teamwork

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

Light Up the Room – 7/3/18

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


Maybe you are one of those people. Maybe you work with or are friends with one of those people. You know the kind of person I’m referring to; it’s the person who lights up the room. Literally, the positivity, the tone of the conversation, and the energy of the room become more vibrant, more pleasant, more fun, and more enjoyable.

The people who light up the room make the environment better, and seemingly any topic or conversation or point of debate is seen through different, more positive and open lenses.

Whether we’re trying to be a good team player with our co-workers or trying to address the customer’s issues, needs, or goals, so much of how well we do is dependent on whether or not we are someone who turns up the wattage.

The people who light up the room seem to have certain traits and behaviors. They smile more. They tend to move more. They GO TO people as opposed to expecting people to go to them. They seem to connect with others and connect people with others. They’re looking around the room, not operating with blinders on; yet they somehow make each person feel exceptionally important. People who light up the room know how to use their body language to convey openness and interest. Their arms move and rarely stay folded. They ask and inquire. They convey appreciation and say thanks.

If you want to be a great team member or provide great customer service, think about the environment that you are creating for those around you. Think about the impact that you have on the tone of the conversation.

Think about how you can light up the room.

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Of Ross, Unagi, and the Attacking Customer – 6/19/18

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If you’ve ever watched the TV sitcom called Friends, you may remember that one of the characters was named Ross. In one episode, he is trying to educate some of his female friends (who just took a self-defense course) on a concept he calls Unagi. Basically, to Ross, this is a concept that would help him anticipate when he was about to be attacked. Once attacked, then he could use his karate. Of course, Ross got his terms confused; he should have said Zanshin; instead he used Unagi – a Japanese word for freshwater eel.

Ross also wasn’t particularly good at Unagi or karate, as later in the episode his Friends “attacked” him when his Unagi failed, and they got him in a submission hold.

In the world of customer service, it would be great if we had Unagi. It would be great if we had some kind of a radar that could anticipate that customer who is going to attack us or bully us into getting what they want.

Unfortunately, for the most part, Unagi does not exist. However, these are 3 different tactics to consider when you’re faced with a customer potentially trying to bully his way to a particular outcome:

Restrain – Hold back on the urge to verbally fight back with personal attacks against the customer, blaming them for things that have happened in the situation. Once we heighten our emotional level and try to match theirs, usually we’re going to end up having a situation get even worse. Restrain a little bit instead of reacting with defensiveness and our own personal feelings.

Redirect – Consider ways to get the conversation away from the personal attack and away from their solutions to focus more on a scenario where you are redirecting the conversation by asking questions. You’re trying to learn details. You’re trying to understand specifics, and all the while by asking your questions you’re not only getting the conversation to focus on what you want to focus on, but you’re also taking control of the conversation.

Recuse – At some point, the conversation gets too heated; it’s too personal; you may need to recuse yourself from the conversation. This does not mean to ignore the customer and the issue. What it does mean is that sometimes it’s best to bring in a co-worker, bring in a supervisor, bring in somebody else and recuse yourself from the situation. Oftentimes that mere pause for the handoff can deescalate the emotions. By bringing in someone else, it gets the focus off of you and the dynamics with you and the customer. Sometimes the customer feels they’re making progress through a resolution process by viewing the next person (especially if you position the handoff this way) as a key next step in the process.

Why you might not have Unagi, find ways to restrain, redirect, and – if necessary – recuse yourself when you’re dealing with the attacking customer.

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Inflate Your Team – 4/17/18

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I was talking with a friend recently about their job change. They’re still working in the same company, still doing the same type of technology support, but their position had been moved from a user area to the information technology department.

This person seemed happier in their job than they had ever been before. They smiled more during conversations. They seemed more relaxed and at peace. The workload was the same, the content of the work was the same, but there was one big difference – the people she worked side-by-side with every day were different.

In her other department, even if she started the day with the best attitude possible, by the end of the day her motivation was gone, she was worn out, she felt times of stress, and she often felt down.

In her new department, she ended the day with more energy, she was generally happy, the tension and stress weren’t there anymore, and she felt at peace about the accomplishments of the day’s work.

I’m sure she herself had something to do with how she felt in this new department, but just as big an impact on her were the people that she worked with in each place. In retrospect, she viewed her co-workers in the first department as Deflators. The people in her new department are Inflators.

In the previous department, staff talked negatively, didn’t plan well, made every issue a big issue, were concerned more with their own image than team performance, communicated expectations poorly, and then complained when hidden expectations were not met. These were the Deflators.

Her new department included people who were very professional, well-organized, understood their common goals, enjoyed each other’s company in fun activities like fantasy football, were happy to jump in and help co-workers, and generally functioned as a team.

Take a look back at what caused one group to be considered Deflators and the other to be considered Inflators. Then look at yourself. What impact do you have on your co-workers with your attitude, your planning, your willingness to help, and your focus on others?

Make sure you’re a model of great teamwork. Be an Inflator.

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