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Be Generous to a Fault - 8/20/19


People who think they’re generous to a fault usually think that’s their only fault – American Journalist Sydney Harris. This quote reminds me of someone who views themselves as a giver – someone who is so humble that he likes to humbly tell everyone of the gifts he’s given, good Read more

Don’t Assume because... - 8/13/19


You've probably heard this statement growing up. Your parents said, “Don’t assume, because it makes…you look bad.” Or something like that… Recently my laptop screen died, and since it was an older laptop, I decided to go ahead and buy a new one instead of paying to have the screen Read more

Patience Leads to Positivity - 8/6/19


Thank you for your patience. That’s a statement I enjoy saying…when I am the customer. When I’m trying to learn something and I’m about to go into a process, I want to have a feel for what the whole process involves. Over the years, I’ve gotten tired of feeling like Read more

Back to Reality...for Customer Expectations - 7/30/19


Have you ever walked into a patient registration area of a hospital and seen a sign that said “if you’ve been waiting longer than 15 minutes, please see the receptionist?” Have you ever called a customer service number and been told by a recording that “the average hold time is Read more

For Excellence to Happen, Get Engaged - 7/23/19


The customer was throwing an absolute fit in the lobby. Sitting among several other customers waiting for her number to be called, she was raising her voice and letting out the occasional expletive about the lengthy wait time. An employee sitting behind the counter thought to herself: I’m going Read more

Libby Listened to Serve - 7/16/19


Libby was new to her role with the organization. She had never been a customer service representative in a call center before, but she was hired because of her attitude. She wanted to learn, enjoyed working with people, and could carry on a conversation with a wall. After going through Read more

Chris Got Noticed for All the Right Reasons - 7/9/19


Chris was working through a temporary agency, and he got a job at a warehouse. He was packaging items to be shipped out, and his shift didn't start until 7:30 a.m. Chris always got there a little bit early because of the bus schedule, and he hated just sitting Read more

What Does “No News” Mean? Here’s a Quick Story - 7/2/19


Steven was trying to make the purchase of his new used car official, so he could get license tags for his State. In order for the State to allow him to put the vehicle in his name, he had to submit paperwork to prove that the prior owner (from Read more

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

Paint a Picture, Take a Picture – 2/5/19

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


Many of us are visual learners. In order for us to understand the concept, we need to be able to see the concept illustrated. And by seeing the concept illustrated, I’m not just talking about taking something that somebody says and merely typing it into an email. I don’t mean simply providing detailed instructions line by line. What I do mean is literally seeing a picture.

Many times over the years, I’ve been trying to describe a strategy, process, or some key steps to a client that they need to take to be successful in whatever topic we’re discussing. And at some point, it’s clear that they’re getting part of what I’m suggesting but not all of it. So, I will either take out my computer tablet or a sheet of paper, and I will draw a simple diagram. Then their eyes light up! They understand the concept, and they often ask if they can keep that piece of paper or ask if I can send them a softcopy of what I wrote on my computer screen.

For many of us, when we hear hundreds of words mesh together to describe a series of next steps or a process, the words blur. We either lose focus, or there is a particular step or phrase that diverts our concentration. To avoid this when working with customers, we need to move those hundreds of steps to a simple graphic of 3-5 connected boxes. It simplifies it for those of us who are visual.

Take a Picture to Jog their Memory
Just as in the example that I shared where they asked to keep my sheet of paper, think about your pre-printed documents – maybe it’s the procedures on a wall poster. Maybe it is a hardcopy document that you were viewing with the customer about a contract, a policy, an agreement, or a process. Don’t expect people to remember what we say no matter how wonderfully we explain it.

Have them take a picture of it with their phone or give them a QR code so that they can go to the exact URL using their phone camera. Make sure that this visual representation that you provided to them is something that they can take with them to remember and refer back to in the future.

When having a conversation with a customer, gauge how well they’re understanding what you’re conveying.

When needed, paint a picture, and – so they remember – let them take a picture.

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No Matter How You Say It, Say Thanks! – 11/20/18

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Gracias. Grazie. Gratias tibi. Obrigado. Tack. Merci. Danke. Thank You.

No matter how you say it, say it. Say Thank You. You can say Thank You in many different languages (shout out to Google Translate for what’s written above!). You can say it with your eyes, your gestures, your smile, and with a nod of the head.

You can say it in a written note or an email or a text. You can convey it face-to-face or on the phone. You can “like” a social media posting or send a little gift card of appreciation. You can say it in front of a group of co-workers or quietly convey it to the employee in the next cube.

You can do it at the start of the conversation or at the end of the conversation. You can do it each step of the way without having to wait until that process is done.

You can say it in a meeting or in front of someone’s boss.

One-on-one you can use the words thanks, appreciate, and value. In front of others you can use the words credit, acknowledge, recognize, salute, pay tribute, and even hail!

In America, it’s Thanksgiving week. So, let’s use that holiday as a good reason to be especially appreciative of co-workers and customers alike.

No matter how you say it, say it. Say Thanks!

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Let Your Words Change Their Tone – 7/10/18

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When we’re conducting web-based surveys for our clients, sometimes the respondent will bypass the survey and decide to send us an e-mail directly, or they’ll send us an e-mail in addition to the survey responses that they already provided online.

When we get these direct e-mails from the client’s customers, often they voice frustrations, and they either didn’t want to convey them through a survey, or they wanted to convey them in a way that emphasized their concerns. Sometimes they want us to rectify issues when they’re getting no direct solution from the company itself.

Whenever we receive these types of messages, we reply immediately. And every time we reply – regardless of their tone – we start by saying “Thank you,” and we end by saying “Thank you.”

It’s something that we emphasize when communicating with any customer, but it’s interesting that the mere statement of “Thank you” up front and the statement of “Thank you” in the end often changes how your message is received by the other person.

We frequently get follow-up e-mails from these irate customers, and they say “Thanks!” back to us for responding and getting the ball rolling. They apologize at times for dumping their frustrations on us. They change their tone in large part because we thank them for sharing their concerns with us.

Try this for a day or – even better – a week. EVERY TIME you talk to somebody on the phone, you respond to an e-mail, you see somebody face-to-face, start by thanking them for bringing something to your attention or for sending you the message. End by thanking them for what you learn from the conversation or for being willing to convey their message to you. This is not just for those irate customer situations. It is also for any conversation you have with a co-worker or customer.

It’s not as catchy as “ABC – Always be closing,” but “ABT – Always be thanking” can have a dramatic effect on others…and maybe even yourself.

By using the simple words “Thank you” at the start and by ending with “Thanks!”, your words can change their tone.

Use words to convey appreciation. See how the tone of conversations begins to change.

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