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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

Great Customer Service, and the Luge – 2/13/18

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


I was watching an event at the Olympics – it was the luge. That’s where crazy people called lugers lay on their back on a sled and fly 80 miles per hour on a sheet of ice – did I mention that they’re CRAZY?!

Actually, it looks like fun. I’d love to give it a shot…only if they wrapped me in bubble wrap and promised I wouldn’t go over 30 miles an hour – I’m not THAT crazy…but I digress.

The lugers make four runs down the track, totaling the times from each run to see who wins. It’s not the best 1 of 4; it’s the best set of combined times.

Back to the event – the final luger was the leader after 3 rounds. He had won the Gold Medal in this event at the previous two Olympics. And on the way down the track during his 4th and final run, he maintained his lead…until he went sideways. It wasn’t a full 180 degree pivot, but it was enough to cost him the race – his last run was so bad that he went from 1st to 5th – no medal for him.

The announcers talked about the importance of consistency in the luge. It’s not about one great run – anyone can do that; but to win the Gold, you have to be consistently great.

Now, how do we build consistency in customer service? How do we make sure the three WOWs we provide aren’t overshadowed by the one stinker of an experience that we offer?

Consistency comes from an ongoing attitude of caring for the other. It comes from practice – what to say, how to respond, how to engage, how to resolve. It comes from identifying those situations that do or could challenge you the most (even if they’re only 5% or 10% of what you encounter) and developing approaches to deal with them.

Consistency comes from creating standards, templates, patterns, methods – and utilizing them over and over again. And consistency comes from doing things in a way that’s consistent with your values – who you want to be with and for others. To sum it up, consistency in performance comes from consistency in actions and attitudes.

Put the tools and habits in place to be great at customer service. Find consistency.

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Are You a Debbie Downer or a Debbie Developer? – 11/14/17

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


We’ve all heard of Debbie Downer (actually, if you haven’t, that’s probably a good thing). Debbie Downer was a character in “Saturday Night Live” – a person whose general attitude and actions brought down the environment, made everyone depressed – left others just sitting there…bummed.

However, I want to share something about a person of the same first name that I’ll refer to as “Debbie Developer.”

Debbie Developer is a client of mine (name’s been changed – I’m sure you’re shocked). She’s a training/development specialist, but much of her work over the past year has been with a new Service Excellence program. She’s well-respected by the CEO and has launched and successfully completed several large-scale initiatives over the past 2-3 years, in particular – initiatives that often go beyond the assumed responsibilities of someone in her role. And she does all this with a great customer service-oriented attitude.

Although her job is to develop skills in people, she also develops programs, she develops relationships, and she develops passion and energy around important projects. Here are three examples of how she develops with a customer service approach:

  • When she walks into a meeting, she’s curious, asks lots of questions, comes up with ideas. When someone comes up with a great idea, she literally says “That’s a great idea!” When someone asks an interesting question, she says “That’s an interesting question.” She engages, acknowledges, and reinforces others. She doesn’t just think positive thoughts – she conveys them to others.
  • When she’s given a task or project, she asks others how they would approach it, and she sends updates to keep them in the loop and let them know their input is requested and needed.
  • She’s quick to respond to e-mails and voice mails; in e-mails, she always starting with a greeting and ending with some positive statement or enthusiastic “Thanks!” She often calls instead of e-mails if there’s any need for dialogue or detail to best answer the co-worker’s e-mailed question.

 

This is simply a quick example of a person who exemplifies customer service excellence. She does it by doing the right things with the right attitude. She does it by treating others the right way.

Don’t be a Debbie Downer. Be a Debbie Developer.

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The Bad Host – 10/24/17

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


True story: The young couple and their child walked into the restaurant and stood for a minute at the host stand. When the host arrived, she immediately and quickly said “I can’t seat you right now. I’ve got to clean a table, and you’re just going to have to wait.”

Now read that statement again out loud (if you can); read it without a smile; read it with a high tone of voice; read it very fast.

This was something I witnessed several times in various forms over 45 minutes. The employee was obviously flustered. She seemed overwhelmed, and she was letting every customer know through her interaction. No greeting; no smile; no welcoming attitude – it was blunt, fast, direct.

When she made her statement to this family, the wife politely said, “Thank you for letting us know.” She then turned around and walked out, followed by the child and husband. Two other families walked out. Lost business, hurt reputation for the restaurant, and probably a couple postings on social media followed.

Who knows what the root cause of the issue was for this employee. Maybe she was just having a bad day; a co-worker or employee could have been rude to her. She may have been short-staffed or overwhelmed with the number of guests arriving. Maybe she was just a bad fit for that role.

Regardless of the reason for the issue, she should not have taken it out on customers just walking in the restaurant, hoping to have a relaxing, tasty meal with family and friends.

Sometimes we just need to be more self-aware when things aren’t going our way. It’s fine for us to have emotions – we’re all human. But also being human we have the ability and responsibility not to take out these frustrations on others – particularly innocent customers and co-workers.

Don’t be the Bad Host – check your emotions before connecting with others.

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