20 WOW Telephone Techniques: Tip #6

Don’t say anything to a customer that you wouldn’t say to your grandmother.


If we all followed this simple rule, we would always create warm experiences over the telephone. Most of us would never speak to our grandmother in a harsh, rude, apathetic or condescending tone. Further, we’d eagerly go out of our way to find a solution to help grandma out. Naturally, we’d smile when speaking to grandma.

So, tip # 6 is “Don’t say anything to a customer that you wouldn’t say to your grandmother. “  When you master this tip, all of the other tips really become unnecessary.

If you liked this tip, you might also like our customer service eLearning. It has a a module on telephone techniques and another on call control.

20 WOW Telephone Techniques: Tip #14

How to WOW a Caller that You Cannot Hear

Last week I called my natural gas company, ONG, from my cell phone.  Apparently the representative could not hear me at all. After saying “hello” a couple of times, she said:

“I’m sorry, I’m not able to hear you. Your call is important to us. Please call us back at 800-xxx-xxxx. Thank you for calling ONG.”

I loved it! Most Reps might just hang up when they hear nothing on the other end of the phone. BUT ONG used “dead air” as an opportunity to WOW. This simple statement was memorable and unusual. The next time you can’t hear an incoming caller, try ONG’s response strategy and you will WOW your callers. 🙂

If you liked this tip, you might also like our customer service eLearning. It has a a module on telephone techniques and another on call control.

Ever show up to pick a rental car only to find out the company had the reservation, but not the CAR!

Jerry Seinfeld shows up to rent a car, but the company has no cars. See how he reacts. Get ready to laugh!


Many of you know that prior to starting my consulting practice I was the global head of consumer affairs for Thrifty Rent-A-Car System. The scene in this Jerry Seinfeld episode is one that plays out in real life every single day in car rental locations throughout the world. Jerry says what many of think, but don’t dare to say in the wake of the dreaded “over-sell” situation. Watch, laugh, and learn.



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If Customer Satisfaction Is Your Goal, Don’t Ask Me to Help You!

Last month I got a call from a client wanting me to deliver a keynote address on customer satisfaction. I politely explained, “I don’t speak on customer satisfaction.” My client was shocked, as for the past 12 months I’ve been rolling out a strategic plan in her company designed to increase the bottom line by increasing customer retention and by building a customer recovery strategy. I went on to explain 4 reasons why I, as a fierce customer loyalty advocate, don’t speak on customer satisfaction.

1. Customer satisfaction means NOTHING these days. The truth is, today’s customers expect mediocre service. Apathy is expected. Late is expected. Problems are expected. No follow-through is expected. As long as companies don’t go below these very low expectations, customers are satisfied.

2. Customer satisfaction = “Sufficient or Adequate Service.” When a company achieves “customer satisfaction” what it’s really achieved is getting customers to feel that the service is adequate or sufficient—that it wasn’t horrible. The customer’s expectations, typically very low expectations, were met. That’s all customer satisfaction means.

3. Customers report being “satisfied” only because their expectations are so low and because no one else is doing any better.

4. Satisfied customers are not your customers. They’re just with you until they find something better.

I concluded that I do speak on and help my clients build customer loyalty. Customer satisfaction is a feeling…a feeling that low expectations have been met. Customer loyalty, on the other hand, is a set of behaviors that produce revenue.

  • Loyal customers by definition don’t defect.
  • Loyal customers reward the company by buying from you again and again.
  • Loyal customers buy other products or services in your line.
  • Loyal customers tell people in their network about your company (referrals). – That is, they actually market for you and word-of-mouth advertising is the most persuasive form of advertising.

Does loyalty v. a feeling of satisfaction really impact profits? You bet it does! Take a look at these two examples.

A. One of my colleagues, Ed Peters of the 4Profit Institute, conducted a large customer satisfaction survey that provides irrefutable proof that the difference between satisfaction and loyalty can be a “million dollar difference.” Ed’s survey for a men’s clothing store in the Midwest found that customers who had an “excellent” shopping experience (48%) visited the stores an average of 3.9 times a year and spent an average of $465 per visit. Customers who merely had a “good” experience (49%) visited 3.5 times a year and spent only $397 per visit. Excellent service is what builds customer loyalty. Good customer service results in customer satisfaction. Now look at this…the difference between an “excellent” experience and a “good” experience was half a visit per year and $68 in sales – or about $3.2 million a year in lost sales!

B. Suppose two companies add 10 percent new customers a year; company A has a 95% customer retention rate, while company B retains only 90 percent. In fourteen years company A will double in size while company B will not grow at all.
And because of its loyal base, company A’s customers are more profitable. It costs less to keep customers than to get them; money is saved as companies and customers learn to work together; satisfied customers generate more referrals; and it’s much easier to get better prices from loyal customers than from those who are not. The net result is that company A outperforms company B on most measures. Generally, retaining 5% more customers increases the bottom-line by 25 to 95%.

I urge you to stop striving for high customer satisfaction and focus on delivering truly outstanding service and building a profitable base of loyal customers. Satisfied customers will give you a “good” ranking on a survey today and leave you for the competition tomorrow. Loyal customers return again and again, recommend your company often and significantly add to your bottom line!

The Secret of Socrates


How to get irrational customers to think rationally


The diplomatic communicator builds a psychological path toward an affirmative response by strategically getting their “opponent” to say “yes” a number of times.

Get the customer to say yes and keep them, if possible, from saying “no.”

When a person says “no,” all of their pride demands that they remain consistent with themselves. And it is very difficult, once they’ve said ‘no’, for them to change their mind and become “agreeable” with you, because their sense of pride is now involved. And we invest so much in our pride.

Let me give you an example of how this works:

Years ago when I was heading up consumer affairs for a car rental company, I had an escalated call from a very upset customer. The customer was demanding that the company pay him three thousand dollars and some change because our mishap caused him to be three hours late to a meeting. He explained that he was a consultant and his billable rate was $1,000 per hour.

The problem was our fault; there was no way around that. But the demand was unreasonable, and I knew we weren’t going to be able to give in. So, I used the Yes, Yes strategy on him…and here’s how it worked.

“Mr. Jones, you are an astute businessman, are you not?”

 I knew he’d say yes, as he boasted proudly that his clients paid him $1,000 per hour, for his services.

Next, I said…”And, as an astute businessman, I’m sure you only make decisions that make good business sense.”  “Absolutely!”, he said.”

I knew I had him, because I had built an affirmative path. Each of the questions I asked him yielded a positive ‘yes’ response.

So, finally, I said. “I am quite sure that if you were in my shoes, talking to a customer in this situation, that you would not simply give a customer three thousand dollars, because they experienced an unfortunate delay.”

After about three or four seconds, he said, “Ms. Golden, you’re right. If I were you, there’s no way I’d give a customer three thousand dollars for waiting three hours.”

It was that easy…and it will be that easy for you!

Build an affirmative path by asking your customer two simple and obvious questions that you know will result in a YES response. It’s very much psychological…your customer won’t feel comfortable disagreeing with himself…and will feel compelled to say yes so that he agrees with himself!