Tag Archives: Customer Service

Opportunity for Growth ~ Letters from the Heart #atozChallenge

Dear Fortune Hunter:

What in the world will you come up with next? Opportunities for growth? What is it that you want to grow in? That chocolate cake is a great opportunity for thigh and butt growth. Pretty sure that’s not what you were talking about when you put that on your theme reveal list.

You were probably thinking more of growth being on the spiritual side. That Bible study you have been working on It’s All Under Control has helped a lot. The struggle is real, my friend and you will deal with it on a daily basis. Control is not your friend.

At the time of writing this letter you were a little convicted for letting an opportunity slip by. One of the crew members on Tall Cool ☺ne’s Crew was given the chance to move up on the crew and take a new position with a small pay increase. He just had to show some effort that he wanted to do it by going to get a permit and then doing some training to get a certain license. (All paid for and done at work.) His response was “The little bit of money is not worth my time and effort”.

This convicted you a little because it was similar to a response you used when a new opportunity came up at work. The opportunity you gave up was a new position that offered an increase in salary and flexible shift.

While writing this letter you just talked yourself through it. The thing that is different between the crew member and you is about 35 years. You have to take courses on your own time. What do you want to do with your free time?  It is not paid for by the company until you pass the test. Then you are not guaranteed the position. Also not sure that your hours would be the same.

Maybe you will regret not engaging in the opportunity. One door closes, another one opens. Sometimes you have to know when to say no. That, my friend, is opportunity growth.



Until next time,
Your constant and faithful

[Side-note: this is the short version. You promised your readers you would keep these posts short and sweet. The full version can be found in that cool Orange 🍊 journal you bought for yourself just for this project]

Cow Tipping


With arcades closed and school is out forever, kids might be looking for some fun entertainment. Back in the 70’s we knew people who went out cow tipping. Sure did. They would drive around farms and sneak up on an unsuspecting cow just standing there chewing his cud and a couple guys would tip it over. Course we never saw pictures of this actually happening. We never got a chance to see it happen in person, but we knew someone who knew someone else who did.

Cow tipping for those of you who easily get fooled, is just a figure of speech. A cow is a beastly animal weighing a thousand pounds or more. If a couple of tanked up country bumpkins with nothing better to do on a Saturday night, could actually push over a cow, so could a good gust of wind. Flying cows aren’t a normal sighting on a regular basis, unless you are watching “Twister”.  But cow tipping is a good conversation starter especially when you have a tall tale to tell.

I think the folks at Walmart are doing some cow tipping hoarding up all the toilet paper. Caveat Emptor. Stand in line to enter the store. There is a sign where the toilet paper is usually shelved. It reads customers can purchase it at the customer service desk. Proceed to customer service area. Wait in line for your turn at the desk. Ask for toilet paper. The four people behind the customer service counter stare at you with big dumb looks on their faces, like you have three heads or something. They say to me like I should have known this, we don’t have any. I point back toward the toilet paper isle and ask what about that sign? Well the toilet paper is all gone.  Well where is it?  They say, you have to get here real early in the morning to get it. Well maybe you should include that on the sign! I walk away shaking my head!  How annoying! I wonder how long this will continue.



Welcome to the A-Z Blogging Challenge. This year I think it will bring a lot more people together with the epidemic going on right. Being quarantined means more people will flock to the web looking for things to do. This is a great way to meet new people. Maybe you will read something new, find a new hobby, or just be entertained by some random musings. Whatever the case may be, stay safe, drink plenty of liquids and enjoy the trip.

Wacky Ways

What wacky thing can I do today to make your day amazing?

When I’m not writing, I’m working. I have been in customer service for 25 years. I did the A-Z’s of customer service as a theme a couple years ago. One thing about customer service is there is always opportunity to learn how to do it better. It is ever changing. The room for improvement is never ending. If you have ever dealt with customer service on either side, I’m sure you will agree with me.

Sometimes after dealing with customers for so long, customer service representatives grow weary and complacent to just do what has to be done. That’s sad because the customer usually leaves satisfied, but not dazzled. They got want they wanted but it was mediocre at best.

You would be amazed how easy it is to make someone’s day by going over and above. Start by asking the customer “How can I make your day amazing?” Right away the customer knows you are there to help them and you want to help them. First impression means a lot because it creates an expectation of things to come.

Listen to the reason the customer contacted the customer service department. In most cases it’s a problem. Customer service people don’t get a lot of “Oh I just wanted to let you know how great your company is”. Once in a while we get those, but those are few and far between. Listen before responding.

