care

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

It’s NOT about the Cinnamon - 12/15/20


It was happening again.  Jessica had just handed the freshly made concoction to her coffee shop customer, and less than a minute later, the customer was in Jessica’s face, red as a beet, ranting and raving:  I specifically asked for extra cinnamon on top!  Does this look like extra Read more

Locke-in from the Start - 12/8/20


John Locke was a 17th century English philosopher, physician, and researcher.  He wrote many papers arguing particular points, oftentimes using reason and facts as the basis for his position.  He noted that many disagreements start because there is – in my words – a lack of real clarity about Read more

The End of the Tunnel - 12/1/20


Have you ever heard the expression:  There’s light at the end of the tunnel… In this COVID-era world, it sure does feel like the tunnel is long, doesn’t it?  It sure feels like this is not a light that we’ll be at in 2 seconds after the train goes another Read more

A Lesson in Gratitude - 11/24/20


Mr. Robinson went to the hardware store with his teenaged son, Steve.  Steve was starting his first woodworking project – building a small coffee table – and needed supplies.  As they walked the aisles, Mr. Robinson and Steve couldn’t find the exact type of wood they wanted, so Mr. Read more

Why Your Job is Important - 11/17/20


I was speaking with a client recently, and she was telling me about one of the classes delivered by their professional development team. Her description of the course reminded me of some client workshops we’ve conducted where a part of the outcome is having individual staff develop Personal Mission Read more

Bring Warmth During Winter – 12/29/20

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

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 year or around certain seasons, we don’t like the cold at the start of a conversation.  And oftentimes, customer service representatives can come off as being cold right at the beginning of a customer conversation without ever meaning to do so.

The customer makes their request, and this is how the employee responds:

  • What’s your account number?
  • What’s your name? What’s your phone number?
  • To confirm your account, I need your mother’s father’s wife’s daughter’s maiden name…spelled backwards.

 
While all this information might be valuable, there is typically little warmth associated with the words.  There’s virtually no communication of wanting to help that person or caring about that person’s needs that’s conveyed through the phrases used by the employee.

By simply responding to a request with a few key words or phrases, the conversation can start much warmer, much more pleasant, and take no more time than 1-2 seconds additional.  How about starting with:

  • I will be happy to help you with that request.
  • We can definitely address that for you.
  • I can help with that right away.
  • Great! That’s something I can take care of for you.

 
Simply sprinkle a “happy” or a “definitely,” a few “for you” expressions or “I can help” into your initial response to the request, and the tone and warmth of the conversation will start in the right direction.

Bring warmth to the beginning of your customer conversation.

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Increase Research for Improved Customer Relations During COVID-19

Posted on in Business Advice Please leave a comment

What makes a relationship? Many actions can make or break a relationship, but all solid relationships require at least two things: Communication and Caring. And customer relationships are no different in this respect.

No Communication = No Connection

If we don’t have some frequency of dialogue with the customer, then we not only are not top-of-mind, but we’re not even “bottom-of-mind.” We are not in the mind. They don’t think of us, they don’t consider us because the relationship has gone stale.

Now caring is in the eye of the beholder. How one person defines whether they are cared for by the other may differ from individual to individual. But if we put things in the context of the customer relationship, there are some more consistent realities. Communicating with the customer just to sell isn’t relationship-building. A lack of communication isn’t relationship-building.

What Caring for the Customer Requires

Caring requires that people feel like they’re viewed as an individual – that we value them. It requires that we usually listen more than talk. It means that we try to understand their issues, needs, and goals, and – if they want more than the listening ear – we address those issues, needs, and goals.

So much of what I just described suggests that we can – and MUST – improve customer relations through research, and CSS is conducting a great deal of research in this COVID-19 environment because our clients understand this truth.

Customer research done correctly involves a company asking a customer a question. It involves the company seeking information from the customer, ultimately for the customer. Sometimes, well-designed research instruments convey caring for the customer and valuing of the customer just by how the tools are worded and what questions are asked.

Design with the Customer in Mind

What do you need to know about the customer to help them? What do you need to learn about them to best serve them? How do you identify their priorities, their issues, their concerns, their perceptions, their preferences? And how do you construct these questions in such a way that you convey that you care? We’re talking about research, and we’re not necessarily saying it’s purely web-based surveys. This can include one-on-one interviews, phone follow-up from account representatives, or check-in calls from staff. This could include informal e-mail requests, or it could include facilitated ZOOM focus groups.

Whatever it is, do enough of it to know enough about as many of your customers as possible to help them. If you professionally design with the conveying that you care in mind, you will improve customer relations.


6 Ways to Provide Something Extra – 4/14/20

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

Winnie and Wayne ordered take-out last week, and when they brought their food home, they put the bag on the kitchen table and started unloading.  As they were pulling out the boxes, they noted two little handwritten notes. Each was a Thank You Note written by a different employee – one for each customer.

True story. Simple gesture. Special to the recipient, especially considering how exceptionally tough times are in the restaurant industry.

Sometimes when we are hurting, the best thing to do is to give a little extra to somebody else.  Sometimes when having customers knocking on your door every day is no longer a given, we need to do a little something extra.

Here are some “something extras” that we can consider doing for customers in the days where we’re currently living:

  1. Send that handwritten Thank You Note to a customer.
  2. Call or e-mail someone in an informal and personalized way just to check on them.
  3. If you find something that is helping you mentally, physically, spiritually, share that with others that you think may be open to that type of example.
  4. If you are waiting on something for the customer to do to complete a transaction or to get a process moving, either do it for them and let them know, or give them a quick call or text as a reminder to help them keep things moving.
  5. In e-mails and calls, don’t just share the facts, ask how they’re doing and convey that you hope they stay safe.
  6. In a “Stay-at-Home” world, find ways to virtually provide/receive information so they don’t have to make a trip.

I’m heartened by how much people are rallying around each other and, in many ways, being more collaborative and less conflict-oriented.  Many of these behaviors are simply reflective of a more caring culture.

Find some ways to give something extra.

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