This is the Business Equivalent to the “Good morning” Text

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I picked up my iPhone and saw a text from a five-digit number. My heart gazelled – I just knew it was the airline telling me my flight was delayed, or worse, canceled.

But it wasn’t. A delay that is. It was my airline saying, “We’ll see you soon! Your flight to Denver departs at 11:35am from Gate B6.”

This message was like a ‘good morning text’ from a lover, and so unlike the texts  I usually get from airlines (gate changes, delays).

And if that ‘see you soon’ hadn’t already been green tea for my morning, my phone sang right at boarding time, “Here we go! Your flight to Denver is now boarding from Gate B6 – we look forward to seeing you soon.”

What if your business reached out to customers with a good morning-like message?

What I mean is, instead of merely reaching out with privacy updates, promotions, or announcements, why not send messages designed to make the customer’s day easier?

Examples of the business equivalent of the “good morning” text

A dental office could send out a quick text on the morning of an appointment, “Hi, Myra! We’re looking forward to seeing you at 3:00pm today.” This would work for hairstylists, all manner of medical offices, heat, and air services – the possibilities go on and on.

About a month after customers sign up for eLearning, we check in over email with tips on how to quickly run reports. Three weeks later, we send out frequently asked questions and answers.

“Your driver is approaching.” A go-to lunch delivery for my team is Panera. We order online and get texts telling us when the driver has left the café, and also when the food has just passed through our security gate. These updates keep us in the loop and help us to promptly meet the driver.

Look for creative ways to talk to your customers over text or email – beyond support and promotions. Updates that make customers’ lives easier, save them time, or give a heads up are as surprising as a firefly at dusk. And they’re memorable.

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

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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!

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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. Continue reading “Enhance Your De-escalation Skills On Your Lunch Break – 30-minute training with knowledge checks and simulations”

Things You Think About When Shopping While Black

 

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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

Continue reading “Things You Think About When Shopping While Black”

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

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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.”

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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

Continue reading “3 Things to Know Before You Talk to Your Next Challenging Customer”

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

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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:

Continue reading “How Pulling Away for 3 Hours a Week Can Actually Make You More Productive”

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

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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: Continue reading “The Miracle Of Visualizing, Planning, And Executing Your Best Customer Experience Yet – Through Quality Monitoring”