Customer Service Tip of the Week | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 5

Talk About Yourself to Build Customer Confidence - 4/16/24

When you’re dealing with somebody who is anxious or nervous about a situation, a customer who feels like they don’t have much control, an individual who is unsure and uncertain, it’s important to put the customer at ease.  It’s important to build their comfort level.  It’s important to help Read more

The Proven Value in What You Do - 4/9/24

Forbes wrote an article last year based on a compilation of the results of research on customer service and the customer experience; it was titled:  100 Customer Experience Stats For 2023. In reading the article, you’ll note that many of these key research findings are about you – the value Read more

A Tale of Two Texts - 4/2/24

Having to get allergy shots once a week is never fun, and for Janet, it became an even bigger frustration. She had the shots typically scheduled on Tuesday around 10:30 in the morning, figuring she would avoid the morning rush as well as the lunch rush by going mid-morning.  However, Read more

The Secret Sauce for Great Customer Service - 3/26/24

I was working with the League Office for a major American sport several years back, and one of the executives asked me to describe our Secret Sauce that helped our clients improve the fan experience and customer retention.  I gave him a sense of what makes us unique and Read more

The Miracle of an Apology - 3/19/24

Unfortunate but true story… The manager basically lost his mind.  He terminated his employee on the spot.  She had told the customer that there was going to be a delay in the shipment.  The employee called up the customer ahead of time to let the customer know what was about Read more

It’s Not About the 5-Minute Wait - 3/12/24

Robert went into his supervisor’s office to update her on a situation at the payment desk.  Robert said that a customer was about fourth or fifth in line, waiting to be served, and the customer was complaining loudly about the wait.  He was there to make a property tax Read more

Lessons from the Greats - 3/5/24

I was recently facilitating a workshop on the customer experience, and I made the point that it’s usually beneficial to look at your personal life for great experiences; identify what really resonates with you in a positive way in order to uncover ideas to improve your own customer service. So, Read more

The Empathy Roadmap - 2/27/24

For some people, empathy comes naturally.  There’s an innate desire to learn about the other person and to sincerely convey that sense of interest and caring.  But for many of us, sometimes it helps to have a communication plan.  It helps to know what to do in order to Read more

“You’re the Boss” - 2/20/24

Terrence is excellent at what he does.  From a technical standpoint, he knows how to keep the facility clean.  He’s the lead custodian, and he knows that keeping things straight does not necessarily mean keeping things sanitary.  He knows what chemicals to use and not to use, how to Read more

Customer Understanding Leads to Relationship Growth - 2/13/24

We’ve worked with educational organizations at all grade levels over the years.  One special and unique characteristic about the staff who work in these organizations is that there’s a clear intent to know about the students as individuals, to focus on them rather than purely focusing on what’s delivered Read more

Be Better than AI Customer Service – 1/23/24

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There was a recent CBS Sunday Morning Show story called: How artificial intelligence is revamping customer call centers.

The journalist described how artificial intelligence is being used in customer service, and he noted the millions of pieces of information that can be processed in a matter of seconds.

There are clear productivity and potential cost benefits to organizations of having a given encounter managed by computer rather than a person.

But there is an inherent set of problems that come along with AI, especially from the customer’s perspective.

What AI Customer Service Did Poorly

A relative was having cable issues recently, and trying to get customer service via the company app. Troubleshooting didn’t work; chatbot could not specifically answer the question.  The system kept moving to broad categories because it didn’t understand the specifics of the situation.  My relative’s issue didn’t fit into a box, so the technology didn’t know how to handle it.  The customer got frustrated and ended up having to call.

In the CBS story, customer service representatives noted that many customers are upset and just want to vent – that was the best way for the customer to settle down.  Unfortunately, virtual assistants and chatbots have a hard time giving empathy because, after all, they’re computers. They don’t have feelings and cannot truly sympathize with the customer.  Customers want sincere empathy, and they understand they’re not getting it when they’re talking to a computer.

What You Do Better than the Virtual Assistant

I’m not sharing this to suggest that the chatbots and the virtual assistants are going away.  They can provide value, and not just to the company, but also to the customer.  And some customers prefer to use this process for customer service.

