empathy

When Customers are…Jerks - 7/14/20


Some people are a little extra…uh…difficult to deal with these days. Customers may have concerns or complaints – many of which are justified. But some customers act like…well…jerks. They’re not kind or understanding or have any idea how poorly they treat others. They’re obnoxious and yet, we still have Read more

Customers Appreciate Your Kindness - 7/7/20


The 3rd grade teacher had a phrase she used with her students. She wanted them to be “kind-hearted.” It was a phrase she used over and over again; no matter what she taught, this was an overriding emphasis on how she would communicate with students and how she expected Read more

6 Common Sense Responses to Customer Service Encounters - 6/30/20


I’ve run into this personally and professionally, and it drives me batty! Sometimes there’s a lack of common sense in the customer service provided by companies. And often that lack of common sense is due to the preference of a business to provide service in a certain method, to Read more

Caring for Co-workers through COVID - 6/23/20


A recent Buffer.com study asked employees who are working remotely due to COVID-19, what was their greatest struggle. While there were many different responses, the Top 2 totaled 40% of the struggles identified - Loneliness and Collaboration/Effective Communication. When you hear something like this - that individuals working remotely are Read more

React, Reflect, Respond - 6/16/20


Sometimes you can’t help it. You gasp. You get upset. You get angry. You have this look of shock on your face. You say something defensive. You react. I love people who are in customer service roles. These are the folks that people say things to in the business world Read more

Serving the Technology-challenged Customer - 6/9/20


The IT helpdesk representative was on a call with a customer, and in trying to troubleshoot an issue, the employee said, “Let’s start by opening Windows.” The customer said “OK,” and there were 2 minutes of silence. The employee twice asked, “Are you still there?” with no response. Finally, Read more

Address the 4 P’s for a Customer-friendly COVID-19 Walk-in Experience


This is not about what is medically most effective – please see the CDC for those guidelines.  This is about how to help your customers have a great experience as an onsite visitor at your facility or storefront.  For a comprehensive approach to a customer-friendly COVID-19 experience, address the Read more

The Deeper Reason to Transform the Customer Experience - 6/2/20


Why are government offices putting up plexiglass between their staff and their customers?  Why is restaurant takeout being done in such a way that is contactless and yet still fosters engagement between the employee and customer?  Why have so many traditionally onsite businesses converted to delivery businesses? The answer is Read more

Motivating Yourself when Working Remotely - 5/26/20


For any of us who are working remotely, we are finding ourselves more and more having to be self-motivated. And while many people are naturally self-motivated, others need to have that manager who gives us the encouragement. Many of us need to have that ongoing informal dialogue with co-workers Read more

Defining Organizational Agility in a Time of Uncertainty


You may have heard references in management theory over the many decades about the importance of a business being an “Agile” organization, but oftentimes that is a word thrown out in generalities to illustrate vague points about how organizations should be managed and make decisions.  In this time of Read more

Making the Most of Millennial Moments – 9/1/15 TOW

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

Millennials are an exceptionally large and growing segment of the customer base of many businesses. They are a unique – and in some ways – demanding group. And when it comes to customer service, there are a few tricks of the trade to consider.

First, avoid the assumption that all Millennials are the same – that they’re all tech geniuses with little interest in two-way verbal communication. Millennials are as varied as baby boomers and Gen X. Still work to view each one as an individual, regardless of age.

Second, although they’re not all the same, they have stronger characteristics that many preceding generations. They are typically very tech savvy, so when communicating with them, the web-based, self-service option may be preferable to them. So “teach them how to fish” for the future while you’re fishing for an answer to their question in the present.

Third, realize that their definition of rudeness may differ from yours. Looking at a smart phone while engaged with an employee might seem rude to the staff person, but it’s part of the highly wired nature of the Millennial customer. Avoid the urge to react negatively to the customer; they don’t intend to be rude – they just haven’t learned the appropriate etiquette yet.

