moment of truth | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

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

Find the Hidden Compliment - 7/26/22


The fact is, they ARE complaining:  The room is too cold.  The wait is too long.  They wish the parking spaces were bigger.  The new app doesn’t have a mapping function.  They cannot pay with their phone.  The website is unclear. In these types of complaints, the ones that are Read more

When You Know More Than They Do - 7/19/22


It was 95 degrees outside.  That’s not too bad when you’re inside and enjoying the air conditioning; but when Rachel’s A/C went out, in came Rachel’s worry.  Luckily, she knew the company to call, and a technician from Acme HVAC (fake name, real company) came out the next morning. Rachel Read more

Signs of Service Recovery Situations – 1/18/22

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

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 customer – where they’re coming in irate, upset, or complaining.

In that short moment-of-truth, your response can trigger their emotion, even if they’re not yet there.  So it’s important to be aware of potential signs of trouble:

  • They have been waiting a long time.
  • They’re looking at their watch.
  • They mention a previous conversation about an issue or unresolved need.
  • They’re LOUD!
  • They say “I expect
  • They state that they’ve been directed to several other employees or departments before you.
  • They use (and often emphasize) words like: problem, issue, mad, upset, angry.

 
It’s at times like these – situations like described above – that our service recovery senses and skills need to kick in.  We need to make sure we’re not making the situation worse with our original response and that we’re immediately focused on listening, empathy, and self-awareness of our body language at that moment-of-truth.

Identify the signs of a need for service recovery.

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Customer Service Experts have a Presence – 7/20/21

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Standouts in the sports, entertainment, business, and political fields are sometimes said to have “an air about them.”  Unfortunately, that definition of air sometimes is perceived as an air of superiority or an air of condescension or something that doesn’t always have the most positive connotations.

Well, the greats in customer service have more of a presence than an air, and that presence is a presence of mind.  It’s a phrase we don’t hear as much about as we used to, but it’s all about being in-the-moment.  It is being able – based on the unique circumstances of this specific situation at this point in time – to know what to say or not to say.  It’s about knowing what to do or not to do. It’s about thinking of alternatives and options and resources, all while maintaining your emotions and helping to manage the customer’s emotions.

This is one of the most difficult things to do in customer service.  It’s being able to be agile in your approach at any given instance based on the situation.

Some people are really good at customer service, but if the circumstances go off script or require thinking out of the box, the conversation can go awry.  Maybe they have difficulty with the emotions or are hesitant to or unable to come up with the alternatives.

If you want to be GREAT at customer service, know your resources.  Know your co-workers.  Know your policies and procedures.  Know the alternatives and the options and the next steps you can share.  And above all, know your customers.  Ask enough questions so that you can head them in the direction that’s going to work for their unique instance.

To be great, cultivate your presence of mind by building your knowledge, adding to your service recovery toolkit, and practicing for the most difficult of situations so that those that are routinely tough are easier for you to navigate.

Cultivate your customer service presence of mind.

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A Wait is a Moment of Truth – 4/27/21

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Moments of Truth in customer service can be conversations with a customer about some complaint that they have, they can be interactions when they’re buying something in the drive-thru of a fast food restaurant, they can be questions about an order that the customer calls in to the company, or they can be brief interactions in an emergency room or in the lobby of a government building.

During these interactions, there are often waits. At the fast food restaurant, the employee at the window is waiting for the food to be prepared. In the E.R., the employee waits for the room to be cleaned for the next patient.  When the customer calls about an order, there could be wait time while the employee researches the order and the customer’s question.

During these Moments of Truth, the employees are often waiting or doing an activity while the customer is present.  Yet, too many employees only communicate with the customer when the employee needs or conveys information. The employee doesn’t realize the importance of keeping the communication going during the rest of the Moment of Truth.

We need to view these periods of silence as opportunities to build rapport, as opportunities to improve the customer experience.  While research is being done or the wait is underway, we can simply say nothing and create a cold, impersonal experience for the customer – where inactivity can create customer doubt, frustration, or questions.

Or we could engage the customer.  We could talk to the customer about their situation, describe what is being done during the wait, educate them on some aspect of the product/service/facility/website, or note what activities may follow.  We could use these times of waiting and research as times to build rapport and relationship.

The next time you’re with the customer and the customer is waiting, keep the communication going.  Turn wait times into part of a positive customer experience.

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