inquisitive | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

Handle Interruptions Heroically - 6/18/24


In the middle of a project, Jimbo, the customer service team member, had to stop what he was doing because he received an e-mail from a customer complaining about their experience at a recent event. Later that day, Jimbo was asked by his boss to put everything on hold for Read more

From Employees to Teammates: The Shift - 6/11/24


Be a great teammate. Be a good team player. We’re all part of the team. We’re no longer employees, we’re team members! The phrase “Team” is used in describing co-workers so much more than it was used years ago.  Then, we would be talking about employees, talking about staff, talking Read more

Nurture New Relationships - 6/4/24


Freddie was a new business owner in town.  He was launching a franchise, had acquired some funding from a local bank, and was in search of staff who cared about customer service. All the while, he was in the process of renovating a storefront for his business, so he was Read more

There’s Positivity in Patience - 5/28/24


The employee at the financial services firm was working with a new client on a relatively simple loan.  The documentation was about as clear as it could get to the employee, but the customer had lots of questions.  The employee calmly, clearly, and specifically answered each question.  The meeting Read more

The Goal – A Great Experience - 5/21/24


The following is a narrative of a great experience (people, process, service, facility) at a minor league sporting event – key points that could apply to any business are in bold… Mark and I pulled into the parking lot, excited about the game.  The Slapshots had been on a roll Read more

Your Best Ability is… - 5/14/24


I enjoy watching sports, and I’ve even listened to some sports press conferences over the years, just to hear what coaches are saying.  Basically getting the leadership perspective from the sports industry either out of my interest or curiosity, or to figure out how to apply it to the Read more

A Complaint is a Gift - 5/7/24


A complaint is a gift.  Okay, so the complainer is not always a “gift.”  The customer’s delivery of the complaint is sometimes more like a stocking filled with coal than a vase filled with roses.  But this is why we need to be able to differentiate the complaint from Read more

Mastering Confidence in Customer Service - 4/30/24


It’s not what you said…it’s how you said it. If you’ve ever had someone say this to you, raise your hand.  (I just raised my hand) Usually this is being said when someone is upset with you, but regardless of the reason, that phrase illustrates that HOW we say something often Read more

Be Amazing - 4/23/24


Watching Michael Jordan steal a pass and then dunk a basketball is amazing.  Taking a rocket to the moon is amazing.  The taste of my mom’s homemade beef soup is amazing. We all have our personal examples of what is amazing.  Usually, it’s something that we cannot comprehend, that we Read more

Talk About Yourself to Build Customer Confidence - 4/16/24


When you’re dealing with somebody who is anxious or nervous about a situation, a customer who feels like they don’t have much control, an individual who is unsure and uncertain, it’s important to put the customer at ease.  It’s important to build their comfort level.  It’s important to help Read more

The Empathy Roadmap – 2/27/24

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

For some people, empathy comes naturally.  There’s an innate desire to learn about the other person and to sincerely convey that sense of interest and caring.  But for many of us, sometimes it helps to have a communication plan.  It helps to know what to do in order to help your customer or your co-worker truly understand how much you care.  It helps to have an Empathy Roadmap:

  • Ask for Information – It’s difficult to convey understanding unless you truly understand. Ask enough questions to understand what’s unique about the individual and their particular situation.  Simply assuming what they want can send you down the wrong service path.
  • Listen to What They Say and How They Say It – When they’re talking, be attentive – as if they’re the most important person in the world to you at that moment. Listen to their words and note their body language, expressions, gestures, and tone of voice.  Two customers can say “Are you ready for me, yet?” in two totally different tones, conveying two very different messages.
  • Learn Their Perspective – Their issue or need may be the same as 10 other customers you’ve helped, but what that issue means to them could be different. Seek to understand “the why” behind their issue – why it’s important to them, why it caused them to contact you, why they want it addressed.  Determine their unique “why.”
  • Confirm Your Understanding – One of the best ways to convey empathy is to restate your understanding of their need and situation to them. This suggests you cared enough to listen and understand.

 
Follow the empathy roadmap to help the customer feel like you truly care.

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Help Me Help You – 7/4/23

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With all due respect to the movie Jerry Maguire, this tip is not about the life of agents for professional athletes.  It’s about customer service and what it really means to help.

We’ve seen employees wear badges that say “Ask me. I am happy to help!” or “May I help you?” or “How can we help you today?”

But what are we signing up for when we ask these questions or make these statements?  Although the badge conveys our willingness to help and solicits questions from customers, what are we offering to do?

We are offering to provide information, to share our knowledge, to understand their unique needs and guide them toward the right solution.  These actions require a desire to take action on the customer’s behalf, a willingness on our part to continually learn about our role, our services, our organization, and the ability to ask the right questions, matching the need with a solution.

We are offering to overcome obstacles or eliminate roadblocks.  We are there to help them move to a next step or get through their day in a positive way.  We are there to find pathways to Yes rather than roadblocks of No’s.  These actions require a desire to address problems, to think through processes from the customer’s perspective, and to be pleasant in our engagement with others.

Being helpful may seem like a simple concept, but to truly help others, we need to have the desires, the willingness, the knowledge, and the ability to have a positive influence on those that we come in contact with each day.

Make sure that you’re equipped to truly help the customer today.

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Know What You Don’t Know – 11/5/19

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Twitter, Instagram, Facebook – yak, yak, yak.  In the social media world, there’s an awful lot of talk that goes on and a lot of opinions shared.  But sometimes those opinions are not based on any level of deep knowledge. Sometimes they are based on assumptions.

In the world of customer service, basing actions on assumptions is a risk we shouldn’t take, and it’s a risk we do not need to take either.  Taking action is work. Taking action also requires a customer’s time and almost always has some kind of an impact on the customer.  So before we take an action, let’s make sure we know what we need to know.

When responding to a customer need, briefly in your mind run through a mental checklist.  Run through the 5 W’s:  Do you know the Who, What, When, Where, and Why?  If not, these are questions you can ask the customer to give you the information you need before you take action:

  • Who – The name of the person with the need or those involved in the request.
    • Can I get your name, please?
    • Who needs this service?
    • Can I get the name of the person needing this item?
    • To whom am I speaking?
  • What – A description of what they want done.
    • Which service do you need?
    • What would you like done?
    • Which item are we discussing?
  • When – A common understanding of timeframe – when it’s needed.
    • By when do you need this done?
    • When do you need to receive this item?
    • What date are you considering?
  • Where – The location where something needs to take place.
    • Where does this need to be held?
    • Where are you located?
    • To where does this need to be delivered?
  • Why – An understanding of the other person’s goal.
    • What are you hoping to accomplish?
    • What’s your ultimate goal?
    • Can you help me understand the result you’re looking to achieve?

Before you take action for the customer, first know what you don’t know.  Then get to know what you need to know to address the need right the first time.

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