customer experience

I want to be an Astronaut - 9/10/19


When I was young, if a child was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, the answers were often a fireman, a Pro Football player, a teacher, somebody who got to drive a truck, or an astronaut. Maybe the question is still asked today, and, if Read more

Don’t Mistake Kindness - 9/3/19


I have a friend who does a lot of things for a lot of other people. He sometimes has a hard time saying “no,” and he really works hard to try to be kind to others. But occasionally some of those for whom he does good works will ask Read more

Do Anything, but Not Everything - 8/27/19


We work with a lot of educational organizations, but this Tip of the Week applies to virtually any kind of business that has repeat customers. To deliver great service, be willing to go above and beyond, do virtually anything for the customer. But in the world of colleges and Read more

Be Generous to a Fault - 8/20/19


People who think they’re generous to a fault usually think that’s their only fault – American Journalist Sydney Harris. This quote reminds me of someone who views themselves as a giver – someone who is so humble that he likes to humbly tell everyone of the gifts he’s given, good Read more

Don’t Assume because... - 8/13/19


You've probably heard this statement growing up. Your parents said, “Don’t assume, because it makes…you look bad.” Or something like that… Recently my laptop screen died, and since it was an older laptop, I decided to go ahead and buy a new one instead of paying to have the screen Read more

Patience Leads to Positivity - 8/6/19


Thank you for your patience. That’s a statement I enjoy saying…when I am the customer. When I’m trying to learn something and I’m about to go into a process, I want to have a feel for what the whole process involves. Over the years, I’ve gotten tired of feeling like Read more

Back to Reality...for Customer Expectations - 7/30/19


Have you ever walked into a patient registration area of a hospital and seen a sign that said “if you’ve been waiting longer than 15 minutes, please see the receptionist?” Have you ever called a customer service number and been told by a recording that “the average hold time is Read more

For Excellence to Happen, Get Engaged - 7/23/19


The customer was throwing an absolute fit in the lobby. Sitting among several other customers waiting for her number to be called, she was raising her voice and letting out the occasional expletive about the lengthy wait time. An employee sitting behind the counter thought to herself: I’m going Read more

Libby Listened to Serve - 7/16/19


Libby was new to her role with the organization. She had never been a customer service representative in a call center before, but she was hired because of her attitude. She wanted to learn, enjoyed working with people, and could carry on a conversation with a wall. After going through Read more

Chris Got Noticed for All the Right Reasons - 7/9/19


Chris was working through a temporary agency, and he got a job at a warehouse. He was packaging items to be shipped out, and his shift didn't start until 7:30 a.m. Chris always got there a little bit early because of the bus schedule, and he hated just sitting 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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