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Caring Goes Beyond Competence - 11/30/21


April went to get some routine car maintenance done at the local service center.  When they finished the oil change, she paid for the service, got her keys, went to her car, and opened the door.  As she was about to enter the car, she stopped.  Somebody had obviously Read more

You Mostly Get What You Give - 11/23/21


It is Thanksgiving week in the United States, so let’s talk “Thanks.” There’s a saying that You Get What You Give.  And while the goal of giving thanks should not be “To receive things,” getting something positive in return is often a nice byproduct of being appreciative of others. It’s amazing Read more

Van Gogh the Vision - 11/16/21


Want to create Service Excellence in your organization?  Have a vision, then paint the picture of that vision.  It’s easier to create something if you can visualize it first, so let’s Van Gogh a Vision. Excellent customer service is delivered in a courteous manner.  Courtesy comes through when employees are Read more

First E-mail Impression? I’ll Enjoy Working with You - 11/9/21


When you provide consulting, research, and training services like we do, you meet a variety of people, and many of them are new individuals to work with even if they are in organizations you’ve worked with for years. When I meet the new customer or they meet me for the Read more

A Way to Serve with Empathy - 11/2/21


We first wrote a Tip of the Week on empathy back in 2008. It was the most important customer service skill then, and it’s the most important customer service skill now.  And as we’ve noted in society, empathy is becoming a word that is used more often in more Read more

Channel Your Inner Aristotle - 10/26/21


Aristotle once said: We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. This is a very interesting statement.  We need to break it down to fully understand and appreciate it. We are what we repeatedly do. Let’s focus on the word repeatedly.  None of us is Read more

To Improve, Understand Why You Do What You Do - 10/19/21


In the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey says that habits form at the intersection of desire, skills, and knowledge.  Desire is the WANT TO do something.  Skills is the HOW TO do something.  Knowledge is a combination of the WHAT TO do and WHY TO do Read more

Tailor to the Type - 10/12/21


We’re all different.  We’re all unique.  Every customer is different and unique, as well, and we should treat them as unique individuals. While we should see each customer as unique, before we fully get to know the customer, there are some core philosophies to take into customer conversations based on Read more

Avoid the Silence; Build the Relationship - 10/5/21


Our interactions with customers are “Moments of Truth.”  These Moments of Truth can be conversations with a customer about some complaint, encounters when they're in the drive-thru, questions about an order that the customer calls in to the company, or brief interactions in the lobby of a government building. Sometimes Read more

Make it a “Good Busy” - 9/28/21


When I’m speaking with colleagues or clients, I’ll often ask how their day is going. The response I get almost once a week is something like:  I’m incredibly busy! When I get that response, sometimes I’ll ask whether it is a “good busy” or whether they are “fighting fires.” I’ll ask Read more

Make it Abundantly Clear – 1/14/20

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

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 administered and when the next meds were scheduled.  It talked about goals for the day and key next steps.  And it mentioned what diet she was on and what activities and precautions applied to her.  

Maybe even more importantly, it listed her Care Team. There was Dr. Smith.  There was her nurse, Victoria.  There was her CNA, Rodica, her therapist, Sharon, and others as well.  Next to each one of the caregiver names was a personal phone number.

Just by looking at the whiteboard, whether Becky was by herself or with family members, she knew what was going on.  She knew what the next step would be for her care.  She knew what she could and could not do.  And she knew who to contact and how to contact them directly for whatever needs she had.

Even more so, any individual that walked in the room – whether family, friend, or caregiver – had all the exact same information right at eye level.

This was a simple communication tool.  In the 21st century, a whiteboard doesn’t seem so valuable, but it was INCREDIBLY valuable to Becky!

So much of anxiety and fear relates to the unknown.  So much of confusion or concern or potential conflict comes from being in the dark.

To build your customer’s confidence and their comfort level with your organization, find ways to make it abundantly clear exactly who to contact and for what in your organization.  Find ways to make it abundantly clear what the customer has the capabilities to do on their own.  Find ways to make it abundantly clear what the next steps will be and when they will happen.

To create a confident customer, make it abundantly clear.

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Get Back in the Good Graces – 12/12/17

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What is “Service Recovery?” I was asked this in a meeting recently when I was describing the approach to take with certain clients. I know it’s a term used a lot but not defined a lot, so let’s define it.

I prefer the literal interpretation – you are recovering from an issue. The way you’re recovering is through customer service. The issue may be a bad experience at your sports event. It may be a rude inspector by your government agency. Maybe it was an excessive wait by the healthcare provider.

Regardless of the issue, the point is that you’re currently “behind the 8-ball” in the eyes of your customer, and you need to recover. You need to get back up, get back in the good graces of the guest who’s upset.

You can avoid the recovery, but you risk still being a scourge in the eyes of the customer. You can recover WITHOUT customer service. That means fixing a product or replacing a part – without a process or personality surrounding that replacement that even remotely conveys “I care” and “I apologize.”

But this is the 21st century. People expect the personalization with the product replacement. They expect the smooth process with the replacement part.

Especially in a service industry, how do you fix a bad experience? How do you fix the interaction with the rude inspector? How do you fix a wait at the hospital?

In short, you can’t. You can’t go back and change what they felt or experienced. You can only move forward and hope they give you a chance in a future encounter. So, you have to create an opportunity for a future encounter with something that smooths over the experience of the past.

That “something” is customer service. Your attitude. Your empathy. Your sincerity. Your response. Your speed. Your action – they all deal with the person wronged in a way that’s right.

When you’re speaking of “Service Recovery,” remember that you’re speaking of what needs to be done to get that upset customer open to becoming a returning customer. And it’s not just about your replacement product. It’s about how you repair the image that person has of your organization.

Deal with the person wronged in a way that’s right.

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Improve the Health of Your Client Interaction – 6/27/17

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According to a recent article on patient satisfaction and high quality customer service in healthcare settings, there are three consistent keys to a great patient experience – particularly in outpatient surgery facilities. These core takeaways apply to virtually any business.

First – “Make a connection: Smile and introduce yourself to patients and family members.” This gets at the need for a great first impression, initiating communications with customers, and personalizing the interaction.

Second – “Set the expectation of service: Share with the patient what will happen, when it will happen and about how long it will take.” We often note that typically 40% of customer dissatisfaction occurs because the customer expected one thing, and the company delivered another. Take ownership over setting realistic expectations of what will happen and when it will happen.

Third – “Say thank you: Within days of providing care, send the patient a thank you note with handwritten messages from staff members.” It’s tough to overstate the importance of conveying appreciation to the customer. The other part of appreciation noted in this third best practice is to not just do it on the spot, but also share appreciation after the encounter. Typically, those post-encounter messages of thanks are a surprise – and carry extra weight in the customer’s evaluation of their last impression of you and your organization.

It’s about being pleasant, proactive, and personalizing. It’s about setting and managing customer expectations of tasks and timing. And it’s about appreciating the other – at the end of the encounter as well as in that unexpected follow-up.

Improve the health of your client interaction with these healthcare best practices.

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