customer experience

Bring Magic to Your Account Management - 1/19/21


One of our first sports-industry clients was the Orlando Magic.  They were a true leading-edge organization in the early 2000s when it came to dedicating resources to season ticket holder retention.  They didn’t make customer service, relationship-development, and renewals simply a function of the Sales department.  They broke it Read more

Customers Want Easy, but Easy is Difficult - 1/12/21


New employees go through days of training to learn products and services.  They have formal workshops to learn how to use their office applications, web functions, and whatever programs are specific to their department.  They test new technology, and they get quizzed on knowledge of policies.  This is hours Read more

Make 2021 the Year of Building Relationships - 1/5/21


I’ve been very fortunate over this company’s 20+ years in business to have great and long-lasting relationships with many clients, colleagues, business partners, and co-workers.  It’s a gift to be able to call on these individuals for advice or referrals or to be a sounding board.  And it’s just Read more

Bring Warmth During Winter - 12/29/20


Winter is upon us.  Now, winter can mean different things to different people in different regions, but just the word conjures up cold.  It conjures up visions of snow.  It conjures up feelings of wind and lack of warmth. Although some of us may like the cold at times of Read more

2020 Holiday Poem - 12/22/20


When in the role of customer service,We are wired to give and give.It’s built into our DNA.It’s simply the way we live. In order to give to others,We need to find ways to give them their fill.We need to pour empathy and openness into them.To serve, we need to have Read more

It’s NOT about the Cinnamon - 12/15/20


It was happening again.  Jessica had just handed the freshly made concoction to her coffee shop customer, and less than a minute later, the customer was in Jessica’s face, red as a beet, ranting and raving:  I specifically asked for extra cinnamon on top!  Does this look like extra Read more

Locke-in from the Start - 12/8/20


John Locke was a 17th century English philosopher, physician, and researcher.  He wrote many papers arguing particular points, oftentimes using reason and facts as the basis for his position.  He noted that many disagreements start because there is – in my words – a lack of real clarity about Read more

The End of the Tunnel - 12/1/20


Have you ever heard the expression:  There’s light at the end of the tunnel… In this COVID-era world, it sure does feel like the tunnel is long, doesn’t it?  It sure feels like this is not a light that we’ll be at in 2 seconds after the train goes another Read more

A Lesson in Gratitude - 11/24/20


Mr. Robinson went to the hardware store with his teenaged son, Steve.  Steve was starting his first woodworking project – building a small coffee table – and needed supplies.  As they walked the aisles, Mr. Robinson and Steve couldn’t find the exact type of wood they wanted, so Mr. Read more

Why Your Job is Important - 11/17/20


I was speaking with a client recently, and she was telling me about one of the classes delivered by their professional development team. Her description of the course reminded me of some client workshops we’ve conducted where a part of the outcome is having individual staff develop Personal Mission Read more

Don’t Publicize Pain Points – 11/3/20

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

Years ago, a mining company received numerous formal complaints about the noise from its operations.  The complaints primarily came from one nearby neighborhood.  That neighborhood was the location where the mining company had to build a small above-ground structure to support the operations.

The community was interested in finding ways to address the noise.  One of the ideas that residents came up with was to put a hedge around the structure.  The company said that the noise wasn’t coming from the structure; it was actually coming from the mining field, but the company decided to do what the residents requested.

So, they built a hedge around this structure that was so tall and dense that residents couldn’t see the object.

Eventually, the formal complaints completely stopped.

Kudos to the residents for coming up with an idea to address a company problem, and kudos to the company for doing what the residents suggested and not arguing the point.

What’s the takeaway?  Many issues and solutions are more about perception than reality.  Seeing something makes you associate it with other things.  The structure made you think of the noise, which made you think negatively about the company.  Remove the visual reminder (the structure), and the noise was the only reminder about…the noise – which people got used to over time.

I experience this personally every day.  I live near a fire station, but rarely do I notice the sirens unless I see the flashing lights.

