4 Things Your Support Team Should Do In Chat

iStock-1150182791.jpg

I’ve designed start-up chat support for banks, libraries, consulting companies, medical practices, and contact centers. When I set up a chat platform for my clients, I have two goals. First, I want to deliver a fast and complete support experience. Meaning, I want to answer the customer’s questions and solve any issues. And second, I want zero customer frustration. That means, customers shouldn’t have to escalate to get help, they shouldn’t have to move to a call or email, and delays should be minimal.

Here are four things I insist upon when I implement a chat support channel with my customers.

1. Screen Recordings and Screenshots

When an eLearning customer reaches out to my team for help over chat, we’ll go into the client’s customized portal to see what they see. Then, we’ll do quick screenshots or screen recordings to walk them through the steps to solve their issues.

When one of our customers needed to know why the Administrator’s dashboard looked significantly different from the user’s panel, we recorded a tutorial and sent it over chat.

customers love quick screen recordings. We don’t always add audio to these recordings. It’s usually enough just to send customers a link to watch the video instantly.

2. Check for Understanding

I tell my team never to assume they understand what the customer is saying and to instead, merely ask the customer what they mean. In our chats, check-ins read like this.

Enhance Your De-escalation Skills On Your Lunch Break – 30-minute training with knowledge checks and simulations

Screen Shot 2019-11-18 at 1.14.47 PM

How to Handle Difficult Customers

(with a focus on de-escalation)

30-Minute De-escalation Online Class to Help Your Employees Get Angry Customers to Back Down, Even Customers Who Want a Supervisor – with Video Teaching, Simulations, Knowledge Checks, and Practice Interactions.

  • A customer support specialist said “In regards to your eLearning course, your coaching has immensely helped me with a few difficult calls these past three weeks. The particular course that was pivotal to these calls was your “How to De-escalate” section.” –Anna Hoang, Customer Support Specialist I, Vertafore
  • Walmart called Myra’s eLearning “the gold standard” and John Hancock said, “The first thing that struck us was how engaging each module was….you are asked to actively participate in each module, and there are action items you take away.”
  • We’ve taken Myra’s onsite De-escalation Workshop and shrunk it down to a 30-minute high-impact interactive online class!

Screen Shot 2019-11-18 at 1.18.49 PM.png

Thanks to the Internet and social media, customers are savvier now than ever before.  Although this sounds like a good thing, the net result is an increase in stress for frontline customer service professionals. According to Newsweek magazine, the stress level of consumer services professionals is comparable to that of air-traffic controllers and police officers. In short, the role of customer service now ranks as one of the 10 most stressful jobs in the U.S.

Creating calm with difficult customers is not a matter of using aggressive tactics. It’s also not about employees being a doormat, giving in to customer demands or escalating to a supervisor. This training is about how to take assertive control, create calm and pre-empt escalations.

Things You Think About When Shopping While Black

 

Afro.001.jpeg

Two employees were chatting at the register. Both looked up when I crossed the threshold, taking in my Afro blossom, but rather than speak to me, nod or smile, they merely fell back into their banter. Floored by the blatant dismissal dis, yet urgently needing a black dress, I made my way to the Ponte sheath black dress I’d seen on the chain’s website. I grabbed a size ten (and a size twelve just in case) and helped myself to the dressing room. Before I could release the French-door latch, an employee was damn-near on my heels. “Would you like to try those on?” Obviously. “Can I get your name?” This sudden interest is because you fear I’ll put one of these dresses in my handbag, right?

My face is shiny with shame as I type this next sentence. Excited that I still fit into a size ten and because the dress itself was gorgeous, I was ready to bag it up, in spite of the way I was treated.

But, stepping out of the dressing area, I just about tripped over an employee who glared at me with assumption. I woke up at this point,  remembering that I have a closet full of black dresses. And remembering that I deserve to be spoken to, and served. Just like any other customer.

Things You Think About When You Shop While Being Black and Wearing an Afro

3 Things to Know Before You Talk to Your Next Challenging Customer

african american telephone operator

You already know it’s best to not say words like “Unfortunately,” or a hard “no,” and you probably even know that you need to let angry customers vent for at least a few seconds, but there are some other things you should know before trying to get customers to accept your word as final, especially when you have to give customers bad news. I’m sharing three tactics from my handling demanding customers workshops to help you assertively (and politely) control challenging interactions with customers.

