Customer Service Tip of the Week

Should you tell the customer? The Company’s Dilemma - 4/23/19


I have a lot of clients that struggle with this question, both at a company/strategic level as well as an individual representative level. When there is an issue that is going to happen, should you tell the customer? This week we’re going to address the question at the Read more

Customer for Life – The Final Step - 4/16/19


Two weeks ago, we addressed the Third Step of keeping a Customer for Life: Address what will keep them. Now, we’re sharing the Fourth and Final Step. To have a Customer for Life, you have to grow your relationship with them. While the 3rd step is the Read more

Use the Actions of Empathy - 4/9/19


I firmly believe that the most important personal trait of someone in customer service is empathy. If empathy is understanding the other person, then it’s very difficult to truly serve someone that you don’t understand. Particularly when they’re upset or irate, being empathetic and getting them to Read more

Customer for Life – The Third Step - 4/2/19


Two weeks ago, we addressed the Second Step of keeping a Customer for Life: Never let a relationship go stale – keep the communication going. Now, we’re sharing the Third Step. To have a customer for life, you have to address what will keep them. Read more

Facial Recognition is the Future of Customer Service - 3/26/19


According to a recent New York Times article, facial recognition is the future of retail customer service. A trend in technology for retail businesses is to utilize facial recognition technology in order to better know who is entering your business. The idea is that if somebody within Read more

Customer for Life – The Second Step - 3/19/19


Two weeks ago, we shared a Customer Service Tip on how to get (and keep!) a Customer for Life. We addressed the First Step, Knowing what you need to know about the other person. Now, we’re sharing the Second Step. To develop a relationship with anyone, there has to Read more

Employee Runs for a Dog Run - 3/12/19


I was never a Boy Scout. I mean in the literal sense, but also somewhat in the figurative sense, but I digress. After years of telling myself that I needed something to help my dog get exercise outside without worrying about him trying to dig under a fence and Read more

Customer for Life – The First Step - 3/5/19


This should be the goal, right? That our clients today will be our clients tomorrow and well into the future. That their loyalty grows, their business with us grows, their referrals grow, and it is all part of a relationship that grows and develops over time. But what’s the Read more

Retrain Your Brain - 2/26/19


Admit it. You thought about it. You thought: Why in the world did the customer try to assemble that before reading the instructions? Why would they drive all the way down here instead of just checking the website? Why would they go through the drive-thru when they can deposit using Read more

Look Up, or Look Out! - 2/19/19


The clerk called out “next in line!”, and Frannie went to the counter. “Can I have your name?,” the employee asked, but she stared at her computer screen while asking. Frannie stated her name, the time of her appointment, and noted the reason for the appointment. Staring at the screen, Read more

Provide Quality Time to Customers – 1/7/14 TOW

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When teaching communication techniques to client personnel, we sometimes get pushback from participants. It might be an employee saying “If I do what you say, I’ll be with the customer FOREVER.” Or maybe a manager will tell us “I don’t have time to greet, clarify needs, confirm my understanding, ask if they need anything else, etc.”

Just like you probably don’t want to spend exorbitant amounts of time with individual customers addressing needs and working through issues, most customers don’t want to spend a ton of time on those topics talking with us either. Their time is valuable, too.

So let’s shift our thinking away from “great customer service means spending lots of time with customers” to the following thinking: Great customer service means spending Quality Time with customers.

We went through an exercise with a client on the topic of “Quality Time,” and here’s a synopsis of what we found. Many customers define “Quality Time” when:

  • Their time with you is uninterrupted and not rushed
  • They are getting the time expected (employees not showing up late for a meeting, for example)
  • Employees are focused on them (i.e., not appearing distracted during the conversation)
  • Staff “pause” their other tasks (e.g., typing information on the computer) to emphasize something or provide a moment of clarity to the customer
  • Staff educate the customer so they can be more independent.

 
These are key methods of enhancing the Quality of the time spent with customers – without necessarily spending more time:

  • Actively listening – don’t be passive in the discussion (nod, paraphrase their need/issue, ask questions)
  • Ensuring customers feel as though they are part of a dialogue (describe the process your working through or include them in discussions you’re having with co-workers)
  • In face-to-face situations, including those who are with them (family members or friends) in the discussions
  • Explaining procedures, processes up front so they know what to expect
  • Conveying your own calm demeanor, particularly when you’re in the middle of an especially busy/hectic environment (picture a retail business during the holidays).

 
Don’t buy into the assumption that great customer service equals your spending undue amounts of time with customers. Instead, buy into the belief that the time we do spend must be high quality.

Provide Quality Time to Customers.


Have Resolve – 12/31/13 TOW

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Are you going to exercise five days a week in 2014? How about giving up non-diet sodas? What about that 3 mile run every day? During the New Year, most people will talk about “New Year’s Resolutions.” Whether we/they make resolutions is one thing, and whether we keep them is entirely something else.

But the idea of “Resolution” or “having resolve” is a great concept. Resolve gets into determination, will, focus, being decisive, and inner strength. Resolve is a quality of many individuals who are great at customer service. Having Resolve means that when there are issues, you’re determined to fix them. You not only know what’s right, but you have the drive and desire (the will) to do what’s right.

Resolve means you have a focus on doing that which specifically needs to be done, and you have made a conscious decision to act. And Resolve is an inner strength that you have that can handle all those people, all those external challenges, all those curve balls thrown your way that can get you “off task.”

As we wade into 2014, keep in mind that there will be many tough tasks that you’ll be assigned. There will be many difficult customer and co-worker conversations and relationships. You’ll have the stretch goals and the physical and emotional challenges. But you can successfully get through those tougher times. You can come out on the back end with a smile and with accomplishment. You can succeed.

You can face the challenges of the New Year, if you Have Resolve.


2013 Holiday Poem – 12/24/13 TOW

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There comes a time when the dust will settle,
When the frenzy begins to fade,
When tasks and To Do’s and fires to fight
Will slowly go away.

It’s often a time that’s brief and still.
It’s a time to enjoy each day.
For we know when that time is over,
The new rush will come our way.

So if this is a time of settle and fade,
I hope you see what I do.
It’s a time to rejuvenate and refill,
To gain energy to see us through.

Appreciate any rest, any time with friends.
Appreciate the rare solitude.
And reset your mind and heart and soul
To ring in the New Year with a great attitude.