technology

Customers Appreciate Your Kindness - 7/7/20


The 3rd grade teacher had a phrase she used with her students. She wanted them to be “kind-hearted.” It was a phrase she used over and over again; no matter what she taught, this was an overriding emphasis on how she would communicate with students and how she expected Read more

6 Common Sense Responses to Customer Service Encounters - 6/30/20


I’ve run into this personally and professionally, and it drives me batty! Sometimes there’s a lack of common sense in the customer service provided by companies. And often that lack of common sense is due to the preference of a business to provide service in a certain method, to Read more

Caring for Co-workers through COVID - 6/23/20


A recent Buffer.com study asked employees who are working remotely due to COVID-19, what was their greatest struggle. While there were many different responses, the Top 2 totaled 40% of the struggles identified - Loneliness and Collaboration/Effective Communication. When you hear something like this - that individuals working remotely are Read more

React, Reflect, Respond - 6/16/20


Sometimes you can’t help it. You gasp. You get upset. You get angry. You have this look of shock on your face. You say something defensive. You react. I love people who are in customer service roles. These are the folks that people say things to in the business world Read more

Serving the Technology-challenged Customer - 6/9/20


The IT helpdesk representative was on a call with a customer, and in trying to troubleshoot an issue, the employee said, “Let’s start by opening Windows.” The customer said “OK,” and there were 2 minutes of silence. The employee twice asked, “Are you still there?” with no response. Finally, Read more

Address the 4 P’s for a Customer-friendly COVID-19 Walk-in Experience


This is not about what is medically most effective – please see the CDC for those guidelines.  This is about how to help your customers have a great experience as an onsite visitor at your facility or storefront.  For a comprehensive approach to a customer-friendly COVID-19 experience, address the Read more

The Deeper Reason to Transform the Customer Experience - 6/2/20


Why are government offices putting up plexiglass between their staff and their customers?  Why is restaurant takeout being done in such a way that is contactless and yet still fosters engagement between the employee and customer?  Why have so many traditionally onsite businesses converted to delivery businesses? The answer is Read more

Motivating Yourself when Working Remotely - 5/26/20


For any of us who are working remotely, we are finding ourselves more and more having to be self-motivated. And while many people are naturally self-motivated, others need to have that manager who gives us the encouragement. Many of us need to have that ongoing informal dialogue with co-workers Read more

Defining Organizational Agility in a Time of Uncertainty


You may have heard references in management theory over the many decades about the importance of a business being an “Agile” organization, but oftentimes that is a word thrown out in generalities to illustrate vague points about how organizations should be managed and make decisions.  In this time of Read more

Change Management – Facts about Past Decisions Reduce Fear about Future Decisions


Change can result in fear.  Particularly where change is thrust upon someone very suddenly, it can create shock or disbelief.  Sometimes that change is not something an organization can plan for; it therefore cannot adequately prepare its employees for what’s ahead...at least initially. In this COVID world, Change Management is Read more

Serving the Technology-challenged Customer – 6/9/20

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

The IT helpdesk representative was on a call with a customer, and in trying to troubleshoot an issue, the employee said, “Let’s start by opening Windows.” The customer said “OK,” and there were 2 minutes of silence. The employee twice asked, “Are you still there?” with no response. Finally, the customer got back on the phone and said, “Sorry about that; two of my windows were easy to open, but the third was painted shut.”

This is a true story, it came out of training we conducted almost 20 years ago, and in many ways it applies today, as well.

Not every customer grew up with technology, and not every customer loves or is naturally wired to work with technology. Especially in this age where so many are working remotely and we have a need to provide customer service remotely, we need to understand if the person we’re talking to is technology-challenged.

These people are as smart or smarter than any of us, but maybe they just have a different communication preference or a different background or a different level of experience and comfort with technology. To address these unique individuals, here are three key areas of focus.

Patience – First, it’s about our way of interacting with people. We need to be very patient and very empathetic/understanding, as well. A little bit of levity and laughter is always good when done appropriately. Keep in mind that we’re trying to create comfort with this person and reduce their anxiety, and the more patient and understanding we are in the words we say and the tone we use, the more comfortable they will become.

