words | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 8

“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

Using I, We, or You in Customer Service – 9/1/20

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

It’s amazing how many conversations can go horribly wrong or incredibly right, not because of the use of a 4-letter word, but simply because of the use of a 1, 2, or 3-letter word – I, We, You.

The incorrect use of I, We, You in conversations causes problems more than we may realize and definitely more than we may be willing to admit.

So, in the world of customer service, there are some general rules of thumb.  I’m calling them general because there are exceptions to everything and there’s not a perfect formula for imperfect people serving imperfect people, but these rules might help us to escape bad situations and capitalize on the most positive opportunities.

When there are feelings involved, use the word “I.”

  • What I felt was…
  • I can understand how this could be frustrating…
  • I was upset, too.

This allows you to convey your feelings without assuming you know what others feel.  You have the right to feel what you feel, but we don’t have the right to tell other people what they do feel or should feel.

You is a great word to use when you’re fostering a relationship or conveying appreciation.

  • You did a great job with…
  • You conveyed that very clearly…
  • You’re very good at…

The use of the word You allows the other person to feel, appropriately, that your accolade is attributed to them. It takes a thought that might be in your mind and puts it into words in a positive way to build the other person up.

We is a great word when you’re trying to foster teamwork or find a solution to move away from an issue.

  • What we need to do in order to address this is…
  • We can still accomplish your goal if we consider an alternative…
  • We can work on a solution together to keep this moving…

 

We conveys that it’s a collaboration on an issue or need.  Particularly when the other person has a big part in the solution to a problem, using We makes the burden feel a little bit less on their shoulders.

Appropriately use I, We, You when trying to convey feelings, share appreciation, or foster teamwork.

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8 Customer Service Phrases that are Music to the Customer’s Ears – 1/26/16 TOW

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There are definitely phrases to avoid and others to adopt, especially when you’re dealing with the irate customer. But what about great things to say to the customer just in the normal routine of interacting with someone? What can we say to convey we care? What phrases are music to a customer’s ears?

Here are 8 such phrases to consider adding to your customer service lexicon:

  • How are you today? – Too often we start the conversation asking what the customer needs or what we can do for them. Let’s show some patience and get into dialogue. Ask this question and then – actually let them answer! Patience and dialogue are wonderful things to most customers.
  • You did the right thing – When a customer has taken some steps in a process that led them to you, confirm that they are doing the right thing. Affirm their action as a customer; affirm them as a person.
  • Let’s see what we can do for you – Don’t just take the information and start acting; convey an intent to find a solution even when one might not be readily apparent at first.
  • I’m happy to help you with that – A good way to get positive emotions FROM the customer is to give positive emotions TO the customer. Again, don’t just “do.” Tell the customer you’re happy to “do” for them.
  • That’s perfect! – They suggest a meeting date or a next step. They provided you with more information. You reply “That’s perfect!” This is also positive emotion, affirming them and their action.
  • My pleasure – This is a closing statement synonymous with Chick-fil-A, but the idea is a good one. It truly is a pleasure to serve someone – tell them so.
  • We appreciate your business – This may sound old-fashioned, but it better be true. For a business to succeed, they need their customers. People want to be appreciated. So let’s put those two truths together in one phrase.
  • It was great to talk with you – I often say this at the end of a call or – better yet – in a follow-up e-mail. Follow-up is not just about conveying a next step or a task to be done. It’s conveying the enjoyment of the rapport and relationship.

 
Use phrases that are music to your customer’s ears.

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Simplify the Vocabulary – 9/9/14 TOW

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In our constant quest to find new ways to describe boring or irritating processes and services in a way that makes them sound exciting, we develop creative names: No Child Left Behind, Affordable Care Act, Permanent Seat Licenses, etc.

However, the problem is that our customers find out that this is typically not something to embrace, and the name becomes a joke or a punch line.

When we want to sound sophisticated, we use high-brow language: Six Sigma, OnBoarding, Rubric.

However, the problem is that our customers and employees have little-to-no idea what we’re discussing.

And sometimes, when we want to be specific, we risk using terms that mean different things based on the industry: Achievement, Bonding, Delegation, Enrollment, Gatekeeper, Grandfathered, Network, Rehab, Service Area, and Waiting Period.

Does Bonding relate to a mother and child, a company doing business in town, or teeth? Is a Delegation addressing something in healthcare or at the United Nations? Is the Gatekeeper a function in healthcare, a secretary who won’t let you see the boss, or – literally – a gate keeper?

When we use terms, we can’t assume that the customers know the terms. We can’t assume that if it’s used in our industry that the customer knows what “Enrollment” means in healthcare because their only exposure to “Enrollment” was at their child’s school.

The words matter, and we need to make sure the words are simple enough to be understood without requiring a detailed glossary to explain everything.

Go to your company’s website. Look at the patient or fan or employee or customer flyers and handbooks that you distribute. Give access to the website and these documents to people who know nothing about your business; ask them to read the information and interpret what it’s saying.

Make sure the words you use are clear enough to be understood. Simplify the Vocabulary.

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