service desk

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.

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.

 

 

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.

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.

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!

Superior Customer Experience: Succeed Through Empathy.

 

Superior Customer Experience: Image is letter A+

Superior Customer Experience: Power of Empathy Image by SalFalco.

Gratitude for image by Sal Falco via Flickr Creative Commons License


When you think of superior customer experience, do you think of empathy?  Many people think of empathy mostly as something to relieve painful moments.

 

The truth is that empathy also prevents painful moments. It establishes and celebrates connections. It creates outstanding experiences.

 

You deliver superior customer experience through empathy!

 

Superior Customer Experience: The Power of Empathy

When we think and act from the customer’s perspective, we are using the power of empathy. We are building bonds for success.

  • Empathy opens listening. Stepping outside of our own perspective through empathy, puts us in listening mode. This triggers the customer’s listening as well. BAM! Bonds for superior customer experience.

  • Empathy allows us to make it easy for the customer. When we design websites with empathy for the customers’ perspectives, we make it easy for them to buy from us. BAM! Easy is a big part of superior customer experience.

  • Empathy is the messenger of care. Every time customers interact with us, our words and actions must say “we care about you”. Empathy is that messenger. BAM! Care brings customers back because it delivers superior customer experience.

  • Empathy engages employees to deliver the best. Empathetic leaders inspire team members to be empathetic with customers. These leaders build a culture of care and model it to engage everyone to superior customer experience!

  • Empathy strengthens teamwork. Superior customer experience requires great cross teamwork through the company. When teams engage in empathy and see each others’ views, they can deliver that wonderful seamless trouble free experience every customer wants.


What threatens empathy? The myth that empathy means agreement. It doesn’t! Empathy means: “You matter. We matter. This matters. Let’s collaborate.”


If we think that empathy means agreement, we block our empathy when we don’t agree with someone. We stop listening and so do they. We actually create difficult moments — the opposite of superior customer experience. When we block our empathy, we block our influence.


When we consider others’ views before responding, we are using the power of empathy. When we think of the impact of our actions before making decisions, we are using the power of empathy.


Empathy is the applause for shared interests. It draws people together for infinite possibilities and bonds for tremendous success. It opens two-way listening and the doors to great partnerships.


Empathy is the engine of superior customer experience!


Will you offer examples of how empathy delivered superior customer experience in your life?


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

Related Post:
People Skills: Empathize Before You Analyze

©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!

Customer Experience Feedback: Is everyone in your organization listening?


If the answer to this question is yes, then ask yourselves — are you sure?  Are they welcoming, listening, collecting, and sharing customer experience feedback even from the front line throughout the business?

Are they empowered to do it? Allowed to do it? Tooled to do it?


Customer Experience Feedback: Image is intersection circles of infomration.

Customer Experience Feedback: Flop or Fluency? Image by ChrisL_AK via Flickr.

Image by ChrisL_AK via Flickr Creative Commons License.


If you answer no, think about what your business is losing by shutting out customer experience feedback.  No-cost suggestions for success. Outside views that keep you connected to changing desires and trends. AND the secret of if and why they would or would not return.

Customer experience feedback doesn’t flow just through surveys and focus groups. Customers give it when they are thinking about it. Is your organization always listening and capturing these fresh pearls of information?



When everyone is listening, your organization becomes fluent in customer experience feedback!

When they’re not, you will have customer experience feedback flops.



True Tale of Customer Experience Feedback Flop

I recently purchased 3 items of clothing online from a major retailer. I received a shipping confirmation email that listed each item labelled shipped. I then received one box with one item. I wondered what happened. I checked my email box to see if there was an updated shipping message and there was none.


I called customer service and the agent told me items would arrive in two separate shipments. I thanked the agent and expressed my gratitude for the help and information. I then said: “If your company is open to customer experience feedback, it would be helpful to have the shipping email mention the multiple shipments.”


The agent replied, “it did”. I replied, well I have checked it twice and mine doesn’t say it. Nonetheless I’m not complaining, just letting you all know it wasn’t clear to me that the clothes would arrive in separate shipments. Clearer info would reduce the number of needless calls in your queue and make for an easier customer experience.” The agent again insisted it was there.


Phew! Customer experience feedback flop! This agent believed the job was to answer the initial shipping status question and defend the company — not to listen for feedback.




It never occurred to this front line rep that if shipping status was unclear to any customer, it was a customer experience improvement opportunity. Make of note of it. Pass it along for consideration.


