Customer Service

True Customer Experience Leadership Breeds Initiative Beyond Procedures

 

Leaders, true customer experience leadership succeeds by believing that procedures can only go so far. There is no way to foresee everything the customer will request. Employees close the remaining gaps to ensure a great customer experience.

 

That is, they do if you breed employee initiative. Even when you are not comfortable empowering them fully, foster their sense of initiative. Without it, customer experience and your brand image falters. True customer experience leadership doesn’t let this happen.


True Customer Experience Leadership:; Image is an empty packet of ketchup.

True Customer Experience Leadership: Breed Initiative. Image by Hi Turkey Toe via Flickr.

Image by Hello Turkey Toe via Flickr Creative Commons License.


A True Story to Illustrate

I was in an upscale grocery store that had a  cafe for dining.  The store is known for their customer service. They are also heavy into metrics, procedures, forecasting and planning.  I was in the cafe eating on a Thursday evening and two staff members were nearby discussing that they had run out of ketchup packets. The conversation was very telling.

“Can you believe we’re out of ketchup? How can a grocery store be out of ketchup?”



I heard the employees and said, “Maybe you could get some bottles from the grocery aisle and put them around this restaurant section. You could ask the general manager how to account for it. It would be great customer service and the diners would appreciate it.” Other diners heard me and echoed what I said.

He simply replied, “Oh well, I think the ketchup packets are coming in on Saturday.”  He showed no initiative. Not even to bring it to management’s attention.


Will the diners overlook that there was no ketchup? Possibly. 

Will they forget that employees did nothing to help when bottles of ketchup were a short walk away? Probably not.


This upscale grocery store does a huge in-store dining business. They also cater extensively. So why did employees do nothing to address the customer experience gap?

Is there true customer experience leadership at this grocery store chain? Or have the leaders put so much focus on planning, metrics, and procedures that employees believe they must live within that frame?


True Customer Experience Leadership: Inspire Initiative If Not Empowerment

It is so interesting that the employees were aware of how customers would perceive the shortage. They knew it would seem illogical for a cafe in a grocery store to be out of ketchup. They were in tune with customers’ views yet showed no initiative to close the gap.

Did they know they should? Great customer experience must go beyond what leadership foresees, prescribes, and plans.

  1. Inspiration. Leaders as you speak with employees, your words cannot be purely about metrics and procedures. You must talk and walk a can-do attitude to close customer experience gaps. It is by your daily demeanor and behavior that the employees become inspired to care for customers — beyond procedures.

  2. Initiative. Breed a sense of initiative in all employees. Initiative is the action to see what’s possible. Even if you don’t empower employees to decide on the solution, their initiative can bring the real life customer experience questions to your attention. Show them your initiative in closing customer experience gaps and call them to do the same.

  3. Remove the fear. Organizations with a strong focus on metrics, inadvertently breed employee fear of stepping outside of standard procedures that drive the metrics. Employees prefer to play it safe even if the customer experience and brand reputation suffers. True customer experience leadership removes the fear by removing the blame. Never punish an employee for showing initiative and bringing customer experience gaps to your attention. Better yet, empower them to act!



Are you using true customer experience leadership to breed initiative beyond procedures? It readies everyone in the company to make a difference for the customer!




Pose this question at your next leadership or all hands meeting for no-cost customer experience improvement. The question and the answers can transform your culture!



From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
Service Recovery: Go Beyond Problem Solving
Customer Experience: The Opposite of Convenience May Surprise You
Customer Experience Leadership: Are Your Metrics to Loud to Hear the Customer?

©2014 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

 

 

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Engage in people skills learning! Let’s turn interaction obstacles into business success in leadership, teamwork, and customer service experience. I invite your questions, share my experience, and welcome your wisdom.

Service Recovery, Goes Far Beyond Problem Solving!


Customers hope for no problems. Yet problems arise. Nothing is perfect. When they do, customer service recovery is the hot landing zone for success.


To meet customers’ expectations in that zone, we must know what customer service recovery is and build a culture including everyone — not just the front line. Some leaders define service recovery as “resolve the problem”. They apply great resources to it. They are stunned when customers leave despite the problem resolution. They wonder what customer expectations they missed.


Customer Service Recovery: Image are lights of airplane landing.

Customer Service Recovery Landing Zone for Success. Image by: Echo9er

Image by Echo9er via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Service Recovery Requires Far More Than Problem Solving

Here’s what these leaders missed in defining and delivering service recovery. In addition to solving the problem, we must …

  1. Illustrate Commitment.

    When customers experience trouble, our every move has to show total commitment to them. Ask yourself: What are we committed to? Standard procedures and processes? Organizational structure? Or the customers’ success?

    Good sense service recovery: Show commitment to the customers. Give them attention and make it easy for them! In the hot zone, replace routine everyday procedures with full focus on the customers as well as their problems. All the problem solving behind the scenes won’t rebuild trust if we ignore the customers and inflict more pain along the way.


  2. Work With Credibility.

    Leaders, credibility hinges on ownership and empowerment. Committed empowered team members with customer service people skills can deliver excellent service recovery. Non-empowered team members will fall short. Why?

    Because they can’t convince customers that the organization is owning the problem. They will always seem like smiling gatekeepers not capable customer advocates. During service recovery, this inflames the situation. Customers believe no one cares and nobody is doing anything. They leave with frustration and bad memories.

    Good sense service recovery: Empower team members with information. Give them permission to work across departments for credible service recovery. Else customers believe we care more about our company’s structure than we do them. Why should they return and be loyal?


  3. Collaborate and Team Up.

    If your business is comprised of structured silos, collaboration and teamwork can be the weak spot in service recovery. You can’t just give permission to an employee to work with another team. The other teams must welcome it and collaborate too.

    Good sense service recovery: If the top leader has asked you to lead service recovery improvements for the organization, engage your management and leadership peers. Work together to identify all teamwork obstacles to service recovery. Their teams must all deliver service recovery. These leaders and managers must help craft it.

    If your peers resist, it can be a sign that your organization’s commitment to service recovery is painfully weak. Rigid managers who protect their domain are placing internal politics ahead of customer well-being and the company’s success.


  4. Communicate Throughout the Process.

    Lack of information and sparse communication kill service recovery. Think of the pain it inflicts on customers. They can’t move on to achieve their goals. They feel helpless, incapable, and even panicky and desperate. It puts them on hold completely. Many think that not knowing is the worst. They see it as the height of selfish uncaring behavior.

    Good sense service recovery: There is no excuse for lack of communication. Keep customers informed throughout the process to show them you are owning the problem and working on it. If you have a resolution plan in place to solve some of the bigger problems, communicate it. Solving the problem is not enough.


  5. Show We Care.

    How we communicate makes all the difference. Our words and tone of voice either speak our commitment or show we don’t care.

    Good sense service recovery: Provide customer service people skills training. It turns everyday communication into professional service recovery skill. Deliver it to all teams not just the front line. How teams speak to each other affects the total effort and the service results. It is the difference between a customer centric culture and a non-empowered front line.





