caring

Are you the Output or the Input? - 6/25/19


You’re the output and the input. Sorry to put it into such technical/industrial engineering terminology. But in a service system, we all have some role as a part of the process. First, we receive the output. Somebody has a customer that they direct to us, so that handoff is from Read more

Hear Them, and Tell Them What You Heard - 6/18/19


CSS has conducted close to 1000 research projects over the years, many of which were web-based surveys. And oftentimes, in addition to or instead of completing the online survey, respondents e-mail us directly with questions or comments – and we respond personally to every message on behalf of our Read more

It’s Decision Time. What are you going to do? - 6/11/19


Serving others is tough. Whether it’s dealing with an irate customer, having to field the same question from the 100th different customer this month, or keeping 10 plates spinning while still smiling in front of the client, it’s hard. You want to do a great job, and you’re constantly put Read more

You Do Know Jack - 6/4/19


Have you ever had a co-worker who causes more problems than they solve? Simple things they do are often, from a procedure standpoint, correct. But the way they handle situations makes them come off as indifferent. Let’s call this co-worker “Jack.” Even though certain actions by Jack may seem innocent Read more

How to Give the Right Kind of “No” - 5/28/19


In a perfect world, you never need to say “No” to the customer. But as we all know, this is not a perfect world. There are a lot of issues in the world, and there are a lot of issues in customer service. Our companies are not perfect, our Read more

Make it Crystal Clear - 5/21/19


Sometimes we communicate so well, and sometimes we don’t communicate as well as we think we do. When you’re trying to set or manage another person’s expectations, what you say may be very clear to you, but the reality is it may not be clear to the other person. Read more

Harvey Wrote the Book on Focus...and Golf - 5/14/19


In Harvey Penick's Little Red Book, the famous golf instructor provides many key tips about golf that just as well could apply to life in general. One such tip is the following: Once you address the golf ball, hitting it has got to be the most important thing in Read more

Stop Rolling Your Eyes - 5/7/19


Most of our customer service tips offer advice and guidance. But advice and guidance is useless if the individual receiving it is not willing to listen, learn the theory behind it, and try to apply what they’ve heard or learned. I’ve personally facilitated hundreds of training sessions with clients over Read more

Should you tell the customer? The Employee’s Dilemma - 4/30/19


Last week we looked at the dilemma that many companies face – When there is an issue that is going to happen, should they tell the customer? This week, let’s address that same question from the employee’s perspective. I personally experience employees struggling with this question when I’m in Read more

Should you tell the customer? The Company’s Dilemma - 4/23/19


I have a lot of clients that struggle with this question, both at a company/strategic level as well as an individual representative level. When there is an issue that is going to happen, should you tell the customer? This week we’re going to address the question at the Read more

Why to Become an Empathy Expert – 11/13/18

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People who are great at customer service, understand that one of their most important attributes, one that is a must, is the ability to empathize with others. People want to be understood. They want to be heard. And before you can meet their need or address their feelings or resolve their issue, in customer service it’s not enough to understand what that issue involves. Customers also need to FEEL LIKE YOU UNDERSTAND that need, their feelings, and their perspective.

Empathy helps in emotional situations and service recovery situations because if people are upset and you show some understanding, they’ll feel you’re listening.

If they’re complaining and – instead of you arguing – you agree with some of what they say, they realize that they may not be in for a heated discussion. Therefore, the other person’s emotional level should drop because they feel like they’re dealing with an understanding person who’s not going to argue every point. Arguing with the client usually just keeps emotional levels high.

Empathy helps to bring down emotion, which is obviously better for the client. However, it’s also better for you since you can deal more with the issue and solution without as much emotion involved; this also helps to shorten conversations.

If you want to improve your skills and approach to serving others, then work on how you come across to others. Be more conscious of how your words and gestures and tone of voice make the other person feel. Know how your action elicits a certain reaction from them. Make your life and theirs better by better conveying how much you understand and how much you care.

Become an empathy expert.

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Love is never having to say you’re sorry – 11/6/18

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Love Story – great movie. Alli McGraw. Ryan O’Neal. And a surprisingly poor rating on Rotten Tomatoes – but I digress. The most famous line from the movie is “Love is never having to say you’re sorry…”

Unfortunately, great customer service isn’t about love, per se. Many customers want to hear “I’m sorry” before they can settle down, move on, and forgive/forget.

So how do you say I’m sorry?

The Terrible Transfer – Let’s say that you answer the phone, and the customer immediately tells you they’ve already been transferred 4 times. Consider saying “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. That’s not how we like to do things around here.” Then do the following; either: (A) Make sure you personally take care of the need, (B) Make a “warm” transfer once you identify the employee who can help and that they’re available, or (C) Offer to take their contact information and call them back with the answer.

The Technology Troubles – Let’s say that a customer is trying to understand how to use some technology platform your company provides or navigate your website, and they’re having issues. Consider saying: “I apologize for the difficulties in getting the system working.” You could then offer to walk them through the process on the phone, staying on the line until it works; you could offer to visit them to educate them on the process; you could also provide documentation on the key steps to getting their need addressed.

The Protracted Process – Maybe it’s a situation where a process is taking way too long (whether they want to get an application approved, get a meeting scheduled, get a return or request addressed). You could state: “Sorry that the process it taking longer than anticipated. I’ll personally make sure we get this addressed quickly.” After you’ve received details on the situation, take 2 approaches. First, immediately work on the issue and/or bring in someone to get the need addressed. Second, communicate actions to the customer while the process is in place (to manage expectations and keep them in-the-loop) and when the process is completed (to ensure they know the process was done and to confirm satisfaction).

Unfortunately, great customer service DOES MEAN that sometimes you have to say you’re sorry.

Handle apologies with aplomb.

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Words that Convey You Care – 10/30/18

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Of course you care about your customer and your co-worker. You wouldn’t be reading these tips, trying to learn and improve, if you didn’t care. But sometimes that caring doesn’t get translated based on the words that we may use. So, we’re going to walk through 3 different scenarios, and for each scenario we will suggest what NOT to say (Because it may convey that you’re indifferent), and we’ll offer alternatives on what TO say to convey you care.

SCENARIO 1: The customer requests something from you, and you’re not sure it can be done.

  • Don’t say “That probably won’t work.”
  • Tell them that “I HOPE we can help…” The word “hope” displays your desire to help. Then, explain how you’ll investigate their request.

SCENARIO 2: The customer requests that you personally do something, but it’s not your responsibility.

  • Don’t say “That’s not my job.”
  • Tell them “Let me get you in touch with the person who can best help you with that.” This response conveys you’ve taken ownership at least to the point of getting them in touch with the right person. You care enough to help them get their need met.

SCENARIO 3: You are asked to help with something that is a low priority to you (although it’s a “big deal” to the customer).

  • Don’t say “That’s not important” or “That just doesn’t matter” or “That’s a low priority” or “That’s not a big deal.”
  • Say “I understand that this is important to you. Let’s see what we can do.” You acknowledge – with your words – the importance to them. You are looking forward toward a solution.

Ensure your words don’t convey you’re indifferent. Use words that convey you care.

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