Customer Service Tip of the Week

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

It’s NOT about the Cinnamon - 12/15/20


It was happening again.  Jessica had just handed the freshly made concoction to her coffee shop customer, and less than a minute later, the customer was in Jessica’s face, red as a beet, ranting and raving:  I specifically asked for extra cinnamon on top!  Does this look like extra Read more

Locke-in from the Start - 12/8/20


John Locke was a 17th century English philosopher, physician, and researcher.  He wrote many papers arguing particular points, oftentimes using reason and facts as the basis for his position.  He noted that many disagreements start because there is – in my words – a lack of real clarity about Read more

The End of the Tunnel - 12/1/20


Have you ever heard the expression:  There’s light at the end of the tunnel… In this COVID-era world, it sure does feel like the tunnel is long, doesn’t it?  It sure feels like this is not a light that we’ll be at in 2 seconds after the train goes another Read more

A Lesson in Gratitude - 11/24/20


Mr. Robinson went to the hardware store with his teenaged son, Steve.  Steve was starting his first woodworking project – building a small coffee table – and needed supplies.  As they walked the aisles, Mr. Robinson and Steve couldn’t find the exact type of wood they wanted, so Mr. Read more

Why Your Job is Important - 11/17/20


I was speaking with a client recently, and she was telling me about one of the classes delivered by their professional development team. Her description of the course reminded me of some client workshops we’ve conducted where a part of the outcome is having individual staff develop Personal Mission Read more

Get Your Guru On – 8/25/20

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You may have heard of management gurus – these people who seemed to know all and be all, to have the wisdom of 1000 leaders.  Maybe you’ve heard it in your industry as a guru in sports psychology or the master of economics or sociology or human behavior.

And so you don’t roll your eyes at the thought of you being a guru, it’s always helpful to understand the origin of the word.  Upanishads in 10th century to 6th century BC said “The syllable ‘gu’ means darkness, the syllable ‘ru’ means dispeller; he is therefore called a ‘guru’ because he dispels darkness.”

I really like this definition – it goes away from the modern interpretation that gurus are far more brilliant than any of us could ever imagine being, that they are somehow superior intellectually to others.

The Situations with Darkness

With Upanishads’ definition in mind, how can we become gurus in our respective jobs?  The definition talks about gurus being people who can dispel darkness.  So to be a guru, you don’t have to have knowledge far exceeding others.  You just have to have a given situation where you can dispel darkness.

Maybe it’s dealing with the sports fan who is unsure whether to invest in tickets for games this year.  You could be dealing with the local contractor who is struggling with tasks he’s done 100 times because he’s so overwhelmed by economic concerns.  You could be dealing with a patient or a family member whose anxiety and fear of the unknown is understandably high.

How to Bring Light

Einstein once said that darkness is an absence of light, so how can you bring light in these situations?

You bring it in by listening to the other person.  You bring it in by truly trying to understand what they’re going through, even if you’re not going through it yourself.  You try to identify what is causing that darkness and see if there are some solutions that can be brought to light.  You try to bring some lightness in tone to the situation – often people are so concerned and burdened that just the positive/pleasant/upbeat tone and some levity, appropriately delivered, can bring light in the situation.

Being a guru can mean dispelling darkness.  It can be you enlightening them on new information.  It can be you bringing to light something that’s unknown to them, that may work for them.  It can be you being light at times in the tone you take.

To truly be a guru, understand what could be causing their darkness and dispel it by enlightening them, bringing solutions to light, and bringing a lighter tone whenever possible.

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Whether You Believe You Can Do a Thing or Not, You Are Right – 8/18/20

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This is a famous Henry Ford quote, and the quote is all about self-belief, all about confidence.

We’ve often spoken about the need to be confident and how to gain confidence, because that confidence – or the lack thereof – is imparted on the customer.

But how does a customer tell if you’re confident?  And why is that important?

As a customer, I’ve been in a situation far too many times when I’m seeking guidance or input.  I’m trying to understand the process or I’m trying to understand a deadline.   If I know the process and the deadline, if I know how they’re going to get to the answer or how they’re going to fix this product issue, my expectations get set.  I have a game plan.  And where there is no game plan, often there is anxiety or worry.

You don’t want your customers feeling anxiety or worry.  And if that anxiety or worry comes from you, then it is attached to your company, and the perception of you and the company is lessened.

As a customer, when I sense that lack of confidence, I’m sensing it because there are long unexplained pauses before answers.  Because there’s a lot of “I don’t know” without a lot of “I’ll find out.”  Because they never say that they can answer that for me or help me with that.  Because I’m put on hold without being told why or am transferred without being told to whom.  Because the voice wavers and there’s a lot of “ummm” and “hmmm.”

So much of that perceived lack of confidence comes from things employees do that they should simply eliminate.

Eliminate the long pauses – keep the conversation going.  Don’t say “I don’t know” unless you follow that up with “I’ll find out.”  If you want to help, don’t avoid saying that you want to or you can help.  Don’t put people on hold or transfer them without letting them know to whom and why.  Don’t provide the unnecessary “ummm” and “hmmm.”

Sometimes saying less conveys more confidence.

Convey your self-belief – your confidence – to your customer.

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Grind it out Today for a Better Tomorrow – 8/11/20

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It’s been said that You Learn Perseverance by Persevering.  You are becoming mentally tougher right now.  The pain and the difficulties and the change today are making you stronger for dealing with the uncertainties of tomorrow.

We’re all having to be more flexible.  We are all facing less consistency, less predictability.  Work processes are different.  Customers are different.  Expectations of us are different.  Communications with teammates are different.  And for many, our personal lives and those of our loved ones are very different.

In the future, when we look back on today, we may remember all the difficulties.  We might not remember all the positives, but we will be stronger in the future.  We will be better equipped to deal with the difficulties that come next.  And though work…and life will be difficult again, we will be more prepared – mentally, physically, spiritually – to get through those tomorrows because we got through these todays.

You are building wisdom, strengthening your character, and having experiences that will guide your future decision-making and your direction.  Maybe there are a lot of small defeats today, and maybe some big defeats today, but they can be stepping stones to big joys and victories tomorrow.

So, grind it out today, this hour, this minute.  Persevering through today’s challenges is a victory in itself.  Tomorrow will be there tomorrow; no use worrying about it today.

Persevere through this day.

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