Ultimate Customer Service

Career Communication: Do Others Take You Seriously?


Career Communication: Image is man seriously studying a game.

Career Communication: Playing Can Be Hazardous. Image via Will Vanlue.

Image by Will Vanlue via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Career Communication: Just Playing Can Be Hazardous

Occasionally I write a short post on a word or phrase that can bring you unexpected trouble. Today I raise the flag on a trendy phrase that’s becoming popular at work and in networking.


“I’m just playing at this.”



Despite the findings about the value of play at work, using this phrase can create mistrust, worry, and even indignation.

It causes trouble in career communication when …

  • You are interacting with professionals who take their work quite seriously
  • People are looking to you for help and guidance
  • You are new to the field and others are trying to bond with you



Enjoying your work is necessary for long term success. Having a sense of humor is a valuable trait.

Yet appearing whimsical in your career communication can sidetrack your success. Too many jokes, excessive ha ha’s and the phrase, I’m just playing at this, may create distance between you and others. Create bonds not distance!




Sense the attitude and mood of others. Your career communication is not about you. It’s about you connecting with others. Let others see your social intelligence, emotional intelligence, your intuition, and your serious talents and skills. It builds trust and bonds of success.


What other phrases unknowingly create distance between people?



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

Related Posts:
Replace These 5 Emotionally Triggered Statements Especially at Work
People Skills: Change ONE Unfortunate Word for Great Career Communication

©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.

Rebuilding Trust: What Does It Reveal About You?


Rebuilding Trust: Image is statue of child hugging itself.

Rebuilding Trust: 3 Tough Teamwork Truths. Image by Chris Bartle via Flickr.

Image by Chris Bartle via Flickr Creative Commons License


Rebuilding Trust: A Very Revealing Story

    As I rode the train, I heard a young man talking to his friends. He told of how during his senior year in college he missed an important team event. Team participation was part of his grade and he risked failing. He spoke with the professor about doing something to ensure he didn’t fail.

    The professor told him he would have to do loads of office work that would position the team for ultimate success. The young man replied: That would feel too much like punishment. I would rather …



Rebuilding Trust: 3 Tough Leadership & Teamwork Truths

  1. After you’ve broken a trust, your initial response defines you. Rebuilding trust requires selflessness. A selfish response erodes the trust further and will haunt you for many years to come.

  2. Rebuilding trust requires more than just repairing what you broke. It needs a radical change in behavior that allows others to risk trusting you again.

  3. Sacrificing your own needs to rebuild the trust you broke is not punishment. It is the generosity you didn’t show initially. If you call it punishment, it announces to others that you are still thinking of yourself instead of them.






Asking for a second chance is a huge ask at the very moment you’ve disappointed or hurt others. Surrender your needs to those you’ve disappointed. Act with selfless humility to break down the fear of trusting you again.

Rebuilding trust is an act of emotional intelligence. You will come out of it a new person if you dig deep and give generously.


What is the one thing you want from someone who breaks your trust?



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

Related Posts:
Leadership & Teamwork: What’s So Hot About Humility Anyway?
Never Confuse Humility With Humiliation
The Perfect Apology and the One Word That Destroys It
People Skills: 3 Precursors to Influence

©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 Effort: Does Your Invoice Ruin the Customer Experience?


If your gut reaction to this question is, of course, pause for a moment. I’m not speaking about customers wishing your product/service was free or less expensive. This story is about an alarming trend of companies sending out confusing bills.


Customer Effort: Image is a confusing list of numbers.

Customer Effort: Paying the Bill Should Be Easy Not Confusing! Image by Eliazar Parra Cardenas via Flickr.

Image by Eliazar Parra Cardenas via Flickr Creative Commons License.


Customer Effort: Punctuate a Great Experience With an Easy Bill

The Story
I damaged a tire on my brand new car. It was a side puncture so the tire did not go flat. Yet I suspected I would need a new tire.

I called a place I had bought tires before. Mike was very nice. He asked me what type of tire and asked me to come in and he would look at it. When I arrived Mike wasn’t there yet Dave knew about it and told me they ordered my type of tire just in case I needed it — which I did.

This was a great customer experience. They were proactive and helpful. They even said they could do it in time for me to leave for my next appointment and they did it. THEN suddenly the experience soured. I looked at the bill. There were multiple columns of numbers and fees for extra services I had turned down. I said to Dave, “Why is this so complicated? I have bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and I can’t even understand this bill.”



