Customer Service Tip of the Week

Know the Customer’s Value Proposition - 2/12/19


I’ve written about how it’s important to build up your co-workers when talking to customers. When the nurse is getting ready to send the patient down to radiology, she lets the patient know what great work and great care that the radiology tech provides. When the teller contacts a Read more

Paint a Picture, Take a Picture - 2/5/19


Many of us are visual learners. In order for us to understand the concept, we need to be able to see the concept illustrated. And by seeing the concept illustrated, I’m not just talking about taking something that somebody says and merely typing it into an email. I don’t Read more

Recipe for Reputation Rehab - 1/29/19


As another corporation is trying to recover from self-inflicted reputation wounds, it is seeking to get back in the good graces of consumers. It’s laying out a 6-point plan to improve its performance, but – in the end – publicizing this plan is also about rehabilitating its reputation. Read more

Don’t Dwell on the Customer Crazies - 1/22/19


Whether or not you’re a fan of Duke University basketball, you may have heard of the “Cameron Crazies.” This is a nickname for Duke fans that attend home games in Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium. One of my friends was one of those Cameron Crazies. He was Read more

Retain through Responsiveness - 1/15/19


In a recent Bloomberg article about online retailers, there’s a story about a women’s cosmetics customer who used an online app to order some items. She waited weeks for the delivery after it was shipped to the wrong address, and she had great difficulty in getting the issue resolved. Read more

Bring Something Extra to the Table - 1/8/19


As somebody who has customer service as a part of their role and responsibilities, you are often talking to customers who could access the answers to their questions or the solutions to their problems via a website or some social media resource. But instead of going to those communication Read more

How to Have a Truly HAPPY New Year - 1/1/19


Don’t worry. After today, I will get away from my holiday-themed tips, but for now, let me ask you a question. What would be a good way to have a truly HAPPY New Year? Is it lowering expectations so that everything exceeds your expectations? Is Read more

2018 Holiday Poem - 12/25/18


Annually I write a note at this time of year, And the goal not once but every time is to bring you some cheer. I try to encourage, And I work to state the truth Because as we continue to grow more “wise,” We can’t lose sight of the joys of youth. So this year Read more

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

Words that Convey You Care – 10/30/18

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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 different scenarios, and for each scenario we will suggest what NOT to say (Because it may convey that you’re indifferent), and we’ll offer alternatives on what TO say to convey you care.

SCENARIO 1: The customer requests something from you, and you’re not sure it can be done.

  • Don’t say “That probably won’t work.”
  • Tell them that “I HOPE we can help…” The word “hope” displays your desire to help. Then, explain how you’ll investigate their request.

SCENARIO 2: The customer requests that you personally do something, but it’s not your responsibility.

  • Don’t say “That’s not my job.”
  • Tell them “Let me get you in touch with the person who can best help you with that.” This response conveys you’ve taken ownership at least to the point of getting them in touch with the right person. You care enough to help them get their need met.

SCENARIO 3: You are asked to help with something that is a low priority to you (although it’s a “big deal” to the customer).

  • Don’t say “That’s not important” or “That just doesn’t matter” or “That’s a low priority” or “That’s not a big deal.”
  • Say “I understand that this is important to you. Let’s see what we can do.” You acknowledge – with your words – the importance to them. You are looking forward toward a solution.

Ensure your words don’t convey you’re indifferent. Use words that convey you care.

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Execute at a High Level – 10/23/18

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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 replied, I’m in favor of it.

OK, now before we go too far, let’s define “execution” in customer service. Execution is the successful delivery of a procedure or application of a process. It is taking what is expected and documented and planned out, and then performing it as designed and at a high level.

Let’s think about that for a second. We’re talking about executing as taking action as somebody who serves others, works to retain clients, works to develop relationships with customers, works to grow business with those fans or accounts or guests. We’re not just talking about implementing a procedure.

The way I’m defining execution goes beyond the basics. It’s not just doing steps A & B – what you have to do – but it’s doing them responsively and quickly and accurately and timely. It’s not just saying what we are to say and taking the action we are to take. It’s doing it in a way that conveys to the other person that they are more important than this procedure that we are enacting. They are being cared for through a process but by an interested and empathetic team member.

The next time you utilize a procedure for a customer or work through a process for a client, think about how you can execute the actions at a high level. Consider how to make that customer feel the caring you have for them and their situation as you still follow the appropriate steps. Make execution a good thing in customer service.

Execute at a High Level.

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Be the Culture – 10/16/18

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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 operations to serve the customer more efficiently or consistently. It may be an effort to improve quality.

But underpinning any kind of a process redesign or strategy initiative has to be an understanding that the employees are what make those redesigns or initiatives work. The employees are the ones who are implementing those designs. Employees are the ones who are delivering the service or resolving the issue.

So, how the organization sets expectations with staff, trains staff, rewards and holds staff accountable, and models behaviors to staff – in the end – drives staff performance. While many staff are self-motivated, in any organization, employees who are there for any length of time are going to be impacted by that organization’s culture.

And when I say the organization, I’m not talking purely about leadership. How employees treat each other, how they engage with one another, how they do or do not work as a team, how they show appreciation, how responsive and respectful they are to each other has a huge impact on the attitudes and actions of those co-workers.

To deliver a great customer experience, realize that that delivery is happening through you and your co-workers. Make sure you’re creating the kind of culture for those you work with that you hope the organization is creating for everyone.

Be the culture that you desire for your organization.

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