empathy

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

Bring Something Extra to the Table – 1/8/19

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


As somebody who has customer service as a part of their role and responsibilities, you are often talking to customers who could access the answers to their questions or the solutions to their problems via a website or some social media resource. But instead of going to those communication vehicles or maybe after going to those vehicles, they have come to you.

In coming to you, many customers have the expectation that you can provide something beyond what they can find on a website or beyond what they can experience via social media customer service. They expect you to bring something extra to the table.

So, what do you bring that goes beyond the content they can find online?

First, Listening and Empathy. By engaging your organization online, customers cannot experience a sense that the organization cares about them personally, is willing to listen to their concerns, and cares about understanding what’s unique about their situation. So, listening is something extra you bring to the table. Empathy and a sense of understanding/caring is something they don’t get from those other communication vehicles.

Second, a Can-do Attitude. What customers experience online from your company includes a series of steps, facts, FAQ’s, and other information. But that online presence doesn’t really convey a true solution-oriented mindset. it doesn’t necessarily create a feel that the company desires to help them with their need. With your tone, words, and responsiveness, you convey the kind of Can-do attitude that is difficult to replicate online.

Third, an Understanding of Internal Processes. Oftentimes, that extra something you bring to the table is your internal knowledge of how your organization works. Few companies can or should open the doors and allow customers to see all the detailed innerworkings of their business. However, that internal knowledge you have helps you to guide the customer quickly and effectively down the path they need to succeed.

Finally, your Dot-Connecting Expertise. The customer may have an issue, a need, or a goal, and your organization might have a process, a product, or a service. But the company’s web presence is typically not designed to connect those dots. However, you have the knowledge and expertise to match the customer’s need with the specific solution your company offers.

In this day and age of online customer service, realize that there’s so much you can and should bring to that service situation that your company’s web presence cannot fully address.

Bring Something Extra to the Table.

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How to Have a Truly HAPPY New Year – 1/1/19

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Don’t worry. After today, I will get away from my holiday-themed tips, but for now, let me ask you a question. What would be a good way to have a truly HAPPY New Year? Is it lowering expectations so that everything exceeds your expectations? Is it eating chocolate every day? Is it making a resolution to be happy?

Consider this: My answers are “No, No, and Yes.”

Let’s focus on the Yes. We have little control over much that goes on around us – our customers, computers, co-workers; the people, processes, and systems; the buildings we work in and the attitudes and attributes of the people we socialize with; the weather, social media, the overall economy. There is so much we can’t control. Now keep in mind that all these things that are beyond our control are outside of us.

Having a truly happy new year is not about what’s happening around us; it’s about what’s inside us. And maybe happy is not the best word. Maybe joy-filled is a better phrase.

So, what can you and I do within ourselves to be more joy-filled? Maybe it’s limiting our exposure to those outside things that don’t bring joy. It involves thinking about our attitude – being intentional about how we think about other people, how we visualize the meeting about the happen, how we force ourselves to empathize with that person on the phone with us. It’s about our making decision after decision after decision to be good inside no matter the situation we face outside.

A great attitude is a series of decisions to be positive, to be better than the situations we find ourselves in, to look for the good in all things and all people we encounter. In the end, a great attitude becomes a habit, and it leads to joy. It leads to having a Truly HAPPY New Year.

Better yet, it leads to having a truly Joy-filled New Year.

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Bank on Higher Level Service – 9/25/18

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In the recent Bloomberg article “Some banks are giving tellers more to do and better pay,” a Goldman Sachs survey is highlighted. It notes how more and more people are going to digital means to find answers to questions through self-service, and then they go to tellers or a branch if they can’t find the answer. Essentially, the article talks about how so many of the more common questions and inquiries are addressed without ever going to a human being.

So, what does this mean for the frontline staff?

Employees Deal with More Complexity
It means that when staff get questions, those questions are typically more complex. Therefore, they need to be well-versed in higher-level issues and challenges and with software applications that might not have anything to do with their own business. Maybe it’s a Venmo request, but they’re calling a bank that has nothing directly to do with Venmo. Maybe it’s a PayPal question, but their bank has no formal relationship with PayPal.

Customers Already Invested Time
Another consideration is that, if the customer didn’t find the answer to their question via the self-service methods, then they’ve already gone through a process and spent time on an issue before they ever get to a person. Therefore, they have already invested time and energy, and their patience may be waning. There may be more of a sense of urgency in their request.

Customers are Frustrated with the Lack of Results
Third, since they attempted to do this on their own and they could not, they might have a greater likelihood of being frustrated when the conversation starts. They’ve already made the attempt and not found the answer. So these frontline employees are being asked higher-level questions about other sources of information or other services that might not relate directly to their company. They are dealing with customers who have already invested time and energy, dealing with customers who may be frustrated with the lack of results from that expenditure of time and energy.

When you’re on the phone with the caller today as opposed to even 10 years ago, make sure you’re aware of those other features and functions and sources of information that your customer may go to first. Make sure you know the higher-level answers and have the patience to deal with folks who might have a sense of urgency because they’ve already spent time looking elsewhere. And make sure you understand that people might be upset with something that has nothing to do with you – maybe it’s a lack of an answer from another source – but now they’re not only coming to you with a higher-level need, they’re coming to you with a little bit of frustration as well.

In this digital world, have a sense for what the customer has gone through as a part of even getting you on the phone, because oftentimes you’re not the first source; yet, you’re dealing with a customer and the emotional baggage that their encounter with that first source left behind.

Bank on Higher Level Service.

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