service

Superior Customer Service: Think Care Not Guilt


I hear some customer service reps, agents, and analysts — even leaders — say that you shouldn’t say “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. The problem is, it is simply not true. It’s a myth and a costly mistake to make.


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 with us, we are responsible (not guilty) for the less than satisfying experience they had. Let’s not back away or defend ourselves. Let’s make it an incredibly great moment that customers will remember. 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. Give them an unadulterated full out “we’re sorry”. Give them full commitment to resolve the issue and loads of care.

  • Customers can get upset for many reasons. Don’t analyze whether they are valid reasons. Don’t analyze who’s at fault. Don’t act neutral. All of these are wasted time and effort. 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 — the driving emotion behind the guilty/sorry debate. The debate is useless. It sidetracks us from the main goal of delivering superior customer service, memorable customer experience, and retaining the customers.

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



Remember, if customers are complaining to us, they’re still 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.”


Apologize to customers if they had a less than 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. It’s a chance to improve our business and wow the customers even more.


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


Replace guilt with care. Guilt doesn’t belong in superior customer service. Care does. Create a customer-centric culture that brings them back for more.


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

Related Post:
Leadership: Breed Accountability Not Blame
24 Customer Service Tips That Make Loyalty Easy
Superior Customer Service: 5 Ways to Stay Calm AND Caring w/ Upset Customers

©2013-2014 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.

Reduce Conflict: 5 Places to Hear the Urgency Before the Yell

As The People Skills Coach™, I often teach others how to deal with people’s anger in the workplace and reduce conflict. Does your boss yell? Has a team member suddenly become edgy with you? Has a customer surprised you with a yell?

Reduce Conflict: Image is bee w/ magnifying glass.

Reduce Conflict: Hear the Urgency Before the Yell Image: Istock.

Image licensed from Istock.com


If you don’t like to be yelled at, develop one of the most valuable people skills to reduce conflict:

Hear the urgency before the yell!



Often when the boss, a teammate, or a customer yells, you have missed the urgency they were communicating before the yell. It’s not your fault and this is not about blame. Yet hearing the urgency before the yell can give you what you want — less conflict!

In the face of urgency and a listener who doesn’t hear it, someone may resort to a yell. I am not speaking about people who yell all the time. I am referring to people who suddenly start to yell.

Reduce Conflict: 5 Places to Hear Urgency Before the Yell!

  1. Hear urgency in repetition. When they calmly say the same thing twice, hear their urgency and acknowledge it — before the yell. If you remain silent because you are pondering what they said, the next thing you hear may be a yell. To them silence means you don’t care. Tell them you are thinking not ignoring them.


  2. Hear urgency in their lack of knowledge. Your expertise blinds you to their urgency. As they speak, your knowledge is calmly telling you that you can handle it. Speak up. Nicely reassure them that you can handle it. Communicate solutions sooner to reduce conflict and prevent the yell.

  3. Hear urgency in the painful past or impending future. Many times people’s urgency comes from previous negative experiences that caused them pain or something they are anticipating. Ask great questions while people are calm to uncover their concerns — before the yell. When you uncover the fear, you find the urgency and reduce conflict.

  4. Hear urgency in the need to be acknowledged. Urgency is not always a deadline for action. Often people’s urgency resides in their need to be heard. Tell them that you hear what they are saying. Paraphrase (not parrot) what they have said. Acknowledging people can prevent the yell and reduce conflict.

  5. Hear urgency in the bigger picture. Example: I was teaching a public class. The banquet room was to be setup by 7:30am so I could prepare before greeting the students. I walked in to see a room configured incorrectly and no flip charts.

    I calmly spoke with the hotel rep about re-configuring room and the time frame needed. Ten minutes later there was still no change. I then said, “Fix this now!”. He replied, “that’s good, you woke me up” and quickly fixed the problem. To him, my calm voice at the beginning meant it wasn’t urgent. Had he looked at the bigger picture of my need to prepare before people arrived, he would have heard the urgency in the calm — before the yell.



Bonus Tip: The more you know about people, the easier it is to reduce conflict and prevent the yell. Learn what annoys them (pet peeves), their personality types, their fears and goals, their frustrations, and how best to respond before the yell.





