success

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

Stop Rolling Your Eyes - 5/7/19


Most of our customer service tips offer advice and guidance. But advice and guidance is useless if the individual receiving it is not willing to listen, learn the theory behind it, and try to apply what they’ve heard or learned. I’ve personally facilitated hundreds of training sessions with clients over Read more

Should you tell the customer? The Employee’s Dilemma - 4/30/19


Last week we looked at the dilemma that many companies face – When there is an issue that is going to happen, should they tell the customer? This week, let’s address that same question from the employee’s perspective. I personally experience employees struggling with this question when I’m in Read more

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

The Customer Service Wreck that Wasn’t – 12/16/14 TOW

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The car was at the dealership, sitting in the parking lot waiting to have the front-end aligned. Nobody was in the car, so the car was minding its own business, drinking in the midday sun. Then an 18-wheeler came by and side-swiped it, making one long dentscrape (my new word) down the entire passenger side of the car.

Now I could regale you with everything that went wrong from that point forward at the dealership (since the dentscrape happened to MY car). Instead, I’ll tell you a quick and positive story about something interesting that the body shop does for customers. FYI – This GOOD body shop is NOT the dealer’s body shop.

There were several selling points about the good body shop, including great reviews online, multiple before/after picture examples, convenience, and great interactions with the staff when trying to understand the repair and insurance processes. The one selling point I’d like to focus on is this – they take pictures.

Every evening they take pictures of the car and post them to the web to a URL only given to that particular car owner. Therefore, every night I can check on my baby (er…car) and see the progress made. This may sound like a little thing, but look at what it does:

  • First, it’s a touch point, so the company is in contact with the customer daily – keeping the relationship warm and the dialogue ongoing.
  • Second, the touch point is initiated by the customer (clicking on the URL with curiosity about their car), so there’s little labor involved in the touch.
  • Third, the openness of sharing photos builds trust in the process.
  • Fourth, there’s a comfort that’s imparted to the customer since there’s little fear of the unknown (the progress is made known through the pictures).
  • Fifth, the customer becomes confident because improvements are viewed, and the end point (the new-looking body of the car) becomes more clear over time.

Assuming you don’t work in a body shop, here are the lessons learned. Make it easy for the customer to know what’s going on with the project, service, issue, or product. Offer a “self-service” option to getting updates. Be open with progress and the process in order to build trust and comfort, and give them communications that paint a picture of success.

Show them the pictures that paint the story of success.

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How to Evaluate Yourself (Done v. Accomplishments) – 12/9/14 TOW

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How do you evaluate yourself? Too often in my work life (and sometimes, personal life), I’ve tended to evaluate myself based on what I’ve “Done.” I completed that project. I responded to those calls quickly. I sent that analysis out on time. I gave a speech to “X” number of people.

There are two issues with evaluating yourself in this manner. First – and it’s obvious – there’s a lot of “I” involved in those statements. They’re focused on self. Second, focusing on what you’ve “Done” focuses almost purely on production. It makes your evaluation all about the widgets you produced.

We need to evaluate ourselves to confirm we’re on the right path and identify where we need to improve, but we must do the evaluation the right way.

Base your evaluation on “Accomplishments.” This is different. First, in the world of customer service, your Accomplishments are the success you enable for others. By definition, customer service says that you’re serving the customer (or client, partner, stakeholder, fan, patient, account – whatever term you choose). Evaluating our success based on the impact we have on others forces us to KNOW THE IMPACT we have on others.

Second, it forces us to focus more on the quality of what we do, how we do it, and the outcomes we provide than on the task itself. You enable them to “enjoy a product,” to “relieve stress,” to have a “better quality of life,” to become “more successful.” Accomplishments are more outcomes-driven than the “Done” mentality of a focus on tasks.

When you evaluate whether you’re great at customer service, first think about your customers and the outcomes they desire. What are their goals, needs, and wants? Then think about whether you impact their desired outcomes.

When evaluating yourself, focus on what you Accomplish for others.

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Of Panthers, Bratwurst, and a Greater Purpose – 10/14/14 TOW

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I’m fortunate to be a season ticket holder of the Carolina Panthers NFL football team. At most games, I grab something to eat in the concourse before I go up to my seat, and the dynamics of the interactions with the staff at the food booths are usually VERY positive. Let me paint a picture…

First, I let my stomach guide me to the right booth (Will it be nachos, a burger, or bratwurst? Decisions, decisions…). Once I select the location – which typically has about 4-5 windows and lines of fans waiting to order, I choose the line, and begin slowly moving toward the front, taking baby steps after each customer is served – nothing special about the experience at this point.

But then it happens – a true customer service 21st century miracle! Are you ready? I get great customer service from (Are you REALLY ready?) people who are paid…NOTHING!

At almost every booth at every game, the booths are manned by volunteers. You can tell by their hats that they’re supporting a local high school marching band or a dance academy or some other organization. The “employees” are volunteers, but the organization gets a piece of the sales revenue.

When you encounter these volunteers, they ask you what you’d like, and they lean in to make sure they heard it correctly. These cashiers relay it to the co-workers to ensure they get the order passed on; the cashiers are always smiling, confirming your order. They’re joking with co-workers. There’s positivity EVERYWHERE!

They like their co-workers and care deeply about getting things right. “Now you wanted chili, is that right, sir?” or “Would you like extra jalapenos – no charge?” or “Was that a diet or regular?” or “Thanks much for coming! The condiments are in that silver station behind you. Enjoy the game!”

You might read this and ask “What’s impressive about this experience?”

These are people working for hours and hours in a tough industry – food services. They are not well-trained, they are on their feet for 4-5 hours at a time, and they’re dealing with sports fans – many of which are getting increasingly intoxicated as the game progresses.

Yet, the volunteers are positive. They convey appreciation. They work as a team with their co-workers. They listen, they confirm, then they get the order right…all without personally earning a dime.

So why are they so good? Because they know the greater purpose in what they do – supporting their kids and the activities their kids love. They know the benefits of their work and who benefits. They and their co-workers have the same goal. They WANT to do a good job for you…and for their kids.

To create a great customer experience, learn from these food service volunteers. Find the greater purpose in what you do.

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