caring about your company. And sometimes it results in getting noticed – getting noticed for all the right things.

People were watching Chris, and that was a good thing.

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What Does “No News” Mean? Here’s a Quick Story – 7/2/19

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Steven was trying to make the purchase of his new used car official, so he could get license tags for his State. In order for the State to allow him to put the vehicle in his name, he had to submit paperwork to prove that the prior owner (from another State) had passed away since the owner’s children were selling the car. Steven put together 13 pages of documents including a copy of the death certificate, and he sent them off to the State.

Three days passed, and he didn’t hear anything. Seven days passed, and he didn’t hear anything. Two weeks passed, and…well, you get the picture.

With Steven’s patience gone and his concern heightened because he was driving the car around when it wasn’t in his name, he called the State.

Their response: “Yes, we received the fax, but we didn’t get the death certificate. So, we denied it.”

Steven: “Why didn’t you tell me that you didn’t get the death certificate? Why didn’t you let me know you denied it?”

The State: “Well, we tell customers it will be approved in 3-5 days, so we assumed that you’d figure it was denied if you didn’t hear from us in 3-5 days.”

Yes – that was really the response. Essentially what they said was – We didn’t contact you to tell you there was an issue because we figured you would realize that there was an issue if we didn’t contact you to tell you there was an issue.

Some customer service is so bad, you can’t make this stuff up.

It’s vital to proactively and promptly tell customers when there’s a problem, when there’s an issue, when more information is needed, when there’s a denial or cancellation.

You’ve probably heard the old saying that “No news is good news.” But in this case, “no news” was bad news, and it turned into a bad experience.

Never assume that the customer knows what “no news” means.

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