Important Questions from Leaders

In the 25 years I have been consulting and training on service recovery, leaders most often ask:

  • Must we do years of work to establish the customer centric culture before we train our teams on service recovery people skills? Answer: You can do it simultaneously. Caring communication is so important that the sooner you do it, the less pain you inflict on customers. The training also helps to create the customer centric culture although training alone can’t do it.

  • How do we explain to non-customer facing teams the value of service recovery skills training? Stress that how we think drives our behavior. Service recovery people skills training focuses on mindset, teamwork, and how to communicate with each other — not just with customers.

  • How can we ensure team members use what they learn? In the training, use customer situations that actually occur in your company. Engage the team members in the training; don’t just lecture and tell. Model the behavior yourselves. Lastly, ask the team to come up with ways to keep the learning alive. Will they make reminder cards? Will they start each day with one tip from the training? Will they share lessons learned each day? There are many ways. Let them wow themselves, you, and of course the customers!


What service recovery questions do you have or tips would you like to share?



We can make service recovery great and easy!



From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
Leaders, Can Your Teams Ace This Service Recovery Moment?
Customer Service Recovery, Use People Skills to Deliver vs Defend


©2014 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

 

 

PS-EnergyBar-LogoJoin me through these social channels

Engage in people skills learning! Let’s turn interaction obstacles into business success in leadership, teamwork, and customer service experience. I invite your questions, share my experience, and welcome your wisdom.

Business People Skills: Can You See Your Ins & Outs? Others Can!


Business People Skills: Image is multi-color sign words are connection openness.

Business People Skills: Welcome In or Stay Out? Image by PSD via Flickr.

Grateful for image by PSD via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Business People Skills: People Can See If You Are Letting Them In

Many actions tell people if you truly want to connect with them or keep them at a distance. It matters in leadership and teamwork. It very much matters with customers. What signals are you sending? “Yes, let’s work together?” or “I’m not so interested.”


Have any of the following behaviors hurt your business people skills? They are easy to check and to keep in check. The effort is well worth it. Success comes with others — not alone.



  1. Mentioned in 2 minute video above.
  2. Mentioned in video above.
  3. Mentioned in video above.

  4. The need to be right. When people must have last word on everything, they come across as insecure, even arrogant. They are also sending the message — stay out! Closed-minded portrays as closed off. How do your business people skills portray you?

  5. Too much talking or too much silence. When people talk and talk and talk, it paints them as self-absorbed. It also communicates “stay out”. Too much silence can paint the same picture and send the same message. Many mistakenly believe that silence shows incredible interest and welcomes others in. Yet, silence isn’t always golden. It can also seem like disinterest. Seek balance. Engage in dialogue.

  6. Lots of absolutes and generalizations. Absolutes are rarely true. They often discourage discussion and connection. Generalizations about people also shut out connection and learning. Treat each person as the unique individual they are. Learn about them. It says “Let’s engage.” That portrays great business people skills.

  7. Being distracted & multitasking. When people don’t give their full attention, the message is partially — stay out. No matter how great the claim about their ability to multitask, the message they are sending is far from welcome. If you give partial attention, you are communicating a “stay out” message. Apologize for being distracted and refocus. That says “I welcome you in.”

  8. Immediately redirecting people to written material. I’ve seen this frequently in online networking. I receive a LinkedIn invitation to join someone’s network. I initially look at the person’s profile to learn more about them. If I accept the invitation, I send a thank you message highlighting something from their profile and asking them some questions to learn more. More than once, I got this reply: “The best way to learn more about me is to go to my website.”

    Really? Instead of interacting and learning about each other? The business people skills message was: “I don’t want to interact.” Then why invite people to join your network? Do you want to welcome people in or keep them out? Engage in discussion to network and uncover new business opportunities!



When a situation calls for extreme caution, it’s wise to be slow to trust. Yet closed off with no trust can’t reveal whom you can trust. Business people skills can light the way and do just that!






Do your business people skills more often welcome people in or keep them out?



What tips will you add to the list from your world of connections?


From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
Avoid These 8 Common Causes of Business People Skills Mistakes
Career Success: Are You Rockin’ w/ These 13 People Skills
12 Signs You Have to Be Right! on Alli Polin’s Break The Frame blog.

©2014 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

 

 

PS-EnergyBar-LogoJoin me through these social channels

Engage in people skills learning! Let’s turn interaction obstacles into business success in leadership, teamwork, and customer service experience. I invite your questions, share my experience, and welcome your wisdom.

Courtesy Checklist: 10 Superior Ways to Lead, Serve, & Collaborate

Courtesy Checklist: Image is Jar of Honey w/ a honey twister.

Courtesy Checklist: Superior Ways to Lead, Serve, Collaborate. Image licensed from Istock.com

Image licensed from Istock.com

Courtesy Checklist: Do you do these every day?


  1. Greet politely and/or warmly. Welcome new teammates on their first day and you set teamwork in motion. Greet potential and current customers with courtesy and enthusiasm. You give them a picture of many positive experiences ahead. Engage employees at the beginning of a meeting. You overcome the typical meeting apathy.

  2. Start a request with please. It was everywhere in decades past. Has it slipped away? Grab hold of it and put it back in every request. This one small word communicates respect that prevents requests from being misconstrued as disguised orders. In leadership, teamwork, and customer service, this one is an essential on your courtesy checklist!

  3. Give sincere and abundant thank yous. The gift of gratitude is free yet far from cheap. People hold gratitude in high regard. It is quite dear. Leaders’ appreciation goes far beyond the instance of thanks. It creates a culture of gratitude that sustains customer relationships and employee morale. Leaders, help get this one on everyone’s courtesy checklist!

  4. Interact with an open mind. Many don’t think of open-mindedness as a part of courtesy. It is! Any behavior that considers others and eases interaction is courtesy. When working with customers, teammates, or employees very different from you, your open mind welcomes them in. Solutions and success come from openness!

  5. Eliminate common rudeness. There are habits that most people consider rude: talking too loud, slurping drinks, smacking lips when eating, clinking utensils, eating while you’re on the phone, going through a door and not holding it behind you for the next person, and the list goes on. Beyond these habits, learn cultural norms when working with people around the globe. It is the essence of courtesy in global business.

  6. Adapt to personality types. Most people think of the driver personality type when they read this on the courtesy checklist. Yet it is applies to all types. Amiables, analytics, and expressives, can be just as extreme in their behavior as the driver type. Extreme behavior tips toward discourteous. Seek balance. Consider others’ needs and flex. You can’t change your type yet you can adapt your behavior. This is courtesy!

  7. Show interest but don’t pry. Showing interest in customers is a courtesy that warms the relationship. Prying into their lives with intrusive questions will slam the door shut. Asking teammates about their weekend can start the week off well. Grilling them with personal questions builds walls that stop success. An important distinction on the courtesy checklist.

  8. Share information. Don’t gossip. Every time a customer service rep tells a customer how much trouble another customer was, it mars the professional image. Even if the customer you are telling agrees with you, they wonder what you will say about them to someone else. This is a perilous detour from positive customer relationships. Stay on the road of courtesy and professional behavior.

