service recovery | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 7

“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

Drive Down the Drama – 8/29/17

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


The same situation could happen to two different customers – it’s the delayed delivery, the unreturned phone call, the poor workmanship, or the indifferent employee encounter.

With the customer named Dena, it’s not a big concern. She just wants to get it rectified quickly and move on; however, with the customer named Dana – it’s a federal crime, punishable by jail time, 50 lashes with a wet noodle, a good stern talking-to, and about 500 poor ratings on Yelp.

Dena offers reasonableness. Dana offers drama.

We can’t control the customer’s reaction, but oftentimes the company’s response to that reaction makes it worse. Instead of driving down the drama, the company amplifies it. The company’s response becomes an even bigger issue than the original complaint.

So how do we drive down the drama? In Service Recovery, here are several key tips:

  • Remain totally engaged with the customer. Do not ever appear distracted or disinterested. Remember, drama creates attention (and dramatic people crave attention) – give them attention in a positive manner.
  • Avoid taking any hyperbole or negativity to heart. Dramatic people can exaggerate. Don’t ignore the real customer concern because you’re upset about (or disagree with) the noise that surrounds it.
  • Move fast to identify the issue and resolution. Speed is a huge asset in stemming the dramatic tide.
  • Remember that drama is another way of describing emotion. Use tips for defusing customers that we’ve suggested in the past such as listening, asking fact-based questions, offering empathy, and apologizing (if appropriate) on behalf of the organization.
  • Help them to feel important by literally saying they’re important such as “I want to help you. Resolving your issue is important to me. It’s important that we get this right for you.”

 
We don’t want to encourage drama – we want to mitigate it. And although in customer service we’re often looking to do something great, sometimes the best approach with drama is to find ways to avoid making it worse.

Drive Down the Drama.

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A Dent for Dana – 5/16/17

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


There was no hot water in the house when Dana got home from work, so she walked downstairs to the basement to find a mini flood. Apparently a neighbor had put so much yard waste into a sewer drain that – after a heavy rain – water got backed up…and flowed right into Dana’s basement – yuck.

More than that, the water rose high enough to burn out the hot water heater – a wet basement and no hot water…joy.

But Dana had a good attitude about it; the water and gas utilities came out quickly to find the cause of the problem and to diagnose the issue with the water heater. In the end, the yard waste was cleared out, the water level went down, and there was no other lasting damage – except for a dead water heater.

Dana contacted two companies, and the winner was selected to install the new water heater. The installers were nice, discussed the process with Dana, and worked independently in the basement as Dana worked upstairs. When they were finished, they left. How did Dana know they left? She saw them driving away.

So she checked the water, and it was starting to warm. Then she went downstairs to look at the beautiful new water heater, and it had a big dent in the bottom. Dana’s heart sunk. “I didn’t pay for a used water heater.” “I hope it’s not damaged inside.” “I hope it’s safe, and the gas lines aren’t compromised.”

Dana frantically began googling and after about 30 minutes realized it was probably just a cosmetic issue, but she was still frustrated, upset, disappointed – you name it. She called the company, and the manager said he’d check with the installers and call Dana back.

When they called back, the manager stated that they dented it during the install, but it was just cosmetic – no internal issues. He offered a discount to Dana on any future service.

While there are a lot of issues with this true customer service story, here’s where I’m focused. This customer had just purchased something new, something to address an issue she didn’t cause with the basement flooding. Yet, through it all she had a good attitude.

Then the employees dented the water heater, didn’t tell the customer, and drove off – leaving Dana having spent hundreds of dollars to alleviate an issue only to have that resolution cause her anxiety, frustration, and upset.

Nobody’s perfect; we all make mistakes; accidents happen (Yes, I’m rolling out every excuse – uh, “explanation”). But that does not mean that accidents are irrelevant.

We need to own up to our mistakes with customers; be willing to apologize – even for the accidents. Initiate the conversation with the customer and be willing to say “I’m sorry,” even before the customer knows there’s an issue.

It’s about being proactive and professional.

Learn from the Dent in Dana’s Water Heater.

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Going from Negative to Nirvana – 5/2/17

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

I hate dealing with the phone company. Or the utility company. Don’t even get me started on the cable providers.

It’s often frustrating, prolonged, and not the least bit customer friendly.

When I had to embark on a conversation with one of the phone providers about issues with my landline billing, I called the customer service number on the bill. The person answered fairly quickly, was friendly, said they couldn’t help, and they would transfer me to someone who could. The phone rang twice, and a different employee picked up.

I asked if the first employee had explained my issue, and she said “No.” So I explained everything again from scratch. She, too, was friendly, and she, too, couldn’t help. She worked in the wireless area, and my question was about my office landline, so she had to transfer me.

The phone rang once, and it went into a queue. Thankfully it was answered in less than one minute by Jeffrey. As with the other employees, he was very friendly and greeted me professionally. I asked if the second employee had explained my issue, and Jeffrey said “No, unfortunately I didn’t receive a warm transfer.” I told him I was frustrated about having to keep repeating the same issue, and he apologized; then I explained everything again from scratch.

This is when the negative experience went to positive. Here are several things Jeffrey did:

  • He was patient with my description of the issue.
  • He asked questions to clarify my concern and related need.
  • He offered a resolution but asked if he could put me on hold for 2 minutes to confirm with his supervisor.
  • I was on hold less than 2 minutes.
  • He clarified the resolution and confirmed I wanted to go that route.
  • He asked if I had time to stay on the line for him to make the account changes.
  • During downtime (when the system was processing), he asked about my business, my location, sports interests based on my location, etc. He shared a little about himself as well.
  • He told me what e-mails I would start receiving from the company and confirmed I’d received them.
  • He sent me an e-mail from his account so I’d have his contact information for follow-up.
  • He told me what next steps would occur and within what timeframe.
  • He was patient with my numerous questions and didn’t close until he confirmed I had all the questions answered.
  • He closed by thanking me for my business and reminded me to please contact him when a certain item was shipped so he could help me with the final steps.

 
This was a situation that started with two friendly people but a lousy experience. Then one employee patiently, proactively, and personally turned it all around.

Find ways for your company to better communicate internally so the customer has a better experience. And learn lessons from Jeffrey to move from negativity to customer service nirvana.

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