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

Do Anything, but Not Everything – 8/27/19

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We work with a lot of educational organizations, but this Tip of the Week applies to virtually any kind of business that has repeat customers. To deliver great service, be willing to go above and beyond, do virtually anything for the customer. But in the world of colleges and universities, most of those organizations of higher education also have the mindset that they have to help their students grow, mature, develop over their time in school. It’s important to put the responsibility and the resulting accountability on the student so that they take ownership over the action, and they can do it on their own in the future. By helping them to develop some independence, in the long run it is actually saving time for the university personnel as well.

Think about using this approach with your customers, particularly if you deal with repeat customers. These might be land designers who have to submit multiple plans to a local government to develop some property. These might be season ticket holders for a professional sports organization who need to learn how to manage their tickets on their own. This could be patients in a hospital who need to be able to understand their discharge instructions and provide good self-care after they’ve left the facility.

So there is a line of demarcation. You want to have the attitude and the willingness to do ANYTHING for the customer, but it’s rarely the best long-term approach to do EVERYTHING for the customer.

Think about those things that they are well-equipped to do or that they’re going to need to do multiple times in the future. Think about how independent they want to be or need to be. Think about their desire to easily do something and to have the comfort and confidence to be able to take that action.

When you’re considering your approach to customer service, do anything, but not everything.

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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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