Make sure you have all the details before you tell the customer what you can do. A lot of times customers will hold back with their issues and see how much they can get, and then they will add they had something else wrong. Make sure the customer has given you every detail of their issue before you try to make things right.

Most companies set up policies of what can be done to make the customer happy. There is a minimum and a maximum to close the sale. I know it is sad to say, but if you are in customer service you know it’s true … customer service people have the power to make or break a day.

If you have the power, you have opportunities to make that customer experience something that will go far with your company.  The company has researched this and they have set standards in place. You have power. A lot of customer service people think they are saving the company money by offering just what the customer is asking for instead of what the company has given them the capacity to offer.

Instead of giving the standard, go over and above. Give the high-end of the company policy scale. You are not in customer service to save the company money. You are there to make the customer happy.  You want that customer to come back to the company over and over again. That’s why the company has those policies in place. That’s why they hired you. Go over and above, impress the customer with unexpected service. The customer might forget what their issue was that they had with the company, but if you dazzle them, they will never forget how you made them feel.

I think this is the downfall of customer service. Too many people in the position take it personally, as if it’s their money they are handing out or they have an opinion on a stand. Just because you work for a company doesn’t mean you subscribe to their views or their stand on politics or religion or whatever the case may be. You are in the position to satisfy the customer and make the customer happy. Why not go over and above and give that customer service like they have never had before? MAKE THE CUSTOMER HAPPY.

What wacky thing can I do today to make your day amazing?

 

Ink Blots

Ink Blots

– not the ink blot test, however, I am an optimistic =
“Random thoughts from customer service”

It takes a special person to be a customer service agent. Unfortunately too many people who do work in customer service do not take their job seriously. I spent my whole lunch hour on the phone for an appliance yesterday and there was no resolution. The agents transferred me from one department to another, and every time I got a different person, they told me they had no control over what I was asking for.

I’m guessing that’s why I was put in the customer service position I was put in. To experience my frustration with customer service on the other side of the phone call. I’m not sure. I think a lot of people become burned out from doing it too long. Customers can be rude and insensitive. We, who take pride as customer service agents, will consistently put ourselves in our customer’s shoes, show empathy, own the call and make it right with even the most wrong customer on the planet. Trust me when I say, there are a lot of WRONG customers even though they will give a dissertation about how right they are and how much money they spend with the company and blah, blah, blah.

• A piece of chocolate with my coffee helps me smile when I take my calls.
• It is not my fault you waited fifteen minutes on hold before you got me.
• Don’t shoot the messenger, I only can do what the policy says I can do.

We live in a world of work at home jobs, where so many companies outsource their customer service department to teams of agents who have not been properly trained in the product they are answering for. As customers we have to be patient and show restraint when we want to tell the idiot on the other end of the line they don’t have a clue what they are talking about and they would be better off going to flip burgers at McDonald’s. As customer service agents, we have to be patient and show restraint when we want to tell the idiot on the other end of the line that they may be the customer, but in our world the customer is not always right and the policy stands. And, “No you cannot have one million dollars for pain and suffering after waiting in the drive-thru line twenty-two minutes to get your morning latte.”

• Work politics suck.
• Customer service is pretty much non-existent, (unless you get me).
• A lot of people should not be allowed to have smart phones.

In conclusion I would like to say if you are calling for customer service, be nice. As that saying goes, honey works better than vinegar. If you already are in a bad mood that person you get is not going to be eager to help you fix your problem. If you are a customer service agent, smile when you answer the phone. There has to be some give and take on both sides of the call. You both can’t be right, but if you work together there can be a like-minded resolution.

• If you want to take the Ink Blot test to find out what kind of person you are, click here.

 

Yuppie Yammer

In a suit all pressed and starched
A man walks in, hot and parched
High heels click the marble floor
He’s been through that door before.

“Yesterday my order was wrong!”
“Today, I’ve had to wait too long!”

Cell phone perched against her ear
Order’s told but it’s not clear
Cashier asks to please repeat
Handing her printed receipt.

Tucks the receipt inside her purse
She’s in a hurry, she’s a nurse.

Stares the cashier in the eye
Gives his order with a sigh
“You never can get it right,”
“When I say ice, I mean light.”

Crossing his arms over his chest
Standing in line with all the rest.

Yuppie Yammer makes the call
Ordered Grande but got a Tall
“Make it right or I will fight,”
Yuppie Yammers’ daily plight.

Greets the customer with a smile,
Knows the Yuppie Yammer profile.

I know there are tons of Yuppie Yammer stories.  Please share them in the comments section below!

