success

Assuming the Solution – The Great Time Waster - 12/3/19


Here are 3 customer service scenarios for a college IT department: A staff member calls in and says that they’re having trouble logging in.  The employee responds:  “I can reset your password for you.” A faculty member calls IT and says: “I need help showing a video during class Read more

Become a Best Practice - 11/26/19


When evaluating the service that our clients provide to their customers, we look at all sorts of things – from employee attitudes to knowledge, from service skills to procedures, systems, and technology.  We look at navigation to and within the facilities, and we look at layout and signage and Read more

Serve with Integrity - 11/19/19


I’ve been reading a book recently about a Charlotte-based service company, and the author of the book conveys the CEO’s perspective on management, culture, and serving customers. At the back of the book, the author noted the organization’s Core Values. They are honesty, integrity, fairness, and respect. I literally Read more

Bring Out the Best - 11/12/19


As a management consultant, oftentimes my job is to identify the key issues, determine the root causes, and provide solutions. We do a lot of strategy work, we conduct many research projects, and we train and train and train our clients. However, improvement usually involves pointing out what needs Read more

Know What You Don’t Know - 11/5/19


Twitter, Instagram, Facebook – yak, yak, yak.  In the social media world, there’s an awful lot of talk that goes on and a lot of opinions shared.  But sometimes those opinions are not based on any level of deep knowledge. Sometimes they are based on assumptions. In the world of Read more

Service, Sports, and Self-Control - 10/29/19


When I was growing up, I played a lot of golf. I practiced a lot, and I could score pretty well. However, when something went bad, when I hit a tee shot into the woods or dumped an iron shot into a lake, I would become unglued. Then every Read more

What it Means to Respect Someone’s Time - 10/22/19


Whether it is with a client when I realize that the meeting might go long, or possibly it’s in a workshop where I’m trying to end one conversation so we can move on to the next topic, there is a phrase I’ve used many times, and I mean it Read more

Be the Director of First Impressions - 10/15/19


Whether it’s in a hotel or in a coffee shop or a bank branch, first impressions mean a lot. First impressions mean “this is who we are” and “this is what you should expect.” First impressions mean “this is our definition of excellence” and “this is how much we Read more

People will Pay for Customer Service - 10/8/19


Sometimes all you need to read is the first paragraph in an article. Here’s the title from Business Insider: Amazon charges sellers as much as $5,000 a month for customer service if they want a guarantee that they'll be able to talk to a real person. The first paragraph reads: Amazon Read more

New Ways to Celebrate National Customer Service Week - 10/1/19


The week of October 7 is National Customer Service Week. No, this wasn’t another holiday invented by Hallmark, so you have to go to work. Hopefully that’s the good news! This week is typically thought of as a time to rejuvenate relationships with customers, to refocus your efforts on treating Read more

Be SomeBODY to Your Customer – 12/18/18

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


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 a cup of coffee when she’s there.

At times, Jenny goes to get take out, and she has a special place where the family loves its Philly cheesesteaks. This is not in Philadelphia, and this is not necessarily one of those great hole-in-the-wall eateries. It’s essentially a chain restaurant at a mall, but Jenny goes there because she likes the Philly cheesesteaks, and she enjoys chatting with Mitch; he’s basically the point person at the restaurant, filling orders and engaging the customers.

Jenny can get hay anywhere, but she especially enjoys going where she’s going. She’s not just there to get someTHING, but she goes there because she interacts with someBODY that she likes. She is literally paying for the hay, but she is also paying for the experience and the rapport and the enjoyment of talking to Marie.

She could literally get a Philly cheesesteak at places closer to her than the 15-mile drive to the mall. However, she enjoys the food, and she enjoys chatting with Mitch. She enjoys not just getting the THINGS she ordered, but she enjoys talking to someBODY pleasant while she’s waiting on her meal.

It is not all about the product, people!

Even if that’s what the customer may be literally paying for, in reality, many customers are also paying for the experience. They’re not just buying someTHING, but they want to have a good experience with someBODY.

Even though you might sell a product or service – a meal for the horses or a meal for the family – be SomeBODY to your customer.

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A Representative Success! – 12/11/18

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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 customers so well that when she sees their phone number pop up as they call her, she immediately knows who it is that’s calling. She immediately recalls: Jane is a cat person; Bob’s been having a hard time lately. She then starts the conversations by asking about their kids or their family or their work or their pets.

She thinks of these nuggets and utilizes them for those she cares about – her customers.

There are thousands of individual products and hundreds of pieces of equipment and parts that her company sells and services. But she is exceptionally knowledgeable about the details such that she not only knows what the product is, but she also knows which clients might be interested in which products based on which promotions.

She is fortunate to be in a company where the culture is more about relationship-building and development than it is about quick handle times on the call. That positive cultural focus enables her to be patient with the customers in-the-moment as well as to think long-term about how she handles the call today and the impact that will have on her relationship and sales moving into the future.

She communicates frequently and freely with her regional sales managers, and they have a clear understanding of when and why one would communicate with a particular client versus the other.

The skills and attributes of this individual are the skills and attributes of somebody who truly cares about her customers and cares about her job as well. These are attributes that focus on long-term thinking, and the result is long-term success.

Learn from this representative’s best practices!

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Vive La Différence! – 7/24/18

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


Even though my last name is French, I don’t speak French. So despite this Tip’s title, this Tip will definitely be written in English. This Tip is about understanding differences and benefiting from those differences. Here are some scenarios for you to consider…

There’s a difference between walking to a customer in a waiting room and sitting in the chair next to them to give them an update as opposed to hovering over them as you share the information.

There’s a difference in making eye contact with a customer waiting in line, smiling, and saying “Yes, I’d be happy to help you now” as opposed to yelling out “Next!” while your head is looking down at the computer.

There’s a difference between standing up and coming around to the side of the counter to engage the customer versus remaining in your chair and waiting for them to ask for help.

There’s a difference between walking up to somebody who enters a room and extending your hand to shake theirs as opposed to remaining where you are with your arms crossed or your eyes fixed on your phone.

There’s a difference between turning your computer monitor so the customer can see what you’re doing and pointing out items on the screen versus just staring at it intently on your own while your customer waits for you to ask the next question.

There’s a difference between an employee pulling up information on their phone or laptop and showing you the pricing or the inventory or the product specs versus the employee finding the information and simply telling you.

These are all examples of differences in employee behavior in face-to-face situations. Whereas the answer or the product or the service or the solution may oftentimes be the same, the first example in each one of these scenarios results in a far more positive customer experience. Those first examples show more engaged employees, more pleasant environments, more proactive actions, and more customer-focused approaches.

When you’re thinking about how to handle certain situations, share information, or make that great first impression, remember there’s more than one way to handle that encounter.

Vive La Différence!

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