issue resolution

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

A Story from Rene – 10/21/14 TOW

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


My friend Rene told a story recently that you may have heard, but it’s worth another read…

A little girl named Sandi was walking on a beach the morning after a rough storm had passed through. Strewn across the beach were hundreds, possibly thousands of starfish. One-by-one, Sandi would pick up a starfish and toss it back into the ocean.

A man was taking a morning walk and noticed what the girl was doing. The man asked Sandi why she was doing it, and she told him that she was trying to get the starfish back to the sea so they could survive.

The man replied, “But there could be thousands of starfish out here. You can’t possibly make much of a difference.”

Sandi’s face turned sad, she looked down, and stared at the ground. Then she slowly walked forward, picked up another starfish, and tossed it into the sea. “Well I made a difference to that one,” she said.

As Sandi continued, the man paused, and then he too started picking up the starfish and throwing them into the sea. Soon others who had been watching Sandi – and now the man as well – joined in. Eventually, all the starfish were back in the ocean.

Why do I relay this story to you today?

People who are great at customer service have some Sandi in them. You may not be able to change the entire world by addressing every customer that exists, by resolving every issue that occurs. But you make a difference with that one person in front of you, that one person on the phone, that one unique individual who sent the e-mail or wrote the letter.

You make a difference, and in doing so – whether you realize it or not – you get noticed. Maybe it’s your boss or a co-worker, it’s a friend or the customer himself – but somebody notices. And maybe because you do what you do so well in taking care of that one customer, someone else is educated or inspired to do likewise.

It’s not just leaders who are models. People who are great at caring for others through customer service are models, too.

Appreciate every opportunity to toss that starfish back to the sea.

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Be Like Mike – 10/7/14 TOW

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It was the 1980s, and cell phones were new. You had the soft, black carrying base the size of a phonebook, and you dreamed one day of getting a flip phone…

True Story – Dave was losing service on his cell phone, and he had an urgent need to get it fixed. He was getting ready to go on a business trip, and he needed the phone to talk to several of his customers, with many of the discussions needing to be taken care of “mobiley.”

So Dave called his cell phone provider, and the customer service representative (CSR) picked up the phone.

Dave: “Are you a basketball fan?”

CSR: “Uh, yes.”

Dave: “Well there’s 2 seconds left, you’re the coach. The ball needs to go to Michael Jordan to win the game. Now, I want you to stand up at your cube, look around the office, and get me in touch with your Michael Jordan.”

The CSR puts Dave on hold and transfers the call to the lady sitting right next to him – Theresa. She takes the call, identifies Dave’s needs and his situation, and promises to address the problem. She does everything perfectly!

Three hours later, Dave hears his phone ring for the first time in days; it’s working! Theresa had called to tell Dave that they had figured out the problem. It wasn’t an easy solution, but she got it done.

Several months later, Dave’s in his office, and he remembered the situation. He wrote a letter to the company praising Theresa and providing all the details he could remember.

About 9 months later, Dave gets another call from Theresa. She said she’s moving to Memphis – she got a promotion and was now VP over customer service for her company.

Dave: “Congratulations, Theresa! I’m so happy for you!”

Theresa: “If you’re ever here, please come into the office. And if you come into the lobby – there’s a glass case with awards, trophies, and plaques. Right in the middle of the display, there’s a framed letter – it’s the letter you wrote. Thank you, Dave!”

Theresa was the go-to person. She was Michael Jordan. She produced in the clutch, and she was rewarded.

As the old commercial says, “Be Like Mike.”

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Relieve their Pain – 9/16/14 TOW

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I’ve been in some meetings with sales professionals where they describe the need to “find the prospect’s pain point.” Once you find their source of pain, then you can suggest a product the prospect can buy or a service they can sign-up for that will alleviate the pain.

In customer service, we view pain differently. True, it’s often that we also seek the point of pain, but we’re not trying to acquire the new customer. We have the customer. We want to keep them, and usually the pain that the customer is feeling is pain that our organization has somehow inflicted. So instead of the sales focus of getting the customer to take action, in customer service, we’re usually the ones to take action for the customer.

It’s a different approach and a different action for a different result.

For customer service, we have to identify their pain. We then implement a remedy in order to keep them for the long-term.

Before we can keep them for the long-term, however, we have to do two things. First, identify their pain. This is where the organization needs the research strategy that answers key questions such as “What is your biggest frustration?” or “What one thing could we do to make this a great experience?” or “What matters most to you when you determine whether to return or recommend our company to others?”

At the same time, every employee needs the habit for seeking the customer’s opinion, since by far the most opportunities for customer feedback are found in those daily Moments of Truth. Employees need to get in the habit of asking “How was your experience today?” or “Did you get your question answered?” or “Is there anything we can do to better serve you?”

From corporate strategy to employee habits, there needs to be a common focus on asking the customer about their experience.

To keep customers for the long-term and relieve their pain, from company-to-employee, first seek the customer’s opinion.

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