The Most Crushing Mistake Most Customer Service People Make: Not Being Friendly o_O

shocked customer service representative

On the way into my office this morning I stopped to get coffee and breakfast for my team. I don’t do this often enough. When I managed a call center, I would regularly pick up donuts or pastries. I have to do better in my own company. Do you bring treats in for your team? If so, how often do you do it? I need the motivation to get back in gear.

I wanted to treat my small team today for working so hard over the weekend and yesterday into the evening on the big project of moving our entire eLearning roster and training modules to a new hosting site.

My first stop was at a fast food restaurant. I pulled up to the window, and this is what I heard. “Welcome to _____. Order when you’re ready.” The welcome, if you can call it that, was delivered loudly, matter-of-factly, and it even suggested that I needed to hurry up and order, and not wait until I was ready.

I placed my first order. I barely finished my sentence when the person said; “Your total is $5.12 at the first window.” I still had several more items to order! When I awkwardly said, “I actually have more things I’d like to pick up today.” the lady said, “Go ahead when you’re ready.”

I finished up this tedious ordering process, and 10 minutes later I was in the drive-thru at Starbucks, which is next door to the fast food place.

I pull up to the Starbucks drive-thru, and I am greeted with: Continue reading “The Most Crushing Mistake Most Customer Service People Make: Not Being Friendly o_O”

Here’s How to Respond to the Customer Who Asks to Speak to Your Supervisor

Women with headsets working at a call center

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 customer service professionals.

According to Newsweek magazine, the stress level of customer service representatives is comparable to that of air-traffic controllers and police officers.  To be clear, the role of customer service now ranks as one of the 10 most stressful jobs in the U.S.

One of the things I’m working on right now is how to find ways to relieve the stress contact center agents face on a daily basis. It’s hard to get verbally abused daily and to have to deal with constant phone calls and emails all day.

Dealing with the customer who demands to speak to your supervisor is stressful. The right approach to this customer will result in a less stressful situation for you.

What not to do when a customer asks to speak to a supervisor

  1. When a customer asks to talk to a supervisor, don’t refuse. That’s what is known as “pushing.” If a customer is pressed, they will push back. Meaning they will be more difficult.
  2. Don’t only say, “Ok. Hold while I transfer you.” You don’t want to sound dismissive or flippant. Besides, you are a customer service professional. You are paid for your expertise, diplomacy, and knowledge. You know, I know, and your supervisor knows that you have all the skill you need to help any customer that shows up on your phone. So, make a reasonable effort to try to help the customer.

What to Say to the Customer Who Asks to Speak to a Supervisor: The “U S A Method”

Try responding to the customer who asks to speak to your supervisor using the U S A method.

USA stands for …

  • Understanding Statement. Don’t say anything to the customer who asks for a supervisor without first demonstrating that you fully understand their frustration (or whatever it is they are feeling). It is essential that the customer feels you know the inconvenience or problem they have experienced. If they don’t feel you understand what they are feeling, they may become more difficult, and the call will most likely escalate.
  • Situation. Explain the situation. That is, explain that you can and would very much like to help the customer.
  • Action. Convey to the customer that if you aren’t able to help them, you will let them speak to a supervisor. That is the action you commit to taking.

U S A in action…

So, right out of the gate your customer asks to speak with a supervisor. Here’s how you could respond using U S A:

Understanding Statement:

“I respect your request to talk to a supervisor.”

Situation:

“My supervisor is counting on me to do my job and resolve problems our customers encounter. Will you give me an opportunity to try to solve the problem before we go any further?”

Or

“Will you give me a chance to try and resolve this for you. That’s why I’m here.”

Action:

“If after speaking with me, you are still unhappy, I’ll immediately connect you with my supervisor. How does that sound?”

This is not a “magic wand” approach, but in many cases, when you demonstrate empathy with an understanding statement, explain the situation, and tell the customer what you can do, you will be doing your very best.

When you respond to the request for a supervisor with the USA method, you will find that fewer calls have to be escalated to your supervisors and that you are more confident in your response.

In this video, I three additional tips for de-escalation.

Imagine sitting in a local coffee shop that’s nestled in a bookstore, and talking over a latte with Myra about ways to help your employees deliver the best possible customer experience and ways to help reduce stress on your employees as they deal with demanding customers.

Every week, often literally from a coffee shop, Myra gives you ideas that in one way or another is actionable towards improving your customer experience.

Sign up and join Myra over coffee every week.

 

If Your Customer Experience Is Still Bad After Great Training & Coaching, This Is Probably Why

Frustrated Man itStock_5185635_XLARGE.jpg

Story highlights

Making customers jump through hoops to get problems resolved ruins the customer experience

So I bought a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes – the red bottom stilettos. I put them on and oh, did they look good! My calf muscles just popped in these shoes. Without even realizing it, I walked with a little “switch” in my hips. I could totally see myself taking the keynote stage in these shoes with the lipstick-red sole, wearing one of my little black dresses.

