Customer Service Inspiration for Training the Best

National Customer Service Week 2010 is coming to an end yet the endless demand for superior customer service lives on.  I continue to learn and build my expertise even after 20 years of working with customers across multiple industries.  To honor all who work with customers, I share the following insights to retool, refuel, and revive your spirit even on the toughest day.  I believe you will find inspiration in them for training the best technical support analysts and customer service reps.

In business you get what you want by giving other people what they want. ~ALICE MACDOUGALL

Inspiration for Training the Best

  1. Procedures and protocols can block listening. Life is not a protocol. Business is not a protocol. Customers don’t fit into protocols; they build our business. Listen and adapt to them!
  2. Compete against yesterday’s high point — not against each other. Some team members are motivated by competition. Replace competition between team members with competition against yesterday’s best service. Beat that everyday and watch service and teamwork soar.
  3. Impact beats intention. A Twitter colleague and employee engagement expert, Ava Diamond, wrote that intent does not equal impact. In customer service, I go further and say impact beats intent. Your words and actions must have a positive impact! Your intentions are of little value when the impact of your words was negative.
  4. An authentic smile changes everything. Yes, customers can tell when you authentically care and the smile (in person, on the phone, in online chat) is the window to that caring.
  5. Being positive to thorny customers does not teach them to be ruder next time. A technical support analyst asked me “Why does a difficult customer deserve to be treated well when s/he is acting badly? Read the answers here … 5 Things to Think With Difficult & Rude Customers.
  6. Empathize before you analyze. Verbalizing empathy and commitment to the customer paves a smoother road to problem solving.
  7. Kindness Transcends Constraints. A blog post by The Knowledge Bishop reminds all that kindness to the customer keeps the loyalty bond alive while you work to solve the customer’s problem.
  8. Scripts are a monologue. The best customer service is a dialogue.
  9. Personalize and localize for legendary service. When a customer gives you her/his name, use it when speaking to them. Else you are treating them like a data point. Secondly, learn, understand, and adapt to a customer’s culture. Here’s one positive step in that direction: Regional Differences in American Customers – What They Expect!

What would be your #10 for this list? It could be your original thought or a favorite quote. Leaders, share this list with your team as an inspirational exercise and have them create #10!

Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach and customer service guru, continues on in her 21st year of inspiring teams in customer service and sales to transform their daily work to a constant celebration of success with customers. Her workshop Delivering the Ultimate Customer Experience is one you won’t want to miss!

6 Responses to “Customer Service Inspiration for Training the Best”

  1. Jasmine Li says:

    Hi Kate,
    I add the following for #10:
    Follow-up on delivery schedules.
    Checking on the performance of the product after delivery.
    Sending appropriate remembrances on occasions of importance to the customer including birthday, holiday seasons, public recognition or business achievement, promotion, etc.

  2. Michelle Romanica says:

    #10 Drop the Defense and De-Fence
    Consciously try to become aware of when you start to formulate your come back. If it’s before the customer is finished, you’ve probably slipped into “defensive mode”. Think of a time when someone tried this on you as a customer. How did you react? Did it make you more or less angry? People always know when you are defensive and the divide between you and the customer gets stronger. Try not avoid building the “fence”. Promise yourself you’ll only listen until the customer finishes. It’ll make your life a whole lot easier!

  3. Simona says:

    Dear Kate,

    Very nice article. I like all 9 mentions, is important to know how to use it properly and in a natural way-not only when we talk about customer service but for a lot of areas of our lives.
    My 10 is a quote :”What you do speaks so loud that I can’t hear what you say.” The voice in delivering verbal messages in communication can have a good influence. I reflect on this in my live and exercise the “way I am speaking” having in my mind that always is place for “better in my speaking” as well in other sectors of tools I use.

    All the best to you, and kind regards!

  4. Above all else, remember that our customers are human …and so are we. No one of us is perfect, and we all deserve a little grace and understanding (empathy). In the end, whatever business objective we’re trying to complete, it all just comes down to a productive positive relationship with another human, treating others with trust and respect, and a desire to help, regardless of their attitude and reactions.

  5. Hey,
    Nice post! Thnx 4 posting this. With lots of Ideas n Tips!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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