customer service

6 Actions for Attitude Adjustments - 2/18/20


The battle over one’s attitude can feel like a never-ending fight… I need to stop letting little things bother me. I need to not let that customer’s anger infect my mindset.  Just because my co-worker isn’t doing what they said they’d do shouldn’t mean that I should have an attitude Read more

A Hair-Cut Above...and Below - 2/11/20


After going to the same barber for more than a decade, I decided to leave.  The customer experience went down, and the price went up.  For my last several visits, I was the one who was driving the conversations – when I could get a word in edgewise between Read more

When Employees Fight Over a Customer - 2/4/20


There’s nothing like the feeling of comfort I get from a warm greeting at a business establishment.  A feeling of “you are my most important customer” and “I cannot wait to serve you” brings a tear to the eye of a customer service consultant.  But that’s not the only Read more

LOTS of Opportunities to Appreciate Customers - 1/28/20


They give us their money, and we give them merchandise. We say “Thank you!”  That is the old-time stereotypical opportunity for a company to thank their customers.  But there are opportunities all day long for us to convey appreciation to our customers. Beyond the actual transaction, there are so many Read more

When Jack Gave Arnie a Tip - 1/21/20


Jack Nicklaus may have been the greatest golfer ever.  Many think that Arnold Palmer was the most important golfer of the 20th century.  These two greats were contemporaries, so they became competitors and friends all at once.  And when somebody who is one of the greatest of all time Read more

Make it Abundantly Clear - 1/14/20


Becky was laying in her hospital bed and staring at the whiteboard on the wall.  It had a room number, the room’s phone number, and the date.  It had the pictures of the pain scale, with happy-to-sad faces and ratings from 0-10.  It noted when the last meds were Read more

Become the Wishing Well - 1/7/20


When you don’t know if the next step will solve the customer’s problem, give hope a chance.  If you’re not certain how things will progress on their project, give hope a chance.  If you want to end the conversation by having them feel positive, even if uncertain, give hope Read more

Why Silence is Golden - 12/31/19


In the world of customer service, to begin finding a resolution, sometimes we have to initiate conversation. To keep things moving forward, oftentimes we have to proactively engage in discussion.  To have effective dialogue, we need to avoid those long periods of dead silence. But don’t let those truths of Read more

2019 Holiday Poem - 12/24/19


There is joy absolutely everywhere, Sometimes you just need to look for it. There are birds and babies. There are flowers and sweet older ladies. You just have to look for them. People hold doors open for others, with smiles. There are days when you can see for miles. You just have to look for them. There Read more

Encourage the Customer - 12/17/19


Everybody sing with me:  Feelings, whoa whoa whoa, feelings… Excellent old song, and be thankful that I’m just writing the words and not singing to you.  While not all of us are comfortable with discussing feelings, feelings are an important part of the customer experience. No, you can’t make someone feel Read more

Drive Down the Drama – 8/29/17

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


The same situation could happen to two different customers – it’s the delayed delivery, the unreturned phone call, the poor workmanship, or the indifferent employee encounter.

With the customer named Dena, it’s not a big concern. She just wants to get it rectified quickly and move on; however, with the customer named Dana – it’s a federal crime, punishable by jail time, 50 lashes with a wet noodle, a good stern talking-to, and about 500 poor ratings on Yelp.

Dena offers reasonableness. Dana offers drama.

We can’t control the customer’s reaction, but oftentimes the company’s response to that reaction makes it worse. Instead of driving down the drama, the company amplifies it. The company’s response becomes an even bigger issue than the original complaint.

