service recovery

When Customers are…Jerks - 7/14/20


Some people are a little extra…uh…difficult to deal with these days. Customers may have concerns or complaints – many of which are justified. But some customers act like…well…jerks. They’re not kind or understanding or have any idea how poorly they treat others. They’re obnoxious and yet, we still have Read more

Customers Appreciate Your Kindness - 7/7/20


The 3rd grade teacher had a phrase she used with her students. She wanted them to be “kind-hearted.” It was a phrase she used over and over again; no matter what she taught, this was an overriding emphasis on how she would communicate with students and how she expected Read more

6 Common Sense Responses to Customer Service Encounters - 6/30/20


I’ve run into this personally and professionally, and it drives me batty! Sometimes there’s a lack of common sense in the customer service provided by companies. And often that lack of common sense is due to the preference of a business to provide service in a certain method, to Read more

Caring for Co-workers through COVID - 6/23/20


A recent Buffer.com study asked employees who are working remotely due to COVID-19, what was their greatest struggle. While there were many different responses, the Top 2 totaled 40% of the struggles identified - Loneliness and Collaboration/Effective Communication. When you hear something like this - that individuals working remotely are Read more

React, Reflect, Respond - 6/16/20


Sometimes you can’t help it. You gasp. You get upset. You get angry. You have this look of shock on your face. You say something defensive. You react. I love people who are in customer service roles. These are the folks that people say things to in the business world Read more

Serving the Technology-challenged Customer - 6/9/20


The IT helpdesk representative was on a call with a customer, and in trying to troubleshoot an issue, the employee said, “Let’s start by opening Windows.” The customer said “OK,” and there were 2 minutes of silence. The employee twice asked, “Are you still there?” with no response. Finally, Read more

Address the 4 P’s for a Customer-friendly COVID-19 Walk-in Experience


This is not about what is medically most effective – please see the CDC for those guidelines.  This is about how to help your customers have a great experience as an onsite visitor at your facility or storefront.  For a comprehensive approach to a customer-friendly COVID-19 experience, address the Read more

The Deeper Reason to Transform the Customer Experience - 6/2/20


Why are government offices putting up plexiglass between their staff and their customers?  Why is restaurant takeout being done in such a way that is contactless and yet still fosters engagement between the employee and customer?  Why have so many traditionally onsite businesses converted to delivery businesses? The answer is Read more

Motivating Yourself when Working Remotely - 5/26/20


For any of us who are working remotely, we are finding ourselves more and more having to be self-motivated. And while many people are naturally self-motivated, others need to have that manager who gives us the encouragement. Many of us need to have that ongoing informal dialogue with co-workers Read more

Defining Organizational Agility in a Time of Uncertainty


You may have heard references in management theory over the many decades about the importance of a business being an “Agile” organization, but oftentimes that is a word thrown out in generalities to illustrate vague points about how organizations should be managed and make decisions.  In this time of Read more

Drive Down the Drama – 8/29/17

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


The same situation could happen to two different customers – it’s the delayed delivery, the unreturned phone call, the poor workmanship, or the indifferent employee encounter.

With the customer named Dena, it’s not a big concern. She just wants to get it rectified quickly and move on; however, with the customer named Dana – it’s a federal crime, punishable by jail time, 50 lashes with a wet noodle, a good stern talking-to, and about 500 poor ratings on Yelp.

Dena offers reasonableness. Dana offers drama.

We can’t control the customer’s reaction, but oftentimes the company’s response to that reaction makes it worse. Instead of driving down the drama, the company amplifies it. The company’s response becomes an even bigger issue than the original complaint.

So how do we drive down the drama? In Service Recovery, here are several key tips:

  • Remain totally engaged with the customer. Do not ever appear distracted or disinterested. Remember, drama creates attention (and dramatic people crave attention) – give them attention in a positive manner.
  • Avoid taking any hyperbole or negativity to heart. Dramatic people can exaggerate. Don’t ignore the real customer concern because you’re upset about (or disagree with) the noise that surrounds it.
  • Move fast to identify the issue and resolution. Speed is a huge asset in stemming the dramatic tide.
  • Remember that drama is another way of describing emotion. Use tips for defusing customers that we’ve suggested in the past such as listening, asking fact-based questions, offering empathy, and apologizing (if appropriate) on behalf of the organization.
  • Help them to feel important by literally saying they’re important such as “I want to help you. Resolving your issue is important to me. It’s important that we get this right for you.”

 
We don’t want to encourage drama – we want to mitigate it. And although in customer service we’re often looking to do something great, sometimes the best approach with drama is to find ways to avoid making it worse.

