tone | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 2

The Proven Value in What You Do - 4/9/24


Forbes wrote an article last year based on a compilation of the results of research on customer service and the customer experience; it was titled:  100 Customer Experience Stats For 2023. In reading the article, you’ll note that many of these key research findings are about you – the value Read more

A Tale of Two Texts - 4/2/24


Having to get allergy shots once a week is never fun, and for Janet, it became an even bigger frustration. She had the shots typically scheduled on Tuesday around 10:30 in the morning, figuring she would avoid the morning rush as well as the lunch rush by going mid-morning.  However, Read more

The Secret Sauce for Great Customer Service - 3/26/24


I was working with the League Office for a major American sport several years back, and one of the executives asked me to describe our Secret Sauce that helped our clients improve the fan experience and customer retention.  I gave him a sense of what makes us unique and Read more

The Miracle of an Apology - 3/19/24


Unfortunate but true story… The manager basically lost his mind.  He terminated his employee on the spot.  She had told the customer that there was going to be a delay in the shipment.  The employee called up the customer ahead of time to let the customer know what was about Read more

It’s Not About the 5-Minute Wait - 3/12/24


Robert went into his supervisor’s office to update her on a situation at the payment desk.  Robert said that a customer was about fourth or fifth in line, waiting to be served, and the customer was complaining loudly about the wait.  He was there to make a property tax Read more

Lessons from the Greats - 3/5/24


I was recently facilitating a workshop on the customer experience, and I made the point that it’s usually beneficial to look at your personal life for great experiences; identify what really resonates with you in a positive way in order to uncover ideas to improve your own customer service. So, Read more

The Empathy Roadmap - 2/27/24


For some people, empathy comes naturally.  There’s an innate desire to learn about the other person and to sincerely convey that sense of interest and caring.  But for many of us, sometimes it helps to have a communication plan.  It helps to know what to do in order to Read more

“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

De-escalating Conflict in Customer Service – 4/25/23

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

Conflict can be very healthy and productive.  You and your customer are taking different perspectives, but if you have the same goal and you focus on what you’re trying to accomplish, the different perspectives may lead to an interesting approach or a mutually-beneficial solution.

If the decision was up to us, we might have one solution.  If the decision was up to the customer, they might have a second solution – and neither solution may work for the other.  But maybe there’s a 3rd or 4th or 5th solution – some of which may be workable for both.  Those solutions are determined through Healthy Conflict – leveraging the different perspectives and opinions to get to collective solutions.

Perspectives v. Positions

Where differences exist, conflict is often uncomfortable.  Unfortunately, when people have different perspectives, they can turn into different positions.  And when we start focusing on our position, that’s when our negative passions can rise, and the conversation can become personal.  It can overshadow the main issue or what potential solutions may exist for the situation.

Healthy Conflict v. Combat

So here are some ways to de-escalate conflict so it doesn’t become combat:

Avoid You: Focus on the specific issue, trying to talk less about the people involved and talk more about the process, the policy, the product, the facility.  Avoid the use of the word You to avoid making things personal, and try not to take comments too personally.

Set the Goal: Identify a common goal – even if it’s somewhat general.  It’s easier to determine a common solution if you focus on what you’re trying to accomplish in the end.

Be Self-aware: Be cognizant of tone and body language as you’re sharing the words, as these affect the emotions as much or more than what is actually being said.

Empathize: Get on the same side of the table with them, even literally at times.  Provide empathy, conveying some understanding of their perspective, asking questions and listening rather than interrupting or talking over the other person.

As we’ve often said, it’s much easier and quicker to deal with issues if negative emotion is not involved.

Deescalate conflict in customer service.

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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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