improvement

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

Get to Know Yourself Better – 1/30/18

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


Confidence in your ability to deliver customer service is exceptionally important. I often quote Vince Lombardi who said “Confidence is contagious, and so is lack of confidence. And the customer can recognize both.”

Confidence is important to you and to the customer. It lets the customer know whether they can trust and believe you, or not. Should they follow what you say, or should they “answer shop?” Should they accept your explanation, or should they ask you 15 follow-up questions? Much of their response (and whether they end up wasting your time or the time of your co-workers) is based on your confidence.

So, what creates confidence?

Judith Bardwick (management consultant, psychiatrist, author) once said: Real confidence comes from knowing and accepting yourself – your strengths and your limitations – in contrast to depending on affirmation from others.

Starting with the last point first, don’t seek affirmation from others in order to drive your confidence. If you receive the compliments, then great! That’s a bonus. But don’t rely on someone else to do something for you in order for you to create a positive self-image.

Bardwick believes that being confident outwardly is based on your inward knowledge. Do you know your own strengths and weaknesses (or “limitations”)? Do you accept those? When I say “accept,” I’m not saying that you should refuse to improve, but at least be honest that that’s who you are at that specific moment.

Do this exercise to build your confidence in front of customers. Simply take out a sheet of paper, and write down 5-10 of your strengths that relate to customer service such communications, relationship-building, organizational skills, and other characteristics of people great at customer service. Then, write down 5-10 areas that are shortcomings or at least not your core strengths.

Then review the list. Tell yourself “yes, this is me at this moment. I am REALLY good at these 5-10. These other points are areas where I’m not great and may need to improve in the future.”

That knowledge and acceptance will help you to be more conscious of what to leverage when serving others (your strengths), and what situations to avoid or seek support in (your limitations).

Get to know yourself better to serve your customer more confidently.

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Swing a Little Harder – 12/5/17

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


It’s a great golf analogy. The harder you swing, the more your swing faults are magnified. If you usually hit the ball slightly to the right, when you swing harder, you may start hitting WAY right. Then why swing harder, you ask?

The reason you swing harder is to test your swing at the practice range BEFORE you get on the course. You want to get a better sense of the issues, and then you can improve.

You can do the same thing in the world of customer service. You may be very effective at dealing with those 90%-95% of customers that walk through the door or that call you on the phone. You may be great in dealing with those complaints that you hear every day. It may be easy to engage that person who is smiling as they walk into your facility. You might find it a pleasant challenge to deal with that difficult e-mail the comes from a co-worker.

But if you want to understand the holes in your own personal approach to customer service, if you want to understand how to get better in how you engage co-workers and your clients, if you want to get better at those most challenging 5-10% of interactions, then swing harder. Here are three examples of how to swing harder in practice.

First, figure out how you could possibly resolve some customer complaints in half the time.

Second, ask a co-worker to come up with five scenarios dealing with product or service issues that are very unusual or complex. Then role-play those issues.

Third, use your company’s FAQ list, and identify three different scenarios that are not covered by the FAQs. Then identify specifically what you need to know about your people, your products, your processes, and your policies to address those scenarios.

If you want to get great at customer service, challenge yourself to address situations you rarely have to deal with so that – when they arrive – you’re more comfortable and more confident.

Swing a Little Harder.

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What’s Your Part? – 11/29/16

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


Better cultures lead to better service. There have been many studies and corporate examples over the years that convey a clear message. If you want to deliver a high level of customer service, you need a culture of great customer service.

You need a culture of respect – one of courtesy and follow-through. You need a culture where responsiveness to others is valued. You need a culture where the tools of hiring and training and rewarding and accountability all have a component of service to them.

To deliver great service, the culture needs to be one of service.

So what’s your part?

Without being melodramatic, your part is your heart. If your heart is not engaged in what the company is all about, you’re going to have a difficult time delivering the kind of service they want delivered. If your values don’t align with the organization’s values, or if what you see as important in how people should treat others is not seen as important in the organization, it will be difficult for you to play your part.

To play your part, think about and clearly understand what you value in life. Make sure it aligns to your organization’s values. Think about how much respect and responsiveness, how much courtesy and follow-through, how much helping the other person – being selfless – are important to you.

If you truly understand what’s important to you, and the company is aligned with those values, then pour your heart into the organization’s culture. Get engaged with the corporate initiatives that enable you to live your personal values in your workplace. Be one of the reasons why your organization’s culture is great.

Do your part with your heart.

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