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

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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Be Great Offline – 11/28/17

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


I’ve purchased from many different online organizations both personally and professionally over the years, as I assume most of you have, as well. And the ones I tend to go back to are those that make a good impression from a customer service standpoint. While that’s probably no surprise to you, what may be a surprise is how I and many others evaluate the customer service of online businesses.

Three online companies that have been great in those customer service encounters are Constant Contact, Zoho, and Zappos. These are three pretty different businesses, but the positives from my experiences with them have been similar.

First, they’re responsive to e-mails. Since I deal with Zoho quite frequently on important but non-urgent matters, I contact them via e-mail. They respond fast. They try to resolve before responding, but – if not – they’ll follow-up to let you know what investigation is taking place and by when they expect to resolve the issue or need.

Next, for these online companies, they’re great…on the PHONE! I’ve called all 3 businesses, and they pick up quickly, the representatives are consistently patient with me, and their personalities and tone are cheery and personable. With Constant Contact, they will let you know what can and can’t be done, and they ask you specific questions to give you specific answers to arrive at the holy grail of…FIRST CALL RESOLUTION – woo hoo!!

Finally, there’s a consistent theme of relaxed professionalism from website to e-mail to calls. No matter how you contact them, you get a consistent experience. They’re professional without being stuffy. They’re fun – a Zappos order receipt seems like a joyous (and abundantly clear) message from a friend about your purchase. Zoho doesn’t ask you to complete their Likert scaled survey, they give you the happy/sad face emojis to quickly rate the experience.

If you’re in a web-based business, to be a great online, be great at offline customer service. If you want to be part of a great business – one known for its customer service – don’t ignore all the different ways that your clients experience your customer service.

Be great no matter how they engage you.

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To Win or Not to Win? That Isn’t the Question – 9/5/17

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


Joe Customer is complaining, and as I listen to Joe I realize that his story has some of the facts wrong. It was Tuesday, not Thursday. Mary was helping him, not Marie. This situation hasn’t happened to him “100 times.”

He’s wrong, and I know he’s wrong, and – what’s more – I’m right! I’m going to prove those facts are wrong. I’m going to win this argument, which – sorry for Joe – means that he’s going to lose.

This reaction is coming from my gut. And while that reaction may be right, my response needs to be different. My response shouldn’t be a matter of deciding who’s going to win an argument because who really cares who wins the argument? What does it matter who wins an argument? And why would I want to be a part of an argument in the first place?

Those are really the key questions to ask ourselves.

We’ve dealt with enough upset customers and heard enough stories soaked in misstatements. When dealing with a service recovery situation and/or an upset customer, we need to keep the right personal goal in mind.

The personal goal shouldn’t be to engage in and win an argument with a customer. Our personal goal should focus on listening, learning, and moving on.

By listening, we handle emotions better, taking the focus off of ourselves (and thereby avoiding defensiveness) and move it to the other person. By learning, we apply the lessons of the situation, the person, the root cause to the future. By moving on, we don’t let the difficulties of today negatively impact our attitudes or outlook for tomorrow.

Avoid the desire to argue and to win the debate.

Instead, engage to listen, learn, and move on.

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