  9. Smile don’t sneer, snicker, or smirk. Non-verbal communication is on the courtesy checklist. Derisive gestures and looks, demean others. In their mildest form they are rude. In their extreme form, they can constitute bullying. Treating people badly — discourtesy — pushes people away. Simple, respectful behavior keeps everyone engaged. Once again courtesy is always a winner in business.

  10. Guard generalizations. Generalizations about people will almost always disrespect someone. One day, I heard an employee state that people who work in government are lazy. He didn’t consider that his co-workers had friends and family who worked in the public sector. Besides painting himself in a bad light, his discourteous remark marred work relationships and teamwork. Honor individuality and diversity. That’s on the courtesy checklist!

 
Courtesy never goes out of fashion. It feels great to receive it. In business, it’s not just a nicety. It’s a necessity for leadership, teamwork, sales, and customer service.

Far more than a pleasantry, courtesy opens doors, impresses in first meetings, shows respect, expresses care, smooths rough moments, defuses tension, bridges gaps, and feeds business relationships.


Courtesy — considering others’ needs and easing the way — gives you superior ways to succeed.


What other items are on your courtesy checklist?



From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
GPS Your Brain to Work w/ Any Personality Type
Avoid 8 Common Causes of People Skills Mistakes
The 25 Worst Customer Service Stories to Train the Best CSRs

©2014 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

 

 

PS-EnergyBar-LogoJoin me through these social channels

Engage in people skills learning! Let’s turn interaction obstacles into business success in leadership, teamwork, and customer service experience. I invite your questions, share my experience, and welcome your wisdom.

Customer Experience Big Data: Retailers How Will You Use It?


As apparel retailers offer more incentives to buy online, they run straight into the cost of returns.  The press is reporting that many will use customer experience big data to track and punish customers with high volume returns.


Very interesting — punishment as a customer care success strategy?

Customer Experience Big Data: Image is Swaddled Smurf says customer care.

Customer Experience Big Data Retailers: Punish or Perish? Image by Storque via Flickr.




We aren’t talking about customers who shoplift. These are customers who must try on what they buy online and return what doesn’t fit. Punishment will not stop their returns.

Possible punishment will discourage many customers from buying in the first place!


Customer Experience Big Data: Care & Integrity

Retailers if you are losing money from returns, consider a more positive approach. Don’t use manipulation to lure everyone in and punishment when the returns come in. This isn’t customer care!


Reward the positive. That’s customer care.

  • Instead of free shipping up front and punishment for high returns, refund the shipping to customers with low volume returns. It’s a reward. Customers love to be rewarded. Rewards feel good. Rewards bring people back for more. Use customer experience big data to reward not punish.

  • It’s also honest. It’s profit through integrity. Conversely, punishment for returns exposes the lack of transparency in your promotional offers. Free shipping isn’t free if you plan to punish later to recoup the money.







Do you want customers to have a positive impression of your brand?

Big data as big brother won’t do it.



Think about the busiest shopping season — the Holidays. Do you want to punish the high volume apparel gift givers who return gifts that don’t fit their loved ones?

What greeting will you use? Happy Holidays from the retailer who punishes? Brought to you by the Marquis de Sade marketing agency?



No one disputes that businesses must be profitable. It’s clear that returns cost money.

Yet upfront offers that start with “come here we want you” and end in punishment are more like predatory stalking than customer care.



Keep it simple. Remember the basic relationship. Customers place orders and retailers fulfill them. Reward customers that stand by you and see your reputation and your coffers grow!

Online shoppers what do you think?

What retailer practices do you like and dislike?



From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Image by Storque via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Related Posts:
Retailers: The Opposite of Convenience May Surprise You
Customers Say, Make It Easy!

©2014 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

 

 

PS-EnergyBar-LogoJoin me through these social channels

Engage in people skills learning! Let’s turn interaction obstacles into business success in leadership, teamwork, and customer service experience. I invite your questions, share my experience, and welcome your wisdom.

Customer service stories: Image is rolls of money up an arrow.

Customer Service Stories: Worst to Train Best. Image via Istock.com

As The People Skills Coach™, I use both positive and negative real life customer service stories to train Service Desk and Help Desk analysts, Customer Care teams, Customer Service Reps, and Contact Center agents.

The positive customer service stories define the model of great customer service behavior. The negative customer service stories address the emotional intelligence team members need to deliver memorable service.

Below are the 25 worst customer service stories of the 40 that I received in response to the question: What is the worst thing a customer service rep ever said to you?

If you own a business or are in a position of customer service leadership, ask yourself if any of your team members would act these ways?




The 25 Worst Customer Service Stories


  1. The foul language in this story is clearly wrong. Will your CSRs quickly identify the other critical error in this exchange? Here’s the story from Ron B: I had a problem with a new piece of electronic equipment and called for assistance. The first technician I talked with insisted that there was nothing wrong with his company’s equipment, that it must be my fault. When I explained that everything in the network had worked perfectly until I powered the new item up, he laughed at me. When I asked to talk to his supervisor, he responded with the infamous two letter expletive and hung up. I called back and spoke with a different tech who was able to resolve the problem in a matter of minutes and who then asked his supervisor to join us on the line. When I told the supervisor of my earlier experience, she asked me to give her one day so she could resolve the problem. She called back in less than fifteen minutes to tell me that she and the call center manager had reviewed the tape of the call, fired the original technician, and promoted the second one to a customer service training position. It went from being the worst customer service experience ever to one of the best in less than half an hour.
    Submitted by: Ron B.


  2. The story: I was trying to get some information from the local cable company, Comcast, about my bill. I couldn’t understand the different groupings of channels which had no explanation just names like Extended Package. She couldn’t explain it and kept getting the same channels in different groupings. I said, very politely, “I don’t understand your explanation, is there someone else who can explain it to me so I will understand it.” She replied: “You’re stupid.” Then she hung up.
    Submitted by: Elaine B.

  3. “You’re not following our process.” Sadly, this was said to a customer by one of my own CSRs.  This was a wake-up call for sure.
    Submitted by: Drew J.

  4. “I’m sorry, but that’s our Policy and I’m not connecting you with my supervisor.”
    This reply is anathema to the reason for customer service — to serve the customer (the person with the $$$ they want).  I could care less about their policies.  My policy is that I don’t do business with companies that don’t treat me with respect and give me value for my money.  If something doesn’t work, then just fix it.  If you don’t know – then say “I don’t know, but let me find out for you.”  Companies are run by humans and humans make mistakes.  I don’t judge them badly because they make a mistake.  It’s how they resolve the mistake that matters.
    Submitted by: David G.

  5. Can you believe this interaction? Here’s the story: In our large grocery store, I asked about the cinnamon buns that were in the sample dome. The employee I asked said that they were very fattening and I could do with losing some weight!
    Submitted by: Andrew F.

