Customer Service Tip of the Week

The Passive Predicament - 4/13/21


The employee is speaking to you.  Do they have that look in the eyes like they’re hanging on your every word, like they’re processing, interpreting, and getting ready to quickly respond to your key points and questions?  Or do they have the look of somebody in the 2nd hour Read more

Regain Lost Motivation - 4/6/21


For many of us over the last 12 months, our home has also become our workplace.  Our work interaction has been 2-dimensional through the computer screen as opposed to the 3-dimensional experiences we’re used to with co-workers and customers. We are all motivated in our own unique ways.  Some are Read more

The Answer is Right, but the Service is Wrong - 3/30/21


Maggie was irate.  The gift she ordered needed to be received by the 20th of the month so she could give it to her cousin for his birthday.  It was the 19th, and Maggie couldn’t find any shipping update online, so she called the company.  The employee said “Oh!  Read more

Question Everything, but What’s the Question? - 3/23/21


The new leader joins the organization, and she decides she wants to question everything.  She wants employees to question everything.  Why have we always done it this way? Why do we continue to do it that way? Is this the best way to work? Sometimes it’s a great management Read more

The Resourceful Rep - 3/16/21


One of our clients is seeking to develop Customer Service Standards.  We’re working with them to identify those key expectations of staff that will enable the organization to deliver a consistent high-level customer experience.  One of the key attributes that this organization is seeking from its team members is Read more

Be Proactive like a Pro - 3/9/21


We constantly work with clients, encouraging them to become more proactive with customers.  Don’t just be reactive, waiting for the customer to ask questions or to complain.  Instead, go to the customer, anticipate their needs, suggest something to them. But many of us, frankly, don’t know how to be proactive.  Read more

Find One Unique Thing - 3/2/21


Many of us are not in a position to develop long-term relationships with our customers.  Our encounters are often one-time only with a customer - very brief and likely to be our only time chatting with this individual. And even though there may not be a long-term professional relationship developed, Read more

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

The Masked Singer is Your Customer – 10/27/20

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I cannot get into this show.  I have to admit it.  I’ve watched bits and pieces of it several times, but I just don’t totally get The Masked Singer, but it seems like it’s all the rage!  It seems like everybody wants to guess who is in that crazy outfit.  Who is the Penguin or the pterodactyl or the chicken?  I assume they have non-bird costumes as well, but those are the only types that come to mind…

The premise of The Masked Singer is that people are singing, and you can watch them sing and watch them move, but you don’t really know who they are.  These are all famous people, and there might be a hint or two as to who they are, but that’s where the show gets interesting and the guessing begins.

Just like we talked about the TV show The Voice a few weeks ago, there is something customer service-related about The Masked Singer.  While the singer’s voice may be part of the giveaway as to who this person really is, the movement of the person, their size, and their gait also give you a little bit of an indication of the individual.  

Similarly, in customer service, you can tell a lot about a person – or at least draw some preliminary expectations of the individual and their personality – based on tone of voice and based on body language.  When you watch The Masked Singer, you’re looking for these non-verbal cues to help you identify this person.

Whether it’s on a ZOOM customer service call or it’s a face-to-face interaction with the customer, you have that short period of time to assess the situation with that customer in front of you.  You have to quickly gauge their need and have some understanding of their emotion or the perspective that they’re bringing into the conversation.  And the way you do that is by looking at their body language and really trying to understand whether they’re patient or not, whether they’re agitated or not, whether they’re angry or happy or nervous or anxious.

When you’re in front of these customers in some face-to-face encounter, use some tools of the judges and the fans of The Masked Singer.  Take a moment to go beyond the words and read a little bit into what might be the emotional makeup or the mentality that customer is bringing into the conversation by analyzing their body language.  It may help you to handle the situation much more effectively.

Assess the body language when The Masked Singer is your customer.

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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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