tone

People will Pay for Customer Service - 10/8/19


Sometimes all you need to read is the first paragraph in an article. Here’s the title from Business Insider: Amazon charges sellers as much as $5,000 a month for customer service if they want a guarantee that they'll be able to talk to a real person. The first paragraph reads: Amazon Read more

New Ways to Celebrate National Customer Service Week - 10/1/19


The week of October 7 is National Customer Service Week. No, this wasn’t another holiday invented by Hallmark, so you have to go to work. Hopefully that’s the good news! This week is typically thought of as a time to rejuvenate relationships with customers, to refocus your efforts on treating Read more

The Error of “Everyone” - 9/24/19


A recent article in The Charlotte Observer got me thinking about a concept, a premise that is suggested all too often in society. First, the article: The story was about lawn care, and some of the people quoted in the article talked about what customers want today. They noted Read more

Between Texting and Thoreau - 9/17/19


The more people that enter the business world having grown up texting, the more the quality of business communications drops. A typical text between friends is rarely what anybody in business would call a professionally-written document. There’s nothing wrong with that, because texting is typically informal dialogue between friends. Read more

I want to be an Astronaut - 9/10/19


When I was young, if a child was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, the answers were often a fireman, a Pro Football player, a teacher, somebody who got to drive a truck, or an astronaut. Maybe the question is still asked today, and, if Read more

Don’t Mistake Kindness - 9/3/19


I have a friend who does a lot of things for a lot of other people. He sometimes has a hard time saying “no,” and he really works hard to try to be kind to others. But occasionally some of those for whom he does good works will ask Read more

Do Anything, but Not Everything - 8/27/19


We work with a lot of educational organizations, but this Tip of the Week applies to virtually any kind of business that has repeat customers. To deliver great service, be willing to go above and beyond, do virtually anything for the customer. But in the world of colleges and Read more

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

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

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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

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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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