phrases | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 5

“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

Care Enough to Give Them a Heads Up - 1/30/24


Nothing bad at all might happen.  Every day in the office could seem like every other day.  Sights and sounds and smells might continue to be the same.  But we have a lot of construction going on around our offices, and the building manager knows the type of work Read more

Be Better than AI Customer Service - 1/23/24


There was a recent CBS Sunday Morning Show story called: How artificial intelligence is revamping customer call centers. The journalist described how artificial intelligence is being used in customer service, and he noted the millions of pieces of information that can be processed in a matter of seconds. There are clear Read more

Recognize the Situation, and Pivot - 1/16/24


The customer has a complaint, or they may have an important question about an order or their account.  You may be talking to them in an emergency room, in the lobby of the government building, on the phone, or in a video conversation.  And in many of these Moments Read more

Sharpen Your Service Delivery - 1/9/24


You work so hard at being responsive and providing high quality information.  You work hard at fixing problems.  But is your delivery…dull? I’m not saying that it has to be exciting, but let’s think of the word “exciting.”  It means that something’s interesting, has energy, is positive.  Just by its Read more

Make Empathy Your Superpower - 1/2/24


I was facilitating a Service Excellence Training class for a Higher Ed client in the Northeast several years back.  As I was walking through the portions of our technique for defusing the angry customer, I talked about empathy.  I talked about accepting responsibility. Immediately, one of the hands in the Read more

Holiday Poem 2023 - 12/26/23


The days are getting longer, The skies are getting brighter. Festivities behind us, And festivities before us.   There’s ups and downs and change coming, And we can’t predict when or where. There’s challenges and joys and opportunities around, Of which you may or may not be aware.   But one thing we know as we look at each Read more

Refresh, Rejuvenate, Refocus - 12/19/23


It’s that time of year.  We’re going 100 miles an hour, and holiday time is upon us.  We not only have all the work to do, but we somehow have less time to do it.  We somehow have other things that are of competing interest, and even though those 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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