Customer Service Tip of the Week | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 3

Redefine “Access” to Treat Customers Special - 11/29/22


One of our clients puts on major events throughout the country.  When we conduct post-event surveys, many of the attendees rave about the access they had to certain entertainers, locations in the venue, parking lots, or even information.  Others decry the fact that they lacked that access. This does pose Read more

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

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

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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 if I ask you a couple of quick questions just to make sure I understand the situation?
  • When the customer doesn’t complete the form, you respond: To make sure we get this moving for you, I just wanted to get some additional information.
  • When the customer calls the wrong number, you respond: Since I’m not the best one to address that for you, let me get you in touch with the person who can help you.
  • When the customer goes to the wrong location, you respond: I’ll be happy to show you the best way to get to where you need to be.
  • When the customer leaves out some facts in a situation, you respond: Just to make sure I’m clear, I’m going to walk through my understanding of what we just discussed. Where they left out the facts, you ask: Now, what happened at this point?
  • When the customer gave you the wrong information, you respond: Unfortunately, I’m not able to pull up that account, but let’s try a different method.

 
Notice that we are avoiding blame.  We are using a lot of phraseology that deals with you, as the employee, gaining clarification or understanding.  We are not calling anything an error as much as we are using terms that convey we are making this as complete as possible, or getting the best person to address the need.  We are identifying what the issue is without noting who caused the issue.  We are often talking about why we are asking the question or talking about a particular topic.

When addressing the customer’s error, be professional, positive, and productive.

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Critique Yourself before Others Do – 10/11/22

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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 the other person said.  We sometimes are willing to see those kernels of truth.  We are willing to learn from them and possibly make a change moving forward.

While it’s not great to be defensive, it’s often a natural reaction.  It’s also a sign of maturity and wisdom to be able to overcome that initial defensiveness and try to get some lessons learned from what the other person said.

But what if we critiqued our own mistakes before the customer or co-worker complained?  Not everything we do imperfectly or incorrectly or not on a timely basis or not in the best way possible is something that’s going to draw a complaint.

If you’re like me, you probably make little mistakes every single day.

We make many decisions every day, so it’s natural that some of those decisions are going to be wrong.  The resulting action or inaction could be wrong.

Self-critiques that can lead to Self-improvement

But when we know in our gut or it’s clear based on some reaction/data/feedback that we didn’t do our best, we have to learn from our own mistakes:

  • I really should have called that person back when I first thought about it.
  • I knew I should have had somebody check my work before I moved it to the next step.
  • I should have paused and thought through what might happen on that call before I responded to the customer.
  • I really should have listened one more minute or asked one more question before sharing my thoughts.
  • That meeting took a lot longer than it could have, and if I had just gone in a little bit more prepared, we probably would have ended on time.
  • That would have gone much better if I stopped sending e-mails and just picked up the phone and called the person.
  • That call would have been a lot cleaner if I would have looked away from the computer screen and focused totally on the caller.

If we make these comments to ourselves and put lessons learned into place, then maybe we would have fewer reasons for the co-worker or the customer to critique us.  And if they did critique us, we probably would have already had that conversation with ourselves about a very similar issue, and we might understand their critique more because we heard it from ourselves first.

Therefore, we might not respond so defensively, we might not get so emotional, and we might actually understand where they’re coming from a lot sooner.

If you critique yourself before others do, the critiques of others won’t affect you as much.

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

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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 – Topics that create these connections About The Now:

About The Now

Whether you’re dealing with a new customer or an existing customer coming in upset, you can connect with the customer about what is going on today, right now.  Noted below are 3 categories of connection points that are more about today’s situation.

Environment – What’s the weather like outside?  Is the building pretty, clean, bright, or easy to navigate?  Are they using a mobile device or tablet or computer, and is that what you are using or could be using, as well?

Situation – Have you had other customers who’ve dealt with the situation they’re describing?  Have you personally dealt with a similar situation?  Are there lessons learned in those situations that you can share with them to paint a picture of next steps or final resolutions?

Goals – If you understand their goals, is there some way you can relate to their goals?  Do you understand why they want what they want?  I’m not asking do you agree with their goals; I’m just asking if you can understand and appreciate why they are seeking a particular solution?

Just like we noted in the Part 1 Tip last week, you could ask some of these questions, but it’s just as important to listen closely to what they convey, learning the specifics of what they share, so you can use that information to connect with them, to build rapport.

Find some Situational Connection Points.

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