You can create positive, proactive, productive interactions in business.





What have surprising outbursts taught you about reducing conflict in business?



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


Related Posts:
6 Key Reasons Executive Leaders Get Annoyed w/ You
Reduce Conflict: Listen While You Speak

©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.

The Rewards of Courtesy is our people skills chat topic this Sunday.

WHEN/WHERE: Join us Sunday Sept. 14, 2014 on Twitter at 10AM EDT. Hashtag: #peopleskills


Time converter:
Please click the time converter link above to convert 10am EDT to your local time.



The Rewards of Courtesy

September is National Courtesy Month and in honor of it, we will explore the rewards of courtesy. So often courtesy is either taken for granted or thought of as soft and less important. So we will gather to explore courtesy and its deeper value.


The Rewards of Courtesy. Image is People skills logo

The Rewards of Courtesy. Image by KimbManson for Kate Nasser. All rights reserved.


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

What Are the True Rewards of Courtesy?

From customer service, to teamwork, leadership, and global business, courtesy delivers far more than we often acknowledge. It’s more than a smile to make someone feel good.

Courtesy Awards: Image is a heart with the banner saying "courteous".

People Skills Community Courtesy Awards! Image designed by Vizwerx for People Skills Community.

When we picture business interactions without courtesy, the image and outcomes change dramatically.

JOIN us in this chat as we discuss the rewards of courtesy and its true value in work and life.

Some questions to get us thinking in advance:

  • Are courtesy and authenticity at odds? Pls. explain.
  • What can courtesy do that lack of courtesy can’t?
  • Is courtesy in the eye of the beholder? Or are there some common elements of value to all?
  • Do leaders have to choose between strength/effectiveness and courtesy?
  • When in your work or life have you been most grateful for courtesy?
  • In the age of social media, is courtesy passé? Or must we recommit to it?
  • How does courtesy affect people? Results?
  • How are courtesy and emotional intelligence related? Or are they at odds?
  • How is courtesy different around the globe?
  • In your opinion, what are the greatest rewards of courtesy?



These are just some questions to get us thinking. Actual questions will post live during the chat.



So bring your personal perspective, your experience, a beverage, and join the community on Sunday Sept 14, 2014, 10am EDT in People Skills Chat on Twitter (hashtag: #peopleskills). Share your creative views and experience in our people skills chat about the rewards of courtesy.


I also invite you to continue this chat by joining the Google+ People Skills Community, The Facebook Group People Skills That Really Matter and the LinkedIn Group People Skills Succeed to be a part of all the people skills discussions everyday 24×7. Get your people skills community member badge here.



Shout Out of Gratitude

My gratitude to all who participate and grow the people skills global community on Twitter (#peopleskills), Google+, LinkedIn, and Facebook. We welcome your suggestions for topics, offers to co-host, and most especially your diverse insights.

Continued thanks to generous chat moderators Chantal Bechervaise, Dave Moore, Hoda Maalouf, Tracy Shroyer and Tom Rhodes for their time and contributions.






Hope you will all join our People Skills Chat on Twitter (#peopleskills) this Sunday Sept. 14, 2014, 10am EDT/7am PDT to share your insights, perspective, and experience on the rewards of courtesy.

Everyone is welcome! We have only one rule in People Skills Global Chat: Respect for all even when we disagree.






TIP: If you have never been in a Twitter chat, you may find it helpful to log on to Tweetchat.com, or Twubs.com and enter hashtag #peopleskills. Sign in to your Twitter account. The venue will insert the hashtag on each of your tweets and you will see all the tweets on one screen. Other tools available are Tchat.io, Hootsuite and TweetDeck.

I am the founder and host of the chat and will be happy to answer any questions you have in advance: Email me.


Connect with you this Sun. Sept. 14, 2014, 10am EDT in our People Skills Global Twitter Chat about the rewards of courtesy.

Until then, as always, I wish you bonds of happiness and success!


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

©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 Superstars: Are You Ready to Be One?


For years I’ve had the honor of inspiring customer service and customer experience professionals to be superstars.

Super stardom starts with desire. The actions that create a marvelous customer experience come from the thirst to celebrate the customers.

Customer Experience Superstars: Image is gold stars.

