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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

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

Visualize Your Way to Success – 3/21/17

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


Brandon was having a bad day. Well – technically it was not THAT bad. After all, the worst day spent golfing is better than the best day spent working, or so goes the old saying.

But Brandon could not hit anything well. His shots from the tee were okay, but whenever he put a short iron in his hand, he’d hit it fat. For those of you who aren’t golfers, that means that he would take a swing, and the ball would go only a few yards because he would dig a large chunk of earth out in the process – a half-foot long, 2 inch deep divot would go flying through the air.

It was late in the round, and on #15 Brandon hit his best drive of the day. He was only 100 yards from the hole – a chance for a birdie! Well, that’s what a normal person would visualize. But Brandon saw the small pond just in front of the green. So he took his wedge out of the bag for the short shot, got an extra ball out of his bag, and walked over to his ball to hit.

He got out the extra ball because all he could think about was hitting another fat shot, and he visualized the shot landing in the water. So – of course – he visualized having to hit another shot with the second ball.

What happened? Brandon hit a fat shot; the ball plunked right into the water; Brandon dropped the second ball, and he put the next shot right on the green.

With his first shot, Brandon had visualized failure, and failure ensued.

Many times in the world of customer service, we’re reacting and responding – we don’t know what we’re about to deal with, and it’s hard to have time to visualize. But often, we DO have time to visualize. We do have time to see how we want the conversation to flow, how we want the tone to be, how we want it to end positively.

In life, and golf, and customer service – we can visualize success or visualize failure – and whatever we visualize has a greater chance of happening.

Choose to visualize success.

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The Over/Under of Ted’s Talking – 2/14/17

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


Ted was like many employees new to the world of customer service – great intentions creating great enthusiasm resulting in great big mistakes with the customer.

How?

The female customer asked a question (or Ted heard at least part of the question), and it triggered something in Ted’s mind. He knew the answer. He wanted to help, and BAM! He just started talking – fast and energetically. He verbally “ran over” the customer. Talking over her with his answers. He was delivering, but she was being taken aback. He thought of himself as helpful, but she thought of him as rude, not letting her finish, interrupting her in mid-sentence.

Sometimes Ted didn’t know the answer, but – again – he REALLY wanted to help. So with the customer talking, he’d turn to a co-worker and quietly start asking his more experienced peer some questions. Unfortunately, he wasn’t so quiet that the customer couldn’t hear that Ted was saying something. He was talking “under” the customer, not interrupting, per se, but talking to others while the customer was talking was coming off as rude – like the customer wasn’t worthy of Ted’s attention.

Over time, Ted was still the same energetic person as when he started, but he became more self-aware. When he would feel himself interrupting, he’d pause and say “Oh! I’m sorry. Please continue; this is really helpful.” And if he needed to ask a co-worker for guidance, he’d patiently wait for a pause from the customer, ask permission for a minute to investigate the right course of action to best help the customer, and he’d move the call to a hold.

Enthusiasm is a wonderful gift. Don’t quash it in yourself or others, but also don’t let the enthusiasm in conversations convey rudeness.

Learn the Lessons from Ted’s Talking.

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Apply this Twist on Twain – 8/23/16

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Mark Twain said “A letter written in passion is a mistake…It usually wrongs two persons, and always wrongs one – yourself.”

Twain is using the word “passion” to address anger, frustration – more negative emotions. And while letter-writing in the 21st century is seemingly falling by the wayside, we can apply his quote to e-mails – particularly business e-mails to customers and co-workers.

With this perspective in mind, here’s another Mark Twain quote: “When you get an exasperating letter, what happens? If you are young, you answer it promptly, instantly – and mail the thing you have written. At forty what do you do? By that time you have figured out that a letter written in passion is a mistake in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred.”

These statements were made 104 years ago, but they apply today. When putting something in writing and mailing (or pressing “send”), you can’t take it back. The message can be moved onto a social media post, into the newspaper, or into your supervisor’s inbox in a minute. Just as importantly, it can be taken to heart by the recipient immediately. And all of these results could result in your looking bad to customers, peers, supervisors, and the public at large.

Emotions and e-mail rarely mix well. They’re the oil and water of communications, and unless you’re exceptional at conveying your “passion” with the written word, consider a pause before pressing send. Consider having a dialogue with the other – a communication that enables tone and body language to be involved, hopefully positively.

Don’t wrong yourself. Pause before pressing send when passion is involved.

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