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

Build Your Customer’s Confidence by Building Yourself Up – 10/9/18

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I want you to have an ego, just for a minute. I want you to brag on yourself, just for a few seconds. I want you to lose the humility, just for a little while.

Sometimes you’re dealing with a customer or co-worker that is conveying some emotions that are tough to deal with, and those emotions are not always anger and upset. Sometimes those emotions are anxiety and nervousness. They’re worried about what MIGHT happen. They are worried about what the ramifications COULD be. They’re worried about something in the future, something unknown to them.

When dealing with this emotion, sometimes it’s beneficial to talk about yourself or your organization.

After hearing the concern from the customer, restate it back to them, telling them the details you know about their situation. This way, they realize they’re not a number to you. This way, they realize that the facts and the uniqueness of their situation are important to you. This gives them a little sense of comfort that you care enough about them to know about them.

But the next step is actually about YOU. Remember, they have anxiety and fear due in part to some lack of confidence or comfort with what might happen in the future. If you can talk about yourself or your organization and let them know how you successfully navigated the waters that they are about to traverse, that can build their confidence.

“My name is Ed, and I am one of the senior representatives here at Widget World. I’ve helped many different customers go through a similar experience to what you’re dealing with, so I’m confident that we can help you.”

At this point you’ve shared enough about yourself so that they have a vision of success. You shared enough about your experience that they can picture themselves moving toward a solution. You shared enough about you that they realize that what is going on with them can be addressed successfully with your support.

When you’re dealing with the anxious or nervous customer, by building yourself up, you can build the customer’s confidence.

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Watch that tone, young man! – 10/2/18

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Watch that tone, young man!

When I was growing up, unfortunately I heard that phrase more times than I care to admit. Maybe that’s why I’m so cognizant of my tone today and so in tune with the tone of voice that others use as well.

An Australian training firm recently authored an article that addressed tone of voice. Even though this article is a little more sales-focused than customer service-focused, it’s an interesting read. It not only describes how to interpret different tones of voice, but it also promotes the need for you to be intentional about the tone you use based on what message you want to convey.

If you want to seem reasonable, don’t overemphasize any words. If you want to convey you care, speak with a slight rasp or a little bit more from the throat. If you want to come across as “up-beat,” have your “vocal inflections rise at the end of certain words,” particularly the other person’s name. For example, say the following phrase twice – first with a flat tone and second where you emphasize “Mary”: Mary, nice to meet you.

There are 8 tips, so feel free to check them out. The main point I want you to think of – beyond the specific techniques suggested – is that you need to have an intent of what kind of message you want to send with your tone, so that your message is delivered and heard the way you want. Pause, and consider the tone before you speak.

Watch that tone, young ‘Tip of the Week’ fan!!

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Bank on Higher Level Service – 9/25/18

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In the recent Bloomberg article “Some banks are giving tellers more to do and better pay,” a Goldman Sachs survey is highlighted. It notes how more and more people are going to digital means to find answers to questions through self-service, and then they go to tellers or a branch if they can’t find the answer. Essentially, the article talks about how so many of the more common questions and inquiries are addressed without ever going to a human being.

So, what does this mean for the frontline staff?

Employees Deal with More Complexity
It means that when staff get questions, those questions are typically more complex. Therefore, they need to be well-versed in higher-level issues and challenges and with software applications that might not have anything to do with their own business. Maybe it’s a Venmo request, but they’re calling a bank that has nothing directly to do with Venmo. Maybe it’s a PayPal question, but their bank has no formal relationship with PayPal.

Customers Already Invested Time
Another consideration is that, if the customer didn’t find the answer to their question via the self-service methods, then they’ve already gone through a process and spent time on an issue before they ever get to a person. Therefore, they have already invested time and energy, and their patience may be waning. There may be more of a sense of urgency in their request.

Customers are Frustrated with the Lack of Results
Third, since they attempted to do this on their own and they could not, they might have a greater likelihood of being frustrated when the conversation starts. They’ve already made the attempt and not found the answer. So these frontline employees are being asked higher-level questions about other sources of information or other services that might not relate directly to their company. They are dealing with customers who have already invested time and energy, dealing with customers who may be frustrated with the lack of results from that expenditure of time and energy.

When you’re on the phone with the caller today as opposed to even 10 years ago, make sure you’re aware of those other features and functions and sources of information that your customer may go to first. Make sure you know the higher-level answers and have the patience to deal with folks who might have a sense of urgency because they’ve already spent time looking elsewhere. And make sure you understand that people might be upset with something that has nothing to do with you – maybe it’s a lack of an answer from another source – but now they’re not only coming to you with a higher-level need, they’re coming to you with a little bit of frustration as well.

In this digital world, have a sense for what the customer has gone through as a part of even getting you on the phone, because oftentimes you’re not the first source; yet, you’re dealing with a customer and the emotional baggage that their encounter with that first source left behind.

Bank on Higher Level Service.

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