  6. I explained to a computer company rep that I had 12 new laptops that would not power on no matter what I did.  His answer to me was “What do you want me to do about it?”  I said excuse me?  He clarified by saying “if they don’t power on I can’t trouble shoot them and if they aren’t powering on, it has to be something you did to them that made them not work.” I still have nightmares.
    Submitted by: Liz M.

  7. “You will have to go online to and fix this.” I replied “Seriously? I am talking to customer service – a real live human being and you can’t do a thing for me? “Yes ma’am, you need to go online to do this.”  So I asked her, “What, exactly, do you do?”  Silence.
    Submitted by: Shelly S.

  8. It’s not our fault that you have this problem – it’s yours.” (Big Insurance Company in the UK)
    Submitted by: Ian T.

  9. I’m still fuming from my experience with an online site for booking airfares this morning.. Woke up sick as a dog, needing to catch a flight at 7:00. I’ve probably booked one hundred flights through this company’s site and I have always paid the $20.00 insurance if changes ever come up, including unexpected illness. I have never actually used this insurance but was happy to have it until I was told from ABC Airline: “I’m sorry, there’s nothing we can do for you.”  And, then again from online booking site, “I’m sorry, there’s nothing we can do for you.” Lesson learned. Don’t buy insurance from an online booking site or better yet avoid this one altogether.
    Submitted by: Anonymous

  10. Is this stupidity or lack of caring? The story: A pharmacy rep refused to authorize one of my meds. When I told her I had been waiting 2 weeks and explained the effects of not having them,  she said ”maybe you should see a doctor about these new symptoms.”
    Submitted by: Denise C.

  11. Are your reps so busy following scripts that they don’t listen? Here’s the story:  My father passed away.  I called a credit card company to cancel his account.  I said, “My name is Debra. My father Pat passed away and I am the Executor of the Estate. I am calling to cancel his account.”
    The rep replied, “Well, I need to talk to Pat.” I said, “Listen very carefully. He’s DEAD – now if you want to talk to him, you’ll have to figure out how to. GIVE ME YOUR SUPERVISOR!”   The Supervisor got on the phone and I said, “Do you have a connection with God?”  She cracked up laughing – she had heard about the conversation.
    Submitted by: Deborah B.

  12. I called computer printer company’s customer service about my new printer that wouldn’t interface with my computer even though the company swore it would easily work.  After hours of being on hold and being told that I had obviously done something wrong or just couldn’t understand, the rep told me “Yeah, really not my problem, lady.” So I contacted the computer company. They figured out the problem – and were nice.
    Submitted by: Julie G.

  13. My favorite bad customer service response was “it is working as designed” after the support agent was able to duplicate an obvious bug/error in a popular word processing program.
    Submitted by: Tom M.

  14. “You should buy one of those bust reducing bras from (another company).” This was said by one of the stick thin pre-pubescent staff in the clothing store I was in.  This is customer service? I don’t think so!
    Submitted by: Emma C.

  15. Is this the new version of customer self-service ? The story: I was checking out at WalMart, with my elderly Mom and small kids in tow.  A pair of $8 shoes I was buying rang up for $10. I questioned the clerk on the price at which time she said “No they rang up for $10. “You can go back there and check it yourself”. I wasn’t about to do that, so I just settled up for the $10. grrrr.  Got home and pulled the shoes out of the box and guess what. The actual price tag on the shoes said $8! Next day I went back to customer service and happened to be waited on by the same clerk at which time she said, ”That wasn’t my fault; it was the cash register. I can’t help you”.  I had to find the store manager to get the issue resolved.  He not only gave me all my money back, but he let me keep the shoes.
    Submitted by: Amanda K.

  16. I had spent well over 3 hours on the phone with customer service/tech. support, having been repeatedly put on hold, transferred, and disconnected. I called back after yet another disconnection after being on hold for several minutes. The person who answered started to go into their script, asking me for irrelevant information. I told the person that I just needed to be connected to XYZ because I had been disconnected after being on the phone with them for over three hours. The rep went to a very long speech about how he’d be happy to transfer me. I didn’t need a speech. I just needed him to transfer me. I told him this. He repeated the speech. His scripted, “inhuman courteousness” just made me angry and hate the company.
    Submitted by: Joe S.

  17. Have your reps ever said this? “There is nothing I can do for you.”  I asked for a supervisor and they told me that the supervisor will tell me the same thing!
    Submitted by: Sahar A.

  18. This one is beyond belief — yet true. Here’s the story: I was hosting a party for 150 people and needed catering prices 7 weeks prior to the party to review bids, select caterer, or determine another venue. I had a drop-dead due date and explained that.  When I contacted the caterer for prices because they hadn’t contacted me by the morning of the due date, my main contact was on vacation and left no information. I was fuming. Obviously, they did not get my business.  When I finally reached the caterer to determine how they could have made such an error, he said “I decided you didn’t need it by your due date.” I was appalled.  How could they decide my due date? I did contact the management office and heads did roll. This was not lost business from this one event, but there were 5 hosts involved (their friends) and word of mouth travels fast.  While management appreciated my comments, they were foolish in not throwing me some type of bone to offset the situation. In a world where it’s tough to get business, this is not acceptable.
    Submitted by: Lisa R.

  19. “ya wesd rufj dimn uklod doodop” In other words, the worst customer service ever was delivered by someone who spoke no comprehensible English. I’ve heard it hundreds of times to lesser degrees, but in one case it was entirely incomprehensible. When will these companies learn that customer service agents need to actually be comprehensible in the language they are supposedly supporting?
    Submitted by: John B.

  20. How would your reps reply to this request? Here’s the story: I lost my cable service for 3 days. Apparently, it was a system wide failure and thousands of customers were affected. During the course of my conversation, I said something like “Please just credit me for 3 days worth of service.” The rep said, “We can’t do that. Do you know how much it would cost us if we credited everyone for the past three days?”
    Submitted by: Phil F.

  21. “I am sorry but that’s our policy”. Even if the rep says it politely, this is a statement that can tick anybody off. Such a statement exudes rigidity and inflexibility, which is the last thing a customer wants to hear when he/she calls customer service with a genuine problem.  This statement, if used too many times by a customer service agent during a call, would generally lead to an escalation or loss of a customer which indicates the poor performance of the agent.
    Submitted by: Om D.

  22. Have you taught your reps the difference between professional and personal behavior? Here’s the story: I was speaking with a customer service representative about a problem I was having.  I said, “I know it’s not your fault.” She said, “That’s right. It’s not my fault.” She is the representative of a company. She should accept responsibility even if it’s not her personal fault!
    Submitted by: Randi B.

