attitude

Should I Stay or Should I Go? - 2/23/21


Should I stay or should I go?  That’s not just a classic song by The Clash.  It’s also the question customers ask more and more, especially during difficult economic times. A recent study in the Charlotte Business Journal noted that 50% of North Carolina businesses are concerned with how to Read more

Optimism – A Force for Good in Customer Service - 2/16/21


Will 2021 be a better year than 2020?  I have absolutely no idea.  Maybe it would be nice to see into the future and know for certain, but I can’t and I don’t.  But as I wade further and further into this year, I can hope that the water Read more

To Assure, Ensure You Do This - 2/9/21


Vince Lombardi – famous professional football coach – became a big hit on the speaker’s circuit during his time coaching.  He applied many of his principles in football and life to business, and one of his great business quotes is:  Confidence is contagious and so is lack of confidence, Read more

Let Your Goal Determine Your Question - 2/2/21


In the early 2000s, when the economy hit the skids, companies realized that they couldn’t take their customers for granted.  They needed to ramp up customer service.  They needed to listen to the Voice of the Customer. During the Great Recession in the 2008-10 timeframe, much of the “new marketing Read more

Excellence is Not Perfection, and that’s OK - 1/26/21


Surveys have questions with ratings that range from Excellent to Poor.  We custom-design and deliver Service Excellence Training.  Tom Peters wrote the book “In Search of Excellence.” But how do you define Excellence, particularly in customer service?  Let’s start with what Excellence is not.  Excellence is not something reflected in Read more

Bring Magic to Your Account Management - 1/19/21


One of our first sports-industry clients was the Orlando Magic.  They were a true leading-edge organization in the early 2000s when it came to dedicating resources to season ticket holder retention.  They didn’t make customer service, relationship-development, and renewals simply a function of the Sales department.  They broke it Read more

Customers Want Easy, but Easy is Difficult - 1/12/21


New employees go through days of training to learn products and services.  They have formal workshops to learn how to use their office applications, web functions, and whatever programs are specific to their department.  They test new technology, and they get quizzed on knowledge of policies.  This is hours Read more

Make 2021 the Year of Building Relationships - 1/5/21


I’ve been very fortunate over this company’s 20+ years in business to have great and long-lasting relationships with many clients, colleagues, business partners, and co-workers.  It’s a gift to be able to call on these individuals for advice or referrals or to be a sounding board.  And it’s just Read more

Bring Warmth During Winter - 12/29/20


Winter is upon us.  Now, winter can mean different things to different people in different regions, but just the word conjures up cold.  It conjures up visions of snow.  It conjures up feelings of wind and lack of warmth. Although some of us may like the cold at times of Read more

2020 Holiday Poem - 12/22/20


When in the role of customer service,We are wired to give and give.It’s built into our DNA.It’s simply the way we live. In order to give to others,We need to find ways to give them their fill.We need to pour empathy and openness into them.To serve, we need to have Read more

Optimism – A Force for Good in Customer Service – 2/16/21

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

Will 2021 be a better year than 2020?  I have absolutely no idea.  Maybe it would be nice to see into the future and know for certain, but I can’t and I don’t.  But as I wade further and further into this year, I can hope that the water warms, or I can fear that a big wave is going to knock me over.  I can choose optimism or pessimism.

Optimism is about hope – it’s about faith or belief or confidence in the possibility of a positive outcome.

Colin Powell once said that perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.  In other words, positivity can create momentum, can create power – people are attracted to it and will go with you if that optimism can become a sincere all-the-time thing.

If we want our co-workers and customers to follow our lead, it benefits us to enlist the power of optimism.  If we want pleasant, positive, Yes-oriented interactions, it benefits us to be pleasant, hopeful, and optimistic.

Sometimes it’s easiest to define a word or explain a concept by contrasting it, so let’s consider some examples.  Kahlil Gibran said:  The optimist sees the rose and not the thorns, the pessimist stares at the thorns, oblivious to the rose. Here are a couple other quotes…

  • A stumbling block to the pessimist is a stepping stone to the optimist.
  • A pessimist thinks there’s nothing so bad it can’t get worse; an optimist thinks there’s nothing so good it can’t get better.
  • An optimist sees an opportunity in every calamity; a pessimist sees a calamity in every opportunity.

