emotion

Bring Magic to Your Account Management - 1/19/21


One of our first sports-industry clients was the Orlando Magic.  They were a true leading-edge organization in the early 2000s when it came to dedicating resources to season ticket holder retention.  They didn’t make customer service, relationship-development, and renewals simply a function of the Sales department.  They broke it Read more

Customers Want Easy, but Easy is Difficult - 1/12/21


New employees go through days of training to learn products and services.  They have formal workshops to learn how to use their office applications, web functions, and whatever programs are specific to their department.  They test new technology, and they get quizzed on knowledge of policies.  This is hours Read more

Make 2021 the Year of Building Relationships - 1/5/21


I’ve been very fortunate over this company’s 20+ years in business to have great and long-lasting relationships with many clients, colleagues, business partners, and co-workers.  It’s a gift to be able to call on these individuals for advice or referrals or to be a sounding board.  And it’s just Read more

Bring Warmth During Winter - 12/29/20


Winter is upon us.  Now, winter can mean different things to different people in different regions, but just the word conjures up cold.  It conjures up visions of snow.  It conjures up feelings of wind and lack of warmth. Although some of us may like the cold at times of Read more

2020 Holiday Poem - 12/22/20


When in the role of customer service,We are wired to give and give.It’s built into our DNA.It’s simply the way we live. In order to give to others,We need to find ways to give them their fill.We need to pour empathy and openness into them.To serve, we need to have Read more

It’s NOT about the Cinnamon - 12/15/20


It was happening again.  Jessica had just handed the freshly made concoction to her coffee shop customer, and less than a minute later, the customer was in Jessica’s face, red as a beet, ranting and raving:  I specifically asked for extra cinnamon on top!  Does this look like extra Read more

Locke-in from the Start - 12/8/20


John Locke was a 17th century English philosopher, physician, and researcher.  He wrote many papers arguing particular points, oftentimes using reason and facts as the basis for his position.  He noted that many disagreements start because there is – in my words – a lack of real clarity about Read more

The End of the Tunnel - 12/1/20


Have you ever heard the expression:  There’s light at the end of the tunnel… In this COVID-era world, it sure does feel like the tunnel is long, doesn’t it?  It sure feels like this is not a light that we’ll be at in 2 seconds after the train goes another Read more

A Lesson in Gratitude - 11/24/20


Mr. Robinson went to the hardware store with his teenaged son, Steve.  Steve was starting his first woodworking project – building a small coffee table – and needed supplies.  As they walked the aisles, Mr. Robinson and Steve couldn’t find the exact type of wood they wanted, so Mr. Read more

Why Your Job is Important - 11/17/20


I was speaking with a client recently, and she was telling me about one of the classes delivered by their professional development team. Her description of the course reminded me of some client workshops we’ve conducted where a part of the outcome is having individual staff develop Personal Mission Read more

It’s NOT about the Cinnamon – 12/15/20

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

It was happening again.  Jessica had just handed the freshly made concoction to her coffee shop customer, and less than a minute later, the customer was in Jessica’s face, red as a beet, ranting and raving:  I specifically asked for extra cinnamon on top!  Does this look like extra cinnamon?!  I think not!

Jessica immediately was shocked at the customer’s reaction, but after a couple seconds settled into the encounter.  She had experienced this many times before from customers.  Maybe she or staff got the order a little bit wrong, or maybe they got it entirely right, but the customer wasn’t satisfied.  And while she appreciated customers letting her know if something wasn’t done perfectly, sometimes how the customers shared their concerns went overboard.  The rant did not justify the reason for the rant.

But Jessica had a little mantra she told herself.  And in this case, she repeated it to herself as the customer ranted:  It’s not about the cinnamon, Jessica.  It’s not about the cinnamon, Jessica.

Jessica knew that if customers went overboard about something, that overreaction was rarely just about the issue being discussed.  Maybe the issue precipitated the interaction, but the overreaction told Jessica that there was something else going on with this customer.  Maybe the customer was having a bad day.  Maybe they were late for work or had been cussed out by their boss.  Maybe they were tired of the 15 Zoom calls they had had that week and just needed to vent.

It could be something bigger picture going on in their lives that was creating stress or strain or the need for a release. Jessica kept her emotions in line by realizing why the customer was out of line.

Sometimes when dealing with difficult customers, the hardest thing to do is to deal with our own emotional reaction to those difficult customers.  And when those customers are being unreasonable or going overboard in their reactions, it helps for us to understand, it’s not all about us.  It’s not all about our process, our product, or our people.

