care | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

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

When You Know More Than They Do - 7/19/22


It was 95 degrees outside.  That’s not too bad when you’re inside and enjoying the air conditioning; but when Rachel’s A/C went out, in came Rachel’s worry.  Luckily, she knew the company to call, and a technician from Acme HVAC (fake name, real company) came out the next morning. Rachel Read more

Bring Warmth During Winter – 12/29/20

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

Winter is upon us.  Now, winter can mean different things to different people in different regions, but just the word conjures up cold.  It conjures up visions of snow.  It conjures up feelings of wind and lack of warmth.

Although some of us may like the cold at times of year or around certain seasons, we don’t like the cold at the start of a conversation.  And oftentimes, customer service representatives can come off as being cold right at the beginning of a customer conversation without ever meaning to do so.

The customer makes their request, and this is how the employee responds:

  • What’s your account number?
  • What’s your name? What’s your phone number?
  • To confirm your account, I need your mother’s father’s wife’s daughter’s maiden name…spelled backwards.

 
While all this information might be valuable, there is typically little warmth associated with the words.  There’s virtually no communication of wanting to help that person or caring about that person’s needs that’s conveyed through the phrases used by the employee.

By simply responding to a request with a few key words or phrases, the conversation can start much warmer, much more pleasant, and take no more time than 1-2 seconds additional.  How about starting with:

  • I will be happy to help you with that request.
  • We can definitely address that for you.
  • I can help with that right away.
  • Great! That’s something I can take care of for you.

 
Simply sprinkle a “happy” or a “definitely,” a few “for you” expressions or “I can help” into your initial response to the request, and the tone and warmth of the conversation will start in the right direction.

Bring warmth to the beginning of your customer conversation.

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Increase Research for Improved Customer Relations During COVID-19

Posted on in Business Advice Please leave a comment

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 not only are not top-of-mind, but we’re not even “bottom-of-mind.” We are not in the mind. They don’t think of us, they don’t consider us because the relationship has gone stale.

Now caring is in the eye of the beholder. How one person defines whether they are cared for by the other may differ from individual to individual. But if we put things in the context of the customer relationship, there are some more consistent realities. Communicating with the customer just to sell isn’t relationship-building. A lack of communication isn’t relationship-building.

What Caring for the Customer Requires

Caring requires that people feel like they’re viewed as an individual – that we value them. It requires that we usually listen more than talk. It means that we try to understand their issues, needs, and goals, and – if they want more than the listening ear – we address those issues, needs, and goals.

So much of what I just described suggests that we can – and MUST – improve customer relations through research, and CSS is conducting a great deal of research in this COVID-19 environment because our clients understand this truth.

Customer research done correctly involves a company asking a customer a question. It involves the company seeking information from the customer, ultimately for the customer. Sometimes, well-designed research instruments convey caring for the customer and valuing of the customer just by how the tools are worded and what questions are asked.

Design with the Customer in Mind

What do you need to know about the customer to help them? What do you need to learn about them to best serve them? How do you identify their priorities, their issues, their concerns, their perceptions, their preferences? And how do you construct these questions in such a way that you convey that you care? We’re talking about research, and we’re not necessarily saying it’s purely web-based surveys. This can include one-on-one interviews, phone follow-up from account representatives, or check-in calls from staff. This could include informal e-mail requests, or it could include facilitated ZOOM focus groups.

Whatever it is, do enough of it to know enough about as many of your customers as possible to help them. If you professionally design with the conveying that you care in mind, you will improve customer relations.


6 Ways to Provide Something Extra – 4/14/20

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

Winnie and Wayne ordered take-out last week, and when they brought their food home, they put the bag on the kitchen table and started unloading.  As they were pulling out the boxes, they noted two little handwritten notes. Each was a Thank You Note written by a different employee – one for each customer.

True story. Simple gesture. Special to the recipient, especially considering how exceptionally tough times are in the restaurant industry.

Sometimes when we are hurting, the best thing to do is to give a little extra to somebody else.  Sometimes when having customers knocking on your door every day is no longer a given, we need to do a little something extra.

Here are some “something extras” that we can consider doing for customers in the days where we’re currently living:

  1. Send that handwritten Thank You Note to a customer.
  2. Call or e-mail someone in an informal and personalized way just to check on them.
  3. If you find something that is helping you mentally, physically, spiritually, share that with others that you think may be open to that type of example.
  4. If you are waiting on something for the customer to do to complete a transaction or to get a process moving, either do it for them and let them know, or give them a quick call or text as a reminder to help them keep things moving.
  5. In e-mails and calls, don’t just share the facts, ask how they’re doing and convey that you hope they stay safe.
  6. In a “Stay-at-Home” world, find ways to virtually provide/receive information so they don’t have to make a trip.

I’m heartened by how much people are rallying around each other and, in many ways, being more collaborative and less conflict-oriented.  Many of these behaviors are simply reflective of a more caring culture.

Find some ways to give something extra.

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