success

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

Take a Starring Role – 6/13/17

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


Oftentimes during Service Excellence training, I will ask participants to identify companies known for great customer service. People often bring up Chick-fil-A, Disney, and some high-end Retail Stores. We’ll occasionally get QuikTrip mentioned or an organization like Amazon.

Then the question is asked: What about the experience makes you consider that organization to have great customer service?

I ask this question because I want participants to use their own personal life experiences to paint a picture of a great experience for their customers. Once attendees can envision what a great experience looks like from the customer’s perspective, it’s easier for them to understand what the experience needs to look like in their own company.

Essentially, I want them to picture those actions like they’re watching a movie – then envision that the great experience is happening in their own organization. Next, I want the participants to picture themselves playing a starring role in that movie.

Based on a recent client brainstorming session, these are examples of actions and attitudes of employees in companies that provide great customer service:

  • Staff engage customers
  • Staff share their name, ask the customer’s name, and personalize the conversation
  • Staff act like they’re happy to see the customer (it’s a great 1st impression)
  • Staff smile and use a positive tone of voice
  • Staff have a mindset of treating customers as “Guests”
  • Staff understand processes
  • Staff are empowered to take action on behalf of the customer
  • Staff go the extra mile for the customer
  • Customers are treated like they’re #1
  • Answers are quick, helpful, professional, and responsive
  • There is a plan for how to solve problems
  • Issues are resolved – quickly
  • Customers feel heard
  • Staff take pride in the workplace – even simply by keeping the area clean
  • Common sense is more important than policy
  • Before closing, staff make sure they addressed all the customer’s needs
  • When thanked by the customer, staff say “My pleasure,” and mean it.

 
These are just some of the actions and attitudes that employees can adopt to deliver a great experience.

Use these tips, and imagine yourself being the star of a movie about your organization and the great service it provides.

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Self-Scouting – When it’s all about You – 5/23/17

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Every professional football team scouts its next opponent. To scout, you look at the other team. What’s their style of play? Who are their stars? What are their tendencies? What are their strengths and weaknesses?

The better the team knows its opponent, the better it can plan to perform its best – trying to mitigate the other’s strengths and capitalizing on its weaknesses.

But these teams also “self-scout.” They analyze their own team as if they were the upcoming opponent. They evaluate themselves just like an opponent would do so. It’s a way for the team to assess and improve itself. Self-scouting is a tool used to continually stay self-aware, fresh, and improvement-oriented.

So if you’d like to be a little more self-aware, fresh, and improvement-oriented, try a little self-scouting.

What is your communication style? Are you energetic or flat? Are you proactive or reactive? Do you ask, or are you passive? Are you overly chatty or concise? Then ask yourself whether any aspect of your style could be improved to have more effective outcomes, more efficient conversations, more relationship-building rapport.

In what ways are you a star? Is it your energy, attention to detail, follow-through, or organizational skills? Does your team-oriented way of supporting others or your natural method of engaging people make you stand out? Answer these questions, and find ways to “Strengthen Your Strength.”

What are your tendencies? Do you talk over the customer or – conversely – let them go on talking forever? Do you think too much about other things (or do other things) when engaged with the customer? Does your patience wane late in the day? Are you too critical of yourself? Of others? Of the customer?

Getting better requires that we understand how we are today – our style, our strengths, our tendencies.

Do a little self-scouting.

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Share a Story of Success – 4/18/17

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Rebecca was continuing through the cycle of life, and she was at the stage as a mom where her teenager was looking at colleges. Have you ever been with a teenager on a college tour? Rebecca had not, but after going on 3-4 with her child, there was one aspect that was especially interesting.

After a 20-30 minute slide presentation from an Admissions counselor at the college, the prospective students and their families were broken up into groups for a tour of campus.

Rebecca noticed that the groups she and her teenager were in (like the other groups) were led by current students. These students were typically managing 12-20 high schoolers and their parents, navigating throughout the campus – in and out of buildings – and talking the whole time. These tour guides seemed exceptionally knowledgeable, answered questions comfortably, were high-energy, and had the amazing ability to walk backwards for 60 minutes straight while describing the campus…without falling down – AMAZING!

While these college students were amazing in their tour guide capabilities, they also had one other subtle positive characteristic. Rebecca noticed that she began envisioning the guides as the students that her child would attend college with, be friends with, and be surrounded by during her college years. These were students that she and her child could relate to, and that made the comfort with as well as the confidence in the college grow.

So how does this relate to customer service?

Oftentimes our customers are like the uncertain parent or the indecisive high schooler – there’s not great confidence or comfort. Maybe there’s a little anxiety or uncertainty.

We often respond to that uncertainty by describing next steps or focusing on providing the soothing tone of voice – these are all good things. But here’s the lesson from the college tours.

Also address those emotions of uncertainty, lack of comfort, and anxiety by painting a picture for the customer of other customers similar to them who had success.

“I was working with another new client last week on a similar issue, and this is what we did to resolve things.”

“We’ve had other patients who were dealing with a similar concern, and our doctors and nurses were great at diagnosing the true issue so that we were able to help them feel better.”

“One of our other season ticket holders last year made a similar request, and we were able to find an option that worked for them, so I’m confident we’ll be able to help you.”

Use these examples to see how to paint that picture for customers that puts them in a place where a vision of their success is more clear.

To build the customer’s confidence, share a story of success about a similar customer.

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