indifference

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

Avoid the Greatest Tragedy in Customer Service – 8/28/18

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


The greatest tragedy is indifference.

That statement is attributed to the American Red Cross, and it applies to the world of customer service as well. The first requirement for consistently great customer service is caring about those you’re serving, and caring and indifference are polar opposites.

It’s tough to be indifferent and do what’s best for the other person. It’s difficult to be indifferent and to understand the other’s situation. It’s a challenge to be indifferent and to anticipate the other’s needs.

The know nothings are less of a problem than the feel nothings.

The author of this quote is unknown, but it ties into the first quote. To care, to avoid indifference, it helps to feel for the other person. But not all of us are the emotional type; not all of us are “touchy feely.” So how do we convey we care, how do we avoid indifference, how do we deliver great customer service if we’re not big “feel” people?

Take a cognitive approach. Think of the opposite of indifference as “making a difference.” What can you do to make the other person’s day easier? What one thing can you do to make them more comfortable? What one question can you ask to find out what’s most important to them? What can you do to move them one step closer to a goal? What one thing can you tell them that will make a process more clear or make them a little more confident?

To avoid indifference, think of that one little extra you can provide.

Avoid the perception of indifference by making a difference.

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Your Future Differentiator – 7/25/17

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


We’ve all seen it. Maybe we’ve all done it. But it’s a harbinger of things to come. Actually, it’s a microcosm of what’s already here.

You’re in an elevator, and a person walks in – may or may not look at you – and is staring intently at their smart phone. They look up just fast enough to ensure their floor’s button is hit, and then they’re back to their phone.

You’re walking down the street or at the mall, and as you do your window shopping you notice that you’re spending as much time dodging people who are so intently focused on their phone that they assume everyone will just get out of their way. Or maybe they don’t care if they bump into you. Or maybe they don’t realize they’re walking by hundreds of people – because people are secondary to the feed on the phone or the latest notification or the latest picture of a dessert that a friend posted on social media.

I was watching a golf tournament recently where fans were behind the ropes as famous golfers walked right past them. The fans were so busy looking at their phones and filming the golfers that they didn’t make eye contact with the golfers, they didn’t say “hello” or “good luck” or “the sky sure is blue.” They didn’t engage the person that was a foot away from them because they’d rather just take their picture and post it on social media.

This looking down, this lack of engagement is an habitual obstacle for many who want to shine in the business world, but the good news is that their obstacle is a future differentiator for you.

People who are more focused on the phone in the hand than the human in front of them are not learning how to engage in a 1-on-1 personalized fashion. They’re not learning about body language and tone, they’re not learning how to make someone else feel important – more important than a 3 by 5 inch inanimate object.

These individuals – and we all know them, are related to them, or may be them – are largely good people, but they’re not developing a key skill of customer service: Making the person in front of you seem like the most important person in that world.

Your future differentiator is your ability to ignore your phone or your tablet. It’s your ability to engage others personally and professionally in dialogue – making the individual more important than the technology.

Become great at ignoring the technology when engaged with others, and become a star communicator in the eyes of those you serve.

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Flip the Script – 6/6/17

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


Patti had had enough. Her cable was out, so she called the cable company, and after holding for close to 20 minutes, she got a call center representative on the phone.

After sharing the problem with the employee, Patti was told that the cause of the issue was in the home. She was told several different steps to take to reboot, reconfigure, or reset her system. Nothing worked.

Unbeknownst to Patti, at the same time, roughly 20 neighbors were also interacting with the cable company, dealing with the exact same issue, and the solutions weren’t working for any of them.

It’s probably apparent to you now what was happening. The 20+ customers couldn’t fix the issues in their homes because the issue wasn’t in their homes. The issue was cable-related outside the homes. Initially, the cable company didn’t know it, so – initially – they wasted their time and the time of the customers in trying to have the customers resolve the unresolvable issue.

Sometimes to see what should be done, we have to look at an example of what should not have been done.

Let’s flip this script.

What if the cable was never down? Or if it was down, what if the company would have sent a notification to customers sharing the concern and the action they were taking to investigate – with a time set for the next communication?

What if Patti called, but the wait was less than one minute, and the employee greeted with a name and an immediate understanding of the issue based on the phone number calling? The employee knew about the communication the company had sent, was empathetic, patient, and apologetic. What if the employee explained the process of researching the issue, provided typical resolution timelines (or at least reasonable expectations), and promised a follow-up e-mail at the customer’s request?

One interesting and easy way to envision great customer service is to first envision or discuss a horrible experience. Break down what went wrong, and then build up an example experience that would illustrate what it would have looked like had everything gone right.

To get better, flip the script.

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