Fourth, realize it’s (almost) all about speed. Some Millennials are upset if a friend hasn’t replied to a text immediately; they’re upset if the website doesn’t load in 1-2 seconds. They get concerned if someone doesn’t “like” their social media post in the first 5 minutes. That expectation for speed impacts their desired customer service experience. They want swift responsiveness – provide it or be intentional about managing expectations immediately.

Finally, go for mutual respect. Speed isn’t everything; respect is huge to these customers. Although they’re young, they’re typically smart, opinionated, and understand they’re important. While the wisdom of age may not have become part of their top personal qualities yet, they want to feel respected.

When managing those Moments of Truth with Millennials, look at each one as unique, be an educator, be aware that they may not see their own perceived rudeness, be responsive, and convey respect.

Make the most of Millennial moments.

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Rudeness is an Issue – How to Avoid it – 8/11/15 TOW

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


According to a recent times.com article, there are several top reasons why customers get frustrated with customer service. Tied for the biggest frustration is dealing with rude customer service representatives. Survey results noted that 75% of customers are “highly annoyed by rude or condescending employees.”

While many of us feel that we’re generally pleasant people, even the most pleasant individuals can run the risk of coming off as rude or condescending. This perception by others can come from the tone of voice, the actual words used, or body language in face-to-face situations.

In order to ensure that the answer you give or solution provided does not reflect negatively on you, here are several things you can do to avoid being perceived as rude or condescending:

  • Watch Subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) Tone Issues – Avoid the “huffs” or frustrated sighs, and don’t let your booming voice dominate them.
  • Avoid Using “you” if Discussing Blame – Don’t do this: “If you would have just done ABC, this wouldn’t have been an issue.”
  • Convey Some Empathy – There’s a difference between a coldly delivered “That’s against policy” and an empathetic “Unfortunately we’re not able to do ABC for this reason, but let’s talk about what we CAN do for you.”
  • Effectively Move to the Hold or Transfer – Don’t put someone on hold or transfer unless you first ask and explain why you’re making the move.
  • Consider the Body Language – Avoid the eye rolls, folded arms, smirks, a lack of focus on the customer, and – ugh – putting your hand up in the “stop” position.
  • Don’t Rush the Customer – This is by far the most frequent cause of perceived rudeness – even when customers are dealing with kind customer service representatives. Lacking patience, talking quickly, giving short answers, interrupting the other person, and not confirming that the customer got their need met are all drivers of that perception of a rude employee.

 
Avoid rudeness – the customer’s hot button with customer service.

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Be Understanding if You Don’t Understand – 7/21/15 TOW

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


Why is this person so wigged out? This customer won’t make eye contact with me – weird. I really have no idea why they’re asking me that question. Of all the things to complain about, they chose THAT?

People are different. Some people fly off the handle when they’re put on hold for even ten seconds while others patiently wait 15-20 minutes as long as there’s nice music. I conducted training for a hospital once, where – at the break – two things happened; one person complained that the room was too hot, and another person went to their office to get a sweater because the room was too cold.

I don’t claim to understand everyone; what I think is irrational, unprofessional, or rude may be deemed appropriate behavior by others. What I consider to be a minor issue is a federal offense to others.

The lens through which I see the world is not the same as everyone else. And while the world’s a more interesting place because of that, those varied lenses can make delivering great customer service that much more difficult.

So even though we should “seek to understand,” sometimes we just can’t. In those cases, still be understanding of that human being on the phone, behind the e-mail, or facing you at that moment. Even if the complaint, the issue, the reaction, their body language or tone is so foreign to you that you can’t understand it or why it’s happening, still try to understand it’s a human being who’s being human.

This is why empathy is so important. You don’t have to “feel their pain” to convey you care about them as a person. You don’t have to understand WHY they’re frustrated to understand THAT they’re frustrated.

When you don’t understand, it’s okay. Know that despite all you don’t understand coming from that individual, sometimes the best thing is just to be understanding.

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