  23. Here’s one of the recent nightmares I lived through. There was a charge on my Citibank Mastercard from a vendor who renewed my $400 membership without asking me.  I spoke with the vendor and he agreed to send a credit into the credit card company for the charge.  Since the credit card bill was due in 15 days, I called the credit card company to ensure that I wouldn’t have to pay $400 up front only to have it credited back later.  The rep who answered the phone went into his long drawn out scripted answer. I asked to speak with a supervisor and after waiting on hold, the supervisor started another scripted answer.  I said, “I am a busy person and I just need a simple direct answer instead of the script.” He replied: “I am sorry you called when you were busy.  We are open 24 hours a day.” I stopped using that card.  I will not give my money to a company whose representatives communicate sarcastically and blame me for their slow scripted service.
    Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

  24. I had a credit card and somehow after a year the bank changed my zip code and I didn’t get the bill. When they called I explained I never got a bill. After we found the issue I asked for a refund of the late fee. Though I got it eventually I was initially told, ”You are responsible for your bill, we only send the statement as a convenience to you.”
    Submitted by: Shawn D.

  25. What would your reps say if they had difficulty communicating with a customer? Would they sound like this rep who acted as if she was the sergeant in charge.  Here’s the story: A rep at a big box cable company in the Midwest said to me:  “You’re not listening to me. “
    Submitted by: Linda L.




If you are a business owner, customer service leader, manager, or supervisor, consider using customer service stories during team meetings for continuous learning and improvement. As a customer service leader you may be surprised at what you hear from your teams.

If their discussion focuses primarily on the customer’s behavior, your reps and analysts may need additional training on their customer care attitude and emotional intelligence. If instead they quickly acknowledge that the service was far below par, ask them specifically how they would handle that same scenario. To punctuate the training, ask each team member to state one step they will take that day to give outstanding customer service.

The key training topics from these customer service stories include emotional intelligence, customer care attitude, listening skills, the perilous effects of procedur-itis, ownership, and clear communication. I would be pleased to work with you as you take your team members to the heights of customer service excellence.


From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
21 Customer Service Tips to Make It Easy for Customers

Image licensed from Istock.com

©2010-2014 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

 

 

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Engage in people skills learning! Let’s turn interaction obstacles into business success in leadership, teamwork, and customer service experience. I invite your questions, share my experience, and welcome your wisdom.

Customers Speak: This is What We Want & Deserve!

Great customer service and wonderful customer experience is one simple characteristic come to life — ease! We can make a much longer list.


Yet when customers speak, it comes down to one underlying wish — ease. Every time customers speak, they are saying, “If you’ll listen, we’ll train you on the ease we want and deserve. You want and deserve it when you are the customer.”




Customers Speak: Image is the letter E.

Customers Speak: This is What We All Want! Image by Chrisin Plymouth via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Image by Chrisin Plymouth via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Customers Speak: We All Want Ease!

  • The road warrior business travelers want low stress to retain high energy. When we say our luggage is lost, don’t correct our words and call it delayed. Apologize for the inconvenience, locate it, and get it to us. Aah … ease!
  • The parents renting your space for their child’s special event want everything to flow well. When we ask for something extra at the last minute, don’t read us the signed agreement. Tell us if you can do it and for how much more money. Aah … ease!
  • The elite customers paying loads of money want to be pampered. When we wish you a wonderful day, don’t tell us it’s only wonderful when you’re done with work. Let us live the short dream that life is wonderful. Aah … ease!
  • The gift card recipients want to buy themselves a treat. Don’t confuse us with complicated terms and exclusions. Make it as easy as using cash or a debit card. Aah … ease!
  • The customers suggesting customer service improvements want their ideas noted and considered. Don’t tell us the problem. Don’t tell us why things are the way they are. Thank us for the suggestion and explore its possibilities. Aah … ease!
  • The business customers working hard for success want the supplier to deliver with no mistakes. Don’t just believe everything will be OK. Have a backup plan to keep our success alive even when you slip up. Aah … ease!
  • The dissatisfied customers want the problem resolved without a fight. Don’t keep us from the promised land by quickly saying no and staffing unempowered reps. Listen to our situation and work with us before we yell. Aah … ease!



Customers speak this wish for ease in every moment of interaction.

You speak it when you are the customer.

Do you hear it when you are the service provider?


The Story When Customers Speak

    Consider what happened to one of my blog readers, Karen Bacot. She had fasted for two days in preparation for a medical procedure. The doctor’s office called the day of the procedure to confirm — a later date! Karen explained that the office had made a mistake and she was coming today. The office rep said bluntly that they hadn’t made a mistake and they couldn’t possibly do her procedure today.

    Karen persisted, “Do I need to remind you that you are talking to someone who hasn’t eaten in two days?” This plea finally broke through the office rep’s uncaring mental block. The rep connected Karen to someone who worked with her to resolve the issue.



All customers speak one universal wish — ease! Why make the interaction tough? Eventually the rep connected Karen to someone who could help. Why not do that at the start? The stress served no purpose. It also left a very bad uncaring customer service impression of that healthcare office’s brand.

Service Providers: What Makes Ease So Tough?

Mistrust.

Do you trust customers or believe that most will do things to undermine your success? Your mistrust will create obstacles that block customer ease. Your mistrust can drive them into the bank rolls of those who trust them.

Fear.

Are your procedures designed to protect your business more than they provide for customer ease? Companies who live in fear of every possible mishap for themselves complicate service delivery. Still customers speak one request — ease — to their next service provider.

Touch of greed.

Are you so micro-focused on daily profit, you don’t see the chances to give a little extra for customer ease? Customers reward service providers who always give a little extra — flexibility, respect, gratitude, and of course ease!


What story of ease or difficulty will you share here to help service providers improve?



From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Other Posts for You:
21 Tips to Make It Easy for Customers
Customer Experience: The Opposite of Convenience May Surprise You
6 Needless Costly Customer Service Mistakes

©2014 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

 

 

PS-EnergyBar-LogoJoin me on social media.

Let’s turn interaction obstacles into business success in leadership, teamwork, and customer service experience. Engage in people skills learning! I invite your questions, share my experience, and welcome your wisdom.

Customer Service People Skills: Leaders, Get Over These 2 Myths!
 

Customer Service People Skills: Image is sign that says BUMP.

Customer Service People Skills: Leaders Leave These Myths Image by: Raymond Bryson via Flickr Creative Commons License

Image by Raymond Bryson via Flickr Creative Commons License


Mindset and beliefs drive customer service people skills behaviors. They are a big factor in customer service excellence.


Leaders, are you sure your teams’ beliefs feed great customer service people skills? Will they deliver great outcomes? Will they bring customers back?


In this 2 minute video are two commonly held beliefs/myths that erode success. Listen in to make sure you lead great customer service people skills.




Make Over These Customer Service People Skills Myths!

Leaders, watch out and wipe out these risky beliefs!

  1. Mentioned in video above.
  2. Mentioned in video above.
  3. Employees first, customers second. Be careful! This dangerous belief developed as a reaction to inhuman call center culture. It’s an outgrowth of myth #1 noted in the video. Instead of establishing an order of who is first or second, inspire the teams to unite and care!
  4. Fire customers who complain too much. There are companies boasting of how they get rid of customers who complain. Warning: Closing the doors to complaints and complainers may close your doors permanently! Open the mind to customers’ views and open the door to success.
  5. Customer service people skills are just common sense. If it were truly common sense, there would be no disappointed customers. What makes customer service tough is the challenge of diversity. Different customers, different situations, difference expectations. It takes training and practice to spot the differences and meet the challenge.