So how do we drive down the drama? In Service Recovery, here are several key tips:

  • Remain totally engaged with the customer. Do not ever appear distracted or disinterested. Remember, drama creates attention (and dramatic people crave attention) – give them attention in a positive manner.
  • Avoid taking any hyperbole or negativity to heart. Dramatic people can exaggerate. Don’t ignore the real customer concern because you’re upset about (or disagree with) the noise that surrounds it.
  • Move fast to identify the issue and resolution. Speed is a huge asset in stemming the dramatic tide.
  • Remember that drama is another way of describing emotion. Use tips for defusing customers that we’ve suggested in the past such as listening, asking fact-based questions, offering empathy, and apologizing (if appropriate) on behalf of the organization.
  • Help them to feel important by literally saying they’re important such as “I want to help you. Resolving your issue is important to me. It’s important that we get this right for you.”

 
We don’t want to encourage drama – we want to mitigate it. And although in customer service we’re often looking to do something great, sometimes the best approach with drama is to find ways to avoid making it worse.

Drive Down the Drama.

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Build their Confidence in You – 8/22/17

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The service and retention rep was getting quite a rep! Although Jessie had only been with this sports franchise for 10 months, she was continually getting unsolicited praises from her season ticket holders. They were e-mailing her boss, sending positive letters to other team executives, and sending her cards as thank you’s.

And while all that was great, her manager hadn’t been overly curious about why she was receiving all the accolades. The tipping point for him was when the annual seat selection and renewal process came around for the first time for Jessie, and her boss noticed something staggering. Although other representatives were averaging only 35% renewals of FIRST-YEAR season ticket holders and none surpassed 50%, Jessie was already over 80% renewals, and there was a month left before the deadline.

Her boss saw success – and the dollars she was generating – and he wanted to know how she was doing it.

“I’m not certain,” said Jessie. “They come in a little uneasy about the process of renewal, the commitment, the risk of changing seats or adding seats or upgrading seats – just like with the other reps’ accounts. I guess that the one thing I notice is that when my clients leave, they’re confident. They know what to do and how to do it; they know the benefits; they know what they’re going to get; they know they can trust me, so they’re comfortable, too.”

Jessie’s manager had always preached the importance of building emotion to make a sale or renewal, but Jessie’s approach was to breed confidence and comfort. She would listen to the account holder, understand their needs, and show her understanding of their concerns and apprehension.

She would explain the processes in clear and simple steps, and she’d explain how she’d helped many other clients through the decision-making steps and renewal processes successfully time and time again.

Jessie was credible, she painted a vivid picture of success, and instead of trying to create positive emotion, she eliminated negative emotions – the roadblocks to decisions. Instead of dominating the discussion, she listened and built the customer’s confidence.

Sometimes the best customer service you can provide doesn’t require you to provide anything. The best customer service is delivered when you take away the fears and anxieties of the customer and build their confidence.

To deliver great customer service, build their confidence in you.

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Empower Yourself to Go Against the No – 7/4/17

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In our customer service roles, wouldn’t it be great to be able to do and say what we needed to do and say? Too often, we feel limited by policies, procedures, and the unwritten rules of “how things are done around here.”

But we have to periodically ask ourselves, “If I can’t do something that – in my gut – I know I SHOULD do, what’s keeping me from doing it? Why don’t I feel like I have that freedom?”

It’s easy to be told “No – don’t do that,” and accept it. It’s harder to go against the No. It’s hard to do something that you know is the right thing for the customer, even though it may not be a generally accepted practice within your organization.

How many times have you thought to yourself that you really want to do something, you really want to share information, you really want to make a referral, you really want to offer an alternative – but you feel like you can’t. In order to do these things for the customer sometimes you have to convince others within your organization.

Here are some quick tips to help you do what you need to do for the customer to turn the internal organizational No to a Yes:

  • Be able to explain WHY this is the action to take.
  • Give some thought to what’s in it for that other employee that you’re trying to convince.
  • Be able to articulate that what is best for the customer is also best for the company long-term.
  • Understand what concerns could arise from your co-worker or supervisor, and determine how you’ll respond.

 
This is core advice for preparing for a potentially tough conversation, but keep in mind that any potential conflict that would arise would happen because you care about the customer. You’re trying to do right by the customer. Therefore, know that – what you’re doing – you’re doing for a great reason.

Empower yourself to do what’s right on behalf of the customer.

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