representative

Know the Customer’s Value Proposition - 2/12/19


I’ve written about how it’s important to build up your co-workers when talking to customers. When the nurse is getting ready to send the patient down to radiology, she lets the patient know what great work and great care that the radiology tech provides. When the teller contacts a Read more

Paint a Picture, Take a Picture - 2/5/19


Many of us are visual learners. In order for us to understand the concept, we need to be able to see the concept illustrated. And by seeing the concept illustrated, I’m not just talking about taking something that somebody says and merely typing it into an email. I don’t Read more

Recipe for Reputation Rehab - 1/29/19


As another corporation is trying to recover from self-inflicted reputation wounds, it is seeking to get back in the good graces of consumers. It’s laying out a 6-point plan to improve its performance, but – in the end – publicizing this plan is also about rehabilitating its reputation. Read more

Don’t Dwell on the Customer Crazies - 1/22/19


Whether or not you’re a fan of Duke University basketball, you may have heard of the “Cameron Crazies.” This is a nickname for Duke fans that attend home games in Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium. One of my friends was one of those Cameron Crazies. He was Read more

Retain through Responsiveness - 1/15/19


In a recent Bloomberg article about online retailers, there’s a story about a women’s cosmetics customer who used an online app to order some items. She waited weeks for the delivery after it was shipped to the wrong address, and she had great difficulty in getting the issue resolved. Read more

Bring Something Extra to the Table - 1/8/19


As somebody who has customer service as a part of their role and responsibilities, you are often talking to customers who could access the answers to their questions or the solutions to their problems via a website or some social media resource. But instead of going to those communication Read more

How to Have a Truly HAPPY New Year - 1/1/19


Don’t worry. After today, I will get away from my holiday-themed tips, but for now, let me ask you a question. What would be a good way to have a truly HAPPY New Year? Is it lowering expectations so that everything exceeds your expectations? Is Read more

2018 Holiday Poem - 12/25/18


Annually I write a note at this time of year, And the goal not once but every time is to bring you some cheer. I try to encourage, And I work to state the truth Because as we continue to grow more “wise,” We can’t lose sight of the joys of youth. So this year Read more

Be SomeBODY to Your Customer - 12/18/18


Jenny lives on a farm, and she's often running errands to get things for the animals or the family. She goes to one particular store to get her hay, and she always chit-chats with the person at the register. Marie is always friendly and cordial, and Jenny always buys Read more

A Representative Success! - 12/11/18


I was in a meeting recently with a client, and it was interesting to chat with one of their best customer service representatives. This is an employee who works with the same business clients every month, and when she described what she does, best practices started flowing. She knows her Read more

Are You Carol or Darrell? – 3/24/15 TOW

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


Carol and Darrell are reception clerks at the local eye clinic. Each had a patient – essentially the same patient – walk up to them.

Carol looked up from her computer screen and said hello to the patient. The patient said he had an appointment with Dr. Jones at 9:00. Carol said “I need to see your insurance card.” She asked whether the patient wanted to do self-pay or run it through insurance. The patient was confused and asked whether the health insurance covered eye appointments. Carol said most people know when they come in if health insurance covers eye appointments, so the patient asked if Carol could check on the system for her, and Carol said she’d check. After 3-4 minutes of looking at the screen in silence, Carol said “We’re out-of-network. What would you like to do?” The patient asked whether that mattered, and Carol said “it’s $150 self-pay, but it could be over $300 if you used insurance,” so the patient opted for self-pay. Carol completed the transaction by taking a deposit, printing the paperwork, and directing the patient to the waiting room.

