words

Create a Common Definition of Customer Service - 9/15/20


Peter, Paul, and Marie are co-workers. They are all customer service representatives.  When Peter thinks of good customer service, he defines it as being friendly to the customer. “And I am friendly,” Peter says.  “That’s why I don’t know why they send me to customer service training.” Paul thinks customer Read more

COVID-19 Demand Management Strategies for Customer Service Channels


We all want demand for our products or services.  This helps us to generate revenue and to provide something of value to our customers and communities.  But customer demand does not strictly relate to products and services.  Demand also relates to communications, information, issue resolution, education, and other aspects Read more

Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance? - 9/8/20


This is a quote by Edgar Bergen.  He’s one of the most famous ventriloquists of all time, but I guess he wasn’t necessarily one of the hardest workers of all time.  By sharing this quote, I am not supporting the idea that we shouldn’t work hard…or am I? We only Read more

Reach Out More for COVID-19 Customer Retention


Ever since the Coronavirus pandemic became a reality for individuals, their communities, and their countries, it became clear that people were going to be hurting…that lives were going to be changing…that the realities of the past were going to be very different from the current and near-term future realities. When Read more

Using I, We, or You in Customer Service - 9/1/20


It’s amazing how many conversations can go horribly wrong or incredibly right, not because of the use of a 4-letter word, but simply because of the use of a 1, 2, or 3-letter word – I, We, You. The incorrect use of I, We, You in conversations causes problems more Read more

Get Your Guru On - 8/25/20


You may have heard of management gurus - these people who seemed to know all and be all, to have the wisdom of 1000 leaders.  Maybe you’ve heard it in your industry as a guru in sports psychology or the master of economics or sociology or human behavior. And so Read more

Whether You Believe You Can Do a Thing or Not, You Are Right - 8/18/20


This is a famous Henry Ford quote, and the quote is all about self-belief, all about confidence. We’ve often spoken about the need to be confident and how to gain confidence, because that confidence - or the lack thereof - is imparted on the customer. But how does a customer tell Read more

Grind it out Today for a Better Tomorrow - 8/11/20


It’s been said that You Learn Perseverance by Persevering.  You are becoming mentally tougher right now.  The pain and the difficulties and the change today are making you stronger for dealing with the uncertainties of tomorrow. We’re all having to be more flexible.  We are all facing less consistency, less Read more

Increase Research for Improved Customer Relations During COVID-19


What makes a relationship? Many actions can make or break a relationship, but all solid relationships require at least two things: Communication and Caring. And customer relationships are no different in this respect. No Communication = No Connection If we don’t have some frequency of dialogue with the customer, then we Read more

Never Before… - 8/4/20


The importance of customer service is at the forefront again in our economy.  We noticed this clearly in the early 2000s when the country’s economy struggled, and we noticed it again during the Great Recession several years later.  Today, with yet another set of unexpected and extreme economic challenges, Read more

Using I, We, or You in Customer Service – 9/1/20

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

It’s amazing how many conversations can go horribly wrong or incredibly right, not because of the use of a 4-letter word, but simply because of the use of a 1, 2, or 3-letter word – I, We, You.

The incorrect use of I, We, You in conversations causes problems more than we may realize and definitely more than we may be willing to admit.

So, in the world of customer service, there are some general rules of thumb.  I’m calling them general because there are exceptions to everything and there’s not a perfect formula for imperfect people serving imperfect people, but these rules might help us to escape bad situations and capitalize on the most positive opportunities.

When there are feelings involved, use the word “I.”

  • What I felt was…
  • I can understand how this could be frustrating…
  • I was upset, too.

This allows you to convey your feelings without assuming you know what others feel.  You have the right to feel what you feel, but we don’t have the right to tell other people what they do feel or should feel.

You is a great word to use when you’re fostering a relationship or conveying appreciation.

  • You did a great job with…
  • You conveyed that very clearly…
  • You’re very good at…

The use of the word You allows the other person to feel, appropriately, that your accolade is attributed to them. It takes a thought that might be in your mind and puts it into words in a positive way to build the other person up.