When you’re trying to deliver a great customer experience, one way you do so is to eliminate the pain points in the customer journey.  But another way is to avoid reminding the customer about the pain.  If long waits or old facilities or excessive paperwork are challenges to the service experience, work to improve those – but also avoid shining a light on them.

Address reality AND perception.  Don’t publicize pain points.

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Increase Research for Improved Customer Relations During COVID-19

Posted on in Business Advice Please leave a comment

What makes a relationship? Many actions can make or break a relationship, but all solid relationships require at least two things: Communication and Caring. And customer relationships are no different in this respect.

No Communication = No Connection

If we don’t have some frequency of dialogue with the customer, then we not only are not top-of-mind, but we’re not even “bottom-of-mind.” We are not in the mind. They don’t think of us, they don’t consider us because the relationship has gone stale.

Now caring is in the eye of the beholder. How one person defines whether they are cared for by the other may differ from individual to individual. But if we put things in the context of the customer relationship, there are some more consistent realities. Communicating with the customer just to sell isn’t relationship-building. A lack of communication isn’t relationship-building.

What Caring for the Customer Requires

Caring requires that people feel like they’re viewed as an individual – that we value them. It requires that we usually listen more than talk. It means that we try to understand their issues, needs, and goals, and – if they want more than the listening ear – we address those issues, needs, and goals.

So much of what I just described suggests that we can – and MUST – improve customer relations through research, and CSS is conducting a great deal of research in this COVID-19 environment because our clients understand this truth.

Customer research done correctly involves a company asking a customer a question. It involves the company seeking information from the customer, ultimately for the customer. Sometimes, well-designed research instruments convey caring for the customer and valuing of the customer just by how the tools are worded and what questions are asked.

Design with the Customer in Mind

What do you need to know about the customer to help them? What do you need to learn about them to best serve them? How do you identify their priorities, their issues, their concerns, their perceptions, their preferences? And how do you construct these questions in such a way that you convey that you care? We’re talking about research, and we’re not necessarily saying it’s purely web-based surveys. This can include one-on-one interviews, phone follow-up from account representatives, or check-in calls from staff. This could include informal e-mail requests, or it could include facilitated ZOOM focus groups.

Whatever it is, do enough of it to know enough about as many of your customers as possible to help them. If you professionally design with the conveying that you care in mind, you will improve customer relations.


6 Common Sense Responses to Customer Service Encounters – 6/30/20

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

I’ve run into this personally and professionally, and it drives me batty! Sometimes there’s a lack of common sense in the customer service provided by companies. And often that lack of common sense is due to the preference of a business to provide service in a certain method, to stick to scripts and procedures, and to prioritize checking-off a task over actually helping a customer.

To ensure your organization provides Common Sense Customer Service, let’s walk through some basics that address how to serve customers based on how they reached out to you

  • If the customer e-mails, give them answers in the e-mail; possibly offer a phone call as an option to get more information, but don’t make a call the ONLY option for ANY information. Give them an answer via e-mail, even if it’s just preliminary or partial, and offer a link to a specific web page.
  • If they e-mail a request or call in, don’t assume they’d prefer to visit your facility to address the need. Offer ways that they can get the need met without the effort of the onsite encounter.
  • If they call to talk to someone who can help on an issue, assume they want to talk to a SPECIFIC PERSON THEN who can help; they’d prefer not to get to a voice mail, not to repeat their need 3 times to 3 different people, not to be told to “go to the website.”
  • If they walk-in, expect a longer conversation than a call. If they spent an hour planning and conducting a roundtrip visit to see you, expect more than a 2-minute conversation.
  • If they walk in with nothing, assume they may want to walk out with something. Be prepared to write down information for them, to offer a handout, to print a key page off the website.
  • If they communicate via an online chat and convey the details of the situation at the start of the chat, assume they expect you to read that statement and not ask them questions they’ve already answered.

 

Sometimes the key to effective customer service starts with common sense. Base your response, in part, on how they reached out to you.

Do your part to make Common Sense Customer Service a common practice.

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