care

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

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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Avoid the Greatest Tragedy in Customer Service – 8/28/18

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The greatest tragedy is indifference.

That statement is attributed to the American Red Cross, and it applies to the world of customer service as well. The first requirement for consistently great customer service is caring about those you’re serving, and caring and indifference are polar opposites.

It’s tough to be indifferent and do what’s best for the other person. It’s difficult to be indifferent and to understand the other’s situation. It’s a challenge to be indifferent and to anticipate the other’s needs.

The know nothings are less of a problem than the feel nothings.

The author of this quote is unknown, but it ties into the first quote. To care, to avoid indifference, it helps to feel for the other person. But not all of us are the emotional type; not all of us are “touchy feely.” So how do we convey we care, how do we avoid indifference, how do we deliver great customer service if we’re not big “feel” people?

Take a cognitive approach. Think of the opposite of indifference as “making a difference.” What can you do to make the other person’s day easier? What one thing can you do to make them more comfortable? What one question can you ask to find out what’s most important to them? What can you do to move them one step closer to a goal? What one thing can you tell them that will make a process more clear or make them a little more confident?

To avoid indifference, think of that one little extra you can provide.

Avoid the perception of indifference by making a difference.

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Do They Feel That You Care? – 2/28/17

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Let’s first start by stating the obvious – you can’t control how others feel. Many of us have trouble at times controlling (or even understanding) our OWN feelings.

So what’s up with the title of this Tip of the Week?

I was watching a video created by one of my clients, highlighting a staff person known for her great customer service.

One of her points was telling. A goal she has in every interaction with anyone (customer, co-worker, vendor – anyone) is that they feel that she cares.

She is answering their question. She’s researching their bill. She’s addressing their complaint. Maybe she’s briefly chatting with them in the hallway. She could be in a meeting with them. Possibly she’s the presenter at the meeting.

No matter what she’s doing – she consciously thinks “I want this person to feel that I care.” WOW!

She knowingly can’t control their feelings, but she has a desire for people to feel that she cares.

I do something similar that I’ve written about previously; while I’m speaking to someone, I often think to myself “this is the most important person in the world to me at this moment.”

It’s amazing what that conscious thought does naturally to your level of patience, your focus, your eyes and expressions, the words you decide to use, and the tone of voice that comes through your lips. But I’m not consistent like this person. She’s an all-the-time person.

Why does she try to do this 100% of the time? Maybe she figures that if she tries 100% of the time, she may succeed 80% – and that’s pretty awesome! Maybe she does it because it aligns to her personal values. Maybe she wants to feel cared for, and this is her way of providing what she wants to receive. Maybe she wants to make the (working) world a little better place.

Whatever her reason, let’s try it ourselves. No matter what action you’re taking with or for someone else, tell yourself “I want this person to feel that I care.”

See if it changes the dynamic of the conversation. See if it changes THEIR attitude. See if it changes YOUR day.

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