story

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

Customer for Life – The Final Step - 4/16/19


Two weeks ago, we addressed the Third Step of keeping a Customer for Life: Address what will keep them. Now, we’re sharing the Fourth and Final Step. To have a Customer for Life, you have to grow your relationship with them. While the 3rd step is the Read more

Use the Actions of Empathy - 4/9/19


I firmly believe that the most important personal trait of someone in customer service is empathy. If empathy is understanding the other person, then it’s very difficult to truly serve someone that you don’t understand. Particularly when they’re upset or irate, being empathetic and getting them to Read more

Customer for Life – The Third Step - 4/2/19


Two weeks ago, we addressed the Second Step of keeping a Customer for Life: Never let a relationship go stale – keep the communication going. Now, we’re sharing the Third Step. To have a customer for life, you have to address what will keep them. Read more

Facial Recognition is the Future of Customer Service - 3/26/19


According to a recent New York Times article, facial recognition is the future of retail customer service. A trend in technology for retail businesses is to utilize facial recognition technology in order to better know who is entering your business. The idea is that if somebody within Read more

Customer for Life – The Second Step - 3/19/19


Two weeks ago, we shared a Customer Service Tip on how to get (and keep!) a Customer for Life. We addressed the First Step, Knowing what you need to know about the other person. Now, we’re sharing the Second Step. To develop a relationship with anyone, there has to Read more

Employee Runs for a Dog Run - 3/12/19


I was never a Boy Scout. I mean in the literal sense, but also somewhat in the figurative sense, but I digress. After years of telling myself that I needed something to help my dog get exercise outside without worrying about him trying to dig under a fence and Read more

Customer for Life – The First Step - 3/5/19


This should be the goal, right? That our clients today will be our clients tomorrow and well into the future. That their loyalty grows, their business with us grows, their referrals grow, and it is all part of a relationship that grows and develops over time. But what’s the Read more

Retrain Your Brain - 2/26/19


Admit it. You thought about it. You thought: Why in the world did the customer try to assemble that before reading the instructions? Why would they drive all the way down here instead of just checking the website? Why would they go through the drive-thru when they can deposit using Read more

Look Up, or Look Out! - 2/19/19


The clerk called out “next in line!”, and Frannie went to the counter. “Can I have your name?,” the employee asked, but she stared at her computer screen while asking. Frannie stated her name, the time of her appointment, and noted the reason for the appointment. Staring at the screen, Read more

Be Inquisitive – Don’t Interrogate – 10/18/16

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


One of the greatest skills someone in customer service can develop is the ability to ask questions – the right questions in the right way at the right time for the right purpose.

Asking questions allows you to control conversations, stay productive, learn a great deal, establish rapport, make the other person feel important, and get you what you need to help the customer.

As a part of a mystery shopping engagement with a client, we have recently run into two different employee examples of asking questions.

Rita is excellent. She knows the questions she has to walk through, but prior to asking the caller the questions to uncover their true need, she stated “Is it OK if I ask you some questions? I just want to get a better idea of how we can help you.” Then she moved into her questions, occasionally doing follow-up to what the caller had said. Rita came off to the caller in a positive manner – inquisitive, caring, patient, and helpful.

Bill wasn’t so great. After hearing an opening statement from the caller, he started asking question after question, never following up to what the caller stated. Never stating “that’s helpful” or “interesting point.” The questions always followed his script, and the conversation didn’t flow. If sounded more like a tennis match with a grunt with each swing of the racket than a flowing conversation. Bill came across as impatient – like he was interrogating the caller.

It’s great to ask questions of the customer – that’s how you learn; that’s how you understand the specific situation to better provide the specific answer or solution or product. But set up the questions with a statement of what you’re about to do and why; then let the questions flow as part of the conversation.

Make this skill a true strength for you and a positive experience for your customer.

Be Inquisitive – Don’t Interrogate.

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A Story of Above and Beyond, Olives, Ellies, and Giant Babies – 9/20/16

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A giant baby store – let me rephrase – a baby store that’s huge (like a big box retailer, not a store for giant babies) can be intimidating for first-timers. So much merchandise, so many options, so much selection – all to care for an 8-pound little human.

These stores can also be intimidating for those who are very experienced with babies – although the most recent personal experience was decades ago. To whom am I referring? Yes, grandmothers.

Ellie is such a person – a wonderful grandmother who was invited to a neighbor’s baby shower, which meant a visit to the dreaded baby superstore. When Ellie entered, she thought she knew what she wanted, but she was overwhelmed with the store size and selection. Standing there in the cavernous confines of the store – looking around, partly amazed and partly bewildered, Ellie was greeted by Olive – an employee.

Olive asked Ellie if she could help, and Ellie described the first item she needed; then Olive walked with Ellie to the other side of the store and found the gift. Olive asked if Ellie needed anything else. There was one more item, and that resulted in a trek to a different part of the store.

Then Olive walked Ellie to the front to check-out, and as they reached the cashiers, Ellie noticed a table with giftwrap. Ellie asked what the table was for, and Olive noted that customers are welcome to wrap their gifts for free after purchase.

“Wow! That’s a great idea. Since you did such a good job of helping me with everything else,” Ellie said, “maybe you could wrap for me, too!” Ellie and Olive laughed, Ellie said thanks for the help, and she paid for her items.

As Ellie got her items together to leave the store, Olive showed up, greeted Ellie, and said “I’ll be happy to wrap those for you!”

“Oh no. That’s not necessary,” Ellie replied. “I was just joking.”

“But it was a great idea – I’m happy to help,” Olive finished.

So Olive wrapped the gifts, Ellie went on her way, and there was a story set to be retold numerous times.

Service Excellence is often about treating people special. Treat a customer special by doing for them that which they could do for themselves.

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Where Do You Hang Your Customer Service Hat? – 8/30/16

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When I work with Billy (one of our tech team members) on a survey, he is ultra responsive to e-mails, replying quickly, answering my questions, and providing guidance.

Karen is a joy to work with on project. She’s very organized, exceptional at planning, and before I ask for a status or request an update, she sends it to me – as if she’s reading my mind.

Robin juggles many balls as the office manager. She’s got billing, staff supervision, issues with office equipment, and other activities to address on a daily basis. But when she’s talking to a tenant, it’s as if she has only one job – making that individual feel like the most important person in the world.

When I talk with Mary Elizabeth and share a potential partnering opportunity, she’s very excited – for ME! To her, it’s about what she can do to help me, not what she can get out of it.

Chess is always trying to make things better. When he asks a question, comes up with an idea, or makes a suggestion, it’s always done to improve the service to his clients, develop his staff, or support me in some way.

These are my quick perspectives on five individuals I work with all the time. Some are partners, some are customers, and in some cases – I’m the customer. But regardless of what the main relationship is, at some point I’m serving them or they’re serving me. It’s an ongoing customer service mindset they have regardless of whom they’re addressing.

The perspectives I have on them are based on my assessment of our interactions – my evaluation of their approach to communicating with and serving others.

What do your clients and co-workers think of you when assessing your service? What’s your personal customer service brand?

Identify where you “hang your hat” in customer service – make it what makes you different/special.

Hone your own customer service brand.

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