Customer Service Tip of the Week

Should I Stay or Should I Go? - 2/23/21


Should I stay or should I go?  That’s not just a classic song by The Clash.  It’s also the question customers ask more and more, especially during difficult economic times. A recent study in the Charlotte Business Journal noted that 50% of North Carolina businesses are concerned with how to Read more

Optimism – A Force for Good in Customer Service - 2/16/21


Will 2021 be a better year than 2020?  I have absolutely no idea.  Maybe it would be nice to see into the future and know for certain, but I can’t and I don’t.  But as I wade further and further into this year, I can hope that the water Read more

To Assure, Ensure You Do This - 2/9/21


Vince Lombardi – famous professional football coach – became a big hit on the speaker’s circuit during his time coaching.  He applied many of his principles in football and life to business, and one of his great business quotes is:  Confidence is contagious and so is lack of confidence, Read more

Let Your Goal Determine Your Question - 2/2/21


In the early 2000s, when the economy hit the skids, companies realized that they couldn’t take their customers for granted.  They needed to ramp up customer service.  They needed to listen to the Voice of the Customer. During the Great Recession in the 2008-10 timeframe, much of the “new marketing Read more

Excellence is Not Perfection, and that’s OK - 1/26/21


Surveys have questions with ratings that range from Excellent to Poor.  We custom-design and deliver Service Excellence Training.  Tom Peters wrote the book “In Search of Excellence.” But how do you define Excellence, particularly in customer service?  Let’s start with what Excellence is not.  Excellence is not something reflected in Read more

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

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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Connect During Customer Service Week – 10/6/20

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It’s Customer Service Week…woohoo!  This week should be all about the customers we serve and the staff who serve them.  This should be about conveying we value other people, and – hopefully – having other people convey that they value us.  It’s a week about people – about us.

This should be a week about creating, rekindling, and continuing to connect with others.

So, how do you connect with someone – particularly with an individual you’ve never met before today?  Here are some quick tips:

Create Comfort.  The more comfortable someone is with you, the more willing they are to be open with you, and the more willing they will be to listen to you.  Create comfort with your voice, your patience, and the general environment that surrounds your conversation.

Ask Another.  The more inquisitive you are about the other person – understanding them and their unique situation – the more likely they are to engage with you.  Asking questions gives them an opportunity to share, and it gives you an opportunity to listen.  People connect more with those who they feel listened to them.

Name Names.  Share your name right off the bat, and use their name frequently during the conversation.  Names personalize.  Names create rapport.  Names help to connect.

Uncover Commonalities.  The more the other person can relate to you or feel like you’re relating to them, the more comfortable they would be, and the deeper connection that will be created.  So, empathize with their situation, even if you haven’t experienced the exact same thing.  Highlight some aspect of them, their background, their situation that has some commonality to you, your background, or your typical days.

To connect during Customer Service Week, create comfort, ask another question or two, name names, and uncover commonalities.

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