knowledge

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

Narrate the Great Customer Experience – 12/8/15 TOW

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


With several clients recently, we’ve led visioning workshops to define the great customer experience as well as their desired culture – so these are topics top-of-mind in many industries. The problem for many staff is that they either already think they deliver a great experience, or different people define the great customer experience differently. So even if there is a vision created, how is that vision clearly articulated to staff?

Occasionally part of the communication plan for a new customer experience vision involves developing a narrative. Consider having a customer experience vision such as “We strive to be the premier grocery store in the community, where the best items and greatest attitudes in our region are seen by the quality of our produce and the smile on our employees’ faces!”

Okay – so the grocery store wants good produce and employees to smile. So what, right?

Let’s now paint the picture with a narrative of the vision that conveys what the customer may experience at checkout (read this as if you’re a customer):

It was the usual superb Grocers Unlimited experience. After hitting just those aisles where I knew they had the product I needed, I went to the register to check out. There was only one person ahead of me, and the cashier welcomed me to her area. She looked as though she had been having a great day, joking with the customer ahead of me about the local sports teams.

When it arrived for my turn to check out, bonus card in hand, the clerk again said hello and asked if she could scan my bonus card. She asked if I’d like her to hold onto my coupons until she was done.

The baggers had been flowing very consistently between the different registers to help. It didn’t seem like any cashier had to do his/her own bagging for an entire set of groceries.

Since I was in a talkative mood, I asked her about the customer service award placards on the wall. “How do you earn an award, a 100% rating,” I asked. “You have a mystery shopper come in who is looking for you to address her appropriately, take care of her needs, and ensure she’s satisfied,” she replied. I asked if she tries to figure out who might be a mystery shopper so that she can earn the award. The cashier said, “No. I try to treat everybody, my customer, my co-worker, my team leader like I would want a family member treated. As long as I keep that attitude, when the mystery shopper comes, I’ll get the reward.”

This short narrative about a two-minute transaction addresses many things – attitude, body language, customer engagement, employee knowledge, teamwork, employees who know their roles, proactivity, and efficient processes.

When you define your customer experience, narrate the story to be clear to others what’s expected.

Signup for FREE Tips!    Contact Us    More Resources for You    Visit Our Home Page


Be Proactive, in Helping Yourself – 6/2/15 TOW

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


The young homeowner went to the hardware store to buy a new chainsaw, and he asked the employee for advice. The employee suggested a particular model and noted that “it can cut up to 25 yards of wood a day.”

The homeowner was thrilled, so he bought the chainsaw and went home to start cutting.

A week later the homeowner went back to the hardware store with the chainsaw and asked to talk to that same employee.

“It’s a pretty good chainsaw,” said the customer, “but I was only able to cut 15 yards of wood a day.”

“Hmm,” said the employee. “Let me check it out.” So the employee pushed a button, pulled the cord, and the chainsaw started right up.

Immediately the customer yelled, “What’s that noise?!!”

I can’t take credit for this story, but I love it! Obviously the customer was trying to use the chainsaw without actually turning it on. He was probably working incredibly hard to get it to cut, and when the employee – who was more experienced in the use of chainsaws – started it up, the customer realized the issue. He was working much harder than necessary, and he wasn’t getting the productivity he needed.

That’s what can happen to us when we rely too much on ourselves. Look around your office. Who has some wisdom to share? Who has specialized knowledge of a product, more experience with a service, appears more adept at handling certain types of customers, or is more comfortable in certain situations?

Identify them, and tap into their wisdom. Maybe you won’t have to work as hard, and you’ll be a little more productive and effective.

Use your proactive nature to help yourself.

Signup for FREE Tips!    Contact Us    More Resources for You    Visit Our Home Page


To Banter or Not to Banter – 5/12/15 TOW

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


I love some good banter or chit-chat – it’s great for informal conversations with friends, family and co-workers. But when is it great for customer conversations?

First, let me define “Banter” in a customer context. Think of it as conversation about a topic that most likely has little to do with the customer’s need, issue, or question. You’re initiating a discussion about nothing pertinent to the conversation (e.g., Where are you calling from? Where did you get that beautiful bracelet? The weather has been crazy this year here, hasn’t it?).

So why would you ever have some light-hearted banter with the customer? There are many times:

  • When there’s downtime during the call – You want to keep the conversation going.
  • When the customer is NOT irate or angry – It’s too risky when they have that negative emotion to go off-topic – that may upset them unless you’re REALLY talented at defusing those emotions.
  • When you’re trying to learn more about them – You’re trying to show interest in them as an individual customer.
  • When it’s the beginning of the relationship – You want to know them better to serve them better.
  • When they clearly have time – Banter is more readily accepted by those more likely to be patient (not in a rush).
  • When they have NOT been waiting long – It takes time to banter – see their situation before bringing up other topics.
  • When you’re doing a task (on the computer, etc.) where they are waiting for your process to end – They won’t feel it’s a waste of time if they can tell that you’re still being productive.
  • When you’re trying to reduce the perception of wait time (such as a long stay in a waiting room) – It shows that you noticed them and are aware of them despite the fact that no service is being performed at that moment.

 
Banter? Chit-chat? Sure. Just be smart about when you do it.

Signup for FREE Tips!    Contact Us    More Resources for You    Visit Our Home Page