Footnote: This year I decided to go with the A-Z of Customer Service. I’ve complained too long that customer service isn’t what it should be. Tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor. He put me in a position make a difference in what I think customer service is and should be. This month I will share with you what I’ve learned about successful customer service. Hope you enjoy the ride.

XXX

X  has always been the hardest letter for me to blog about in the A-Z Blogging Challenge. In customer service X is used for different things. X marks the spot where a customer signs and agreement or a contract. X is used in equations of an unknown quantity. Customer wants x.xx amount of dollars. (I’m quite certain I didn’t add enough x’s.)

A long time ago a Xerox machine was used in offices all over the world. Remember how good the copies smelled when they first came off the machine?

Some of my customers make me want to escape to a place called Xanadu. Other times I could be similar to the xenoliths.  The Xanthippe customers are my least favorite and I want to pass on to someone else to deal with.

I’m not much for coming up with x words for customer service. Let me know if you have some stories to share.

Footnote: This year I decided to go with the A-Z of Customer Service. I’ve complained too long that customer service isn’t what it should be. Tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor. He put me in a position make a difference in what I think customer service is and should be. This month I will share with you what I’ve learned about successful customer service. Hope you enjoy the ride.

Validation, Verification and Versatility

In the world of customer service satisfaction we must validate the authenticity of the customer’s claim. There are people out there who are not honest and will make things up to get something that is not warranted. Truly unfortunate for those customers who abide the rules and regulations, but in customer satisfaction, validating a complaint is necessary.

Verification must also come into play. Did the customer complete the terms of the agreement? “I bought this at your store yesterday, I don’t have my receipt, it doesn’t have the original packaging or the price tag on it, but I want my money back because I decided I don’t like it.” Really? Well get in line because the people in hell are still waiting for ice water

In our world of dishonest people the three V’s of customer service are part of the longevity of a company. Versatility is a key characteristics of a successful customer service department. Quality customer service agents know how to switch hats and roles quickly and effectively to help each customer with their specific need or desire.

How does your company battle the vicious cycle of verification, validation and versatility to come out victorious in providing customer satisfaction?

Footnote: This year I decided to go with the A-Z of Customer Service. I’ve complained too long that customer service isn’t what it should be. Tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor. He put me in a position make a difference in what I think customer service is and should be. This month I will share with you what I’ve learned about successful customer service. Hope you enjoy the ride.

Unexpected Customer Service

I want to share a story about unexpected customer service. We stayed in a hotel over the weekend for a couple of nights for an event that was out-of-state. We booked the room well in advance. When we arrived we were not surprised to see the front desk turning people away because they were booked — in fact they were over-booked. After driving 5½ hours we were just glad to get our room.

The room was more than we expected. There was a refrigerator, microwave, kitchen sink, coffee maker, cupboard with dishware, cups and glasses, a dish washer, and even a garbage disposal in the sink. (Okay so I may not get out much and stay in hotels that often, but I was impressed.)

The hotel was equipped with an indoor swimming pool, an exercise room, a laundry room, an outside sitting area with a fire pit and grills. It had all of the comforts of home, and then some.

The first morning we discovered that the shower gel dispenser was empty. We shared this info with the front desk when we went down to the lobby to enjoy our free continental breakfast. I remember continental breakfast being a muffin and a cup of coffee and if you were lucky maybe a honey bun. This spread consisted of coffee, tea, three different juices, milk, yogurt, fresh fruit, bagels, muffins, sausage biscuits, waffle skillet, western egg wraps, oatmeal, ham and egg English muffins, some kind of egg casserole, if you couldn’t find something you liked, you weren’t looking hard enough.

We went to our event and when we returned, not only had they refilled the shower gel dispenser, but they cleaned the room, emptied the trash, added fresh towels, replenished the coffee and tea for the in room coffee maker, which for a two night stay this is not included unless it is requested. Impressive. Every employee we came in contact with asked us how we were doing and if there was anything we needed for our room. They were very accommodating. The hotel even allowed pets.

Finally the time came for us to check out. We went to the front desk to change the credit card we had reserved the room with and to check out. The front desk supervisor asked if we had a rewards card which we did not. She offered to sign us up so that we could earn points off our next stay. In the hustle and bustle of people coming and going, something happened and an error was made. When she gave us the rewards card it had someone else’s name on it. Somehow our credit card paid for another customer’s room. It was an honest mistake. The front desk supervisor was not flustered or embarrassed at all. She said she would make sure the charges were removed from the credit card.

