The skills of customer service – [Infographic]

In today’s world.  Customer service demands a number of skills in order to be successful with the customer.  Meeting the customer at their need sometimes means you have to adjust your behavior in order to obtain the desired results. Customers can throw you curves when they are engaging with you. You have to stay sharp so you can deliver an out of the park experience. Take a look at my latest Infographic. This is by no means a complete list of the skills to have. However, if you practice the ones I have mentioned. I am sure the customer service experience will be enhanced.

 

Thank you for taking time to read my post. If you have found the information helpful or relevant to your customer service journey please share.
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Choose the growth mindset way.- [Infographic]

When interacting with the customer. How you feel about them has an impact on which way the service experience will go. By working to engage on a growth mindset level you can produce some positive results out of your customers. Take a look at my latest infographic.

Growth vs Fixed

Thank you for taking time to read my post. If you have found the information helpful or relevant to your customer service journey please share.
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More than just the customer service experience

Thought-Bubble-PNG-ClipartThis post is a little different from what I usually write about. While the service experience is important to get right when interacting with your customers. The experience is not impactful if it is not delivered with proper intent. You could have all the metrics in the world that give data leading you to believe your customers are in good shape.  However, none of it matters if you are not really interested in the customer and how they feel.

I have learned over the years the importance of saying the right things to people. There are three items I would like you to think about the next time you are engaging with someone. Whether it is with a family member, customer, employer, employee or business owner consider these three items.

  • How you treat people
  • What you say to people
  • Your intention toward people

How you treat people – Treating people with dignity and respect signals your understanding and responsiveness of what it may be like to walk in the customer’s shoes.  As a result, you treat your customer the way you like to be treated. Conversely, showing a lack of kindness, compassion and human sensitivity may send a message that you are aloof, disengaged or apathetic.

What you say to people – Words matter. There are so many choices of words you can say to people. Words can be uplifting and thought provoking. Words can be callous and hurtful. The words you choose can make the difference in how people respond to you and how people view you.  Here are a couple of quotes on words.

Be careful of the words you say. Keep them short and sweet.  You never know, from day to day which ones you’ll have to eat.” – Anonymous

One of the hardest things in life if having words in your heart that you can’t utter.” – James Earl Jones

Our words should be purrs instead of hisses” – Kathrine Palmer Peterson

Your intention toward people – Have you ever said something to a person and, based on their reaction, thought “Oh, that was not my intention.” or ” I didn’t mean it that way.”  “What I meant to say was..”?  As the saying goes, “You can’t un-ring the bell.”  Once it’s out of your mouth you’re on the hook for what you have said.

Your words should line up with or match the impact you intend to have on the person. This requires some thought into what you might say to someone. Take a few seconds in the moment to think about your choice of words and how they are going to potentially affect the person you’re interacting with.

There are three TED Talks I invite you to take a few minutes to watch. After you have watched them I encourage you to reflect on your personal experiences and share your thoughts and feelings in the comment section of this blog post.

Ted Talk 1 

Ted Talk 2

Ted Talk 3

In closing, I would like you to do three things for me please. 1. At the end of your day and before you go to sleep write down three things you are grateful for and share them with the important people in your life.  2. Tell someone how much you appreciate them and why.  3. Perform a random act of kindness expecting nothing in return.

As you go through life, remember your actions have a significant impact on the people you deal with. Your actions can make the difference in a person having a good day or a bad day. Your actions can be life changing for someone. You just never know what a person might be going through; sometimes your interaction and conversation is just what they may need.

Thank you for taking time to read my post. If you have found the information helpful or relevant to your customer service journey please share.
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A space for the customer

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I recentely finished a book by Jay Baer – Hug Your Haters. I gained valuable knowledge from this book. There was a part in the book where Jay talked about the on stage hater and the off stage hater. This is where the on stage hater expresses their displeasure in the open. While the off stage hater expresses their displeasure in private. I read further to learn about an app that gives customers the opportunity to voice their concerns regarding their customer service experience. The app is called: Peoplocityhttps://peoplocity.com/how-it-works/. It’s a two way messaging solution that allows customers to have their concerns heard – good or bad.

In my LinkedIn conversation with Founder and CEO of Peoplocity. Mr. Klein gives his thought. ” I think every business and consumer on the planet can benefit from a direct, personalized 2-way mobile channel!”

Reading about this inspired me to write this post. As customers we need an outlet where we can voice our concerns. More importantly we need to know our concerns will be heard and addressed. Care for the customer is of great importance. Finding the emotional human connection that is shared between customer and service professional is an appealing outcome.

