Customer Service Tip of the Week | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

Keep in Mind 3 Key Questions - 11/22/22


Customers want to be heard.  If they have an issue or need or something that requires your support, they want to be understood. When we are trying to find a resolution or fulfill a need, when we’re trying to help a customer achieve their goal, sometimes we can be so Read more

Don’t Let This Shot Affect Your Next Shot - 11/15/22


When I was a teenager, I used to play a lot of golf, and I was pretty good for my age.  I’d have a good attitude and enjoyed the game, but if I hit a bad shot, I’d get upset.  And more often than not, that one bad shot Read more

Value the Customer – Actions to Adopt and Avoid - 11/8/22


When conducting research for a local government CSS client, we interviewed and conducted surveys with many of their customers.  We analyzed the results of the research based on those who had a great experience v. those who did not.  We uncovered that there were distinct differences between customers who Read more

Appreciate to Appreciate - 11/1/22


Why doesn’t Jay, my co-worker, respond to my e-mails or get his task done on time? It’s hard to respect the delay, the incomplete work, the lack of follow through on the part of your co-worker. Why does the customer seem so harried and so frustrated? It’s hard to value the customer Read more

The Customer Can Hear Your Attitude - 10/25/22


Sherry was sitting in the lobby, waiting to be called back for her appointment.  Just off the lobby was an office that Sherry was sitting near.  The person in the office was on a phone call, but Sherry couldn’t see the employee.  She could tell it was a call Read more

How to Handle the Customer’s Error - 10/18/22


Are all of your customers perfect?  Anyone?  Bueller? Of course, customers are not perfect.  Neither are we, but let’s focus this Tip on what they do wrong and what we can do about it in a professional, positive, and productive manner: When the customer isn’t clear, you respond: Is it OK Read more

Critique Yourself before Others Do - 10/11/22


When we’re criticized, we can get defensive, push back, deflect blame to others, and focus more on defending ourselves than really listening to what the other person is saying.  And some of us who get defensive, once we allow our emotions to settle, take time to reflect on what Read more

Find a Connection Point – Part 2: Situational Connection - 10/4/22


Last week we highlighted key topics to consider when you want to find Personal Connection Points with the customer.  Today, we’ll cover some key questions to ask to uncover information about today’s situation that you can use to establish a rapport with the customer.  This is Part 2 - Read more

Find a Connection Point – Part 1: Personal Connection - 9/27/22


Some people are born almost like a master at communication.  They know how to establish rapport with just about anybody, and they do so in a way that seems so natural and so real.  They can form relationships and be laughing with somebody they met two minutes ago like Read more

Be Proactive without being Pushy - 9/20/22


Delivering great customer service isn’t just about responding and reacting.  It’s also about being proactive.  Developing relationships involves reaching out first, not just extending our hand when somebody reaches out to us. But it’s all too clear that those of us who are in service roles prefer those roles to Read more

Keep in Mind 3 Key Questions – 11/22/22

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

Customers want to be heard.  If they have an issue or need or something that requires your support, they want to be understood.

When we are trying to find a resolution or fulfill a need, when we’re trying to help a customer achieve their goal, sometimes we can be so immersed in the details of the situation that we lose sight of the big picture. Other times, we can be so focused on our policies or our procedures, our products or protocols, that we’re not truly seeing this from the customer’s perspective.  And in this day and age, sometimes we’re just so busy that we don’t have the time or patience or inclination the handle the situation correctly.

To simplify things for ourselves and increase the opportunity for success for the customer, when you have the responsibility to support the customer in addressing their issue, need, or goal, keep in mind 3 Key Questions:

What’s their STORY?

Ask about their situation.  Try to understand a little bit about who they are as a person and the lens through which they’re viewing what’s going on.  Note where they’re coming from so that you know the starting point from where you can lead them.

What’s their GOAL?

Sometimes the customers are really good at giving us the game plan for how they want us to fix their situation, but often their game plans won’t work.  There’s some policy or time constraint or procedure or approach in their plan that will not work.  So, put yourself in the role of being the solution-provider – understand their goal.  And once you understand, keep this goal at the forefront of the remainder of the conversation.

