words | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 6

“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

You can read me like a book – 9/14/21

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

Let’s say that I’m the customer, so it’s important to listen to what I say when we’re talking.  However, sometimes there are hidden words within the words.  I’m not talking about the tone of voice that I use as much as I’m talking about the words I choose.

Sometimes you can read into what I’m saying by listening closely to specific ways I convey my message.  Here are a few examples:

  • One Word Answers – Assuming you’re not asking me questions that simply require a “Yes/No” response, when I reply with 1-word answers, I may be upset, impatient, or don’t yet trust you. I may not like the questions or direction of the conversation.
  • “Um…uhh…” – These pauses/phrases suggest I’m uncertain, or I’m trying to control my emotions.
  • Use of Absolutes – This can be a sign that I’m being defensive (such as “I never” or “I definitely”) or argumentative (such as “You never” or “You always”).
  • “Of course…” – Maybe I’m insulted by the question such as “Of course I did that. How dare you ask!”
  • Repeating My Question – If I repeat my question, I may think you’re not listening, or I don’t like your answer.
  • “Understand” (as in “I don’t understand…” or “Help me understand…”) – I may be confused, or I could be probing for details because I disagree.
  • “Hold on” or “Wait” – I may not understand, or I may feel you’re rushing me.
  • “Can you repeat that?” – I’m unsure that I understand, or I’m not paying attention.

 
When you hear these phrases or get these reactions, think about the deeper meaning.

Read the phrase to best respond to the person.  Read me like a book.

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Tailor to the Type – 5/25/21

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

Every customer is different.  We need to look at each customer as unique, because they feel that they and their situation are unique.

But even when you have that individual focus, there are a few basic philosophies of great customer service that apply to certain customer types:

  • If they’re upset, listen.
  • If they’re new, learn.
  • If they’re long-term, appreciate.

 
When people are upset, they want to feel that you care, like you truly want to help.  But when you interrupt or argue, you’re not allowing them to vent and blow off steam.  You’re not allowing them to make their point.  You’re conveying that you don’t care.  If they’re upset, listen.

When a customer is new, you want to begin developing a relationship, and as we often say, it’s easier to have a relationship with someone you know than with someone you don’t know.  Be inquisitive.  Ask questions.  Why did they shop with you?  What do they need?  What do they look for in an organization like yours?  If they’re new, learn.

When you’ve had a customer for a period of time – a recurring customer, they want to feel like you value their past purchases, their business…like you value them.  Get to know their name; be patient; reference past positive interactions.  Say “Thank You” over and over again – they deserve it!  If they’re long-term, appreciate.

Know what type of customer you’re engaging, and refine your approach.

Tailor Based on Customer Type.

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The Problem with “No Problem” – 5/18/21

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

The man asked for his girlfriend’s hand in marriage, and she said: That’s not a problem!

The customer walks into the bike shop wearing a cast and notes that the new bike he just bought had brakes that failed and that need to get fixed. The employee responds:  No problem.

The employee picks up the phone, and the customer says:  Thank goodness I finally got a live voice! I’ve been on hold for 15 minutes!  The employee responds:  No problem.

These are just crazy examples…or are they?

I wish we could strike “no problem” from the list of acceptable phrases in the world of customer service.  The problem with “no problem” is that it is literally saying that the customer is not a problem for the employee.

In the example above, the girlfriend’s sentiment is to shout Yes, but she says “no problem.”  Oftentimes customers do their part in a process or are doing something nice for the employee, and instead of employees being appreciative, they say “no problem.”  Where is the positivity and appreciation?

With the customer in the bike shop, there was an issue that was caused by the company, and instead of the employee being empathetic/understanding and accepting responsibility, he basically ignores all that and instead states “no problem.”  Why would you just tell somebody who you’ve created a problem for that helping them is no problem?

Just because the customer who’s been on hold 15 minutes says “thank goodness,” that doesn’t mean that the employee should respond “no problem.”  A 15-minute wait actually IS a problem.

In customer service, we talk about body language and tone of voice a lot, but the words matter, too.  Appreciation for customers matters.  Accepting responsibility for problems a company causes matters.  Conveying some empathy for the difficulty customers had to go through to get to us matters.  And all those things that matter don’t come across in the phrase “no problem.”

Realize the problem with no problem.  Make sure the words we use convey the right message to our customers.

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