communication

Know the Customer’s Value Proposition - 2/12/19


I’ve written about how it’s important to build up your co-workers when talking to customers. When the nurse is getting ready to send the patient down to radiology, she lets the patient know what great work and great care that the radiology tech provides. When the teller contacts a Read more

Paint a Picture, Take a Picture - 2/5/19


Many of us are visual learners. In order for us to understand the concept, we need to be able to see the concept illustrated. And by seeing the concept illustrated, I’m not just talking about taking something that somebody says and merely typing it into an email. I don’t Read more

Recipe for Reputation Rehab - 1/29/19


As another corporation is trying to recover from self-inflicted reputation wounds, it is seeking to get back in the good graces of consumers. It’s laying out a 6-point plan to improve its performance, but – in the end – publicizing this plan is also about rehabilitating its reputation. Read more

Don’t Dwell on the Customer Crazies - 1/22/19


Whether or not you’re a fan of Duke University basketball, you may have heard of the “Cameron Crazies.” This is a nickname for Duke fans that attend home games in Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium. One of my friends was one of those Cameron Crazies. He was Read more

Retain through Responsiveness - 1/15/19


In a recent Bloomberg article about online retailers, there’s a story about a women’s cosmetics customer who used an online app to order some items. She waited weeks for the delivery after it was shipped to the wrong address, and she had great difficulty in getting the issue resolved. Read more

Bring Something Extra to the Table - 1/8/19


As somebody who has customer service as a part of their role and responsibilities, you are often talking to customers who could access the answers to their questions or the solutions to their problems via a website or some social media resource. But instead of going to those communication Read more

How to Have a Truly HAPPY New Year - 1/1/19


Don’t worry. After today, I will get away from my holiday-themed tips, but for now, let me ask you a question. What would be a good way to have a truly HAPPY New Year? Is it lowering expectations so that everything exceeds your expectations? Is Read more

2018 Holiday Poem - 12/25/18


Annually I write a note at this time of year, And the goal not once but every time is to bring you some cheer. I try to encourage, And I work to state the truth Because as we continue to grow more “wise,” We can’t lose sight of the joys of youth. So this year Read more

Be SomeBODY to Your Customer - 12/18/18


Jenny lives on a farm, and she's often running errands to get things for the animals or the family. She goes to one particular store to get her hay, and she always chit-chats with the person at the register. Marie is always friendly and cordial, and Jenny always buys Read more

A Representative Success! - 12/11/18


I was in a meeting recently with a client, and it was interesting to chat with one of their best customer service representatives. This is an employee who works with the same business clients every month, and when she described what she does, best practices started flowing. She knows her Read more

Paint a Picture, Take a Picture – 2/5/19

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


Many of us are visual learners. In order for us to understand the concept, we need to be able to see the concept illustrated. And by seeing the concept illustrated, I’m not just talking about taking something that somebody says and merely typing it into an email. I don’t mean simply providing detailed instructions line by line. What I do mean is literally seeing a picture.

Many times over the years, I’ve been trying to describe a strategy, process, or some key steps to a client that they need to take to be successful in whatever topic we’re discussing. And at some point, it’s clear that they’re getting part of what I’m suggesting but not all of it. So, I will either take out my computer tablet or a sheet of paper, and I will draw a simple diagram. Then their eyes light up! They understand the concept, and they often ask if they can keep that piece of paper or ask if I can send them a softcopy of what I wrote on my computer screen.

For many of us, when we hear hundreds of words mesh together to describe a series of next steps or a process, the words blur. We either lose focus, or there is a particular step or phrase that diverts our concentration. To avoid this when working with customers, we need to move those hundreds of steps to a simple graphic of 3-5 connected boxes. It simplifies it for those of us who are visual.

Take a Picture to Jog their Memory
Just as in the example that I shared where they asked to keep my sheet of paper, think about your pre-printed documents – maybe it’s the procedures on a wall poster. Maybe it is a hardcopy document that you were viewing with the customer about a contract, a policy, an agreement, or a process. Don’t expect people to remember what we say no matter how wonderfully we explain it.

Have them take a picture of it with their phone or give them a QR code so that they can go to the exact URL using their phone camera. Make sure that this visual representation that you provided to them is something that they can take with them to remember and refer back to in the future.

When having a conversation with a customer, gauge how well they’re understanding what you’re conveying.

When needed, paint a picture, and – so they remember – let them take a picture.

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Words that Convey You Care – 10/30/18

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


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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Watch that tone, young man! – 10/2/18

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Watch that tone, young man!

When I was growing up, unfortunately I heard that phrase more times than I care to admit. Maybe that’s why I’m so cognizant of my tone today and so in tune with the tone of voice that others use as well.

An Australian training firm recently authored an article that addressed tone of voice. Even though this article is a little more sales-focused than customer service-focused, it’s an interesting read. It not only describes how to interpret different tones of voice, but it also promotes the need for you to be intentional about the tone you use based on what message you want to convey.

If you want to seem reasonable, don’t overemphasize any words. If you want to convey you care, speak with a slight rasp or a little bit more from the throat. If you want to come across as “up-beat,” have your “vocal inflections rise at the end of certain words,” particularly the other person’s name. For example, say the following phrase twice – first with a flat tone and second where you emphasize “Mary”: Mary, nice to meet you.

There are 8 tips, so feel free to check them out. The main point I want you to think of – beyond the specific techniques suggested – is that you need to have an intent of what kind of message you want to send with your tone, so that your message is delivered and heard the way you want. Pause, and consider the tone before you speak.

Watch that tone, young ‘Tip of the Week’ fan!!

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