Based on how you’ve been treated as a customer …

what customer service beliefs have you uncovered?



From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Invitation:
I invite you to connect with me on Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter. I welcome your questions. I will respond with inspiration and practical tips!

Other Customer Service People Skills Posts for You
Sorry Doesn’t Mean Guilty!
Superior Customer Experience: Are You Using the Power of Empathy?
Customer Service Loyalty: 21 Tips to Make It Easy for Customers

©2014 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

Conflict Resolution: You Can Stay Calm in Conflict.


As The People Skills Coach™, I am often asked for conflict resolution tips. Most especially — how to stay calm in the midst of verbal conflict.


Although taking a break can be very helpful, sometimes after the break the calm evaporates and the conflict remains. Then what?


There are also times at work when you can’t take a break. Customer service agents, sales account reps, team members working to solve a crisis are often under fixed time demands. How can they stay calm and work toward conflict resolution?

 

Conflict Resolution: Image is the word Rejuvenate.

Conflict Resolution: How to Stay Calm? Image by SweetDreamzDesign via Flickr.

Image by SweetDreamzDesign via Flickr Creative Commons License.

 

Staying Calm for Conflict Resolution

If you find yourself getting anxious in the midst of verbal conflict, these 3 steps will help you.

  1. Hear the fear and need vs. the anger and biting accusation. Behind other people’s anger and accusations, there is always a fear and/or need. Let your mind focus on finding the real issue. Hear other people’s fear to get out of fight/flight mode and into conflict resolution.
  2. When I first hear other people’s anger, I quietly ask myself …

    • Where is their fear or pain? How can I resolve this?
    • Is it that they’ve lost trust?
    • Do they believe worse things are going to follow?
    • Are they under pressure to please someone else?


  3. Know and believe your excellence is in the resolution. Other people’s anger tells your ego you are inferior. You tense up to defend it. The fact is you are not inferior. In truth, your excellence is in your ability to work it out!

  4. Learn more about your natural conflict resolution style. Self-awareness develops the mind’s ability to filter emotion. Knowing your conflict resolution style highlights the triggers you need to manage in order to stay calm. Take the Thomas-Killman Conflict Mode Instrument to learn your style.



Success soars when you can hear the fear and need behind people’s anger, outbursts, and accusations. You will solve the problems and defuse the emotion.

Your potential to turn obstacles into fixes will show everyone that your infinite career potential. You can care for customers. You can collaborate with colleagues. You can break logjams on difficult projects. You can lead others through difficult moments.


No matter how much you fear verbal conflict, you can develop the ability to stay calm. My skills have grown with practice, time, and commitment.


(Of course if you feel the person is going to physically attack, get out. It’s the wise thing to do. I speak in this post about non-physical conflict.)


What growth and success have you had in staying calm? Will you share your story here?



From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™


What’s next? I invite you to connect with me on Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter. I am happy to answer your people skills questions for great customer service, employee engagement, teamwork and leading change!

 

Other Posts to Help You:
13 People Skills Tips to Rock w/ Career Success
5 Thoughts to Keep You Calm w/ Angry Customers

©2014 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

Entrepreneurs People Skills: Do yours say you are open for business?


Entrepreneurs People Skills: Image is neon sign saying open for biz.

Entrepreneurs People Skills: 6 Needless Mistakes Image by: opensourceway via Flickr.

Image by opensourceway via Flickr Creative Commons License.


Entrepreneurs people skills make a tremendous difference in your customers’ experience with you. The smallest gaffes take big bites out of customer trust.

These mistakes create the question mark in the customer’s mind. They give customers a reason to look around for a better business to serve them. Don’t lose customers making mistakes you can easily avoid. Entrepreneurs people skills are worthy of your attention!


Entrepreneurs People Skills: 6 Needless Mistakes That Cost You Customers

These mistakes can make you seem unreliable and closed off to customers. If you do them often enough, they may actually close your business.

Entrepreneurs People Skills: Image is sign "sorry we're closed".

Entrepreneurs People Skills: Closed? Image via tonx via Flickr.

  1. You take time off without using an out-of-office email responder. Customers don’t know you’re on vacation. You don’t respond to them and they think you don’t care, aren’t service focused, or worse. An auto email responder is a corporate staple. Yet business owners often overlook this critical no cost step to retain customers.

  2. When a prospect that wants to speak on the phone, you guide them to your preferred medium like SKYPE. This is bad first impression. It tells customers that you expect them to adapt to your preferences. Ask customers how they would like to connect? Send the message that you want to serve them! Entrepreneurs people skills build tremendous trust in the early days.

  3. They want you to fix a problem and you give them instructions on how to fix it themselves. Although this sounds like a generous gift of your knowledge, it can seem like you don’t want to do the work. Simply ask the customer if they would like to try it themselves with your guidance. Some customers may prefer to pay you for your time than use their own time to struggle through. This may be especially true of your small business customers.

  4. You constantly check your smartphone when you are with them. Despite the prevalence of smartphones today, customers expect your attention. They judge your commitment to them based on your behavior. Make sure your behavior tells them they are important to you. If it’s a long meeting, check your smartphone at scheduled breaks — not during the meeting.

  5. When a customer needs your time, you tell them that your kitchen plumbing went bad and you’ll get back to them after it’s fixed. You might not believe business owners would say this. They actually do and it sends a bad message to customers. It says that your life is in disarray and that you put your challenges ahead of theirs. Just let the customer know when you are available to assist them. Leave your personal stress stories for coffee moments with friends.

  6. During your early meetings with customers, you talk endlessly about your integrity and your goals. Customers are often suspect of anyone who talks about their own integrity. True integrity speaks through actions not speeches. Simply focus all your attention on the customer. Listening is a tremendous trust builder!



Use great people skills to build bonds of success. Wow customers with your listening and attention. Give customers every care and consideration. Let them see how your flexibility makes life easy for them.

Secure customers’ trust with your accountability. Let them know they can always rely on you! Show them there is no better business for them, than yours.


From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™


Tap more of Kate’s people skills business acumen through her social media streams Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter. She welcomes your interaction.

Grateful for closed business image by tonx via Flickr Creative Commons License.

©2014 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

Customer Experience: What is the Opposite of Convenience?

If your answer to this question is — inconvenience — you may be losing customers without knowing it.


Customer Experience: Image is a road with a crack.

Customer Experience: What is the Opposite of Convenience? Image from Istock.

Image licensed from Istock.com

To a customer the opposite of convenience isn’t inconvenience.



It’s a reason to be angry.

It’s a reason to rant on social media.

It’s a reason to consider your convenient competitors.

It’s a reason to leave.




Customer Experience: What is the Customer Actually Buying?

A fast food customer service story about a very upset customer is all over the Internet. A drive-through customer stressed “absolutely no ketchup on my burger”. When the customer left the drive-through and opened the bag, there was ketchup on the burger. The customer then came inside and raged on about the mistake.

Why is the customer SO upset?