It was Sunday morning. Credit card companies are not quick with customer service calls on Sunday mornings. It was about forty-five minutes later when the supervisor assured us the charges for the other customer’s room were removed. Then she surprised us with the most unexpected customer service gesture. For the inconvenience, our stay for both nights were free of charge. On behalf of the front desk supervisor, for her honest mistake, she gave us both nights without charge. Talk about “owning it”. She took full responsibility for the mistake. She did not have to call a supervisor for approval. She owned it and she fixed it.

Unexpected customer service makes the experience outstanding. It’s what makes that company above all of the others. Tell me about your unexpected customer service. What made it outstanding?

Footnote: This year I decided to go with the A-Z of Customer Service. I’ve complained too long that customer service isn’t what it should be. Tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor. He put me in a position make a difference in what I think customer service is and should be. This month I will share with you what I’ve learned about successful customer service. Hope you enjoy the ride.

Troubleshooting

In satisfactory customer service situations a good representative will be skilled at troubleshooting. A knowledgeable customer service agent will pinpoint what the issue is quickly and resolve the difficulty or problem proficiently.

Being a troubleshooter in customer service brings its own problems. Sometimes the customers can be troublesome. They come with a problem they want resolved and instead of going through the techniques of troubleshooting to find out where the issue lays, they just want it resolved. The customer refuses to take the steps for whatever reason; they have been through the steps before, they tried that and it didn’t work, or my personal favorite, they don’t have time to troubleshoot.

Troubleshooting is an important part of any customer service program. It helps determine where the issue is so that it can be corrected and improved on for the next customer. These techniques have been put in place by tried and true professionals. If the issue has come to the point of needing troubleshooting, by no means should any part of that troubleshooting program be skipped. Even if you have been through it before, keep in mind humans make mistakes. There could be one minor detail that was left out the first time. It could be as simple as turning on location services in an application or checking off a box on a website. Whatever the case may be, troubleshooting an issue correctly will most likely correct the issue.

Tell me your troubleshooting stories — I know there are thousands of user error stories. Would love to hear them.

Footnote: This year I decided to go with the A-Z of Customer Service. I’ve complained too long that customer service isn’t what it should be. Tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor. He put me in a position make a difference in what I think customer service is and should be. This month I will share with you what I’ve learned about successful customer service. Hope you enjoy the ride.

Review

Today let’s talk about review in customer service. Review is important not only to the customer but to the company as well. When a customer contacts a representative in the customer service department, in most cases the customer has reviewed all documentation and has no other option. It is important to review the history of the customer’s purchase(s), returns, re-compensations, and receipts to fully understand what it is the customer is requesting the company to perform.

Review the contract. Were the terms met? Was there a mistake? In most cases there is a little tiny line on page 252 of the rules and regulations or terms and conditions of the fine print that provides an out for the company to not have to comply what the customer is seeking to gain. Once customer service takes the time to review this with the customer and the customer understands, that is when the customer service agent has the opportunity to make an exception for the customer. Create customer satisfaction and shine on you crazy diamond. Tell me all about your fine print fiasco’s in the comments section below! I’d love to hear them.

Footnote: This year I decided to go with the A-Z of Customer Service. I’ve complained too long that customer service isn’t what it should be. Tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor. He put me in a position make a difference in what I think customer service is and should be. This month I will share with you what I’ve learned about successful customer service. Hope you enjoy the ride.

Quantity vs. Quality

In this age of instantaneous gratification customer service lacks quality. Too often the company is focused on quantity ─ numbers. The higher the number the more the profit.

Good customer service people don’t waste their time worrying about metrics or keeping up with the Kardashian’s ─ oh! Seriously, a good customer service representative takes the extra time to fully understand what the situation is and then does their best to correct the situation and make it right. Unfortunately in this world of good and plenty, good customer service representatives find themselves out of a job.

There is a fine balance between quality and quantity. Most companies with a customer service department have spent a lot of time and money investing in other companies to come in and tell them how to run their customer service department. In my opinion, it’s not rocket science. However, there are metrics to maintain to keep the company out of the red.

The customer doesn’t care about financial goals for the company or metrics for the customer service department. The customer cares about their issue and they want it resolved. Our goal is to solve the customer’s issue with good quality and customer satisfaction while providing the quantity the employer regulates. Fine line. How do you balance that? Share me your tips. I’d love to hear them.

Footnote: This year I decided to go with the A-Z of Customer Service. I’ve complained too long that customer service isn’t what it should be. Tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor. He put me in a position make a difference in what I think customer service is and should be. This month I will share with you what I’ve learned about successful customer service. Hope you enjoy the ride.

