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

A Blockbuster of a Mess – 5/3/16 TOW

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


It was vacation time at the beach – and it was pouring rain. With no beach time possible and with the unappetizing thought of spending all day long inside with a condo full of teenagers, Jacob decided to find something to do. So with teenagers in tow, Jacob took the kids to the movies.

They went to the nearest theater – the first time they had been there – and what started out as a great idea for a 2-3 hour diversion became a good decision gone bad.

Now keep in mind, it’s a Saturday afternoon and it’s pouring, so that’s a good indication to theater management that it’s going to be busy; a blockbuster was opening that weekend – again, it’s going to be busy. So Jacob and his crew arrived at the theater about 30 minutes early, waiting in the rain for 15 minutes – got up to the ticket window and were told – it JUST SOLD OUT. Ugh.

Good news! Next show is in 30 minutes. So they bought the tickets and went inside, but they and eventually about 80-100 other people were waiting behind a rope. Although there were 4 concession areas, there was only 1 open; the other 3 were closed, and the staff wouldn’t let customers buy any concessions or wander around the rest of the lobby until the other movies started. So 80-100 wet people were cramped behind a rope and against the wall together until the next show was about to start.

The lessons were many.

The forecast had said rain for days. The theater knew of the blockbuster opening for weeks. Staffing could have increased to open other concessions. They could have modified the rope lines and setup to allow people access to more of the lobby so they weren’t so cramped. They could have said “I’m sorry” at least once or twice. But none of this happened.

No anticipation – of high demand on Saturday.
No adjustments – to staffing or customer access/flow.
No acknowledgement – of the issues.
No apologies – by staff.

Look ahead to Anticipate and Adjust. And when that doesn’t work, Acknowledge and Apologize.

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Elaine had an Eye for Customer Service – 3/29/16 TOW

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I don’t know if she realized it, but Elaine was great! The Optometrist Assistant went to the waiting room to call on Rodney, and she smiled as she said his full name. She introduced herself and asked him to follow her to the exam room.

As they entered she said – You get the BIG chair!

She asked about Rodney’s weekend and shared a little about hers as well when he asked. She told Rodney what she was about to do and why – whether it was checking vision or putting drops in his eyes.

They discussed the doctor he had met with months earlier when he was having an issue with floaters, and she raved about the doctor – “a special person…84 years old – been here his entire career…very thorough.”

When she was done with the diagnostics and drops, she conveyed a sense of urgency (but not anxiety) on Rodney’s behalf by pleasantly saying “let me get Dr. Smith in here for you.”

These are snippets from the conversation between Elaine and Rodney, but they illustrate so much that’s great in customer service:

  • Share your name and use their name – This personalizes the conversation
  • Be inquisitive – This conveys your interest and shows you care
  • Build up co-workers in front of customers – This adds credibility to the co-worker and the organization
  • Describe next steps – This reduces worry by making the unknown known
  • Explain “the Why behind the What” – This enables the customer (or patient!) to feel more comfortable with what’s being done; it helps with their buy-in and support.

 
Sometimes little things mean a lot. Learn from this little interaction about how a great customer experience can look.

Develop an eye for great customer service.

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When It’s Definitely Okay to Fail – 2/23/16 TOW

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Do you ever encourage failure? Do the leaders in your organization say “please fail?”

While rarely – if ever – should failure be the goal, fear of failure can lead to mediocrity. Avoiding the potential for failure can lead to inaction. And in a competitive world, it’s ironic that mediocrity and inaction eventually lead to that same failure that a company (or individual) is trying to avoid.

I heard a basketball coach recently mention that success in the game is built off many failures in the practices. In a business sense, success in serving a customer is often built off trial and error in a company’s “practice sessions.” A successful journey toward a goal often involves healthy conflict and creative ideas tossed aside for even better ideas.

It’s okay to fail in a company’s practice sessions. It’s okay to have healthy conflict and toss good ideas aside for better ideas.

Those failures are what make greater success possible.

What are your company’s practice sessions? Are they role-plays on customer situations? Is it user-testing of a new web portal? Is it piloting a new process or approach to serving customers?

What are your company’s idea-generation sessions? Are they robust enough that there’s conflict and deep, thought-provoking discussion? Are enough ideas being generated that the good can be set aside for the better, and the better tabled in favor of the best?

Identify in what you need to succeed as an organization. Then create opportunities to practice possible situations. Develop and debate ideas to move toward the best solution.

Create opportunities to fail so that you can move closer to success.

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