Customer Service Tip of the Week

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

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

Re-Invigorate Your Clients – 7/30/13 TOW

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The motivational speaker had his theme for the day – Re-Invigorate Yourself! He said, “In order to Re-Invigorate Yourself, you have to make two assumptions. First, ‘RE’ means you’ve been “Invigorated” in the past so that you can be invigorated again. Second, the idea that you are going to ‘Re-INVIGORATE’ means that you are not currently invigorated. Maybe your life is stale. Your attitude has gone negative. Your perception of yourself or your life has dimmed.”

Whereas this motivational speaker was focusing on how his audience could reinvigorate themselves, one of the attendees had a different twist on the speaker’s points.

Janet was an account representative for a pro sports team, and her focus was applying this concept to her clients.

“How do I determine if my clients are currently invigorated? How can I determine their relationship with my club, their perception of their game time experience, their feelings about the value of their season tickets? How do I determine if my clients are not currently invigorated?”

“Because that lack of passion can turn into apathy, and apathy can result in lost business. And to ‘RE’ invigorate them, I have to determine when they were passionate about our club and their relationship with us. . .and why?”

Sometimes, in order to keep customers for the long-term, we have to take Janet’s perspective. We need to uncover those customers who appear NOT to be enjoying their relationship or experience with us, those that don’t appear happy, seem more apathetic, aren’t responding to messages as quickly or frequently, or aren’t participating in activities as often.

We need to proactively go to them, gain their feedback, and understand why they were excited in the past – and maybe why they’re not so excited today.

Keep in mind that your competitors’ sales people are passionate about taking your customers, so match that passion.

Find customers losing their enthusiasm for your organization, and look for ways to re-invigorate their passions in your business.

 


Don’t (E)-mail It In – 7/23/13 TOW

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In the wonderful world of texting and 140 character Tweets, where the ultra-brief is ultra-in, e-mail in business needs to be viewed as a different animal. It’s different than LOL and OMG. It’s different than #CoolBeans. It’s a business letter. It reflects on your professionalism, intelligence, level of empathy, and communication skills.

Sometimes people get lazy with e-mail; they press “Send” when they really should have called instead. Or they press “Send” without reviewing it, and then miscommunications and hurt feelings result.

So let’s review a quick list of e-mail tips; first the “Do’s.” Do. . .

  • Use the “1 Minute Test;” ask yourself, could someone read this e-mail, and in one minute understand the key points and what they must do? If not, modify it to remove any barriers to the e-mail being read.
  • Use personalized greetings/closings to set a professional/cordial tone.
  • Use it when you need to set clear expectations of what will happen next, and by when.
  • Include your contact information (particularly phone and, if possible, address) in the footer to make it easy for the reader to know how to contact you via other means.
  • Use ALL CAPS only in Header Sections. This can help on longer e-mails or to ensure the reader’s understanding.

Now the “Don’ts.” Do NOT. . .

  • Send without proofing and spell-checking – E-mails riddled with spelling errors can make you and your message lose credibility.
  • Seem defensive, sarcastic, or purely negative – It brings in negative emotion, which is especially risky in written form.
  • Overuse e-mail “shorthand” – It can be misinterpreted by the reader or simply not understood; one client got an e-mail from his boss saying “LOL.” The boss meant “Laugh Out Loud.” The employee thought he meant “Lots of Love.”
  • Write hastily without reviewing for content, tone, ease of reading, etc. – It makes you appear impatient in your e-mail response.
  • Use e-mail as a weapon such as copying the recipient’s supervisor when you have a complaint (particularly if this is the first time you’ve addressed the issue) – It’s unprofessional and weak, and it can break down trust/relationships.
  • Use e-mail when something is urgent – Many people today still do not check e-mail that frequently; phone and face-to-face are better avenues.
  • Use e-mail if at all possible when responding to complaints, particularly where emotions are involved – Negative emotions and e-mail rarely mix well.
  • • Use e-mail when a series of questions are being asked (or comments being shared) back and forth – It’s turned into a conversation at this point; pick up a phone or go visit the person to dialogue instead.

When it comes to professionalism in business writing, don’t (E)-mail it in.

 


When Metrics Mask Reality – 7/16/13 TOW

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Michael has the pleasure of knowing a board member for a nationwide retail chain. Michael thoroughly enjoys knowing this gentleman on a personal level and learning about his perspective on business.

Since Michael has been a customer of the business, one day he decided to ask the board member how the board feels about their company’s customer service. The board member’s response was “Oh! We’re doing great! We just passed our biggest competitor in the national ratings, and our metrics on the store customer service are generally trending up!”

Michael was somewhat astonished at the response, since this company has a reputation for horrible customer service. Since Michael hadn’t been to his local store in a few weeks, he thought that maybe they had improved.

So that weekend, Michael needed to buy a certain type of flower that his wife was requesting – a white wave petunia. Not wanting to make a 20 minute round trip without knowing they had that type of plant, Michael called the store first. After going through 5 menus on the phone system, Michael selected the right option (or so he had hoped) and was transferred to the nursery; he hung up after the phone rang for the 18th time with nobody answering.

He then hopped in his car to go there anyway as it was getting late in the day. When Michael entered the nursery area, he immediately walked up to the cashier and waited behind the only customer in line. Since that conversation was taking several minutes, Michael walked to the flower pots and began looking for the plant. There Michael saw every petunia known to man. . .except a white wave petunia.

So he went back to the cashier, and when the cashier was done helping the customer, Michael asked for help.

“I’m just a cashier,” responded the employee. “I don’t know what those are; why don’t you go ask an employee back in lumber?”

“Where?,” Michael responded.

“Back in the back quadrant over there; they’re over there,” the cashier replied.

Then Michael went to the ‘back quadrant,’ but there were no employees around.

Michael left without a white wave petunia, without a good feeling about the store, and with the definite suspicion that this board member had never shopped at his own stores.

Metrics can look good, but the experience can be bad.

Trust data to a point, but verify what the experience is like in reality. Experience your business like a customer would experience it.