There are 3 points I have concerning the customer service experience and customers having a space.

Comfort – When there is a disruption in the service experience. The customer is not always in a position to discuss the matter right then and there. This could be for a number of reasons:

  • The customer may be on a schedule and needs to get to their next errand or task.
  • The customer may be embarrassed to have an audience. Especially if the experience was dissatisfying.
  • The customer may not have the right words to express their thoughts and may need time to reflect.

Getting the customer to a state of comfort, where they can gather their thoughts and reflect on the matter is going to be key. This way when the customer provides feedback. The service provider can obtain a more realistic view of the customer’s true feelings and respond accordingly.

Resolution – All resolutions are not immediate (I know that would be a good thing if they were). In all reality though, some questions, problems and concerns may need time to resolve. The most important pieces of any resolution is that you truly hear what the customer has said, acknowledge the customer and following up. If you know the resolution is going to take some time to resolve. Be transparent with your customer and set the expectation of when you realistically would have the answer.

Now, what if there is no resolution or the matter is going to take a business implementation/change? This is where follow up has to be essential. If the matter is going to take several weeks or months to correct. The business has to find a way to make good with the customer. Whatever the recourse. The customer has to have a feeling of being pleased and not put off.

Empathy – In all conversation, an empathetic voice is what will get you and the customer on a level playing field. Once the customer sincerely believes the support or service person has their best interest in mind and has shown a human empathetic side themselves. A level of trust is gained. This is where the relationship building really starts.

When you make space for your customer. You give the customer a way to gather their thoughts and share their feelings. By keeping consistent in your efforts to make space for your customers. You will set the bar high for delivering exceptional customer service.

Thank you for taking time to read my post. If you have found the information customer service important please share.
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The side of the customer you don’t always see – [Infographic]

Peeling back the layers to really understand what a customer is feeling can be challenging. Asking questions, using active listening skills and employing empathy can build the roadmap for a successful customer service experience. It is imperative that your customers are given the proper attention and acknowledgment in order for them to feel valued and connected. At times, as the service provider we can miss queues or signals our customers are sending our way. Take a look at my latest infographic which talks about a side of the customer not always seen or mentioned in an interaction.

The side of the customer you don't always see

 

 

Thank you for taking time to read my post. If you have found the information customer service important please share.
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The Customer Service Experience Influenced by a Growth Mindset & EI [Infographic]

When working toward delivering an exceptional customer service experience. Having a positive mindset (one that is geared toward growth) will be beneficial to you and the customer. Being in tune with the human emotional side of the experience will gain you successes with relating to the customer in an empathic way. Incorporating a growth mindset and emotional intelligence will foster behaviors in the customer and support staff that could potentially be a win for all involved.

The Infographic gives examples of these behaviors and how customers feel.

 

EQ_EI and the Growth Mindset

Flowers & Weeds. How Are You Holding on to Your Customers?

I was thinking about my next post in the customer service experience space. I was outside giving my much needed Azalea’s some water. In this 90 degree plus heat everything growing outside is taking a beating. Well, almost everything. As I was watering the plant I noticed there was a weed growing right up the middle of my Azalea plant. I said to myself, “Weeds grow no matter what the conditions are.”  An amazing thing about a weed, is you don’t even have to care for them. They just grow! I also have a few Zinnia flowers growing in front of the house too. Now, these flowers are pretty hardy and they will last until the first frost hits. They do however need to be watered or they will shrivel up.

Thinking about the weeds and the flowers made me think about what it’s like to be the customer when expectations are not met or met less than average. For a moment think about the weed and what it represents when you see them growing in your grass. Some of my thoughts are:

Call the lawn service
Get the weed killer out
Fertilize the lawn
Pull them out
What will my neighbors think

These are just a few thoughts that run though my mind when I see these pesky weeds. I know you think similar thoughts. Now, lets relate the weed to the customer service experience and what it might represent to your customer. Here are a few examples.

The Weed

weedsPoor or lacking customer service
Apathy
Insensitive
Non caring
Helpless
Frustration
Put off
Forgotten

I could probably go on with the negatives that the weed represents in the customer service experience.

Now, think about the flower and what it might represent to your customer. Here are some examples.

