expectation

Know the Customer’s Value Proposition - 2/12/19


I’ve written about how it’s important to build up your co-workers when talking to customers. When the nurse is getting ready to send the patient down to radiology, she lets the patient know what great work and great care that the radiology tech provides. When the teller contacts a Read more

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


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 Read more

Recipe for Reputation Rehab - 1/29/19


As another corporation is trying to recover from self-inflicted reputation wounds, it is seeking to get back in the good graces of consumers. It’s laying out a 6-point plan to improve its performance, but – in the end – publicizing this plan is also about rehabilitating its reputation. Read more

Don’t Dwell on the Customer Crazies - 1/22/19


Whether or not you’re a fan of Duke University basketball, you may have heard of the “Cameron Crazies.” This is a nickname for Duke fans that attend home games in Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium. One of my friends was one of those Cameron Crazies. He was Read more

Retain through Responsiveness - 1/15/19


In a recent Bloomberg article about online retailers, there’s a story about a women’s cosmetics customer who used an online app to order some items. She waited weeks for the delivery after it was shipped to the wrong address, and she had great difficulty in getting the issue resolved. Read more

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


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 Read more

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


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 Read more

2018 Holiday Poem - 12/25/18


Annually I write a note at this time of year, And the goal not once but every time is to bring you some cheer. I try to encourage, And I work to state the truth Because as we continue to grow more “wise,” We can’t lose sight of the joys of youth. So this year Read more

Be SomeBODY to Your Customer - 12/18/18


Jenny lives on a farm, and she's often running errands to get things for the animals or the family. She goes to one particular store to get her hay, and she always chit-chats with the person at the register. Marie is always friendly and cordial, and Jenny always buys Read more

A Representative Success! - 12/11/18


I was in a meeting recently with a client, and it was interesting to chat with one of their best customer service representatives. This is an employee who works with the same business clients every month, and when she described what she does, best practices started flowing. She knows her Read more

Do This, Not That! – 1/9/18

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


Several years ago, a relative introduced me to the book “Eat This, Not That!” One version of the book operated off that premise that if you have to eat at a particular restaurant, eat THIS option (not THAT option), because it’s healthier.

Now, let’s have some fun! Let’s apply the THIS/THAT approach to the phrases we use in customer service.

When a hospital patient is nervous or anxious, Say THIS -> We’ve helped many patients who have had the same treatment, and they’ve gotten through the process with positive results. (Build their confidence)

Not THAT -> Stop complaining. It’s not that big a deal. (Don’t downplay the person’s right to feel what they feel)

When a sports ticket holder is upset, Say THIS -> I can understand the frustration, and I’m sorry there was an issue with the seats. Let’s see what we can do about this for you. Can I have your account number, please? (Empathize and apologize; transition to a next step; ask them an objective question)

Not THAT -> What’s your account number? (Don’t ignore their desire for you to take SOME responsibility prior to moving to the solution)

When a customer calls with a complaint about the company and makes it personal about you, Say THIS -> I’d like to help you, Mr. Smith, but we need to be able to discuss it professionally. If that’s possible, I’m happy to talk more now, or – as an alternative – we can schedule a call to discuss again tomorrow, or I’m happy to get someone else to help you. Which option would you prefer? (Don’t take the abuse, but let them know your expectation for how you’ll be treated, and share alternatives)

Not THAT -> If you’re going to be a $%^&#!, I’m not talking to you! (Even though you may want to fire back, don’t feed into it and escalate the conversation; don’t sink to their level and make it personal)

There aren’t always perfect phrases for these situations, but there are characteristics of what to say and not say when faced with these challenges.

Do This, Not That!

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Turn the Basic into the Remarkable – 9/26/17

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


When asked about my experience at an event, sometimes I’ll use the phrase “I can’t think of anything remarkable.” I came, I experienced, and I left. There was nothing worth remarking about relating to the experience.

Where experiences become remarkable is the place where something happened beyond the basic, beyond expectations.

The football game wasn’t remarkable (9-6 field goal battle – yawn), but let me tell you about the “rock star parking” I got! Dave, my account manager, hooked me up with this VIP parking.

The clinical care I received was good, but there was this one tech named Sandy who was so funny! I’ve never had so much fun getting my blood drawn!

I had an electrical inspector with the County come to my house, and he was great! Mark was not only quick, but he told me several things about how the electricity flows within the house and new technology trends coming out – learning about all that stuff was cool!

In every example above, the “product” (the game, the clinical care, the inspection) were delivered and were okay. But it was how they were delivered, the personalized aspect of the delivery, the special steps taken, the speed, the education associated with the product that make it worthy of a remark – what made it remarkable.

Maybe you’re in a job where you deliver the same information or product all day long. However, that doesn’t mean the experience that your customer has should be unremarkable.

Consider ways to go beyond expectations. It could be associated with a resource or benefit that you could share with the customer. It could be with how you engage, establish rapport, and converse with the customer. It could relate to what education you impart on the customer.

Whatever it is – find a way to deliver an experience that makes the most basic product a pleasure to receive.

Turn the Basic into the Remarkable.

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Responsiveness: Define it and Do it – 8/1/17

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One of the characteristics of customer service where I “hang my hat” is Responsiveness. It’s an aspect of customer communications that conveys you care, that the other person is important to you, and that their need or issue warrants your quick attention.

But what is “Responsiveness?” It may mean different things to different people. And to illustrate that point, noted below are some definitions and examples of Responsiveness that were shared by employees at 3 recent client workshops:

  • Follow-up quickly, Keep them in the loop, Tell them “I’m going to help you”, Give timeframes (set expectations), Provide them with what they need, Communication – be consistent.
  • Set expectations for the customer, Set up timeframes, Set expectations for next steps, Keep the customer informed, Be prompt.
  • Tell what you’re going to do and do it, Respond timely, Keep the customer informed – especially if there’s an issue – even if it’s not resolved, Follow-up.

 
Note that in many of these definitions and examples there’s an aspect of speed. There’s a focus on having ongoing communications with customers (even if it’s just for status updates). There’s a focus on helping the other person – and telling them that you want to help them. And there’s a component where you’re setting/managing expectations for responsiveness.

If you, your organization, or your customers put a premium on responsiveness, ensure that you have a clear picture of what that means and how it looks in your interactions with others. Make sure you have the needed speed, frequency of customer communications, clarity on your desire to help them, and expectation management.

Then your customers may just define Responsiveness…as YOU!

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