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.) Continue reading “You Didn’t Know a 12-foot Pole Could Teach You This”

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.

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

5 Mistakes Your Employees Cannot Make on the Phone

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I just finished reviewing calls for a client I’ll be working with in Chicago. Before all of my onsite customer service training workshops, I like to listen to a random sample of calls between employees and customers. This call review helps me to know exactly where to focus in my training.

In today’s call review I noted 5 communication mistakes customer service representatives tended to make repeatedly. These mistakes happened multiple times with the same employees, and I heard these errors being made by several different employees.

Here’s what I summed up on my legal pad after my call review.

  1. Employees often don’t speak in complete sentences. I’d hear things like, “Name?” “Zip code?” and “Serial number?”
  2. There was a lot of overtalking and interrupting. Employees would literally cut customers off mid-sentence or just over-talk them to make sure their point was made. That made me cringe.
  3. Dead-air space wasn’t handled well. While employees were busy looking through notes or trying to find something on the computer, they just let the customer hang on. I could hear keys clicking, gum smacking and occasional sighs, but there was almost no verbal communication during the dead-air space.
  4. The worst part of the calls for me was that there was no personal connection. Customers would often go right into their issue, and then the agent would say something like this: “What’s your serial number?” There was no acknowledgment of the customer’s frustration, no “I’m happy to help you with this,” They just went into probing.
  5. At times I felt like the customer was made to feel stupid. It was like the customer was asking “dumb” questions, though all of the questions seemed reasonable to me. Employees would come back harsh or condescending.

This customer service group is in urgent need of my “intervention, ” and in exactly 16 days they will get it. I can’t wait to land in Chicago and give these employees the human relations skills they need to talk to customers with care, concern, and friendliness.

When you enroll your employees in the online version of my “customer service intervention” training right now, imagine the benefits you’ll receive. Employees who struggle with apathy, rudeness or harshness will get the empathy training, telephone skills, and human relations skills they need and they will soften and deliver a better customer experience.

You can get these benefits and more – without having to buy my plane ticket, foot my hotel bill and pay my full-day training fee. If you’re ready to take your customer experience to the next level, check out my eLearning. Let’s get to work on this together.

 

 

How to Rock Your Customer Service Job!

I have a treat for you today! A free module from my customer service online training. I’m so excited to be sharing this with you!

I began thinking about and conceptualizing this training during a drive home from Arkansas where I had just delivered a presentation to a group of 60 new managers in a corporate mentoring program for the world headquarters of Sam’s Club.

My job with this company was to give new managers the skills and inspiration they needed to advance and move ahead.

I thought, “Why not create a professional development program for customer service professionals that would be similar to the management development program?” And 60 days later this course was born!

Experience “How to Rock Your Customer Service Job”

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Password: IWantThisTraining

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If you like this, you might be interested in exploring other modules from my customer service online training portal:

Customer Experience Over the TelephoneSo your employees can make a great first impression over the phone and end calls on a positive note

How to Talk to Customers –  So your employees can master the human relations skills that it takes to consistently deliver a delightful customer experience 

Empathy – So your employees instinctively put themselves in your customer’s shoes and respond with more care, concern, and friendliness 

How to Handle Difficult Customers: 5 Conversational Aikido principles – So your employees are confident, assertive and in control when dealing with angry and agitated customers 

Call Control So your employees can politely manage calls with storytellers, ramblers, and whiners

Email Writing: 3 elements of a great email customer experience – So your employees can craft personable emails that reflect your brand voice

How to De-escalate – So your employees can gracefully respond to the customer who demands to speak to a supervisor, and they can assertively keep customers from escalating in aggression or anger

How to Deliver Bad News to a Customer: The 3 keys doctors use to give bad news – So your employees can deliver bad news with confidence and without fear of negative backlash

Complaint HandlingSo your employees can handle problems in such a way that they completely restore customer confidence after a service failure

Learn more about our online customer service training here.

How to Handle Difficult Customers Using Verbal Aikido

Myra Golden Customer Service Training Highlight

Verbal Aikido: A non-aggressive, highly effective strategy for handling difficult customers

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Thanks to the Internet and social media, customers are more savvy now than ever before.  Although this sounds like a good thing, the net result is an increase in stress for frontline customer service professionals. According to Newsweek magazine, the stress level of consumer services professionals is comparable to that of air-traffic controllers and police officers.  In short, the role of customer service now ranks as one of the 10 most stressful jobs in the U.S.

In this keynote Myra Golden reveals that extremely difficult customers are determined to force corporations—via the customer service professional—to give in to the consumer demands—reasonable or not.  This means the customer service professional must develop a response plan.

Myra, a former global head of customer care, teaches leaders how to achieve harmony with dissatisfied and difficult customers through the use of empathy, conversational aikido and a solid recovery strategy.

The outcome of this keynote is an audience that is prepared to develop a customer-recovery plan that empowers customer service professionals to understand how to create calm; how to find resolutions that balance the interests of the customer and the company; how to reduce escalations; and how to create a positive conversation.

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“If your organization’s growth relies on improving the customer experience, you would benefit enormously from an engagement with Myra Golden. Her vast hands-on experience in a wide variety of service organizations differentiates herself from many other consultants we have worked with in the past. Our organization has utilized Myra’s online webinars with outstanding results as well. Very high value for your consulting dollar.

Beth Dockins

Former Director, Customer Service, Audit, Admin at The Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. 


Key Take-aways:

  • Learn exactly what it takes to restore customer confidence and regain goodwill after a service failure.
  • Examine the 6 steps for a customer recovery plan that empowers employees with excellent decision-making and judgment skills, resolves problems at the first encounter and restores customer trust.
  • Discover how your employees can communicate assertively, create calm and take control with difficult customers by using conversational aikido.
  • Explore ways to build stronger emotional connections with customers through Extreme Empathy
  • Execute your new customer recovery strategy faster by using a new fiercely focused project plan that gets all of your horses going in the same direction.

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“I am still receiving compliments on your polished and actionable presentation! You are a complete professional who can connect with your audience through warmth and deep knowledge. I hope to have you back again!”

Michelle Singer, President, American Marketing Association – Tulsa Chapter


Download a PDF brochure of this keynote description

Videos discussing key points from Myra’s Verbal Aikido training workshop 

This video is about the Aikido principle of “don’t push”

This video is about the Yielding technique, another Verbal Aikido principle Myra’s participants learn in the Verbal Aikido workshop

 

Myra Golden

Customer Experience Designer & Professional Speaker

Myra Golden Media
Phone: 918-398-9368
Fax: 832-218-8464
info@myragolden.com

Visit Myra’s Keynote Speaking & Customer Service Training website: www.MyraGolden.com

Connect with Myra on Twitter: @myragolden.

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.”

Continue reading “Yield to Callers (Don’t over talk or interrupt)”