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Find a Connection Point – Part 2: Situational Connection - 10/4/22


Last week we highlighted key topics to consider when you want to find Personal Connection Points with the customer.  Today, we’ll cover some key questions to ask to uncover information about today’s situation that you can use to establish a rapport with the customer.  This is Part 2 - Read more

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

A Great 2-Minute E-mail – 8/23/22

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

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 and managers in Service Excellence Training that they just have too many emails and voicemails to respond to customers.

That may be the case, and maybe the root cause of all those messages is a bad experience, understaffing, or poor processes and communications.  So, there is a need to get at the root causes to drive down those large numbers of unwanted customer complaints.

But it doesn’t take 30 minutes to send a good e-mail.  It doesn’t even take 10 minutes to craft the perfect response.  In most cases, you can easily create a great e-mail in less than 2 minutes.

The client had been coming to the venue for events for years, and something had changed. Certain gates were closed that had once been open.  Handicap access was different than it had been in the past.  They were a long-time customer, and this change was a frustration.  Here’s the employee’s response:

Hi John,

Thank you for your feedback, and I’m sorry about the difficulties accessing the venue.  I will make note of your concern and see if we can come up with a solution.  

For some background as to why we changed from Gate B to Gate C for the event, our Gate C is closest to the wheelchair ramp.  We wanted to make sure folks have the easiest access to the ramp.  I’m sorry we didn’t communicate about the change well-enough prior to the event.  I’ll follow-up with you prior to the next event with an update.

Thank you again,

Mary

There’s personalization, empathy, apology, commitment to action, explaining why without making excuses, taking ownership, and closing with appreciation and personalization – all in about 100 words…and under 2 minutes.  This is far better than no response, and far better than most e-mails consumers receive these days.

The next time you feel you have too much going on to respond to e-mails, do what’s right and help the customer feel valued.  Try to be great…in under 2 minutes.

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Van Gogh the Vision – 11/16/21

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Want to create Service Excellence in your organization?  Have a vision, then paint the picture of that vision.  It’s easier to create something if you can visualize it first, so let’s Van Gogh a Vision.

Excellent customer service is delivered in a courteous manner.  Courtesy comes through when employees are pleasant, they smile, they use the basics of “please” and “thank you,” the basics of “yes, sir” and “yes, ma’am.”  Courtesy comes through when we are polite, and we have a caring tone about us.

Service Excellence is also delivered with respect, and customers nowadays want respect.  So, what does respect look like?  Respectful customer service is delivered in such a way that our body language, our smiles, how we say things, our attentiveness to the customer, and the phrases we use – they all tend to put the customer in the light of being more important than our co-worker, more important than our paperwork, more important than any task we have in front of us.

And if you look at Service Excellence from the perspective of you being a consumer, think about what makes an organization appear to have excellent customer service.

You usually know you are experiencing great customer service when the organization seems to go above and beyond the basics for you.  They anticipate your needs.  They greet you up front and show appreciation on the backend.  They are responsive to the voicemail and e-mail messages.  They are responsive to your needs.  They tell you what to expect, and then they do what they say they are going to do.

Finally, to Van Gogh the Vision, look at organizations that have the reputation of being great at customer service – Disney, Chick-fil-A, and FedEx, for example.  What do they do?  They are consistently good.  They are accurate.  They are quick.  You can trust their timeliness.  They try to create an experience for the customer, not just a product.  They have key core mission and vision statements so that everybody knows why they exist and where they are going.  These are organizations that truly care about their customer, realizing if we convey that caring and meet their needs, then we will have the best chance possible of keeping that customer.

Van Gogh your Vision of Service Excellence.

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First E-mail Impression? I’ll Enjoy Working with You – 11/9/21

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When you provide consulting, research, and training services like we do, you meet a variety of people, and many of them are new individuals to work with even if they are in organizations you’ve worked with for years.

When I meet the new customer or they meet me for the first time, it’s easy to form a quick opinion about each other.  Much of the opinion is based on the first few interactions that we have, and often – in today’s world – those first few interactions are via e-mail.

And while my opinion may change down the road, usually the first impression tells much of the story.  So here are some aspects of my e-mail interactions with customers that suggest I’m going to enjoy working with them:

  • They respond to e-mails quickly, typically in less than a half-day.
  • They are specific in their e-mail without being too lengthy.
  • They tell me what they’ll do and by when.
  • Their messages present organized and clear thoughts.
  • There is an intent to answer my question or address the point I explained in my e-mail.
  • They use a personal greeting and a personal closing with contact information.
  • There’s enough informality to show part of their personality, and usually a little enthusiasm!

 
People like to like the people with whom they work.  That’s part of the reason I’m in this business – because most people who are serving others or trying to retain customers are genuinely nice people.

Even if it’s a simple e-mail response, communicate in a way that the other person can tell that they will enjoy working with you.

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