care

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


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 Read more

COVID-19 Demand Management Strategies for Customer Service Channels


We all want demand for our products or services.  This helps us to generate revenue and to provide something of value to our customers and communities.  But customer demand does not strictly relate to products and services.  Demand also relates to communications, information, issue resolution, education, and other aspects Read more

Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance? - 9/8/20


This is a quote by Edgar Bergen.  He’s one of the most famous ventriloquists of all time, but I guess he wasn’t necessarily one of the hardest workers of all time.  By sharing this quote, I am not supporting the idea that we shouldn’t work hard…or am I? We only Read more

Reach Out More for COVID-19 Customer Retention


Ever since the Coronavirus pandemic became a reality for individuals, their communities, and their countries, it became clear that people were going to be hurting…that lives were going to be changing…that the realities of the past were going to be very different from the current and near-term future realities. When Read more

Using I, We, or You in Customer Service - 9/1/20


It’s amazing how many conversations can go horribly wrong or incredibly right, not because of the use of a 4-letter word, but simply because of the use of a 1, 2, or 3-letter word – I, We, You. The incorrect use of I, We, You in conversations causes problems more Read more

Get Your Guru On - 8/25/20


You may have heard of management gurus - these people who seemed to know all and be all, to have the wisdom of 1000 leaders.  Maybe you’ve heard it in your industry as a guru in sports psychology or the master of economics or sociology or human behavior. And so Read more

Whether You Believe You Can Do a Thing or Not, You Are Right - 8/18/20


This is a famous Henry Ford quote, and the quote is all about self-belief, all about confidence. We’ve often spoken about the need to be confident and how to gain confidence, because that confidence - or the lack thereof - is imparted on the customer. But how does a customer tell Read more

Grind it out Today for a Better Tomorrow - 8/11/20


It’s been said that You Learn Perseverance by Persevering.  You are becoming mentally tougher right now.  The pain and the difficulties and the change today are making you stronger for dealing with the uncertainties of tomorrow. We’re all having to be more flexible.  We are all facing less consistency, less Read more

Increase Research for Improved Customer Relations During COVID-19


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 Read more

Never Before… - 8/4/20


The importance of customer service is at the forefront again in our economy.  We noticed this clearly in the early 2000s when the country’s economy struggled, and we noticed it again during the Great Recession several years later.  Today, with yet another set of unexpected and extreme economic challenges, Read more

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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When Employees Fight Over a Customer – 2/4/20

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

There’s nothing like the feeling of comfort I get from a warm greeting at a business establishment.  A feeling of “you are my most important customer” and “I cannot wait to serve you” brings a tear to the eye of a customer service consultant.  But that’s not the only thing that can bring a tear to my eye.

Walking into a fast food restaurant, I stood back from the cashiers to determine what I wanted.  After deciding, I walked to the counter and the two cashiers, both of which were available.  This is how the conversation started:

  • Cashier #1:  “Can I help…oh, she’ll take your order.”
  • Cashier #2:  “No, she’ll take your order.”
  • Cashier #1:  “No, she’ll take your order.”
  • Cashier #2:  “No…well, okay.  What would you like?”

 

This dialogue would have been very flattering had they substituted “I” for “she,” but the conversation made it obvious that, even though neither was doing anything, they’d prefer continuing to do nothing rather than help me buy their product.

Sometimes we complain about how many companies and many employees are more task-focused than customer-focused.  But this company was more focused on inaction than action.  While we desperately hope this experience is a rarity in your business, there are things to learn from the interaction that can help any business succeed.

First, hire people with not only the attitude of wanting to help others but also the energy to act on those impulses.  Next, come up with a mantra that promotes productivity.  One restaurant tells its staff to remember during slow times that “if you’re leaning (against the wall) you should be cleaning.”  Finally, create a proactive work environment.  The more reactive a culture is, the more likely they are to be passive when there’s not a fire to fight.  Proactive cultures promote the seeking of action and progress.

Work to create an atmosphere of “I’ll take your order.”

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