Drive Down the Drama.

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

 


A Dent for Dana – 5/16/17

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


There was no hot water in the house when Dana got home from work, so she walked downstairs to the basement to find a mini flood. Apparently a neighbor had put so much yard waste into a sewer drain that – after a heavy rain – water got backed up…and flowed right into Dana’s basement – yuck.

More than that, the water rose high enough to burn out the hot water heater – a wet basement and no hot water…joy.

But Dana had a good attitude about it; the water and gas utilities came out quickly to find the cause of the problem and to diagnose the issue with the water heater. In the end, the yard waste was cleared out, the water level went down, and there was no other lasting damage – except for a dead water heater.

Dana contacted two companies, and the winner was selected to install the new water heater. The installers were nice, discussed the process with Dana, and worked independently in the basement as Dana worked upstairs. When they were finished, they left. How did Dana know they left? She saw them driving away.

So she checked the water, and it was starting to warm. Then she went downstairs to look at the beautiful new water heater, and it had a big dent in the bottom. Dana’s heart sunk. “I didn’t pay for a used water heater.” “I hope it’s not damaged inside.” “I hope it’s safe, and the gas lines aren’t compromised.”

Dana frantically began googling and after about 30 minutes realized it was probably just a cosmetic issue, but she was still frustrated, upset, disappointed – you name it. She called the company, and the manager said he’d check with the installers and call Dana back.

When they called back, the manager stated that they dented it during the install, but it was just cosmetic – no internal issues. He offered a discount to Dana on any future service.

While there are a lot of issues with this true customer service story, here’s where I’m focused. This customer had just purchased something new, something to address an issue she didn’t cause with the basement flooding. Yet, through it all she had a good attitude.

Then the employees dented the water heater, didn’t tell the customer, and drove off – leaving Dana having spent hundreds of dollars to alleviate an issue only to have that resolution cause her anxiety, frustration, and upset.

Nobody’s perfect; we all make mistakes; accidents happen (Yes, I’m rolling out every excuse – uh, “explanation”). But that does not mean that accidents are irrelevant.

We need to own up to our mistakes with customers; be willing to apologize – even for the accidents. Initiate the conversation with the customer and be willing to say “I’m sorry,” even before the customer knows there’s an issue.

It’s about being proactive and professional.

Learn from the Dent in Dana’s Water Heater.

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


Going from Negative to Nirvana – 5/2/17

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

I hate dealing with the phone company. Or the utility company. Don’t even get me started on the cable providers.

It’s often frustrating, prolonged, and not the least bit customer friendly.

When I had to embark on a conversation with one of the phone providers about issues with my landline billing, I called the customer service number on the bill. The person answered fairly quickly, was friendly, said they couldn’t help, and they would transfer me to someone who could. The phone rang twice, and a different employee picked up.

I asked if the first employee had explained my issue, and she said “No.” So I explained everything again from scratch. She, too, was friendly, and she, too, couldn’t help. She worked in the wireless area, and my question was about my office landline, so she had to transfer me.

The phone rang once, and it went into a queue. Thankfully it was answered in less than one minute by Jeffrey. As with the other employees, he was very friendly and greeted me professionally. I asked if the second employee had explained my issue, and Jeffrey said “No, unfortunately I didn’t receive a warm transfer.” I told him I was frustrated about having to keep repeating the same issue, and he apologized; then I explained everything again from scratch.

This is when the negative experience went to positive. Here are several things Jeffrey did:

  • He was patient with my description of the issue.
  • He asked questions to clarify my concern and related need.
  • He offered a resolution but asked if he could put me on hold for 2 minutes to confirm with his supervisor.
  • I was on hold less than 2 minutes.
  • He clarified the resolution and confirmed I wanted to go that route.
  • He asked if I had time to stay on the line for him to make the account changes.
  • During downtime (when the system was processing), he asked about my business, my location, sports interests based on my location, etc. He shared a little about himself as well.
  • He told me what e-mails I would start receiving from the company and confirmed I’d received them.
  • He sent me an e-mail from his account so I’d have his contact information for follow-up.
  • He told me what next steps would occur and within what timeframe.
  • He was patient with my numerous questions and didn’t close until he confirmed I had all the questions answered.
  • He closed by thanking me for my business and reminded me to please contact him when a certain item was shipped so he could help me with the final steps.

 
This was a situation that started with two friendly people but a lousy experience. Then one employee patiently, proactively, and personally turned it all around.

Find ways for your company to better communicate internally so the customer has a better experience. And learn lessons from Jeffrey to move from negativity to customer service nirvana.

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