representative

Are you the Output or the Input? - 6/25/19


You’re the output and the input. Sorry to put it into such technical/industrial engineering terminology. But in a service system, we all have some role as a part of the process. First, we receive the output. Somebody has a customer that they direct to us, so that handoff is from Read more

Hear Them, and Tell Them What You Heard - 6/18/19


CSS has conducted close to 1000 research projects over the years, many of which were web-based surveys. And oftentimes, in addition to or instead of completing the online survey, respondents e-mail us directly with questions or comments – and we respond personally to every message on behalf of our Read more

It’s Decision Time. What are you going to do? - 6/11/19


Serving others is tough. Whether it’s dealing with an irate customer, having to field the same question from the 100th different customer this month, or keeping 10 plates spinning while still smiling in front of the client, it’s hard. You want to do a great job, and you’re constantly put Read more

You Do Know Jack - 6/4/19


Have you ever had a co-worker who causes more problems than they solve? Simple things they do are often, from a procedure standpoint, correct. But the way they handle situations makes them come off as indifferent. Let’s call this co-worker “Jack.” Even though certain actions by Jack may seem innocent Read more

How to Give the Right Kind of “No” - 5/28/19


In a perfect world, you never need to say “No” to the customer. But as we all know, this is not a perfect world. There are a lot of issues in the world, and there are a lot of issues in customer service. Our companies are not perfect, our Read more

Make it Crystal Clear - 5/21/19


Sometimes we communicate so well, and sometimes we don’t communicate as well as we think we do. When you’re trying to set or manage another person’s expectations, what you say may be very clear to you, but the reality is it may not be clear to the other person. Read more

Harvey Wrote the Book on Focus...and Golf - 5/14/19


In Harvey Penick's Little Red Book, the famous golf instructor provides many key tips about golf that just as well could apply to life in general. One such tip is the following: Once you address the golf ball, hitting it has got to be the most important thing in Read more

Stop Rolling Your Eyes - 5/7/19


Most of our customer service tips offer advice and guidance. But advice and guidance is useless if the individual receiving it is not willing to listen, learn the theory behind it, and try to apply what they’ve heard or learned. I’ve personally facilitated hundreds of training sessions with clients over Read more

Should you tell the customer? The Employee’s Dilemma - 4/30/19


Last week we looked at the dilemma that many companies face – When there is an issue that is going to happen, should they tell the customer? This week, let’s address that same question from the employee’s perspective. I personally experience employees struggling with this question when I’m in Read more

Should you tell the customer? The Company’s Dilemma - 4/23/19


I have a lot of clients that struggle with this question, both at a company/strategic level as well as an individual representative level. When there is an issue that is going to happen, should you tell the customer? This week we’re going to address the question at the Read more

Dealing with the First-time Fan – 5/5/15 TOW

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


Customer service people, those in relationship management, those in call centers, those called service reps – they all at some point or another have to deal with the new customer. In sports, we call them the “First-time Fans.” These are the customers with the highest rate of turnover, and are therefore a huge priority for retention for organizations.

Instead of addressing the retention of the new customer from a strategic perspective, let’s look at it from the perspective of a representative. The customer is Jay. What is Jay like?

If you had to generalize Jay, he’s an unknown. You know less about Jay than any other customer in your business. He bought your service – but why? Was it a low cost offer (like a ticket discount), a service he never needed before (like outpatient surgery), or simply his moving near your business that drove him to your company?

He could be friendly, he could be open, he could be a techie, or maybe he’s a family man. He could make over $100,000 per year, he could anger easily, he could love your team, he could be impatient, or he could be very analytical.

He could be all of those things – or none.

Jay is the great unknown. He’s also beginning what could be a long journey with your organization. All customers are special, but view Jay as special in a slightly different way.

View him as a fountain of information. Someone so unknown, that that makes him intriguing. Jay is really James Bond; he’s 007; he’s someone new and exciting.

When you see Jay or the new patient, or the new customer, or the First-time Fan – get intrigued. Get inquisitive. Convey excitement about his newness.

Realize that to best meet his needs today and to keep him for the long-term, you have to get to know him. Ask questions; note the answers. Learn more and more so you can keep him longer and longer.

Let the intrigue of the new customer lead you on a quest to get to know them.

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Compliment the Customer – 4/21/15 TOW

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Bob’s home phone (the landline) was not working, and he had called the phone company (using his cell phone) to get it addressed; it worked for an hour and then stopped working again. Bob called the phone company again two days later and noted that the problem had reappeared. The automated system walked him through some questions and remotely rebooted the “gateway,” but the problem persisted. So he called back a third time to talk to a customer service representative. And while there was no resolution, the representative – Vernon – scheduled a service appointment for a technician.

Twice near the end of the call, Vernon told the customer “you’re very nice” (in a platonic, very appreciative tone). He truly appreciated Bob not getting upset; he appreciated Bob working with him on different options to resolve the issue.

This was not a scripted “Thank you for calling” or “I appreciate your business.” This was a sincere compliment to the customer.

Why did the representative provide this compliment? Because if you work in the world of customer service, you know what it’s like to deal with the angry, rude, and unrealistic customers. You know what it’s like to suffer the slings and arrows for the errors of others.

So you also know what it feels like to run across someone who’s not like that at all. You appreciate those customers that are kind, despite their frustration. You appreciate those who are patient even when having an issue. You enjoy the nice person, the empathetic client, the one who asks about you and compliments you.

You appreciate them and those qualities they offer when they could – instead – be negative.

In customer service, you’re often trying to make the experience special for the customer.

Compliment the customer when they make an encounter special for you.

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

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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?

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