customer service

Are you the Output or the Input? - 6/25/19


You’re the output and the input. Sorry to put it into such technical/industrial engineering terminology. But in a service system, we all have some role as a part of the process. First, we receive the output. Somebody has a customer that they direct to us, so that handoff is from Read more

Hear Them, and Tell Them What You Heard - 6/18/19


CSS has conducted close to 1000 research projects over the years, many of which were web-based surveys. And oftentimes, in addition to or instead of completing the online survey, respondents e-mail us directly with questions or comments – and we respond personally to every message on behalf of our Read more

It’s Decision Time. What are you going to do? - 6/11/19


Serving others is tough. Whether it’s dealing with an irate customer, having to field the same question from the 100th different customer this month, or keeping 10 plates spinning while still smiling in front of the client, it’s hard. You want to do a great job, and you’re constantly put Read more

You Do Know Jack - 6/4/19


Have you ever had a co-worker who causes more problems than they solve? Simple things they do are often, from a procedure standpoint, correct. But the way they handle situations makes them come off as indifferent. Let’s call this co-worker “Jack.” Even though certain actions by Jack may seem innocent Read more

How to Give the Right Kind of “No” - 5/28/19


In a perfect world, you never need to say “No” to the customer. But as we all know, this is not a perfect world. There are a lot of issues in the world, and there are a lot of issues in customer service. Our companies are not perfect, our Read more

Make it Crystal Clear - 5/21/19


Sometimes we communicate so well, and sometimes we don’t communicate as well as we think we do. When you’re trying to set or manage another person’s expectations, what you say may be very clear to you, but the reality is it may not be clear to the other person. Read more

Harvey Wrote the Book on Focus...and Golf - 5/14/19


In Harvey Penick's Little Red Book, the famous golf instructor provides many key tips about golf that just as well could apply to life in general. One such tip is the following: Once you address the golf ball, hitting it has got to be the most important thing in Read more

Stop Rolling Your Eyes - 5/7/19


Most of our customer service tips offer advice and guidance. But advice and guidance is useless if the individual receiving it is not willing to listen, learn the theory behind it, and try to apply what they’ve heard or learned. I’ve personally facilitated hundreds of training sessions with clients over Read more

Should you tell the customer? The Employee’s Dilemma - 4/30/19


Last week we looked at the dilemma that many companies face – When there is an issue that is going to happen, should they tell the customer? This week, let’s address that same question from the employee’s perspective. I personally experience employees struggling with this question when I’m in Read more

Should you tell the customer? The Company’s Dilemma - 4/23/19


I have a lot of clients that struggle with this question, both at a company/strategic level as well as an individual representative level. When there is an issue that is going to happen, should you tell the customer? This week we’re going to address the question at the Read more

Every Moment is an Opportunity – 1/24/17

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


It’s a “Moment of Truth.” That’s a phrase used in customer service to typically describe when we’re one-on-one with the customer, and how we react or respond or engage the customer in that situation is make or break.

Do we build a relationship through our actions or tear it down? Do we engender loyalty or drive the customer away? Do we create “Raving Fans,” or do we develop detractors?

When we view that “Moment of Truth” phrase in these terms, it can seem ominous. It can create pressure. It can cause us to focus on “not doing something wrong” in that moment, causing you to hold back or do little proactively.

To help us get in a Success Mindset, let’s view every one of these moments as an opportunity:

  • It’s a chance to get customers to love your organization.
  • It’s a situation that could create positive word-of-mouth.
  • It’s a chance for you to convey you care about someone.
  • It’s an opportunity to make someone smile.
  • It’s a moment that will set your business above competitors in the mind of this individual.
  • It’s a chance to help this person to feel valued.
  • It’s one of those moments where we can flip anger to appreciation.
  • Instead of “making a sale,” it’s an opportunity to “make a customer.”

 
Don’t let the importance of the customer service Moments of Truth overwhelm you and cause you to hold back.

View every moment as an opportunity.

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Dealing with the Treasure Hunter – 1/10/17

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


The customer is asking you question after question after question. They’re engaged and pleasant, but they’re turning what’s normally a 30 second quick talk into a 3-minute conversation.

It’s easy to get impatient with these customers because they’re taking up more of your time than normal. It’s easy to get frustrated because they’re firing question after question at you, and you have TONS of other work to do, so many other customers to serve.

What’s going on?

You’re dealing with the Process Customer. They want details. They want realistic expectations. They want the treasure map to their desired pot of gold.

To deal with these customers most effectively, consider them to be like a Treasure Hunter. They want the map. They want the clues. They want to know the potential pitfalls to avoid and the clearest path to take. It’s all about getting to the treasure, and they don’t want you to tell them just the next step. They want the map – with all its clues and paths and steps detailed.

Handle them this way. Tell them your understanding of their goal. Note the next steps, who will do what and by when. Give them a (process) map or a checklist of ALL the steps. Then confirm they understand the plan before you wrap up the conversation.

With these Treasure Hunters, you also have to be conscientious about telling them when steps have been accomplished, when action has occurred, when roadblocks have been encountered and overcome – in other words, be proactive with status updates.

So why are we handling these Treasure Hunters in this manner? Because the more you build their expectations with clarity and the more you build their comfort, then the more you’ll build their confidence.

And the more clear, comfortable, and confident they are, the less they’ll be contacting you and your co-workers repeatedly for updates, with questions, and with concerns.

When encountering a Process Customer, treat them like a Treasure Hunter.

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Be a Good Teammate – 1/3/17

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


For few people in customer service, the customer experience always and solely is dependent on just them. More typical is for employees to rely on I.T. to keep the systems up and running. Staff rely on co-workers to offer suggestions and strategies to help inform decision-making. Oftentimes, staff have to work together to resolve issues or to deliver on a customer need.

In short, we’re teammates, and we need to be good or great teammates. The better we work together, the more efficient is the organization, the more harmonious are our internal relationships, and – oh by the way – the more satisfied are our customers.

But what does it mean to be a good teammate?

One strong definition to consider is this: A good teammate makes others around them better.

And how is that done? Think about football players trying to motivate each other to make a comeback; think about community members working together to build a home for those in need; think about nurses, doctors, and aides working in a hospital to care for a patient.

Good teammates have a sense of the psyche of their co-workers. Who needs encouragement? Who needs a gentle boot to the fanny (figuratively speaking, of course)? Who needs to be more self-aware? Who needs to be asked for their input?

Good teammates enable the success of others. Reply quickly to requests for help. Give clear, specific, documented communications. Do your part of the job by the deadline, and communicate it’s done.

Good teammates don’t intentionally put co-workers in a bad spot. Share information that may help the other. Don’t aggravate a customer that might complain to one of your co-workers. Do things right the first time with customers so co-workers don’t have to clean up your mess.

For 2017, think about how to be a good teammate.

Make others around you better.

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