wait | 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

Avoid the Silence; Build the Relationship – 10/5/21

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

Our interactions with customers are “Moments of Truth.”  These Moments of Truth can be conversations with a customer about some complaint, encounters when they’re in the drive-thru, questions about an order that the customer calls in to the company, or brief interactions in the lobby of a government building.

Sometimes during these interactions, there are waits. At the fast-food restaurant, the employee at the window is waiting for the food to be prepared.  In the building lobby, the customer is waiting for the employee to finish paperwork with the previous customer.  With the customer calling in about the product they ordered, the wait could be the time it takes for the employee to conduct the research so that they can give the customer the answer.

During these Moments of Truth, the employees are often waiting or doing an activity while the customer is present.  Yet, too many employees only communicate with the customer when they need information or they’re wanting to convey information.

So mostly, there’s dead silence.

From the customer’s perspective, silence can mean that there’s an issue, that the employee has forgotten the customer, that staff don’t care.  And that just makes the wait feel longer, and the customer’s emotions can more easily go negative.

Employees need to view these periods of silence as relationship building opportunities.  While the research is being done or the wait is underway, the employee can simply say nothing and create a cold, impersonal experience for the customer, or the employee could engage the customer. During the wait, the employee could talk to the customer about their situation or describe what is being done. The employee could use these times of waiting and research to build relationships.

The next time you’re with the customer and the conversation stalls during a wait or some other activity that is going on, use that time to keep the communication going to build your organization’s relationship with the customer.

View waits as opportunities to build relationships.

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Why Did They Walk Away? – 6/22/21

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Granted, the drive-thru line was long, but Cynthia thought it would move pretty quickly.  After almost 10 minutes of only moving up one spot, she drove away.

Benny was on hold, but the system didn’t tell him for how long.  Then he looked at his watch; 5 minutes later he looked again. And 3 minutes later, he looked again. Then 2 minutes later, he hung up.

Jenny took her lunchbreak to go to the bank and get a few questions answered about her account.  She got into the branch and stood in line.  She stood, and she stood, and she stood.  Eventually, she could not stay in there any longer.  She was frustrated and had to get back to work.  She turned and walked away.

Three different customers with three different needs – they were trying to get their needs addressed three different ways.  And if each of the three companies did a customer satisfaction survey, they would never know why Cynthia or Benny or even Jenny left.  Technically, they might not have information on those three customers, and none of their systems may even know those three people had a need.  These customers left – maybe to never return.

The companies lost business that day and maybe customers for a lifetime, and they didn’t know why they walked away.  They didn’t know why they hung up the phone or drove away.

This is the big problem with gauging customer satisfaction based on numbers of complaints or who visits your office the most.  If we don’t find other ways to uncover what the customer experience is like other than surveys that occur after the transaction, then we could miss information on some of the most important customers – those who were so dissatisfied that they left before getting served.

Take a step back and look at your overall research strategy.  Do you incorporate mystery shopping?  Do you conduct annual surveys of customers gauging more broad-based perceptions?  Do you conduct research such as focus groups with customers who don’t engage with you anymore or who have not renewed contracts or have closed accounts?

Make sure that your customer experience research provides the answer to the question:  Why did they walk away?

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A Wait is a Moment of Truth – 4/27/21

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Moments of Truth in customer service can be conversations with a customer about some complaint that they have, they can be interactions when they’re buying something in the drive-thru of a fast food restaurant, they can be questions about an order that the customer calls in to the company, or they can be brief interactions in an emergency room or in the lobby of a government building.

During these interactions, there are often waits. At the fast food restaurant, the employee at the window is waiting for the food to be prepared. In the E.R., the employee waits for the room to be cleaned for the next patient.  When the customer calls about an order, there could be wait time while the employee researches the order and the customer’s question.

During these Moments of Truth, the employees are often waiting or doing an activity while the customer is present.  Yet, too many employees only communicate with the customer when the employee needs or conveys information. The employee doesn’t realize the importance of keeping the communication going during the rest of the Moment of Truth.

We need to view these periods of silence as opportunities to build rapport, as opportunities to improve the customer experience.  While research is being done or the wait is underway, we can simply say nothing and create a cold, impersonal experience for the customer – where inactivity can create customer doubt, frustration, or questions.

Or we could engage the customer.  We could talk to the customer about their situation, describe what is being done during the wait, educate them on some aspect of the product/service/facility/website, or note what activities may follow.  We could use these times of waiting and research as times to build rapport and relationship.

The next time you’re with the customer and the customer is waiting, keep the communication going.  Turn wait times into part of a positive customer experience.

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