Dave tried to explain the bill yet you could see he was struggling to make it clear. I expected three numbers in a straight column — the cost of the tire, labor and service charges, and sales tax — that would add up to the total.


Customer Effort: Other Difficult Examples

  • Telephone bills with unrecognizable taxes strewn over multiple pages. How much customer effort does it take to understand a telephone bill?
  • Hotel bills that display as double entry accounting — how many customers understand double entry accounting? Extra customer effort to understand a hotel bill leaves a bad lasting memory.
  • Banking statements with transactions in the order of when they cleared — most people write their check ledger in check#/date order. Why do banks ask customers to extend this extra customer effort just to balance their checkbooks? Make it easy!



Confusing bills are such an unnecessary ding against a wonderful customer experience. Don’t mar the great customer service experience you give with a confusing invoice. Raising doubt and mistrust at the moment you’re asking for money is risky and foolish!


Customer Effort Tip



Invoice — should be “in” the customer’s “voice”, — not yours!



You’ll get paid more easily with fewer questions.



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

Related Posts:
Business Leadership: Who Are Your Customers’ Advocates? You?
Create a Generous Customer Experience Vibe – It’s Irresistible!

©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.

Customer Experience Vibe: Do Customers See You as Generous or Greedy?

Customer Experience Vibe: Image is a Gift Box With Gold Bow

Customer Experience Vibe: Generous or Greedy? Image by SalFalco via Flickr.

Image by: SalFalco via Flickr Creative Commons License.


Everyone knows companies are in business to make money. Yet if customers feel that is the customer experience vibe of your company, you lose. Customers can sense greed and it repulses them. 

But there is good news!



Customer Experience Vibe: Generous Not Greedy

Generosity is a giving attitude. It’s a focus on others’ needs — in this case those of the customers. A generous customer experience vibe says to customers, it’s “non-stop you” — to borrow a tagline from Lufthansa Airlines.

Generosity doesn’t mean giving away the profits. It doesn’t require deep discounts. There is significant research to show that people will actually pay more for a product or service, when the customer experience is great.


Create a generous customer experience vibe. It’s irresistible!

  • Great listening feels generous. Telling feels greedy as it seizes control of the moment. Great listening invites others’ thoughts. It is the generosity of an open-mind. It is a magnetic customer experience vibe that draws people back to you. Listen generously.

  • Flexibility feels generous. Rigidity feels greedy. One of the classic customer service training videos, Give ‘em a Pickle, tells the story of entrepreneur and restaurant owner Bob Farrell who realized that giving an extra pickle could secure customer loyalty. Just one extra pickle when the customer requested it created a generous customer experience vibe. Find ways to be flexible with customers!

  • Clarity feels generous. Smoke screens feel greedy. It gives information that feeds decisions and resolves problems. This builds trust and brings customers back. Conversely, fast talking sales reps like some car dealers I recently met, seem greedy as they withhold information and create confusion. Telephone menus (VRUs) that spin people around trying to guess the right option, seem like greedy robots that suck up customers’ time while lowering companies’ costs. Be generous. Be clear!

  • Win/win collaboration feels generous. Win/lose feels greedy. When you create the customer experience vibe of “we win when you win”, customers come back for more. When customers feel a power struggle between them and you, they move on.

  • Giving words feel generous; selling words feel greedy.

    I’ll never forget the day I purchased some cosmetics in a large well known beauty store. The sales rep was helpful and I bought what I went in for and two more items. Then the manager said to the sales rep, “nice up-selling.” This remark turned it from a positive customer experience vibe to a feeling of greedy manipulation. I never went back. Customers don’t like to be sold; but they love to buy. ~Jeffrey Gitomer


  • Respecting customers’ preferences feels generous; being handled feels greedy.

    I had an appointment with my dental hygienist and dentist for a regular cleaning and checkup. When I showed up, the hygienist led me inside, sat me in the chair, and then told me that my dentist wasn’t there that day. I could have the other dentist give me a checkup or skip it. How greedy! They decided what my options were to favor their hygienist’s schedule. They should have called me to let me know my dentist wouldn’t be there and ask me if I would like to reschedule or come at least for the cleaning. Professional service is about serving people not manipulating customers to secure revenue.






As a customer, what generous or greedy customer experience have you had?