The Celebratory Give & Take of Customer Experience Superstars!! Istock Image.





Superstars shine through customer success.


They engage in the celebratory give and take of customer care.


Their leaders inspire this desire daily and guide efforts to service excellence.




Image licensed from Istock.com

The desire launches through inspiration, takes shape in beliefs, sustains with commitment, develops through actions, and is honed with daily practice.



Are you and your teams ready to be customer experience superstars?



Customer Experience Superstars: Here’s What to Give & Take


    #1 Give your attention. To what customer trust truly means. To the customers themselves. To the customers’ human needs as well as the tactical requests. To the details of execution without turning the details into the destination. The destination is a great customer experience. The mission is the customer care to get there.


    #2 Give your listening. For what the customer perceives and is trying to achieve. Customer experience superstars celebrate the input to create output. The destination is a great customer experience. The mission is harmony with the customer to get there.


    #3 Give your empathy. It is the essential connection to customer trust. Empathy is feeling what the customer feels. It is not limited to comforting them in negative situations. It is the underpinning of great design. It crafts customer friendly policies. It puts you and the customer in community. It solves actual customer problems. The destination is a great customer experience. The mission is empathy with the customer to get there.


    #4 Give your heart. Customers judge commitment and establish trust through the heart. Heart is visible in the quality of products and services. It is authentic. It shows through the design and delivery. It elevates the spirit as it meets a tangible need. Heart transforms a great idea or invention into sublime success and profit for both. The destination is a great customer experience. The mission is giving your heart and authenticity to the customer to get there.


    #5 Give your objectivity. Objectivity unsticks people from tunnel vision. It creates new roads to success. It questions the obvious to uncover the obstacle and discover the answer. It preserves your professionalism in tough times and serves the customer well. The destination is a great customer experience. The mission is using your objectivity with heart to get there.


    #6 Give your balance. Balance creates a valuable human connection with the customer. Balance feels good. It draws customers back to you and the comfort. It impresses customers with your ability to see the big picture before they complain. It is not the extreme enforcement of a rigid policy. It is the design and use of procedures as guidelines that enable marvelous service. The destination is a great customer experience. The mission is keeping your balance to get there.


    #7 Give your ease. There is one thing that every customer wants and that is ease! Ease of interacting with you. Ease of using your website. Ease of getting information. Ease of making a decision. Ease of use. Ease of purchase. Ease of meeting their specific needs through you. The destination is a great customer experience. The mission is making it easy for the customers to get it.


    #8 Give your flexibility. Large organizations often struggle with this. They design a complex structure to preserve quality yet these become rigid processes that instill fear of flexibility. Customer experience superstars like Zappos, Nordstrom, Ritz-Carlton have conquered that fear. They plan and manage for success yet don’t let the plan kill the customer experience. The destination is a great customer experience. The mission is conquering the fear of flexibility to get there.


    #9 Give your knowledge and insight. In the mobile sea of Web based information, customers still value perspective, experience, and insight. Anyone can look up a list of restaurants for their vacation spots. Front desk superstars and concierges can filter that list and tailor it for the customers. The destination is a great customer experience. The mission is expert tailoring for a wonderful customer fit!


    #10 Give your solutions. Delivery with care is the mecca of a great customer experience and what customer experience superstars do so well. Solutions that hit the mark leave a lasting memory. It takes both vision and tremendous cross teamwork. It takes true customer focus to overcome the security of internal bureaucracy. The destination is a great customer experience. The mission is the teamwork, urgency, and follow-through to get there.


    #11 Give your professionalism. Professionalism is loving the feeling of caring for others. With customer experience superstars, it supersedes frustration, impatience, and envy. It puts a positive tone into every word. It holds the customer’s best interest in equal weight to the company’s goals. It defines the superstar’s work identity and sustains the long term customer relationship. The destination is a great customer experience. The mission is professionalism to get there.




Be Customer Experience Superstars!

Find and Take …

  • Pride in your service; it is not servitude.
  • Note of your growth; it is not an easy road.
  • Comfort in the comfort you provide.
  • Strength in your teams’ collective talents.
  • Every opportunity to wow the customer.



