success

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

You Do Know Jack - 6/4/19


Have you ever had a co-worker who causes more problems than they solve? Simple things they do are often, from a procedure standpoint, correct. But the way they handle situations makes them come off as indifferent. Let’s call this co-worker “Jack.” Even though certain actions by Jack may seem innocent Read more

How to Give the Right Kind of “No” - 5/28/19


In a perfect world, you never need to say “No” to the customer. But as we all know, this is not a perfect world. There are a lot of issues in the world, and there are a lot of issues in customer service. Our companies are not perfect, our Read more

Make it Crystal Clear - 5/21/19


Sometimes we communicate so well, and sometimes we don’t communicate as well as we think we do. When you’re trying to set or manage another person’s expectations, what you say may be very clear to you, but the reality is it may not be clear to the other person. Read more

Harvey Wrote the Book on Focus...and Golf - 5/14/19


In Harvey Penick's Little Red Book, the famous golf instructor provides many key tips about golf that just as well could apply to life in general. One such tip is the following: Once you address the golf ball, hitting it has got to be the most important thing in 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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