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Motivating Yourself when Working Remotely - 5/26/20


For any of us who are working remotely, we are finding ourselves more and more having to be self-motivated. And while many people are naturally self-motivated, others need to have that manager who gives us the encouragement. Many of us need to have that ongoing informal dialogue with co-workers Read more

Defining Organizational Agility in a Time of Uncertainty


You may have heard references in management theory over the many decades about the importance of a business being an “Agile” organization, but oftentimes that is a word thrown out in generalities to illustrate vague points about how organizations should be managed and make decisions.  In this time of Read more

Change Management – Facts about Past Decisions Reduce Fear about Future Decisions


Change can result in fear.  Particularly where change is thrust upon someone very suddenly, it can create shock or disbelief.  Sometimes that change is not something an organization can plan for; it therefore cannot adequately prepare its employees for what’s ahead...at least initially. In this COVID world, Change Management is Read more

Tire Dealers Becoming Teachers - 5/19/20


I recently needed two new tires for a vehicle, and I first went to the tire dealer’s website to find some options.  The site’s look/feel and ordering process had changed, and I didn’t see a tire I wanted, so I called the store to make an appointment. When I arrived Read more

Developing Fan Relations During COVID-19


As sports teams and organizations across the world are gearing up to start play without fans, these same organizations are also determining what that fan experience is going to be when fans start attending again.  Many sports organizations are focused on locking in revenue from existing fans - keeping Read more

Reduce Their Anxiety Leading Up to Their Return


Building customer comfort and confidence in going to your facilities is a process which has a lot of similarities to the technique we train clients on to reduce customer anxiety.  From a tactical perspective, when you’re interacting with somebody who is anxious or nervous, you want to get them Read more

Moving toward Normalcy: The Face-to-Face Keys - 5/12/20


As we slowly go back to a face-to-face world, here are a few quick reminders for what positively differentiates employees who understand the importance of body language and expressions v. those who don’t. Especially if you’re wearing a mask and serving customers, ensure your eyes are focused on the other Read more

Pivot to a Stronger Post-COVID Culture


If there ever was a time for virtually every organization to assess their culture, this is it.  Culture not only drives customer service, but it also drives long-term organizational success.  While leaders can define the Desired Culture and can chart a Vision, leaders typically do very little of the Read more

5 Steps to Valuing Another’s Time - 5/5/20


Is your time valuable?  Is the customer’s time valuable?  I would think we would answer “yes” to both questions, but what does that really mean?  It’s important, and it’s finite. Time is precious because it doesn’t come in unlimited quantities.  We can’t go to Amazon and buy more time.  It’s Read more

Put Yourself at the Controls of Change - 4/28/20


You have probably heard about manufacturing plants and restaurants who are pivoting during these challenging times and starting to make hand sanitizers, masks, and gowns.  They are being forced to change, and they’re trying to find the opportunities among the obstacles that surround them. Sometimes we, too, as individuals in Read more

You Control with Questions – 3/22/16 TOW

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


They’re irate, ranting and raving – spewing the emotion your way.

They. Just. Won’t. Stop. Talking.

They’re rambling with no clear point or need or concern being conveyed.

You’re enjoying the discussion, but you have LOTS of other things to do.

If you find yourself in these situations with a customer or co-worker, you’re not alone. There are times when you need to get control of the conversation. They’re upset and you need to get the emotions down to begin moving toward a resolution. They’re talking non-stop, and you need to begin closing the conversation. There’s a lot being said but no real point being shared. Sometimes you just have other work that is being delayed by the conversation.

People who are great at customer service are inquisitive. But they’re not just inquisitive because they’re curious. They’re asking questions because they know that questions provide control.

Too many employees try to gain control by talking fast (not letting the customer speak), interrupting the other person, talking loudly, or using rude body language. But questions provide a much more professional way of taking control.

Your objective questions help you to get the kind of thinking and facts that draw down emotions. Your close-ended questions help to elicit shorter responses. Your targeted questions get at the key point or need. And your questions help you to become more productive by closing conversations more quickly.

You’re not using the questions to control the other person. Rather, you’re using questions to gain control of the emotions and direction of the conversation itself.

Become an expert at asking questions.

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Meet Them Where They’re At – 3/15/16 TOW

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I was watching an old episode of the television show “Everybody Loves Raymond,” and Ray was chastised by his mother because he said “That’s where I got to be where I’m at.” She was horrified that he – a professional writer – ended a sentence with a prepositional phrase (or as Ray put it, a “propositional phrase”).

Well I’m making the same grammatical error in this Tip of the Week – Meet Them Where They’re At.

It’s hard to quickly create a relationship with someone, but people in customer service need to know how to quickly establish rapport. A rapport is established where there is a sense that people care about each other’s feelings and thoughts.

To create a rapport with a customer, one key is meeting them where they’re at – If they’re standing, you stand. If they’re looking concerned, you look concerned. If they’re standing in another part of the room pointing at something as they talk to you, go to them. If they’re jovial, loosen up. If they’re speaking softly, don’t be too boisterous. If they start with closed arms, you may start that way too – briefly – before unfolding your arms. If they’re sitting, then sit as well.

Much of this could also be considered mirroring, and it’s important because meeting them in this way breaks down some of the physical barriers to rapport (i.e., body language and tone).

Be careful in situations where they’re highly irate and looking angry – you don’t want to mirror those attributes.

But when establishing rapport and trying to engender some trust, openness, and goodwill, adopt this principle.

Meet them where they’re at.

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Lessons from the Beast – 1/19/16 TOW

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My daughter loved the movie Beauty and the Beast. Just to set the story for everyone, it’s about a young woman – Belle – who loved to read and the Beast who loved her. Initially, the Beast imprisoned her, hoping he could get her to love him so the curse that turned him from Prince to Beast would be removed. Later he released her, and they fell in love.

Oftentimes, as customer service people, we try to find the prince inside the beast of a customer. We try to look for the good in the person ranting, raving, and being unreasonable. If all we focus on is that exterior ugliness, then we may not want to provide a solution or an answer – we may not even want to help.

But this tip isn’t about how we see the beast of a customer; this tip is about a positive we can learn for ourselves from the Beast himself – the man with the ugly exterior yet the heart (literally) of a prince.

I’m certain that most everyone reading this CSS Tip of the Week is a kind, caring person – one who wants to help others and better his or herself. And while having that pleasant, positive, and helpful inner core is great, the question is: Will our outside show what our inside is all about?

It’s not enough to be caring. We have to convey caring.

It’s not enough to work on a problem for a customer. We have to let them know what we’re doing and when it will be done.

It’s not enough to be pleasant. We need that to shine through in our face and our voice.

It’s not enough to be engaged. We need to let our eyes and questions share that interest.

We need to first know who we are and what we want to be FOR others. Then we have to be intentional about becoming that, and becoming that WITH the other person knowing it.

Show others your service side.

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