Customer experience superstars celebrate what they contribute to the customer’s success. They take extra care and pride in doing it.


Be customer experience superstars. Shine through the customers’ achievements. Be instruments to their success. Get set and be ready for mission possible!


Leaders, how are you inspiring and developing customer experience superstars?



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

Related Posts:
Business Leadership: Who Are Your Customers’ Advocates?
Rapport is the Artery to the Heart of Trust for Super Customer Experience
Leaders, Are You All Attitude Ready?

©2012-2014 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 Leadership: Do You Have a Culture of Customer Advocacy?


If a customer asked you right now — who is my advocate — what would you say? The consumer protection agency? The better business bureau? Or everyone in this company!


Business Leadership: Image is two hands joined.

Business Leadership: Who Are Your Customers’ Advocates? Image by Craig Sunter via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Image by Craig Sunter via Flickr Creative Commons License.


Or would you hesitate? Would you start thinking of which department handles angry customers?

If a customer asks one of your employees — who is my advocate — will they be stumped by the question?

If you and your teams wouldn’t all respond “we are”, it’s time to ask yourselves …


Do we really have a culture of customer advocacy?



To customers, the answer is either yes or no — not halfway or maybe.



Business Leadership: Without Customer Advocacy

When customers ask, “who is my advocate”, the only answer that earns you their trust is … “all of us.” Else at some point, the customers will experience:

  • The Great Runaround.

    Whether it’s in a small professional practice, a mid-size business, or a large corporation, the customers will feel like hockey pucks at some point as you and your teams pass them around. Meanwhile the pucks (your customers) will look around for a company that advocates for them instead of playing with them.


  • The Tug-of-War.

    When you specify departments or individuals as customer advocates, you set up customer interaction as a tug-of-war. It tells the customer you want to contain what you offer them. The customers must tug and tug to get what they want.


  • The Last Resort.

    If your business leadership isn’t customer advocacy, the culture is “catch the customers just before they leave.” Yet, your retention efforts are late. By then, the customers are fed up and no longer trust you. They feel unappreciated. They have endured too much disdain, frustration, and pain to still care.



Business Leadership Customer Loyalty: Image is a saying.

Business Leadership for Customer Loyalty: Image by Lessons Learned in Life.




Business leadership without customer advocacy comes across as manipulative and greedy. It mistrusts customers in the fear they will drain profits. It isolates their requests to certain departments in response to this fear. This toxic vibe is not a customer retention strategy.





Long term success in business is achieved through and with the customers. Let your message to customers be: We exist because of you!


Have each and every customer saying, “This company makes life easy. They are reasonable and professional. They have great products and services at a fair price and I have no need to leave.”


Build a culture of customer advocacy. Empower every employee to be a customer advocate. Seek and destroy all silos, tugs-of-war, runarounds, and mistrust. That’s smart business leadership that creates customer loyalty.



What businesses have impressed you in this way? Give them a shout-out here!



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

Related Posts:
Business Leadership: The True Cost of Fake Empowerment on Customer Experience
Business Leadership: Win Customer Loyalty on the Move!
Customer Service is Head & Shoulders Above When You’ve Got Their Back

©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, delivering the ultimate customer service experience, employee engagement, and teamwork. 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.

Ersatz Empowerment: Customers See Through to the Truth About Your Brand


Ersatz Empowerment: Image is Empty Panel w/ Magicians

Ersatz Empowerment: True Cost to Customer Experience. Image by Wonderlane via Flickr.

Image by Wonderlane via Flickr Creative Commons License.


Study after study shows that employee empowerment is essential for superior customer experience.  Complex layers of approvals and silos of solution teams create more than delays. They create breeches of customer trust.

Yet despite the research, leaders still engage in ersatz empowerment that falls short of what’s needed to create superior customer experience.

Ersatz empowerment includes:

  • Telling employees they are empowered yet not tooling them with information or technology to act empowered.  What does the customer actually experience? Holes and gaps and a vacuum of trust.  This lip service to empowerment is not half-way empowerment. It’s ersatz empowerment. It’s zero empowerment. It’s fake and customers can see through it.

