process

6 Actions for Attitude Adjustments - 2/18/20


The battle over one’s attitude can feel like a never-ending fight… I need to stop letting little things bother me. I need to not let that customer’s anger infect my mindset.  Just because my co-worker isn’t doing what they said they’d do shouldn’t mean that I should have an attitude Read more

A Hair-Cut Above...and Below - 2/11/20


After going to the same barber for more than a decade, I decided to leave.  The customer experience went down, and the price went up.  For my last several visits, I was the one who was driving the conversations – when I could get a word in edgewise between Read more

When Employees Fight Over a Customer - 2/4/20


There’s nothing like the feeling of comfort I get from a warm greeting at a business establishment.  A feeling of “you are my most important customer” and “I cannot wait to serve you” brings a tear to the eye of a customer service consultant.  But that’s not the only Read more

LOTS of Opportunities to Appreciate Customers - 1/28/20


They give us their money, and we give them merchandise. We say “Thank you!”  That is the old-time stereotypical opportunity for a company to thank their customers.  But there are opportunities all day long for us to convey appreciation to our customers. Beyond the actual transaction, there are so many Read more

When Jack Gave Arnie a Tip - 1/21/20


Jack Nicklaus may have been the greatest golfer ever.  Many think that Arnold Palmer was the most important golfer of the 20th century.  These two greats were contemporaries, so they became competitors and friends all at once.  And when somebody who is one of the greatest of all time Read more

Make it Abundantly Clear - 1/14/20


Becky was laying in her hospital bed and staring at the whiteboard on the wall.  It had a room number, the room’s phone number, and the date.  It had the pictures of the pain scale, with happy-to-sad faces and ratings from 0-10.  It noted when the last meds were Read more

Become the Wishing Well - 1/7/20


When you don’t know if the next step will solve the customer’s problem, give hope a chance.  If you’re not certain how things will progress on their project, give hope a chance.  If you want to end the conversation by having them feel positive, even if uncertain, give hope Read more

Why Silence is Golden - 12/31/19


In the world of customer service, to begin finding a resolution, sometimes we have to initiate conversation. To keep things moving forward, oftentimes we have to proactively engage in discussion.  To have effective dialogue, we need to avoid those long periods of dead silence. But don’t let those truths of Read more

2019 Holiday Poem - 12/24/19


There is joy absolutely everywhere, Sometimes you just need to look for it. There are birds and babies. There are flowers and sweet older ladies. You just have to look for them. People hold doors open for others, with smiles. There are days when you can see for miles. You just have to look for them. There Read more

Encourage the Customer - 12/17/19


Everybody sing with me:  Feelings, whoa whoa whoa, feelings… Excellent old song, and be thankful that I’m just writing the words and not singing to you.  While not all of us are comfortable with discussing feelings, feelings are an important part of the customer experience. No, you can’t make someone feel Read more

Cut Time in Half to Double the Customer Satisfaction – 7/26/16

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


At a speech I once gave to a local business association, one of the members offered a customer service horror story. He called a local physician practice and wanted to speak with his doctor. They put him on hold, and he waited through several rings. His wife told him to hang up the phone, but he decided to count rings. Finally, 187 rings later, someone answered the phone.

As a customer in any business, I want to get a person on the phone as quickly as possible. I want to pay for an item as quickly as possible. I want to fill out as few papers as necessary to complete a transaction. Consider the following aspects of customer interactions with your business. Make an effort to cut each of the following in half:

  1. The number of computer screen flips to enter a transaction – Simplifies work for the employee and speeds the process.
  2. The number of questions asked to open an account – Simplifies effort to the customer and speeds access to your business.
  3. The number of menus on a phone system – Expedites access to your sales representatives.
  4. The amount of time to take an order – Speeds closure of a transaction.
  5. The length of a proposal or contract – Simplifies decision-making to more quickly close business.
  6. The length of time to reply to a phone call – Shows responsiveness and allows customer to take next action.
  7. The percentage of time that you speak during a customer service call – Helps you learn more about the customer and establish better rapport.