Business owners and leaders: There are none so stuck as those who will not hear.



Welcome, listen, and collect customer experience feedback where it naturally happens. Inspire, train, and engage all staff to do it. It costs very little and the return is great!

In part two of this post during this National Customer Service Week, I will discuss critical beliefs and steps to doing just that.


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

Related Post:
Superior Customer Experience: Above & Beyond Question
Customer Support: It’s Actually Everyone’s Job

©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!

IT Customer Service Training: Breakthrough to Collaboration

 

IT Customer Service Training: Image is stick figures working together.

IT Customer Service Training: Breakthrough Collaboration Image by:kenfagerdotcom

 

What part of a business today doesn’t run on technology? Information technology (IT) has moved from the hidden back office, to the desktop, right into the employees and customers hands via mobile apps (forgive the moving pun).

 

Every aspect of business — large and small — depends on technology.  Your developers, operations staff, and support analysts are impacting company success every single minute! Do yours work well with non-technical teams in other parts of the organization?

 

Are all your IT staff great at collaborating with non-technical teams like sales, marketing, finance, HR, distribution, and all the rest?

 

Many CIOs answer no and create new positions call business technology analysts to be the liaison between IT and the non-technical business departments. It is one solution. 

Yet with more layers of communication come additional challenges of miscommunication and time delays. Moreover today’s medium-size hot tech companies, don’t have layers and layers of organizational structure. Everyone must interact for the business to be successful.

The good news is that technical professionals — from developers to technical support staff — are quite capable of learning how to engage in teamwork with the rest of the organization. 

How do I know? After working as a programmer and systems analyst, I have had the privilege for 25 years, as The People-Skills Coach™, of delivering IT customer service training to IT staff. They can learn it! They do need training to step outside of their own perspective and see another view.


IT Customer Service Training: Focus on Collaboration

As CIOs continue to work on having IT seen as an integral part of the business, they reach out to me to deliver IT customer service training. This phrase brings to mind the front line technical support teams who do internal customer facing. That’s a big part of it.

Yet the CIOs want more than that. They want all technical teams (including the developers) to work well on project teams with other business departments. They want their organizations to deliver great customer service and be agile in cross teamwork.


Here’s what the IT customer service training must include …

  • Focus on collaboration. Instead of starting with the standard “always smile” advice of standard customer service programs, start with the big picture of how the company succeeds. When I deliver IT customer service training, I help the technical teams see how they fit into the teamwork of the entire organization. We focus on contributing without thinking that IT staff are indispensable.

  • Speaking in business terms not technical jargon. All professionals — technical and non-technical — have jargon that is specific to their profession. It is always a challenge to communicate clearly to others without jargon. IT customer service training gives technical professionals the chance to practice doing this well.

  • Explore the logic to empathy. Technical professionals have the reputation of being un-empathetic. Yet they aren’t unfeeling. They simply don’t put primary importance on showing empathy. Training can help them see the logic to showing empathy and the value to teamwork and to the organization.

  • Practice seeing non-technical views. Some technical professionals believe logic is logic. When they participate in projects with this belief, they often come across as dominating instead of collaborating. IT customer service training helps them to listen and see diverse approaches to the same challenge. Here are some tips to get you started: Teamwork People Skills – Initiating Without Dominating.

  • Business culture before techie culture. Technical professionals often develop a culture based on their work style preference and comfort. It’s a normal human tendency. In times gone by when they worked in isolation from the business, it seemed like less of a problem. Now that technology is in the mainstream of business, technical professionals must live the business culture. IT customer service training helps these technical teams bridge the gap between the two cultures. It’s about two-way respect — giving and receiving. They are capable of that. Everyone is capable of that — if they have the desire to learn and do it.


There is one more critical element to making IT customer service training valuable — CIOs, directors, and managers who model customer service and teamwork behaviors, speak well of the business departments, and call all technical teams to the heights of service and collaboration. CIOs: Are your IT teams truly customer focused? I am here to help. Let’s talk soon!

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

Grateful for image from KenFagerDotCom.

Related Posts:
CIOs: IT Customer Service Quality Requires True Partnership!
What’s So Hot About Humility, Anyway?

©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 invites you to also connect with her on Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter. She welcomes your interaction!

Customer Service Teamwork: Beware the Sticklers

 

Do you have team members who are sticklers for procedures and policies yet care a great deal about the customers?  Wonder why I am asking?