It’s not because of the inconvenience of the mistake. The customer is very upset because they bought convenience and received everything but that. When a customer considers where they will eat and chooses a fast food drive-through, it’s not just for the food. It’s for the convenience! Convenience represents ease. This customer experience was difficult.


The Customer Experience Convenience Connection

Customers expect convenience whether your brand is directly selling convenience (like fast food chains) or not. Customers like to connect with brands that make the experience easy! Convenience feels good. It brings customers back.

Find the inconvenience in customer experience and replace it with the convenience connection.

Where to look …

  • In your standard procedures. Businesses spend a great deal of time training employees on standard processes in the hopes of ensuring a consistently high quality customer experience. Yet not every customer wants the same thing. To deliver convenience, think flexible not standardized. Train employees on listening for special requests and following through.

  • In confusion. How do your employees act in the midst of confusion? Do they resort to standard procedures or do they ask questions to clear up the current confusion? The former can create customer unrest. The latter delivers superior customer experience.

  • In the micro view. When employees perform the task without knowing the true purpose of the task, customer experience suffers. Fast food drive-through lanes were not invented because people prefer eating food from a paper bag. Convenience sells and sells and sells! Do your employees know that?

  • In your silos. Customer experience convenience evaporates when teams are not working together. Do cross-teambuilding to ensure a convenient customer experience.

  • In lack of attention. Superior customer experience requires great focus on each customer’s request. Do your sales teams hear each customer’s true need before closing the sale? If not, the fulfillment teams will be generating inconvenience. The customer service teams will face the irate customer. Seek and destroy robotic thinking and replace with true attention to superior customer experience.


Where else have you found a lack of convenience affecting customers?



It’s a critical question. Never underestimate the value of convenience in any price point of customer experience. From budget products and services to high-end elegance, convenience and ease is key!


I would be pleased to work with you and your teams to increase the ease your customers have with you and your business.


From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Featured image on the summary page from thisisbossi via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Related Posts:
Superior Customer Experience: Are You Using the Power of Empathy With Customers
Super Customer Experience: Immediate No Cost Improvements

©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results. Kate also invites you to connect with her on Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter. She welcomes your interaction!

Patient Customer Experience: The Great Slam Bam Mammogram?


What do you expect as a patient? I’ve heard some people respond “just cure me and let me go.” To them, a great customer experience is a successful procedure or cure – period.


Patient Customer Experience: Image is the word "BAM".

Patient Customer Experience: Great Threats and Cures Image by: MITLRproductions

Image by MITLRproductions via Flickr creative commons license.


Yet these folks do not represent an overwhelming majority. To many others, a great patient customer experience involves both medical and non-medical aspects of care.

Do healthcare providers — in hospitals, in outpatient test centers, in doctors offices — see it this way? We might think that the healthcare industry believes this. They use scores like HCAHP and Press Ganey to measure the quality of patient customer experience.

Yet there are significant instances of unsatisfactory patient customer experience which say otherwise. Here’s one such story and lessons learned for a great patient customer experience.

Patient Customer Experience: The Great Slam Bam Mammo?


The Story

    I went for my yearly mammogram as I had done every year. My favorite technician at the radiology center had retired. She had top notch technical skills and great empathy and people skills. I went in with an open mind since the center had a professional caring staff at the front desk.


    It was my turn. A technician came out called my name and said, “please come with me.” She guided me into the changing room and said she would be back shortly. My experience was off to a bad start. She hadn’t even introduced herself. When she came back, she simply said, “ready”? I said no. I don’t even know who you are. She stared at me and then claimed repeatedly that she had introduced herself. She then disappeared and a different technician came in. This one introduced herself and ushered me to the mammogram room.


    She clarified a few items on my chart, put me into position, said “BIG SQUISH” and slammed the paddle down on me. The pain was so bad I yelled out “God help me.” She then asked me if I was OK. She told me that most people like to get this over quickly but she could use slower compression on the other side to make it less painful. She also added they had been quite busy lately and had even run out of regular size gowns. She finished with, “I know you liked Flossie and it must be tough for you to adapt to a different technician.”



4 Threats & Cures for Great Patient Customer Experience


My patient customer experience was needlessly painful — physically and inter-personally. Not only did the technician know that slow compressions hurt less, she consciously chose the slam bam approach. She left the impression that she didn’t give a flip about me. BIG SQUISH – I was just another mammogram.

  • Threat #1 – Uniformity. Treating each customer in a uniform way assumes that everyone is the same. How foolish. Cure: Find out how each person wants to be treated inter-personally and respond accordingly.

  • Threat #2 – Rationalizing and Justifying. This technician convinced herself that my negative feedback came from my having to adapt to a new technician — not her poor service. Cure: See all feedback as free learning and growth. Hear what customers are saying; don’t fear it.

  • Threat #3 – Lack of people skills training. People skills for great patient customer experience are not inborn. Cure: Train all healthcare staff on outstanding people skills and customer service. If you have some staff that are great at it, have them mentor those who have yet to learn!

  • Threat #4 – Great Average Metrics. Great customer experience metrics that are averages of all experiences do not spell greatness. In statistics, the average is one of the most volatile measures because it swings widely with extremes. Cure: Use less volatile statistics to measure patient customer experience. Also look past the numbers and listen to actual comments to design patient customer experience.



I will never return to the radiology center noted above. They have lost a loyal customer of five years who had also referred many others there.


Don’t let this happen to your healthcare practice. Make service and people skills a priority. Referrals don’t come just from other healthcare providers and doctors. Patients refer other patients.

Watch your practice soar to greatness with great referrals from your patients who have had great patience customer experience with you!

How do you define a great patient customer experience?



From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related post:
One Patient Customer Experience Story That Speaks Volumes About Doctors Offices
Is the Average of 32 Questions on HCAHP Score Really a Patient’s Customer Experience?
Radiology Cares: The Untold Story

©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results. Kate also invites you to connect with her on Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter. She welcomes your interaction!

Gratitude in Business – Is It Mainstream?


I recently delivered a keynote to the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) on appreciation in the workplace. One admin noted that the company she works for abolished the celebration of Administrative Professionals Day.


I could see the hurt in her eyes. It was more than just a slight. To her, it meant, “you don’t matter”.


Gratitude: Image is the word gratitude.

Gratitude: Business Complacency or High Return. Image by Symphony of Love.

Grateful for image by Symphony of love via Flickr Creative Commons License.


To me, it raised the question — why do leaders still shy aware from showing gratitude?


There are signs that gratitude is infiltrating the mainstream of business. We read more and more about brands using heart marketing to connect with customers. Frequent customer programs are designed to show gratitude for customer loyalty.


I caught up with inspirational speaker and sales coach, Dave Moore, to get his take on gratitude. The crux of his view …

“One of the biggest secrets in selling is to show gratitude for the deal. It builds a connection between you and your customer. Customer loyalty is built on gratitude for them being your customer. Loyalty is more important than customer satisfaction. Loyalty only grows through the connection. When a customer feels connected or included, that comes from you being grateful to them for putting their trust in you and your product.”

