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A Story of Willie and Aubrey - 2/8/22


The gift shop was a great experience!  Aubrey had bought items online from the shop for years, but she had never stepped foot in the store itself.  However, when travel plans took her on a trip to new surroundings, she took time out of her day to go to Read more

It Matters Who You Know - 2/1/22


The season ticket account holder has an issue, but he’s not too concerned about it:  I’m going to call my guy, and he’ll take care of it. The patient is confused about their bill.  The family member says: I know someone who can help. The husband discovers a problem in the Read more

Put an End to 1-Star Ratings - 1/25/22


If you ever had service performed on your car, I would not doubt it if you received the immediate e-mail asking for that 5-star rating. They want the big ratings because that makes them look good, and to get the big average rating you have to avoid the 1-Star Read more

Signs of Service Recovery Situations - 1/18/22


As we continue the slow trend of more and more customer interactions becoming in-person again, we need to remember those signs that we’re about to enter one of THOSE conversations.  It can typically take only 5-10 seconds to realize this is going to be a high-risk situation with the Read more

In Survey Development, Think in Reverse - 1/11/22


We often meet with clients interested in conducting a survey, and when we discuss the project, many clients come with questions in-hand.  They are interested, curious, even excited sometimes about the possibility of tapping into the voice of the customer! And when we review their questions and start to see Read more

Foster Positive Feelings - 1/4/22


I bet a lot of you all are like me - when you’re asked to share your feelings, it’s not always something that feels comfortable.  It obviously depends on the situation and who’s asking you to share your feelings.  So, many of us might hesitate in sharing our feelings. However, Read more

How to Make the Situation Right - 12/28/21


The manager in the field office felt that - when problems arose with customers - the company didn’t do an especially good job of responding effectively.  He felt like this was hurting customer renewals of annual service agreements.  The company developed many customer service and retention initiatives with little Read more

2021 Holiday Poem - 12/21/21


Breathe and rest and relax and rejuvenate. Close the eyes, and fill the lungs. Take a break, and be with friends. This is a time to begin. Renaissance is called a rebirth. Birth can bring new life. Life gives opportunity for living. Living gives opportunity for joy. We have so many outside factors, So many things that tug Read more

“I’m Sorry” Doesn’t Mean “I’m Guilty” - 12/14/21


Individuals and organizations mess up; that’s part of life… They told me that they were going to be at my home at a certain time; they were REALLY late.  The customer service representative said they would get a message to a co-worker, and the co-worker would call me back; I Read more

Apply Selfless Service - 12/7/21


Andrea had worked in human resources for years, and the company decided that it wanted to hire employees who were more customer service-oriented, regardless of the position.  After making that decision, they added some creative questions to the interview process. One of the most interesting questions that Andrea had to Read more

Van Gogh the Vision – 11/16/21

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

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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6 Common Sense Responses to Customer Service Encounters – 6/30/20

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

I’ve run into this personally and professionally, and it drives me batty! Sometimes there’s a lack of common sense in the customer service provided by companies. And often that lack of common sense is due to the preference of a business to provide service in a certain method, to stick to scripts and procedures, and to prioritize checking-off a task over actually helping a customer.

To ensure your organization provides Common Sense Customer Service, let’s walk through some basics that address how to serve customers based on how they reached out to you

  • If the customer e-mails, give them answers in the e-mail; possibly offer a phone call as an option to get more information, but don’t make a call the ONLY option for ANY information. Give them an answer via e-mail, even if it’s just preliminary or partial, and offer a link to a specific web page.
  • If they e-mail a request or call in, don’t assume they’d prefer to visit your facility to address the need. Offer ways that they can get the need met without the effort of the onsite encounter.
  • If they call to talk to someone who can help on an issue, assume they want to talk to a SPECIFIC PERSON THEN who can help; they’d prefer not to get to a voice mail, not to repeat their need 3 times to 3 different people, not to be told to “go to the website.”
  • If they walk-in, expect a longer conversation than a call. If they spent an hour planning and conducting a roundtrip visit to see you, expect more than a 2-minute conversation.
  • If they walk in with nothing, assume they may want to walk out with something. Be prepared to write down information for them, to offer a handout, to print a key page off the website.
  • If they communicate via an online chat and convey the details of the situation at the start of the chat, assume they expect you to read that statement and not ask them questions they’ve already answered.

 

Sometimes the key to effective customer service starts with common sense. Base your response, in part, on how they reached out to you.

Do your part to make Common Sense Customer Service a common practice.

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