Customer Service Tip of the Week

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

Of Carly Simon and Corey Feldman - 12/4/18


Anticipation. It's a fine song by Carly Simon. She talks about how it (anticipation) is making her late, and it is keeping her waiting. The song is also the theme for the cheesy Corey Feldman 1970s Heinz Ketchup commercial. But that definition of “Anticipation” talks about the Read more

Use Customer Comments to Continuously Improve - 11/27/18


It’s that time of year when all good Americans due their duty – to purchase holiday gifts online. Okay, maybe it’s not as much a duty as it is a joy or chore, depending on your point-of-view. Before I purchase anything online, I seek out reviews. This may Read more

No Matter How You Say It, Say Thanks! - 11/20/18


Gracias. Grazie. Gratias tibi. Obrigado. Tack. Merci. Danke. Thank You. No matter how you say it, say it. Say Thank You. You can say Thank You in many different languages (shout out to Google Translate for what's written above!). You can say it Read more

Be a Telephone Matchmaker – 6/4/13 TOW

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment

Have you ever called a company, and you could just tell the employee was reading a script?

Say this out loud in a flat, MONOTONE voice: Thank you for calling Acme Paper Products. I am thrilled that you have called. Please let me know what I can do to make this a great day for you. I want to be the bright ray of sunshine on the flower of your day. Please let me know what I can do to bring you customer delight.

The employee could say the most wonderful words in the world, but if their voice is flat, with no fluctuation, then what is the employee really conveying? Insincerity? A feeling that “this job would be great if I just didn’t have to deal with customers?” A sense that “I’m stating a script that I’ve stated 100 times before?”

Until people really get to know you, they judge you (and me) based primarily on our tone of voice – particularly on the phone. So whether you’re trying to convey that you want to brighten their day or address their need, make sure you’re aware of how you sound.

There should be some relationship between the tone you use and the feeling you want to impart on the customer. If the words are empathetic (“unfortunately…”), sound that way. If the words show enthusiasm (“I want to help…”), sound that way. If the words convey confidence (“We can definitely…”), sound that way.

Link the tone to the words and the message.

Truly brighten someone’s day.


View Touch Points from the Customer’s Perspective – 5/28/13 TOW

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I received an email from my wireless telephone provider. They mentioned that I was now eligible for an upgraded phone at a discounted price (and if you’ve seen a 1990s flip phone, you’ll know why they want me to upgrade). Apparently the upgrade date had been reached, and I was eligible for the upgrade. One minute later, I received an email from the same provider telling me that it was an anniversary of sorts, and therefore I was eligible for an upgrade at a discounted price. About one minute later, I received a third email from the same wireless provider noting that I was now eligible for a discounted upgrade to my cell phone as a reward for my loyalty.

What the organization didn’t realize was that they were sending essentially the exact same e-mail at the exact same time with 3 different subject headings. The exact same upgraded cell phones were offered in each e-mail with those discounts available. So there may have been a Touch Point Plan that the provider had developed, but they were not looking at the plan from the customer’s perspective. Something that might have appeared very professional at first to the customer, turned out to be an aggravation after the third – essentially duplicate – e-mail arrived at my inbox.

If you work in a client relationship management role at your organization (for example, you’re a season ticket services representative for a sports team), this Tip of the Week is especially important for you. When you build your Touch Point Plans from the organization’s perspective, you determine when to send out information based on events or timeline triggers; make sure, however, that you’re not just looking at the plans from the organization’s perspective. Invert your Touch Point Plans to test them from the customer’s perspective to know what they’re going to receive and how they might perceive the information.

Develop Touch Point Plans from the customer’s perspective.


Same Wait, Different Experience – 5/21/13 TOW

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Jenny went to Clinic A. She waited 35 minutes after registering to get taken to a room for her annual physical. Beth went to Clinic B. She waited 35 minutes after registering to get taken to a room for her annual physical.

Jenny felt great about the experience she had that preceded her physical. Beth thought that timeframe was awful.

Here was Jenny’s situation: She was greeted as soon as she walked in the office by the registration clerk. The clerk smiled, handed her a clipboard with a couple forms to complete, and asked Jenny to return the forms once complete. After confirming that Jenny understood what was being requested, she sat down.

The forms took about 4-5 minutes to complete, and when she provided the forms to the clerk, the clerk smiled, thanked Jenny, and noted that she just found out they were running about 30 minutes behind. She apologized to Jenny, confirmed Jenny didn’t want to reschedule, and noted the water cooler, the magazines, and other items available to help the time pass. The clerk said someone would touch base with an update in about 15-20 minutes.

After 15 minutes, an employee told Jenny that it was looking like it would be 15 more minutes before Jenny would be taken back; 10 minutes later the same employee stated that it would be 10 minutes more (about 35 total), and she apologized for the additional delay. Ten minutes later, a nurse came out and called “Is Jenny Smith here?” As Jenny approached, the nurse apologized for the delay and noted she was happy to see Jenny.

Here was Beth’s situation: She walked into the clinic, found the registration window, and stood there for about 30 seconds until the employee looked up and said “hello.” The clerk provided the forms on the clipboard and asked Beth to complete and return them.

When Beth provided the forms to the clerk, the clerk said “Thanks. We’ll call you shortly.” After about 20 minutes, Beth walked up to clerk and asked when she’d be seen. The clerk said “We’re running a little behind. We’ll call you back shortly.” So Beth returned to her seat.

About 15 minutes later, a nurse came through a door and said “Johnson!” That was Beth’s last name, so she jumped up and walked toward the nurse. The nurse held the door open and pointed at the scale just inside the door and said “I need you to get on the scale to check your weight.”

Same wait time. Same paperwork. Totally difference experience.

Communications can take a bland experience and make it palatable – or even positive! It’s like taking a quarter pound hamburger patty and adding the lettuce, tomato, condiments, cheese?, and a nice bun. It’s taking the basic and making it something worthy of your business.

Make sure the blandness of some processes and products are made palatable by great customer service.