customer service

6 Common Sense Responses to Customer Service Encounters - 6/30/20


I’ve run into this personally and professionally, and it drives me batty! Sometimes there’s a lack of common sense in the customer service provided by companies. And often that lack of common sense is due to the preference of a business to provide service in a certain method, to Read more

Caring for Co-workers through COVID - 6/23/20


A recent Buffer.com study asked employees who are working remotely due to COVID-19, what was their greatest struggle. While there were many different responses, the Top 2 totaled 40% of the struggles identified - Loneliness and Collaboration/Effective Communication. When you hear something like this - that individuals working remotely are Read more

React, Reflect, Respond - 6/16/20


Sometimes you can’t help it. You gasp. You get upset. You get angry. You have this look of shock on your face. You say something defensive. You react. I love people who are in customer service roles. These are the folks that people say things to in the business world Read more

Serving the Technology-challenged Customer - 6/9/20


The IT helpdesk representative was on a call with a customer, and in trying to troubleshoot an issue, the employee said, “Let’s start by opening Windows.” The customer said “OK,” and there were 2 minutes of silence. The employee twice asked, “Are you still there?” with no response. Finally, Read more

Address the 4 P’s for a Customer-friendly COVID-19 Walk-in Experience


This is not about what is medically most effective – please see the CDC for those guidelines.  This is about how to help your customers have a great experience as an onsite visitor at your facility or storefront.  For a comprehensive approach to a customer-friendly COVID-19 experience, address the Read more

The Deeper Reason to Transform the Customer Experience - 6/2/20


Why are government offices putting up plexiglass between their staff and their customers?  Why is restaurant takeout being done in such a way that is contactless and yet still fosters engagement between the employee and customer?  Why have so many traditionally onsite businesses converted to delivery businesses? The answer is Read more

Motivating Yourself when Working Remotely - 5/26/20


For any of us who are working remotely, we are finding ourselves more and more having to be self-motivated. And while many people are naturally self-motivated, others need to have that manager who gives us the encouragement. Many of us need to have that ongoing informal dialogue with co-workers Read more

Defining Organizational Agility in a Time of Uncertainty


You may have heard references in management theory over the many decades about the importance of a business being an “Agile” organization, but oftentimes that is a word thrown out in generalities to illustrate vague points about how organizations should be managed and make decisions.  In this time of Read more

Change Management – Facts about Past Decisions Reduce Fear about Future Decisions


Change can result in fear.  Particularly where change is thrust upon someone very suddenly, it can create shock or disbelief.  Sometimes that change is not something an organization can plan for; it therefore cannot adequately prepare its employees for what’s ahead...at least initially. In this COVID world, Change Management is Read more

Tire Dealers Becoming Teachers - 5/19/20


I recently needed two new tires for a vehicle, and I first went to the tire dealer’s website to find some options.  The site’s look/feel and ordering process had changed, and I didn’t see a tire I wanted, so I called the store to make an appointment. When I arrived Read more

6 Common Sense Responses to Customer Service Encounters – 6/30/20

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

I’ve run into this personally and professionally, and it drives me batty! Sometimes there’s a lack of common sense in the customer service provided by companies. And often that lack of common sense is due to the preference of a business to provide service in a certain method, to stick to scripts and procedures, and to prioritize checking-off a task over actually helping a customer.

To ensure your organization provides Common Sense Customer Service, let’s walk through some basics that address how to serve customers based on how they reached out to you

  • If the customer e-mails, give them answers in the e-mail; possibly offer a phone call as an option to get more information, but don’t make a call the ONLY option for ANY information. Give them an answer via e-mail, even if it’s just preliminary or partial, and offer a link to a specific web page.
  • If they e-mail a request or call in, don’t assume they’d prefer to visit your facility to address the need. Offer ways that they can get the need met without the effort of the onsite encounter.
  • If they call to talk to someone who can help on an issue, assume they want to talk to a SPECIFIC PERSON THEN who can help; they’d prefer not to get to a voice mail, not to repeat their need 3 times to 3 different people, not to be told to “go to the website.”
  • If they walk-in, expect a longer conversation than a call. If they spent an hour planning and conducting a roundtrip visit to see you, expect more than a 2-minute conversation.
  • If they walk in with nothing, assume they may want to walk out with something. Be prepared to write down information for them, to offer a handout, to print a key page off the website.
  • If they communicate via an online chat and convey the details of the situation at the start of the chat, assume they expect you to read that statement and not ask them questions they’ve already answered.