People Pleasing

Put your service to the test
People pleasing at its best

Problem solver is our nickname
No promotion, no hall of fame
Hear the issue, try to fix
From a bag of fix it tricks

Listen and apologize
Correct issue, gratify

Greet each client with a smile
Let them vent for a while
Acknowledge issue and empathize
Evaluate and summarize

Hear them and apologize
Ask questions and satisfy

Recall patron, make it right
People pleasing agent’s plight
Be kind, gentle, always nice
Mediocre aid won’t suffice

Hear them out, apologize
Make it right, satisfy

Put your service to the test
People pleasing at its best

Check out last years People Pleaser Post 

Footnote: This year I decided to go with the A-Z of Customer Service. I’ve complained too long that customer service isn’t what it should be. Tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor. He put me in a position make a difference in what I think customer service is and should be. This month I will share with you what I’ve learned about successful customer service. Hope you enjoy the ride.

Opportunity

Each time a customer contact’s customer service there is an opportunity to make the business shine. There is opportunity to create a relationship with that customer that forms loyalty and trust. There is opportunity to impress the customer and provide outstanding service where they would not find anywhere else. Be the reason the customer comes to the company you work for and not somewhere else. Stand out in the company as the one who goes out-of-the-way, over and above. Offer a service the customer may not know about, or may not be participating in. Up-sell the customer another product or service they may not have heard about. Every situation, good or bad, provides an opportunity with that customer. Don’t miss it.

What opportune moment was missed in your contact with customer service? Please share your comments below. I’d love to hear your stories.

Footnote: This year I decided to go with the A-Z of Customer Service. I’ve complained too long that customer service isn’t what it should be. Tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor. He put me in a position make a difference in what I think customer service is and should be. This month I will share with you what I’ve learned about successful customer service. Hope you enjoy the ride.

Negotiations

Successful customer service employs seasoned negotiators. Customer service representatives negotiate terms and transactions all day long to come to an agreement or a settlement favorable to both the customer and the company. Negotiating can be a lot of fun, but it can also be difficult depending on the customer one customer service representative is dealing with. Generally speaking most customers understand the concept of bargaining and typically accept the terms.

A positive resolution involves an agreement to the policy. The customer must understand how returns work, for example. In order to return an item the customer must provide a receipt, it must be within a certain time frame, the original packaging must accompany the item, etc. After the customer agrees to the terms of the return, and starts to walk away with their head down, it’s time to smile and let the customer know that because his business is so important to the company you’ll be happy to make a one-time exception (in most cases the company makes one-time exceptions all day long).

In customer service, negotiating shouldn’t be hostile by any means. It’s not saving the world, just making or breaking a future sale. What’s your favorite negotiation technique? What’s your worst negotiating experience in customer service?

Footnote: This year I decided to go with the A-Z of Customer Service. I’ve complained too long that customer service isn’t what it should be. Tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor. He put me in a position make a difference in what I think customer service is and should be. This month I will share with you what I’ve learned about successful customer service. Hope you enjoy the ride.

Monetary vs. Material

Money talks, bullshit walks, right? Wrong!

Sometimes a value cannot be put on a situation. This morning I put my little Green Mountain Wild Blueberry K-cup pod in the Keurig, like I do every morning, and waited for my perfect cup of coffee to start my day. The coffee grounds spit all over the outside of my cup and inside was a glob of brown, watery coffee grounds. I cursed at it, took it out, cleaned it up and put another K-cup into the cup holder. I pushed the start button assuming the previous was just a defective pod. The same thing happened. I don’t know about you, but I need that morning java kick to start my day. This was frustrating.

I pulled out the Keurig manual with full intention of finding that 1-800 phone number to call those idiots and give them a piece of my mind. What the heck is wrong with my machine? Don’t they know I need my coffee to get my day started? Stupid people! Then I wondered what I would say if I was on the other end of the call being referred to as an idiot and a stupid person. After scanning the manual I came to the “Caring for your Keurig” section and realized I never did take time to give it an occasional cleaning. Hmph! Who’s the idiot now?

I settled in with my perfect cup of coffee 45 minutes later than I planned. This sets me back 45 minutes in my schedule for the day. (I’ll just have to skip lunch). My stupidity is no one’s fault but my own. In customer service we get a lot of stupidity. How do we deal with that? It’s easier for someone to place blame on the company rather than take responsibility for their own ignorance. I thought about that and wondered how the 800 line would have helped. I would like to think they would walk me through cleaning my machine, but too many times I think customer service departments throw money at the problem instead of resolving the issue, just to make the customer go away.

