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

Create Your Own “Fan Guide” – 12/17/13 TOW

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Benchmarking is a wonderful thing. Airlines learn how to turnaround flights faster by watching NASCAR pit crews. Businesses learn how to create engaging employees by watching the Disney experience.

In keeping with this theme, here’s a benchmarking exercise for you. Let’s look at the “A-Z Fan Guide” from a sports organization. One of our pro basketball clients creates this Guide every year for its fans. It’s a pocket-sized document (also provided in “e-form”) that is given to key fans and employees who work with the fans.

These are some of the topic areas:

  • Event/Game Schedule.
  • Contact Information for Corporate Offices and Customer Service.
  • Arena Policies.
  • ATM Machine Locations.
  • Program/Product/Merchandise Overviews and Contact Information.
  • Information on Broadcast Partners (e.g., television and radio).
  • Concessions – Options, Descriptions, and Locations.
  • Directions.
  • Arena Map.
  • Guest Conduct Overview.
  • Account Holder Management Website Information.
  • Parking Locations, Access, and Cost.
  • Free Promotions.
  • Publications.
  • Season Ticket Holder Express Lines and Other Benefits.

Essentially, it’s a combination of educational and promotional information all in one good looking, convenient package. It addresses processes, products/services, promotions, personal contact information, policies, perks, partners, and the physical location. Now think about how this could apply to your business.

What would you share with your clients to educate them on the best experience they could have with you? What promotional options would you mix into this tool? To whom would you provide such a tool? In other words, who would benefit most from one key tool to best navigate your organization and utilize your products and services?

Learn from the pro sports “A-Z Fan Guide” to best educate and inform your customers.

 


In Service Recovery, Say It Like You Mean It – 12/10/13 TOW

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Wanda was incensed. She was talking to the customer service representative about one of her client’s mortgages, and she was venting. “I waited on hold for 37 minutes, and then when the representative picked up the phone, he tried to help, but he couldn’t. After 11 minutes, he transferred me to another service center, where I was on hold 10 minutes as well. I left a message, and nobody has called me back!”

Notice that she’s giving specific times, explaining the process she’s been through, and ends with a negative (and a hefty inflection).

Next, Wanda was silent for about 15 seconds, and then she said “My client just wants to pay off the mortgage. The gentleman I spoke with from your company tried that, and it didn’t work.” [paused] “You say you want to help, but if you did you would be listening – like I mentioned, he already tried that, and…” [paused] “Please don’t interrupt. Listen, my client just wants to pay off his loan. Just look up his account number, please, like the other gentleman did, and I’ll explain this again.”

Notice that she’s using professional terminology (“gentleman…client…please”), but she’s upset after each pause. In each pause, the customer service representative is trying to direct Wanda or trying to run through a script, and Wanda isn’t happy. Wanda seems professional and somewhat patient, but she’s VERY frustrated, and this current representative isn’t conveying he cares. He isn’t conveying that he’s listening. He isn’t conveying that he SINCERELY wants to help.

In Service Recovery situations such as this (especially on the phone), the customer not only needs to sense action is occurring, but they need to feel like you’re listening – they need to hear that in your voice and by what you communicate back to them. Restating and confirming their issue before suggesting a next step, having empathy, being patient enough to let them finish while conveying a little urgency FOR them through your voice (with some pace and fluctuation), and even stating that you want to help (by emphasizing the word “want”) – these are ways to show you care in Service Recovery.

These conversations are tough, but to the customer they’re often tougher because they feel they have no control over the resolution. Therefore, we need to deal with their emotion with sincerity coming through in our voice.

In Service Recovery, Say It Like You Mean It.


Where Pizza Delivery and Emergency Rooms Intersect – 12/3/13 TOW

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What do Pizza Delivery and Emergency Room clinical care have in common (other than heartburn and accidents caused by speeding drivers)?

Let’s investigate…

During college, I worked one summer and two holiday breaks delivering pizzas. My initial thought was to drive fast, run to the door, smile, and do my best to make it a pleasant, fast experience – and get good tips! When I was being trained, the store manager gave me two tips that were interesting (and a little surprising).

First, don’t speed – a driver getting into an accident or seen weaving in and out of traffic at high speeds wasn’t good for business for this new shop in this small town. Second, when you leave your car to go to the front door of the home, walk quickly – don’t run, but also don’t walk slowly. The thinking was that if the customer sees you walking slowly, then they may give you a lower tip since it doesn’t look like you’re making the effort. If you run, you could seem (or be) reckless – not a good image.

Fast-forward 20+ years to an Emergency Room (E.R.) patient focus group I facilitated recently. Among the many interesting responses we received from E.R. patients was that they were perturbed if they were waiting in an exam room with little interaction with staff and then saw (or heard) nursing staff or doctors chit-chatting about the latest reality TV show or shopping excursion.

So what’s the connection between these Pizza Delivery and E.R. stories? It’s this – customers often form their perceptions of us in the most unusual times. It’s when they’re waiting for us, watching us, and listening to us – even if they’re not interacting with us.

The pizza customers perceived the driver’s effort and service-orientation in part by how they appeared in going from the car door to the front door. The patients perceived E.R. clinical staff to be wasting time or unconcerned about the patient if the staff were engaged in small talk when the patients were in need of care, communication, and support.

Think about how customers can see you, hear you, and perceive you even when you’re not directly interacting with them. They often form opinions based on those things that surround the “Moment of Truth.”

Watch for the customer’s opportunity to watch you.