communication

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

Consider Lack v. Lag – 9/8/15 TOW

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


The assumption that we can make about an organization when we hear that there are “communication issues” is that there is a lack of communication. Management did not tell staff about changes. Certain departments are not communicating with other departments about what’s going on with customers. Co-workers are not communicating with each other about basic scheduling or day-to-day operational points.

And while the assumption that communication issues relate to a lack of communication is usually true, in many organizations the bigger issue with communications is the lag in communications.

The staff find out about policy or procedural changes, but the time they find out is when they’re given notice that they need to implement those changes. Without input into the decision to make the change or how the change would be implemented, and without knowing why the change is instituted, the employees are left with the responsibility of implementing something in a very short period of time without the benefit of planning it into their work schedule.

Sometimes the marketing department is rolling out some new messaging to their clients and prospective clients, and they share that information with the customer service area. But unfortunately they share that with the customer service area at the same time that they launch the messaging to the customers directly.

Employees schedule days off weeks in advance, or they take breaks. Although they do tell their co-worker, sometimes they tell them that they’re going to be off on Friday when it’s Thursday evening. Sometimes they mention that they’re taking a break as they are walking out the door.

The point is that it’s not only important to communicate, but it’s also important to think about the timeliness of communication and the impact of the timeliness on others. When you’re evaluating whether or not to share information with others, strongly also consider how soon you can convey that information.

Bring co-workers into the loop earlier to eliminate the lag in communications.

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