perception | 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

Time is of the Essence – 5/16/23

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

Time is precious.  There’s no time like the present.  Your time is valuable.  Timing is everything.  Children spell “love,” T-I-M-E.

There are many great quotes that reference time.  And part of the reason is that time can be considered somewhat finite; at least within the day, it’s a limited resource.  What one person is doing will be just a step toward their next activity, their next conversation, their next trip that day.

So, what are ways that we can be considerate of the customer’s time?

The Schedule

  • Give customers reasonable notice about when something from them is due, or a meeting will occur.
  • Provide options so that if a time won’t work for them, they have alternatives to consider.
  • Immediately let them know of schedule changes or cancellations.

 

The Prep and the Process

  • Prepare going into the meeting so that the conversation is well-planned and can minimize the customer’s time.
  • Start on time. End on time.
  • Focus on the customer entirely during conversations, so that interruptions or unrelated activities don’t waste their time.

 

The Delay

  • Ensure you’re well-trained on a process, so that the process isn’t delayed by lack of comfort, confidence, or knowledge in performing some standard activity.
  • When they’re waiting, let them know the expectation for the wait time, see if there’s something they can be doing so that when the wait is over, they’ve already accomplished some of the next steps. Keep them informed and updated about when the wait will end.
  • If there could be a lengthy delay or some research required, give the customer the option to exit the conversation, and offer to contact them once the research is complete.

 

Your time is valuable, and so is the customer’s time.  Strengthen your strategies to ensure we’re considerate of the customer’s time.

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The Customer Can Hear Your Attitude – 10/25/22

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

Sherry was sitting in the lobby, waiting to be called back for her appointment.  Just off the lobby was an office that Sherry was sitting near.  The person in the office was on a phone call, but Sherry couldn’t see the employee.  She could tell it was a call because Sherry could hear only one voice.

The words of the employee were not clear because of the distance, and Sherry wasn’t the nosy type, so she didn’t listen too closely.  Yet, the call was interesting.  The employee was interesting.  Sherry’s perceptions were interesting.

All Sherry could discern was the tone of the employee’s voice.  But the tone was positive.  There were occasional laughs.  It wasn’t non-stop talking or non-stop silence.  Sherry could tell there was a good flow to the conversation.  The employee’s tone seemed to fluctuate, but it never got too loud.

Sherry began to draw conclusions from what she heard:  The employee seems pleasant, seems like a good listener.  They’re polite and have a good sense of humor.  The employee’s definitely interested in hearing what the other person has to say.  They’re not reading a script; instead, the employee is very conversational.

Who knows if Sherry’s conclusions are correct.  But it’s what Sherry perceived about the employee, felt about the employee.  And those conclusions, perceptions, and feelings were based solely on the employee’s tone-of-voice.

We often cite the statistic that studies have shown that – on phone calls…

86% of what one person perceives about the other’s personality is based on that person’s tone-of-voice.

Only 14% is based on the actual words.

Believe the stats.  When talking with others, keep in mind that the customer can hear your attitude through your voice.

Let your tone convey the perception of you that you hope to create.

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Don’t Publicize Pain Points – 11/3/20

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

Years ago, a mining company received numerous formal complaints about the noise from its operations.  The complaints primarily came from one nearby neighborhood.  That neighborhood was the location where the mining company had to build a small above-ground structure to support the operations.

The community was interested in finding ways to address the noise.  One of the ideas that residents came up with was to put a hedge around the structure.  The company said that the noise wasn’t coming from the structure; it was actually coming from the mining field, but the company decided to do what the residents requested.

So, they built a hedge around this structure that was so tall and dense that residents couldn’t see the object.

Eventually, the formal complaints completely stopped.

Kudos to the residents for coming up with an idea to address a company problem, and kudos to the company for doing what the residents suggested and not arguing the point.

What’s the takeaway?  Many issues and solutions are more about perception than reality.  Seeing something makes you associate it with other things.  The structure made you think of the noise, which made you think negatively about the company.  Remove the visual reminder (the structure), and the noise was the only reminder about…the noise – which people got used to over time.

I experience this personally every day.  I live near a fire station, but rarely do I notice the sirens unless I see the flashing lights.

When you’re trying to deliver a great customer experience, one way you do so is to eliminate the pain points in the customer journey.  But another way is to avoid reminding the customer about the pain.  If long waits or old facilities or excessive paperwork are challenges to the service experience, work to improve those – but also avoid shining a light on them.

Address reality AND perception.  Don’t publicize pain points.

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