anxiety | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

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

Be Kind to Yourself When the Customer Isn’t - 9/13/22


I was having a debrief call with one of my clients recently, and this was regarding a survey of employees who work events.  One of the survey questions asked employees for advice on how to improve the customer experience.  When the employees shared their input on the guest experience, Read more

Being the Emphatic Employee - 9/6/22


Empathy is the key quality of somebody who’s great at customer service.  We talk about it often - what it is, how to convey it, what it looks like, and how it makes the customer feel. But along with knowing how to be empathetic, we also need to know how Read more

The Good, the Really Good, and the Ugly of Customer Service - 8/30/22


Here are three helpful customer service stories.  They may not be from your specific industry, but it’s always good to learn from others. The Good… Paula submitted a ticket to the I.T. vendor.  Below the signature line in the reply she received was the following:  Please share your comments or needs Read more

A Great 2-Minute E-mail - 8/23/22


I know.  You probably get e-mails all the time from customers griping about some aspect of your organization or their experience.  You’ve got too much to do and too little time to do it.  I could not begin to tell you how many times I’ve been told by staff Read more

When They Want to Talk to Your Boss - 8/16/22


“I want to talk to your supervisor.” That’s their opening salvo.  Before you can hardly finish your greeting, the customer is asking for your boss.  This is done by a customer who has tried to get an issue resolved, and it hasn’t worked, so they want to go to somebody Read more

When Passive Voice is a Good Thing - 8/9/22


It’s all your fault, Mr. Customer! We may want to shout it from the rooftops, but other than venting and absolving ourselves of guilt, this wouldn’t help much in the grand scheme of things. We have a customer sitting in front of us or on the phone, and maybe they are Read more

They’re Stressed, So You Can… - 8/2/22


Wow!  That customer looks stressed!  Maybe it’s their body language or their expressions; they could be fidgety or talking really fast. In the past, when we offered guidance in these situations, we focused on how to navigate the conversation step-by-step - what points to cover and what points to avoid. But Read more

Find the Hidden Compliment - 7/26/22


The fact is, they ARE complaining:  The room is too cold.  The wait is too long.  They wish the parking spaces were bigger.  The new app doesn’t have a mapping function.  They cannot pay with their phone.  The website is unclear. In these types of complaints, the ones that are Read more

They’re Stressed, So You Can… – 8/2/22

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

Wow!  That customer looks stressed!  Maybe it’s their body language or their expressions; they could be fidgety or talking really fast.

In the past, when we offered guidance in these situations, we focused on how to navigate the conversation step-by-step – what points to cover and what points to avoid.

But today, let’s be a little less prescriptive and just talk about some Guiding Principles when you’re engaging the other person:

Avoid the Absolutes – Conveying empathy is important in these situations.  People seem to be less anxious when they feel like somebody is trying to understand them.  However, it’s best to avoid statements that convey that you are certain about what they’re feeling, that you are certain about their situation:  I know exactly how you feel. You are stressed. I know you’re nervous.

By using these statements, we’re making assumptions that they’re stressed about something.  Sure, they appear that way, but we don’t want to state the assumption as a fact, since we could either be wrong or they may take offense if we tell them how they feel.  Instead, use phraseology like: It seems…or I would understand if…or Situations like this can be…

Temper Your Tone – One way to bring nervousness down is to bring the volume down.  Try to speak more softly. Yes, still use a bit of inflection to show interest but not so much inflection that it brings higher energy into the conversation.  We’re trying to pull some of the energy and emotion out of the conversation.

Ease the Expressiveness – If you’re somebody who talks with their hands (like me!) or have lots of facial expressions, if you’re somebody who moves around a lot when they talk – these activities can keep the energy and the emotion in the conversation.

Slow your movements.  Have more of a neutral, yet somewhat positive facial expression.  Relax your shoulders and your arms, and provide a total focus on the other individual.

When the other person is stressed, we don’t want to do anything to create an even more stressful environment for them – or for us.

Avoid the Absolutes, Temper Your Tone, and Ease the Expressiveness.

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To Assure, Ensure You Do This – 2/9/21

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Vince Lombardi – famous professional football coach – became a big hit on the speaker’s circuit during his time coaching.  He applied many of his principles in football and life to business, and one of his great business quotes is:  Confidence is contagious and so is lack of confidence, and a customer will recognize both.

Whether the customer is anxious or not, you want them to feel confident in what you or your organization are going to do…confident in what you or your organization says.  You want to impart your confidence to them.

You want to assure them that issues will be resolved, orders will be filled, and needs will be met.  You want them to be confident, and their confidence benefits you.  The more confident they are, the fewer questions they’ll ask.  The more confident they are, the fewer times they’ll contact you for updates.  The more confident they are, the more patient they will be in gaining closure on the situation.

So how do you build confidence in the moment?  You need to assure them.  Assurance is about your being confident – with your words and tone and body language.  It’s about conveying positivity, and it’s about more than you simply telling them the outcome that will occur:

  • Show them the plan – the steps that will get them from Point A to Z.
  • Prove how many times you’ve helped customers in similar situations.
  • Tell a story of a recent success example – how someone in their position got the outcome they’re seeking.
  • Promise or guarantee or pledge what you’ll do next or how you’ll shepherd the situation through to a final positive outcome.

 
To build a customer’s confidence, convey your confidence, and assure them by helping them visualize the path to a positive solution.

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

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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 if you’re confident?  And why is that important?

As a customer, I’ve been in a situation far too many times when I’m seeking guidance or input.  I’m trying to understand the process or I’m trying to understand a deadline.   If I know the process and the deadline, if I know how they’re going to get to the answer or how they’re going to fix this product issue, my expectations get set.  I have a game plan.  And where there is no game plan, often there is anxiety or worry.

You don’t want your customers feeling anxiety or worry.  And if that anxiety or worry comes from you, then it is attached to your company, and the perception of you and the company is lessened.

As a customer, when I sense that lack of confidence, I’m sensing it because there are long unexplained pauses before answers.  Because there’s a lot of “I don’t know” without a lot of “I’ll find out.”  Because they never say that they can answer that for me or help me with that.  Because I’m put on hold without being told why or am transferred without being told to whom.  Because the voice wavers and there’s a lot of “ummm” and “hmmm.”

So much of that perceived lack of confidence comes from things employees do that they should simply eliminate.

Eliminate the long pauses – keep the conversation going.  Don’t say “I don’t know” unless you follow that up with “I’ll find out.”  If you want to help, don’t avoid saying that you want to or you can help.  Don’t put people on hold or transfer them without letting them know to whom and why.  Don’t provide the unnecessary “ummm” and “hmmm.”

Sometimes saying less conveys more confidence.

Convey your self-belief – your confidence – to your customer.

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