customer experience | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 9

“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

Define Customer Service Success Differently - 2/6/24


When I’m watching television, listening to the radio, or listening to a podcast, it’s always interesting when the topic moves to the question:  How can you be a success?  The speakers often discuss the process of becoming a success with the assumption that people believe success is defined by Read more

Care Enough to Give Them a Heads Up - 1/30/24


Nothing bad at all might happen.  Every day in the office could seem like every other day.  Sights and sounds and smells might continue to be the same.  But we have a lot of construction going on around our offices, and the building manager knows the type of work Read more

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


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 Read more

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


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 Read more

Sharpen Your Service Delivery - 1/9/24


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 Read more

Make Empathy Your Superpower - 1/2/24


I was facilitating a Service Excellence Training class for a Higher Ed client in the Northeast several years back.  As I was walking through the portions of our technique for defusing the angry customer, I talked about empathy.  I talked about accepting responsibility. Immediately, one of the hands in the Read more

Holiday Poem 2023 - 12/26/23


The days are getting longer, The skies are getting brighter. Festivities behind us, And festivities before us.   There’s ups and downs and change coming, And we can’t predict when or where. There’s challenges and joys and opportunities around, Of which you may or may not be aware.   But one thing we know as we look at each Read more

Refresh, Rejuvenate, Refocus - 12/19/23


It’s that time of year.  We’re going 100 miles an hour, and holiday time is upon us.  We not only have all the work to do, but we somehow have less time to do it.  We somehow have other things that are of competing interest, and even though those Read more

Respect, Regardless of Rank – 8/22/23

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

I was reading a management book written by a former naval officer.  He was given a leadership role over a ship that had been underperforming and had low morale.  One thing he did to turn around the performance, to improve morale, was instill in everyone onboard the principle that we need to respect each other, regardless of rank.

For anybody who’s watched an old military movie where the personnel show respect for rank, often you hear the statements of “Yes, General” or “Sir!  Yes, Sir” that we see exhibited by those with the more junior ranks.

But the Captain of this ship, the one trying to instill a new, high-performing culture, expected EVERYONE to be respectful of EVERYONE.

To understand “respect” in customer service, we have to paint a picture of it.  For many people, it’s much easier to paint a picture of respectful behavior by describing disrespectful behavior so that people know what action NOT to take.  Sometimes we literally define the word respect to paint that picture for those in customer service.

Communicating Respect to Rank

Today, let’s think about respect in terms of how it’s conveyed to people of rank – whether it’s an organizational leader or even the President.  The words we use (Yes, Sir or Yes, Ma’am) are stated frequently in response to what the ranking person says.  With individuals in those in high-rank roles, we try to understand their needs so that we can address them, carrying out their orders or requests.  We listen as much as possible in that one encounter to minimize the need to meet with them again as well as to ensure we don’t take up any more of their time than is necessary.

Communicating Respect Regardless of Rank

These are all actions and behaviors we can do with each other – with co-workers and with customers.  Use personal names and respectful terms to greet and address individuals throughout the conversation.  Try to understand specifically what they’re saying by asking the right questions and spending the majority of our time listening.  Allow them to speak first, and be patient through the conversation.  Follow through on what we offered to do, trying to limit how much of their time is required, whenever possible.

Respect, Regardless of Rank – find ways to make respect an all-the-time thing.

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Move on to the Next One – 8/15/23

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The ultimate game in professional American football is the Super Bowl.  In this past year’s Super Bowl, James Bradberry of the Philadelphia Eagles was called for a penalty with less than two minutes to go in the game.  The penalty gave the other team a first down; the other team was able to run the clock down until there was almost no time left, and then they kicked the winning field goal.

The penalty was one of those that, technically, was the correct call.  Bradberry briefly grabbed the shirt of a wide receiver, and that’s a penalty.  In a lot of games, in a lot of situations, that penalty is not called.  But at the end of the most important game of the year, Bradberry made a mistake, and he was called on it.

In the lead up to this upcoming season, Bradberry was asked about this play.  He said “A play’s going to happen. Good play. Bad play. You’ve got to move on to the next one.”

Ours is an Imperfect World

The working world that we live in – about customer experience, retaining clients, delivering good solid customer service – is an imperfect world.

And we are imperfect.  Despite our best intentions, our best training, our best skills, and our reading of weekly customer service tips, we make mistakes.

Even though I’m someone who has run a management consulting firm focused exclusively on customer service, client retention, and customer experience for the last 25 years, I make customer service mistakes.  I may make a mistake in how I respond, or maybe I don’t respond timely enough.  Recently, I left someone off the list of invitees for a meeting to debrief on a research project.  We make mistakes, and hopefully we apologize sincerely when we do.

Don’t Stay in the Negative

But like Bradberry, we need to move on.  We can’t get consumed by the mistakes of the past, because then we are allowing ourselves to get mired in mediocrity and negativity.  We need to acknowledge our mistakes, learn from them, and move on.

There will always be opportunities to do better, to improve, to take care of our customers.

So, the next time one of us imperfect people makes a mistake, let’s make sure we’re able to move on.

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How to Rise to the Occasion – 8/8/23

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In the movie Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, Mr. Magorium – played by Dustin Hoffman – tells his protégé that “Your life is an occasion.  Rise to it.”

He’s conveying a big picture life lesson – don’t let fear and apprehension keep you from living.

Rising to the occasion is also something we need to do in serving others.  Maybe it’s not as dramatic an occasion as living life to your fullest, overcoming the fears and the apprehension.  But it’s still important.  Rising to the occasion in a customer service encounter suggests that there is an occasion where the basics, the routine response, the status quo won’t suffice.

Maybe the situation doesn’t warrant the muted response, or the customer doesn’t respond to our typical approach, so we have to RISE!

How to Rise

So, how do you rise to the occasion in customer service?  It’s about ratcheting up the quality of your performance.

Can you respond more quickly, respond with more urgency on the customer’s behalf?  Take action now.  Make them a priority now.

Can you take ownership of a situation and shepherd it forward until it’s complete?  Don’t look for the handoff to others, look for the next step you can take together with them, the document you can work on together, the process you can complete together, the final step you can identify and act on together.

Can you meet their specific need with a specific solution?  Identify their issue, need, or goal.  Then put on your consulting hat and outline a specific solution to address that need.

Rising to the occasion is about the now, taking action together, and tailoring your solution to their situation.

When you are in an occasion of serving the customer, and they need expedited or extra support, tailored support, a final conclusion – Rise to the Occasion!

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