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When it’s – Truly – Not Your Fault - 6/12/18


Jennie was under fire. She was the first line of defense – the front-line worker in the software firm. She didn’t make the software. She didn’t cause it to have errors. She wasn’t the one apparently avoiding the biggest customer’s calls. Yet, here she was – Read more

Let the Customer Decide Where to Share - 6/5/18


When we work with clients on their Voice of the Customer strategy, there’s obviously a proactive research component included. And while many companies immediately consider a web survey as the sole source of customer feedback, when designing your Voice of the Customer strategy, first think about how your Read more

Listen Up! - 5/29/18


When I was growing up, I would hear the phrase Listen Up frequently. It was usually being stated by adults who wanted to get the attention of a group of kids. It was usually stated loudly. It usually worked. At least for a minute or 2. As an adult in Read more

Change Your Style on the Fly - 5/22/18


I was talking to a client recently, and we discussed the importance of relationship-building in their position. So I asked, “How do you develop a relationship?” The client offered several points, one in particular piqued my interest – she said: “I have to understand how I communicate, and Read more

What to do DURING a Bad Experience - 5/15/18


After providing the final research report to a client recently, even though the report provided tremendous detail and a 10-page Executive Summary, the client asked that I cull down the key takeaways to a few bullet points. As I glanced back through the report, there was one exceptionally Read more

Be Habitually Great at Customer Service - 5/8/18


“It takes 21 days to form a habit.” Actually, I don’t know if that’s true, but I’ve heard that statement many times. It’s based somewhat on the timeline, but it’s also based on the premise that habits can be formed simply by intentionally repeating the act. You make Read more

Use Best Practice Survey Follow-up - 5/1/18


Although most companies view customer satisfaction surveys as tools to gauge fan perceptions, we view them in a broader sense. It’s an opportunity to better know individual customers. It’s an opportunity to identify needs that you can address later. It’s a chance to tap it their Read more

How to Deal with the Non-Conversational Customer - 4/24/18


The customer would not say much. He was giving one-word answers when you’re seeking information. It was “like pulling teeth.” Maybe he was shy. Maybe he was ticked off. Maybe it’s just the way he normally speaks. Regardless of the reason for the lack of Read more

Inflate Your Team - 4/17/18


I was talking with a friend recently about their job change. They’re still working in the same company, still doing the same type of technology support, but their position had been moved from a user area to the information technology department. This person seemed happier in their job than Read more

Peer Recognition Made Easy - 4/10/18


There may be one manager in the department. There may be one supervisor over your division. Those individuals may see you interact with customers, but usually your conversations with your customers are out of the sight of leadership. Every day you make a difference, and often you’re working Read more

When it’s – Truly – Not Your Fault – 6/12/18

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


Jennie was under fire. She was the first line of defense – the front-line worker in the software firm. She didn’t make the software. She didn’t cause it to have errors. She wasn’t the one apparently avoiding the biggest customer’s calls.

Yet, here she was – dealing with the issue, the anger, the emotion of the customer, and it was truly NOT her fault.

This is when you could have one of a number of urges – you can argue, you can ameliorate (an underrated word!), you can obfuscate (nice SAT word!), you can empathize, or you can throw your co-worker or company “under the bus.”

This is the time to hold back on that last urge – don’t take down a co-worker to take down the customer’s emotion. This is when that phrase “you have to be the bigger person” comes into play. The best response to a customer situation is not always what we’d prefer to do. The best response is often not the easiest. The best response isn’t always painless in the short-term.

The best response – when it’s truly not your fault – starts before you get into the technique, the wording, the engagement with the customer. The best response starts before you respond to them – it starts with how you decide to handle yourself.

It’s a matter of having the conscious thought that “It’s not about me. Let me do what’s best for the customer and the company. Let me focus on others – not focusing on who’s to blame (or not to blame, in this case).”

It’s a mindset and a realization that – yes – you have to be the bigger person.

Thanks for what you do as a customer service representative of your organization.

And thanks for what you don’t do – namely throwing your co-worker “under the bus.”

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Be Habitually Great at Customer Service – 5/8/18

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


“It takes 21 days to form a habit.”

Actually, I don’t know if that’s true, but I’ve heard that statement many times. It’s based somewhat on the timeline, but it’s also based on the premise that habits can be formed simply by intentionally repeating the act. You make something second nature by making it a first priority for a period of time.

In customer service, we don’t always perform perfectly; some things we should do or say are not top-of-mind, not the way we were raised or trained. Therefore, we need to write them down, put a sign on our desk or door, a post-it on our computer or on the dashboard of our car, an e-mail reminder we send ourselves, a statement written on the white board, a note taped to the fridge.

However you remind yourself, however you keep something top-of-mind, use that vehicle to reinforce some desired action, and do it for – as they say – at least 21 days.

But what are those habits you want to form? Here’s a list of core customer service habits where we’ve seen employees lacking over the years:

  • Using the customer’s name frequently in conversation.
  • Talking with the customer – keeping them engaged – when you’re working on the computer or looking through files.
  • When they’re waiting onsite, touching base with them every 10-15 minutes with updates.
  • Telling the co-worker to whom you’re transferring the customer about the customer’s situation so that the customer doesn’t have to repeat themselves.
  • Ensuring you end the call or appointment or meeting confirming that the customer got their need met and understands next steps.
  • SMILING!
  • Thanking the customer multiple times during the encounter.
  • Responding to e-mails and voice mails no later than the next day.
  • Putting away your phone when you enter a meeting or you’re on a call.
  • Looking away from your computer when you initially engage the customer.

 
While some of these may sound basic, rarely will you find employees who consistently do these activities in their customer encounters. That’s because they are not yet habits. To be great at customer service, you have to at least be really good…consistently!

Be Habitually Great at Customer Service.

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Predict, Prioritize, and Personalize – 9/12/17

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

Many sports organizations are overly marketing-driven, so they’re typically much more focused on major marketing initiatives/programs than the 1-on-1 relationship-development approach we promote. So when we work with Sports clients, we’re often asked why we use research to do so much analysis on individual fans. Here are 3 key reasons we offer:

  • Predict – Sales to and return/renewal of existing fans typically result in 70%-90% of a sports team’s ticket revenue annually, so we use our CSS Renew+ analysis to predict the renewal likelihood for every existing fan. This prediction enables teams to know who’s most likely to renew, who’s on the fence, and who’s least likely to return. This leads to the next reason.
  • Prioritize – When you know who’s most likely to return, you can prioritize them for upsell/cross-sell efforts. When you know the customers who are on the fence, you can prioritize them for service recovery or retention efforts. When you know who has little-to-no chance of returning, you know with whom to spend little time – these fans may get the e-mail instead of the personal call or visit.
  • Personalize – When we perform analysis of the client base, it typically occurs after we’ve conducted a fan survey, so we’ve gathered tremendous intelligence on the individual fan. Instead of the follow-up to the prioritization activity being thousands of generic e-mails being sent, the follow-up involves a call to the customer named Marty that references how he likes to take his family to games and what other kid/family activities are available. The follow-up involves addressing Claudia’s concern with traffic and parking, noting actions the organization is taking to relieve those concerns. And the call to Chris includes following up on the interest he conveyed in the survey for more tickets for his small business.

 
If you’re trying to uncover the reasons to research and analyze information on individual clients, remember these 3 key words.

Predict, Prioritize, and Personalize.

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