The Flower

flowersPleasant
Kind
Warmth
Happy
Memorable
Funny
Patience
Consistent

 

The customer at any time could fall into the weed category if the proper care and consideration is not given. Your customer needs to know you have their best interest at hand. The customer is betting their expectations will be exceeded at each interaction. They want to be understood, related to, shown empathy and have resolutions to their problems provided in a timely manner. Accomplishing these tasks will always have the customer in the flower category. Missing the mark delivering on what your promises are will surely cause the customer to feel weeds growing in their experience.

 

Take a look at some stats which are important to know in retaining the customer and keeping the weeds away.

51% of U.S. consumers are loyal to brands that interact with them through their preferred channels.Accenture,

86% of consumers are willing to pay up to 25% more for a better customer experience.
https://www.slideshare.net/RightNow/2011-customer-experience-impact-report

Loyal customers are 5x as likely to repurchase, 5x as likely to forgive, 4x as likely to refer, and 7x as likely to try a new offering.
https://experiencematters.blog/category/roi-of-customer-experience/

74% of millennials will switch to a different retailer if they have poor customer service.
https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170815005733/en/Prices-Raise-Customer-Loyalty

In closing, please be sure the customer is in the front seat as you work to deliver an exceptional customer service experience. Keep your customers informed when changes to your products and services occur. Work to reduce or eliminate the weeds in the customer interaction. Most importantly treat the customer as the priority and not the problem.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post. If you have found the information is customer service important please share.
#customerserviceisreal

 

Employee Care is Essential for Customer Service– [Infographic]

Employee satisfaction plays a big part in how the customer is going feel about doing business with your company.  If you have unhappy employees. The effects are going to be felt on the outside when the customer interacts with the business. Be sure to treat your employees how you would want your customers to feel when they visit your place of business.

The Infographic shares some insight about the employee and customer.

 

Employee care is essential for customer service

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Accurate Employee Placement is Key for Success – A Dining Experience

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As I write this post. I am in one of my “hole in the wall” breakfast places (hole in the wall places for breakfast have some of the best food to eat) observing the staff. I am watching their facial expressions and body language as they go about doing their work. Some have smiles.  Others have blank nonchalant expressions.  All are busy doing their respective tasks.  Some of the expressions, depending on the task, appear frustrated in nature. But overall, the chemistry between the workers seems to be pleasant and they all appear to enjoy working together.  It seems like a very good team environment with pleasant employee interaction.

The interaction with customers is a bit different.  There isn’t a lot of chit chat happening. After a pleasant greeting, you’re asked the standard questions that require a brief customer interaction such as:  Have you looked over the menu? What would you like to have?  Etc.  Once that exchange is complete,  it’s off to a new customer or task. There isn’t much time or opportunity for additional conversation, as this particular place is fast pace.

As I sit and consider both the customer and the employee perspectives, I can’t help but wonder if the staff members are in the right positions.  I also wonder if other customers are also questioning this as well.

I decided to ask one of the workers in order to get an employee perspective. I explained what I was writing about and I asked a simple question. “Why do you like working here?” Based on her answer,  I came away with the following:

She enjoyed the work
She liked the flexible schedule
The money is good
She likes working with/helping people
Familiarity with regular customers
Longevity –  5 years she has been with the company
Advancement opportunities

The conversation gave me more to think about. While very positive and encouraging, I couldn’t help but wonder about the rest of the staff and if they felt the same about their jobs. Time would not permit me to ask them that same question. So, I could only imagine and wonder how they may feel. How they feel about their job is something to strongly consider because of the impact on the customer service experience.

Let’s take the server I had as an example. She was attentive to me.  When my order arrived and my toast was visibly burnt (more so than most would have liked) there was no mention of it such as “Oh wow that toast is burnt! Let me get you another piece.” In fact, there was no indication that she even noticed.  The plate was down and she was off to the next task.  Could it be she was in a rush to get to other customers? Could it be she was just doing this job because it pays the bills? Was she new in her role? Does she really like working with the public?  I think as the customer on the receiving end of this type of service-or lack thereof-you may wonder about whether this employee is in the right role when the level of service is not what you would expect.

My entire encounter at my little “hole in the wall” spot gives me pause to ponder why people get into jobs that are not quite a fit for them. Moreover, why does management not see this and work on careful placement of their staff into the right roles so that each individual, and therefore the team, can excel?

It would seem logical that by doing this you get a bonus kind of effect. The worker is placed in a role where they are best suited and they thrive as a result.  Management is looked upon as having keen insight based on knowing where best to place the worker in order to develop their skills and talents. The patron is satisfied because the employee has engaged with them.  This is due to feeling more successful and as a result more fulfilled because their leadership has helped them to find the right fit.  Now the entire team enjoys the work they are doing.