Darrell stood and smiled at his patient, introduced himself, and asked how he could help the patient. The patient said she had an appointment with Dr. Smith at 9:00. Darrell said “Great! If you have insurance, I’ll pull it up on my computer for you. Do you have an insurance card with you?” Darrell looked at the card and said, “Now there are two ways patients can pay for their appointment. The first is self-pay (and Darrell noted why some people to prefer that method). The other is with insurance; I checked your insurance, and it appears that your insurance does cover one exam per year, but unfortunately, our clinic is out-of-network, which means the charge will most likely be over $300 if you use your insurance. So would you prefer the self-pay option or using insurance?” The patient said she’d definitely prefer self-pay, and Darrell responded that he’d just need a credit card for payment. Darrell completed the transaction, printed the paperwork, thanked the patient for coming in, noted that a technician named Margaret would call her name within about 5 minutes, and showed the patient where she could wait. “Is there anything else I can do for you” Darrell asked. The patient said “no, thank you,” Darrell thanked her again for coming in today. The patient smiled and walked to the waiting room.

These are two simple stories that end with two questions.

Are you Carol or Darrell? Are you Good or Great?

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


How to Evaluate Yourself (Done v. Accomplishments) – 12/9/14 TOW

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


How do you evaluate yourself? Too often in my work life (and sometimes, personal life), I’ve tended to evaluate myself based on what I’ve “Done.” I completed that project. I responded to those calls quickly. I sent that analysis out on time. I gave a speech to “X” number of people.

There are two issues with evaluating yourself in this manner. First – and it’s obvious – there’s a lot of “I” involved in those statements. They’re focused on self. Second, focusing on what you’ve “Done” focuses almost purely on production. It makes your evaluation all about the widgets you produced.

We need to evaluate ourselves to confirm we’re on the right path and identify where we need to improve, but we must do the evaluation the right way.

Base your evaluation on “Accomplishments.” This is different. First, in the world of customer service, your Accomplishments are the success you enable for others. By definition, customer service says that you’re serving the customer (or client, partner, stakeholder, fan, patient, account – whatever term you choose). Evaluating our success based on the impact we have on others forces us to KNOW THE IMPACT we have on others.

Second, it forces us to focus more on the quality of what we do, how we do it, and the outcomes we provide than on the task itself. You enable them to “enjoy a product,” to “relieve stress,” to have a “better quality of life,” to become “more successful.” Accomplishments are more outcomes-driven than the “Done” mentality of a focus on tasks.

When you evaluate whether you’re great at customer service, first think about your customers and the outcomes they desire. What are their goals, needs, and wants? Then think about whether you impact their desired outcomes.

When evaluating yourself, focus on what you Accomplish for others.

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


Practice Active Root Core Thinking…Huh? – 11/18/14 TOW

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


We need to be “Active Listeners.” We need to be “Critical Thinkers.” We need to find the “Root Cause” and determine the “Core Need.”

You hear similar statements all the time, and, yes, these are all important things, but what do they really mean? Here are some examples:

You’re a fan relations representative for a pro sports club, and the season ticket holder asks if they can relocate from their seats to a certain section with no availability. Instead of simply saying “No,” ask “Is there something in particular you like about that section?” You might uncover a reason for their move that could be addressed elsewhere.

You work for a local municipality, and the developer says they need a permit. Instead of assuming what permit they need, you could say “I’d be happy to help you with that! Tell me a little about the project so I can best help you get started.”

You work for a hospital, and the patient says they “need a smoke.” Of course, it’s a smoke-free campus, so you say “Unfortunately, we can’t do that since it’s a smoke-free campus, but help me understand what you’re feeling that’s making you want to smoke, and maybe I can find a way to help you.”

If you are someone interested in being an “Active Listener” or a “Critical Thinker,” someone interested in “Root Causes” or “Core Needs,” that’s a good desire to have – especially in customer service. But don’t get too hung up on the fancy terms. Look at the three examples just provided to truly understand what’s being suggested by those terms:

  • Be inquisitive; ask questions – they show you’re engaged and care.
  • Understand their goal, so you can better understand potential solutions.
  • Don’t make assumptions – you might waste your time and that of the customer by going down the wrong path based on misinformation.
  • Be patient – don’t hear the symptom and think you know the root cause.
  • Restate your understanding of the person’s needs; ensure you know so specifically what they want that you can address it right the first time.

 
Practice Active Root Core Thinking…or just plain old good communication skills.

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