Sometimes people deal with issues in their own lives by transferring those feelings and overreacting to other things with other people.  It doesn’t make the negative emotions that you and I have to deal with okay, but understanding this may help us when managing our own emotions.

It helps us to remember…it’s not about the cinnamon.

Signup for FREE Tips!    Contact Us    More Resources for You    Visit Our Home Page


Defend without Being Defensive – 7/8/14 TOW

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


The customer is not always right. Sometimes they’re flat out wrong. Your co-workers aren’t perfect. Sometimes they don’t return the call, or they’re rude, or they provide misinformation, or they set unrealistic expectations. People make mistakes.

When apologizing to the customer, you sometimes have to say “I’m sorry” or “I apologize,” but those words are hard to come by when that customer is wrong. Those words are difficult to share when they’re criticizing your co-worker.

At the same time that you’re trying to defuse that irate customer, we suggest that you do two things that can seemingly be in conflict: Support your co-workers, and don’t get defensive.

So how do you defend without getting defensive?

Think of defensiveness as having an emotional quality, where you’re trying to protect the co-worker or company, maybe you’re trying to deflect blame from yourself. While these are all natural things to want to do, when you bring your emotion into the conversation, you begin to lose one of the key tenets of successfully dealing with an irate customer – pull emotion out of these conversations.

Therefore, when defending others, do it without emotion, without the tone and body language and words that can raise the temperature of a conversation.

Now you may want to ask why we should “defend” in the first place. Won’t that start an argument? Won’t that make them more irate?

Well it could if done incorrectly, and there’s a fine line we’re walking. The reason to occasionally defend is this: If you allow incorrect conclusions to be solidified in the customer’s mind, then that will affect that customer’s loyalty, that customer’s word-of-mouth, and that customer’s attitude in future interactions with your business.

And while I’m not suggesting you correct every customer misstatement (since that surely will backfire), if they say that Chris – your co-worker – did something that he’d never do (yelled at the customer or advised the customer to do something that’s obviously against policy), you want to support your co-worker. Consider these phrases:

  • I wasn’t in that conversation, so I can’t speak specifically to what was Chris said, but I’m sorry you had to deal with it, and I want to help you find a resolution.
  • I’ve known Chris for years, and I’ll definitely talk with him since that’s not the experiences his customers typically have, and I’m very sorry about what happened in your case. Let’s discuss how we can best resolve this moving forward.
  • That’s not how we typically do things around here, so I’m very sorry about the situation. I’ll definitely share your concerns internally after our call, and right now I want to make sure we can get this situation addressed immediately.

The commonality in these statements is that we don’t agree with the customer that our co-worker was at fault, we stay composed, we let them know that the situation isn’t typical, and we transition the conversation to a resolution.

When dealing with the irate customer, learn to defend without being defensive.


Zappos Customer Service – Measure to Make it Great

Posted on in Business Advice, World of Customer Service Please leave a comment

Want some shoes? Want some great customer service? Many people who answer “yes” to these questions, head to Zappos.com. And although Zappos has a reputation for great customer service, its customer service reputation is not built on hype (although I’m sure there’s some of that) and subjective self-evaluations.

Sustaining great customer service is built on sound business practices, data, decision-making, and a focus on continuous improvement.

In the article A Zappos Lesson in Customer Service Metrics, CRM blogger Ashley Furness details some of the metrics Zappos uses to measure customer service success. Here are four metrics on which a customer service representative’s performance is measured:

  • “Did the agent try twice to make a personal emotional connection?
  • Did they keep the rapport going after the customer responded to their attempt?
  • Did they address unstated needs?
  • Did they provide a “wow experience?”

If you dig deep into why they’re measured, you see that the first three metrics suggest that creating and sustaining a personal connection is important, emotion is important, and being inquisitive is important.

The fourth metric about the “WOW experience” is more difficult to measure. We created a podcast episode on the WOW experience because a WOW experience is not easy to create each time, but it is something that can be somewhat planned. And the WOW experience is also customer-dependent – what might WOW one customer might not WOW the next.

So focus on the first three metrics, and ask yourself, do you create personal connections with customers? Do you sustain them throughout the conversation? Do you see or feel emotion from the customer? And are you asking enough questions to identify and address unstated needs?

Design the WOW, but make sure you consistently deliver on these other keys to customer service success.

Listen to our latest podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/