relationship

Challenges Create Opportunity, People Create Change - 4/20/21


There are so many great things that have been said over the years about overcoming challenges, pushing aside the roadblocks of life, dealing with difficulties.  And these are important points of discussion because challenges are all around us.  There are challenges with our personal health or in our personal Read more

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

Are You a Debbie Downer or a Debbie Developer? – 11/14/17

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We’ve all heard of Debbie Downer (actually, if you haven’t, that’s probably a good thing). Debbie Downer was a character in “Saturday Night Live” – a person whose general attitude and actions brought down the environment, made everyone depressed – left others just sitting there…bummed.

However, I want to share something about a person of the same first name that I’ll refer to as “Debbie Developer.”

Debbie Developer is a client of mine (name’s been changed – I’m sure you’re shocked). She’s a training/development specialist, but much of her work over the past year has been with a new Service Excellence program. She’s well-respected by the CEO and has launched and successfully completed several large-scale initiatives over the past 2-3 years, in particular – initiatives that often go beyond the assumed responsibilities of someone in her role. And she does all this with a great customer service-oriented attitude.

Although her job is to develop skills in people, she also develops programs, she develops relationships, and she develops passion and energy around important projects. Here are three examples of how she develops with a customer service approach:

  • When she walks into a meeting, she’s curious, asks lots of questions, comes up with ideas. When someone comes up with a great idea, she literally says “That’s a great idea!” When someone asks an interesting question, she says “That’s an interesting question.” She engages, acknowledges, and reinforces others. She doesn’t just think positive thoughts – she conveys them to others.
  • When she’s given a task or project, she asks others how they would approach it, and she sends updates to keep them in the loop and let them know their input is requested and needed.
  • She’s quick to respond to e-mails and voice mails; in e-mails, she always starting with a greeting and ending with some positive statement or enthusiastic “Thanks!” She often calls instead of e-mails if there’s any need for dialogue or detail to best answer the co-worker’s e-mailed question.

 

This is simply a quick example of a person who exemplifies customer service excellence. She does it by doing the right things with the right attitude. She does it by treating others the right way.

Don’t be a Debbie Downer. Be a Debbie Developer.

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Build a Great Customer Experience – 11/7/17

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Over the last 5-10 years, much of the management thinking about how to create a great customer experience has changed. In the distant past, to design a great experience, organizations would create the environment, the policies, and procedures that would deliver what the customer wanted the way the customer wanted. This is a great approach.

More recently, much of the thinking about customer service has focused on the fact that culture is the main driver of a great client experience. While it’s wonderful to have a great environment, policies, and procedures, people are who deliver the service in that environment, who work within those policies, and who execute those procedures. Oh! And people (employees) are the ones who interact with customers. This culture focus, too, is a great approach.

But what drives culture? We often talk about those aspects of an organization that impact culture such as Mission, Leadership, Training, Incentives, Communications, etc. But what drives culture?

In the end, the people are the culture. You want people who care about the customer and can convey that to the customer. You want people who can care about the organizational mission and the employees they work with in living that mission daily. And you want people who can balance the care of the customer, the co-worker, and the company. So, in short, you want people who care.

Not to sound dramatic, but to build a great culture, to get people who care, you have to build the collective heart of the organization. Leaders need to care as much or more about their employees and customers as the employees care about those they serve. There has to be continual leadership focus on relationship-building with staff, showing you care about them as unique, talented individuals. There has to be a desire on the part of leadership to be vulnerable enough to ask staff for opinions and open enough to listen to them and share with them as well.

Employees will care more if they feel leadership cares, if leadership asks, listens, shares, and supports staff.

Building heart is not all on leaders, however. Staff need to do these same things with others – co-workers, customers, and even their bosses. The more we all listen, learn, support, and help others, the bigger the collective heart will grow.

Build heart to build culture and to build a great customer experience.

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Build their Confidence in You – 8/22/17

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The service and retention rep was getting quite a rep! Although Jessie had only been with this sports franchise for 10 months, she was continually getting unsolicited praises from her season ticket holders. They were e-mailing her boss, sending positive letters to other team executives, and sending her cards as thank you’s.

And while all that was great, her manager hadn’t been overly curious about why she was receiving all the accolades. The tipping point for him was when the annual seat selection and renewal process came around for the first time for Jessie, and her boss noticed something staggering. Although other representatives were averaging only 35% renewals of FIRST-YEAR season ticket holders and none surpassed 50%, Jessie was already over 80% renewals, and there was a month left before the deadline.

Her boss saw success – and the dollars she was generating – and he wanted to know how she was doing it.

“I’m not certain,” said Jessie. “They come in a little uneasy about the process of renewal, the commitment, the risk of changing seats or adding seats or upgrading seats – just like with the other reps’ accounts. I guess that the one thing I notice is that when my clients leave, they’re confident. They know what to do and how to do it; they know the benefits; they know what they’re going to get; they know they can trust me, so they’re comfortable, too.”

Jessie’s manager had always preached the importance of building emotion to make a sale or renewal, but Jessie’s approach was to breed confidence and comfort. She would listen to the account holder, understand their needs, and show her understanding of their concerns and apprehension.

She would explain the processes in clear and simple steps, and she’d explain how she’d helped many other clients through the decision-making steps and renewal processes successfully time and time again.

Jessie was credible, she painted a vivid picture of success, and instead of trying to create positive emotion, she eliminated negative emotions – the roadblocks to decisions. Instead of dominating the discussion, she listened and built the customer’s confidence.

Sometimes the best customer service you can provide doesn’t require you to provide anything. The best customer service is delivered when you take away the fears and anxieties of the customer and build their confidence.

To deliver great customer service, build their confidence in you.

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