 

Sometimes the key to effective customer service starts with common sense. Base your response, in part, on how they reached out to you.

Do your part to make Common Sense Customer Service a common practice.

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Tire Dealers Becoming Teachers – 5/19/20

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

I recently needed two new tires for a vehicle, and I first went to the tire dealer’s website to find some options.  The site’s look/feel and ordering process had changed, and I didn’t see a tire I wanted, so I called the store to make an appointment.

When I arrived at the tire store (a place I’d been to 15-20 times), it was very different due to COVID-19.  There was a tent outside with chairs about 8-10 feet apart.  There was a small sign with different directions based on whether you had a scheduled appointment or were a walk-up. The door you normally enter was locked.  The inside experience was different – there was no coffee or water while you waited.  People were asked to wait outside or sit in their car while the tires were changed.  You drive your car into the garage and drive it out of the garage regardless of whether you were in the car while the tires were being changed.  There’s no exchange of paperwork unless you requested a small printed receipt when paying.

Virtually everything changed, and to make it work, the customer had to do their part.  I asked the employee checking me in how it was going with the new setup, and he said it’s going OK, but “the customers are not reading the signs.”

Customer v. Company Roles

Whereas a customer has a role in their own service experience, particularly in an environment like this, the company has the role to teach that customer about the new experience and the customer’s responsibilities.  The company has a role to confirm the customer’s understanding.  The company has the role to ensure the comfort and confidence about what’s going to happen.  The company has a role to explain those next steps and timeframes and then, as always in customer service, deliver on the expectation they set.

When the customer has to learn a new way to do business with your company, realize you are in teaching mode.  Don’t make your customers become experts in your processes.  Make it easy for any customer to have a great experience, even under these new circumstances.

Bring simplicity into your service system, and teach customers how to have a great experience.

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Assuming the Solution – The Great Time Waster – 12/3/19

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

Here are 3 customer service scenarios for a college IT department:

  1. A staff member calls in and says that they’re having trouble logging in.  The employee responds:  “I can reset your password for you.
  2. A faculty member calls IT and says: “I need help showing a video during class next week; do you know Meredith?”  The employee says “Oh, I know Meredith; let me get you in touch with Career Development where she works.”
  3. The employee asks the staff person from the other department “do you know what the status is on that work order?”  The other individual responds “I’m trying to get to it as fast as I can; I’ll put a rush job on it for you.”

One reaction to these scenarios is that the person responding is being very proactive.  They are jumping on the request and coming up with a quick solution or next step. Unfortunately, these are conversations where assumptions took place, and each assumption was wrong.

In the first case, the login difficulty had nothing to do with the password.  In the second case, Meredith had worked with IT before and was suggesting that the faculty member contact IT for support.  In the third example, they weren’t looking for a rush on the work order.  They were seeking an update just to make sure it would be done when needed.

Many customer service people are so responsive and so willing to help that they can run to the next step to try to get the ball rolling and to resolve an issue.  But if that’s done before clarifying and confirming what that real issue may be, they may be solving a problem that doesn’t exist.  They may be taking action down one path without realizing they’re going in the wrong direction.

These are examples we saw at a University client years ago, and these are examples that we see in mystery shopping that we conduct for clients today.

Be proactive. Be responsive. Take action on behalf of the customer.  However, first make sure that you clearly understand what they’re seeking before you take that action.

Don’t assume the answer and waste your time and the customer’s time as well.

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