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

The Masked Singer is Your Customer – 10/27/20

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I cannot get into this show.  I have to admit it.  I’ve watched bits and pieces of it several times, but I just don’t totally get The Masked Singer, but it seems like it’s all the rage!  It seems like everybody wants to guess who is in that crazy outfit.  Who is the Penguin or the pterodactyl or the chicken?  I assume they have non-bird costumes as well, but those are the only types that come to mind…

The premise of The Masked Singer is that people are singing, and you can watch them sing and watch them move, but you don’t really know who they are.  These are all famous people, and there might be a hint or two as to who they are, but that’s where the show gets interesting and the guessing begins.

Just like we talked about the TV show The Voice a few weeks ago, there is something customer service-related about The Masked Singer.  While the singer’s voice may be part of the giveaway as to who this person really is, the movement of the person, their size, and their gait also give you a little bit of an indication of the individual.  

Similarly, in customer service, you can tell a lot about a person – or at least draw some preliminary expectations of the individual and their personality – based on tone of voice and based on body language.  When you watch The Masked Singer, you’re looking for these non-verbal cues to help you identify this person.

Whether it’s on a ZOOM customer service call or it’s a face-to-face interaction with the customer, you have that short period of time to assess the situation with that customer in front of you.  You have to quickly gauge their need and have some understanding of their emotion or the perspective that they’re bringing into the conversation.  And the way you do that is by looking at their body language and really trying to understand whether they’re patient or not, whether they’re agitated or not, whether they’re angry or happy or nervous or anxious.

When you’re in front of these customers in some face-to-face encounter, use some tools of the judges and the fans of The Masked Singer.  Take a moment to go beyond the words and read a little bit into what might be the emotional makeup or the mentality that customer is bringing into the conversation by analyzing their body language.  It may help you to handle the situation much more effectively.

Assess the body language when The Masked Singer is your customer.

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I Think I Think is Wrong – 10/20/20

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I think that’s not going to be feasible.  I think we can do that.  I think you’re on the right track.  Methinks thou dost protest too much.

Please forgive the Shakespearean reference, but it seems to fit well here.  When we are talking to co-workers and customers, and we’re giving our opinion or sharing some information or knowledge, the other person knows we’re speaking. The other person knows the news is coming from us.  However, many of us feel the need to put the phrase “I think” in front of a lot of what we say.  We feel the need to say something like “from my perspective” before we give our perspective.

And while it may be accurate wording, it’s often unnecessary.  And it’s not only unnecessary, but it can reduce the credibility of the statement, the strength of the word, and the confidence the customer has in what you’ve said.

Let’s repeat what’s at the top:  I think that’s not going to be feasible.  I think we can do that.  I think you’re on the right track.  Methinks thou dost protest too much.

Now compare without “I think” included:  That’s not going to be feasible.  We can do that.  You’re on the right track.  Thou dost protest too much.

The “I think” leaves doubt, and – if there’s no room for doubt – you’re creating uncertainty unnecessarily.  If you say I think that’s not going to be feasible, the other person could ask if you could check just to make sure.

If you say I think we can do that, then the customer may ask if they could talk with someone who can confirm whether it can be done.

If you say I think you’re on the right track, the customer may ask what they should do differently.

By creating doubt, you could be lengthening the conversation and creating more work for you or your co-workers.  You could be curtailing customer confidence when you want them to support your conclusion or suggestion.

If there is no doubt, eliminate “I think” to build customer confidence.

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Be Slowest, and Be the Best – Chick-fil-A – 10/13/20

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About one week ago, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution had an article that analyzed the results of a SeeLevel HX research engagement on the customer experience at fast food restaurants.  The results were seemingly contradictory.  The fast food chain with by far the overall best drive-thru experience was Chick-fil-A, and yet Chick-fil-A was by far the slowest drive-thru.  While the average drive-thru takes 5 minutes 57 seconds according to the study (from line entry to receipt of food), Chick-fil-A averaged 8 minutes and 9 seconds during the research.

So how can you be so slow and yet be considered the best?  Well for Chick-fil-A, one thing to keep in mind is that, on average, they had three times the number of customers in line as the other restaurants.  At the other restaurants, you’re behind 2-4 other cars when you arrive, and about every 1-2 minutes you move, but otherwise you’re sitting.  Also, when you pull in you’re usually near the ordering microphone, and you can see where people are receiving their food just ahead of you. It’s so close, yet it’s so far!!

At Chick-fil-A when you pull in, you’re often at the end of a “horseshoe” line on one side of the restaurant, and the customers receiving their food are on the other side.  There could be 10-15 or more cars ahead of you.  So even though you’re waiting 8 minutes, about every 30 to 45 seconds you’re moving forward – you feel like you’re making progress.  And when you can finally see the front of the line, you’re almost there!  All the while that you’re in line, you are being engaged by employees out in the parking lot who are taking your order, taking your payment, walking with you, and making sure that even the wait is a positive experience.

Even though you’re in line 2-2.5 minutes longer at Chick-fil-A, you’re moving more.  You’re engaged more.  And you’re having a better overall experience.

Yes, Chick-fil-A is considered the best for a lot of reasons from a customer service perspective, but one of the reasons is that even the waiting experience itself is actually far better than competitors.

Learn a little lesson from Chick-fil-A.  Find ways to be the best, even if you’re not the fastest.

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