phrases

The Passive Predicament - 4/13/21


The employee is speaking to you.  Do they have that look in the eyes like they’re hanging on your every word, like they’re processing, interpreting, and getting ready to quickly respond to your key points and questions?  Or do they have the look of somebody in the 2nd hour Read more

Regain Lost Motivation - 4/6/21


For many of us over the last 12 months, our home has also become our workplace.  Our work interaction has been 2-dimensional through the computer screen as opposed to the 3-dimensional experiences we’re used to with co-workers and customers. We are all motivated in our own unique ways.  Some are Read more

The Answer is Right, but the Service is Wrong - 3/30/21


Maggie was irate.  The gift she ordered needed to be received by the 20th of the month so she could give it to her cousin for his birthday.  It was the 19th, and Maggie couldn’t find any shipping update online, so she called the company.  The employee said “Oh!  Read more

Question Everything, but What’s the Question? - 3/23/21


The new leader joins the organization, and she decides she wants to question everything.  She wants employees to question everything.  Why have we always done it this way? Why do we continue to do it that way? Is this the best way to work? Sometimes it’s a great management Read more

The Resourceful Rep - 3/16/21


One of our clients is seeking to develop Customer Service Standards.  We’re working with them to identify those key expectations of staff that will enable the organization to deliver a consistent high-level customer experience.  One of the key attributes that this organization is seeking from its team members is Read more

Be Proactive like a Pro - 3/9/21


We constantly work with clients, encouraging them to become more proactive with customers.  Don’t just be reactive, waiting for the customer to ask questions or to complain.  Instead, go to the customer, anticipate their needs, suggest something to them. But many of us, frankly, don’t know how to be proactive.  Read more

Find One Unique Thing - 3/2/21


Many of us are not in a position to develop long-term relationships with our customers.  Our encounters are often one-time only with a customer - very brief and likely to be our only time chatting with this individual. And even though there may not be a long-term professional relationship developed, Read more

Should I Stay or Should I Go? - 2/23/21


Should I stay or should I go?  That’s not just a classic song by The Clash.  It’s also the question customers ask more and more, especially during difficult economic times. A recent study in the Charlotte Business Journal noted that 50% of North Carolina businesses are concerned with how to Read more

Optimism – A Force for Good in Customer Service - 2/16/21


Will 2021 be a better year than 2020?  I have absolutely no idea.  Maybe it would be nice to see into the future and know for certain, but I can’t and I don’t.  But as I wade further and further into this year, I can hope that the water Read more

To Assure, Ensure You Do This - 2/9/21


Vince Lombardi – famous professional football coach – became a big hit on the speaker’s circuit during his time coaching.  He applied many of his principles in football and life to business, and one of his great business quotes is:  Confidence is contagious and so is lack of confidence, Read more

Bring Warmth During Winter – 12/29/20

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

Winter is upon us.  Now, winter can mean different things to different people in different regions, but just the word conjures up cold.  It conjures up visions of snow.  It conjures up feelings of wind and lack of warmth.

Although some of us may like the cold at times of year or around certain seasons, we don’t like the cold at the start of a conversation.  And oftentimes, customer service representatives can come off as being cold right at the beginning of a customer conversation without ever meaning to do so.

The customer makes their request, and this is how the employee responds:

  • What’s your account number?
  • What’s your name? What’s your phone number?
  • To confirm your account, I need your mother’s father’s wife’s daughter’s maiden name…spelled backwards.

 
While all this information might be valuable, there is typically little warmth associated with the words.  There’s virtually no communication of wanting to help that person or caring about that person’s needs that’s conveyed through the phrases used by the employee.

By simply responding to a request with a few key words or phrases, the conversation can start much warmer, much more pleasant, and take no more time than 1-2 seconds additional.  How about starting with:

  • I will be happy to help you with that request.
  • We can definitely address that for you.
  • I can help with that right away.
  • Great! That’s something I can take care of for you.

 
Simply sprinkle a “happy” or a “definitely,” a few “for you” expressions or “I can help” into your initial response to the request, and the tone and warmth of the conversation will start in the right direction.

Bring warmth to the beginning of your customer conversation.

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I Think I Think is Wrong – 10/20/20

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I think that’s not going to be feasible.  I think we can do that.  I think you’re on the right track.  Methinks thou dost protest too much.

Please forgive the Shakespearean reference, but it seems to fit well here.  When we are talking to co-workers and customers, and we’re giving our opinion or sharing some information or knowledge, the other person knows we’re speaking. The other person knows the news is coming from us.  However, many of us feel the need to put the phrase “I think” in front of a lot of what we say.  We feel the need to say something like “from my perspective” before we give our perspective.

And while it may be accurate wording, it’s often unnecessary.  And it’s not only unnecessary, but it can reduce the credibility of the statement, the strength of the word, and the confidence the customer has in what you’ve said.

Let’s repeat what’s at the top:  I think that’s not going to be feasible.  I think we can do that.  I think you’re on the right track.  Methinks thou dost protest too much.

Now compare without “I think” included:  That’s not going to be feasible.  We can do that.  You’re on the right track.  Thou dost protest too much.

The “I think” leaves doubt, and – if there’s no room for doubt – you’re creating uncertainty unnecessarily.  If you say I think that’s not going to be feasible, the other person could ask if you could check just to make sure.

If you say I think we can do that, then the customer may ask if they could talk with someone who can confirm whether it can be done.

If you say I think you’re on the right track, the customer may ask what they should do differently.

By creating doubt, you could be lengthening the conversation and creating more work for you or your co-workers.  You could be curtailing customer confidence when you want them to support your conclusion or suggestion.

If there is no doubt, eliminate “I think” to build customer confidence.

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Know What You Don’t Know – 11/5/19

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Twitter, Instagram, Facebook – yak, yak, yak.  In the social media world, there’s an awful lot of talk that goes on and a lot of opinions shared.  But sometimes those opinions are not based on any level of deep knowledge. Sometimes they are based on assumptions.

In the world of customer service, basing actions on assumptions is a risk we shouldn’t take, and it’s a risk we do not need to take either.  Taking action is work. Taking action also requires a customer’s time and almost always has some kind of an impact on the customer.  So before we take an action, let’s make sure we know what we need to know.

When responding to a customer need, briefly in your mind run through a mental checklist.  Run through the 5 W’s:  Do you know the Who, What, When, Where, and Why?  If not, these are questions you can ask the customer to give you the information you need before you take action:

  • Who – The name of the person with the need or those involved in the request.
    • Can I get your name, please?
    • Who needs this service?
    • Can I get the name of the person needing this item?
    • To whom am I speaking?
  • What – A description of what they want done.
    • Which service do you need?
    • What would you like done?
    • Which item are we discussing?
  • When – A common understanding of timeframe – when it’s needed.
    • By when do you need this done?
    • When do you need to receive this item?
    • What date are you considering?
  • Where – The location where something needs to take place.
    • Where does this need to be held?
    • Where are you located?
    • To where does this need to be delivered?
  • Why – An understanding of the other person’s goal.
    • What are you hoping to accomplish?
    • What’s your ultimate goal?
    • Can you help me understand the result you’re looking to achieve?

Before you take action for the customer, first know what you don’t know.  Then get to know what you need to know to address the need right the first time.

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