  • Onboarding employees with procedures without orientation about the organization’s customer service culture.  Procedures alone do not empower and they don’t create superior customer service experience. Big picture awareness, knowledge of existing customers, and understanding how and when exceptions are made empowers employees to deliver superior customer experience.

  • Leaving silos in place that make front line empowerment impossible.  It takes cross teambuilding to break down silos. Front liners can’t do it alone. Without leaders changing the culture, you have ersatz empowerment at the front line that fills the customer with mistrust about your brand.

  • Believing that customer service skills are inborn.  They aren’t in most people. Customer service training is a vital mechanism for empowerment.  It empowers the employee with professional skills to step outside of their own perspective and into the customers’ mindsets. It gives them essential ways to build a thick skin and a warm heart for difficult moments.  It reduces the number of times they must escalate incidents to management.  This is true empowerment.These are trust building moments with customers and they make or break superior customer experience.




So what’s the true cost of ersatz empowerment to customer experience?



It’s more than just delays to resolving customer issues.  It’s more than just customer frustration.

The true cost of ersatz empowerment is loss of customer trust.  Customers translate all of the holes, gaps, delays, and frustration to one powerful feeling:

You don’t care therefore I don’t trust you.


This is a very avoidable catastrophe.  Create a culture of customer service excellence with truly empowered employees.  Give them training, tools, big picture awareness, knowledge of customers, and collaborative engagement. 


Replace fake ersatz empowerment with a trust building organization that will outstrip the competition and sustain itself for decades to come.


I’m here to help you! Let’s talk soon about the steps to empowering your customer service and customer experience teams.


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


Related Posts:
True Customer Experience Leadership: Breed Initiative Beyond Procedures
Customer Experience Vibe: Is Yours Generous Or Greedy?

©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.

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.

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 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.

Superior Customer Experience: Fluency Requires 100% Listening


In part one of this series, I told a true story of how good customer experience turned bad because the business wasn’t listening to the customer. That large corporation missed out on valuable no-cost suggestions that would deliver superior customer experience.


There are none so stuck as those who will not hear. Don’t be one of them! Have your entire organization become and stay fluent in what the customer is saying.


Superior Customer Experience: Image is many ears.

Superior Customer Experience: Feedback Fluency Part II Image by KY_Olsen.

Gratitude for image to KY_Olsen via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Critical Listening Beliefs for Superior Customer Experience

It takes specific organizational beliefs to get all employees to listen to the customer.

  1. Customer feedback keeps the business alive. Although this may sound obvious, there are many businesses that don’t believe this. They write off suggested improvements as customer whimsy or a one-off opinion. Leaders must state and model that listening to the customer keeps the business alive. It delivers superior customer experience.

  2. All employees, regardless of title, can share customer feedback throughout the business. Silos, territories, politics stop employees from listening to the customer. They live within their job descriptions and the business loses out on no-cost opportunities for superior customer experience.

  3. Every employee is a customer advocate. If they aren’t, then your culture is not customer centric. It is company centric. How will you survive the new competitor who is listening to your customers?

  4. We aren’t here to maintain the present. We are here to create the future. Many employees who are not in the research and development part of your business don’t know this. Thus when the customer offers feedback for a superior customer experience, their minds tell them it’s not their job. We listen to whatever our minds tells us is important. Leaders must reinforce that it’s everyone’s job to listen to create the future.


Leadership Actions for Superior Customer Experience

As you develop the critical beliefs, take actions to support them. Else the beliefs simply become noise and blather that employees block out.

  • Engage employees opinions for improvements. Ask employees what the customers are saying. Actions speak louder than words and this action inspires employees to listen for customer feedback!

  • Have mechanisms for sharing feedback easily throughout the company. This is vital. Listening to the feedback is the first step. Sharing it facilitates superior customer feedback. Technology makes this sharing possible even in large organizations.

  • Encourage curiosity and teach all employees to ask great questions. What is the customer saying in a broader perspective? How can the feedback benefit our company and future customer experience? How can we reduce instances of the negative experience that spurred this feedback? How can we create superior customer experience from even the simplest suggestion?

    Be curious about how the feedback can be valuable! Customer feedback flops when employees are listening literally or defensively.


