When You, As A Customer Service Representative, Take Things Personally, You Make Your Job Harder

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I’ll never forget the day I saw a fight, literally a fist-fight, between a customer and an employee. It was at Kmart.

I was 16, and I worked at Kmart on Admiral in Tulsa. My 17-year old co-worker and good friend, Beverly, said to a customer who wanted to return some worn out clothing,

“We’re not taking that junk back!”

“Excuse me?” the customer said.

Beverly, serious as a heart attack, said again, “We’re not taking that junk back.”

“Little B$#&@, yes you will!” No, she didn’t!

Matching the customer word for word, Beverly spit out, “B$#&@, no we won’t!” I was glad Beverly got this customer and not me.

The customer punched Beverly! For real, she did!

What did my friend Beverly do then? Well, she knocked the crap out of the customer, and within 2 seconds, they were in an all-out brawl at the Service Desk.

My teenage friend Beverly saw the customer as getting away with something, and she took that personally. Her personalization caused her to be completely unwilling to work with the customer. She didn’t want to discuss things, and she certainly didn’t want to give the customer an in-store credit.

Taking things personally often is a demonstration of your loyalty to the company and your insistence on things being fair and right. But, sometimes, personalization can get in the way of serving the customer and moving things forward.

Last week I delivered a customer service training session where part of our focus was moving employees out of an attitude of personalization to an emphasis on finding a win-win solution for problems. One of the ways I tackled this issue was through small group discussion. Here’s one of the activities I led in that workshop (in small groups): Continue reading “When You, As A Customer Service Representative, Take Things Personally, You Make Your Job Harder”

Join My Telephone Skills Online Training. Now in progress.

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How did 2017 go for you? Employees still struggling with how to control calls with unreasonable customers? Your customer experience still not where you know it needs to be? Still trying to get your people to convey empathy? I know. The struggle is real.

The real question is: how will you gear up to make 2018 better?

Let me give your people the tactics, skills, and inspiration they need so they can deliver experiences that make you feel proud.

I try to make my training easy – for you, your employees, and even for me, by offering it online. I still do onsite training, of course, but online training saves time and money. And it keeps me off of planes.

There’s no sense stressing over 2017’s results. Let me help your workgroup thrive in 2018.

Imagine 2018…. Continue reading “Join My Telephone Skills Online Training. Now in progress.”

4 Things Customer Service Agents Can Do to Convey Empathy to Customers

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In this article I show you what empathy is using an experience with my teenage daughter, and then I deliver 4 tactical ideas you can apply right now to express empathy: Put yourself in your customer’s place, Sense the Situation From the Customer’s Perspective, Discuss What’s Upsetting the Customer, and Coming Up with Ways to Fix the Problem

My daughter and I were in New York. We’d spent the day sight-seeing, and back at the hotel, my daughter’s iPhone showed all of her photos as blurry – not just the photos she’d taken that day, but every picture on her phone.

To my 17-year old daughter, a problem with photos and her phone camera is catastrophic. It would have been easy for me to dismiss this as, “There are bigger things in life for you to worry about.” And that was my real temptation. But I could see she was distraught over this.

Empathy is putting yourself in another person’s place. Sensing their situation, from their perspective. It’s also discussing the things that are upsetting to the person, maybe coming up with ideas to get them out of the situation they’re in.

So, instead of dismissing my daughter’s photo problem as no big deal (because to me, it wasn’t a big deal), I chose empathy. Continue reading “4 Things Customer Service Agents Can Do to Convey Empathy to Customers”

This is How You Communicate Empathy to Customers

4 Attributes of Empathy

There are four attributes of empathy, and I teach each of these characteristics in my Empathy eLearning course. One of the characteristics is communicate your understanding.

When your customer is upset, or frustrated, you could communicate your understanding this way: Continue reading “This is How You Communicate Empathy to Customers”

This is How to Move Calls to Closure

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In a series of events, people remember the first thing, and the last thing, more than anything else. That’s why the way you open a call, and the way you end a call, is so meaningful.

Your call closing must do two things.

You need to share any next steps with your customer; and then, you need to end with a fond farewell. In this article, you’ll learn how to assertively bring calls to closure, and end with a fond farewell.

1. Start the call closure process by giving the customer any next steps.

Sharing next steps lets the customer know the call is almost over, and, this helps you to close the call quickly.

If you have next steps, just, share them. “Alright, Deon. I have processed your return. We’ll go ahead and ship the blue Nike Elite socks, and you should have those within 4-7 business days. You can check the status of your return by logging into our website.”

2. And, then you need to end with a fond farewell.

After you’ve shared any next steps, you move right into the final closure. End with the same energy and friendliness you had when you started the call. Nice farewells include: Continue reading “This is How to Move Calls to Closure”