In some cases it is easy to replace like for like. I’m not sure an avid Mustang lover would think a 2017 Ford Mustang is in line with replacing a 1965 Ford Mustang but that would be up to the consumer. It would be an offer I suppose, probably a stupid one. I’m not in that business so that is simply my opinion. LL Bean will replace anything, anytime if you are not 100% completely satisfied. Keep in mind materials used to make an item 20 years ago are much better quality than the material used to make an item now.

That brings me to the monetary question. How do you put a value on time lost? Is there a value for pain and suffering? In my opinion, I don’t think it’s possible. Those 45 minutes I lost this morning are gone. No amount of money can buy them back for me. Money can’t fix the pain and suffering I felt having to wait 45 minutes for my cup of coffee. I know, sounds silly doesn’t it?

Monetary versus material is one aspect of customer service I’ve not quite got my head wrapped around. Customers want compensation when things go wrong. There are some customers who can’t be compensated. How does one fix something that can’t be replaced or apologized for? What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Footnote: This year I decided to go with the A-Z of Customer Service. I’ve complained too long that customer service isn’t what it should be. Tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor. He put me in a position make a difference in what I think customer service is and should be. This month I will share with you what I’ve learned about successful customer service. Hope you enjoy the ride.

Listen

 

“God gave us two ears and one mouth so that we ought to listen twice as much as we speak.”

~Irish Proverb~

Successful customer service begins with the two things planted on either side of the head. Listening. Listen to what the customer has to say. Thoughtful attention is key to a customer’s satisfaction.

We all want to be heard. Customer service representatives want to share their infinite knowledge on everything they know about the policies of the company they work for. They want to explain why the customer can’t have what it is he wants. In most cases, it is best to close mouth, open ears, and hear what the customer is saying. Sometimes all they want is to be heard.

The next time a customer comes with a problem, before jumping in to solve it, take the time to listen and understand why there is a problem in the first place.

Footnote: This year I decided to go with the A-Z of Customer Service. I’ve complained too long that customer service isn’t what it should be. Tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor. He put me in a position make a difference in what I think customer service is and should be. This month I will share with you what I’ve learned about successful customer service. Hope you enjoy the ride.

The Killjoy of Customer Service

 

Do you have that one person in the office who comes to work every day with a sour puss on their face? No amount of caffeine or chocolate donuts (with sprinkles even) can put them in a good mood. They just hate the world and want to challenge everything? They would not be happy hung with a new rope. Quite frankly, customer service is no place for these types of people. Unfortunately, every avenue of business has at least one Killjoy in the office.

The Killjoy throws a monkey wrench in the morning staff meeting. They use big words and statistics to make themselves sound more important than everyone else. They spew the company rules and regulations as if they were the ones who wrote them. They point fingers in non-passive aggressive ways making it sound like it’s the system that has issues not them.

The Killjoy  pretty much dampers everyone’s mood. They kiss-ass and pretend they are corporate driven.  Killjoy doesn’t understand the concept of satisfying the customer. They think they are going to right the wrong, find the lost, and save the world. They forget the company has policies in place to protect the rights from the wrongs. Again these people have no business taking on a customer service job.

The biggest thing the customer service representative should be interested in is making sure that customer (every customer is the first customer, every customer is the only customer) is happy and satisfied. Customer service is a person who satisfies the customer to the best of their ability with the tools they have available. Not Killjoy who scrutinizes polices and debates with the customer.

Are you a Killjoy or an aficionado? If your company empowers you,  tweak the policy… explain it to the customer and then make it right. Put a happy face and a satisfied customer where otherwise a frown would have been.

Footnote: This year I decided to go with the A-Z of Customer Service. I’ve complained too long that customer service isn’t what it should be. Tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor. He put me in a position make a difference in what I think customer service is and should be. This month I will share with you what I’ve learned about successful customer service. Hope you enjoy the ride.

Juxtaposition in Customer Service

Juxtaposition of customer service is to put our best foot forward to solve the customers issue in as little time as possible with the least amount of compensation effective. Too often in business quality is based on quantity and the customer’s issue is not actually as important as they are made to think that it is. It is much easier to hurry to get the issue resolved and give the customer something trivial for a quick customer service satisfaction, rather than take the time to explain the process, review the customer’s knowledge and make certain he understands the program. This is where customer service lacks. Consistency. The policy says you do “this”, you get “that”. Too many times a customer does not finalize “this”, yet they know that they can contact customer service to get “that”.

Consistency creates loyalty and long-term customers. They may not like some of the policies, but they know what they can expect. Expectation and follow through is customer satisfaction. It’s not wishy-washy. Communication and information relayed to the team of customer service reps is crucial to customer satisfaction. If your company doesn’t communicate what it is they expect from the team, how can the team perform for the customer? Is it about numbers on paper and how many customers your company handles in day? Or is it about satisfying that customer’s wants, desires, needs?

