Category: Customer Service Training

You Didn’t Know a 12-foot Pole Could Teach You This

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One of the goals for my customer service training in Cerritos, California yesterday was to help employees follow-up with colleagues, to close the loop so that everybody was up to date on what’s being done to fix issues for customers.

I designed a short lecture and a small group discussion to address this. And then, three hours before my flight, I scratched the entire section.

A brilliant trainer of trainers once cautioned me, “Don’t do for participants what they can do for themselves.” Recalling her advice, I thought, I won’t tell them to communicate better, I’ll put them in a situation that forces them to see why not communicating is making their jobs so much harder.

Here’s what I did. I stood in front of the class and pulled out at 12-foot pole. And I told my group of 12 people that their task was to lower the stick to the floor. It sounds simple. Incredulous, the people merely stared at me, mute.

I divided the class up into two groups and explained the rules. You’ll start with the pole waist high, you cannot lose contact with the pole at any time, and only gravity can move the pole (that is, the pole couldn’t be pushed or pulled down).

After my instruction, I stepped back and watched (and took out my iPhone to film). Within seconds, the group learned that this exercise was anything but simple. (See video clip below from the training.)

These 7 Questions Will Help You Hone In On and Solve Your Biggest Problems In Customer Interactions

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I just got off of a productive and inspiring video conference with a new client. I’ll spend this afternoon, and much of this week developing a fully customized training class for this company. In two months, I’ll fly out to Montreal to facilitate the workshop.

When I sit down to create a custom course for my clients, the first question I ask is, “What’s your biggest problem with customer interactions?” And then I get to work on how to fix that problem.

Asking my clients what their single most significant challenge is, forces them to hone in on what keeps them up at night, and it tells me exactly where to focus in my workshop. I follow this question up with ten or twelve other questions that help me to deliver precisely on my customer’s objectives for my training.

As I sit here preparing to start the design process for my client, I got to thinking, what if some of the questions I ask my clients for workshop prep might help you make improvements in your customer interactions. I imagine my questions will at least get you to fiercely focus on the most urgent issues and get you going in the right direction. They’ve never failed me.

So, here are some of the diagnostic questions I ask my clients to help me understand and fix their most pressing issues in customer interactions.

Yield to Callers (Don’t over talk or interrupt)

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I couldn’t remember the last time I got a really good photo of my daughter, other than the many snaps I take on my phone, so yesterday I grabbed my camera and had Lauren join me in the front yard.

“In front of the bird bath,” I told her. “That way the evergreen will be in the background, and it will be gorgeous.” She’s 16, and that means she’s tethered to her phone. Instead of posing for me, my daughter posed for the camera on her phone. Her smile was real and perfect. Her eyes lit up, and she was clearly enjoying the photo shoot, her photo shoot. Alas, the “Selfie Generation.”

Here’s a Great Energizer for Telephone Techniques Training Classes

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In March I facilitated a 2-day Soft Skills training for more than a hundred people for a client in South Dakota. Do you know how hard one must work to keep 100 people fully engaged for 2 full days?

Hard. You have to work hard. And creatively. Of course, one must have endless energy too.

Fortunately I am anointed to engage audiences with boundless energy and stories. But it takes more than that. You have to engage audiences and keep them nearly spellbound. Or else you’ll lose them to their smart phones or thoughts.

I was going into the final inning of this 2-day training in South Dakota. Participants had just returned from lunch. If you’re a seasoned trainer, you know that the hardest part of training is right after lunch. That’s when you are at the greatest risk of losing your audience.

So, here’s what I did. Immediately after lunch I instructed my audience, already clustered in small groups of 8 at round tables, to think of a company. Any company. Small groups thought of all sorts of companies: Wal-Mart, Zappos, a taco restaurant, and pretty much any business you might imagine.