tone

Be Generous to a Fault - 8/20/19


People who think they’re generous to a fault usually think that’s their only fault – American Journalist Sydney Harris. This quote reminds me of someone who views themselves as a giver – someone who is so humble that he likes to humbly tell everyone of the gifts he’s given, good Read more

Don’t Assume because... - 8/13/19


You've probably heard this statement growing up. Your parents said, “Don’t assume, because it makes…you look bad.” Or something like that… Recently my laptop screen died, and since it was an older laptop, I decided to go ahead and buy a new one instead of paying to have the screen Read more

Patience Leads to Positivity - 8/6/19


Thank you for your patience. That’s a statement I enjoy saying…when I am the customer. When I’m trying to learn something and I’m about to go into a process, I want to have a feel for what the whole process involves. Over the years, I’ve gotten tired of feeling like Read more

Back to Reality...for Customer Expectations - 7/30/19


Have you ever walked into a patient registration area of a hospital and seen a sign that said “if you’ve been waiting longer than 15 minutes, please see the receptionist?” Have you ever called a customer service number and been told by a recording that “the average hold time is Read more

For Excellence to Happen, Get Engaged - 7/23/19


The customer was throwing an absolute fit in the lobby. Sitting among several other customers waiting for her number to be called, she was raising her voice and letting out the occasional expletive about the lengthy wait time. An employee sitting behind the counter thought to herself: I’m going Read more

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

Of Carly Simon and Corey Feldman – 12/4/18

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


Anticipation. It’s a fine song by Carly Simon. She talks about how it (anticipation) is making her late, and it is keeping her waiting. The song is also the theme for the cheesy Corey Feldman 1970s Heinz Ketchup commercial. But that definition of “Anticipation” talks about the feeling you have while you’re waiting for something to happen.

In customer service, we often talk about the other definition of anticipation. This definition relates to trying to identify a potential customer need before it’s ever voiced to you. You anticipate that they have an issue. You anticipate that they’re about to run into an obstacle. You anticipate that they have a particular need that they want to share. In this sense, anticipate suggests you are almost predicting what is going to happen, and the benefit of the anticipation is you can be proactive.

So how do you anticipate? Since the action isn’t yet occurring, you’re looking for cues. You’re looking for that look of frustration or hostility or confusion on the part of the customer. You’re listening to the hesitancy in their voice, or you’re noticing the change in their mannerisms. You’re thinking about customers who’ve been in a similar situation who started to go down a direction that this customer may go as well. You’re relying on your history and knowledge to serve as a predictor of the future in the moment with this customer. And you’re looking at the cues that they provide or their emotions or the direction that they’re starting to head.

To be great at customer service, it’s not always about reaction. Oftentimes, it’s about proactively identifying what steps you can take even before the customer realizes their needs and voices them to you. It’s about you reading the situation and getting ahead of the curve.

To be great at customer service, be a great reader of that customer in front of you or on the phone with you. Think about them in light of all the different customer interactions you had in the past, and anticipate their needs.

Anticipate in order to offer exceptional service.

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Why to Become an Empathy Expert – 11/13/18

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


People who are great at customer service, understand that one of their most important attributes, one that is a must, is the ability to empathize with others. People want to be understood. They want to be heard. And before you can meet their need or address their feelings or resolve their issue, in customer service it’s not enough to understand what that issue involves. Customers also need to FEEL LIKE YOU UNDERSTAND that need, their feelings, and their perspective.

Empathy helps in emotional situations and service recovery situations because if people are upset and you show some understanding, they’ll feel you’re listening.

If they’re complaining and – instead of you arguing – you agree with some of what they say, they realize that they may not be in for a heated discussion. Therefore, the other person’s emotional level should drop because they feel like they’re dealing with an understanding person who’s not going to argue every point. Arguing with the client usually just keeps emotional levels high.

Empathy helps to bring down emotion, which is obviously better for the client. However, it’s also better for you since you can deal more with the issue and solution without as much emotion involved; this also helps to shorten conversations.

If you want to improve your skills and approach to serving others, then work on how you come across to others. Be more conscious of how your words and gestures and tone of voice make the other person feel. Know how your action elicits a certain reaction from them. Make your life and theirs better by better conveying how much you understand and how much you care.

Become an empathy expert.

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Watch that tone, young man! – 10/2/18

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Watch that tone, young man!

When I was growing up, unfortunately I heard that phrase more times than I care to admit. Maybe that’s why I’m so cognizant of my tone today and so in tune with the tone of voice that others use as well.

An Australian training firm recently authored an article that addressed tone of voice. Even though this article is a little more sales-focused than customer service-focused, it’s an interesting read. It not only describes how to interpret different tones of voice, but it also promotes the need for you to be intentional about the tone you use based on what message you want to convey.

If you want to seem reasonable, don’t overemphasize any words. If you want to convey you care, speak with a slight rasp or a little bit more from the throat. If you want to come across as “up-beat,” have your “vocal inflections rise at the end of certain words,” particularly the other person’s name. For example, say the following phrase twice – first with a flat tone and second where you emphasize “Mary”: Mary, nice to meet you.

There are 8 tips, so feel free to check them out. The main point I want you to think of – beyond the specific techniques suggested – is that you need to have an intent of what kind of message you want to send with your tone, so that your message is delivered and heard the way you want. Pause, and consider the tone before you speak.

Watch that tone, young ‘Tip of the Week’ fan!!

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