comfort

A Hair-Cut Above...and Below - 2/11/20


After going to the same barber for more than a decade, I decided to leave.  The customer experience went down, and the price went up.  For my last several visits, I was the one who was driving the conversations – when I could get a word in edgewise between Read more

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


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 Read more

LOTS of Opportunities to Appreciate Customers - 1/28/20


They give us their money, and we give them merchandise. We say “Thank you!”  That is the old-time stereotypical opportunity for a company to thank their customers.  But there are opportunities all day long for us to convey appreciation to our customers. Beyond the actual transaction, there are so many Read more

When Jack Gave Arnie a Tip - 1/21/20


Jack Nicklaus may have been the greatest golfer ever.  Many think that Arnold Palmer was the most important golfer of the 20th century.  These two greats were contemporaries, so they became competitors and friends all at once.  And when somebody who is one of the greatest of all time Read more

Make it Abundantly Clear - 1/14/20


Becky was laying in her hospital bed and staring at the whiteboard on the wall.  It had a room number, the room’s phone number, and the date.  It had the pictures of the pain scale, with happy-to-sad faces and ratings from 0-10.  It noted when the last meds were Read more

Become the Wishing Well - 1/7/20


When you don’t know if the next step will solve the customer’s problem, give hope a chance.  If you’re not certain how things will progress on their project, give hope a chance.  If you want to end the conversation by having them feel positive, even if uncertain, give hope Read more

Why Silence is Golden - 12/31/19


In the world of customer service, to begin finding a resolution, sometimes we have to initiate conversation. To keep things moving forward, oftentimes we have to proactively engage in discussion.  To have effective dialogue, we need to avoid those long periods of dead silence. But don’t let those truths of Read more

2019 Holiday Poem - 12/24/19


There is joy absolutely everywhere, Sometimes you just need to look for it. There are birds and babies. There are flowers and sweet older ladies. You just have to look for them. People hold doors open for others, with smiles. There are days when you can see for miles. You just have to look for them. There Read more

Encourage the Customer - 12/17/19


Everybody sing with me:  Feelings, whoa whoa whoa, feelings… Excellent old song, and be thankful that I’m just writing the words and not singing to you.  While not all of us are comfortable with discussing feelings, feelings are an important part of the customer experience. No, you can’t make someone feel Read more

Hearing is Believing - 12/10/19


“I just want to be heard.” When I work with clients whose customers are the community, this is a phrase I’ve heard far too often from residents.  For retail businesses and other industries where there are many choices, often customers will take their business elsewhere instead of complaining.  But with Read more

Take Away Their Worry – 8/7/18

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


One summer, Janet was given a new chore. She had to take out the trash and recycle bins to the street every Tuesday night so that they could be picked up Wednesday morning. She would go out around 7 or 8 o’clock at night, take the bins out, and come back inside. As summer was about to end, it began getting dark earlier, so Janet began putting the bins out earlier.

Janet was worrying about things. She kept hearing noises and didn’t know what they were, so she decided to at least avoid the darkness when putting out the bins. Her dad asked why she kept going out earlier, and when she explained, he said that the noises were probably some small animals, and she shouldn’t be afraid.

The next week she went out a little later – when it was a little bit darker – and she heard some noises and ran back inside. Her dad asked what was wrong, and when she explained about the noises again, he got out his flashlight, and they walked out together. They heard a noise, he pointed the flashlight in that direction, and it was a squirrel. They walked a few feet and heard another noise, and the flashlight revealed a bunny on some leaves. It was a windy day, and after another noise, the light showed a small branch that had fallen.

What the dad had said a week earlier had been proven true. Janet continued her chore, and she did so at night – and she usually went out with a flashlight.

For our customers, similar to Janet, sometimes things are scary. It could be that patient’s unexpected visit to an urgent care, or possibly that a sports fan was about to make a big payment on season tickets. Maybe that resident was not used to dealing with the government on the tax issue.

If we can tell them what they’re going to experience, it can make them less worried. Better yet, it we can SHOW THEM what’s going to happen – being that flashlight – noting all the steps they could be experiencing through the process, they become even more comfortable.

When you are interacting with a customer on something that may create worry or anxiety, do what Janet’s dad did for her. Patiently describe what the experience will be like; shine the light on the path they’ll be going down to bring down their emotions.

Take away their worry.

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Unleash Your Persuasiveness – 7/31/18

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Sometimes the facts are not enough. The customer is irate, or they don’t like the alternative you’re suggesting. You need them to do something, and they want you to do it. They need to do options A or B, and they want to select imaginary option Z.

You need to persuade them so that the right choice or a reasonable choice or the best choice for them is the one they select. So how do you unleash your persuasiveness?

Here are four (4) key points of consideration:

  • Identify what’s in it for them, or how it would benefit them. Then reference this in the conversation. The customer is more easily persuaded to take a certain action if they understand the benefit to them of taking that action. Instead of purely understanding what needs to be done and understanding why it’s beneficial to you or your organization, use a little empathy to understand what’s in it for them.
  • Model positive behaviors – nods, eye contact, smiles. Persuasion is not just about the words you use. Persuasion is something where they are feeling the positive energy associated with the option you’re promoting. They feel the confidence that you have not only in what you say but how you’re saying it. They feel a level of sincerity in the message you’re sending. You do this with your body language and tone of voice as much as you do it with your words.
  • Build their confidence by sharing successful experiences in a simple/relatable way. Let them know you’ve done this successfully with others. Oftentimes, customers come into situations with one solution in mind, and if that solution is not the one you’re suggesting, they need to be able to envision a successful outcome clearly like they’ve already envisioned that outcome using their own solution. So talk about other customers that have successfully utilized this option; talk about clients similar to them where this has worked well. Keep it simple, and make sure they can relate to the examples of success you provide.
  • Uncover their concerns with the potential solution/alternative. In the end, what you’re really doing is overcoming their fears and concerns about the option that you’re providing. So ask them why they would prefer a certain option. Ask them what in particular is causing them to hesitate about selecting a particular alternative. The more you can uncover the specific concerns, the better you can address them.

 

Unleash your innate persuasiveness!

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Words of Encouragement – From You and For You – 8/8/17

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


Comfort and Confidence. These are qualities you want to build in your customers. Their comfort level in working with your organization. Their confidence in you and your business.

And these are qualities staff generally want as well – to be comfortable and confident. When I note that employees want to be comfortable, I’m not saying comfort to the point of being unchallenged or apathetic. I’m saying comfortable enough in the environment where they can be open in sharing their views and ideas, and be open to hearing the perspectives of others as well.

It’s best to have comfortable and confident customers and co-workers because trust is more easily created, relationships are more fully developed, and loyalty is more easily engendered.

So let’s address how to build comfort and confidence by simply being encouraging of others. You could tell customers:

  • You completed the first step in the registration process – good job!
  • You did everything right so far! We just have one more step.
  • You asked excellent questions or That’s a great question!
  • You’re making great progress.
  • You’re definitely doing your part.
  • You called the right number.

For co-workers, you could say:

  • You’re always so organized.
  • You made this process so easy for me.
  • Thanks for being so responsive.
  • Your preparation made the process flow very smoothly.
  • I love how you handled that situation.
  • Great job on the report!

Why are we talking about words of encouragement? Because they convey appreciation, and they also reinforce positive words and actions of the person you’re speaking with – words and actions you’d like to see repeated. So those words of encouragement actually help you as well. Your encouragement creates an environment where the other person is more comfortable and confident that what they did (those words and actions that made YOUR life a little better) is something they should do again.

Offer Words of Encouragement to help others build comfort and confidence.

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