patience | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

The Proven Value in What You Do - 4/9/24


Forbes wrote an article last year based on a compilation of the results of research on customer service and the customer experience; it was titled:  100 Customer Experience Stats For 2023. In reading the article, you’ll note that many of these key research findings are about you – the value Read more

A Tale of Two Texts - 4/2/24


Having to get allergy shots once a week is never fun, and for Janet, it became an even bigger frustration. She had the shots typically scheduled on Tuesday around 10:30 in the morning, figuring she would avoid the morning rush as well as the lunch rush by going mid-morning.  However, Read more

The Secret Sauce for Great Customer Service - 3/26/24


I was working with the League Office for a major American sport several years back, and one of the executives asked me to describe our Secret Sauce that helped our clients improve the fan experience and customer retention.  I gave him a sense of what makes us unique and Read more

The Miracle of an Apology - 3/19/24


Unfortunate but true story… The manager basically lost his mind.  He terminated his employee on the spot.  She had told the customer that there was going to be a delay in the shipment.  The employee called up the customer ahead of time to let the customer know what was about Read more

It’s Not About the 5-Minute Wait - 3/12/24


Robert went into his supervisor’s office to update her on a situation at the payment desk.  Robert said that a customer was about fourth or fifth in line, waiting to be served, and the customer was complaining loudly about the wait.  He was there to make a property tax Read more

Lessons from the Greats - 3/5/24


I was recently facilitating a workshop on the customer experience, and I made the point that it’s usually beneficial to look at your personal life for great experiences; identify what really resonates with you in a positive way in order to uncover ideas to improve your own customer service. So, Read more

The Empathy Roadmap - 2/27/24


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 Read more

“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

The Miracle of an Apology – 3/19/24

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

Unfortunate but true story…

The manager basically lost his mind.  He terminated his employee on the spot.  She had told the customer that there was going to be a delay in the shipment.  The employee called up the customer ahead of time to let the customer know what was about to (or not about to happen), and to see what the customer wanted to do.  The only options were to wait for the late shipment or to cancel the order.

The manager was livid.  His employee had put the sale at risk by telling the customer about the impending delay and letting the customer know they could cancel.

The next day, the manager called the employee, was contrite, apologized profusely, and asked the employee to come back to work.

This employee was one of the best in the office.  She was being proactive with the customer.  She had the customer’s best interests at heart, and she was trying to provide good customer service.

The manager was so focused on the potential lost transaction that he didn’t recognize everything that his team member was doing, and why she was doing it.  He was so focused on that potential lost transaction, that he didn’t consider the magnitude of the loss of one of his best employees, the potential loss of her clients, the loss of trust and credibility with those employees who remained.

Fortunately for the manager, the apology worked.  It was basically a miracle that he could be so knee-jerk in the reaction one day, and the next day have the employee accept the apology and say she would return to work.

There are mistakes, and then there are MISTAKES.  And many of these mistakes are with our team members, our co-workers – not just with our clients.  Often, the best way to address the mistakes is to quickly and sincerely apologize.

To apologize is to humble one’s self.  The humility of an apology can sometimes work miracles.

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De-escalating Conflict in Customer Service – 4/25/23

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

Conflict can be very healthy and productive.  You and your customer are taking different perspectives, but if you have the same goal and you focus on what you’re trying to accomplish, the different perspectives may lead to an interesting approach or a mutually-beneficial solution.

If the decision was up to us, we might have one solution.  If the decision was up to the customer, they might have a second solution – and neither solution may work for the other.  But maybe there’s a 3rd or 4th or 5th solution – some of which may be workable for both.  Those solutions are determined through Healthy Conflict – leveraging the different perspectives and opinions to get to collective solutions.

Perspectives v. Positions

Where differences exist, conflict is often uncomfortable.  Unfortunately, when people have different perspectives, they can turn into different positions.  And when we start focusing on our position, that’s when our negative passions can rise, and the conversation can become personal.  It can overshadow the main issue or what potential solutions may exist for the situation.

Healthy Conflict v. Combat

So here are some ways to de-escalate conflict so it doesn’t become combat:

Avoid You: Focus on the specific issue, trying to talk less about the people involved and talk more about the process, the policy, the product, the facility.  Avoid the use of the word You to avoid making things personal, and try not to take comments too personally.

Set the Goal: Identify a common goal – even if it’s somewhat general.  It’s easier to determine a common solution if you focus on what you’re trying to accomplish in the end.

Be Self-aware: Be cognizant of tone and body language as you’re sharing the words, as these affect the emotions as much or more than what is actually being said.

Empathize: Get on the same side of the table with them, even literally at times.  Provide empathy, conveying some understanding of their perspective, asking questions and listening rather than interrupting or talking over the other person.

As we’ve often said, it’s much easier and quicker to deal with issues if negative emotion is not involved.

Deescalate conflict in customer service.

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Why a Home Run Swing Whiffs – 4/18/23

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ACME Tree Service showed up at Nancy’s house to provide an estimate for trimming some trees.  The sales consultant looked at the trees and their proximity to the house, and he quickly wrote up a bid.  Heavy trimming on 9 trees.  Heavy price tag.  It was a quick conversation resulting in sticker shock for Nancy.

AAA Trees showed up a little later, and their sales consultant looked at the same situation and the same trees. They asked several questions about the customer’s needs and concerns, their goals and what timing was preferred.  The estimate addressed some precision-trimming on 4 trees, focusing on key limbs that had the greatest needs or issues. The estimate was lower, the conversation was a little longer, but AAA Trees got the business.

As it’s been said, it’s better to have a little bit of something than a whole lot of nothing.  AAA got something out of the meeting.  Nancy got a plan for exactly what she wanted and needed.

ACME went for the home run, and they whiffed – swing and a miss!

AAA went for a Win-Win.  They wanted to find out precisely what the customer wanted/needed, and they provided a plan to address that need.  In customer service, there are lessons to be learned…

Sometimes it’s better to spend a little extra time with your customer, asking enough questions so you can give a more precise answer.  Your solution could be a better fit for the customer’s needs.

Customers are often more satisfied if you paint a picture of precisely what needs to be done and how the action addresses needs.

Finally, you can save yourself time and effort on the backend, if you spend a little more time truly getting to know the customer on the front-end.

Avoid always swinging for the fences.  A few questions and a little patience can lead to frequent singles and doubles.

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