Customer Service Tip of the Week

When Jack Gave Arnie a Tip - 1/21/20


Jack Nicklaus may have been the greatest golfer ever.  Many think that Arnold Palmer was the most important golfer of the 20th century.  These two greats were contemporaries, so they became competitors and friends all at once.  And when somebody who is one of the greatest of all time Read more

Make it Abundantly Clear - 1/14/20


Becky was laying in her hospital bed and staring at the whiteboard on the wall.  It had a room number, the room’s phone number, and the date.  It had the pictures of the pain scale, with happy-to-sad faces and ratings from 0-10.  It noted when the last meds were Read more

Become the Wishing Well - 1/7/20


When you don’t know if the next step will solve the customer’s problem, give hope a chance.  If you’re not certain how things will progress on their project, give hope a chance.  If you want to end the conversation by having them feel positive, even if uncertain, give hope Read more

Why Silence is Golden - 12/31/19


In the world of customer service, to begin finding a resolution, sometimes we have to initiate conversation. To keep things moving forward, oftentimes we have to proactively engage in discussion.  To have effective dialogue, we need to avoid those long periods of dead silence. But don’t let those truths of Read more

2019 Holiday Poem - 12/24/19


There is joy absolutely everywhere, Sometimes you just need to look for it. There are birds and babies. There are flowers and sweet older ladies. You just have to look for them. People hold doors open for others, with smiles. There are days when you can see for miles. You just have to look for them. There Read more

Encourage the Customer - 12/17/19


Everybody sing with me:  Feelings, whoa whoa whoa, feelings… Excellent old song, and be thankful that I’m just writing the words and not singing to you.  While not all of us are comfortable with discussing feelings, feelings are an important part of the customer experience. No, you can’t make someone feel Read more

Hearing is Believing - 12/10/19


“I just want to be heard.” When I work with clients whose customers are the community, this is a phrase I’ve heard far too often from residents.  For retail businesses and other industries where there are many choices, often customers will take their business elsewhere instead of complaining.  But with Read more

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

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

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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 charges third parties who sell goods through its online marketplace as much as $5,000 per month to access its optional management-growth service, Jay Greene at The Washington Post reported on Tuesday. The service guarantees quick help from a real person, according to The Post, and deciding not to pay can have devastating effects on sellers’ businesses, especially in instances where quick customer support is required.

In this world of AI and technology, of smart phone customer service, and the world according to Google, people are willing to pay $5,000 per month to…talk to a real person!

Why? Because these dedicated representatives can “solve problems before they blow up.” Because true, personalized, useful service is compared to an experience where it’s “almost impossible to get support help from the mostly automated Amazon systems.” Because people provide value. Because having a dialogue and quick resolution with someone empathetic, smart, caring, and knowledgeable has value.

In other words, you have value – literally – to your customers. You may be in a role where you serve others, but your customer allows you to do so because they know your worth.

Studies decades ago used to quote that customers would spend 10% more for the same product with better service. Today, that metric is put on steroids in this $5,000/month dedicated customer service representative story.

But both metrics suggest the same thing – you, your team, and what you do have value. You have worth.

Know your own worth to the customer.

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

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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 clients well, on showing your accounts or patients or members that you value and care for them. And all that still holds true.

But I’d like to consider a different track as well this week. Best practices in customer service now focus on how culture drives customer service. It’s easier to be consistent in the service experience if your employees, your internal teams operate like a cohesive unit. They have the same goal, they communicate well, they treat each other the way you want them to treat customers.

It’s the internal culture that drives the external customer experience.

So, this week, consider ways to appreciate your co-worker. Show your team member that you value them as a person, as a peer, as a professional. Ask the person sitting next to you about themselves; find ways to be supportive of them. Strive to build relationships with those you work with every day so that you can better support those you work for every day.

Ask yourself: How can I be a better teammate? How can I build positive relationships with my co-workers?

Celebrate National Customer Service Week by celebrating each other.

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The Error of “Everyone” – 9/24/19

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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 how customers want to be good stewards of the environment, they want sustainable solutions, they want to protect pollinators like bees, and they want pesticides used with discretion.

While these statements on what customers want are not exactly the most controversial statements in the world, somebody reading this article could easily make the assumption that all customers want all of these things. When customers are making decisions about whether to buy a service from a particular company, their decision is based purely on this criteria. One could read the article and assume that these are the absolute priorities for EVERYONE.

This concept – that everyone wants A, B, or C, that nobody likes D, E, or F, that the priorities how I state them are everyone’s priorities – this is a concept that I can’t agree with as a customer service consultant.

When defining what all customers want in absolute terms, it’s a slippery slope. To deliver great customer service consistently, to retain and grow business with customers, we have to view each customer as unique. If we assume everyone wants A, B, or C, and nobody wants D, E, or F, we are making decisions based on incomplete information. We are not allowing the customer to complete our understanding of THEIR perspective, THEIR preference, THEIR priorities before we make OUR decisions.

And when we make those assumptions, we put our foot in our mouth, we go down the wrong path, we do for others what they wouldn’t do for themselves (sorry for all the clichés).

To deliver great service, view and treat each individual as unique. Avoid the Error of “Everyone.”

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