  • Stop reprisals on employees who highlight problems and solutions. If employees are punished for highlighting what needs to improve for superior customer experience, they won’t do it. Even when the top leaders model the critical beliefs noted above, managers sometimes take action against employees who highlight needed improvements. These managers mistake suggested improvements as an accusation of their managerial failure. Leaders, make sure you know what your managers are doing. Superior customer experience comes from inspired, engaged, empowered employees.



Get everyone listening to the customer. Break down the silos. Allow all to hear and use the free feedback for superior customer experience.

It’s a matter of today’s profitability and the company’s longevity. Companies go out of business when the customers’ needs and wants change and the company doesn’t!



What successes have you had getting real time customer feedback and using it to deliver superior customer experience?




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

Related Post:
Customer Experience Leaders, Remove the Never Ever Rules
6 People Skills Essentials to Seeing Others’ Views
Superior Customer Experience: Above & Beyond Question

©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 Value: 6 Amazing Things Customers Do!

Customer Value: Image is Gold Gift Box

Customer Value Beyond the Dollar Image via Istock.com.

Image licensed from Istock.com


We often think of the value we provide to customers. Now as I celebrate my 25th year as an entrepreneur, I am reflecting on the value customers bring to my business. It is far beyond the dollar!


Leaders, it pays to both reflect on this AND develop this awareness with your employees. Many who are not directly generating revenue, think about their own hard work not the customers’ world. They often don’t see the customers’ contributions beyond the dollar and the true customer value.


Customer Value Beyond the Dollar

Employees often feel the strain of meeting customers’ expectations. This clouds the view of customer value. Let’s clear the fog and look at the amazing things customers do — so we can see the true customer value!

  1. They give trust.

    Customers have a need. They must reach out to fill it. They courageously overcome doubts and place their and confidence in a company. How valuable is trust? Amazingly valuable. Witness the companies who claim they are they are the most trusted brand in their industry, their country, or the world?


  2. They generate trust.

    The number one challenge is to earn a customer’s trust. The customers that get others to trust us are building the business. This is true customer value. Honor their trust.


  3. They spark innovation.

    Customers changing needs and high expectations spur development. They evolve a brand through their demands. They keep the business alive. This is true customer value! Feed them in return.


  4. They teach.

    Consumers are a wealth of knowledge about people and business customers teach suppliers about their industry. Knowledge is the gift that keeps on giving. This is true customer value. Thank them for the learning.


  5. They blow our horn.

    They proclaim our value. This is true customer value. Honor our trumpeters.


  6. They offer limitless potential.

    Customers are a gold mine of opportunities, connections, partnerships, and growth. This is true customer value. Mine for this gold.


What would you add to this customer value list?


It’s important. An understanding of true customer value inspires employees far better than the tired old adage: “The customer’s always right.” It replaces the one-sided picture with a dynamic partnership between customers and the company.

Thank you, my customers, for all the value you’ve given to my business over the past 25 years. I continue to serve you for many many years to come!

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

Related Post:
Customer Service 21 Tips: Customers Want it Easy & Valuable

©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!

Rude angry customers don’t have to demotivate you and wear you down. Rude angry customers can actually be one of the best people skills learning experiences you will ever have.

 

How? It helps you to develop even more emotional intelligence. This will serve you well throughout your career and your life.   I have been teaching people skills, teamwork, and customer service for 25 years. The right thoughts and mindset are crucial! It’s emotional intelligence in action.

 

Think these 5 things when working with rude angry customers for best results. It keeps you both calm and caring — a winning combination.

 

5 Powerful Beliefs to Win Over Rude Angry Customers

Practice these thoughts as a daily mantra and your outlook toward rude angry customers (and rude people in general) will change. Your people skills will blossom with these emotionally intelligent thoughts!

Rude Angry Customers: Image is flower with thorns.

Rude Angry Customers. Image by Yogendra174 via Flickr.

 


  1. Thorns don’t attack you; they protect them.
    Plants have thorns to protect them. So do people. When you hear a person’s thorns, recognize their fear and weakness. The thorns are not attacking you. They are protecting them. Do not attack them from your fear and you will not get pricked by their thorns.

  2. Easy doesn’t sharpen a thorn. One of the most common questions I receive is “If we are nice to rude angry customers, aren’t we teaching to be rude next time?” No! Your positive responses do not teach them to be thornier! Thorny customers are adults who make their own decisions.