 

As I work with leaders on customer service teamwork in diverse companies, I see them struggle with this very question.  Are the problems that rigid team members create outweighed by their caring hearts? 


Customer service teamwork: Image is heart shaped handcuffs

Customer Service Teamwork: Sticklers w/ Hearts of Gold

Image licensed from Istock.com

Customer Service Teamwork: Define It & Solve the Problem!

The good news is that this struggle doesn’t have to exist. Leaders actually create the struggle by mistakenly connecting these two issues in an either/or relationship. Unlink the either/or view. You can have both — caring customer service and agile teamwork!


And here’s some even better news for you leaders: You can ensure teams never struggle with this by defining what great customer service teamwork is.

    The standard definition of teamwork — a group working together toward a common goal — sets you all up for the struggle. Each team member defines working together from their own comfort zone. Those who love the safety of procedures, cling to them.
    If instead you use this definition — teamwork is adapting and growing to reach a common success — you eliminate the confusion and most of the struggle.



The rest of the struggle may be inside of you as leaders. Ask yourselves these questions to work through your concerns:

  • Do you prefer that team members stick closely to procedures? Perhaps it makes you feel secure. Being honest with yourself on this point is essential. If your answer is yes, then make it clear to all team members so they won’t struggle about this issue. Although customer service may not be as great as it could be with agile teams, at least team members won’t needlessly battle amongst themselves.

  • Do you want team members to be flexible yet fear the necessary coaching conversations with the rigid team members? These conversations do not have to be antagonistic or riddled with conflict.

    Base these conversations on the newer definition of teamwork above. Unearth their concerns about being flexible on procedures. Discuss parameters for varying from procedures to serve the customer. By connecting it to their caring side, you make it a bit easier for these team members to grow.


  • How do you feel about asking others to grow and change? If you want to be liked or feel like an ogre by asking others to grow, you trap yourselves in the struggle. Focus on creating outstanding customer service teamwork and the team members’ potential to grow and achieve it. This mental shift lifts you and everyone beyond the struggle.




Inflexible team members — the sticklers — create many problems for customer service teamwork. They can divide the team into camps. They drag morale as others get frustrated with their intransigence. They snarl the flow of success as others detour around them.


Such an unnecessary mess! Define with the teams what customer service teamwork is and what behaviors produce it. Model it and guide everyone toward the success of agility.


When you overlook team problems, success overlooks the team.


What successes have you had in developing team agility? I am very interested to help you go further. How can I help you?



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

Related Posts:
Adaptability is Genius & Generosity
5 Essentials to Building 21st Century Teams
Customer Experience Leaders: Remove the Never Ever Rules

©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 first contact me via 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.

Super Customer Experience: The Warm Quick Wins

Customer experience professionals study the complex structures, channels, and data to improve customer experience.  Important work to be sure.  

My work in super customer experience brings the research to life in everyday ways.  Despite how customers differ, there are no cost improvements you can make right now to deliver super customer experience to everyone!



Super Customer Experience: Image is gold key w/ service word.

Super Customer Experience: Immediate No Cost Improvements Image licensed from Istock.com.


Image licensed from Istock.com

Super Customer Experience: 5 Immediate No Cost Improvements

Whether you are a global corporation, a hot new start-up, an infrastructure service group, a mid-size enterprise or a small business, customer experience happens in a moment and you can ensure those moments are easy and memorable!

  1. Speak clearly! Yes this simple no cost step reduces stress, inspires attention, and builds loyalty bonds. Whether it’s the words you use, the tone of voice, the web site verbiage, the written chat exchanges, or the quality of the phone line, it delivers super customer experience! If the customer ends up thinking or saying, huh … what, it’s time to revamp how you communicate. Get rid of jargon. Think customer not procedures.

  2. Think one! One customer at a time. One company delivering super customer experience. How? Empower all who interface with the customers to think and act as the one representative of the company. Finally, forever, get rid of silos! Silos can be organizational structure or even individuals who don’t talk to each other. Either way, seamless teamwork is a no cost fix that delivers super customer experience.

  3. Be complete! Half-truths, incomplete explanations, different answers from different employees, all of this undermines super customer experience. It breeds customer mistrust and disrespect. It delays the WOW. It is frustrating and negatively memorable. For no cost, you can deliver super customer experience by being complete when speaking with the customer.

