One of the tools I use to improve the customer experience with my clients immediately is Start, Stop, Continue. I gather a team together and ask them what we need to Start, Stop, and Continue […]
I rarely trek grocery store aisles these days. I order online and either have my food delivered, or I get my bags brought right out to my car. At the grocery store yesterday, I rolled […]
Date of birth? Last name? Zip code? Have you ever had a conversation with a customer service person, and it went something like that? A lot of people ask questions this way. The problem with […]
This is the 7-point call strategy I use when my work is to improve the telephone customer experience in a call center. The lead-in, step 1, gets calls started on a positive note. Steps 2-6 […]
I’ve designed start-up chat support for banks, libraries, consulting companies, medical practices, and contact centers. When I set up a chat platform for my clients, I have two goals. First, I want to deliver a fast and complete support experience. Meaning, I want to answer the customer’s questions and solve any issues. And second, I want zero customer frustration. That means, customers shouldn’t have to escalate to get help, they shouldn’t have to move to a call or email, and delays should be minimal.
Here are four things I insist upon when I implement a chat support channel with my customers.
1. Screen Recordings and Screenshots
When an eLearning customer reaches out to my team for help over chat, we’ll go into the client’s customized portal to see what they see. Then, we’ll do quick screenshots or screen recordings to walk them through the steps to solve their issues.
Yesterday when an eLearning customer asked how to add certification from my Telephone Skills class to her LinkedIn profile, I did a quick screen record (shown below) and sent it to her.
customers love quick screen recordings. We don’t always add audio to these recordings. It’s usually enough just to send customers a link to watch the video instantly.
2. Check for Understanding
I tell my team never to assume they understand what the customer is saying and to instead, merely ask the customer what they mean. In our chats, check-ins read like this.
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 […]
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
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.”
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.
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:
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: