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

Words of Encouragement – From You and For You – 8/8/17

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


Comfort and Confidence. These are qualities you want to build in your customers. Their comfort level in working with your organization. Their confidence in you and your business.

And these are qualities staff generally want as well – to be comfortable and confident. When I note that employees want to be comfortable, I’m not saying comfort to the point of being unchallenged or apathetic. I’m saying comfortable enough in the environment where they can be open in sharing their views and ideas, and be open to hearing the perspectives of others as well.

It’s best to have comfortable and confident customers and co-workers because trust is more easily created, relationships are more fully developed, and loyalty is more easily engendered.

So let’s address how to build comfort and confidence by simply being encouraging of others. You could tell customers:

  • You completed the first step in the registration process – good job!
  • You did everything right so far! We just have one more step.
  • You asked excellent questions or That’s a great question!
  • You’re making great progress.
  • You’re definitely doing your part.
  • You called the right number.

For co-workers, you could say:

  • You’re always so organized.
  • You made this process so easy for me.
  • Thanks for being so responsive.
  • Your preparation made the process flow very smoothly.
  • I love how you handled that situation.
  • Great job on the report!

Why are we talking about words of encouragement? Because they convey appreciation, and they also reinforce positive words and actions of the person you’re speaking with – words and actions you’d like to see repeated. So those words of encouragement actually help you as well. Your encouragement creates an environment where the other person is more comfortable and confident that what they did (those words and actions that made YOUR life a little better) is something they should do again.

Offer Words of Encouragement to help others build comfort and confidence.

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How to Grow Your Relationships – 7/11/17

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In a study conducted about human relationships by Leo Buscaglia, researchers surveyed participants about the qualities of primary relationships which were most enhancing to continued growth. The three qualities that seemed to contribute most to growing relationships were Communication, Affection, and Compassion/Forgiveness.

Let’s see how to apply these relationship-growing attributes to our interactions with customers and co-workers.

Communication was defined as “the desire to be open, to share, to relate, and actively speak and listen to one another.”

Consider your co-workers and customers. To grow your relationships with them, be open, go to them sharing information of interest and use to them. Share your perspective and your thoughts. Likewise, ask for their thoughts, and listen to their responses.

Affection was seen as the “trait of caring, understanding, respect, physical and psychological closeness, nurturing, and kindness.”

Now here we’re not saying to be affectionate with your customers and co-workers, because that can get you in all sorts of legal troubles! So let’s focus on the definition of Affection. Show care for the other person, be respectful of them, be understanding of their needs, and show them kindness.

Compassion was defined as “the ability to have empathy, to forgive, to be supportive and selfless.”

I’ve often said that empathy is the greatest quality somebody can have in customer service. It’s hard to really serve someone if you don’t care enough to try to understand what’s unique about them and their situation. That’s empathy.

But forgiveness is something newer – a word I don’t discuss often. It suggests that sometimes the customers don’t treat us well, the co-worker doesn’t do what they need to do, others are throwing roadblocks in front of us. This definition of compassion suggests that we need to forgive them and move forward. We need to be supportive of others and lose any selfish tendencies that we might bring into situations.

If you want to grow relationships, focus on building these qualities of relationships into your everyday interactions with co-workers and customers.

Focus on Communication, Affection, and Compassion/Forgiveness.

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Don’t Copy Company A – 5/19/15 TOW

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Terri, the church secretary, knows that the copier agreement ends in about a year, and while she’s aware of its upcoming renewal timeline, it’s obviously not something that she thinks about much.

The current copier vendor (“Company A”) signed on with the church two years ago, before Terri became the new secretary; that vendor hasn’t contacted the church once since the contract was signed. Even though there’s a maintenance agreement, they have never come out to do service because the church never called. So even though “Company A” has a contract with the church, they have no relationship.

When another copier vendor (“Company B”) contacted Terri about the church’s needs, Terri said she’d talk with them. “Company B” noted specifically how they would save the church money on the contract. They described how they’d provide more maintenance and shared their “Company B” promise that they would contact the church to schedule the appointments. They noted the increased functionality they’d provide on the copier. And while changing vendors today and getting out of her current contract would require time and effort on Terri’s part, she’s willing to do it.

The reason that she’s willing to do it is partially because of what the new provider is offering. But here’s the big difference – she knows what it’s like to be a customer of the current vendor, and there’s no relationship, there’s no sense of caring, there’s no proactive communication, and there’s no sense that she – the customer – matters.

Realize that getting a customer is merely the start of a relationship. Make and execute the plans to develop a relationship, provide proactive communications, and ensure the customer feels like they matter to you.

Don’t Copy Company A.

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