upset | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

Find a Connection Point – Part 2: Situational Connection - 10/4/22

Last week we highlighted key topics to consider when you want to find Personal Connection Points with the customer.  Today, we’ll cover some key questions to ask to uncover information about today’s situation that you can use to establish a rapport with the customer.  This is Part 2 - Read more

Find a Connection Point – Part 1: Personal Connection - 9/27/22

Some people are born almost like a master at communication.  They know how to establish rapport with just about anybody, and they do so in a way that seems so natural and so real.  They can form relationships and be laughing with somebody they met two minutes ago like Read more

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

It Matters Who You Know – 2/1/22

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

The season ticket account holder has an issue, but he’s not too concerned about it:  I’m going to call my guy, and he’ll take care of it.

The patient is confused about their bill.  The family member says: I know someone who can help.

The husband discovers a problem in the home that needs a repair.  The wife says: Don’t worry about it. I know exactly who to call.

The issues don’t appear to be burdens for these customers.  The reason why they’re not viewed as major concerns is that the customer knows someone.  The person they know may not be their best friend or their buddy or close relative.  But the point is, there has been enough rapport established and trust built up that when an issue occurs, anxiety doesn’t have to arise.

The companies who employ these trusted staff have their standardized processes.  They have their best practices.  They have their training.  But they realize that when issues arise or decisions are made, a customer knowing someone in a company or having that personal rapport means more than having a simple online process to submit an issue ticket.  Knowing somebody means more than having a memorable toll-free number.  Going beyond the technical aspects of service to personalize service means more than being able to text an issue to a help desk.

Businesses often believe it shouldn’t matter who the customer knows in the company. Processes and systems should be so standardized that anybody can help to the same level.  There’s a lot of truth in that concept.

But if we view service experiences from the customer’s perspective, we realize that having that name or that phone number or that e-mail address of that actual specific person creates trust and comfort.  And where trust and comfort exist, customer retention and growth can thrive.

Foster the personal customer connection.

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Put an End to 1-Star Ratings – 1/25/22

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If you ever had service performed on your car, I would not doubt it if you received the immediate e-mail asking for that 5-star rating. They want the big ratings because that makes them look good, and to get the big average rating you have to avoid the 1-Star ratings.  And it’s not just vehicle service centers; we’re inundated with requests for ratings in many aspects of our lives.

Granted, most 1-Star ratings are probably because the customer did not get their needs met, their question answered, or they had a bad experience.  I’m sure many low ratings are legitimate, while many others are not truly worthy of only 1-Star. But wouldn’t it be great if we could avoid getting 1-Star ratings in the first place?!

Uncover Potential Low Ratings before They Leave

Remember that most customers who have an issue with the company will not complain to the company.  So, if you’re talking to that customer or sending them an e-mail or engaging them in an online chat (or even meeting them face-to-face), if you want to get a sense for whether you’re going to get that 1-Star rating, ask for feedback before the end:

  • Did you get your needs met?
  • Did you get your questions answered?
  • Do you have any questions or concerns before you leave?
  • Did you have a good experience today?

If you ask the question before you end the conversation, great things can happen.  If there is an issue, they may give you a chance to resolve it.  If you resolve it, you have a better chance to keep the customer, and you have a chance to raise the 1-Star to 2, 3, or 4.

And you get one more perk.  It’s likely that most of your customers are satisfied with their experience.  Therefore, the more you ask for feedback, the more accolades, pats on the back, smiles, and “thank yous” you’ll get!

Put an End to 1-Star Ratings; in the moment, ask for and act on feedback.

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It’s Not You, It’s Them – 7/13/21

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George Costanza – from the Seinfeld television sitcom – broke up with someone he was dating and told her “It’s not you, it’s me.”  It’s a famous line, and I’ve heard it used many times in humor, but I have a customer service twist on that comedic line.

It’s not you, it’s them.

If you’ve worked in a customer service role long enough, and by long enough I mean even just 3-6 months, you have probably dealt with the same complaint but in two totally different situations.  You could have Fred the customer walk into a store or call you on the phone, and there is a problem with his account.  He calmly describes the issue, and you deliver great service and work with him on a solution.

At some other point in time, Matt is the one who walks in; he’s the one who gets you on the phone.  Unfortunately, he has the exact same complaint about his account.  But instead of calmly describing the issue and working with you, he is ranting and raving!  He is blaming everyone under the stars, particularly you.  His tone is inflamed, and before you can even try to help him, you have to figure out how to calm him down and get the information you need to provide the support.

These are two different customers presenting the exact same issue.  One comes in calm, looking for resolution, and the other comes in like a raving lunatic.

Their negative emotion is not about you; it’s about them.  Even if the negative emotion is directed at you, it is about them.  Even if some of the pointed words are toward you, it is about them.

I’m not saying that the highly emotional complaining customers don’t have a right to complain.  Sure they do.  I’m not saying that the company is absolved of any responsibility for issues they cause.  Of course the company is responsible.

But what I am saying is that it’s much easier for us to handle these situations if we can handle our emotions…if we don’t get defensive…if we don’t take things so personally.  And one way we can do that is to realize that we have had customers with the same issue before who have been calm, have been rational, who have looked to work with us to a resolution.

And if we realize we have been blessed with these collaborative customers, then we can also realize that if somebody comes in with the same issue in a totally off-the-wall manner, their emotion is not our fault.

We should try to do whatever we can to help them and move the conversation forward and resolve the issue, and one of the best ways we can do that is to realize that the emotion is not about us.  It’s about them.

It’s Not You, It’s Them.

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