20 Damn Good Ways to Express Empathy to a Customer

Nurse Treating Teenage Girl Suffering With Depression

When I hear an excellent, and genuine, expression of empathy from a company, I make a note of it. I’ll tell Siri to capture what I heard, or I’ll just type it out. I catalog ridiculously good empathy statements so that I can share them when I’m helping my clients with compassion.

In customer service workshops, like the one I delivered Friday in Columbus, I challenge my clients to use the empathy expressions I’ve heard (and felt) to inspire them to come up with their own empathic responses. Let’s make believe you’re with me now, in a training session. I share with you 20 of the best empathic expressions I’ve heard. Here they are: Continue reading “20 Damn Good Ways to Express Empathy to a Customer”

Here’s a Training Activity for Empathy In Customer Service

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I’m giving you the actual exercise I gave to the employees in the customer service training I delivered this morning, along with the discussion questions I used. If you’d like an excellent training activity that helps employees convey empathy, print off this exercise and facilitate a short discussion with your team.

Continue reading “Here’s a Training Activity for Empathy In Customer Service”

5 Phrases That Make Customers Think Your Employees Don’t Really Care

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I was trying to check in for my American Airlines flight on my phone. I was able to get one boarding pass, but not the other. After several failed attempts, I called American and explained my problem. I was transferred quickly and the person I ended up with looked into my itinerary and then said,

“Ms. Golden, this is a system error. You are checked in all the way through to Tulsa. I don’t want you to worry at all. Your flight is confirmed and you are checked in. You have a few options for getting your boarding pass (she gave me 3 easy options), but I want you to know it’s all good. You’re confirmed and checked in.”

I don’t want you to worry at all.

“I don’t want you to worry at all.” was exactly the right thing to say to me. The employee at American zeroed in on my concern that my flight wasn’t confirmed and she perfectly used the right words to acknowledge my concern and put me at ease.

Every interaction your employees have with customers is an opportunity to make the customer experience easy, helpful and friendly. The words your employees use make all of the difference. The lady at American used the right words. The wrong words can cause dis-ease in customers, or leave customers thinking you don’t care. In this article, I’m sharing 5 phrases that cause dis-ease and make customers believe that you don’t care.

1. “The only thing I can do is…”

Customers, especially if they happen to be angry, need options. Never make a client feel pushed into a corner. Even if you know, for example, that you have no appointments available for a customer today, pretend to check before telling them no. Do it this way. “We work on an appointment system. Let me check to see if we have openings today.” Then, “I can get you in tomorrow at 1:00 pm.” That took a few more words than, “The only thing I can do is…” but it sounds so much more helpful.

2. “I can let you talk to my supervisor, but she’s just gonna say the same thing I’ve already told you.”

Continue reading “5 Phrases That Make Customers Think Your Employees Don’t Really Care”

5 Mistakes Your Employees Cannot Make on the Phone

Bored Telephone Worker

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.

 

 

7 Things You Can Say to Demonstrate Empathy to Customers

How to Express Empathy

One of the skills we practice in my onsite customer service workshops is Empathy. Here are some of the exact phrases that I share in my training sessions for use in our role-plays – and in real life with customers.

Continue reading “7 Things You Can Say to Demonstrate Empathy to Customers”

“Wow” Works for Zappos, But It Won’t Work For You – Here’s Why

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A corporate trainer in one of my client organizations is gung-ho on the Zappos culture and she is convinced that what her contact center needs is agents trained to make small talk with customers and empowerment so agents can consistently deliver wow experiences – “Just like Zappos does,” she says.

Now, I love what Zappos has done. I have delivered many a keynote and webinar on the Zappos culture. Zappos is the best at the customer experience, bar none. So understand me when I say this: I respect Zappos. But the Zappos culture will not work for anybody but Zappos.

Continue reading ““Wow” Works for Zappos, But It Won’t Work For You – Here’s Why”