A Tale of Two Delivery Restaurants

One of the best things about travel for me is going to local restaurants and cafes and enjoying the food. I love tasting the food, seeing the local people and really experiencing the town’s vibe.

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My amazing brunch at Mesa Verde in Santa Barbara, CA: Potato Latkes:
tempeh bacon. avocado. dijon. cornichon. pink lady apple. pea tendril.
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I read an entire novel sitting here at the beach. #Blessed

But then there are times when I’m exhausted, and I want to order in. Like last night. I’d had a lovely brunch at the Mesa Verde in Santa Barbra, and then I spent the entire afternoon reading and walking at the beach. The sun set my “sleep clock,” as my mother would say, and I just wanted to have food delivered to my hotel room and then retreat to my bed.

A food delivery service left a postcard in my hotel room. The note said, “Quick delivery to XYZ Hotel.” They had vegetarian options, so I ordered. The food came fast. I opened the bag while the delivery guy was still at my door. There were no utensils or napkins. “Do you happen to have napkins and a fork and knife with you?” I asked.

“Nope. If you want those, you have to ask for them when you order.”

When I ordered, my mind was on food. Not on forks and knives. “I’m in a hotel, how can I eat my salad and entree without a fork?”

“I’m sorry, ma’am. You didn’t tell us you needed a fork or napkins, so we didn’t include those things in your order.” And then he just stood there looking like he truly was sorry that I’d have to either eat with my fingers or go hunt down plastic ware.

Continue reading “A Tale of Two Delivery Restaurants”

What a Makeup Artist Taught Me About Customer Service

 

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Look at the magic Christina worked with me today!

This week, I’m filming video training for a client in Southern California. Each morning before we shoot, I get treated to makeup art by Christina, a talented, gorgeous and charismatic makeup artist.

The first day I worked with Christina, she asked me about what I teach in my videos and training classes. “I help frontline employees deliver the best possible customer experience,” I said. “Usually, I’m focused on helping people show concern and empathy and on handling difficult situations with diplomacy and tact.”

It turns out, Christina is not just an amazing makeup artist; she knows a thing or two about customer service. “When I worked at Nordstrom,” she told me, “I would notice how stingy my employees would be when customers would ask for makeup samples. But then if the same employees had a friend or their mother come in, they were so generous, friendly and fun. They’d be like, ‘Mom, you have to try this; let me give you these to take home!’” Continue reading “What a Makeup Artist Taught Me About Customer Service”

Do You Have Trouble De-escalating Angry Customers? If So, Try This.

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Four minutes into the call and I could see I was heading for trouble. The customer was a storyteller and a rambler. Plus, she was mad. She’d already spoken to an employee in the field and to one of my employees at the corporate office. Now the call had come to me. I got the call literally just as I was picking up my book to head to the park to enjoy a quick lunch and hopefully a couple of chapters of my novel.

The problem was easy enough. The customer’s rental car had broken down. That happens every day in the world of car rentals. Our solution to this problem is always swift: we get a replacement car out to the customer, reimburse any expenses and tow back the original rental.

But with this customer, the conversation was anything but easy. She kept rambling on, rehashing her frustration, making sure I knew how difficult it was to be stranded on the side of the interstate with 3 small children. If I was going to help the customer and have any shot at enjoying my lunch and a little reading, I had to resolve the problem and wrap up the call quickly.

So, here’s what I did. I used what Robert Bacal, a brilliant consultant, calls the topic-grab approach. The topic-grab approach involves listening carefully to your upset customer and then taking something they’ve said (grabbing a topic) and commenting on it or asking a question about it. This is especially effective if you can express empathy on the topic you “grab.” Continue reading “Do You Have Trouble De-escalating Angry Customers? If So, Try This.”

What a Gangsta Punch from a Kmart Customer Taught Me About Difficult Customers

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My first job was at Kmart. I was 16. It was at Kmart that I learned that customers could be difficult. Customers could get so upset they’d cuss, make threats, and demand to speak to a manger.

