positive | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

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

They’re Stressed, So You Can… – 8/2/22

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

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 today, let’s be a little less prescriptive and just talk about some Guiding Principles when you’re engaging the other person:

Avoid the Absolutes – Conveying empathy is important in these situations.  People seem to be less anxious when they feel like somebody is trying to understand them.  However, it’s best to avoid statements that convey that you are certain about what they’re feeling, that you are certain about their situation:  I know exactly how you feel. You are stressed. I know you’re nervous.

By using these statements, we’re making assumptions that they’re stressed about something.  Sure, they appear that way, but we don’t want to state the assumption as a fact, since we could either be wrong or they may take offense if we tell them how they feel.  Instead, use phraseology like: It seems…or I would understand if…or Situations like this can be…

Temper Your Tone – One way to bring nervousness down is to bring the volume down.  Try to speak more softly. Yes, still use a bit of inflection to show interest but not so much inflection that it brings higher energy into the conversation.  We’re trying to pull some of the energy and emotion out of the conversation.

Ease the Expressiveness – If you’re somebody who talks with their hands (like me!) or have lots of facial expressions, if you’re somebody who moves around a lot when they talk – these activities can keep the energy and the emotion in the conversation.

Slow your movements.  Have more of a neutral, yet somewhat positive facial expression.  Relax your shoulders and your arms, and provide a total focus on the other individual.

When the other person is stressed, we don’t want to do anything to create an even more stressful environment for them – or for us.

Avoid the Absolutes, Temper Your Tone, and Ease the Expressiveness.

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Find the Hidden Compliment – 7/26/22

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

The fact is, they ARE complaining:  The room is too cold.  The wait is too long.  They wish the parking spaces were bigger.  The new app doesn’t have a mapping function.  They cannot pay with their phone.  The website is unclear.

In these types of complaints, the ones that are not as much personal as they are about process or product or technology or payments, there are often hidden compliments within the complaint.

There are two clear ways we can view these complaints based on a point in time.  In-the-moment, we have to focus on the issue and the resolution.  For the future, we can find that hidden gem of information, and oftentimes that gem is a compliment.

Why look for compliments?  First, compliments are positive, and it’s usually better for our mindset and mental health to make sure we have at least some semblance of a balance in customer service – where those positives don’t allow themselves to be overrun by all negatives.

Second, compliments tell us what customers like.  Frequently, the best way to improve is to Strengthen Our Strengths as opposed to purely fixing our organizational faults.

The room is too cold? The wait is too long? The parking spaces need to be bigger?  The view through the positive lens suggests that customers want to conduct their business in this building. They appreciate the opportunity to engage us face-to-face.  They’re willing to come to us, to reach out to us.  That method of engagement is not a barrier to our relationship with them.

The app doesn’t have a mapping function? They can’t pay with their phone? The website’s unclear?  Let’s put these complaints in a positive light.  They like that we provide an app!  They like the ability to do customer service in a self-service manner.  They want to pay for our services.  They are willing to move toward the latest technology.

When we’re dealing with that complaint, we need to be in-the-moment and focus on the issue.

But when it’s not in that moment of truth, look for opportunities to continuously improve by finding the hidden compliment in the complaint.

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You Mostly Get What You Give – 11/23/21

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It is Thanksgiving week in the United States, so let’s talk “Thanks.

There’s a saying that You Get What You Give.  And while the goal of giving thanks should not be “To receive things,” getting something positive in return is often a nice byproduct of being appreciative of others.

It’s amazing that when I thank someone for some action they’ve taken, even if it is just “doing their job,” how many times they will pause and smile…or say Thanks…or say It’s my pleasure.  Sometimes they’ll expand and say why they enjoy doing what they’re doing.  And it makes me feel good when they stop for a moment and feel appreciation, and I can see they’re pleased to hear the thanks.

In this current world of ZOOM meetings, there are times when the meeting facilitator is seeking affirmation that people understood what she said or agree with the point…but there’s dead silence.  So, if I feel their uneasiness, I will give them the thumbs up.  I’ll make sure I verbalize that their plan sounds good.  I used to silently agree without stating it, but I’ve found that there are few mind readers in the world.  If I agree, I need to verbalize that support and appreciation.  They, in turn, get the affirmation they deserve.

There have been many instances with CSS, since we are a management consulting firm, where we were brought in by a client or business partner for a project.  I try to be as appreciative as I can for them trusting me and our organization to serve them or service their client on their behalf.  Likewise, when CSS brings in mystery shoppers, research partners, or subcontractors to do some work on behalf of CSS, I’m appreciative of those folks.  I know they’ve got lives and jobs and other responsibilities and priorities, so for them to carve out some time to do work for my clients – even if CSS is paying them – their effort and interest is much appreciated.

Through all this giving of thanks and appreciation, I’ve noticed that the tone of conversations becomes much more positive.  The dialogue is much more pleasant.  The relationships seem to grow more naturally and easily, and the collaboration seems to flow more smoothly.

So, you don’t always Get What You Give, but if giving includes a lot of thanks and appreciation for others, you have a great chance to get more positive and productive days.

Give to give, and watch what you’ll receive.

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