As I “test-walked” in my new shoes, I realized they hurt my feet! My stride was pained. I was cute but nowhere close to comfortable. There’s no way I could deliver a keynote in these shoes! I can have sexy red-soled shoes, yes. But what good are sexy shoes if I’m in pain?

Here’s what my red bottom stilettos, now on a UPS truck back to New York, have to do with your customer experience: What good is it to have delightful employees, if customers have to work too hard to get help?

Friendly and delightful employees are great, yes. But what your customers really want is a smooth, easy experience. Here are 3 ways to give your customers what they really want: help.

Continue reading “If Your Customer Experience Is Still Bad After Great Training & Coaching, This Is Probably Why”

Fitbit’s Chat Experience is the Best I’ve Seen In Awhile

fitbit

My Fitbit bejeweled with Sterling Silver and Sleeping Beauty Turquoise

I wear a Fitbit to track my steps. My daily step goal is 12,000 steps and most days I exceed that. Last Friday during a full day workshop in Austin, I got 8,000 steps just during the training. No kidding! I talk with my hands and I move constantly, so the high step count doesn’t surprise me.

I love my Fitbit. Two weeks ago, my Fitbit band broke. It just split in half. So, I went to Fitbit’s website and opened up a chat. Jomar at Fitbit helped me out.

Jomar opened the chat with, “I’m sorry to hear about the damage to your fitbit band. Rest assured, I’ll do my best to help.”

Ahhh… I loved that!

Then he said, “To get started, may I know the email address associated with your account?”

I gave him my email address and then he said, “Please allow me a moment to check your account.”

After a little time passed, Jomar said, “Almost done checking. While checking, may I know your country of residence?”

The great news is my Fitbit was covered under warranty and when I heard this I said, “Yay!” Jomar then said, “I’m glad to know I can get you back on track with a replacement to Flex’s band.”

Jomar at Fitbit was excellent. The chat was personalized, he remained engaged, Jomar effectively made an emotional connection with me and the chat was short and sweet.

My Fitbit chat experience got me thinking about something I do all of the time. Continue reading “Fitbit’s Chat Experience is the Best I’ve Seen In Awhile”

3 Ways Your Employees Are Killing Your Customer Experience

Bad Customer Servcie iStock_75926623_XLARGE.jpg

Story highlights

Making it hard, rudeness and fighting with customers ruins the customer experience

I’m standing at the front desk of a nice hotel in Baltimore. The front desk clerk is having a problem with my reservation. I wondered if it was because I had literally just booked the reservation 45 minutes prior, just as I got into my rental car at the airport. I told the hotel employee that perhaps my very recent booking was the problem.

He called hotels.com, the company I used for booking, not once, but two times, about my reservation. When he didn’t get things sorted out after 2 long calls to hotels.com, he told me, “I’m just going to cancel your hotels.com reservation and rebook you in our system.”

I was eager to get into my room and rest up for a week of full-day training sessions. His suggestion sounded good to me. That is, until, a couple of months later when checking my hotels.com account, I get a message stating that my 6-night hotel stay in Baltimore had been removed from my Rewards Account and that I would not get credit for that stay.

The primary reason I use hotels.com is for the rewards. I travel a lot. It takes 10 hotel stays to earn a free hotel night. In June I received two free hotel nights and used both of those nights for get-aways with my husband. I travel a lot.

Now, hotels.com is telling me that because they couldn’t help my hotel in Baltimore sort out a problem, they are removing my earned rewards?

Using hotels.com as the perfect example, I will walk you through 3 Ways Your Employees Are Killing Your Customer Experience.

Continue reading “3 Ways Your Employees Are Killing Your Customer Experience”

How to Talk to Your Employees About the Way They Talk to Customers

the-boys
My husband helping our son with homework a couple of nights ago

Story highlights

Maintain employees’ esteem when giving constructive feedback, so you protect the relationship and get behavior change

I’m sitting on my patio, with my feet up. It’s cloudy, and there’s a light breeze. Such a contrast to the oppressively hot and humid summer we’ve had

Sitting here on my patio I made a list of 50 things that I’m happy about right now. I do this exercise from time to time, whenever my mood needs lifting. Some of the things on my list are:

  • I got all of the wood polished.
  • Though Warren’s team lost, his spirit remains high.
  • ClearCorrect trusted me to train their team for the second time, and I’m fully prepared for the big day!
  • We had a fantastic getaway to Dallas, and I’m so glad Dad was able to join us.
  • My homemade lunch, Portobello Mushroom Burgers, and Sweet Potato Fries were amazing!
  • Michelle’s Dad’s cancer is gone! God is good!
  • My lunch yesterday with Toneille at the Vault was fantastic! The vegan food was fabulous, and I loved catching up with Toneille. 

My husband is one of the coaches on our son’s football team. We got beat 43 – 0 on Saturday. The loss felt as bad as it sounds. Right now my husband is sitting in front of the computer with my son watching game film. He was pointing out everything my son did wrong.

My son’s body language and tone told me my husband was bringing him down. That’s why I’m on the patio. I had to get out of the house.

Continue reading “How to Talk to Your Employees About the Way They Talk to Customers”