  4. Think easy and even fun! Look at every aspect of customer interaction and ask, is it easy and fun for the customer? The places where it isn’t, you have most likely reverted to an internal focus, a procedural prominence, or manipulation to get them to buy more. For no cost, you can convert all this to super customer experience!


  5. Love the customers or leave the business. Hire employees who really like being in service to others. They exist. They sustain the customers, each other, morale, and the business! All the other applicants who see customer service purely as a stepping stone to a career will never deliver super customer experience. Why hire them?

    Example: I recently heard a discussion at the next table in a Panera Bread. The young woman told her mentor, “I’m a people person. Yet all I did in the customer service department was listen to angry people complain. I want to work with nice people!” She’s not really a people person. She wants people to serve her needs. So beware of the phrase “I’m a people person” in interviews. Find out if they want to be in service to others! They will deliver super customer experience.



Immediate no cost improvements for super customer experience make a difference. They are the actions that communicate your mission of customer care. They tell the customers: We want you and we want you back!

Never ever underestimate the value of making life easy and even fun for the customer to get them back. When the product or service you sell hits the mark and the interaction to get it and use it is easy, customers have no need to look elsewhere.

Would you like to add 5 more no cost improvements to this list? Let’s hear your experience!!


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

Related posts:
Super Customer Experience: Remove the Never Ever Rules
Customer Service: 21 Tips to Make It Easy for Customers
Super Customer Experience: Customers Feelings Aren’t Random!

©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.

Customer Service Managers: Inspiring Improves Results

Customer Service Managers: Image is Words: Leadership Teamwork Success

Customer Service Managers: Are You Leading? Image via Istock.com




After consulting and training customer service managers and teams for 25 years, I can most surely say that inspiration and leadership improve results. 


Conversely, customer service managers and team leaders who focus mostly on management witness demoralized teams with higher levels of attrition.

In other words, humdrum teams with less than spirited performance hurt the business. This bleeds onto customers who then feel disregarded and disrespected.









Customer service managers and team leaders, you have much on your plate. This intensity sometimes brings you to apply your operational focus to leading teams.  How will you know? You will find you speak to the teams mostly about processes, metrics, and adherence to procedures. This approach may breed obedience; it does not inspire teams to create great results with customers.



So, customer service managers, ask yourselves are you leading and inspiring?



Customer Service Managers: You Can Inspire & Lead!

Mindset

  • We succeed with engaged, committed employees.
  • We succeed with employees who understand how they are essential to success.
  • We succeed through employee talents not robotics.
  • Success requires leadership, inspiration, employee engagement, recognition, and appreciation.


Actions to Inspire & Engage

  • Start every day/shift with a caring call to action for great service. Ask team members to share what inspires them. Involve them in the daily kickoff. As the famed Zig Ziglar always said, inspiration is like bathing — you have to do it every day.
  • Engage employees ideas, talents, insights, and thoughts. If you want caring commitment for the customer, find it IN your employees. Don’t lay it ON them.
  • Highlight and appreciate employee talents with specific note. Here are 12 Worthy Kudos to Spark Employee Engagement.
  • Encourage team member collaboration. Call centers are notorious for monitoring every agent’s move and blocking them from interacting with other agents. Customer service managers claim it’s to keep the call queue moving. Yet this chain gang approach breeds high levels of turnover as the agents try to break free from the chain gang! Engage them to own the queue and keep it moving. That’s inspired!
  • Discuss metrics FIRST as a whole measure of the organization’s success. After that, and only after that, inspire team members to contribute to that whole. Invite their ideas on how they will balance each other to prevent huge sways in the total metrics. Ask them to set an improvement goal for themselves and how they will measure it! This is an engaged inspired implementation of metrics. (When customer service managers use metrics mostly as a stick for individual performance, the team members often feel like lab rats or rats in a maze.)