We is a great word when you’re trying to foster teamwork or find a solution to move away from an issue.

  • What we need to do in order to address this is…
  • We can still accomplish your goal if we consider an alternative…
  • We can work on a solution together to keep this moving…

 

We conveys that it’s a collaboration on an issue or need.  Particularly when the other person has a big part in the solution to a problem, using We makes the burden feel a little bit less on their shoulders.

Appropriately use I, We, You when trying to convey feelings, share appreciation, or foster teamwork.

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8 Customer Service Phrases that are Music to the Customer’s Ears – 1/26/16 TOW

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There are definitely phrases to avoid and others to adopt, especially when you’re dealing with the irate customer. But what about great things to say to the customer just in the normal routine of interacting with someone? What can we say to convey we care? What phrases are music to a customer’s ears?

Here are 8 such phrases to consider adding to your customer service lexicon:

  • How are you today? – Too often we start the conversation asking what the customer needs or what we can do for them. Let’s show some patience and get into dialogue. Ask this question and then – actually let them answer! Patience and dialogue are wonderful things to most customers.
  • You did the right thing – When a customer has taken some steps in a process that led them to you, confirm that they are doing the right thing. Affirm their action as a customer; affirm them as a person.
  • Let’s see what we can do for you – Don’t just take the information and start acting; convey an intent to find a solution even when one might not be readily apparent at first.
  • I’m happy to help you with that – A good way to get positive emotions FROM the customer is to give positive emotions TO the customer. Again, don’t just “do.” Tell the customer you’re happy to “do” for them.
  • That’s perfect! – They suggest a meeting date or a next step. They provided you with more information. You reply “That’s perfect!” This is also positive emotion, affirming them and their action.
  • My pleasure – This is a closing statement synonymous with Chick-fil-A, but the idea is a good one. It truly is a pleasure to serve someone – tell them so.
  • We appreciate your business – This may sound old-fashioned, but it better be true. For a business to succeed, they need their customers. People want to be appreciated. So let’s put those two truths together in one phrase.
  • It was great to talk with you – I often say this at the end of a call or – better yet – in a follow-up e-mail. Follow-up is not just about conveying a next step or a task to be done. It’s conveying the enjoyment of the rapport and relationship.

 
Use phrases that are music to your customer’s ears.

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Simplify the Vocabulary – 9/9/14 TOW

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In our constant quest to find new ways to describe boring or irritating processes and services in a way that makes them sound exciting, we develop creative names: No Child Left Behind, Affordable Care Act, Permanent Seat Licenses, etc.

However, the problem is that our customers find out that this is typically not something to embrace, and the name becomes a joke or a punch line.

When we want to sound sophisticated, we use high-brow language: Six Sigma, OnBoarding, Rubric.

However, the problem is that our customers and employees have little-to-no idea what we’re discussing.

And sometimes, when we want to be specific, we risk using terms that mean different things based on the industry: Achievement, Bonding, Delegation, Enrollment, Gatekeeper, Grandfathered, Network, Rehab, Service Area, and Waiting Period.

Does Bonding relate to a mother and child, a company doing business in town, or teeth? Is a Delegation addressing something in healthcare or at the United Nations? Is the Gatekeeper a function in healthcare, a secretary who won’t let you see the boss, or – literally – a gate keeper?

When we use terms, we can’t assume that the customers know the terms. We can’t assume that if it’s used in our industry that the customer knows what “Enrollment” means in healthcare because their only exposure to “Enrollment” was at their child’s school.

The words matter, and we need to make sure the words are simple enough to be understood without requiring a detailed glossary to explain everything.

Go to your company’s website. Look at the patient or fan or employee or customer flyers and handbooks that you distribute. Give access to the website and these documents to people who know nothing about your business; ask them to read the information and interpret what it’s saying.

Make sure the words you use are clear enough to be understood. Simplify the Vocabulary.

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