It was at Kmart that I learned how not to handle a difficult customer. This lesson came through the courtesy of my friend, Beverly Johnson. One Thursday evening, Beverly, just 17, was put in charge because management in our area was gone for the day.

I joined Beverly on a price-check at the Service Desk. When we got to about 20 feet away from the Service Desk, Beverly and I looked at each other and without saying a word, our eyes communicated, “Oh shit.” We saw one of our notoriously difficult customers.

The customer was Nancy. She was known to return large numbers of items, usually clothing. She’d have her kids (all 5 of them) wear the clothes until they literally wore out. Then, she’d return the clothing. She always had a receipt, and she knew that anything could be returned anytime for an in-store credit. If you dare challenge Nancy, she’d raise her voice, get her dramatic hand gestures going and then, demand to see the store manager. Tonight, Beverly was the “manager.”

We approached the desk, and the first thing Beverly said was, “We’re not taking that junk back!”

“Excuse me?” Nancy was genuinely shocked. No, this little girl didn’t just tell me I cannot return these items! is what I imagined she was thinking.

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

“Little B$#&@, yes you will!” No, she didn’t! Even for Nancy, this was extreme. Continue reading “What a Gangsta Punch from a Kmart Customer Taught Me About Difficult Customers”

3 Expert Tips to Pre-empt an Escalation with a Customer

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I remember being a new manager preparing to deliver bad news to a group of executives. I was nervous, fearing I would get questions I couldn’t answer and thinking I’d get slammed in the meeting. My boss, the executive vice president of the company, helped me prepare for the meeting.

“Here’s the strategy you use. You go in there and answer their every question, before they even have a chance to ask you anything. This is what politicians, CEOs, and law enforcement officers do in every high-pressure press conference.” And then he walked me through the 3 steps that politicians and CEOs use. We even sat there and role-played in his office.

Three weeks later, I delivered the dim news to a group of 68 executives, all men. And it went well. To my shock and relief, there were no flaring tempers and no questions I couldn’t easily handle. There were very few questions. Using the 3 steps my boss had shared with me, I was able to pre-empt an escalation. Thank God!

Thrilled with the results I got in that meeting, I shared the 3 steps with my employees who worked in customer care. I thought the steps could help them pre-empt escalations with our difficult customers, and they did!

In this article, I’m going to share with you the 3 steps politicians and CEOs use to pre-empt an escalation—the same 3 steps my employees used to successfully pre-empt escalations to supervisors and to pre-empt escalations in aggression. Using these steps, you’ll be able to create calm, prevent an escalation, and be in complete control with difficult customers.

Here are the 3 steps:

Continue reading “3 Expert Tips to Pre-empt an Escalation with a Customer”

How Long Will It Take You to Talk to Us About Soft Skills Training?

Yesterday I delivered a full-day of soft skills training to a new client in Denver. We had such a fun day. Lots of participation, solid take-aways, table discussions that I know were behavior changing. I love the feeling I get after a day of soft skills training.

Have you ever checked out my onsite training workshops?

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• Workshop attendees have said, Myra’s positive attitude really makes me feel that one person can completely change another’s state of being and “Each one of us walked away with something new, and all of us feel we could have sat and listened to her for days!

• Training is customized to your needs. I meet with your management team before the training to discuss your objectives and I review a sample of your agent calls to help me understand where you are today.

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Just after a Customization video conference with a new client

• I’m known for my high engagement, stories and humor – your people will love spending the day with me and my team in soft skills training!

Here’s what a recent client had to say about my training:

Myra delivered two full-day workshops for us, and we could not be more pleased.  She took the time to listen to our needs and created workshops that combined her expert knowledge with the specific customer-service ethos we want ingrained in our employees.   Continue reading “How Long Will It Take You to Talk to Us About Soft Skills Training?”