customer experience | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

Caring Goes Beyond Competence - 11/30/21


April went to get some routine car maintenance done at the local service center.  When they finished the oil change, she paid for the service, got her keys, went to her car, and opened the door.  As she was about to enter the car, she stopped.  Somebody had obviously Read more

You Mostly Get What You Give - 11/23/21


It is Thanksgiving week in the United States, so let’s talk “Thanks.” There’s a saying that You Get What You Give.  And while the goal of giving thanks should not be “To receive things,” getting something positive in return is often a nice byproduct of being appreciative of others. It’s amazing Read more

Van Gogh the Vision - 11/16/21


Want to create Service Excellence in your organization?  Have a vision, then paint the picture of that vision.  It’s easier to create something if you can visualize it first, so let’s Van Gogh a Vision. Excellent customer service is delivered in a courteous manner.  Courtesy comes through when employees are Read more

First E-mail Impression? I’ll Enjoy Working with You - 11/9/21


When you provide consulting, research, and training services like we do, you meet a variety of people, and many of them are new individuals to work with even if they are in organizations you’ve worked with for years. When I meet the new customer or they meet me for the Read more

A Way to Serve with Empathy - 11/2/21


We first wrote a Tip of the Week on empathy back in 2008. It was the most important customer service skill then, and it’s the most important customer service skill now.  And as we’ve noted in society, empathy is becoming a word that is used more often in more Read more

Channel Your Inner Aristotle - 10/26/21


Aristotle once said: We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. This is a very interesting statement.  We need to break it down to fully understand and appreciate it. We are what we repeatedly do. Let’s focus on the word repeatedly.  None of us is Read more

To Improve, Understand Why You Do What You Do - 10/19/21


In the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey says that habits form at the intersection of desire, skills, and knowledge.  Desire is the WANT TO do something.  Skills is the HOW TO do something.  Knowledge is a combination of the WHAT TO do and WHY TO do Read more

Tailor to the Type - 10/12/21


We’re all different.  We’re all unique.  Every customer is different and unique, as well, and we should treat them as unique individuals. While we should see each customer as unique, before we fully get to know the customer, there are some core philosophies to take into customer conversations based on Read more

Avoid the Silence; Build the Relationship - 10/5/21


Our interactions with customers are “Moments of Truth.”  These Moments of Truth can be conversations with a customer about some complaint, encounters when they're in the drive-thru, questions about an order that the customer calls in to the company, or brief interactions in the lobby of a government building. Sometimes Read more

Make it a “Good Busy” - 9/28/21


When I’m speaking with colleagues or clients, I’ll often ask how their day is going. The response I get almost once a week is something like:  I’m incredibly busy! When I get that response, sometimes I’ll ask whether it is a “good busy” or whether they are “fighting fires.” I’ll ask Read more

Van Gogh the Vision – 11/16/21

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

Want to create Service Excellence in your organization?  Have a vision, then paint the picture of that vision.  It’s easier to create something if you can visualize it first, so let’s Van Gogh a Vision.

Excellent customer service is delivered in a courteous manner.  Courtesy comes through when employees are pleasant, they smile, they use the basics of “please” and “thank you,” the basics of “yes, sir” and “yes, ma’am.”  Courtesy comes through when we are polite, and we have a caring tone about us.

Service Excellence is also delivered with respect, and customers nowadays want respect.  So, what does respect look like?  Respectful customer service is delivered in such a way that our body language, our smiles, how we say things, our attentiveness to the customer, and the phrases we use – they all tend to put the customer in the light of being more important than our co-worker, more important than our paperwork, more important than any task we have in front of us.

And if you look at Service Excellence from the perspective of you being a consumer, think about what makes an organization appear to have excellent customer service.

You usually know you are experiencing great customer service when the organization seems to go above and beyond the basics for you.  They anticipate your needs.  They greet you up front and show appreciation on the backend.  They are responsive to the voicemail and e-mail messages.  They are responsive to your needs.  They tell you what to expect, and then they do what they say they are going to do.

