confidence

Are you the Output or the Input? - 6/25/19


You’re the output and the input. Sorry to put it into such technical/industrial engineering terminology. But in a service system, we all have some role as a part of the process. First, we receive the output. Somebody has a customer that they direct to us, so that handoff is from Read more

Hear Them, and Tell Them What You Heard - 6/18/19


CSS has conducted close to 1000 research projects over the years, many of which were web-based surveys. And oftentimes, in addition to or instead of completing the online survey, respondents e-mail us directly with questions or comments – and we respond personally to every message on behalf of our Read more

It’s Decision Time. What are you going to do? - 6/11/19


Serving others is tough. Whether it’s dealing with an irate customer, having to field the same question from the 100th different customer this month, or keeping 10 plates spinning while still smiling in front of the client, it’s hard. You want to do a great job, and you’re constantly put Read more

You Do Know Jack - 6/4/19


Have you ever had a co-worker who causes more problems than they solve? Simple things they do are often, from a procedure standpoint, correct. But the way they handle situations makes them come off as indifferent. Let’s call this co-worker “Jack.” Even though certain actions by Jack may seem innocent Read more

How to Give the Right Kind of “No” - 5/28/19


In a perfect world, you never need to say “No” to the customer. But as we all know, this is not a perfect world. There are a lot of issues in the world, and there are a lot of issues in customer service. Our companies are not perfect, our Read more

Make it Crystal Clear - 5/21/19


Sometimes we communicate so well, and sometimes we don’t communicate as well as we think we do. When you’re trying to set or manage another person’s expectations, what you say may be very clear to you, but the reality is it may not be clear to the other person. Read more

Harvey Wrote the Book on Focus...and Golf - 5/14/19


In Harvey Penick's Little Red Book, the famous golf instructor provides many key tips about golf that just as well could apply to life in general. One such tip is the following: Once you address the golf ball, hitting it has got to be the most important thing in Read more

Stop Rolling Your Eyes - 5/7/19


Most of our customer service tips offer advice and guidance. But advice and guidance is useless if the individual receiving it is not willing to listen, learn the theory behind it, and try to apply what they’ve heard or learned. I’ve personally facilitated hundreds of training sessions with clients over Read more

Should you tell the customer? The Employee’s Dilemma - 4/30/19


Last week we looked at the dilemma that many companies face – When there is an issue that is going to happen, should they tell the customer? This week, let’s address that same question from the employee’s perspective. I personally experience employees struggling with this question when I’m in Read more

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

Build Your Customer’s Confidence by Building Yourself Up – 10/9/18

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


I want you to have an ego, just for a minute. I want you to brag on yourself, just for a few seconds. I want you to lose the humility, just for a little while.

Sometimes you’re dealing with a customer or co-worker that is conveying some emotions that are tough to deal with, and those emotions are not always anger and upset. Sometimes those emotions are anxiety and nervousness. They’re worried about what MIGHT happen. They are worried about what the ramifications COULD be. They’re worried about something in the future, something unknown to them.

When dealing with this emotion, sometimes it’s beneficial to talk about yourself or your organization.

After hearing the concern from the customer, restate it back to them, telling them the details you know about their situation. This way, they realize they’re not a number to you. This way, they realize that the facts and the uniqueness of their situation are important to you. This gives them a little sense of comfort that you care enough about them to know about them.

But the next step is actually about YOU. Remember, they have anxiety and fear due in part to some lack of confidence or comfort with what might happen in the future. If you can talk about yourself or your organization and let them know how you successfully navigated the waters that they are about to traverse, that can build their confidence.

“My name is Ed, and I am one of the senior representatives here at Widget World. I’ve helped many different customers go through a similar experience to what you’re dealing with, so I’m confident that we can help you.”

At this point you’ve shared enough about yourself so that they have a vision of success. You shared enough about your experience that they can picture themselves moving toward a solution. You shared enough about you that they realize that what is going on with them can be addressed successfully with your support.

When you’re dealing with the anxious or nervous customer, by building yourself up, you can build the customer’s confidence.

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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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Avoid the Greatest Tragedy in Customer Service – 8/28/18

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The greatest tragedy is indifference.

That statement is attributed to the American Red Cross, and it applies to the world of customer service as well. The first requirement for consistently great customer service is caring about those you’re serving, and caring and indifference are polar opposites.

It’s tough to be indifferent and do what’s best for the other person. It’s difficult to be indifferent and to understand the other’s situation. It’s a challenge to be indifferent and to anticipate the other’s needs.

The know nothings are less of a problem than the feel nothings.

The author of this quote is unknown, but it ties into the first quote. To care, to avoid indifference, it helps to feel for the other person. But not all of us are the emotional type; not all of us are “touchy feely.” So how do we convey we care, how do we avoid indifference, how do we deliver great customer service if we’re not big “feel” people?

Take a cognitive approach. Think of the opposite of indifference as “making a difference.” What can you do to make the other person’s day easier? What one thing can you do to make them more comfortable? What one question can you ask to find out what’s most important to them? What can you do to move them one step closer to a goal? What one thing can you tell them that will make a process more clear or make them a little more confident?

To avoid indifference, think of that one little extra you can provide.

Avoid the perception of indifference by making a difference.

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