tone | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

When You Can’t Say “Yes to the Address” - 2/7/23


I was interviewing a frontline staff person for one of our local government clients recently as part of our CSS Training Development Process.  They described their customers and the difficult situations that they face, their tougher conversations with customers. This individual supports local events, so there’s a lot of planning involved.  Read more

How to Fix Other People’s Problems - 1/31/23


I was helping a friend navigate some healthcare processes recently, so I conducted a 3-way call with my friend and the physician practice to try to get things cleared up.  The employee I spoke with on the phone - let’s call her Katie. There had been poor communication between different Read more

What to do When You’re in the Middle - 1/24/23


Bob and Sarah are arguing, and you’re in the middle.  Bob’s an employee, and Sarah is a customer, and they have a difference of opinion.  Somehow you’re involved even though you didn’t have anything to do with the interaction in question, the complaint being addressed.  You find yourself being Read more

Is the Customer Issue an Organizational Issue? - 1/17/23


Customer retention is vital.  Most of next year’s customers are going to be those who are this year’s customers. So, the more you lose today, the fewer you will have tomorrow.  Organizations conduct research, data mine, or bring in consultants to help identify those customers who may be most Read more

Decide Who’s Driving the Bus - 1/10/23


I once heard a speech titled: Who’s driving the bus? I knew the speaker beforehand, so that made his talk extra special.  It was funny and relatable and held many words of wisdom.  The crux of the speech was that every one of us has our own facets, our own Read more

Create a Personal Vision for the Year - 1/3/23


This time of year is all about the New Year’s resolution.  We’re going to exercise or eat differently!  Then…2 months later, who knows what’ll be happening, but at least you set a goal.  For many of us, that’s progress. For businesses, that New Year’s resolution often has to deal with Read more

Avoid Making a Bad Situation Worse - 12/27/22


Twitter.  When you hear that word, does your temperature rise?  Do you roll your eyes?  Do you ask: What is Twitter? From a customer service perspective, Twitter has evolved into a virtual place for consumers to complain about businesses.  For those businesses savvy enough to understand the importance of communicating Read more

2022 Holiday Poem - 12/20/22


The year is winding down. The work is still up front. We’re making that transition to close out the 12th month. We’re trying to find a balance between personal life and work. Trying to be kind to people even if they’re acting like a jerk. It’s taking all of our patience and our Read more

Open Minds and Ornery Customers - 12/13/22


We all have to deal with some crazy customers, at times.  They might be loud or sad.  Flighty or mad.  They may have unrealistic expectations or think it’s OK to skip past people in line because their need must be more important than the others.  Some are rude, some Read more

Apply These Values for Great Customer Service - 12/6/22


One of the industries where we do a lot of our work is local government.  These CSS clients are not necessarily selling a product or having the number of competitors that a lot of our private industry clients and our sports clients face.  But they need to deliver a Read more

Appreciate to Appreciate – 11/1/22

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

Why doesn’t Jay, my co-worker, respond to my e-mails or get his task done on time?

It’s hard to respect the delay, the incomplete work, the lack of follow through on the part of your co-worker.

Why does the customer seem so harried and so frustrated?

It’s hard to value the customer when they’re late for the appointment, they’re not being respectful of you, or they didn’t bring in the information they were told that you needed.

Appreciate – Two Definitions

There are two core definitions of the word appreciate, and they go hand-in-hand.  One definition, essentially, is to understand.  You appreciate (understand) the situation, or you appreciate (understand) the position in which the other person finds themselves.

The other definition is to value, to respect, to have gratitude for the other.

Oftentimes it’s hard to value, respect, or have gratitude for somebody that is not doing their part, that is conveying a certain negative attitude that does not seem appropriate for the situation.

To help us avoid allowing that perception of the other person to negatively impact our own attitude, sometimes it helps to try to understand them…to try to appreciate the situation…to try to appreciate the position that they’re in at this moment.

The more we ask questions, listen to their words, and watch their body language – being inquisitive about their situation – the more we understand.  And the more we can understand somebody and begin to empathize with somebody, the easier it is to respect them, the easier it becomes to thank them, the easier it is to value them.

Take the time to appreciate what the other person is going through.  It helps us manage our emotions, and it can help us to appreciate them that much more.

Understand to Respect.  Appreciate to Appreciate.

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The Customer Can Hear Your Attitude – 10/25/22

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

Sherry was sitting in the lobby, waiting to be called back for her appointment.  Just off the lobby was an office that Sherry was sitting near.  The person in the office was on a phone call, but Sherry couldn’t see the employee.  She could tell it was a call because Sherry could hear only one voice.

The words of the employee were not clear because of the distance, and Sherry wasn’t the nosy type, so she didn’t listen too closely.  Yet, the call was interesting.  The employee was interesting.  Sherry’s perceptions were interesting.

All Sherry could discern was the tone of the employee’s voice.  But the tone was positive.  There were occasional laughs.  It wasn’t non-stop talking or non-stop silence.  Sherry could tell there was a good flow to the conversation.  The employee’s tone seemed to fluctuate, but it never got too loud.

Sherry began to draw conclusions from what she heard:  The employee seems pleasant, seems like a good listener.  They’re polite and have a good sense of humor.  The employee’s definitely interested in hearing what the other person has to say.  They’re not reading a script; instead, the employee is very conversational.

Who knows if Sherry’s conclusions are correct.  But it’s what Sherry perceived about the employee, felt about the employee.  And those conclusions, perceptions, and feelings were based solely on the employee’s tone-of-voice.

We often cite the statistic that studies have shown that – on phone calls…

86% of what one person perceives about the other’s personality is based on that person’s tone-of-voice.

Only 14% is based on the actual words.

Believe the stats.  When talking with others, keep in mind that the customer can hear your attitude through your voice.

Let your tone convey the perception of you that you hope to create.

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Foster Positive Feelings – 1/4/22

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

I bet a lot of you all are like me – when you’re asked to share your feelings, it’s not always something that feels comfortable.  It obviously depends on the situation and who’s asking you to share your feelings.  So, many of us might hesitate in sharing our feelings.

However, when customers are providing a word-of-mouth evaluation of our businesses, what they are mostly sharing is their feelings.  Sure, they’re telling their buddy, their co-worker, their spouse, or an acquaintance about the specifics of their experience in working with our businesses.  But they are also sharing their feelings.  How they paint the picture of their experiences is often based on the feelings they take away from their interactions with us.

So, if word-of-mouth can generate business for us, if word of mouth – when negative – can keep potential new customers from even considering our businesses, then the question becomes:  How do we engender positive feelings from customers?

Feelings We Want Our Customers to Have

Most of us want our customers to feel comfortable in working with us.  We want them to have enjoyed the experience, to be confident in what we’re doing, to feel respected, to feel like we valued their time.

If these are some of the feelings that we want our customers to have, some of the positive feelings that they could share in conversations with others, then we need to determine how to engender these feelings.

Foster Positive Feelings

Consider these points:

  • Strive to make your customers feel comfortable – with the environment, the process, and the plan.
  • Be consistent, knowledgeable, and effective enough to gain their confidence.
  • Be efficient enough, patient enough, and communicate well enough so that they feel you valued their time.
  • Tell them they are important, and convey it with your actions and your responsiveness.
  • Use your body language, your tone of voice, and how you engage them with your words to convey true respect.

To foster more positive word-of-mouth, work hard to foster positive feelings in the heart of your customers.

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