customer service | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 10

“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

Avoid the Aggravation; Confirm the Key Point – 3/14/23

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

In this age of instant information and auto-completion of texts or e-mails, we are quick to get one thing done and move on to the next thing.  Technology often helps us to complete our work more quickly.  Yes, there’s even AI technology that’s starting to wreak havoc on the internet because it does work for people.

But with speed and automation come basic risks.  The risks I’m referring to are those in-the-moment risks when you’re engaged with the customer – the risk that we’re going so quickly that we don’t get the right information. Therefore, we take a wrong step.  Therefore, there’s unnecessary work done.  Therefore, there are delays or rework or frustration.

It helps to confirm key points to avoid unnecessary aggravation.  Check out these 3 true scenarios:

Scenario #1 – The Wrong Number: During a call, the customer gave a phone number for the employee to contact.  The employee thanked the customer but did not confirm they heard the phone number correctly.  The employee called the line and didn’t get a hold of anyone.  It turns out that the employee wrote down the wrong number.  They didn’t call the customer back; they just assumed nobody was available at the number given.  There was a delay and frustration, all because the employee didn’t confirm what she heard.

Scenario #2 – The Self-imposed Deadline: The employee was very conscientious.  He wanted to get things done as quickly as possible.  He got the request from the customer and thought he could get it done by the next day.  So, he put other things on hold and rushed to make this customer request a priority.  Little did the employee know that the customer didn’t need the request addressed for a week.  The employee self-imposed a deadline because he didn’t ask the customer.  The employee put other projects on hold and worked late unnecessarily.

Scenario #3 – Paying for What?: The employee asked the customer for a payment in advance of recurring monthly services.  The customer wrote the check, and one month later the customer received an invoice for service provided.  The customer wondered why they were being billed if they paid up front.  After calling the business, the employee noted that the upfront payment was a security deposit, and the customer would be billed for the services received immediately thereafter.  The customer was not happy that they thought they were paying for services in advance, but instead they were just giving a deposit that they might not get back for months or years.

Sometimes the employee and the customer can avoid the aggravation if the employee is patient enough to confirm their understanding or to confirm that the customer understands.  Information given is sometimes assumed to be received correctly.  But that’s an assumption that can cause downstream issues.

Avoid the aggravation. Confirm the key point.

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Being the Emphatic Employee – 9/6/22

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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 to be emphatic.  There are many times when the customer lacks confidence or clarity, they are uncertain or anxious.  And it is part of our role to build that confidence, convey more clarity, and offer certainty to help overcome the anxiety.

To fulfill that role in our conversation with our customers, we can be emphatic with our words.  For example, it’s more emphatic to say “I will do ABC…” than to say “I think we can do ABC…”   It’s better to say “This will definitely help” than to say “This should help.”

It’s better to give a shorter answer than a longer answer.  It’s better to say “Yes,” then go into the description.  That immediately answers the question, emphatically.  That’s preferable to saying “There are a lot of different factors that come into play and for this particular situation…”  Again, we’re trying to create certainty and clarity.  It’s easier to be clear in a 3-word answer than in a 33-word response where the answer is somewhat hidden in the statement.

To be emphatic, think about more eye contact, more nods.  You’re reaffirming what you’re saying while you’re saying it.  Have body language that is complementary.  Use good posture, have more concise arm and hand movements just like your wording is more concise.

You can be positive while being emphatic to build confidence, convey clarity, and offer certainty to overcome anxiety.

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

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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 with us.  We are constantly improving our services by being good listeners.  You can contact Jim Smith, CEO of Acme Paper Products directly to voice the good, bad and ugly.

The Really Good…

I read this article a couple months ago:  3 Customers Showed Up at a Starbucks as It Was Closing. The Barista’s Response Was Completely Unexpected. The customer showed up 3 minutes late after closing, but the employee still took and filled the order.  At the drive-through window, after the customer apologized for ordering after hours, the employee said: “No problem. We love making your favorite drink, and we’re always happy to make it!”

The Ugly…

Robert needed to contact a DMV fraud department.  The website said they are open Wednesday/Thursday 9-10am.  He waited from Friday to Wednesday to call them.  He called Wednesday, and the phone line said they are open Monday/Tuesday/Thursday 8-10 am.  So, he waited another day and called during open hours.  The phone tree said, “We won’t respond to messages left on this line,” and then it told him to leave a message.

Look at these three stories, and find your own lessons learned for yourself or for your organization. See what good you can pull from each, and try to avoid the ugly from story #3.

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