process

People will Pay for Customer Service - 10/8/19


Sometimes all you need to read is the first paragraph in an article. Here’s the title from Business Insider: Amazon charges sellers as much as $5,000 a month for customer service if they want a guarantee that they'll be able to talk to a real person. The first paragraph reads: Amazon Read more

New Ways to Celebrate National Customer Service Week - 10/1/19


The week of October 7 is National Customer Service Week. No, this wasn’t another holiday invented by Hallmark, so you have to go to work. Hopefully that’s the good news! This week is typically thought of as a time to rejuvenate relationships with customers, to refocus your efforts on treating Read more

The Error of “Everyone” - 9/24/19


A recent article in The Charlotte Observer got me thinking about a concept, a premise that is suggested all too often in society. First, the article: The story was about lawn care, and some of the people quoted in the article talked about what customers want today. They noted Read more

Between Texting and Thoreau - 9/17/19


The more people that enter the business world having grown up texting, the more the quality of business communications drops. A typical text between friends is rarely what anybody in business would call a professionally-written document. There’s nothing wrong with that, because texting is typically informal dialogue between friends. Read more

I want to be an Astronaut - 9/10/19


When I was young, if a child was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, the answers were often a fireman, a Pro Football player, a teacher, somebody who got to drive a truck, or an astronaut. Maybe the question is still asked today, and, if Read more

Don’t Mistake Kindness - 9/3/19


I have a friend who does a lot of things for a lot of other people. He sometimes has a hard time saying “no,” and he really works hard to try to be kind to others. But occasionally some of those for whom he does good works will ask Read more

Do Anything, but Not Everything - 8/27/19


We work with a lot of educational organizations, but this Tip of the Week applies to virtually any kind of business that has repeat customers. To deliver great service, be willing to go above and beyond, do virtually anything for the customer. But in the world of colleges and Read more

Be Generous to a Fault - 8/20/19


People who think they’re generous to a fault usually think that’s their only fault – American Journalist Sydney Harris. This quote reminds me of someone who views themselves as a giver – someone who is so humble that he likes to humbly tell everyone of the gifts he’s given, good Read more

Don’t Assume because... - 8/13/19


You've probably heard this statement growing up. Your parents said, “Don’t assume, because it makes…you look bad.” Or something like that… Recently my laptop screen died, and since it was an older laptop, I decided to go ahead and buy a new one instead of paying to have the screen Read more

Patience Leads to Positivity - 8/6/19


Thank you for your patience. That’s a statement I enjoy saying…when I am the customer. When I’m trying to learn something and I’m about to go into a process, I want to have a feel for what the whole process involves. Over the years, I’ve gotten tired of feeling like Read more

Dealing with the Treasure Hunter – 1/10/17

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The customer is asking you question after question after question. They’re engaged and pleasant, but they’re turning what’s normally a 30 second quick talk into a 3-minute conversation.

It’s easy to get impatient with these customers because they’re taking up more of your time than normal. It’s easy to get frustrated because they’re firing question after question at you, and you have TONS of other work to do, so many other customers to serve.

What’s going on?

You’re dealing with the Process Customer. They want details. They want realistic expectations. They want the treasure map to their desired pot of gold.

To deal with these customers most effectively, consider them to be like a Treasure Hunter. They want the map. They want the clues. They want to know the potential pitfalls to avoid and the clearest path to take. It’s all about getting to the treasure, and they don’t want you to tell them just the next step. They want the map – with all its clues and paths and steps detailed.

Handle them this way. Tell them your understanding of their goal. Note the next steps, who will do what and by when. Give them a (process) map or a checklist of ALL the steps. Then confirm they understand the plan before you wrap up the conversation.

With these Treasure Hunters, you also have to be conscientious about telling them when steps have been accomplished, when action has occurred, when roadblocks have been encountered and overcome – in other words, be proactive with status updates.

So why are we handling these Treasure Hunters in this manner? Because the more you build their expectations with clarity and the more you build their comfort, then the more you’ll build their confidence.

And the more clear, comfortable, and confident they are, the less they’ll be contacting you and your co-workers repeatedly for updates, with questions, and with concerns.

When encountering a Process Customer, treat them like a Treasure Hunter.

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Don’t Let 2 Great Employees Deliver a Lousy Experience – 12/13/16

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When Daymond called his local auto service center, he needed to talk to someone in the parts department. A couple items on his SUV had broken recently, and he knew he could replace them himself. Daymond spoke with Marty, who was very patient, found Daymond’s car in the system, and identified the VIN to get the exact right part in the right color. It took Marty several minutes to determine what was available, but Daymond appreciated the effort. They had the rear window washer nozzle in stock, but they didn’t have the luggage rack cover available; Daymond could pay for both when he arrived, and they’d order the rack cover at that time. It was an 8-10 minute conversation, and Daymond was pretty happy about the game plan.

Upon his arrival an hour or so later, Daymond was greeted by a very friendly employee named Janet. Daymond noted that he spoke with Marty and was there to pick-up the parts. Janet then started asking the same questions about the auto, looking for the VIN in their system. Daymond – interjected – “Is Marty here? I had this discussion about an hour ago, and he has all the information; I’m just here to pick up, pay, and go.”

“Unfortunately, he’s not here,” Janet replied.

“Did he take notes and leave the parts for me?” asked Daymond.

“I don’t see any notes on paper or in the system, so I guess not,” said Janet.

So Janet proceeded through the same questions, the same 8-10 minute conversation repeated over again, and the same result was delivered as Marty promised. Daymond walked away with one part in hand and one ordered.

If Daymond was to have judged either Marty or Janet individually, he would have given them relatively high marks; however, when he judged the experience, the score would have been low. It was redundant – where he was asked and he answered the same questions twice. To either employee, it may have seemed like a normal encounter, but it wasted some customer time, created customer frustration, and was also inefficient from the organization’s perspective. In other words, it wasted staff time, too.

The next time you talk with a customer, if they tell you that they’ve already told someone their story, please apologize to them. But don’t stop there. Find out how a customer can be put in a position to tell the same thing to multiple people; then find ways to eliminate the redundancy.

Don’t let two great employees deliver a lousy experience.

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Less Ego, Better Customer Service – 8/2/16

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Tonya was a relatively new radiology tech at the hospital. She had been out of training and into her routine for months, and she was very confident. She could get a clear scan (“pretty” is what she calls them), a picture easy for the physician to read.

But this situation was different She couldn’t get clear pictures with the ultrasound, and it was starting to take some time. She kept searching for the right angle, and it just wasn’t working. So Tonya turned to the patient, smiled, and said “I’m going to get another tech to help so we can get this wrapped up for you.”

She left the exam room and came back about a minute later with a co-worker – her supervisor. The supervisor introduced herself to the patient, continued with the scan, and offered advice to Tonya on how to more quickly get the desired scan.

Shortly, the patient left, Tonya had learned some new tips, and the staff were on to the next patient.

Tonya could have kept working on her own, as her ego could have kept her from asking for help. Instead, she had a sense for how the process was going and how it was going to continue. She had a sense of the patient’s patience, but she also didn’t want to abuse that patience with an excessive procedure.

She knew that the best customer experience would involve a quicker completion, so she took the steps needed on the patient’s behalf.

Don’t let ego get in the way of good customer service. Ask for help.

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