emotion | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

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

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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It’s Not You, It’s Them – 7/13/21

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

George Costanza – from the Seinfeld television sitcom – broke up with someone he was dating and told her “It’s not you, it’s me.”  It’s a famous line, and I’ve heard it used many times in humor, but I have a customer service twist on that comedic line.

It’s not you, it’s them.

If you’ve worked in a customer service role long enough, and by long enough I mean even just 3-6 months, you have probably dealt with the same complaint but in two totally different situations.  You could have Fred the customer walk into a store or call you on the phone, and there is a problem with his account.  He calmly describes the issue, and you deliver great service and work with him on a solution.

At some other point in time, Matt is the one who walks in; he’s the one who gets you on the phone.  Unfortunately, he has the exact same complaint about his account.  But instead of calmly describing the issue and working with you, he is ranting and raving!  He is blaming everyone under the stars, particularly you.  His tone is inflamed, and before you can even try to help him, you have to figure out how to calm him down and get the information you need to provide the support.

These are two different customers presenting the exact same issue.  One comes in calm, looking for resolution, and the other comes in like a raving lunatic.

Their negative emotion is not about you; it’s about them.  Even if the negative emotion is directed at you, it is about them.  Even if some of the pointed words are toward you, it is about them.

I’m not saying that the highly emotional complaining customers don’t have a right to complain.  Sure they do.  I’m not saying that the company is absolved of any responsibility for issues they cause.  Of course the company is responsible.

But what I am saying is that it’s much easier for us to handle these situations if we can handle our emotions…if we don’t get defensive…if we don’t take things so personally.  And one way we can do that is to realize that we have had customers with the same issue before who have been calm, have been rational, who have looked to work with us to a resolution.

And if we realize we have been blessed with these collaborative customers, then we can also realize that if somebody comes in with the same issue in a totally off-the-wall manner, their emotion is not our fault.

We should try to do whatever we can to help them and move the conversation forward and resolve the issue, and one of the best ways we can do that is to realize that the emotion is not about us.  It’s about them.

It’s Not You, It’s Them.

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Use Your Customer Service Freedoms – 7/6/21

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

We’re only a couple days past Independence Day here in the United States.  So it may be a good time for us in the customer service world to think about our freedoms, to think about what we have the liberties to do, to reinforce how this all plays out with our work lives and our interactions with co-workers and customers.

Freedom does not necessarily mean we can do anything we want irrespective of the consequences, but freedom does convey that we have options.  We have choices.  And in those customer service Moments of Truth, these choices can often impact us as much as they impact those that we’re serving.

  • When somebody comes at us negatively, we can’t always control our initial emotional reaction, but we can control how we respond in the situation.
  • When we don’t know the answer, we have the choice to dump the responsibility for finding the answer back on the customer, simply sharing that we don’t know, or sharing that we don’t know but taking the initiative to find out.
  • When we are made aware of a process or communication or service issue, we can address the issue for that one customer and just leave it there. Alternatively, we can at least determine whether this was a 1-time occurrence or whether this could happen 100 times in 100 days to 100 different customers.
  • We have the choice to come into work and complain all day long to co-workers, or we can come into work to encourage each other and try to look for the good in the day.
  • We have the choice to feel like the entire decision and responsibility has to be only on our own shoulders, or we can seek the opinions and guidance of others.
  • We have the choice to ignore e-mails and voice mails until the person follows up 2 or 3 times, or we can choose to respond on a timely basis.

 
We are often put in bad situations in customer service.  Many of these rough situations are not of our doing; they are not our fault.  But that doesn’t mean we are left without choices.  That doesn’t mean we are left without freedoms.  If anything, in these situations there is so much more to consider and potentially do in order to manage our own emotions, build others up, or do what’s within our authority and our capabilities to make a difference.

Use your freedoms in such a way that the company, the customers, and you, yourself, have better days.

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