Sure in the fairytale world of perfection, the customer is satisfied, the numbers on paper are stout, the boss is taking a month-long vacation in Cancun and all of his customer service reps are getting an impressive bonus in their next paycheck. The juxtaposition of customer service is to give a little bit here to take a little bit there. Money talks, bullshit walks.

Footnote: This year I decided to go with the A-Z of Customer Service. I’ve complained too long that customer service isn’t what it should be. Tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor. He put me in a position make a difference in what I think customer service is and should be. This month I will share with you what I’ve learned about successful customer service. Hope you enjoy the ride.

“I” Words of Customer Service

I thought I’d have a little fun today and compose a list of “I” words for customer service. No particular order or significance.

• Informative: what the team needs to be
• Imagination: imagine yourself in the customers shoes
• Individual: ever customer situation
• Improvise: when the situation just can’t be resolved
• Importance: treat every customer with the utmost
• Illegitimate requests: unfortunate reality
• Inspiration: find some every day
• Ignorance: some people just won’t learn
• Immediate resolution: only the seasoned can perform
• Impression: leave a lasting one on your customer
• Ibuprofen: an unending supply on any representatives desk
• Instant gratification: what most customers expect
• Impractical requests: no, we cannot provide the winning lottery numbers
• Insane: need I say more?
• Invention: whoever came up with the customer service hot line is a genius
• Ivory tower: not your favorite customer
• Institutionalized: where former customer service reps spend their retirement

Footnote: This year I decided to go with the A-Z of Customer Service. I’ve complained too long that customer service isn’t what it should be. Tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor. He put me in a position make a difference in what I think customer service is and should be. This month I will share with you what I’ve learned about successful customer service. Hope you enjoy the ride.

Helping Hand

Customer service is another way of saying we are giving the customer a helping hand. Customers come for many different reasons. Most cases it is because they are unable to acquire what they want to achieve on their own. When they contact the customer service department they are expecting satisfaction to their problem with the pros who know everything about the product or service.

When the patron contacts customer service, they may seem ignorant or less knowledgeable than the customer service department would think they should be. How can someone not know how to do that? Anyone who does the same thing every day over and over and again is going to be good at what they do, or at least seasoned at it. It’s like learning how to flip pancakes without the pancake breaking. It may sound trivial to the man who digs ditches when the computer geek who doesn’t even know what a pick axe is asks what the first step is in getting the mailbox post into the ground. What about the new mom who never played dolls as a child and has never changed a diaper? Even more difficult to explain to, the older generation with the new technology of smart phones and computers.

The next time a customer seems to be less knowledgeable in the service you provide offer a helping hand. Walk them through the process as if you were doing it the first time yourself. You’ll be surprised at how grateful your customer will be.

Footnote: This year I decided to go with the A-Z of Customer Service. I’ve complained too long that customer service isn’t what it should be. Tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor. He put me in a position make a difference in what I think customer service is and should be. This month I will share with you what I’ve learned about successful customer service. Hope you enjoy the ride.

Greeting

Today is short and sweet. In any customer service interaction one of the most important roles is the greeting. The greeting is the first impression the customer is going to assess about the company.

Think about this. A customer calls about an issue and the company has an automated system. Press one for English, press two for Spanish, press three for French, press four for Mandarin Chinese, press five for all other languages. After the customer selects the language they are prompted to select from another menu. These menus continue on until finally they are prompted to press zero to reach an operator. By the time they reach the operator, they are so flustered from the options they just went through, they may have forgotten what the reason of their call was for. This is opportune moment to embrace that customer with the most heartfelt welcoming greeting one can muster up. Make that impression of the company last. Welcome the customer with open arms and ensure them that you are eager to help and solve the issue they are having.

This is true in any customer service situation. I will never forget the experience we had when we went to our local Chevrolet dealership looking to buy a new vehicle. The parking lot was full of brand new vehicles, but no sales people running around trying to sell people cars or trucks way out of their price range. We walked around looking at the new vehicles we thought we might like to test drive and made our way to the front door of the showroom. A bald fat dude of a salesman came out of the office wiping the side of his mouth, still chewing.
“Howdy, folks” he says. “Are you being helped?”
I looked at him as he finished chewing his food.
“No, not yet.” I said.
He wiped his hand on his Khaki’s and held out his hand to be shook.
“Well, we’re pretty busy around here.”
I had to bite my tongue to tell him he missed some of the breakfast he was eating because there was a big glob of food on his shirt. Needless to say we did not make a purchase and we have never been back to that dealership.

