Customer Service & Covid19

Hello to all. I trust 2021 is starting off in good fashion. My wish for you all is good health, safety and awareness.

I have heard the saying, “If you’re not changing you’re not growing”. I have related that quote to the fact that I as a person need to try and be on the move with learning new things, looking at different perspectives and considering the words of other people both positive and negative, so I can make informed decisions that affect me in a positive way.

Covid19 has made such an impact on the world that change is everywhere. The question remains though, “What is growing?”

I’d like to share my thoughts about the customer service experience and what I envision as potential growth opportunities in the CX space.

Growth in Emotional Intelligence and Human Care

When we talk about emotional intelligence, one of the pillars is empathy. The ability to put yourself in the customer’s shoes, getting to know your customer and sincerely relating to their needs is going to be paramount. The empathetic service person who puts the customer’s feelings first then builds the solution around solving the problem will have laid the foundation for a promising customer relationship.  In the effort to find common areas that you and the customer can relate on, Covid19, while it may not be a pleasant talk it is relatable and the customer may just feel at ease to know someone else has shared in a similar experience.

In delivering the best customer experience possible, there is an important piece you must be mindful of. Your customer is not just a transaction. They are human, with feelings, concerns and emotions. Your genuine care towards the customer is a relationship building capability that means more to the customer than a sale. In fact, a couple of statistics say this:
100 Essential Customer Service Statistics and Trends for 2021 (nextiva.com)

Two-thirds of customers are willing to share personal information with companies–but only in exchange for some perceived value. – Accenture

68% of customers believe the key to great customer service is a polite customer service representative. – AE

“Customers do not care how much you know unless they know how much you care.” — Damon Richards, Customer Service Expert.
Forbes (I really like this one)

40 Customer Service Stats to Know in 2020 (hubspot.com)

70% of the customer’s journey is based on how the customer feels they are being treated. – McKinsey

So, in your daily interactions with the customer be mindful of what your customers may be feeling. In today’s times the customer may be going through something never experienced before and could use some intentional care and compassion above what the standard care would normally be.

Growth around the Virtual Space

As Covid has become this unwanted, but present fixture. Changes have been made to allow customers to do business and for businesses to stay in business safely. You see where schools have gone to virtual classrooms; online learning (for courses that used to be in the classroom) has become commonplace, and Zoom meetings to hold conferences where meetings took place in an office before. Work from home is the mandate for some businesses where they may not have considered this as an option.

I see the virtual space being a growth opportunity for the customer service experience. I envision virtual chat with AI capabilities will be a significant trend. This will allow for quick answers to questions and timely resolutions on common problems for customers. I also see virtual conferencing chat whereby the human emotional experience can not only be heard but seen from both ends of the conversation. Having a pulse on the customer’s concerns is critical with meeting their needs.

If you are on a virtual call seeing the customer, you can fine tune your expressions based on how the customer’s reactions ie., if there is a look of confusion, displeasure or the customer is smiling. Empathy, concern and acceptance can be gleaned from the virtual experience. This can make for an improved customer service experience.

Coupled with the virtual space, I see customer journey mapping becoming even more relevant for the customer experience. As a customer describes their journey navigating from point A to point B. The virtual experience would give a powerful impact with seeing the customer show emotions, gestures and sources of frustration/pain points. “The customer journey is the complete sum of experiences that customers go through when interacting with your company and brand. Instead of looking at just a part of a transaction or experience, the customer journey documents the full experience of being a customer.
The best way to map the customer journey: take a walk in their shoes | SurveyMonkey

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

5 Actions that can improve the customer service experience

Hello to all. I hope today has been fill with positive successes and great support from all you have encountered. Rest assured, if things are not going in the right direction. You have the power to change the outcome. You are in control.

I have once again been allowed to have my content showcased on the site: www.cxservice360.com. I am always grateful and humbled when my content is shared on another customer service experience blog. Many thanks Kelechi!

There are 5 actions I have outlined that can potentially improve the customer service experience. I would also say, if your customer service is off the rails. Employing these 5 actions may very well get your business back on track with your customers.

Click the link to read more.
https://www.cxservice360.com/5-actions-that-can-improve-the-customer-service-experience/

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

#customerserviceisreal

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.
#customerserviceisreal

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.
#customerserviceisreal

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.
#customerserviceisreal

 

A space for the customer

Parking-Only-Sign-PNG-Download-Image

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.
#customerserviceisreal

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.
#customerserviceisreal

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

#customerserviceisreal