issue resolution

6 Common Sense Responses to Customer Service Encounters - 6/30/20


I’ve run into this personally and professionally, and it drives me batty! Sometimes there’s a lack of common sense in the customer service provided by companies. And often that lack of common sense is due to the preference of a business to provide service in a certain method, to Read more

Caring for Co-workers through COVID - 6/23/20


A recent Buffer.com study asked employees who are working remotely due to COVID-19, what was their greatest struggle. While there were many different responses, the Top 2 totaled 40% of the struggles identified - Loneliness and Collaboration/Effective Communication. When you hear something like this - that individuals working remotely are Read more

React, Reflect, Respond - 6/16/20


Sometimes you can’t help it. You gasp. You get upset. You get angry. You have this look of shock on your face. You say something defensive. You react. I love people who are in customer service roles. These are the folks that people say things to in the business world Read more

Serving the Technology-challenged Customer - 6/9/20


The IT helpdesk representative was on a call with a customer, and in trying to troubleshoot an issue, the employee said, “Let’s start by opening Windows.” The customer said “OK,” and there were 2 minutes of silence. The employee twice asked, “Are you still there?” with no response. Finally, Read more

Address the 4 P’s for a Customer-friendly COVID-19 Walk-in Experience


This is not about what is medically most effective – please see the CDC for those guidelines.  This is about how to help your customers have a great experience as an onsite visitor at your facility or storefront.  For a comprehensive approach to a customer-friendly COVID-19 experience, address the Read more

The Deeper Reason to Transform the Customer Experience - 6/2/20


Why are government offices putting up plexiglass between their staff and their customers?  Why is restaurant takeout being done in such a way that is contactless and yet still fosters engagement between the employee and customer?  Why have so many traditionally onsite businesses converted to delivery businesses? The answer is Read more

Motivating Yourself when Working Remotely - 5/26/20


For any of us who are working remotely, we are finding ourselves more and more having to be self-motivated. And while many people are naturally self-motivated, others need to have that manager who gives us the encouragement. Many of us need to have that ongoing informal dialogue with co-workers Read more

Defining Organizational Agility in a Time of Uncertainty


You may have heard references in management theory over the many decades about the importance of a business being an “Agile” organization, but oftentimes that is a word thrown out in generalities to illustrate vague points about how organizations should be managed and make decisions.  In this time of Read more

Change Management – Facts about Past Decisions Reduce Fear about Future Decisions


Change can result in fear.  Particularly where change is thrust upon someone very suddenly, it can create shock or disbelief.  Sometimes that change is not something an organization can plan for; it therefore cannot adequately prepare its employees for what’s ahead...at least initially. In this COVID world, Change Management is Read more

Tire Dealers Becoming Teachers - 5/19/20


I recently needed two new tires for a vehicle, and I first went to the tire dealer’s website to find some options.  The site’s look/feel and ordering process had changed, and I didn’t see a tire I wanted, so I called the store to make an appointment. When I arrived Read more

General George Patton on Customer Service – 4/3/18

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


Here’s a quote from General George Patton: “Plans must be simple and flexible. They should be made by the people who are going to execute them.”

We’ve worked with enough companies to know that employees get irate when they’re told about plans too late or they’re not involved in any way, shape, or form in the decision-making process. Therefore, they’re given last minute instructions and plans that – oftentimes – they know will not work as designed. This lack of frontline employee input can easily lead to a lack of success.

But not all plans are strategic in nature or need to be executive-driven. Many plans – especially those that are more situational – can be developed by individual employees. You are the ones who are going to be executing these plans. You are the ones who are going to tailor them to the situation or the individual that you are interacting with at the time.

Therefore, create plans to cover some of these important but common situations:

  • You’re asked a question, and you don’t have the knowledge or experience to answer.
  • The customer complains and then demands immediate resolution.
  • You’re given a last minute project by a supervisor, when you already have competing deadlines on other projects.
  • The other person is making a request that you know cannot be addressed the way they want it addressed, or in the timeframe they want it addressed.
  • The customer asks about a product or service that you don’t have or don’t deliver.
  • The customer complains about your co-worker, your company, or some issue that occurred years ago.

 
These are all typical issues that many of us may run into occasionally (or frequently!). Instead of putting yourself in a position to have to come up with the perfect answer on the spot, create plans for how you would address each of the situations.

Yes, the customer and the specific concern may to be unique in every case. However, if you have a plan, your comfort and confidence level will rise, and you will eliminate one variable of the equation when determining how to address the situation.

Create simple and flexible plans for common (but important) situations.

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About Adults Behaving Badly and Common Sense – 3/13/18

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


I was conducting focus groups at a client site that was known for poor customer service. They were trying to change their culture and turn around their customer experience, but they first wanted to get a sense of the current state of things. This particular focus group had many long-term employees, some of which earned the department’s bad reputation for customer service.

As I probed to get their philosophies and approaches to customer service, I was getting a lot of “blame the customer” talk. To direct a question back to the employee’s responsibility in dealing with difficult customer situations, I asked them specifically what they do when they’re dealing with the complaining customer.

The first response I got was “Be an adult.” I asked the person to clarify, and their response was “Just be an adult. People respect it when you’re an adult.”

While this may be true in general, organizations cannot make the assumption that everybody’s definition of “adult” behavior will result in a well-handled customer complaint. This reminds me of the many times I’ve heard the statement that “customer service is just common sense.”

The problem with those statements is that we’ve all seen adults behaving badly. If you’ve ever been on Twitter or Facebook or just walked down the street for that matter, you’ve seen adults who are not a being respectful, considerate, humble, helpful, or effective in how they communicate with others.

And as much as customer service might be common sense, you and I know that there are plenty of people without common sense. Is it common sense to argue with an irate customer? Is it common sense to stare at your smart phone when the customer is waiting for you? Is it common sense to talk to a co-worker about the party last weekend the whole time that you’re ringing up the customer at the register?

Again, being an adult and having common sense would be good general philosophies for customer service, but not everybody delivering customer service has the same definition of those terms.

If we want everybody on the same page delivering the same great experience, we need a common definition of what we expect. We need to have conversations about what constitutes a good customer experience. We need to understand that to consistently serve the customer requires we specifically and clearly paint the picture of great customer service.

Be clear on what is truly a great customer experience.

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Physician, Know Thyself – 3/6/18

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


Delivering exceptional service is about more than responding to the issue, need, or goal. It’s about more than resolving the complaint. It’s also about taking a step back and identifying WHY customers could get upset or irate, why they could have issues or complaints, why it’s not a pure joy to do business with your organization in the first place.

There are definite trigger points, and often those triggers are caused by something the company has done or created or changed. The old adage says “Physician, Heal Thyself.” But before we can “heal” our organization, let’s identify what is ailing our organization that could cause that customer concern. Let’s start with “Physician, Know Thyself.”

Consider this question: What could you (or your department or business) do that could make a customer frustrated, confused, irate, upset, or angry? Consider that the customer may experience delays, conflicting information, lack of follow-up, poor directions or signage, experiences that don’t meet company promises, multiple employee handoffs, lack of clarity, being asked to fill out forms before they’ve had a chance to voice the concern.

Next question: What could be happening in the organization that could create frustration, confusion, delay, or misinformation? Think about a new process, new product, modified facility layout, change in policy, reduced staffing, new (uninformed) employees, or shift change.

Your answers to these two questions will result in a long list of potential customer pain points. Once identified, you can begin determining the frequency of these issues and start to determine what actions to take that could lead to a better customer experience.

Evaluate your own organization for causes of complaints in your customer experience.

Know Thyself to Heal Thyself.

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