Customer Service Tip of the Week

Assuming the Solution – The Great Time Waster - 12/3/19


Here are 3 customer service scenarios for a college IT department: A staff member calls in and says that they’re having trouble logging in.  The employee responds:  “I can reset your password for you.” A faculty member calls IT and says: “I need help showing a video during class Read more

Become a Best Practice - 11/26/19


When evaluating the service that our clients provide to their customers, we look at all sorts of things – from employee attitudes to knowledge, from service skills to procedures, systems, and technology.  We look at navigation to and within the facilities, and we look at layout and signage and Read more

Serve with Integrity - 11/19/19


I’ve been reading a book recently about a Charlotte-based service company, and the author of the book conveys the CEO’s perspective on management, culture, and serving customers. At the back of the book, the author noted the organization’s Core Values. They are honesty, integrity, fairness, and respect. I literally Read more

Bring Out the Best - 11/12/19


As a management consultant, oftentimes my job is to identify the key issues, determine the root causes, and provide solutions. We do a lot of strategy work, we conduct many research projects, and we train and train and train our clients. However, improvement usually involves pointing out what needs Read more

Know What You Don’t Know - 11/5/19


Twitter, Instagram, Facebook – yak, yak, yak.  In the social media world, there’s an awful lot of talk that goes on and a lot of opinions shared.  But sometimes those opinions are not based on any level of deep knowledge. Sometimes they are based on assumptions. In the world of Read more

Service, Sports, and Self-Control - 10/29/19


When I was growing up, I played a lot of golf. I practiced a lot, and I could score pretty well. However, when something went bad, when I hit a tee shot into the woods or dumped an iron shot into a lake, I would become unglued. Then every Read more

What it Means to Respect Someone’s Time - 10/22/19


Whether it is with a client when I realize that the meeting might go long, or possibly it’s in a workshop where I’m trying to end one conversation so we can move on to the next topic, there is a phrase I’ve used many times, and I mean it Read more

Be the Director of First Impressions - 10/15/19


Whether it’s in a hotel or in a coffee shop or a bank branch, first impressions mean a lot. First impressions mean “this is who we are” and “this is what you should expect.” First impressions mean “this is our definition of excellence” and “this is how much we Read more

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

Be Generous to a Fault – 8/20/19

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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 deeds he’s done, and, of course, his humility.

I give, give, give, never take – Radio personalities John Boy and Billy being facetious.

It’s a great thing to SINCERELY give to others, especially in the world of customer service, but it’s also good to be a giver with co-workers. It’s not only about your team winning, but it’s about your being a winning member of a team.

Generosity gives assistance rather than advice – French writer Vauvenargues.

Now we get to the meat of what giving and generosity mean, particularly in the workplace. If you want to be a great team member, be a giver. Be generous. But to do so, there are 2 key things to understand.

First, what are your gifts and resources – that which you have to give? Think about your experiences, who you know, what you know, your skills, your personal qualities, that inventory of abilities that are above the average. What is your level of compassion and caring, your energy and passion, your will to do a great job or to help others? Before you can give a gift, lose the humility for a few minutes, and write down the answers to these questions. Create a personal inventory of your own gifts.

Second, understand that generosity is more than advice – it’s assistance. There’s a difference between telling someone what they should do (or – worse yet – should have done) and actually assisting the other person. What experience or resource can you pull from to help them help themselves? What clear direction can you point them in for them to take? What way of communicating can you use to impart your true desire to help them? How can you go beyond “should-ing” on people or simply stating a fact (“That won’t work”) to being helpful…to assisting?

Be a member of a winning team by being a winning member of your team – be generous.

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Don’t Assume because… – 8/13/19

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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 replaced. Along with selling the new computer to me, the store did a data transfer from the old computer to the new computer over a weekend.

They assumed I didn’t want to check it in the store before I left, but I did. They assumed all the files were transferred from the older computer, but they weren’t. They assumed that my e-mail was setup through Exchange, but it wasn’t.

They made several other assumptions that led to mutual frustration and a negative end to what had (up to that point) been a positive experience. In this encounter, the employee was going down a path for me, and at each fork in the road she made an assumption (several times the wrong assumption), and she then had to backtrack.

Recently, CSS conducted mystery shops for a client, and this client was more concerned with asking questions than making assumptions.

They asked the shopper if we were a new business, and we were not new. They asked if we knew the URL to register for a particular beverage license, and we did not know. They asked whether we’d like to know the different ways we could submit the additional documentation needed, and we did want to know the options.

In this encounter, the employee was going down a path, and at each fork in the road, she asked the shopper a question to determine which direction to go next.

To provide a better customer experience, let the customer determine what to do at the fork in the road.

Don’t assume. Instead, ask.

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Patience Leads to Positivity – 8/6/19

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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 I’ve completed a process, when in reality I’ve only gotten through the first step. I hate coming to the end of the first step and finding that there’s a second step, getting to the end of the second step, and only then finding that there’s a third step. It would be so much better to just know all the steps, the entire timeframe, and what I need to do from the start to make all these steps go as smoothly and quickly as possible.

Again, I’m talking from the perspective of the customer. Whether it is talking to account representative about some new service or talking to the computer tech helping me deal with a blinking computer screen, I like to know the steps.

In these situations, I am asking a lot of questions, and things I appreciate most about a person are (1) The specific responses conveyed with knowledge and experience as well as (2) Patience.

Customer Frustrations
It bothers me to no end when I feel like the person is rushing through the conversation. It’s frustrating when they’re making the process sound like it’s not that big a deal; it probably isn’t a big deal to them since they’ve dealt with it 100 times, but it is a big deal to me, the customer. It’s frustrating when they talk fast or make statements unrelated to my need because they didn’t ask questions about what’s unique about my situation.

Avoiding their Frustrations
So, what is not frustrating? What is positive? Knowledge and experience conveyed in specific responses…and patience. When you’re dealing with somebody who’s about to go through a series of steps, convey these attributes.

Be patient. Think about your body language. Avoid interrupting. Breathe a few times to slow yourself down. Ask them questions to understand their situation so you don’t have to talk about the 5 different paths something might take if it’s obvious this process is going to go down 1 path for this 1 unique customer’s 1 situation.

Let your patience result in a positive customer experience.

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