Actions that Lead

  • Lead with inspiration even if your leader is not giving that to you. Many managers with a directive boss model the boss’ behavior. Big mistake with customer service teams. The closer you get to the front line of service, the more you must use an inspirational leadership style!
  • Be the model of inspired collaboration yet still make decisions when necessary. Employee engagement doesn’t mean that all decisions are made through consensus. Discuss the difference between collaboration and consensus with the teams. Team members can engage even if they don’t get to make all the decisions.
  • Address bad attitudes. As the team engages, a team member with a lackluster uncaring attitude is a drain on them all. Some teams will address this team member, others won’t. Nevertheless, it is important that you let the employee know that the attitude is not acceptable. A Great Employee Attitude is Essential, Not Negotiable. In customer service work, great attitudes are a requirement. With guidance from your HR department, write job descriptions that detail actions and attitudes that breed customer service team success. Many job descriptions do not and the result is disastrous.
  • Develop your leadership skills. Customer service managers and front line team leaders — your direct impact on team members and customer service is tremendous. Don’t let your title define you. Think of yourself as inspired leader. Read leadership articles and blogs. Explore inspirational books that develop your self-awareness. Ask for leadership training. If your title is “supervisor”, lobby to have it changed to something that expresses the quality of inspiring and leading the team(s).
  • Be ready for surprises. I remember clearly one customer service workshop where I asked all participants to go to the boards and write down everything they liked about working with people. One rep went up and wrote, “I hate people.” As we discussed everything on the boards, I asked about that item. He jumped up and said, “I wrote that. I hate working with people.” The customer service manager turned red. At break he said to me, “Oh no. Now what?” I said, speak with him tomorrow about the type of work he wants to do. He is clearly not interested in caring for customers and chose this venue to declare it!


A culture of customer service excellence and great customer reviews emerge from inspired leadership that engages teams to high levels of caring and commitment. It takes daily doses of inspiration and modeling at the front line leadership level.


The manager’s and team leaders’ ability to lead not just manage, quality customer service training for all, and team desire and skill combine to deliver the trifecta of customer service success for the business.


If you would like information on my new inspirational customer service leadership workshop for front line customer service managers and team leaders, please email me. I can even give you quick tips to get you started on better engagement.


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

Related Posts:
Leaders, Engage Employee Urgency w/ Deep Connection
16 Employee Idea Killers You As Managers May Be Committing on Brainzooming Blog.

Image licensed via Istock.com

©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.

Customer experience leaders — customer experience even in large volume is about the ultimate positive moment for each customer. Even in the face of high volume delivery challenges, super customer experience is about individual customer satisfaction and success.

When you believe and act as if customer experience is mostly about the collective picture, the individual customers become nameless and faceless. The customers feel like they’re in a cattle call — to borrow an expression from the theatre world!


Customer experience leaders: Image is cattle call audition

Customer Experience Leaders: Are You Leading Cattle Call? Image by: itselea

Image of cattle call audition by itselea via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Customer Experience Leaders: Are You Leading a Cattle Call?

Here are true customer stories of the cattle call effect and an easy fix for each!




From Nameless to Human

When Alex received her flood insurance renewal notice, it arrived with a confusing letter about rate increases. She called for clarification, gave her name and how long she had been a customer. The insurance rep replied: “Ma’am there have been rate increases ….and so ma’am there’s nothing we can do.”

Alex replied, “I mentioned my name is Alex. I’ve been your customer for 15 years. Will you please use my name and treat me as your customer? And by the way I am not debating the rate increase I am just asking for clarification.”

Cattle call effect: High.

Customer experience score: Low.

Easy Fix: Address customers by name!




From Narcissism to Customer Focus

When the mortgage company holding Pat’s mortgage was bought out by a larger one, Pat received notice of the change. A mortgage payment was coming due and he had a question about where to send the payment. When Pat called, the rep repeatedly mentioned paying online or using a credit card over the phone.

Pat mentioned that he prefers to pay by check and just needs the address. The rep again mentioned online payment or credit card. Pat became annoyed and said: “I pay my own way — by check. Do you have an option to receive payment by check? Else I will move my mortgage even if it means refinancing through another company.” Rep then gave Pat the address to pay by check.

In this example, the mortgage company wanted Pat to do what was good for them not him.

Cattle call effect: High.

Customer experience score: Low.

Easy Fix: If you have different payment options, offer them for the customer’s choice and satisfaction. Company narcissism is not a success strategy for customer experience!




From Input to Output

Every year Sally goes to the same mammography center for her yearly mammogram. She is an educated health care consumer and always keeps copies of her test results for her records. She returned for her yearly mammogram and once again asked for copies of her films. The technician replied: “We’ve gone digital and everything is stored on the system now.”

Sally replied: “I would like copies for my records. Is it possible?” The technician replied, “Yes it’s possible but why would you want that? We store them on the system. Are you going to a breast specialist ….blah blah blah.”

Annoyed, Sally replied again: “I like to keep copies for my records. When can I have the films?” The technician finally told her that they would prepare them and call her w/i one week for pickup.

