expectation

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

Customer for Life – The Final Step - 4/16/19


Two weeks ago, we addressed the Third Step of keeping a Customer for Life: Address what will keep them. Now, we’re sharing the Fourth and Final Step. To have a Customer for Life, you have to grow your relationship with them. While the 3rd step is the Read more

Use the Actions of Empathy - 4/9/19


I firmly believe that the most important personal trait of someone in customer service is empathy. If empathy is understanding the other person, then it’s very difficult to truly serve someone that you don’t understand. Particularly when they’re upset or irate, being empathetic and getting them to Read more

Customer for Life – The Third Step - 4/2/19


Two weeks ago, we addressed the Second Step of keeping a Customer for Life: Never let a relationship go stale – keep the communication going. Now, we’re sharing the Third Step. To have a customer for life, you have to address what will keep them. Read more

Facial Recognition is the Future of Customer Service - 3/26/19


According to a recent New York Times article, facial recognition is the future of retail customer service. A trend in technology for retail businesses is to utilize facial recognition technology in order to better know who is entering your business. The idea is that if somebody within Read more

Customer for Life – The Second Step - 3/19/19


Two weeks ago, we shared a Customer Service Tip on how to get (and keep!) a Customer for Life. We addressed the First Step, Knowing what you need to know about the other person. Now, we’re sharing the Second Step. To develop a relationship with anyone, there has to Read more

Employee Runs for a Dog Run - 3/12/19


I was never a Boy Scout. I mean in the literal sense, but also somewhat in the figurative sense, but I digress. After years of telling myself that I needed something to help my dog get exercise outside without worrying about him trying to dig under a fence and Read more

Customer for Life – The First Step - 3/5/19


This should be the goal, right? That our clients today will be our clients tomorrow and well into the future. That their loyalty grows, their business with us grows, their referrals grow, and it is all part of a relationship that grows and develops over time. But what’s the Read more

Retrain Your Brain - 2/26/19


Admit it. You thought about it. You thought: Why in the world did the customer try to assemble that before reading the instructions? Why would they drive all the way down here instead of just checking the website? Why would they go through the drive-thru when they can deposit using Read more

Look Up, or Look Out! - 2/19/19


The clerk called out “next in line!”, and Frannie went to the counter. “Can I have your name?,” the employee asked, but she stared at her computer screen while asking. Frannie stated her name, the time of her appointment, and noted the reason for the appointment. Staring at the screen, Read more

Be Boring but Better – Become Predictable – 8/18/15 TOW

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

I was recently watching reruns of on old sitcom where a woman was attracted to a man she was dating – in part – because he was so unpredictable. What was he going to say next? What was the next exciting thing he’d come up with for date night?!

But excitement in customer service is not always the best goal, especially if that excitement is a result of something unpredictable happening.

I’ve facilitated enough customer focus groups and read enough customer comments to know one thing about customer service – sometimes being boring is vital to customer service, and what’s more boring (but good!) than being predictable?

Remember that 40% of customer dissatisfaction is because the customer didn’t receive what they expected – the company overpromised or didn’t even do the bare minimum of what the customer expected. So you can eliminate the cause of a lot of dissatisfaction by doing what’s expected. Consider these boring-but-better predictable actions to boost your customer service:

  • Instead of providing a wide window of time for a callback or site visit, give a narrow arrival window to set the expectation; then meet that expectation.
  • ALWAYS respond to e-mails sent directly to you, even if all you say is “Thanks for the e-mail; I’ll review and reply back by X date – Please let me know if you need it sooner.” Become responsively predictable!
  • Know what the company does to set expectations via letters, e-mails, marketing programs, sales offers, and web pages. Often companies note who will do what, in what timeframe, and in what way. To be predictable, we have to know what the customer expects based on these company proclamations.
  • Document what you tell customers you’ll do and by when (do so on paper, in a follow-up e-mail, etc.); then do what you stated you’d do.
  • If there are personal or corporate hours of operations, be clear on what they are so the customer knows your availability.
  • Find a best practice process, and adhere to it; standard processes offer more predictable outcomes and timeframes than “everybody doing it their own way.”

 
Find ways to make your reality match the customer’s expectations.

Make “boring” a competitive advantage – become predictable with your customer service.

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Unblurring the Lines – 6/16/15 TOW

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Forty percent of customer dissatisfaction is due to a customer’s expectations not being met. Maybe the company overpromised, or it didn’t even do the bare minimum of what the customer should expect (source: TARP).

But that statistic begs the question: What SHOULD the customer expect?

In today’s world of self-service (from websites to checking out at the grocery story to printing your own boarding pass for your flight), the lines of customer service are being blurred. With customers responsible for more of their service in some of these self-service vehicles, the lines of responsibility between company and customer are not as clear as in years past.

We’re working with a client now that’s running into this predicament. Many complaints are from customers who don’t realize how processes work and what’s their responsibility in service delivery v. that of the business. It’s a government organization where customers schedule appointments or submit plans or request services, and there’s not an obvious distinction between who does what.

The way we’re addressing this is by having customers and employees meet and basically define roles and responsibilities in key services/processes that make up the vast majority of projects. Which responsibilities are those of the customer, which are responsibilities of the organization, and which are mutual responsibilities?

They’re being defined first – clearly stated and documented. Then there will be ongoing educational and communication plans implemented within the government entity and with the customers to clearly articulate who does what.

There will still be the complaints in the future, but they should be far less because customers and employees came together to intentional define and document roles and responsibilities.

Don’t let your customers complain and employees get frustrated due to incorrect expectations that result from a lack of clearly defining roles and responsibilities.

“Unblur” the lines.

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I’m Big on the “Same Page” – 7/1/14 TOW

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Let’s get on the Same Page. How do you get everyone on the Same Page, going in the same direction? Before we move forward, let’s make sure we’re on the Same Page. You need to ensure you’re on the Same Page with your customer before you end the call.

I seem to find myself using the phrase “Same Page” over and over again. I’ll use it in training, when providing strategic guidance on culture change, in meetings with my clients, and in one-on-one discussions with staff.

The phrase comes out of my mouth so often because it applies to so much in service interactions and service cultures. In healthcare, you often have to communicate with patients about next steps. What must the patient do to care for themselves at home post-discharge? Who must they contact to talk about billing and insurance? Where should they go, and how should they prepare for an upcoming procedure? Getting on the “Same Page” means that you and that patient have a common understanding of what needs to happen next and when.

Many local governments are trying to change their cultures to be more flexible, more customer service-oriented, more high-tech while maintaining high-touch. So their employees may have to change behaviors and mindsets; they have to understand their greater purpose beyond the policies and procedures, and beyond the codes and ordinances. The leaders must get everybody on the “Same Page” about the reason government exists and the important role that customer service plays in serving the community.

In one-on-one personal conversations, the phrase “Same Page” suggests that all parties understand the situation, the goals, the next steps, and timeframes. This leads to well-understood expectations, work more likely done right the first time, and clearer communications.

In more strategic discussions, the phrase “Same Page” suggests that everyone in the organization understands what they’re here to do, and everyone understands their role in moving toward objectives, goals, and vision.

Communicate more clearly with others. Ensure that conversations don’t end before you’re on the Same Page.


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