phrases | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

A Story of Willie and Aubrey - 2/8/22


The gift shop was a great experience!  Aubrey had bought items online from the shop for years, but she had never stepped foot in the store itself.  However, when travel plans took her on a trip to new surroundings, she took time out of her day to go to Read more

It Matters Who You Know - 2/1/22


The season ticket account holder has an issue, but he’s not too concerned about it:  I’m going to call my guy, and he’ll take care of it. The patient is confused about their bill.  The family member says: I know someone who can help. The husband discovers a problem in the Read more

Put an End to 1-Star Ratings - 1/25/22


If you ever had service performed on your car, I would not doubt it if you received the immediate e-mail asking for that 5-star rating. They want the big ratings because that makes them look good, and to get the big average rating you have to avoid the 1-Star Read more

Signs of Service Recovery Situations - 1/18/22


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 Read more

In Survey Development, Think in Reverse - 1/11/22


We often meet with clients interested in conducting a survey, and when we discuss the project, many clients come with questions in-hand.  They are interested, curious, even excited sometimes about the possibility of tapping into the voice of the customer! And when we review their questions and start to see Read more

Foster Positive Feelings - 1/4/22


I bet a lot of you all are like me - when you’re asked to share your feelings, it’s not always something that feels comfortable.  It obviously depends on the situation and who’s asking you to share your feelings.  So, many of us might hesitate in sharing our feelings. However, Read more

How to Make the Situation Right - 12/28/21


The manager in the field office felt that - when problems arose with customers - the company didn’t do an especially good job of responding effectively.  He felt like this was hurting customer renewals of annual service agreements.  The company developed many customer service and retention initiatives with little Read more

2021 Holiday Poem - 12/21/21


Breathe and rest and relax and rejuvenate. Close the eyes, and fill the lungs. Take a break, and be with friends. This is a time to begin. Renaissance is called a rebirth. Birth can bring new life. Life gives opportunity for living. Living gives opportunity for joy. We have so many outside factors, So many things that tug Read more

“I’m Sorry” Doesn’t Mean “I’m Guilty” - 12/14/21


Individuals and organizations mess up; that’s part of life… They told me that they were going to be at my home at a certain time; they were REALLY late.  The customer service representative said they would get a message to a co-worker, and the co-worker would call me back; I Read more

Apply Selfless Service - 12/7/21


Andrea had worked in human resources for years, and the company decided that it wanted to hire employees who were more customer service-oriented, regardless of the position.  After making that decision, they added some creative questions to the interview process. One of the most interesting questions that Andrea had to Read more

What’s the Good Word? – 9/21/21

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

Each one of us talks to co-workers and customers every day.  And when you’re speaking with someone, there are always good ways to respond to questions or issues.  But there are also better ways to respond.  Since you’re receiving weekly customer service tips, I know you are all about continuous improvement!!

So, here are four quick examples of how to go beyond saying words that simply fit the conversation, and – instead – find better ways and better phrases to improve the customer experience.

Because CSS conducts research for our clients, oftentimes we’ll get e-mails from their customers that include complaints, and we need to respond to the customer on behalf of the client even though we have no ability or authority to investigate or resolve the issue.

  • Our response is OK if we say: I will send your e-mail to our client.
  • But this is Better: I will immediately forward your concerns and comments to my contact at our client, and I’ll ask that they respond to you directly.

 
I’m sure you often get requests or receive questions seeking status updates on issues or services.

  • Your response is OK if you say: I will check on that.
  • But this is Better: I’m going to investigate that right now for you.

 
Sometimes the customer isn’t being clear – they’re not giving you enough information to take action.  Maybe they have a different dialect from you or the speed with which they are talking makes what they’re saying unclear.

  • Your response is OK if you say: I don’t understand what you’re saying.
  • But this is Better: Help me understand a little more about the specifics of the situation.

 
I’m sure you’ve gotten many questions over the years about topics for which you did not immediately know the answer.

  • Your response is OK if you say: I’ll see what I can find out.
  • But this is Better: That’s a really interesting question. I had not thought of it like that before. I’ll be happy to research that for you.

 
Think about instances where you’re dealing with similar situations, and find ways to go beyond the OK response to something that’s better.

Be intentional about finding better phrases to better the customer experience.

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You can read me like a book – 9/14/21

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

Let’s say that I’m the customer, so it’s important to listen to what I say when we’re talking.  However, sometimes there are hidden words within the words.  I’m not talking about the tone of voice that I use as much as I’m talking about the words I choose.

Sometimes you can read into what I’m saying by listening closely to specific ways I convey my message.  Here are a few examples:

  • One Word Answers – Assuming you’re not asking me questions that simply require a “Yes/No” response, when I reply with 1-word answers, I may be upset, impatient, or don’t yet trust you. I may not like the questions or direction of the conversation.
  • “Um…uhh…” – These pauses/phrases suggest I’m uncertain, or I’m trying to control my emotions.
  • Use of Absolutes – This can be a sign that I’m being defensive (such as “I never” or “I definitely”) or argumentative (such as “You never” or “You always”).
  • “Of course…” – Maybe I’m insulted by the question such as “Of course I did that. How dare you ask!”
  • Repeating My Question – If I repeat my question, I may think you’re not listening, or I don’t like your answer.
  • “Understand” (as in “I don’t understand…” or “Help me understand…”) – I may be confused, or I could be probing for details because I disagree.
  • “Hold on” or “Wait” – I may not understand, or I may feel you’re rushing me.
  • “Can you repeat that?” – I’m unsure that I understand, or I’m not paying attention.

 
When you hear these phrases or get these reactions, think about the deeper meaning.

Read the phrase to best respond to the person.  Read me like a book.

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Bring Warmth During Winter – 12/29/20

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

Winter is upon us.  Now, winter can mean different things to different people in different regions, but just the word conjures up cold.  It conjures up visions of snow.  It conjures up feelings of wind and lack of warmth.

Although some of us may like the cold at times of year or around certain seasons, we don’t like the cold at the start of a conversation.  And oftentimes, customer service representatives can come off as being cold right at the beginning of a customer conversation without ever meaning to do so.

The customer makes their request, and this is how the employee responds:

  • What’s your account number?
  • What’s your name? What’s your phone number?
  • To confirm your account, I need your mother’s father’s wife’s daughter’s maiden name…spelled backwards.

 
While all this information might be valuable, there is typically little warmth associated with the words.  There’s virtually no communication of wanting to help that person or caring about that person’s needs that’s conveyed through the phrases used by the employee.

By simply responding to a request with a few key words or phrases, the conversation can start much warmer, much more pleasant, and take no more time than 1-2 seconds additional.  How about starting with:

  • I will be happy to help you with that request.
  • We can definitely address that for you.
  • I can help with that right away.
  • Great! That’s something I can take care of for you.

 
Simply sprinkle a “happy” or a “definitely,” a few “for you” expressions or “I can help” into your initial response to the request, and the tone and warmth of the conversation will start in the right direction.

Bring warmth to the beginning of your customer conversation.

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