proactive

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

The Passive Predicament – 4/13/21

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

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 of a 3-hour documentary on the origins of cardboard?

Passive people are often considered poor at customer service.  Proactive people are generally better at customer service.  Neither group is all bad or all good, but there are many more benefits of being proactive when you’re in the role of serving customers, developing relationships, and resolving issues.

Proactive people are better at perceiving their surroundings and the customer’s needs, because they make it a point to care enough to be aware; it’s hard to be proactive if you’re not aware something needs to be done.

Proactive people anticipate future customer needs and next steps; this helps needs to be met more quickly and often met in one communication or transaction (rather than multiple contacts with the same customer).

Proactive people are – by definition – action-oriented.  They do things.  They move things (decisions, resolution, fulfillment) forward.  And proactive people tend to respond quickly, thereby helping customers feel important – that their issue/need does matter.

Passive people generally do not anticipate well, they are not as perceptive (because they don’t care to be that engaged), they lack action, and they lack responsiveness and speed.

If you want to be great at customer service, avoid the passive predicament.  Use the power of being proactive.

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Be Proactive like a Pro – 3/9/21

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

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.  We think we give great customer service because we answer questions…when asked.  Or we resolve issues…when the customer complains.  Or we address a need…when the customer presents the need.

That’s not truly great customer service; that’s basic, fair-to-good customer service.

To be great, be proactive.  But how?

Here are some questions to ask yourself (or the customer) to ensure you’re being proactive:

  • Ask the customer “How was your experience?”  Then act on the information provided by sharing key takeaways with others in your organization or by addressing the customer’s experience.
  • Ask yourself “What is their next step in the process?”  Then make sure they understand that next step.
  • Ask yourself “What else do they need to accomplish their goal?”  Then share your knowledge with them.
  • Ask the customer “What are you hoping to accomplish?” or “What’s your goal?”  Then chart a plan to get them there.
  • If you cannot meet their need as requested, ask yourself “What’s an alternative solution?”  Then offer the other option.

 
To be proactive with a customer, you don’t have to be the best in the world at empathizing with other people or reading their minds.  Sometimes you just have to ask the customer (or ask yourself) the right question, and then take action based on the response.

To be great at customer service, be proactive – Ask and Act.

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Assuming the Solution – The Great Time Waster – 12/3/19

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

Here are 3 customer service scenarios for a college IT department:

  1. A staff member calls in and says that they’re having trouble logging in.  The employee responds:  “I can reset your password for you.
  2. A faculty member calls IT and says: “I need help showing a video during class next week; do you know Meredith?”  The employee says “Oh, I know Meredith; let me get you in touch with Career Development where she works.”
  3. The employee asks the staff person from the other department “do you know what the status is on that work order?”  The other individual responds “I’m trying to get to it as fast as I can; I’ll put a rush job on it for you.”

One reaction to these scenarios is that the person responding is being very proactive.  They are jumping on the request and coming up with a quick solution or next step. Unfortunately, these are conversations where assumptions took place, and each assumption was wrong.

In the first case, the login difficulty had nothing to do with the password.  In the second case, Meredith had worked with IT before and was suggesting that the faculty member contact IT for support.  In the third example, they weren’t looking for a rush on the work order.  They were seeking an update just to make sure it would be done when needed.

Many customer service people are so responsive and so willing to help that they can run to the next step to try to get the ball rolling and to resolve an issue.  But if that’s done before clarifying and confirming what that real issue may be, they may be solving a problem that doesn’t exist.  They may be taking action down one path without realizing they’re going in the wrong direction.

These are examples we saw at a University client years ago, and these are examples that we see in mystery shopping that we conduct for clients today.

Be proactive. Be responsive. Take action on behalf of the customer.  However, first make sure that you clearly understand what they’re seeking before you take that action.

Don’t assume the answer and waste your time and the customer’s time as well.

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