tone

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

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

Visualize Your Way to Success – 3/21/17

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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

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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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