success

Don’t Assume because... - 8/13/19


You've probably heard this statement growing up. Your parents said, “Don’t assume, because it makes…you look bad.” Or something like that… Recently my laptop screen died, and since it was an older laptop, I decided to go ahead and buy a new one instead of paying to have the screen Read more

Patience Leads to Positivity - 8/6/19


Thank you for your patience. That’s a statement I enjoy saying…when I am the customer. When I’m trying to learn something and I’m about to go into a process, I want to have a feel for what the whole process involves. Over the years, I’ve gotten tired of feeling like Read more

Back to Reality...for Customer Expectations - 7/30/19


Have you ever walked into a patient registration area of a hospital and seen a sign that said “if you’ve been waiting longer than 15 minutes, please see the receptionist?” Have you ever called a customer service number and been told by a recording that “the average hold time is Read more

For Excellence to Happen, Get Engaged - 7/23/19


The customer was throwing an absolute fit in the lobby. Sitting among several other customers waiting for her number to be called, she was raising her voice and letting out the occasional expletive about the lengthy wait time. An employee sitting behind the counter thought to herself: I’m going Read more

Libby Listened to Serve - 7/16/19


Libby was new to her role with the organization. She had never been a customer service representative in a call center before, but she was hired because of her attitude. She wanted to learn, enjoyed working with people, and could carry on a conversation with a wall. After going through Read more

Chris Got Noticed for All the Right Reasons - 7/9/19


Chris was working through a temporary agency, and he got a job at a warehouse. He was packaging items to be shipped out, and his shift didn't start until 7:30 a.m. Chris always got there a little bit early because of the bus schedule, and he hated just sitting Read more

What Does “No News” Mean? Here’s a Quick Story - 7/2/19


Steven was trying to make the purchase of his new used car official, so he could get license tags for his State. In order for the State to allow him to put the vehicle in his name, he had to submit paperwork to prove that the prior owner (from Read more

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

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

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


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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