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Keep On Going - 9/22/20


Thomas Edison once said “Many of life’s failures are experiences by people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” You are close to success – Keep On Going. Winston Churchill once said "If you’re going through hell, keep going."  This quote has been taken Read more

Lessons Learned for COVID Era Sporting Events


Since the sports world has begun inviting fans back to their events on a limited basis, CSS has been fortunate to work on multiple events with our sports clients.  Much of our work is fan research-oriented, where before or after events, we are engaging fans to identify expectations, potential Read more

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

Let Your Words Change Their Tone – 7/10/18

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


When we’re conducting web-based surveys for our clients, sometimes the respondent will bypass the survey and decide to send us an e-mail directly, or they’ll send us an e-mail in addition to the survey responses that they already provided online.

When we get these direct e-mails from the client’s customers, often they voice frustrations, and they either didn’t want to convey them through a survey, or they wanted to convey them in a way that emphasized their concerns. Sometimes they want us to rectify issues when they’re getting no direct solution from the company itself.

Whenever we receive these types of messages, we reply immediately. And every time we reply – regardless of their tone – we start by saying “Thank you,” and we end by saying “Thank you.”

It’s something that we emphasize when communicating with any customer, but it’s interesting that the mere statement of “Thank you” up front and the statement of “Thank you” in the end often changes how your message is received by the other person.

We frequently get follow-up e-mails from these irate customers, and they say “Thanks!” back to us for responding and getting the ball rolling. They apologize at times for dumping their frustrations on us. They change their tone in large part because we thank them for sharing their concerns with us.

Try this for a day or – even better – a week. EVERY TIME you talk to somebody on the phone, you respond to an e-mail, you see somebody face-to-face, start by thanking them for bringing something to your attention or for sending you the message. End by thanking them for what you learn from the conversation or for being willing to convey their message to you. This is not just for those irate customer situations. It is also for any conversation you have with a co-worker or customer.

It’s not as catchy as “ABC – Always be closing,” but “ABT – Always be thanking” can have a dramatic effect on others…and maybe even yourself.

By using the simple words “Thank you” at the start and by ending with “Thanks!”, your words can change their tone.

Use words to convey appreciation. See how the tone of conversations begins to change.

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Light Up the Room – 7/3/18

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Maybe you are one of those people. Maybe you work with or are friends with one of those people. You know the kind of person I’m referring to; it’s the person who lights up the room. Literally, the positivity, the tone of the conversation, and the energy of the room become more vibrant, more pleasant, more fun, and more enjoyable.

The people who light up the room make the environment better, and seemingly any topic or conversation or point of debate is seen through different, more positive and open lenses.

Whether we’re trying to be a good team player with our co-workers or trying to address the customer’s issues, needs, or goals, so much of how well we do is dependent on whether or not we are someone who turns up the wattage.

The people who light up the room seem to have certain traits and behaviors. They smile more. They tend to move more. They GO TO people as opposed to expecting people to go to them. They seem to connect with others and connect people with others. They’re looking around the room, not operating with blinders on; yet they somehow make each person feel exceptionally important. People who light up the room know how to use their body language to convey openness and interest. Their arms move and rarely stay folded. They ask and inquire. They convey appreciation and say thanks.

If you want to be a great team member or provide great customer service, think about the environment that you are creating for those around you. Think about the impact that you have on the tone of the conversation.

Think about how you can light up the room.

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Of Ross, Unagi, and the Attacking Customer – 6/19/18

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If you’ve ever watched the TV sitcom called Friends, you may remember that one of the characters was named Ross. In one episode, he is trying to educate some of his female friends (who just took a self-defense course) on a concept he calls Unagi. Basically, to Ross, this is a concept that would help him anticipate when he was about to be attacked. Once attacked, then he could use his karate. Of course, Ross got his terms confused; he should have said Zanshin; instead he used Unagi – a Japanese word for freshwater eel.

Ross also wasn’t particularly good at Unagi or karate, as later in the episode his Friends “attacked” him when his Unagi failed, and they got him in a submission hold.

In the world of customer service, it would be great if we had Unagi. It would be great if we had some kind of a radar that could anticipate that customer who is going to attack us or bully us into getting what they want.

Unfortunately, for the most part, Unagi does not exist. However, these are 3 different tactics to consider when you’re faced with a customer potentially trying to bully his way to a particular outcome:

Restrain – Hold back on the urge to verbally fight back with personal attacks against the customer, blaming them for things that have happened in the situation. Once we heighten our emotional level and try to match theirs, usually we’re going to end up having a situation get even worse. Restrain a little bit instead of reacting with defensiveness and our own personal feelings.

Redirect – Consider ways to get the conversation away from the personal attack and away from their solutions to focus more on a scenario where you are redirecting the conversation by asking questions. You’re trying to learn details. You’re trying to understand specifics, and all the while by asking your questions you’re not only getting the conversation to focus on what you want to focus on, but you’re also taking control of the conversation.

Recuse – At some point, the conversation gets too heated; it’s too personal; you may need to recuse yourself from the conversation. This does not mean to ignore the customer and the issue. What it does mean is that sometimes it’s best to bring in a co-worker, bring in a supervisor, bring in somebody else and recuse yourself from the situation. Oftentimes that mere pause for the handoff can deescalate the emotions. By bringing in someone else, it gets the focus off of you and the dynamics with you and the customer. Sometimes the customer feels they’re making progress through a resolution process by viewing the next person (especially if you position the handoff this way) as a key next step in the process.

Why you might not have Unagi, find ways to restrain, redirect, and – if necessary – recuse yourself when you’re dealing with the attacking customer.

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