He offers one strong piece of advice: “Gratitude is an activity not just a response! Actively show gratitude.”

As Dave and I spoke, I saw many parallels between gratitude for customers and gratitude to all involved in the business. Gratitude does not demotivate or make people complacent. It draws people in with greater interest for greater commitment.

Gratitude: The Investment That Pays

Gratitude and appreciation in business — for employees and customers — is a modest humble investment that yields infinite return. So what stops leaders from showing gratitude?

  • Fear of seeming weak. If they thank others, will that say they need others? Well leaders, it’s time to accept the truth. You cannot and don’ t do it alone. So let others know that they matter! It shows your confidence not your weakness.

  • Fear it will make others weak. Some leaders are stuck in the old Theory X — believing that employees are naturally complacent and lazy. Well leaders, the research on gratitude is against you. Showing appreciation to employees doesn’t reduce commitment; it strengthens it.

  • Fear is time wasted. These leaders assume employees are committed since they are being paid a salary. On that basis they believe time spent to show appreciation and gratitude is wasted effort. Well leaders, assuming employees are committed for salary earned, overlooks one important detail. Those employees can also earn a salary someplace else. The result is a talent drain to the highest bidder. Quite a foolish mistake given that gratitude is a no cost way to build commitment and loyalty.



Leaders, here are 6 more reasons why leaders don’t show gratitude. Have you fallen into any of these needless traps?

Even if your leadership doesn’t show gratitude to you, you can break the power of indifference with the infinite power of appreciation. Make gratitude mainstream in business. Make gratitude a daily attitude.


What business results have you seen from gratitude in action?


From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
The Simplest Reason to Show Gratitude to Employees
Be Grateful More Often on Harvard Business Review
Leaders, 12 Worthy Kudos to Spark Employee Engagement

©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results. Kate also invites you to connect with her on Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter. She welcomes your interaction!

Superior Customer Experience: Innovate for Integrity


Superior Customer Experience: Image is sign "The Way Forward"

Superior Customer Experience: Revenue AND Integrity Image via Istock.com

Image licensed from Istock.com


CBS This Morning Show featured the documentation that wireless providers have refused to carry cell phones that have a “kill switch which would allow consumers to deactivate their stolen smartphones. Why? Because it would reduce the need for cell phone insurance policies that they sell. In other words, they would lose revenue!

Tough choice for business leaders:

Revenue or the integrity to help customers have a superior customer experience?



For a consumer, losing a smartphone is a horror story. More than just the cost, the threat of identity fraud and loss of privacy from information stored is huge. It is a nightmare. It is the opposite of a superior customer experience.


When major wireless providers stop the broad use of a preventive powerful technology — e.g. the kill switch — just to preserve their revenue they are aiding and abetting a customer experience horror story. Is it any wonder that that wireless and internet service providers hold 9 of the bottom 10 spots in 2013 Temkin Customer Service Ratings?

Superior Customer Experience: Innovate With Integrity to Win

Telecommunications leaders in wireless and internet service may be trapping themselves by thinking of this dilemma as win or lose. There are not just two choices revenue (win) and integrity (lose).


There is a third choice — innovate for revenue and integrity. Instead of blocking a technology that relieves customers’ pain just to preserve revenue, start innovating the telecommunications industry to build new revenue streams.


Find the start-ups with proven concepts and inventions that can be your next big product or service.


Wireless and internet service leaders, do you have the strength and courage to switch to a new model of integrity that produces revenue? Or will you continue to block the switch that would help consumers and reduce smartphone theft?


Do what others leaders haven’t — reinvent your own industry to win big with new revenue and consumer gratitude. Superior customer experience and integrity sustain revenue they don’t kill it.


Integrity and revenue are not mutually exclusive. Do the right thing! Lead us to a new era of superior customer experience in the wireless world!

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results. Kate also invites you to connect with her on Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter. She welcomes your interaction!

Superior Customer Service: Think Care Not Guilt


I hear some customer service reps, agents, and analysts — even leaders — say that you shouldn’t “We’re sorry” to customers because it means “we’re guilty.” There is even one consultant who has written a book with this same idea. This is a dangerous mistake. It’s a myth.


Sorry doesn’t mean guilty. It means we care. In fact if we are thinking about who’s guilty, we aren’t even in the zone of delivering superior customer service and customer experience.


Don’t picture this …


Superior Customer Service: Image is words Mea Culpa

Superior Customer Service: Sorry Doesn’t Mean Guilty Image via Istock.com





Picture this …


Superior Customer Service: Image is Balloons w/ Sorry Words Celebrating!

Superior Customer Service: Sorry Means We Care!

Grateful for both images from Istockphoto.com.


Superior Customer Service: Think Care, Not Guilt!

Superior customer service is never about guilt. It’s about responsibility, desire, and passion to serve and to care.

  • Sorry doesn’t mean guilty. When we offer condolences at a funeral, it doesn’t mean we are guilty. Sorry is one of the many ways to express empathy. We’re sorry for your _________ doesn’t mean we’re guilty of it.

  • When customers are upset we are responsible (not guilty) for the less than satisfying experience they had. Let’s make it incredibly great. Studies show that outstanding service recovery skills often create some of the most loyal customers! Many customers believe that some mistake is bound to happen and they are wowed by great empathy and service recovery skills.

  • Thinking that sorry means guilty says we are thinking of ourselves instead of the customer. We have misinterpreted the customer’s outburst as an accusation against us. It isn’t! Customers want care and resolution. Let’s give them unadulterated full out “we’re sorry” care and full commitment to resolve.

  • Customers can get upset for many reasons. Don’t analyze whether they are valuable reasons or who’s at fault. This is wasted time and effort. Don’t play neutral either. Go all the way and show them true empathy! Empathize emotions don’t analyze them.

  • Humility is not humiliation. Humility allows us to put the customers emotional needs ahead of ours. We are the professionals. This is not humiliation which is the driving emotion behind the guilty/sorry debate. The debate is useless. It sidetracks us from the main goal — delivering superior customer service and retaining that customer.

  • Live with accountability not blame. We are responsible for delivering superior customer experience. This is a far cry from being guilty when we miss the mark.



Remember, if customers are talking to us, they’re interested in our business! We have a chance to show we care. A chance to wow. Don’t blow this chance by withholding empathy. Give a caring “we’re sorry”. It’s not a shameful “we’re guilty.”


Be glad to apologize if customers have less than a stellar experience. It is a chance for us to reaffirm commitment with true empathy. It’s a chance to show just how much we care about them.


Short 2 minute video with inspirational message for leaders and teams to deliver superior customer experience!


Turn away from the guilt mindset. It doesn’t belong in superior customer service. Thinking of guilt stops us from doing just that.

Re-frame the discussion. Create a customer centric culture of superior customer service and the ultimate success through care. It’s easily doable and very valuable!


From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Post:
Leadership: Breed Accountability Not Blame
Superior Customer Service: 5 Ways to Stay Calm AND Caring w/ Upset Customers

©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results. Kate also invites you to connect with her on Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter. She welcomes your interaction!

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