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Find a Connection Point – Part 2: Situational Connection - 10/4/22


Last week we highlighted key topics to consider when you want to find Personal Connection Points with the customer.  Today, we’ll cover some key questions to ask to uncover information about today’s situation that you can use to establish a rapport with the customer.  This is Part 2 - Read more

Find a Connection Point – Part 1: Personal Connection - 9/27/22


Some people are born almost like a master at communication.  They know how to establish rapport with just about anybody, and they do so in a way that seems so natural and so real.  They can form relationships and be laughing with somebody they met two minutes ago like Read more

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

Get Your Guru On – 8/25/20

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

You may have heard of management gurus – these people who seemed to know all and be all, to have the wisdom of 1000 leaders.  Maybe you’ve heard it in your industry as a guru in sports psychology or the master of economics or sociology or human behavior.

And so you don’t roll your eyes at the thought of you being a guru, it’s always helpful to understand the origin of the word.  Upanishads in 10th century to 6th century BC said “The syllable ‘gu’ means darkness, the syllable ‘ru’ means dispeller; he is therefore called a ‘guru’ because he dispels darkness.”

I really like this definition – it goes away from the modern interpretation that gurus are far more brilliant than any of us could ever imagine being, that they are somehow superior intellectually to others.

The Situations with Darkness

With Upanishads’ definition in mind, how can we become gurus in our respective jobs?  The definition talks about gurus being people who can dispel darkness.  So to be a guru, you don’t have to have knowledge far exceeding others.  You just have to have a given situation where you can dispel darkness.

Maybe it’s dealing with the sports fan who is unsure whether to invest in tickets for games this year.  You could be dealing with the local contractor who is struggling with tasks he’s done 100 times because he’s so overwhelmed by economic concerns.  You could be dealing with a patient or a family member whose anxiety and fear of the unknown is understandably high.

How to Bring Light

Einstein once said that darkness is an absence of light, so how can you bring light in these situations?

You bring it in by listening to the other person.  You bring it in by truly trying to understand what they’re going through, even if you’re not going through it yourself.  You try to identify what is causing that darkness and see if there are some solutions that can be brought to light.  You try to bring some lightness in tone to the situation – often people are so concerned and burdened that just the positive/pleasant/upbeat tone and some levity, appropriately delivered, can bring light in the situation.

Being a guru can mean dispelling darkness.  It can be you enlightening them on new information.  It can be you bringing to light something that’s unknown to them, that may work for them.  It can be you being light at times in the tone you take.

To truly be a guru, understand what could be causing their darkness and dispel it by enlightening them, bringing solutions to light, and bringing a lighter tone whenever possible.

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Improve the Health of Your Client Interaction – 6/27/17

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According to a recent article on patient satisfaction and high quality customer service in healthcare settings, there are three consistent keys to a great patient experience – particularly in outpatient surgery facilities. These core takeaways apply to virtually any business.

First – “Make a connection: Smile and introduce yourself to patients and family members.” This gets at the need for a great first impression, initiating communications with customers, and personalizing the interaction.

Second – “Set the expectation of service: Share with the patient what will happen, when it will happen and about how long it will take.” We often note that typically 40% of customer dissatisfaction occurs because the customer expected one thing, and the company delivered another. Take ownership over setting realistic expectations of what will happen and when it will happen.

Third – “Say thank you: Within days of providing care, send the patient a thank you note with handwritten messages from staff members.” It’s tough to overstate the importance of conveying appreciation to the customer. The other part of appreciation noted in this third best practice is to not just do it on the spot, but also share appreciation after the encounter. Typically, those post-encounter messages of thanks are a surprise – and carry extra weight in the customer’s evaluation of their last impression of you and your organization.

It’s about being pleasant, proactive, and personalizing. It’s about setting and managing customer expectations of tasks and timing. And it’s about appreciating the other – at the end of the encounter as well as in that unexpected follow-up.

Improve the health of your client interaction with these healthcare best practices.

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What You Do Shows What You Value – 6/30/15 TOW

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In the middle of the call with the customer service representative, the rep said “I need to let you know that I’m scheduled for my lunch break in 1 minute, so someone else will be handling your call.” One minute later, the caller heard “Hold, Click” and background music. What did that interaction say about what was important to that rep?

After the discharge nurse finished giving discharge instructions to the patient, the discharge nurse left the room. It was shift change, and the first shift nurse who had cared for the patient for the past 3 days was officially off-shift. But that nurse waited until the discharge nurse was done, walked into the room, wished the patient well, and gave the patient a hand-written thank you card. What did that say about what the first shift nurse values?

The customer went to return some shoes in the guest services department of a major retailer. There were three staff behind the counter – ten feet behind the counter to be exact. They were sitting down with their backs to the customer, looking at computers. The customer had to loudly say “Hello!” to get their attention. What did that interaction say about what was most important to the company and the staff?

These three true stories illustrate a very important point. What you do in customer service situations is a reflection of who you are with others, what’s important to you, and what you value.

Make your actions reflect the best of you.

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