Cattle call effect: High.

Customer experience score: Low.

Easy Fix: Listen to the customer’s request and respond from there. In this case the technician was thinking not from the customer input but from their standard process. Better to go from customer input to output than from standard process to a cattle call response.




Large organizations do not have to deliver impersonal cattle call customer experience. Brands have proven for years that they can win the hearts and loyalty of their customers when they focus on the customers.

Customer Experience Leaders: Image is little cattle figures lined up.

Customer Experience Leaders: Don’t Lead a Cattle Call! Image by:Arse_shoots.


Customer Experience; Image are smiley faces w/ one different color.

Customer Experience: Each Customer Is Unique! Image by:SeanbJack



Go from cattle call to WOW

with individual care and people skills in every aspect of the customer experience.





Image of cattle call by Arse_Shoots via Flickr Creative Commons License.



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

Other helpful customer experience posts:
Super Customer Experience: Like a Shiny New Car!
Customer Experience: Loyalty Through Narcissism?
Customer Experience: People Skills for Profitable Connection

©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.

Super customer service has little room for regret. What we say to customers and how we say it leave lasting impressions. We can wound them with scars that last forever or we can use caring people skills to avoid laying an egg.

Super Customer Service People Skills: Image is Blue Egg w/ Letter R

Super Customer Service People Skills: Reverse Regret

Image licensed from Istock.com

In tough moments with customers, how can we speak with great people skills instead of later regretting and hoping for that elusive second chance?

Super Customer Service People Skills: Image is Book Cover

People Skills: The Things You Would Have Said Image of Book by Jackie Hooper

We can take a lesson from everyday life!

Author Jackie Hooper has written a wonderful book, The Things You Would Have Said, compiling letters from people who regret having said bad things or regret not having said caring words.


As I watched the feature on the book on CBS Sunday Morning and heard people reading the words of regret for what they said or hadn’t said, I immediately thought how we could use this lesson for super customer service.


Responding with care instead of defensively reacting is much easier IF we are thinking about the after effects. Ask yourself what you wish you’d said to a customer before you lost them — just as Jackie asked people to do for those they treated poorly.


Instead of regretting, envision what you would write in an “I wish I’d said” letter of regret and say that instead of the defensive snips. Super customer service requires people skills that deliver care even in the toughest moments!

  • Super Customer Service People Skills – No Regret!
    • Find empathy by imagining regret.

      The stress relief you feel by snapping at a customer is short lived. It is quickly followed by regret and feeling for the customer as they receive your outburst. Reverse the regret process and feel the empathy from the beginning. If you feel stuck, adapt don’t attack.


    • Imagine the caring you not the ego-controlled you.

      Many regrets are born of the need to be right, the need to be better than, the need to be selfish. In other words, regrets are born of the ego.

      Imagine yourself being great in service not needing to be right. Imagine yourself sharing control not having control.

      Those who deliver super customer service, revel in helping others to succeed and thus they succeed. Their desire to care overrides their ego. They are humble enough to learn from the customer and don’t feel humiliated by the customer. They don’t say things to customers that they will regret for they envision receiving that very same care.


    • Prevent regret.

      Treat customers well the first time else there may not be a second time. Defensive thoughts and communication lead to regret. Stay open. Show empathy. Explore the customer’s view. Empathy doesn’t mean you agree. It means you matter, we matter, this matters! Through empathy you find how to wow each customer with care.




    The old saying, the customer’s always right, has led some to rebel and claim it isn’t true. From there, they justify confronting the customer and saying things to prove the customer wrong.


    The debate about that adage is out-of-date and quite worthless. What we all need to remember is that we may not get a second chance from customers we’ve treated badly. Think about it: Why would anyone pay money to be treated with impatience, rudeness and disrespect?


    Empathize, explore, and stay open to customers’ views. Live no regret about customers for there may be no chance to write that letter and get them back.


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

    Other Super Customer Service Posts:
    Super Customer Service: Use Great People Skills to Deliver vs Defend
    Customer Service Defined to Be Unforgettable
    Super Customer Service: Be a Buoy
    Customer Service People Skills Create Profitable Connection!

    ©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.

    Customer Service Recovery: People Skills Deliver Care Not a Defense!

    There is one persistent human temptation that threatens customer service recovery — the urge to defend in difficult moments.


    Customer Service Recovery, Don't Defend. Image is a sling shot.

