customer service | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 8

“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

De-escalating Conflict in Customer Service – 4/25/23

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

Conflict can be very healthy and productive.  You and your customer are taking different perspectives, but if you have the same goal and you focus on what you’re trying to accomplish, the different perspectives may lead to an interesting approach or a mutually-beneficial solution.

If the decision was up to us, we might have one solution.  If the decision was up to the customer, they might have a second solution – and neither solution may work for the other.  But maybe there’s a 3rd or 4th or 5th solution – some of which may be workable for both.  Those solutions are determined through Healthy Conflict – leveraging the different perspectives and opinions to get to collective solutions.

Perspectives v. Positions

Where differences exist, conflict is often uncomfortable.  Unfortunately, when people have different perspectives, they can turn into different positions.  And when we start focusing on our position, that’s when our negative passions can rise, and the conversation can become personal.  It can overshadow the main issue or what potential solutions may exist for the situation.

Healthy Conflict v. Combat

So here are some ways to de-escalate conflict so it doesn’t become combat:

Avoid You: Focus on the specific issue, trying to talk less about the people involved and talk more about the process, the policy, the product, the facility.  Avoid the use of the word You to avoid making things personal, and try not to take comments too personally.

Set the Goal: Identify a common goal – even if it’s somewhat general.  It’s easier to determine a common solution if you focus on what you’re trying to accomplish in the end.

Be Self-aware: Be cognizant of tone and body language as you’re sharing the words, as these affect the emotions as much or more than what is actually being said.

Empathize: Get on the same side of the table with them, even literally at times.  Provide empathy, conveying some understanding of their perspective, asking questions and listening rather than interrupting or talking over the other person.

As we’ve often said, it’s much easier and quicker to deal with issues if negative emotion is not involved.

Deescalate conflict in customer service.

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Why a Home Run Swing Whiffs – 4/18/23

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ACME Tree Service showed up at Nancy’s house to provide an estimate for trimming some trees.  The sales consultant looked at the trees and their proximity to the house, and he quickly wrote up a bid.  Heavy trimming on 9 trees.  Heavy price tag.  It was a quick conversation resulting in sticker shock for Nancy.

AAA Trees showed up a little later, and their sales consultant looked at the same situation and the same trees. They asked several questions about the customer’s needs and concerns, their goals and what timing was preferred.  The estimate addressed some precision-trimming on 4 trees, focusing on key limbs that had the greatest needs or issues. The estimate was lower, the conversation was a little longer, but AAA Trees got the business.

As it’s been said, it’s better to have a little bit of something than a whole lot of nothing.  AAA got something out of the meeting.  Nancy got a plan for exactly what she wanted and needed.

ACME went for the home run, and they whiffed – swing and a miss!

AAA went for a Win-Win.  They wanted to find out precisely what the customer wanted/needed, and they provided a plan to address that need.  In customer service, there are lessons to be learned…

Sometimes it’s better to spend a little extra time with your customer, asking enough questions so you can give a more precise answer.  Your solution could be a better fit for the customer’s needs.

Customers are often more satisfied if you paint a picture of precisely what needs to be done and how the action addresses needs.

Finally, you can save yourself time and effort on the backend, if you spend a little more time truly getting to know the customer on the front-end.

Avoid always swinging for the fences.  A few questions and a little patience can lead to frequent singles and doubles.

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Communicate Crisply – 4/11/23

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

I try to make these tips around 300 words, but oftentimes I’m North of 400.  I work hard to pare down the words because I don’t want one or two core points being lost in a barrage of verbosity.

Phrases like lost in a barrage of verbosity are the things that might come out of my mouth initially.  But I try to avoid these phrases when sending messages because I want to be clear to the person with whom I’m speaking, so that they can more quickly and easily understand.

Part of how you convey respect in customer service is how you communicate with others, and one often overlooked method of communication is writing.  Our e-mails, in particular, could be more clear, more crisp.

When I say crisp, look at your e-mails sent to co-workers and customers.  Can the key information be gleaned in under 60 seconds?

If not, here are a few quick ways to make your writing crisp:

  • Take out the prepositional phrases. Did I really need to write “to the person with whom I’m speaking” above?
  • Eliminate the acronyms that are going to create follow-up communications requesting clarification.
  • Go for the shorter sentences rather than the long.
  • Use those bullet points.
  • Highlight the 1-2 points that you want them to take away from the message.

 
Be clear, but be a bit of a minimalist.

I naturally use a lot of words when I write, so I have to proof and narrow my initial draft.  Maybe it takes me an extra minute, but out of respect for the customer/co-worker, I try to pare it down so they can quickly and clearly understand what to do next or what I’m trying to convey.

In business writing for customer service, communicate crisply.

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