1. Don’t undermine your authority by mentioning “your supervisor.”

Woman talking with headset

I had an employee who, when trying to assert her authority with challenging customers, would say things like, “Only a supervisor can make a decision for that amount,” “That’s over my head,” or “If I can’t help you, I’m happy to let you talk to my supervisor.”

What my employee was doing, certainly without realizing it, was priming customers to escalate up to a supervisor. The mere mention of supervisor and the suggestion that some decisions were “over her head,” psychologically nudged customers to do just that, go over her head to talk to a supervisor who was clearly the only person able to move the needle on the customer’s issue.

So, don’t prime customers by dropping words and expressions that say there’s someone above you more capable of making decisions. Assert your authority with confidence, like I had my call center agents do when customers got upset about not being able to use a debit card to rent a vehicle. “When renting from us, a credit card in the name of the renter must be presented at the time of rental; otherwise, debit and check cards are accepted as a form of payment at the time of return.” 

2. Acknowledge how your customer feels by linking the communication chain

How Pulling Away for 3 Hours a Week Can Actually Make You More Productive

IMG_3872

Every week I set aside three uninterrupted hours to work on me. In this “Strategic Block,” a term coined in the book “12 Week Year,” I don’t allow emails, calls, or meetings, and no regular business tasks. I focus solely on personal or professional development.

Pulling back from the hustle and grind to self-develop gives me energy and creativity to come back and own my week, and I promise you, this exercise will help you boss up, too.

In this week’s Strategic Block, I’m working my way through week eight of the twelve-week “Artist’s Way” course, while I explore a new coffee, “Oddly Correct.”

Here are some things I’ve done in my Strategic Blocks:

The Miracle Of Visualizing, Planning, And Executing Your Best Customer Experience Yet – Through Quality Monitoring

iStock-506144060.jpg

Twelve years ago, I created a vision board. On it, I had a specific vehicle, a goal of annual family vacations, antique office furniture, a whole new backyard, including patio furniture, and a playground for my kids, and a few other coveted things. I manifested every image I tacked on my board. EVERYTHING.

The success of my vision board is a lot like a project I’m working on with some of my clients.

When I work with customer service and marketing teams to improve customer interactions, I always ask some form of these questions:

3 Things I Know For Sure Motivate Customer Service Employees

Co-workers giving great feedback

We all go through times when we’re not feeling the whole work thing. The mere thought of work brings on dread, we mop ourselves into the office later and later, and our eyes are rolled to the back of our head more often than not. These are all signs that we’re burned out or morale is very low.

If you’re a supervisor or manager and you see signs of work exhaustion in your people, you need to act fast, or you might lose your people to burnout, or another job. I’ve had depleted employees, and I’ve been the used up person (even in my current position).

Here are three things I know for sure meaningfully motivate employees. I know these ideas work because I’ve used them in call centers I’ve managed, and right here at Myra Golden Seminars.

1. Plan a Team Building Outing

Simon_.jpg

I keep things spicy at Myra Golden Seminars by regularly getting the team out for fun. We’ve done escape rooms, painting with wine in hand, and I once brought in a game from my childhood home, Simon, which gave way to energy and belly laughs. Look for ways to bring your team together outside of work.

2. Highlight What They Do Well

How Merely Asking Yourself, “What Else?” Will Transform Your Customer Experience

Cannot quit work

My daughter and I were exploring supplements at Whole Foods on Saturday. I’d grabbed Matcha powder, MCT oil, and ground flaxseed. An employee with happy robin eyes spotted my bounty and whispered a tip, “If you can wait a few days, all of our supplements are going to be 25% off August 2-4, and Prime members get an additional 10% off. I can get you a bag and hold your items for you if you like.”

I needed the ground flaxseed for a vegan recipe, but the other times could wait. “That’s so generous of you to share! Yes, I’d like to start a bag, please,” I said, shocked by the employee’s helpful tip, and grateful. My little bag was chock-full when I handed it back to the happy-eyed employee to hold for me until Friday.

The Whole Foods employee used a technique that I call the “What else?” approach. This technique is to think of what else can I do/offer to make this experience the best it can be? I’ve had three recent happy experiences of front-line customer service employees asking “what else?” with me. Let’s quickly look at these situations, and then I hope you’ll take my challenge of asking “what else” you can do to surprise and delight your customers.