service recovery | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 4

“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

Signs of Service Recovery Situations – 1/18/22

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

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 customer – where they’re coming in irate, upset, or complaining.

In that short moment-of-truth, your response can trigger their emotion, even if they’re not yet there.  So it’s important to be aware of potential signs of trouble:

  • They have been waiting a long time.
  • They’re looking at their watch.
  • They mention a previous conversation about an issue or unresolved need.
  • They’re LOUD!
  • They say “I expect
  • They state that they’ve been directed to several other employees or departments before you.
  • They use (and often emphasize) words like: problem, issue, mad, upset, angry.

 
It’s at times like these – situations like described above – that our service recovery senses and skills need to kick in.  We need to make sure we’re not making the situation worse with our original response and that we’re immediately focused on listening, empathy, and self-awareness of our body language at that moment-of-truth.

Identify the signs of a need for service recovery.

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

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

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 benefit.  So they solicited ideas from three of their best technicians.

The manager gathered the techs in a room and identified existing customers with common issues that weren’t yet resolved.  After sharing the situations with the techs, he sent them off to individually come up with the best solutions.

The next day, the manager met again with the technicians to hear their ideas.  The first tech – Jackie – researched data on her customer, and offered her best guess on what would satisfy the customer and get them to renew their contract.

The next technician – Mark – focused on the issue with the customer’s system, and he came up with an idea for how to compensate the customer for the issue and fix the system.

The third tech – Stacey – came up with what seemed like a crazy idea.  She didn’t offer compensation.  She didn’t focus on past customer history in the database.  The other three people in the room looked at each other but didn’t say a word in response.  Finally, the manager said:  Why would you possibly think that’s the way to resolve the issue and to retain the customer?

Stacey responded:  Because I called him up and asked what was his understanding of the issue and what we could do to fix it.  This is what he suggested.  It sounded reasonable and was within policy, so we went ahead and fixed it.

We can spend a lot of time coming up with the most creative and complex and high compensation ideas to address service recovery situations.  Yet, sometimes the quickest and easiest way to identify a solution in a service recovery situation is to ask them.

Consider asking the customer what would make the situation right.

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

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

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 never got a call.  A salesperson promised what the company could do; the team that had to deliver the service could not meet the unrealistic expectations set by the salesperson.

In every situation, employees attempted to find an alternative solution. In not one case did anybody say “I’m sorry.”

That omission bugged me, and it took me a minute to figure out why.  Then it was clear – they looked for the solution without ever acknowledging the situation that caused the need for the solution.

None of these organizations acknowledged they’d done something wrong.  In not one of these cases did the person resolving the issue cause the issue, so maybe they didn’t want to admit guilt.

In situations like this, however, saying “I’m sorry” is not an admission of personal guilt.  It’s showing organizational accountability.  While I understand people don’t want to admit guilt (especially if they’re not “guilty” of anything), they could still say “on behalf of the organization, I apologize.”  By saying that, they’re not accepting personal responsibility, but they’re acknowledging that the organization caused the problem.

Some people won’t say “I’m sorry” because they feel it’s a sign of weakness.  But we shouldn’t view service recovery situations as battles where one person wins and the other loses.  Instead, we should look at it as an opportunity to save a relationship, to help a customer, to serve others, to retain their business.

It’s not a sign of weakness to admit fault.  It’s a sign of strength and humility to acknowledge an issue.

When your co-worker or your organization makes a mistake with a customer, make an apology a part of your response.

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