The greeting is the first impression of the company. It can make or break the customer’s satisfaction. Are you smiling?  🙂  That greeting will radiate how the customers’ interaction will turn out.

Be joyful, be happy, and be eager to help. Greet those customers with a great big warm hug! Tell me your greeting experience in the comment section below!

Footnote: This year I decided to go with the A-Z of Customer Service. I’ve complained too long that customer service isn’t what it should be. Tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor. He put me in a position make a difference in what I think customer service is and should be. This month I will share with you what I’ve learned about successful customer service. Hope you enjoy the ride.

Frequent Flyers

Freaky Friday is a good day to talk about the frequent flyers of the customer service world. Every company has the customer who won’t go away, who is never satisfied with the resolution, who keeps coming back for more. The freak who frequents the doorway every day. The service recovery abuser.

Fortunately fulfilment policies are in place for this type of customer. Following the guidelines set forth with the customer will ensure a favorable outcome (in the fictional world). First, familiarize yourself with the history of the customer. Find out the facts. Felicific calculus? Maybe. Figure out the best way to fulfill this fraudster’s request.

Gathering all the information possible about this system abuser is helpful to the company as well as the next representative who will deal with this fart fink. Frequently friction will creep into the situations. Frequent flyers are skilled at abusing systems. It’s their job. They know how much they can get away with and they know what limits are available. Sometimes when we let them know we are on to their shenanigans F-bombs will be fired. Stay calm and do your best to finish the transaction in friendly manner.

We would like for these customers to be banned, blocked, and disqualified from the program. In a perfect world, yes. There would be no abusers, no fraudulent activity and customers wouldn’t yell and swear at the people who are put in place to help them. But just like the customer has to suck it up cupcake and deal with reality, so do we. Those frequent flyer fart finks are all in a day’s work.

Footnote: This year I decided to go with the A-Z of Customer Service. I’ve complained too long that customer service isn’t what it should be. Tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor. He put me in a position make a difference in what I think customer service is and should be. This month I will share with you what I’ve learned about successful customer service. Hope you enjoy the ride.

Empathy

Empathy.  I have grown to not like that word. I hear it all the time. “You need to have more empathy with your customers. I’m sorry to say this is particular post is not going to be as customer-service-friendly oriented as I planned. Empathy is one place where I struggle.  Writing how customer service needs to be more empathetic is just not a strong point for me, but it is important and must be shared.

I get the whole idea of putting yourself in the customer’s shoes. I understand when a customer is frustrated and wants a resolution. I’m sorry they didn’t get the service they thought they should have received. I’m sorry about their situation and I will absolutely do what I can in my power to fix it for them. But seriously, some customers, I’m just not going to cry them a river.

If there is a starting point for customer satisfaction, in my opinion, it would be education. I believe education should come before empathy. In any successful customer service situation, the first place to start is educating the customer service team. The team must believe in the product they service. They need to know the product line inside and out so they can express that belief to the customer. The customer service team should be able to enhance the customer with knowledge and critical information about the company’s product, service, and policies. Educating the customer is the first step to a satisfied customer. If they acknowledge they understand the polices and  still are not satisfied with the situation, then by all means offer up a good helping of empathy.

Here are some of my favorite empathy statements:

• I’m sorry you’re an idiot and can’t follow simple instructions. Suck it up cupcake, get over it.

• That is really too bad you had that experience at one of our stores, maybe next time you won’t be such a dick when you place your order.

• I totally understand and can relate. I’ve done the same thing by signing a contract, skipping over the fine print, agreeing to the terms that my finance charge will be five times what I signed up for if I don’t pay the balance in full every month.

• I’m sorry you just don’t get it. But here let me get my supervisor for you to sugar coat the situation, kiss your ass, and make you feel better about yourself.

Obviously if you have been following my A-Z of customer service, you know I’m joking. Hey listen, I can’t be serious all the time. Sometimes you must have a little fun with the lessons.  Empathy truly is important in customer satisfaction, but a little education can’t be a bad thing. Learn it, live it, love it.

Want to find out what your empathy score is?  Click HERE to take the test. (I borrowed the picture from another website, so I figured I better share the link to the article I borrow it from.)

What is your favorite empathy statement? Please do share, I’d love to read some.

Footnote: This year I decided to go with the A-Z of Customer Service. I’ve complained too long that customer service isn’t what it should be. Tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor. He put me in a position make a difference in what I think customer service is and should be. This month I will share with you what I’ve learned about successful customer service. Hope you enjoy the ride.

Cheers.