customer experience

Water Rippling in the Pond - 8/14/18


You drop a rock into a creek, and you see the mini waves created. You watch a golf tournament, and a golfer dumps a shot in a lake – and it ripples. You see a water sculpture with a basin below, you toss in a penny to Read more

Take Away Their Worry - 8/7/18


One summer, Janet was given a new chore. She had to take out the trash and recycle bins to the street every Tuesday night so that they could be picked up Wednesday morning. She would go out around 7 or 8 o'clock at night, take the bins out, Read more

Unleash Your Persuasiveness - 7/31/18


Sometimes the facts are not enough. The customer is irate, or they don't like the alternative you're suggesting. You need them to do something, and they want you to do it. They need to do options A or B, and they want to select imaginary option Z. You need to Read more

Vive La Différence! - 7/24/18


Even though my last name is French, I don't speak French. So despite this Tip’s title, this Tip will definitely be written in English. This Tip is about understanding differences and benefiting from those differences. Here are some scenarios for you to consider… There's a difference between Read more

It’s Their First Time - 7/17/18


You’ve provided this service to hundreds of customers. You've dealt with this issue 50 times. You sold this product or held this meeting or done this paperwork or worked through this process so many times you can do it in your sleep. For the customer, however, it's their Read more

Let Your Words Change Their Tone - 7/10/18


When we’re conducting web-based surveys for our clients, sometimes the respondent will bypass the survey and decide to send us an e-mail directly, or they'll send us an e-mail in addition to the survey responses that they already provided online. When we get these direct e-mails from the client’s customers, Read more

Light Up the Room - 7/3/18


Maybe you are one of those people. Maybe you work with or are friends with one of those people. You know the kind of person I’m referring to; it's the person who lights up the room. Literally, the positivity, the tone of the conversation, and the energy of Read more

Do Nothing for the Customer, and Make Them Happy - 6/26/18


Thomas did nothing for me, and I was impressed. I was walking down the hall at my office a couple weeks back, and Thomas, the maintenance manager, stopped me. Apparently, the people in the office next door were suffering from undo heat in the middle of summer, and I Read more

Of Ross, Unagi, and the Attacking Customer - 6/19/18


If you've ever watched the TV sitcom called Friends, you may remember that one of the characters was named Ross. In one episode, he is trying to educate some of his female friends (who just took a self-defense course) on a concept he calls Unagi. Basically, to Ross, this Read more

When it’s – Truly – Not Your Fault - 6/12/18


Jennie was under fire. She was the first line of defense – the front-line worker in the software firm. She didn’t make the software. She didn’t cause it to have errors. She wasn’t the one apparently avoiding the biggest customer’s calls. Yet, here she was – Read more

It’s Their First Time – 7/17/18

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


You’ve provided this service to hundreds of customers. You’ve dealt with this issue 50 times. You sold this product or held this meeting or done this paperwork or worked through this process so many times you can do it in your sleep. For the customer, however, it’s their first time.

It could literally be their first time buying this product or asking this question or having this issue. Maybe they’ve run into it once or twice before in their lives; regardless, it’s a good mindset for all of us service providers to have that we need to treat the situation like it’s their first time. If this was a brand new customer walking in the door, how would you want to handle this situation differently?

  • You may want to be more patient, because they may have lots of questions.
  • You may need to introduce yourself and tell a little bit about the company, because this may be their first exposure to you or your organization.
  • You may want to start from the beginning about how things work, not making assumptions about what they may already know.
  • You may want to welcome them and be appreciative for their making the decision to invest their time and money in your organization, so they feel like their business is valued.
  • You may be more likely to want to give them handouts or show them specific pages on a website, because they are probably receiving so much information they can’t remember everything only given to them verbally.
  • You may want to confirm they understand what you’re saying, what expectations you’re setting, what it is that you are to do versus they are to do.
  • You might explain what’s going to happen next in the process, because they’ve never experienced your process before today.

 

When you view your encounters through the lens of a new customer – one who is there for the first time – many ideas can pop to mind about how you might handle that situation differently to make sure they are as comfortable and confident as possible with you and your organization.

Do this exercise on your own or include co-workers. Ask “What would we do differently if we knew this was the customer’s first time?” Then start to build your standards for engaging customers, the information you provide and how you provide it, and the time you allocate to customer engagement around what would create the best experience possible for everyone.

View your customer encounters like it’s their first time.

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Listen Up! – 5/29/18

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When I was growing up, I would hear the phrase Listen Up frequently. It was usually being stated by adults who wanted to get the attention of a group of kids. It was usually stated loudly. It usually worked. At least for a minute or 2.

As an adult in the working world, I now find myself in customer service situations or advising clients on how to create a great customer experience. And while the phrase Listen Up has not lost its importance, it means something different today. Today, in business it relates to what employees should do with co-workers and customers. It suggests that in order for us to really solve a problem or address a need or resolve an issue, we have to be experts at listening.

So, what do experts at listening do most effectively?

They watch to observe and interpret the body language as much as they do the words. I was in a meeting recently where we were discussing certain individuals in the organization, and we were trying to uncover how they felt about a situation; it turns out that most of our conclusions were being driven by the body language they conveyed in meetings when the topics were discussed.

Experts at listening are experts at asking questions. They start with open-ended questions to let the other person share their issue, need, goal, their story or perspective. Then the listener drills down to specifics with close-ended questions to refine their understanding of the situation and the impact of potential solutions.

Listening experts let the other person talk. It seems obvious to say, but how can you listen if you’re doing all the talking? People who are great at listening let the other person talk 70-80% of the time – hearing the other’s perspective and guiding the conversation with those questions asked.

Great listeners are great at paraphrasing. They’ve listened so well that they can pause the conversation and – in their own words – explain the situation, the steps, the goals, and the desires conveyed by the other person. They can translate the body language, tone, the words and emotions of another.

Keep in mind that great listeners are often considered to be great conversationalists because the discussion flows, and the other person gets to share, feels comfortable doing so, and is speaking with someone who has an empathetic ear.

The art of listening is key to great conversations and great customer service.

Listen Up!

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Change Your Style on the Fly – 5/22/18

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I was talking to a client recently, and we discussed the importance of relationship-building in their position. So I asked, “How do you develop a relationship?”

The client offered several points, one in particular piqued my interest – she said: “I have to understand how I communicate, and I have to be open to communicating differently.”

Essentially, she conveyed that she had to be self-aware, and she had to be willing and able to tweak her communication style to best work with the customer.

Being able to recognize what works with each client, knowing how to change, and being willing to change your style of communication based on the situation or the individual involved is a high-level customer service skill.

You have to know when to slow down your pace of talk based on how the other person prefers to communicate and how well they are understanding what you’re saying. You have to know when to sit or stand, lean-in or sit back based on what makes them more comfortable or builds their confidence.

You have to be willing to pick up a phone and call somebody even though you prefer e-mail, or be willing to meet with someone even though you prefer not to make the drive. Sometimes they want to text even though you have an aversion to doing that in business.

This is not to say we have to change who we are in any way. This is to say that if we want to deliver a great experience and build relationships, we have to understand each unique customer and what about their experience with us builds their comfort and confidence level. And since some of those experiential characteristics are communication-related on our part, we need to make the refinements necessary to build that client relationship.

Learn when and how to change your style on the fly.

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