customer service

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

Customer for Life – The Final Step - 4/16/19


Two weeks ago, we addressed the Third Step of keeping a Customer for Life: Address what will keep them. Now, we’re sharing the Fourth and Final Step. To have a Customer for Life, you have to grow your relationship with them. While the 3rd step is the Read more

Use the Actions of Empathy - 4/9/19


I firmly believe that the most important personal trait of someone in customer service is empathy. If empathy is understanding the other person, then it’s very difficult to truly serve someone that you don’t understand. Particularly when they’re upset or irate, being empathetic and getting them to Read more

Customer for Life – The Third Step - 4/2/19


Two weeks ago, we addressed the Second Step of keeping a Customer for Life: Never let a relationship go stale – keep the communication going. Now, we’re sharing the Third Step. To have a customer for life, you have to address what will keep them. Read more

Facial Recognition is the Future of Customer Service - 3/26/19


According to a recent New York Times article, facial recognition is the future of retail customer service. A trend in technology for retail businesses is to utilize facial recognition technology in order to better know who is entering your business. The idea is that if somebody within Read more

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

The Bad Host – 10/24/17

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


True story: The young couple and their child walked into the restaurant and stood for a minute at the host stand. When the host arrived, she immediately and quickly said “I can’t seat you right now. I’ve got to clean a table, and you’re just going to have to wait.”

Now read that statement again out loud (if you can); read it without a smile; read it with a high tone of voice; read it very fast.

This was something I witnessed several times in various forms over 45 minutes. The employee was obviously flustered. She seemed overwhelmed, and she was letting every customer know through her interaction. No greeting; no smile; no welcoming attitude – it was blunt, fast, direct.

When she made her statement to this family, the wife politely said, “Thank you for letting us know.” She then turned around and walked out, followed by the child and husband. Two other families walked out. Lost business, hurt reputation for the restaurant, and probably a couple postings on social media followed.

Who knows what the root cause of the issue was for this employee. Maybe she was just having a bad day; a co-worker or employee could have been rude to her. She may have been short-staffed or overwhelmed with the number of guests arriving. Maybe she was just a bad fit for that role.

Regardless of the reason for the issue, she should not have taken it out on customers just walking in the restaurant, hoping to have a relaxing, tasty meal with family and friends.

Sometimes we just need to be more self-aware when things aren’t going our way. It’s fine for us to have emotions – we’re all human. But also being human we have the ability and responsibility not to take out these frustrations on others – particularly innocent customers and co-workers.

Don’t be the Bad Host – check your emotions before connecting with others.

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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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