  3. De-thorning them will hurt you! If a stranger tried to kick down your defense mechanisms (like your front door), how would you react? Fight back and defend? Well, the customers don’t have a family relationship or close friendships with you. To them you are a stranger. If you try to clip their thorns directly, they will defend and prick you back.

  4. Empathize w/ Their Emotion; Don’t Analyze Their Thorns! Trying to analyze a customer’s thorns in the few minutes you have to deliver service is not feasible or logical. It takes therapists years to analyze a client’s emotions. Yours is to deliver service, not to change the customer. Empathize emotion don’t analyze it.

  5. Positivity Beats Equality; Don’t be a Thorn! During a recent workshop a technical support rep asked me “Why do rude angry customers acting badly deserved to be treated well?”. I replied, “You treat rude angry customers (and all customers) well because it works. It gets you to the end goal.”

    Treating the customer badly will not get the customer to treat you well. More importantly, it will veer you off course from business success. Positivity beats equality as a winning strategy in customer service.



Be the sun, not the thorn. You can’t change people; you can change your beliefs and influence the outcome!


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

Grateful for image by Yogendra174 via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Related Posts:
Super Customer Service People Skills: Reverse Regret!
Customer Service: 21 Tips to Make It Easy For Customers
Super Customer Experience: 5 Immediate No Cost Improvements

©2010-2013 Kate Nasser, The People SKills Coach™, Somerville, NJ. If you with to reprint or republish this article or any portion of it, please email me info@katenasser.com for permission, terms, and conditions. Thank you for honoring intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers workshops, keynotes, coaching, and consulting on the ultimate customer service, teamwork, leading change, employee engagement, and people skills. Kate turns interaction obstacles into business success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results. Preview and get her training dvd “Customer Service USA – Expectations Across America”. Kate also invites you to connect with her on Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter. She welcomes your interaction!

Superior Customer Service: Serve Then Sell.


Picture it. A current customer calls to clarify their bill. They wade through your telephone menu system and finally get to you. They are very clear at the beginning that they have a simple billing question. After validating who they are to protect their financial privacy, what would you do next to deliver superior customer service?


Superior Customer Service & Sales: Image is humanoid lassoing a star.

Superior Customer Service & Sales: But 1st – Integrity. Image licensed from Istock.com

Image licensed from Istock.com.



What does your customer focused gut tell you to do next?

  1. Ask unrelated questions about the customer to populate your database — while delaying the answer to their question or
  2. Explain your new products and services or
  3. Focus on their current need and answer their billing question.

If you answered #3, you understand customer service! You really get it. Your focus is on them. It shows integrity.


If you think I am asking a moronic question, you may be one of the lucky ones who has never encountered this maddening moment. It is real. It happens something like this:



    But first … may I have another phone number in case we get disconnected. OK 555-555-1212.
    Now may I have your email address? No. I’m in a hurry and just need to know about my bill.
    I need to connect you to the other billing department for that answer. But first have you heard about our new product …? Customer slams the phone down, finds the phone number for the other billing department, calls them and gets the needed answer.






Just how valuable was this desperate sales approach?

The customer is left with a memory that the business has no integrity or customer focus.

This customer now thinks the company doesn’t care about them and can’t deliver superior customer service. It isn’t likely they will buy more from this business. It would mean experiencing many more maddening moments.

Customers remember moments. They remember the experiences they have with a business.


Superior Customer Service & Sales: But First – Integrity!

A manipulative approach to sales sends many customers running away and telling everyone they know to avoid what they went through.

  • Honor the customer by recognizing and answering their question.
  • Connect with the customers about their stated needs. From that common ground and superior customer service, you build trust through integrity. With trust, you can sell customers many other products and services that will help them in other ways.


If a customer service department uses the but first approach to sell before helping me, I think will reply … “But first, some integrity. How about you answer my question and then I will answer yours?” What will you say?



What other maddening moments have you encountered as a customer? I’m interested to know!


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

Related Posts:
Super Customer Experience: 5 Immediate No Cost Improvements
Customer Service: 21 Tips to Make it Easy for 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.

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.

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