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

Related Posts:
Courtesy Checklist: 10 Superior Ways to Succeed With Customers
10 Winning Beliefs for Superior Customer Experience
Customer Experience People Skills: 5 Needless Costly 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 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.

True Customer Experience Leadership Breeds Initiative Beyond Procedures

 

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

 

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


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

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

Image by Hello Turkey Toe via Flickr Creative Commons License.


A True Story to Illustrate

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

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



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

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


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

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


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

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


True Customer Experience Leadership: Inspire Initiative If Not Empowerment

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

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

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

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

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



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




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



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

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

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


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

 

 

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.

 

 

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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.

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.

The value of great people skills in business is well established. People skills are the language of connection for employee engagement, customer experience, leadership, and teamwork.

Whether you call it interpersonal skills, soft skills, emotional intelligence, or people skills — the singular goal is to transcend differences for a positive result.

People skills brilliance blooms from self-awareness and generosity. The blunders tumble out of moments of fear and short-sightedness. The happy news is that the 8 common causes of people skills mistakes are easily avoidable.


People Skills Mistakes: Image is Someone Falling

People Skills: Avoid Tumbling into Common Mistakes Image by:WorldOfOddy

Image by WOrld of Oddy via Flickr Creative Commons License.

The 8 Common Causes of People Skills Mistakes

As The People Skills Coach™, I see brilliance and blunders in the leaders and teams I coach and train. Here are the 8 common blunders you can replace with brilliance.

  • Thinking you must choose between civility and honesty. I continue to read blog posts and see leaders make this needless mistake. Civility is how you deliver your honesty. It’s not a choice between civility and honesty. Good manners do not stop success. Alternative: Deliver honesty with civility not bluntness with emotion.

  • Confusing good judgment and judgmentalism. Good judgment is born of different experiences. It can bring valuable debate, innovation, and success. Judging people (judgmentalism) degrades others and blocks opportunities for success. Alternative: See each person as a possibility for a team win.

  • Forgetting or denying that every conversation communicates and creates emotion. People skills blunders abound in those who focus purely on their own message and never on honoring other people. People skills brilliance lies in the awareness of how actions impact others and in the generosity to adapt. Stay on the right road: Speed success by honoring others. Avoid the detour to the land of disrespect.

  • Fear of losing. When people fear losing and focus only on winning, ironically they often lose. Fear widens the gap between people. People skills tumble as fear driven behavior comes across as selfish and inconsiderate. The chance for engagement, support, and mutual agreement is slim. Alternative: Become self-aware. Spot and stop fears from driving your behavior.

  • Mistaking listening and adapting for surrender. Picture a happy boorish clod who never listens or considers others’ needs. When I asked about the behavior, he replied, “The world belongs to those who don’t surrender.” Attention everyone, the world belongs to those who can interact, influence, and create a win for all.

  • Focusing on the stressful moment rather than a desirable outcome. Differences can cause stress. They don’t have to derail people skills and the favorable outcome. Focus tip: When the stressful feelings surface remember your options and choose wisely.

  • Believing that confidence and humility cannot co-exist. Regardless of personality type, a person can be both confident in their message and humble in delivering it. Key thought: Humility is flexible and open to learning and that delivers success.

  • Clinging to a comfort zone. The greater the craving for self-comfort, the greater the risk of people skills mistakes. The comfort zones of personality type, cultural background, educational level, and occupational focus, are ripe for people skills blunders. Gentle reminder: The comfort zone is full of sitting ducks — not as safe as it feels!



The Heart of the Matter: Adapt and close the gap to reap the benefits of exceptional people skills.



Question: What people skills brilliance or blunders have you experienced?


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

Related Posts:
Pleasures That Calm When Dealing With Toxic People
Humility in Leadership: Myths, Fears, and Truths on Todd Nielsen blog.
7 Steps from Brutally Blunt to Helpfully Honest


©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.

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


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


Very interesting — punishment as a customer care success strategy?

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

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




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

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


Customer Experience Big Data: Care & Integrity

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


Reward the positive. That’s customer care.

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

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







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

Big data as big brother won’t do it.



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

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



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

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



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

Online shoppers what do you think?

What retailer practices do you like and dislike?



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

Image by Storque via Flickr Creative Commons License.

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

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


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

 

 

PS-EnergyBar-LogoJoin me through these social channels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




The 25 Worst Customer Service Stories


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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


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

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

Image licensed from Istock.com

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


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

 

 

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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.

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