body language | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

Tailor to the Type - 10/12/21


We’re all different.  We’re all unique.  Every customer is different and unique, as well, and we should treat them as unique individuals. While we should see each customer as unique, before we fully get to know the customer, there are some core philosophies to take into customer conversations based on Read more

Avoid the Silence; Build the Relationship - 10/5/21


Our interactions with customers are “Moments of Truth.”  These Moments of Truth can be conversations with a customer about some complaint, encounters when they're in the drive-thru, questions about an order that the customer calls in to the company, or brief interactions in the lobby of a government building. Sometimes Read more

Make it a “Good Busy” - 9/28/21


When I’m speaking with colleagues or clients, I’ll often ask how their day is going. The response I get almost once a week is something like:  I’m incredibly busy! When I get that response, sometimes I’ll ask whether it is a “good busy” or whether they are “fighting fires.” I’ll ask Read more

What’s the Good Word? - 9/21/21


Each one of us talks to co-workers and customers every day.  And when you’re speaking with someone, there are always good ways to respond to questions or issues.  But there are also better ways to respond.  Since you’re receiving weekly customer service tips, I know you are all about Read more

You can read me like a book - 9/14/21


Let’s say that I’m the customer, so it’s important to listen to what I say when we’re talking.  However, sometimes there are hidden words within the words.  I’m not talking about the tone of voice that I use as much as I’m talking about the words I choose. Sometimes you Read more

Show Your Confidence - 9/7/21


“Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.” To do something great, you need to have confidence in yourself.  That confidence often comes from positive experience, preparation, understanding what has happened and could happen, and having the knowledge and resources and training to address it when it does happen. If you Read more

Dear Customer, What do you expect? - 8/31/21


Studies show that 40% of customer dissatisfaction was because the company didn’t meet the customer’s expectations.  The company overpromised and under delivered, or the company didn’t even do the bare minimum of what the customer expected. To avoid dissatisfying your customer, meet or exceed their expectation.  Simple, right?  It only Read more

Listen Here…or Hear - 8/24/21


To listen or not to listen?  That is the question… Okay, so I’m no Shakespeare, but I like to quote the masters – Shakespeare, Senge, Seinfeld – whenever I get the chance. Today’s topic is listening versus hearing.  There are distinct differences.  It's important to go beyond hearing what somebody says Read more

Show Nothing but R-E-S-P-E-C-T - 8/17/21


With the new Aretha Franklin movie, Respect, coming out, it’s a great time to talk about Respect in customer service.  Respect is a word, a concept, an experience that’s brought up a lot in customer service, and it’s usually discussed when someone has been disrespected, Respect is part of Read more

It Matters How They Heard About You - 8/10/21


In the 1,000+ surveys that CSS has conducted over the past 20 years, it’s interesting to read how our clients’ customers heard about them.  This question is typically asked of first-time customers, and it’s especially helpful for those customers because you don’t typically have a lot of information on Read more

Listen Here…or Hear – 8/24/21

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

To listen or not to listen?  That is the question…

Okay, so I’m no Shakespeare, but I like to quote the masters – Shakespeare, Senge, Seinfeld – whenever I get the chance.

Today’s topic is listening versus hearing.  There are distinct differences.  It’s important to go beyond hearing what somebody says if you want to truly convey that you care about what they’re saying.

You hear the wind, but do you listen to it?  You hear the laughter, but do you listen to it?  You hear the voices and the background music and the reporter on the television, but do you listen to them?

When you’re listening, you’re not only hearing the noise, but you are also seeking to understand the noise or the person or the content or music.  In customer service, hearing may be passive, but listening is active.  People want you to actively understand them based on what they say and how they say it.  And just as much as they want you to listen, they want to perceive that you’re listening to them.

This means that you have to have the eye contact when you’re listening, you nod periodically, and you have to have a total focus with your body language that conveys that you’re attentive to them and thinking about what they’re saying.

