skills | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

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

Find the Hidden Compliment - 7/26/22


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 Read more

When You Know More Than They Do - 7/19/22


It was 95 degrees outside.  That’s not too bad when you’re inside and enjoying the air conditioning; but when Rachel’s A/C went out, in came Rachel’s worry.  Luckily, she knew the company to call, and a technician from Acme HVAC (fake name, real company) came out the next morning. Rachel Read more

To Improve, Understand Why You Do What You Do – 10/19/21

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

In the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey says that habits form at the intersection of desire, skills, and knowledge.  Desire is the WANT TO do something.  Skills is the HOW TO do something.  Knowledge is a combination of the WHAT TO do and WHY TO do it.

Many of those who are best at serving others, who are best at customer service, have the desire to help others.  They have the desire to meet a need, to resolve an issue, or to just engage people and do something for others.

In our professional lives, we hope to build our skill set, we go through training, watch webinars, read, and learn from co-workers and mentors to build our skill set.

To build our knowledge, we learn policies and procedures and people and places and products and services.

Understanding the Why

But the one area of this habit-forming approach that is often neglected – or at least not considered enough – is the “why to.”

And yet, the why to is often the most important thing.  It notes the purpose of what we’re doing.  It notes the potential benefit of our actions and our attitudes.  It suggests the key reason for the habit we have or the habits we’re hoping to form.

So, think about the habits you have formed or want to form.  Maybe it’s a habit of how you greet somebody or how and when you respond to messages.  Maybe it’s a habit of how you plan or how you organize.  Maybe it’s the mindset you take when you’re dealing with an angry customer.  Maybe it’s a habit of who you share information with or who you don’t share information with in certain circumstances.

Now take a step back, and ask yourself the why question.  Why do you greet people like you do?  Why do you respond to messages the way you do and in the timeframe you do?  Why do you plan or organize the way you do?  What do you have a certain mindset when dealing with certain people?  Why do you share information with some people but not other people?

If you want to change a habit, want to form a new habit, really want to improve the things you routinely do, the actions you routinely take, the attitudes you routinely have, then start with asking yourself why you’re doing those things today.  By understanding yourself a little bit better and the reasons behind the habits, it’s easier to see whether and why you should change those behaviors.

To improve, understand why you do what you do.

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The Most Important (BLAND) Customer Service Skill – 10/17/17

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People great at customer service are often responsive and efficient. Not the sexiest words to use, but I’m going to use an EVEN MORE BLAND (How’s that for hype!) word to describe much of what drives responsiveness and efficiency – Organization. Continuously work on your personal organizational skills:

  • Save the Trees! Rely less on paper – instead, have soft copies of more/all information – using e-mail, PDFs, One Note, and other tools that can be more easily organized together.
  • Add “Virtual” Structure: Organize your files by client or topics or project or initiative. Use subfolders to best refine that structure. Don’t be one of those folks with one e-mail folder – the 30,000 e-mail Inbox!
  • Plan Your Work: Plan your weeks at the end of the prior week or first thing that new week. Ensure you have the time to do what you need to do each day to reduce the chance you get behind.
  • Work Your Plan: Plan your days at the end of the prior day or first thing that day. Work your top priorities first, and if you did a weekly plan, you won’t have to think about tomorrow until tomorrow.
  • Feng Shui Anyone? Make sure your work area is arranged to make it easy to find information, to share information, to quickly get what you need for a client response or a meeting.
  • Out with the Old: Purge or archive old files – whether it’s hardcopy or e-mail, the longer you keep old information near the new, the longer it will take you to find what’s truly relevant.
  • Quickly In (and out) with the New: When assigned a new quick task or asked for a response, consider doing it right then instead of putting it on a list to do later. This keeps your backlog down and increases your responsiveness.

 

If you want to be great at customer service, find ways to be more efficient, more responsive, more effective, and even save yourself some time.

Get organized to get better at customer service.

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Get Better to Get a Raise – 10/10/17

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I was giving a speech recently about organizational culture, and the focus of the talk was the approach to culture by best-in-class organizations.

One organization I highlighted bases employee raises – in part – on how much staff have improved their own skills and capabilities. In one sense, that’s an odd thing to consider. Isn’t it the organization’s responsibility to develop staff? Shouldn’t staff just do their job? Isn’t performance more important than skills and capabilities?

Those are all logical questions, but let’s instead focus on the following questions. What if your organization rewarded you for developing your skills and capabilities? What if your organization realized that the way to improve organizational performance is to improve individual and team performance? What if the organization believed employee development to be a shared responsibility between the company and the individual?

If that was the case, it leads to questions you can ask yourself. How are you improving skills and capabilities?

What are you reading? Who are you asking for feedback about your own skills, capabilities, and performance?

What are you doing to learn more about technology? About communications? About engaging your customers?

And about what are you being inquisitive that could improve your skills?

Ask and answer these questions for yourself.

Tomorrow, your customers will be different, your technology will be different, your leadership will be different. Maybe even your company will be different. Find ways to get better today to prepare for your tomorrow.

Make your own case for getting a raise. Build your skills and capabilities.

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