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

Relate – 9/18/18

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People tend to be drawn to people that they can relate to in life. Steph Curry is not 6 feet 8 inches and 260 pounds, built like granite. He’s about 6 foot 3 inches, but on a basketball court he looks kind of like a guy who you might work with or someone you might see grabbing a burger in a low-key restaurant. He is the most popular basketball player in the WORLD among Millennials, and people can relate to him.

When we are interacting with a customer or a co-worker, it’s not necessarily our goal for that other person to like us. We can’t control their feelings or their perspectives, but it often helps the tone of the conversation, the dialogue, the flow, the patience the other person exhibits if they feel like they can relate to you.

If they are booking a trip, and you have gone to that location before, that’s a point of relating. If they are walking their dogs in the home improvement store and you enjoy pets, that’s a point of relating. If they call you on the phone and you recognize the area code as something familiar, that’s a point of relating. If they talk about their kids or their cat or their home or what excites them or their concerns, those are all points of relating.

Now here’s the key. Address those points of relating in the conversation with the customer. Don’t just notice the location of the trip or the dog or the area code; bring it up in conversation. Don’t just let that comment about the kids or the cat or the home or what excites them pass you by. Bring it up in the conversation. Don’t let those little commonalities of life pass by like a stranger on the street. Take the time to highlight them, and take the time to relate to the other person.

It creates a different tone. It can make the encounter more enjoyable. It may even engender a little bit of goodwill and patience.

Relate.

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Dealing with the Issue of Blaming – 9/11/18

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He who cannot dance claims the floor is uneven.

A bad workman blames his tools.

Blame is like the lightning; it hits the highest.

Let’s talk about blame. Often in the world of customer service, we are responding to an issue or a complaint, and usually there is a cause for that complaint. Highlighting the cause, if done incorrectly, often includes blame. But we need to understand what blame does and does not do.

Blame does not move someone closer to a resolution. Blame does not build rapport and relationships. Blame does not keep the issue from arising again. Blame does not keep the conversation in an even and professional tone. Blame does not allow for acceptance of personal responsibility by the “blamer.”

Instead, blame can be like the lightning. It can cause the damage. It can make a loud noise. It can create an adversarial situation or adversaries. It can cause us to look at others or at other things to identify what they did wrong instead of looking at ourselves for what we could do differently next time.

In other words, blame doesn’t really get us anywhere. And when you are in a difficult situation with a customer or a coworker, you need to get SOMEWHERE. You need to find some common ground. You need to figure out how to move forward. You need to find some kind of a solution or some kind of a way to a next step. You need to figure out how to maintain or build a relationship.

When dealing with difficulties with others, avoid blame. Don’t blame the tools or the dance floor.

Look for positive and productive ways to move forward.

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Play Ball with Your Customers – 9/4/18

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We typically conduct 35-40 surveys a year for the sports industry. And while you may work in a different industry, there are lessons to be learned by the types of research that sports organizations seek and why they seek that information.

First, we design and deliver many pre-event surveys. This is especially important when you’re trying to understand who is going to be attending the event, and which of those are first-time customers. Think about your own business. How much would you benefit from knowing your customers’ expectations before they ever walked in the door? How much more tailored could your information be if you knew what was of greatest interest to them? How much more effective could you be in creating a comfortable experience if you understood what their awareness level was of your operations, facilities, products, and services? How much easier would it be to get a return visit if you understood the reason they chose your organization or your event in the first place? Think about learning from your customer before they ever walk in the door.

Second, we do a lot of surveys based on the experience itself. These are almost immediate surveys that enable us to understand exactly how the different steps in the customer journey were perceived by the customer. You can immediately learn the customer’s likes and dislikes. You can strategically think about what aspects of the customer journey need to be improved and why. You get raw, real information about those aspects of the experience that can make or break the customer’s relationship with you.

Third, we provide post-event research with clients, and this not only includes some input we’re seeking on the experience itself, but it also includes gauging their interests, their priorities, their retention drivers, their willingness to return, and their interest in additional products and services. Too many organizations view existing customers the same way they view prospects. But if you view your customer as a unique individual that you need to develop a relationship with, then you realize that you need to know a lot about them – why they would stay with you or go to a competitor. Identify what you need to know about your customer to create a great relationship with your customer.

A fourth common research approach we use is Exit Interviews. This is when we go to clients that have not renewed or have cancelled their tickets or ended their relationship with the organization. The primary purposes of this research are twofold: First, we are trying to understand why they left so that we can look at fans of a similar profile and develop strategies to better retain those who we still do have. Second, we are looking for opportunities to win back these fans by truly understanding their retention drivers and their willingness to give us a second chance.

Although these are only 4 different research vehicles within the sports industry, they’ll give you a feel for the core approach we use with many of our clients. Think about your individual customers and the impact they have on your company as a whole. Devise a research strategy that will help you learn from them throughout their customer journey and even after they’ve left so that you can best keep and grow with your customers.

Learn how to play ball with your customers.

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