This Tip is being shared so that those who serve customers can understand what differentiates us from those virtual service offerings.

We differentiate ourselves from virtual customer service with our interest and willingness to find out the specific details of the customer situation.  It is our willingness to find out about potential alternatives, and converse with the customer about the pros and the cons, what would work best for them.  It is the ability and desire to be empathetic and understanding, to truly convey how much we value the customer.  We differentiate ourselves from those chatbots by the ability to more often deliver first contact resolution, to avoid the multiple handoffs.

We don’t need to fear these alternative technologies.  We need to understand what we provide beyond what they provide.  We need to utilize them as tools, as useful inputs for what we offer to our customers.

Understand what you can and do provide beyond these technology supports, and make sure you’re engaging with customers to highlight your proactive nature, your inquisitiveness about the specifics of the situation, your empathy, and your ability to truly help the customer the first time.

Be Better than AI Customer Service.

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Recognize the Situation, and Pivot – 1/16/24

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The customer has a complaint, or they may have an important question about an order or their account.  You may be talking to them in an emergency room, in the lobby of the government building, on the phone, or in a video conversation.  And in many of these Moments of Truth, there is a high likelihood of the customer’s perceptions being affected based on how you handle the situation.

This is a Moment of Truth because of the topic, or the situation itself.  The Topic could be the complaint, the question about an order or an account, an encounter with a new customer, or engagement with somebody who’s upset.  The Situation could be a stressful emergency room visit, an encounter with a government agency, a wait time at the restaurant, or the arrival of the tech at the house 60 minutes after the scheduled time.

During these Moments of Truth, the employees have some control over the interaction. While it’s up to the customer to create their perception about the organization or the employee, this is where the employee needs to understand the critical nature of the topic, the critical nature of the situation.

Recognize the Critical Nature

The best employees in customer service recognize the critical nature of these situations and become agile. They have the ability to pivot – to flex their attitudes and actions in the moment.

The best can stop all other activities and focus on that individual.  They can downshift, pulling their emotions back to keep the situation calm.  They understand the frustration with wait times, and proactively communicate with the customer to decrease the perception of the wait and reduce the angst and anger.  Staff have empathy for the customer and convey understanding of the situation back to that customer.  The best staff have patience, speak with a specific intent for how to best communicate with that particular individual, and work through these situations with and for the customer.  They recognize and pivot.

Identify the critical Topics and Situations that you encounter.  Get in-tune with these situations, recognize when these critical moments are happening, and adjust your behaviors and words to deliver a great experience.

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Sharpen Your Service Delivery – 1/9/24

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You work so hard at being responsive and providing high quality information.  You work hard at fixing problems.  But is your delivery…dull?

I’m not saying that it has to be exciting, but let’s think of the word “exciting.”  It means that something’s interesting, has energy, is positive.  Just by its nature, excitement attracts others, usually involves others.

Now let’s define “dull.”  It means that something doesn’t keep interest.  It’s not sharp.  It brings to the mind images of yawns, of boredom, of sleep.  Something that’s dull makes the mind wander.

Are you attracted to something that keeps your interest…or are you attracted to things that don’t?  Do you prefer interactions that engage you…or those that make your mind wander?  Are you more interested in something that has energy…or something that doesn’t?  Do you prefer something with a positive nature…or something that lacks positivity?

For your service to be effective, functionally it needs to fix the problem, respond quickly, and provide accurate and helpful information.  But for your service to be a relationship-builder, it needs to keep the customer’s interest, to engage the customer, to convey energy, and to be put forth in a positive nature.

As a customer service professional, think not only of what you deliver, also consider how your service is received from the customer’s perspective.  Work to keep the customer engaged, to make the interaction interesting, to convey your energy, and to be a positive part of their day.

Identify aspects of your interactions (your way of speaking with or writing to others) and your service processes that are “dull,” and seek to serve in a more engaging manner.

Sharpen your service delivery by keeping customers engaged and interested…in a positive way.

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