Cut these in half, and watch your customers’ satisfaction levels rise with quicker and easier access to you and your services.

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


The Wedding Crasher – 7/19/16 TOW

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


In theory, the wedding photographer is invited, stays on the periphery, gets the candid shots, and takes excellent wedding party/posed pictures as well. That is what Mary experienced at her wedding – the photographer visited the site of the wedding and reception beforehand, met with the bride-to-be, discussed plans, timing, and locations. She scoped out photography angles, lighting characteristics, and got a sense for the theme and colors of the wedding. The wedding was beautiful, and everything was captured wonderfully by the photographer.

Mary’s sister Maggie had a different wedding photographer – this individual spoke to Maggie on the phone a couple times before the wedding and “didn’t have time” the week of the wedding to scope out the locations and plans with Maggie. Instead, he visited the wedding and reception sites a couple weeks earlier on his own.

On the day of the wedding he showed up – just 15 minutes before the ceremony – wearing his bright red shirt and tie – which stuck out like a sore thumb with the earth tones and white colors of the wedding. He continually moved during the ceremony to get the right shot – often distracting those in attendance, and he took way too many pictures – at least it appeared that way because of how much he was in the middle of all the activity.

He was as much of a wedding crasher as he was a wedding photographer.

When the pictures came back, there were several good, but too many were posed, too many had lighting issues, certain features of the reception location were missed, too many relatives and friends were not included, and – therefore – Maggie thought his fees seemed too high.

Sometimes the best experiences are made that way by talking to the customer first – what do they want, what do they expect, and how do they define success? Sometimes your planning process helps you paint a prettier picture with your product.

Don’t simply deliver a product. Engage the customer beforehand to see the desired experience through their eyes.

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


Use I.E. to Relieve Your Burdens – 5/10/16 TOW

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


Some of the consulting we perform with clients focuses on ways to be more efficient and to improve quality. Customer service isn’t just about employee attitudes and skills; often customer service is just as much about the processes related to delivering services, responding to needs, and addressing issues.

This type of consulting is part quality improvement, part Kaizen, and part good old fashioned Industrial Engineering (I.E.). So let’s discuss how to apply some of the key principles to the work of an individual – You!

Here are 5 of the 7 Categories of Waste (taken from key lean manufacturing principles) for you to consider. Address these, and maybe your workload decreases, the workflow smooths, and your daily burdens are easier to bear:

  • Storage – Find old files (on your computer, in binders, or stuck in those manila folders in your desk), and identify older ones that no longer serve a purpose. Get rid of old files, and put a system in place to purge those periodically so you avoid a never-ending growth of documents.
  • Overproduction – In what situations do you produce too many copies of items that go unused? When do you copy more people on e-mails than necessary? When are you copied unnecessarily on e-mails or are sent internal documents that are not needed in hardcopy form? Identify answers to these questions, and look for opportunities to reduce the overproduction.
  • Transportation – When do you have to physically change locations – to copy, to meet, to acquire materials or distribute information? Become more productive by finding ways to spend less time simply transporting from Point A to Point B.
  • Waiting – When are you idle? Okay – maybe never. But when can you not go on to the next steps because you’re waiting on a co-worker, a customer, a process, or a system to do its thing? This wastes your time, and it also causes you to have even more projects or initiatives underway at once – that creates more plates for you to keep spinning at the same time. Identify the waits, and find ways to eliminate them.
  • Correction – When do you have to correct the work of others – or vise-versa? When you do have to fight customer fires caused by the wrong information, wrong product, or wrong response being delivered? These issues waste your time and often the time of your customer. Use these questions to identify these causes of costly poor quality.

 
You probably are getting the hang of this exercise now. The final 2 Categories of Waste are Motion and Processing. Apply this approach to the other 2 Categories, coming up with questions and the answers that highlight time wasters.

Then – as with the others – use the answers to begin moving toward solutions to reduce your hassles and save yourself time.

Eliminate the waste, and make your days just a little bit better.

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