expectation

6 Actions for Attitude Adjustments - 2/18/20


The battle over one’s attitude can feel like a never-ending fight… I need to stop letting little things bother me. I need to not let that customer’s anger infect my mindset.  Just because my co-worker isn’t doing what they said they’d do shouldn’t mean that I should have an attitude Read more

A Hair-Cut Above...and Below - 2/11/20


After going to the same barber for more than a decade, I decided to leave.  The customer experience went down, and the price went up.  For my last several visits, I was the one who was driving the conversations – when I could get a word in edgewise between Read more

When Employees Fight Over a Customer - 2/4/20


There’s nothing like the feeling of comfort I get from a warm greeting at a business establishment.  A feeling of “you are my most important customer” and “I cannot wait to serve you” brings a tear to the eye of a customer service consultant.  But that’s not the only Read more

LOTS of Opportunities to Appreciate Customers - 1/28/20


They give us their money, and we give them merchandise. We say “Thank you!”  That is the old-time stereotypical opportunity for a company to thank their customers.  But there are opportunities all day long for us to convey appreciation to our customers. Beyond the actual transaction, there are so many Read more

When Jack Gave Arnie a Tip - 1/21/20


Jack Nicklaus may have been the greatest golfer ever.  Many think that Arnold Palmer was the most important golfer of the 20th century.  These two greats were contemporaries, so they became competitors and friends all at once.  And when somebody who is one of the greatest of all time Read more

Make it Abundantly Clear - 1/14/20


Becky was laying in her hospital bed and staring at the whiteboard on the wall.  It had a room number, the room’s phone number, and the date.  It had the pictures of the pain scale, with happy-to-sad faces and ratings from 0-10.  It noted when the last meds were Read more

Become the Wishing Well - 1/7/20


When you don’t know if the next step will solve the customer’s problem, give hope a chance.  If you’re not certain how things will progress on their project, give hope a chance.  If you want to end the conversation by having them feel positive, even if uncertain, give hope Read more

Why Silence is Golden - 12/31/19


In the world of customer service, to begin finding a resolution, sometimes we have to initiate conversation. To keep things moving forward, oftentimes we have to proactively engage in discussion.  To have effective dialogue, we need to avoid those long periods of dead silence. But don’t let those truths of Read more

2019 Holiday Poem - 12/24/19


There is joy absolutely everywhere, Sometimes you just need to look for it. There are birds and babies. There are flowers and sweet older ladies. You just have to look for them. People hold doors open for others, with smiles. There are days when you can see for miles. You just have to look for them. There Read more

Encourage the Customer - 12/17/19


Everybody sing with me:  Feelings, whoa whoa whoa, feelings… Excellent old song, and be thankful that I’m just writing the words and not singing to you.  While not all of us are comfortable with discussing feelings, feelings are an important part of the customer experience. No, you can’t make someone feel 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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