 
Now let’s refocus on the good – the optimistic viewpoint – hoping and believing that things will turn out well and imparting that hope and confidence to others:

  • Yogi Berra used to say it ain’t over ‘til it’s over. At the end of sporting events where my team is losing, my wife likes to say:  It’s not over yet.  They can come back!
  • Robert Browning encourages us not to look down, but rather to look up. Don’t focus on the difficulty you’re in as much as the direction you want to go.
  • Walt Whitman said the strongest and sweetest songs yet remain to be sung.

 
If times are difficult, remember that today’s circumstances don’t dictate tomorrow’s outcomes.  If times are good, know that they can get even better.

Often our perspectives and our outlooks affect others, and if we want to draw people in and get them to have confidence in us, our decisions, our direction – we can use optimism to be that draw.

Use optimism as a force for good in your service of others.

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Excellence is Not Perfection, and that’s OK – 1/26/21

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Surveys have questions with ratings that range from Excellent to Poor.  We custom-design and deliver Service Excellence Training.  Tom Peters wrote the book “In Search of Excellence.”

But how do you define Excellence, particularly in customer service?  Let’s start with what Excellence is not.  Excellence is not something reflected in Customer Service Standards. Those Standards are typically the bare minimum expectation of every employee in every interaction.  If we are adhering to those Standards, we’re being consistent in the way of the organization, but we’re not necessarily being Excellent.

On the other side of the spectrum, Excellence is not perfection.  Perfection is something that is rarely if ever attained, and even then, perfection is usually defined through a result rather than through a perfect match of attitudes and actions throughout the entire process of getting to that result.

So, Excellence is not a bare minimum expectation, and Excellence is not perfection.  However, it is something as consistent as Standards but that continuously strives and reaches for what would be achieved in perfection.

Excellence is really reflected in Exceling through the process.

Oftentimes we don’t have control over the outcome because so many other factors are involved, but we have lots of control over how well we Excel going through the process.  We Excel when we are making decisions in the process for the right reasons with the right goals in mind.  We Excel when we take the action we need to take to reach the goal.  We Excel when we do things within the timeframe we need to do them to have the desired outcome.  We Excel when we bring an attitude that has the capabilities of drawing ourselves and others toward that goal.

Excellence does require a goal – something you’re trying to attain or achieve, something you’re trying to live into every day, something you’re trying to become.  However, when you think about how to achieve Excellence, don’t focus so much on the final achievement of some lofty goal.  When you think about Excellence, consider what you need to do in the process to give yourself and those around you the best chance to achieve that goal.

To Excel, first determine your goal; then identify what you can do to ensure that you have the decisions, actions, timeliness, and attitudes that give you the best chance of achieving that goal.

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Create a Common Definition of Customer Service – 9/15/20

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Peter, Paul, and Marie are co-workers. They are all customer service representatives.  When Peter thinks of good customer service, he defines it as being friendly to the customer. “And I am friendly,” Peter says.  “That’s why I don’t know why they send me to customer service training.”

Paul thinks customer service is about being responsive.  When he gets e-mails, he replies right away that he got the message.  When he gets a voice message, he calls right back.  If the same customer calls 5 times for updates, that’s OK to Paul, because he’ll get back to that customer immediately every one of those 5 times.

Marie defines customer service as getting the customer what they want.  “If I do my job in getting them what they want, that’s all that matters. I hate when they whine that I was rude to them or short on the phone.  They got what they wanted, didn’t they?”

Peter, Paul, and Marie all have different definitions of customer service. They are all right…and they are all wrong.

Great customer service has a cordiality peace – a friendliness aspect.  Having that warm and positive engagement with another human being should always be a part of great customer service.

Delivering exceptional customer service also has a component of speed.  Being respectful of people’s time and responsive to their needs is a part of the process of serving a customer effectively.

And great customer service, in the end, should be about giving the customer what they need – it should be about striving to achieve outcomes as much as possible.

So, Peter, Paul, and Marie were all correct – what each emphasizes is part of the definition of customer service.  But they’re also wrong – each person has a limited view of what it means to deliver great customer service, and each individual’s version of great customer service will lead to a positive experience for only a subset of their customers.

For organizations to deliver great customer service, they need to create and instill a common vision among all staff of the desired customer experience.  Organizations need to make sure that definition is broad enough to address the attitude, the process, and striving for the desired outcome, as well.

Create a Common Definition of Customer Service.

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