assume

Bring Out the Best - 11/12/19


As a management consultant, oftentimes my job is to identify the key issues, determine the root causes, and provide solutions. We do a lot of strategy work, we conduct many research projects, and we train and train and train our clients. However, improvement usually involves pointing out what needs Read more

Know What You Don’t Know - 11/5/19


Twitter, Instagram, Facebook – yak, yak, yak.  In the social media world, there’s an awful lot of talk that goes on and a lot of opinions shared.  But sometimes those opinions are not based on any level of deep knowledge. Sometimes they are based on assumptions. In the world of Read more

Service, Sports, and Self-Control - 10/29/19


When I was growing up, I played a lot of golf. I practiced a lot, and I could score pretty well. However, when something went bad, when I hit a tee shot into the woods or dumped an iron shot into a lake, I would become unglued. Then every Read more

What it Means to Respect Someone’s Time - 10/22/19


Whether it is with a client when I realize that the meeting might go long, or possibly it’s in a workshop where I’m trying to end one conversation so we can move on to the next topic, there is a phrase I’ve used many times, and I mean it Read more

Be the Director of First Impressions - 10/15/19


Whether it’s in a hotel or in a coffee shop or a bank branch, first impressions mean a lot. First impressions mean “this is who we are” and “this is what you should expect.” First impressions mean “this is our definition of excellence” and “this is how much we Read more

People will Pay for Customer Service - 10/8/19


Sometimes all you need to read is the first paragraph in an article. Here’s the title from Business Insider: Amazon charges sellers as much as $5,000 a month for customer service if they want a guarantee that they'll be able to talk to a real person. The first paragraph reads: Amazon Read more

New Ways to Celebrate National Customer Service Week - 10/1/19


The week of October 7 is National Customer Service Week. No, this wasn’t another holiday invented by Hallmark, so you have to go to work. Hopefully that’s the good news! This week is typically thought of as a time to rejuvenate relationships with customers, to refocus your efforts on treating Read more

The Error of “Everyone” - 9/24/19


A recent article in The Charlotte Observer got me thinking about a concept, a premise that is suggested all too often in society. First, the article: The story was about lawn care, and some of the people quoted in the article talked about what customers want today. They noted Read more

Between Texting and Thoreau - 9/17/19


The more people that enter the business world having grown up texting, the more the quality of business communications drops. A typical text between friends is rarely what anybody in business would call a professionally-written document. There’s nothing wrong with that, because texting is typically informal dialogue between friends. Read more

I want to be an Astronaut - 9/10/19


When I was young, if a child was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, the answers were often a fireman, a Pro Football player, a teacher, somebody who got to drive a truck, or an astronaut. Maybe the question is still asked today, and, if Read more

The Error of “Everyone” – 9/24/19

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

A recent article in The Charlotte Observer got me thinking about a concept, a premise that is suggested all too often in society. First, the article: The story was about lawn care, and some of the people quoted in the article talked about what customers want today. They noted how customers want to be good stewards of the environment, they want sustainable solutions, they want to protect pollinators like bees, and they want pesticides used with discretion.

While these statements on what customers want are not exactly the most controversial statements in the world, somebody reading this article could easily make the assumption that all customers want all of these things. When customers are making decisions about whether to buy a service from a particular company, their decision is based purely on this criteria. One could read the article and assume that these are the absolute priorities for EVERYONE.

This concept – that everyone wants A, B, or C, that nobody likes D, E, or F, that the priorities how I state them are everyone’s priorities – this is a concept that I can’t agree with as a customer service consultant.

When defining what all customers want in absolute terms, it’s a slippery slope. To deliver great customer service consistently, to retain and grow business with customers, we have to view each customer as unique. If we assume everyone wants A, B, or C, and nobody wants D, E, or F, we are making decisions based on incomplete information. We are not allowing the customer to complete our understanding of THEIR perspective, THEIR preference, THEIR priorities before we make OUR decisions.

And when we make those assumptions, we put our foot in our mouth, we go down the wrong path, we do for others what they wouldn’t do for themselves (sorry for all the clichés).

To deliver great service, view and treat each individual as unique. Avoid the Error of “Everyone.”

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Don’t Assume because… – 8/13/19

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

You’ve probably heard this statement growing up. Your parents said, “Don’t assume, because it makes…you look bad.” Or something like that…

Recently my laptop screen died, and since it was an older laptop, I decided to go ahead and buy a new one instead of paying to have the screen replaced. Along with selling the new computer to me, the store did a data transfer from the old computer to the new computer over a weekend.

They assumed I didn’t want to check it in the store before I left, but I did. They assumed all the files were transferred from the older computer, but they weren’t. They assumed that my e-mail was setup through Exchange, but it wasn’t.

They made several other assumptions that led to mutual frustration and a negative end to what had (up to that point) been a positive experience. In this encounter, the employee was going down a path for me, and at each fork in the road she made an assumption (several times the wrong assumption), and she then had to backtrack.

Recently, CSS conducted mystery shops for a client, and this client was more concerned with asking questions than making assumptions.

They asked the shopper if we were a new business, and we were not new. They asked if we knew the URL to register for a particular beverage license, and we did not know. They asked whether we’d like to know the different ways we could submit the additional documentation needed, and we did want to know the options.

In this encounter, the employee was going down a path, and at each fork in the road, she asked the shopper a question to determine which direction to go next.

To provide a better customer experience, let the customer determine what to do at the fork in the road.

Don’t assume. Instead, ask.

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A PB&J Customer Service Lesson – 3/27/18

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When my daughter was in elementary school, she had a teacher who gave the kids an assignment – write instructions on how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Simple enough, right?

When the assignment was turned in, the teacher stood at her desk, pulled out a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter, and a jar of jelly, and she began to read the first student’s instructions out loud – “Put peanut butter on bread.”

So, the teacher put the loaf of bread in the center of her desk, and she slammed the jar of peanut butter on top of it. Some students laughed; others sat in disbelief.

The teacher began to read the second student’s instructions – “Place a slice of bread on a plate, and spread peanut butter on the bread.”

The teacher opened the bag with the loaf of bread, pulled out a slice, took a paper plate off the shelf, and put the slice of bread on the plate (so far, so good!). Then she unscrewed the top of the peanut butter jar, put her hand in, grabbed some peanut butter, and spread it by hand on the slice of bread.

This was met with equal groans of “Ewwww!” and “Gross!”

The teacher was illustrating how the kids need to be thorough in their descriptions/instructions. When explaining what to do or how to do something, we can’t assume that the person reading what we’re writing will make the correct assumptions about what we mean. If we want them to be clear, we need to be specific enough to be understood correctly.

Think about the instructions you give co-workers and customers on how to do a task – how to complete a form, sign-up for a service, submit documentation, provide you with information. If you want it done a specific way, you have to be very specific in providing instructions.

Make sure you get what you want in the form you want it from others. Don’t assume others will interpret general instructions the same way.

Learn from this PB&J Customer Service Lesson.

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