What’s their PATH?

This is where you, as the expert, truly become the solution-provider.  You know their story…so you can empathize.  You know their goal…so you understand the desired outcome.  Now, you can map out a path for getting from their point A to the desired point B, and you can describe that path based on your understanding of the individual in front of you in the story they have told.

When you are helping somebody out of a bad situation or getting a need addressed, when you’re dealing with somebody who has a certain goal and they don’t know how to get there, simplify things for yourself.  Keep 3 Key Questions top-of-mind to help you navigate the conversation.

What’s their Story?  What’s their Goal?  What’s their Path?

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Don’t Let This Shot Affect Your Next Shot – 11/15/22

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When I was a teenager, I used to play a lot of golf, and I was pretty good for my age.  I’d have a good attitude and enjoyed the game, but if I hit a bad shot, I’d get upset.  And more often than not, that one bad shot and the frustration that followed would be followed by another bad shot and more frustration.  It would snowball, and everything would go downhill.

One day, I was playing the third hole on my home course with my Dad.  I was hitting my second shot, and instead of the ball going straight to the green, it took a sharp left turn into a big pine tree.  The ball pinged from branch to branch until it dropped to the ground.  Highly upset at hitting such a horrible shot, I flung my club into that same tree.  But the club did not drop to the ground; it was stuck up in the tree.

How My Dad Responded

Now my Dad could have responded in a number of ways.  He could have yelled at me for throwing my club.  He could have told me to climb up the tree and get it.  He could have given me a stern lecture on my poor behavior. 

He did none of those.  Instead, he walked over to the tree, climbed up, and got my club.  He then handed it to me and walked away.

I don’t know if I had ever been so embarrassed in my life.

How I Responded

Needless to say, I stopped throwing clubs.  Today, I rarely play golf, and when I do, I don’t play or score nearly as good as when I was a teenager.  But I seem to take more joy in playing.  And when I hit a bad shot, I don’t let it affect me much at all.  More importantly, I don’t let it affect my next shot and eventually ruin my round.

In customer service, you have many opportunities to get frustrated.  And while the immediate reaction – the frustration – is understandable, don’t let that bad situation affect the attitude you take into the next situation, the next conversation, the next encounter.

Don’t let one frustration snowball and ruin your whole day.

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Value the Customer – Actions to Adopt and Avoid – 11/8/22

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When conducting research for a local government CSS client, we interviewed and conducted surveys with many of their customers.  We analyzed the results of the research based on those who had a great experience v. those who did not.  We uncovered that there were distinct differences between customers who felt valued and those who did not feel valued by the organization.

Empathize v. Defend. When the customers felt like the organization was listening to them, trying to understand their situation, trying to learn about their unique issue or goal or concern, the customer felt valued.  When dealing with an issue, if the customer felt like the employee was more focused on defending themselves or the policy or the procedure, the customer felt devalued.

Proactive v. Reactive. When the employee would suggest alternative options or provide a follow-up call to the customer, when the employee would share information about next steps, the customer felt valued.  However, if the customer had to reach out or they’d never hear from the organization, the customer felt devalued.

Work Together v. Win a Debate. When there was a need to be addressed or a goal to be achieved, if the customer felt like the employee was trying to figure out a way that they could work with the customer to identify a game plan, the customer felt valued.  When the customer felt like the conversation lingered too much on what facts were correct and which were incorrect, who was right and who was wrong in a particular situation, the customer did not feel valued.

Find Solution v. Deflect Blame. When the issue needed a resolution, if the employee was focused on figuring out what would work best for the customer, the customer felt valued.  However, if the customer felt like the employee was more focused on making sure they were not held responsible for the issue, the customer felt devalued.

Avoid being defensive, being purely reactive, debating the customer, and focusing on deflecting blame.

To help the customer feel valued, empathize, be proactive, work together, and find a solution.

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