customer experience

The Passive Predicament - 4/13/21


The employee is speaking to you.  Do they have that look in the eyes like they’re hanging on your every word, like they’re processing, interpreting, and getting ready to quickly respond to your key points and questions?  Or do they have the look of somebody in the 2nd hour Read more

Regain Lost Motivation - 4/6/21


For many of us over the last 12 months, our home has also become our workplace.  Our work interaction has been 2-dimensional through the computer screen as opposed to the 3-dimensional experiences we’re used to with co-workers and customers. We are all motivated in our own unique ways.  Some are Read more

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


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!  Read more

Question Everything, but What’s the Question? - 3/23/21


The new leader joins the organization, and she decides she wants to question everything.  She wants employees to question everything.  Why have we always done it this way? Why do we continue to do it that way? Is this the best way to work? Sometimes it’s a great management Read more

The Resourceful Rep - 3/16/21


One of our clients is seeking to develop Customer Service Standards.  We’re working with them to identify those key expectations of staff that will enable the organization to deliver a consistent high-level customer experience.  One of the key attributes that this organization is seeking from its team members is Read more

Be Proactive like a Pro - 3/9/21


We constantly work with clients, encouraging them to become more proactive with customers.  Don’t just be reactive, waiting for the customer to ask questions or to complain.  Instead, go to the customer, anticipate their needs, suggest something to them. But many of us, frankly, don’t know how to be proactive.  Read more

Find One Unique Thing - 3/2/21


Many of us are not in a position to develop long-term relationships with our customers.  Our encounters are often one-time only with a customer - very brief and likely to be our only time chatting with this individual. And even though there may not be a long-term professional relationship developed, Read more

Should I Stay or Should I Go? - 2/23/21


Should I stay or should I go?  That’s not just a classic song by The Clash.  It’s also the question customers ask more and more, especially during difficult economic times. A recent study in the Charlotte Business Journal noted that 50% of North Carolina businesses are concerned with how to Read more

Optimism – A Force for Good in Customer Service - 2/16/21


Will 2021 be a better year than 2020?  I have absolutely no idea.  Maybe it would be nice to see into the future and know for certain, but I can’t and I don’t.  But as I wade further and further into this year, I can hope that the water Read more

To Assure, Ensure You Do This - 2/9/21


Vince Lombardi – famous professional football coach – became a big hit on the speaker’s circuit during his time coaching.  He applied many of his principles in football and life to business, and one of his great business quotes is:  Confidence is contagious and so is lack of confidence, Read more

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

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

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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Question Everything, but What’s the Question? – 3/23/21

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The new leader joins the organization, and she decides she wants to question everything.  She wants employees to question everything.  Why have we always done it this way? Why do we continue to do it that way? Is this the best way to work?

Sometimes it’s a great management initiative because it forces us to question the validity in doing things in the future a certain way just because we’ve done them that way in the past.  It can be a beneficial leadership tactic because it gets the organization thinking in a continuous improvement mindset.

But when it comes to customer service, what’s the question?  That depends on our goal.  If we’re an organization that is focused on delighting the customer or wowing the customer or amazing the customer or creating a Disney-like experience, you would ask:  Are employees focused on delighting the customer when they are greeted?  Does our speed of service make the customer go WOW?  Is the physical environment where the service is delivered creating an amazing feel for the experience?

Let’s say your goal is to keep every customer.  Then you would ask:  Are we personalizing every communication with our customer?  Are we proactively touching base with every customer to have an ongoing sense of their feelings about us?  Are we asking enough questions to truly understand why they would stay, why they would go?  Are we asking the right questions to truly understand their needs so we can specifically match up our resources with their needs?

What if your goal is simply to deliver a consistent, accurate, and timely service experience?  First of all, “simply” is probably not the best word to use.  Creating an experience that is consistent, accurate, and timely is anything but simple.  But let’s discuss what questions you would ask:  How are we ensuring that – no matter who delivers a service – it is done in the same manner?  How do we ensure and track accuracy?  How do we define “timely” or have a customer define timely, and how are we meeting the timeliness goal?

To be continuous improvement-oriented, to try to foster positive change, consider questioning everything.  But before you start questioning, first understand what your goal is as an organization, and let that drive what you ask.

Question everything, but first know what’s the question.

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Don’t Publicize Pain Points – 11/3/20

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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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