upset | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

“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

Fight Fret with Reassurance – 6/27/23

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

I bought tickets for this weekend’s event, but they’re not showing up on my app.  I was told we could request a refund, but I don’t see a way to do that online.  I need this fixed by tomorrow.  The information on my bill is wrong, and it says it’s due next week.

The customer is confused or anxious or upset.  There’s an urgency, or there’s a misunderstanding.  The emotions are not positive, and the answer may not be immediately clear.

We need to seek details.  We need to determine alternatives.  But we also need…to reassure.

To reassure is to calm down.  It is to build confidence.  It is to alleviate fears.

If the customer is calm, if they have confidence in a resolution, if they have faith in you instead of fears in the situation, the conversation can end more quickly.  The odds of them wanting to talk to your manager diminish.  The likelihood they’ll question what you say or answer-shop decreases.

So, reassure.  Let them know that you can help, how you can help, how you’ve helped others.  Talk in ways that convey your understanding of them and their situation, your understanding of solutions, next steps, and timelines.  Use the phrases like “we will help you,” and avoid phrases like “I think we can address this.”  Convey your experience, resources, and tools.

The facts and the details of the issue and solution are important to address when the customer is worried.  But it helps to provide reassurance, as well.  It helps to speak with authority and to use words that convey more certainty of actions rather than uncertainty of next steps.  Convey your confidence to build their confidence.  

When the customer frets, provide reassurance.

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

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

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 with customers in customers’ preferred communication vehicle, Twitter can be an effective and needed place for service recovery to occur.

Bad Incident, Good Service

For this Tip of the Week, Twitter was a source of a tip.  A writer shared a personal story about his recent travel.  He called the airline in question by name.  But the Tweet was positive.  He said he had a stroller damaged on a trip.  He noted that the airline handled the “situation promptly and fairly,” and it “never turned into a fight.  Just fixed it.  Appreciate the customer service.”

This issue was apparently caused by the airline, and luckily they were dealing with a reasonable customer.  This was a customer who had engaged businesses before where one of those company’s issues was made worse by how the company responded.  Companies can often get defensive.  They can argue insignificant points about the situation or try to deflect blame from themselves instead of focusing on empathy for the customer and the solution to the situation.

This customer actually appreciated the customer service, but they also highlighted their appreciation for the company not turning a company-caused issue into a fight with a customer.

A Different Definition of “Good Customer Service”

Yes, customer service in today’s world is such that good customer service is often defined as companies just not making their initial mistake worse by how they address the issue.

When dealing with a customer who’s complaining about a mistake your organization made, you’re in a delicate position.  Be a little extra in-tune with that fact so that what you say and how you say it is not something that makes the situation worse.  Offer the empathy, find a path to a solution, and avoid the defensiveness and arguments that can lead to the fight.

Avoid making a bad situation worse.

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Open Minds and Ornery Customers – 12/13/22

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

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 are disrespectful, and some just flat don’t know how to communicate politely or professionally.  So, it’s understandable why our emotions are triggered, and we can reflect their ornery nature if we’re not careful.

One way to deal with the ornery customer is to have an open mind.  I’m not suggesting that we capitulate to their concern.

Rather, we need our mind to be open to finding new ways to navigate the conversation.  New ways to get to resolution.  New ways to close a conversation.

I’m not talking technique, per se, about how to handle the angry customer.  We’ve dealt with that many times in these tips.  Instead, I’m talking about how we handle ourselves intellectually in a conversation that has the potential to go down the tubes emotionally.

Openness is about allowing the new, the creative, the different, the atypical path forward.  What people can you involve in the conversation or direct the customer to in order to move forward?  What process can you begin that can make the conversation more productive?  Is there an action you can take in front of the customer – right then – to show that you’re in it with them?  Is there an action you can have them do at that moment so they feel like progress has started (and to distract them a little)?  Is there a way to end the conversation with your promise of a follow-up call, e-mail, or text by the end of the day?

When you’re dealing with the ornery customer, you have to deal with the emotions.  But if we keep an open mind about the possible solutions for the situation, maybe that emotion won’t dominate our reaction.  Maybe we can more quickly close the conversation and move to the next step.

Keep an open mind with the ornery customer.

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