complaint

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

Customer for Life – The Final Step - 4/16/19


Two weeks ago, we addressed the Third Step of keeping a Customer for Life: Address what will keep them. Now, we’re sharing the Fourth and Final Step. To have a Customer for Life, you have to grow your relationship with them. While the 3rd step is the Read more

Use the Actions of Empathy - 4/9/19


I firmly believe that the most important personal trait of someone in customer service is empathy. If empathy is understanding the other person, then it’s very difficult to truly serve someone that you don’t understand. Particularly when they’re upset or irate, being empathetic and getting them to Read more

Customer for Life – The Third Step - 4/2/19


Two weeks ago, we addressed the Second Step of keeping a Customer for Life: Never let a relationship go stale – keep the communication going. Now, we’re sharing the Third Step. To have a customer for life, you have to address what will keep them. Read more

Facial Recognition is the Future of Customer Service - 3/26/19


According to a recent New York Times article, facial recognition is the future of retail customer service. A trend in technology for retail businesses is to utilize facial recognition technology in order to better know who is entering your business. The idea is that if somebody within Read more

Customer for Life – The Second Step - 3/19/19


Two weeks ago, we shared a Customer Service Tip on how to get (and keep!) a Customer for Life. We addressed the First Step, Knowing what you need to know about the other person. Now, we’re sharing the Second Step. To develop a relationship with anyone, there has to Read more

Employee Runs for a Dog Run - 3/12/19


I was never a Boy Scout. I mean in the literal sense, but also somewhat in the figurative sense, but I digress. After years of telling myself that I needed something to help my dog get exercise outside without worrying about him trying to dig under a fence and Read more

Customer for Life – The First Step - 3/5/19


This should be the goal, right? That our clients today will be our clients tomorrow and well into the future. That their loyalty grows, their business with us grows, their referrals grow, and it is all part of a relationship that grows and develops over time. But what’s the Read more

Retrain Your Brain - 2/26/19


Admit it. You thought about it. You thought: Why in the world did the customer try to assemble that before reading the instructions? Why would they drive all the way down here instead of just checking the website? Why would they go through the drive-thru when they can deposit using Read more

Look Up, or Look Out! - 2/19/19


The clerk called out “next in line!”, and Frannie went to the counter. “Can I have your name?,” the employee asked, but she stared at her computer screen while asking. Frannie stated her name, the time of her appointment, and noted the reason for the appointment. Staring at the screen, Read more

How to Keep Your Cool – 2/6/18

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


You’ve had a rough day. It seems like the complaints keep coming. You want to work through your projects, but you find yourself fighting fires instead. And then you get that call – it’s a customer with another complaint or your boss with another urgent request, and you’re going to lose your cool…but you can’t.

You have to take the call. You have to help the other person, but the more they talk or gripe or pull at you or pick at you, the more your temperature rises.

In times like this, remember the BBB technique:

  • Breathe – This can be one of the best things you can possibly do in times of stress. Deep breaths in, hold for a couple seconds, then breathe it all out. Make sure it doesn’t sound like you just ran a sprint, but let the breathing keep your body in check.
  • Break – It’s often a good idea to ask the person if they could hold for just a minute so you can do some research or tell them you need to briefly check on something relating to their topic. Once they’re OK with it, put them on hold – literally take a break (even if it’s just 30 seconds or a minute). It gives you time to gather yourself, to think to pause to breathe, and it even may give them time to settle down. When you come back on the line, immediately thank them for their patience.
  • Get Back-to-Basics – Focus on the facts; ask them for details. Have them tell you the basics – what happened (or what do they need) on what date, at what time, sent to what e-mail address. Literally write down what they’re telling you, and confirm it back to them. When you’re focused on data and they’re focused on data, emotions tend to dissipate.

 
When you feel the heat and your temperature is rising, get your cool back.

Employ the BBB technique.

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Fix the Unfixed Issue for Your Customer – 1/23/18

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


Here it comes again. It’s the issue that came to your attention last week but still hasn’t been fixed. It’s a glitch on the website, it’s a backorder issue, or it’s a new phone system causing the average wait time to double. You know about the issue, but – worse yet – your customers know about the issue. So how do you handle it when the customer brings it to your attention?

First, empathize and admit knowledge. Convey your understanding of the other person’s frustrations as you would with any complaint. Do not try to hide the issue. Tell them that you’re aware of it.

Second, note what is being done to resolve the problem. Tell them in general what is being done to address the issue. Even if it is a statement such as “We have a team looking at it” or “Our tech folks are investigating” or “The system is in the process of being upgraded” – those brief statements suggest that resolution is underway, and complaints of customers like the one that you’re talking with are being taken seriously. Don’t dwell on the details of the issue or all the specific actions being taken to rectify the concerns. This can get the conversation off track or going down negative path.

Transition to a near-term solution. Quickly move toward some alternatives that the customer could consider in the meantime. These are typically actions that YOU can take as opposed to having the customer go through several steps on their own to fix a problem that was caused by the company. For example, you could transition with statements such as: “Fortunately, we do have a couple other options for you to consider” or “However, there is some good news…” or “While we’re updating the website, here is what I can do for you right now…”

When dealing with a known issue, don’t ignore it, try to hide, or argue with the customer about it. Instead, empathize, admit knowledge, note the action being taken so they won’t have to deal with this again in the future, and quickly transition to an alternative.

Fix today’s customer issue even before the real issue is resolved for tomorrow’s customer.

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Do This, Not That! – 1/9/18

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


Several years ago, a relative introduced me to the book “Eat This, Not That!” One version of the book operated off that premise that if you have to eat at a particular restaurant, eat THIS option (not THAT option), because it’s healthier.

Now, let’s have some fun! Let’s apply the THIS/THAT approach to the phrases we use in customer service.

When a hospital patient is nervous or anxious, Say THIS -> We’ve helped many patients who have had the same treatment, and they’ve gotten through the process with positive results. (Build their confidence)

Not THAT -> Stop complaining. It’s not that big a deal. (Don’t downplay the person’s right to feel what they feel)

When a sports ticket holder is upset, Say THIS -> I can understand the frustration, and I’m sorry there was an issue with the seats. Let’s see what we can do about this for you. Can I have your account number, please? (Empathize and apologize; transition to a next step; ask them an objective question)

Not THAT -> What’s your account number? (Don’t ignore their desire for you to take SOME responsibility prior to moving to the solution)

When a customer calls with a complaint about the company and makes it personal about you, Say THIS -> I’d like to help you, Mr. Smith, but we need to be able to discuss it professionally. If that’s possible, I’m happy to talk more now, or – as an alternative – we can schedule a call to discuss again tomorrow, or I’m happy to get someone else to help you. Which option would you prefer? (Don’t take the abuse, but let them know your expectation for how you’ll be treated, and share alternatives)

Not THAT -> If you’re going to be a $%^&#!, I’m not talking to you! (Even though you may want to fire back, don’t feed into it and escalate the conversation; don’t sink to their level and make it personal)

There aren’t always perfect phrases for these situations, but there are characteristics of what to say and not say when faced with these challenges.

Do This, Not That!

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