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

Appreciate – 11/26/13 TOW

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As an American, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and there are lots of reasons. One is that there’s a lot of family time, there’s football on TV, you’re usually playing outside – in the DAYLIGHT, and the food…oh, the food…

But there are problems with all these benefits. First, family time is…well…family time – as good a source of stress as was ever invented. Then football on TV is okay, unless your team loses. Playing outside is fun (actually, I can’t think of anything bad about that), and food? Well food is always good – unless you eat too much or unless you get tired of leftovers consisting of turkey sandwiches, turkey soup, turkey burgers, and turkey lo mein.

The point is that even the best of times can be viewed through a negative lens.

The best lens for seeing most any time, however, is through the lens of thanks. There are always reasons to complain, always issues and illnesses, always people who have more – but so often the most inspirational stories are about those who have the issues, illnesses, of those who have little or have hardships, and yet they still succeed, they still persevere, they’re still happy or joy-filled.

Those stories are inspirational often because they highlight people who focus more of their mindset on being appreciative of what they have than of focusing on their issues and on what they lack.

In the world of customer service, we are fighting fires – the complaints and last minute requests. We’re often the downstream recipients of upstream causes of issues. We’re too often working 3rd shift or needing to provide customer access 24/7 so we can be responsive. And while we can focus on those negatives, to keep our positive outlook (and our sanity), let’s try to take this time of year as a reminder to appreciate.

Appreciate those that help us, those that support us in and out of the workplace. Those that confirm the value in what we do and who truly care about us. I don’t know who “those” are in your lives, but let’s think of those people, appreciate them, and – this Thanksgiving – tell them that we appreciate them.

Give thanks – literally – to others.


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.