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.

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

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.

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:

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:

3 Things I Know For Sure Motivate Customer Service Employees

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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

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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

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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.

Six Common Mistakes Almost Everyone Makes With Quality Monitoring In Contact Centers

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After I deliver a customized, engaging customer service workshop, I help my clients reinforce the main ideas. One way I do that is by teaming up with the company’s Quality Assurance team. When working with the quality people to help make sure employees apply the soft skills I teach them, I find six typical mistakes. Here are the Six Common Mistakes Almost Everyone Makes In Quality Monitoring In Contact Centers.

1. Calculus-Difficult Scoring

In my last contact center job, the Quality Form that was in place when I started made me dizzy. One had to subtract, divide, and multiply to get the final score. My Dad, a retired mathematics teacher, may as well have created this form as an algebra project in word problem form for his middle school students.

Make scoring and interpreting your monitoring data as easy as reheating pizza in the microwave. Yes, I’m serious. We’re not preparing six-course culinary brilliance. We’re just trying to measure the customer experience.

2. Needlessly Long Quality Form

I remember sitting down with Ava, a customer service supervisor, to discuss her Quality Form. It was a stupendous seven-page mess. The form evaluated everything from dead-air space to the accidental use of “uhs” and “ums.” My reaction was, “What the actual?” If your Quality Form is more than three pages, you need to cut the drama and ask yourself, “What problem are we trying to solve?” Measure only standards and objectives that help you achieve the sound, flow, and feel in interactions that reflect the soul of your brand. Ditch everything else and get that form to three pages or less. If you need help with designing your quality form, get a seat in my August 9th webinar where I walk through the quality form components and give out sample forms. 

3. Monitoring Sans Coaching

Reviewing employees’ interactions and giving them guidance on how they’re doing go hand in hand, like a wick and flame. This seems obvious, but you’d be surprised to know how many companies take the time to rate customer service contacts – and then penalize employees for lousy performance without bothering to meet and discuss variances with employees. Employees expect and deserve feedback and guidance on their performance.

4. Skipping Calibration

Simple Guidance for Designing Your Quality Monitoring Program (8 Steps)

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Are you designing or redesigning a Quality Monitoring Program for your organization right now? Need some guidance on how to develop and execute a quality program that is robust, fair, and that your employees buy-in to – and one that doesn’t make your supervisors need to sip wine just to get through a coaching discussion with employees?

I have help for you. Here’s the 8 Step Quality Program we use at Myra Golden Seminars.

1. Define the Problem You Need to Solve
2. Determine Outcomes – What you want your employees to do, do differently as a result of quality monitoring
3. Develop Standards and Objectives for Customer Experience
4. Determine Monitoring Method and Frequency
5. Design Coaching Strategy
6. Develop Calibration Strategy
7. Introduce Quality Program to Employees
8. AAR Discussion – After Action Report – What was expected to happen? What actually occurred? What went well, and why? What can be improved, and how?

I explain each of these steps precisely as I use them with clients below.