expectation

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

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

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

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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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