customer experience

Customer for Life – The Second Step - 3/19/19


Two weeks ago, we shared a Customer Service Tip on how to get (and keep!) a Customer for Life. We addressed the First Step, Knowing what you need to know about the other person. Now, we’re sharing the Second Step. To develop a relationship with anyone, there has to Read more

Employee Runs for a Dog Run - 3/12/19


I was never a Boy Scout. I mean in the literal sense, but also somewhat in the figurative sense, but I digress. After years of telling myself that I needed something to help my dog get exercise outside without worrying about him trying to dig under a fence and Read more

Customer for Life – The First Step - 3/5/19


This should be the goal, right? That our clients today will be our clients tomorrow and well into the future. That their loyalty grows, their business with us grows, their referrals grow, and it is all part of a relationship that grows and develops over time. But what’s the Read more

Retrain Your Brain - 2/26/19


Admit it. You thought about it. You thought: Why in the world did the customer try to assemble that before reading the instructions? Why would they drive all the way down here instead of just checking the website? Why would they go through the drive-thru when they can deposit using Read more

Look Up, or Look Out! - 2/19/19


The clerk called out “next in line!”, and Frannie went to the counter. “Can I have your name?,” the employee asked, but she stared at her computer screen while asking. Frannie stated her name, the time of her appointment, and noted the reason for the appointment. Staring at the screen, Read more

Know the Customer’s Value Proposition - 2/12/19


I’ve written about how it’s important to build up your co-workers when talking to customers. When the nurse is getting ready to send the patient down to radiology, she lets the patient know what great work and great care that the radiology tech provides. When the teller contacts a Read more

Paint a Picture, Take a Picture - 2/5/19


Many of us are visual learners. In order for us to understand the concept, we need to be able to see the concept illustrated. And by seeing the concept illustrated, I’m not just talking about taking something that somebody says and merely typing it into an email. I don’t Read more

Recipe for Reputation Rehab - 1/29/19


As another corporation is trying to recover from self-inflicted reputation wounds, it is seeking to get back in the good graces of consumers. It’s laying out a 6-point plan to improve its performance, but – in the end – publicizing this plan is also about rehabilitating its reputation. Read more

Don’t Dwell on the Customer Crazies - 1/22/19


Whether or not you’re a fan of Duke University basketball, you may have heard of the “Cameron Crazies.” This is a nickname for Duke fans that attend home games in Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium. One of my friends was one of those Cameron Crazies. He was Read more

Retain through Responsiveness - 1/15/19


In a recent Bloomberg article about online retailers, there’s a story about a women’s cosmetics customer who used an online app to order some items. She waited weeks for the delivery after it was shipped to the wrong address, and she had great difficulty in getting the issue resolved. Read more

Set (Customer Service) Standards for Yourself – 2/21/17

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A recent article noted that a European home builder lost millions of dollars in 2016 because their Customer Service Standards declined.

So that begs the question – What are Customer Service Standards?

In short, they are the bare minimum that a customer should expect when interacting with a company. The bare minimum in terms of quality, timeliness, employee knowledge, attitudes, and responsiveness.

We help many organizations develop and implement these standards because they understand it’s a risk to leave customer service up to the individual employee’s expectations of what they should deliver or the individual department’s or business line’s understanding of what is great customer service.

For great customer service to be delivered CONSISTENTLY and in a manner that aligns with organizational values and business goals, it has to be defined. The Standards create clarity for how that definition looks/feels on a daily basis.

But Standards aren’t just for the organization to define in order to set expectations, individual employees should also set high standards of what they expect of themselves.

So what do you expect of yourself? At every “Moment of Truth” with each customer you encounter or co-worker you serve, what experience should you provide? What level of care for others do you expect yourself to convey? What should “respect” look like when you deliver it to others? How do you expect yourself to act with others so that they feel valued and their need seems important?

Companies should set Customer Service Standards to be crystal clear of their expectations and to help create some consistency in the customer service provided throughout their organizations.

Make sure you’re setting standards for yourself, too.

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Avoid Hearing Only Complaints – 2/7/17

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I was meeting with a client’s leadership team recently, and we had some interesting conversations about how to measure customer satisfaction. While most in the room wanted to measure with – well…measures – one of the executives preferred to rely on subjective information – was she receiving complaints? Was she hearing from “Raving Fans” of her departments?

The problem that many in the room had to the subjective approach was this – her department was an internal service department. In other words, her department served employees, not the consumer. How many employees are going to go out of their way to rave about Human Resources? To pick up the phone and call the IT department to say “you guys are great!” To write a personal note to Finance singing their praises? The answer – not many. Few unsolicited praises come, but often unsolicited complaints can arise.

The group decided there needed to be a mix of the objective and subjective feedback. It was clear how to get to the objective feedback through surveys, but how do they get the subjective?

The answer is in the approach. When one relies on the “Unsolicited” feedback, you’ll tend to subject yourself to hearing mostly negatives, particularly if you’re an internal service department or an organization with some sort of regulatory function (like many local governments).

To get the subjective customer input, solicit. In the one-on-one contacts, ask “How was your experience in working with us today?” or “Did we address your need?” or “Did this visit meet your expectation?”

More strategically – as an organization – determine how to systematically get that subjective feedback. Hold routine customer focus groups. Have an advisory council of top customers. Have “coffee with our director” sessions. Hold the occasional customer Town Hall. Make rounds with customers for 1-on-1 meetings on a routine cycle.

Find ways to solicit the subjective feedback.

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Rapport in 90 Seconds – 1/17/17

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Sometimes we’re meeting the customer for the first time. It’s going to be a brief conversation, but we still want them to end the conversation feeling valued, comfortable, and confident – we want them to have a great experience.

Maybe there’s not enough time to establish a relationship, especially if you only have 90 seconds with the customer. So how can you at least establish a healthy rapport?

First, initiate and greet. Go to them, if possible, to initiate the conversation. Let them know you’re available and happy to help. Greet with some energy (not overbearing, but definitely not flat). Focus on them, and be friendly/courteous.

Second, make it all about them. Ask about their interest, their issue, need, or goal. Asking puts the focus on what’s important to them, making them feel important and valued. Restate your understanding to convey their situation is understood, and make it conversational – flowing dialogue is often key to rapport-building.

Third, share a little about you. It’s all about them, so what they need to know about you is that which makes them feel valued, comfortable, and confident. Valued – how what you do addresses their need. Comfortable – use your name to personalize. Confident – convey that you’ve helped others in similar situations.

Finally, let non-verbal factors communicate for you. Ensure that your body language and tone of voice back up what you’re trying to accomplish with your words. Engage with the body language, expressions, and tone in a manner that conveys you’re focused on them, empathetic, positive, and service-oriented.

Regardless of how much time you have with the customer, communicate in such a way as to engender positive feelings about you and your organization.

Establish rapport in 90 seconds.

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