    Customer Service Recovery: Use People Skills to Deliver vs Defend

    Grateful for image by: Craig1Black via Flickr Creative Commons License.

    Through 25 years of working with customer service and technical support teams, I have seen it happen over and over. Instead of delivering care, the defensive phrases come out and enrage customers further.


    What concerned me recently was the advice of a customer service consultant in a blog post about diplomacy in customer service recovery. 

    I was alarmed when I read her #1 tip — to tell the customer this (defensive) statement:


    “I’m trying to help you.”


    Customer Service Recovery – Deliver Don’t Defend!

    People skills allow you to deliver great customer recovery with definitive caring statements like “I will help you” not defensive reactions like “I’m trying to help you.”


    When customers here the phrase “I’m trying to help you”, they hear the defensive suggestions:

    • I’m doing my best …
    • Things take time …
    • You’re being unreasonable …
    • You’re not treating me well …



    Even a positive tone of voice cannot turn the phrase trying to help you into a great customer service recovery statement. It casts doubt over whether you care and whether you can help. Doubt sinks recovery.


    How can you overcome the urge to defend?

    1. Be aware of your own frustration level. The more frustrated you become, the greater the chance you will reply defensively!
    2. Pause your conversation every time the customer frizzles. The pause produces an empathetic response instead of a defensive reaction.
    3. Picture yourself at the finish with a satisfied customer — because you cared and helped.



    Even if the customer continues to frizzle, stay in the moment of care. Don’t lapse into defensiveness. It makes it tougher on them, tougher on you, and leaves a terrible lasting impression — even if you resolve the issue.

    You and your entire technical support and customer service teams can handle the most difficult moments with care and skill. I am here to help with customized workshops.

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

    Related Posts:
    The Emotionally Intelligent Mindset for Super Customer Experience
    5 Things to Think w/Rude Customers for Customer Service Recovery

    ©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.

    Leaders, how is customer service defined in your organization? In Wikipedia, you will find customer service defined as the provision of service before, during, and after a purchase.

    Customer service defined this way (as an operation) inspires few to the heights of service greatness. It does lead to structured processes, procedures, scripts, and metrics that leaders often mistake for customer service.  As a result these procedures don’t produce unforgettable customer service.

    To deliver unforgettable customer service, start with this simple effective definition:

    Customer service defined. Image is a scale w/ books on left, heart on right.

    Customer Service Defined. Image designed by: Kimb Manson Graphics.

    Image designed by: Kimb Manson Graphics for Kate Nasser. All rights reserved.

    Build procedures, processes, employee training, teamwork, online and self-service portals around this definition — delivering knowledge with care.

    How far-reaching is customer service defined this way?

    Does it apply to …

    • All industries? For example, Finance, Retail, Healthcare, Legal, Pharmaceuticals, Utilities, Hospitality, Dining, Airlines, Education, Bridal, Home Repair … Yes.
    • Help Desks and Technical Support?  Yes.
    • Service to employees within an organization? Yes.
    • Service to external customers of an organization? Yes.
    • Business-to-business and consumer customer service? Yes.
    • Online customer service? Yes.
    • Self-service portals? Yes.
    • Does it work for business, non-profit, academia, and government? Yes.

     

    Why Does It Matter How Customer Service is Defined?

    A definition held in the mind affects behavior.

      If your organization thinks of customer service as a department, you won’t see the cross teamwork needed to deliver great customer service.
      If your organization thinks of customer service as an operation, you won’t create strong customer relationships through empathy and care. Even if you develop them through the sales reps, you will see those relationships decline when service doesn’t include care.
      Many in the customer service profession define customer service is an attitude of caring. Yet those in the operational aspect often find that definition lacking. They say: “Where is the delivery?” You must deliver something!


    This brings us to customer service defined as:

    Knowledge delivered with care to make life easy for the customer!



    You can modify this customer service definition to reflect your business. For example,

      Knowledge and solutions delivered with care to make life easy for the customer.

      Knowledge and solutions delivered with care to make it easy for the customer to be productive.

      Knowledge and solutions delivered with care to make it easy for the customer to be profitable.




    The key components to include are delivery (of something) and the aspects of care and ease.
    They build mutual bonds of success for your organization and your customers!


    Question: In your organization, is customer service defined to take you far and high? I am your resource and very interested to hear your perspective.


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

    Related Customer Service Post:
    Super Customer Service Experience: Picture It, Lead It, Create It!

    ©2009-2013 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.

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