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Should you tell the customer? The Company’s Dilemma - 4/23/19


I have a lot of clients that struggle with this question, both at a company/strategic level as well as an individual representative level. When there is an issue that is going to happen, should you tell the customer? This week we’re going to address the question at the Read more

Customer for Life – The Final Step - 4/16/19


Two weeks ago, we addressed the Third Step of keeping a Customer for Life: Address what will keep them. Now, we’re sharing the Fourth and Final Step. To have a Customer for Life, you have to grow your relationship with them. While the 3rd step is the Read more

Use the Actions of Empathy - 4/9/19


I firmly believe that the most important personal trait of someone in customer service is empathy. If empathy is understanding the other person, then it’s very difficult to truly serve someone that you don’t understand. Particularly when they’re upset or irate, being empathetic and getting them to Read more

Customer for Life – The Third Step - 4/2/19


Two weeks ago, we addressed the Second Step of keeping a Customer for Life: Never let a relationship go stale – keep the communication going. Now, we’re sharing the Third Step. To have a customer for life, you have to address what will keep them. Read more

Facial Recognition is the Future of Customer Service - 3/26/19


According to a recent New York Times article, facial recognition is the future of retail customer service. A trend in technology for retail businesses is to utilize facial recognition technology in order to better know who is entering your business. The idea is that if somebody within Read more

Customer for Life – The Second Step - 3/19/19


Two weeks ago, we shared a Customer Service Tip on how to get (and keep!) a Customer for Life. We addressed the First Step, Knowing what you need to know about the other person. Now, we’re sharing the Second Step. To develop a relationship with anyone, there has to Read more

Employee Runs for a Dog Run - 3/12/19


I was never a Boy Scout. I mean in the literal sense, but also somewhat in the figurative sense, but I digress. After years of telling myself that I needed something to help my dog get exercise outside without worrying about him trying to dig under a fence and Read more

Customer for Life – The First Step - 3/5/19


This should be the goal, right? That our clients today will be our clients tomorrow and well into the future. That their loyalty grows, their business with us grows, their referrals grow, and it is all part of a relationship that grows and develops over time. But what’s the Read more

Retrain Your Brain - 2/26/19


Admit it. You thought about it. You thought: Why in the world did the customer try to assemble that before reading the instructions? Why would they drive all the way down here instead of just checking the website? Why would they go through the drive-thru when they can deposit using Read more

Look Up, or Look Out! - 2/19/19


The clerk called out “next in line!”, and Frannie went to the counter. “Can I have your name?,” the employee asked, but she stared at her computer screen while asking. Frannie stated her name, the time of her appointment, and noted the reason for the appointment. Staring at the screen, 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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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