Phrases – Second, effective communication in these situations is based on understanding the importance of words. Even “windows” does not mean the same thing to everybody. Try to avoid the acronyms. Try to understand that simplicity is vital. Does “application” mean the same thing to everybody? What does it mean to “click on” something? Think about keeping things Short, Simple, and Summarized, so that they understand. And if you feel they don’t understand, ask them their understanding of what they see, should be seeing, or should be doing.

Process Steps – Third, don’t move through multiple steps quickly. Always end one step by confirming where they are before going on to step two. End each step with a clarification question if there’s any doubt about where they are at that point.

If we want to deliver great customer service, let’s tailor the process of delivering that customer service to the individual we are speaking with at the time.

Let’s provide great customer service in this technology world, particularly to the technology-challenged customer.

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Why Customer Service is “IT” in Technology

Posted on in Business Advice, World of Customer Service Please leave a comment

In the ZDNet article IT managers: Customer service trumps managing costs, the author references a study of 220+ US-based Information Technology managers about their priorities, and customer service was listed as a high priority to the point that 70% felt that customer service was more important to them than managing costs. Now this is important to note, particularly since technology is often seen as a driver of productivity in organizations and, therefore, a cost reducer.

Of those responding to the survey, 65% said they felt “personal pressure” to provide good customer service. So what is driving this “personal pressure?” In most organizations, pressure to provide great customer service comes primarily from the customer. Now it may go through executive management to the middle managers, but it starts with the customers.

In the world of Information Technology, those customers are typically other departments in the organization. They’re complaining about the lack of responsiveness. They’re complaining about technology people too focused on the technology and not focused enough on the people to whom they’re supplying the technology. They’re complaining about attitudes of arrogance. They’re complaining about cumbersome processes to get a request submitted, an issue resolved, or a need met.

So when I.T. managers say they feel “personal pressure,” it’s typically coming directly from company executives who understand how overall company performance in serving the external customer is impacted by service to internal customers.

Now look at your business. Think about all the people internally that need to share information, ideas, technology, supplies, and materials with each other to meet that end customer’s need. To figure out how to make great improvement in customer service to external customers, figure out how to serve internal customers more efficiently, simply, and respectfully.

Read our New Book – “Ask Yourself…Am I GREAT at Customer Service?” http://www.amigreatat.com/

Listen to our latest podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/

Interested in improving your company’s customer service? See more at our new website! http://www.cssamerica.com/


Technology Helps to Keep Customer Relationships Healthy

Posted on in Business Advice, Education, Healthcare, World of Customer Service Please leave a comment

With the passing of Healthcare Reform, medical practices are bracing themselves for significant increases in appointments and workload as tens of millions more Americans anticipate acquiring health insurance. Having insurance eliminates a key barrier to utilization of healthcare services, so volumes should increase; yet there’s no guarantee that revenues flowing into medical practices will increase at the same rate as their workload.

So the question is how do they operate more efficiently? One key productivity driver in most businesses is the use of technology. Any many practices will use technology not only to become more efficient, but they’ll also use it to improve their customer relationships.

Technology can provide this dual role (increasing efficiencies and customer satisfaction) for virtually any business.

The practices will rely more and more on technology to send out appointment confirmations via e-mail. Reminders will be sent of the appointments as the date draws near. Satisfaction surveys will be launched post-visit via e-mail invitations. The practices will get more automated in their communications with their customers to ensure patients are prepared for their appointments, arrive, arrive on time, and provide feedback after the visit.

Think of how this applies to any business. The local courier service could use technology to keep their customers up-to-date on the stages of the order, pickup, and delivery – thereby eliminating most incoming/outgoing phone calls requesting status. The car dealership could use technology to ensure that the customer shows up on time and gains feedback on their experience while it’s fresh on the customer’s mind. The university’s admissions department could use technology to ensure that the prospective student and her parents know how to navigate the campus, understand where to access financial aid forms, and are kept up-to-date on the financial aid evaluation and admissions status.

Technology can be a great driver of efficiency, but it can also be a great communications tool with customers to keep them up-to-date and to keep your organization looking responsive to their needs.

Use technology to keep your customer relationships healthy.

Interested in improving your company’s customer service? See more information at: http://www.cssamerica.com/