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

The Art of Dealing with…Yourself – 11/19/13 TOW

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I read an article in the most recent Entrepreneur Magazine issue titled “The art of dealing with difficult people.” Although the article was big on attempted humor and small on specifics, I really liked that fact that much of the article had one key focus (and I’m paraphrasing here) – most of the success you have in dealing with difficult people lies in the success you have in dealing with yourself.

Robin and Mary might both have to “deal with” Jeremy – the same ornery or obnoxious (or otherwise aggravating) individual – but Robin deals with him well, and Mary appears to be internally combusting. The reason is largely because Robin deals with the “difficult person” differently or better than Mary.

Maybe it’s just Robin’s natural “way” of handling situations, but maybe she’s more patient, maybe she’s more empathetic of Jeremy, maybe she doesn’t take things personally, or maybe Robin breathes fully in stressful situations. It could be that Robin thinks of the end goal of a conversation and is more intent on the end goal than the often-painful journey.

On the other hand, Mary might go into conversations with Jeremy anticipating a fight, and she gets upset even before the talk begins. Maybe Mary doesn’t know when she’s about to get upset, and it boils over before she realizes what’s happening. Maybe Mary wants to correct every Jeremy misstatement, or maybe she wants to win every battle. Maybe she is just principled and doesn’t think jerks like Jeremy should win.

I’m not saying that the Robins of the world are always right and the Marys are always wrong. Rather, if we want to effectively deal with difficult people, we have to focus more of our efforts on the person in those conversations that we can control – ourselves.

To deal best with others, learn more about yourself first.


Make Your Team’s STARS Align – 11/12/13 TOW

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We often talk about individual skills, principles, and philosophies that make an individual GREAT at customer service – we even wrote a book on it! But so much of customer service requires that we’re a great teammate to others, working together for the good of the customer and the company.

With that in mind, to be a great teammate, make sure your S.T.A.R.S. align:

  • Speed – Be responsive to teammates’ requests, voice mails, e-mails, issues. Be quick to them so they can be quick with their customers.
  • Take Ownership – If an issue or request comes to you from a customer, vendor, or other department, accept the responsibility of behalf of your teammate. Act on the need instead of telling the customer to look elsewhere for support.
  • Attitude – Realize that those same customer service attributes we promote with clients need to be used with teammates – be positive, open, and focused on what CAN be done.
  • Respect – Understand that your teammates’ responsibilities, their time, and their goals are important, too. Respect them with body language and tone, and respect what they do with your quality, responsiveness, and completeness.
  • Support – Be willing to jump in and help a teammate in need, willing to complete a project or take a handoff of a customer. In teamwork, it’s about the “we” more than the “me.”

 

To be GREAT at customer service, work hard to be a great teammate to others.


You are the Superhero – 11/5/13 TOW

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When I was growing up, there were so many great Superheroes I would read about in comic books or watch on TV. Superman was invincible (despite the occasional bout with kryptonite). Spiderman was a real person – a photographer – who just had this amazing power (and a cool outfit) that allowed him to almost fly through the city and catch villains in his web.

And then there was the greatest Superhero of all – Hong Kong Phooey. Okay, maybe the dog who knew kung fu wasn’t exactly a classic Superhero.

But one thing almost all Superheroes had in common was a tag line, or a motto, or some phrase that – when you heard it – made you think of him or her:

Leap tall buildings in a single bound…spins a web, any size, catches thieves, just like flies…

When I think of Superheroes in the business world, I envision those who help others, who treat others with respect. I think of those who go above and beyond the basics to make a co-worker or customer feel special. I think of people like you – people who do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. People who don’t just answer a question, but they look to find the solution. People who are amazing problem-solvers, you-first individuals who make their businesses more successful, their customers happier, and their co-workers more enriched because they are doing their thing.

So you may not literally leap tall buildings, but you address big complaints. You might not spin a web, but you can talk with the best of them. You may not catch thieves, but you get at the root causes of issues. And you might not get all the accolades of a Superhero, but you have some of the same great long-term impact.

Great customer service people should be proud of what they do. They’re the Superheroes of business.