words | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 4

“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

Communicate Crisply – 4/11/23

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

I try to make these tips around 300 words, but oftentimes I’m North of 400.  I work hard to pare down the words because I don’t want one or two core points being lost in a barrage of verbosity.

Phrases like lost in a barrage of verbosity are the things that might come out of my mouth initially.  But I try to avoid these phrases when sending messages because I want to be clear to the person with whom I’m speaking, so that they can more quickly and easily understand.

Part of how you convey respect in customer service is how you communicate with others, and one often overlooked method of communication is writing.  Our e-mails, in particular, could be more clear, more crisp.

When I say crisp, look at your e-mails sent to co-workers and customers.  Can the key information be gleaned in under 60 seconds?

If not, here are a few quick ways to make your writing crisp:

  • Take out the prepositional phrases. Did I really need to write “to the person with whom I’m speaking” above?
  • Eliminate the acronyms that are going to create follow-up communications requesting clarification.
  • Go for the shorter sentences rather than the long.
  • Use those bullet points.
  • Highlight the 1-2 points that you want them to take away from the message.

 
Be clear, but be a bit of a minimalist.

I naturally use a lot of words when I write, so I have to proof and narrow my initial draft.  Maybe it takes me an extra minute, but out of respect for the customer/co-worker, I try to pare it down so they can quickly and clearly understand what to do next or what I’m trying to convey.

In business writing for customer service, communicate crisply.

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Being the Emphatic Employee – 9/6/22

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

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 to be emphatic.  There are many times when the customer lacks confidence or clarity, they are uncertain or anxious.  And it is part of our role to build that confidence, convey more clarity, and offer certainty to help overcome the anxiety.

To fulfill that role in our conversation with our customers, we can be emphatic with our words.  For example, it’s more emphatic to say “I will do ABC…” than to say “I think we can do ABC…”   It’s better to say “This will definitely help” than to say “This should help.”

It’s better to give a shorter answer than a longer answer.  It’s better to say “Yes,” then go into the description.  That immediately answers the question, emphatically.  That’s preferable to saying “There are a lot of different factors that come into play and for this particular situation…”  Again, we’re trying to create certainty and clarity.  It’s easier to be clear in a 3-word answer than in a 33-word response where the answer is somewhat hidden in the statement.

To be emphatic, think about more eye contact, more nods.  You’re reaffirming what you’re saying while you’re saying it.  Have body language that is complementary.  Use good posture, have more concise arm and hand movements just like your wording is more concise.

You can be positive while being emphatic to build confidence, convey clarity, and offer certainty to overcome anxiety.

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A Great 2-Minute E-mail – 8/23/22

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

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 and managers in Service Excellence Training that they just have too many emails and voicemails to respond to customers.

That may be the case, and maybe the root cause of all those messages is a bad experience, understaffing, or poor processes and communications.  So, there is a need to get at the root causes to drive down those large numbers of unwanted customer complaints.

But it doesn’t take 30 minutes to send a good e-mail.  It doesn’t even take 10 minutes to craft the perfect response.  In most cases, you can easily create a great e-mail in less than 2 minutes.

The client had been coming to the venue for events for years, and something had changed. Certain gates were closed that had once been open.  Handicap access was different than it had been in the past.  They were a long-time customer, and this change was a frustration.  Here’s the employee’s response:

Hi John,

Thank you for your feedback, and I’m sorry about the difficulties accessing the venue.  I will make note of your concern and see if we can come up with a solution.  

For some background as to why we changed from Gate B to Gate C for the event, our Gate C is closest to the wheelchair ramp.  We wanted to make sure folks have the easiest access to the ramp.  I’m sorry we didn’t communicate about the change well-enough prior to the event.  I’ll follow-up with you prior to the next event with an update.

Thank you again,

Mary

There’s personalization, empathy, apology, commitment to action, explaining why without making excuses, taking ownership, and closing with appreciation and personalization – all in about 100 words…and under 2 minutes.  This is far better than no response, and far better than most e-mails consumers receive these days.

The next time you feel you have too much going on to respond to e-mails, do what’s right and help the customer feel valued.  Try to be great…in under 2 minutes.

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