tone

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

It’s Decision Time. What are you going to do? - 6/11/19


Serving others is tough. Whether it’s dealing with an irate customer, having to field the same question from the 100th different customer this month, or keeping 10 plates spinning while still smiling in front of the client, it’s hard. You want to do a great job, and you’re constantly put Read more

You Do Know Jack - 6/4/19


Have you ever had a co-worker who causes more problems than they solve? Simple things they do are often, from a procedure standpoint, correct. But the way they handle situations makes them come off as indifferent. Let’s call this co-worker “Jack.” Even though certain actions by Jack may seem innocent Read more

How to Give the Right Kind of “No” - 5/28/19


In a perfect world, you never need to say “No” to the customer. But as we all know, this is not a perfect world. There are a lot of issues in the world, and there are a lot of issues in customer service. Our companies are not perfect, our Read more

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

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

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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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