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

Turn 4% Feedback into 100% – 5/9/17

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


Only 4%. That’s the percentage of customers that have a problem with an organization that will come right out and tell you about it. Sure, they’re happy to post a review on Yelp, or post a complaint on their Facebook or Instagram account. They’ll tell their buddies or relatives, but most won’t tell you.

Then they may return to your business – or not – but either way the bad word-of-mouth is out there.

Many companies understand the huge negative financial impact of poor experiences, so they conduct surveys, mystery shop, and try to improve their customer service based on the Voice of the Customer.

But what can you as an individual do to uncover any issues when you’re engaged with the customer? You can simply ask, and here are Ten Ways to Ask for Feedback:

  • (For incoming callers who go through a phone tree) How was your experience in getting through to me today?
  • What do you think of our store (or website)?
  • How has your experience been?
  • Is there anything we could have done to have made your experience better today?
  • Did you get your questions answered?
  • Did we address your need?
  • Did you find everything you needed easily?
  • How helpful has this (or – have we/I) been to you?
  • What was our process like for you today?
  • Do you have any suggestions about how we can improve our service?

When you get this feedback, you hear the voice of the customer before they leave the door. You turn the 4% into close to 100%. You have an opportunity to address any additional needs or issues. You positively impact word-of-mouth. You allow yourself the opportunity to retain. You make the unknown known.

Don’t let the customer’s complaint fester. Get the customer’s opinions before the conversation ends.

Turn 4% feedback into 100%. It will help you to fix problems on the spot, keep more customers, and get more thank you’s from the customers themselves.

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How to Show the Opposite of Indifference – 4/25/17

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Sometimes the best way to define a word is to say it’s the opposite of another word – and then define that other word.

What is darkness? It’s the absence of light.

What is lethargic? It’s the opposite of energetic – where you move and you have the capacity to move. Imagine remembering people’s names easily, getting work done – the right work at a high pace; imagine maintaining your focus and your positive attitude all day long.

Now let’s define a key customer service word by painting a picture of opposites. Many studies have noted that – roughly 68% of the time – the primary reason customers stop going to Company A and move to Company B is that they perceive Company A is indifferent to them.

Therefore the question is: What is indifference?

  • It’s the opposite of responsiveness, where you quickly reply to messages, immediately take action on issues, and effectively manage customer expectations.
  • It’s the opposite of proactivity – where you initiate conversations with clients, even when you know the conversation is going to be on a difficult subject.
  • It’s the opposite of engagement – where your eyes, your gestures, your body language, and your tone convey interest in the other person and their situation.
  • It’s the opposite of caring – where the customer feels like you are concerned with their issues, needs, goals, and feelings.
  • It’s the opposite of follow-through, where you ensure the client got that need addressed.

 
If indifference is such a retention-killer for a business, do whatever you can to ensure you’re not perceived in that manner.

Show responsiveness, proactivity, engagement, caring, and follow-through.

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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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