This brings me to 3 points to consider when working to get the customer service experience right.

  • Placing your staff in the right job role is key for delivering an exceptional customer service experience. (Take a look at a couple of stats)

Overall, Gallup found that only 13% of workers feel engaged by their jobs. That means they feel a sense of passion for their work, a deep connection to their employee and they spend their days driving innovation and moving their company forward.

The vast majority, some 63%, are “not engaged,” meaning they are unhappy but not drastically so. In short, they’re checked out. They sleepwalk through their days, putting little energy into their work.

A full 24% are what Gallup calls “actively disengaged,” meaning they pretty much hate their jobs. They act out and undermine what their coworkers accomplish.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2013/10/10/unhappy-employees-outnumber-happy-ones-by-two-to-one-worldwide/#4ca0adcd362a

 

85% of American workers are happy with their jobs, national survey shows
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/04/01/85percent-of-us-workers-are-happy-with-their-jobs-national-survey-shows.html

 

  • Having flexibility and understanding with your staff can bring about a harmonious work environment.

 

  • Remember when I mentioned that there were staff that looked frustrated or disengaged? Connecting with your staff on a human level is key in understanding what motivates them to do their best work. They may become more satisfied and engaged once you have connected the dots using an emotional intelligence perspective.

 

In closing, your staff members are your internal customers.  Take time to connect with them. Don’t just relate to them because they are doing a job.  Try to peel back the layers and find out what drives them.  Sow into your internal customers the necessary motivation, resources and human concern.  By doing this you will certainly bring about a positive change in the employee that will be passed on to the external customer.  This type of positive change will undoubtedly enhance the customer service experience greatly.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post. If you have found the information is customer service important please share.

#customerserviceisreal

How do brands speak to you?

There is the saying – “A picture is worth a thousand words. I believe the original quote was actually A picture is worth ten thousand words as stated by Fred R. Barnard, of Printers’ Ink, 10 March 1927.

That’s a lot of words to say with regard to representing a picture. Now, take the same meaning and relate it to the customer service experience. How does a brand logo speak to you? What does the brand mean to you when you see the logo? When you see different brand logos what does the logo say about the service you experience.  As an example – exercise. Take a look at these logos. What do they mean to you? How do they make you feel? Do they make you remember a particular story about the time you visited them?  Those are important questions to think about as you visit your favorite places. Or not.

Here are a few stats about brands.

  • Although consumers form a first impression of a brand’s logo within 10 seconds, it takes 5-7 impressions for consumers to remember the logo – Action Card
  • A brand is a personality that identifies a product, service or company, including a name, term, sign, symbol or design. A brand also represents the relationships between customers, staff, partners, investors, and so forth. (Boundless)
  • 77% of B2B marketing leaders say branding is critical to growth. (Circle Research)
  • Color increases brand recognition by up to 80%. (University of Loyola)
  • 64% of consumers cite shared values as the primary reason they have a relationship with a brand. (Harvard Business Review)

Having a strong meaningful brand is key for delivering success with the customer service experience. In many cases the brand is the representation of how your company is viewed.  People that are part of your brand represent the company and in many cases serve as an extension to your customer base. When I as the customer look at that extension. A lot of my buying decisions are based on how well you represent the brand.

The brand follows you on and off the job. When you work for the company or if you are in business for yourself.  You represent the brand and what it stands for.  The brand can also fall in jeopardy when care is not given to properly represent/support what the brand stands for.

Four takeaways to consider about your brand

Having a brand that provides an emotional connection to your customers will help in enhancing the customer service experience.

A brand must carry forward what the company stands for. The people in the company represent the brand even when they are not on the clock. 

What happens on the inside of a company is seen and felt on the outside. When customers see your brand logo They relate their feelings to what they are hearing about the company.

When the brand sets the promise to preform a service to the very best of their abilities. You have to be sure to correct any flaws or mistakes when the service is not up to par. Failing to keep to the promise can negatively impact the brand and what it is meant to stand for. 

 

In closing, your brand is the extension of what your company stands for. Customers follow your brand because of how you cater to them. When customers are happy, brand loyalty is enhanced and business growth swells. In delivering on the customer service experience. Put customers at the forefront when developing your brand.

Thank you for taking time to read my post. If you have found the information customer service important please share.

#customerserviceisreal