To show you’re listening, it helps to convey your understanding of what they’re saying.  So, take notes on what they’re saying, not relying purely on your memory.  Because from the customer’s perspective, it doesn’t matter if you hear them; what matters is that they feel like you are listening to them.

When you are listening, others feel like their comments are appreciated.  They feel like they are of interest to you and valued by you.  They feel…important.

The next time you are engaged with a customer in conversation, don’t just hear them out – convey that you’re listening.

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Show Nothing but R-E-S-P-E-C-T – 8/17/21

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With the new Aretha Franklin movie, Respect, coming out, it’s a great time to talk about Respect in customer service.  Respect is a word, a concept, an experience that’s brought up a lot in customer service, and it’s usually discussed when someone has been disrespected, Respect is part of an organization’s values or standards, or a customer demands Respect.

But what is “Respect?” While there is no universally accepted definition of Respect, I find it interesting that in Aretha Franklin’s song she says “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me.”  Maybe that’s the reason we don’t have a universal definition – because it can mean different things to different people.

When we’ve talked with clients about Respect in customer service, particularly in staff workshops, we often start defining Respect by first defining the opposite – what it means to be disrespected.  The answers flow quickly:

  • No eye contact
  • They don’t listen to what I say
  • They cross their arms or roll their eyes
  • They look at their phone
  • They interrupt me, are rude, or argue with me
  • They give me an attitude that’s condescending
  • There’s no greeting at the start, no “Thank You!” at the end
  • They have a dismissive tone in their voice.

 
These are examples of issues with body language, tone of voice, poor communication skills, and lack of patience among many other concerns.  But what’s the commonality?  The commonality is how it makes the other person feel.  They feel “less than” or not listened to or not valued or unimportant.

Now, I’ve often said that we have no control over how others feel, but we can do things to impact the likelihood that they’ll feel a certain way.  So, Respect is as much about what we don’t do as it is by what we do; it’s about focusing on nothing but the other person.  It’s about thinking about nothing but this situation.  It’s about conveying nothing but an interest in the customer.  It’s about nothing but them.

To Respect someone, ensure you avoid things that convey disrespect.  Work to do nothing but Respect the other person.

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The Masked Singer is Your Customer – 10/27/20

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I cannot get into this show.  I have to admit it.  I’ve watched bits and pieces of it several times, but I just don’t totally get The Masked Singer, but it seems like it’s all the rage!  It seems like everybody wants to guess who is in that crazy outfit.  Who is the Penguin or the pterodactyl or the chicken?  I assume they have non-bird costumes as well, but those are the only types that come to mind…

The premise of The Masked Singer is that people are singing, and you can watch them sing and watch them move, but you don’t really know who they are.  These are all famous people, and there might be a hint or two as to who they are, but that’s where the show gets interesting and the guessing begins.

Just like we talked about the TV show The Voice a few weeks ago, there is something customer service-related about The Masked Singer.  While the singer’s voice may be part of the giveaway as to who this person really is, the movement of the person, their size, and their gait also give you a little bit of an indication of the individual.  

Similarly, in customer service, you can tell a lot about a person – or at least draw some preliminary expectations of the individual and their personality – based on tone of voice and based on body language.  When you watch The Masked Singer, you’re looking for these non-verbal cues to help you identify this person.

Whether it’s on a ZOOM customer service call or it’s a face-to-face interaction with the customer, you have that short period of time to assess the situation with that customer in front of you.  You have to quickly gauge their need and have some understanding of their emotion or the perspective that they’re bringing into the conversation.  And the way you do that is by looking at their body language and really trying to understand whether they’re patient or not, whether they’re agitated or not, whether they’re angry or happy or nervous or anxious.

When you’re in front of these customers in some face-to-face encounter, use some tools of the judges and the fans of The Masked Singer.  Take a moment to go beyond the words and read a little bit into what might be the emotional makeup or the mentality that customer is bringing into the conversation by analyzing their body language.  It may help you to handle the situation much more effectively.

Assess the body language when The Masked Singer is your customer.

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