emotion | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

“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

Make Empathy Your Superpower – 1/2/24

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

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 room went up.  The employee said: I would never make statements like you’re suggesting.  Once you start saying you’re sorry or once you start acknowledging their feelings, they’re going to sense that you’re weak.  They’re gonna walk all over you.

I was a little bit taken aback initially, but not because somebody was challenging the technique.  Primarily, I was surprised somebody would consider it a weakness to be empathetic.  Somebody might consider it a weakness to accept responsibility.

I’ve always viewed empathy as a strength.  It’s a higher level of awareness, a higher level of caring for another person.  Being willing to look outside yourself to understand the unique needs and situations of another.  It’s a strength to have emotional awareness of others.  These are strong, positive attributes.

Now, I understand the employee’s point was that if you ‘put down your guard,’ if you acknowledge the other person, they may feel that they can berate you, or get you to do things on their behalf that are against policy, not ethical, or not the acceptable procedure.  But what he was suggesting was to maintain a defensive posture.  To not acknowledge the issue or any company responsibility.

What empathy does is to help the customer feel that you care, and to more quickly move you to a next step.  What lack of empathy does is to create a stalemate, to bog down the conversation, to S-L-O-W progress toward a resolution, and to ramp up the negative emotions.

Use empathy to make the customer feel better, to feel heard and understood.  But use it also because it saves you time, it keeps down emotions, and it moves the conversation along.

Use empathy as a strength.  Make it your superpower.

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When Passive Voice is a Good Thing – 8/9/22

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

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 to blame, but by blaming them, we are often whipping the emotions up.  And when we’re dealing with service recovery, we want to bring the emotions down.  We can waste a lot of time and energy dealing with emotions and never getting to a solution, so we want to find ways to deal with issues without focusing on blame.

Avoiding the You

Avoiding discussions of blame requires that we avoid discussions of You.  At a high level, we basically try to avoid the Who, and focus on the What and the When.  We literally talk about the issue, what happened, when did it happen, how did things occur.  We spend enough time on the issue only to understand the direction to go with the solution.

And with the solution, again, we focus on the What and the When, the How, and – sometimes – the Who.

So how do we avoid talking about who caused the issue?  Sometimes it’s very easy – just talk about what steps were taken without saying who took those steps.  We literally avoid the word You, and we actually use a little passive voice (When this happened… or This occurred after…).  Those are softer ways to describe an occurrence than You did this… You caused this… This problem was created by you.

Getting to the Solution

Again, we want to understand the issue well enough to get to the solution, but we don’t want to be mired in the emotion.  Sometimes it pays not to focus on who is right and who is wrong.  Instead, we need to focus on getting to the right solution as quickly as possible.

The next time you find yourself in one of these service recovery situations and the customer’s clearly in the wrong, focus on the issue and solution, and try to avoid assigning blame.

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Foster Positive Feelings – 1/4/22

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

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, when customers are providing a word-of-mouth evaluation of our businesses, what they are mostly sharing is their feelings.  Sure, they’re telling their buddy, their co-worker, their spouse, or an acquaintance about the specifics of their experience in working with our businesses.  But they are also sharing their feelings.  How they paint the picture of their experiences is often based on the feelings they take away from their interactions with us.

So, if word-of-mouth can generate business for us, if word of mouth – when negative – can keep potential new customers from even considering our businesses, then the question becomes:  How do we engender positive feelings from customers?

Feelings We Want Our Customers to Have

Most of us want our customers to feel comfortable in working with us.  We want them to have enjoyed the experience, to be confident in what we’re doing, to feel respected, to feel like we valued their time.

If these are some of the feelings that we want our customers to have, some of the positive feelings that they could share in conversations with others, then we need to determine how to engender these feelings.

Foster Positive Feelings

Consider these points:

  • Strive to make your customers feel comfortable – with the environment, the process, and the plan.
  • Be consistent, knowledgeable, and effective enough to gain their confidence.
  • Be efficient enough, patient enough, and communicate well enough so that they feel you valued their time.
  • Tell them they are important, and convey it with your actions and your responsiveness.
  • Use your body language, your tone of voice, and how you engage them with your words to convey true respect.

To foster more positive word-of-mouth, work hard to foster positive feelings in the heart of your customers.

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