Finally, to Van Gogh the Vision, look at organizations that have the reputation of being great at customer service – Disney, Chick-fil-A, and FedEx, for example.  What do they do?  They are consistently good.  They are accurate.  They are quick.  You can trust their timeliness.  They try to create an experience for the customer, not just a product.  They have key core mission and vision statements so that everybody knows why they exist and where they are going.  These are organizations that truly care about their customer, realizing if we convey that caring and meet their needs, then we will have the best chance possible of keeping that customer.

Van Gogh your Vision of Service Excellence.

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What’s the Good Word? – 9/21/21

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Each one of us talks to co-workers and customers every day.  And when you’re speaking with someone, there are always good ways to respond to questions or issues.  But there are also better ways to respond.  Since you’re receiving weekly customer service tips, I know you are all about continuous improvement!!

So, here are four quick examples of how to go beyond saying words that simply fit the conversation, and – instead – find better ways and better phrases to improve the customer experience.

Because CSS conducts research for our clients, oftentimes we’ll get e-mails from their customers that include complaints, and we need to respond to the customer on behalf of the client even though we have no ability or authority to investigate or resolve the issue.

  • Our response is OK if we say: I will send your e-mail to our client.
  • But this is Better: I will immediately forward your concerns and comments to my contact at our client, and I’ll ask that they respond to you directly.

 
I’m sure you often get requests or receive questions seeking status updates on issues or services.

  • Your response is OK if you say: I will check on that.
  • But this is Better: I’m going to investigate that right now for you.

 
Sometimes the customer isn’t being clear – they’re not giving you enough information to take action.  Maybe they have a different dialect from you or the speed with which they are talking makes what they’re saying unclear.

  • Your response is OK if you say: I don’t understand what you’re saying.
  • But this is Better: Help me understand a little more about the specifics of the situation.

 
I’m sure you’ve gotten many questions over the years about topics for which you did not immediately know the answer.

  • Your response is OK if you say: I’ll see what I can find out.
  • But this is Better: That’s a really interesting question. I had not thought of it like that before. I’ll be happy to research that for you.

 
Think about instances where you’re dealing with similar situations, and find ways to go beyond the OK response to something that’s better.

Be intentional about finding better phrases to better the customer experience.

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The Answer is Right, but the Service is Wrong – 3/30/21

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Maggie was irate.  The gift she ordered needed to be received by the 20th of the month so she could give it to her cousin for his birthday.  It was the 19th, and Maggie couldn’t find any shipping update online, so she called the company.  The employee said “Oh!  That item was backordered.  The problem is that you ordered it online.  If you would have placed your order over the phone, we would have been able to tell you that the color you selected wasn’t available.”  While that response may have been technically correct, it made for a poor experience.

The small business owner was talking with a customer service representative at his internet service provider, and the customer told the employee that he had a question about his account.  There was silence…for 1 minute…for 2 minutes….“Are you still there?” asked the customer.  “Oh yes,” responded the representative.  “It’s just taking a while to get into the system; it’s really slow today.”  What the representative stated was technically correct, but the unexpected silence made it a poor experience.

The Robinson family had just been seated at the restaurant, and they began to look over their menus.  As they were chatting, someone said “What would you like to drink?”  A server had walked up, those were the first words out of his mouth, and the tone was flat as a pancake, but it was a question he needed to ask.  He could have greeted the family, apologized for interrupting, stated his name, smiled, and spoken with an upbeat voice.  What he did was technically correct (he asked the question he was supposed to ask), but it was a poor experience.

We can ask questions of the customer, share our knowledge with the customer, and provide facts to the customer.  But sometimes the right answer or the accurate facts are delivered in the wrong way – leading to a bad experience despite the good information.

When the answer is right, make sure that the service is right, too.

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