Are your customer service people adding value to interactions?

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The night before a workshop I delivered last week in Charleston, SC I called the Mellow Mushroom for delivery. I removed cheese and meat from my appetizer, salad, and entree. (It sounds like I ate a lot! I did.) The man on the phone asked, “Are you vegan?” To that, I said, “Yes, I am.” “Me too,” he said. He then went on to explain that my Quinoa burger included a little egg as a binding and he wanted to know if that was okay. I was fine with that. From there we chatted about us both being “flexible vegans.”

The simple inquiry, “Are you vegan?” led to rapport-building conversation and such a friendly and unique experience for me. The man was friendly. He was genuine. He made me feel completely comfortable with my many customizations. And he gave me an engaging and genuine interaction.

Are your people adding value to your company through their interactions with customers?

Your employees can add value to the customer experience by doing 3 things: Making personal connection, Acknowledging concern, and Empathy

1. Making Personal Connection

This is what the man at Mellow Mushroom did, and it’s so easy to do. In my workshops, I tell people to look for something they can comment on, something perhaps that they have in common with the customer. For example, a customer service agent could say, “I ordered that exact same duffle for my daughter. She’s in cheer as well and she loves that she can throw all of her outfits and makeup in it and easily carry the bag over her shoulder.” This sharing helps create rapport because it’s genuine – and it just might lead to a sell or up-sell.

2. Acknowledge Concern

Continue reading “Are your customer service people adding value to interactions?”

26 little ideas to help you be nicer to unhappy or complaining customers

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Here are 26 ideas you can print off and share with your customer service employees. Or, you could share these ideas in a quick 3-minute training.


The ABC’s of Customer Recovery

Act as if every lost customer’s value to the company comes out of your paycheck.

Believe the best of customers. Don’t make the mistake of assuming most customers are out to simply get something for nothing. The truth is, less than 1% of customers contact companies with ulterior motives in mind.

C ommunicate with diplomacy and tact when you final answer is “no” and when explaining company policy.

D on’t tell a customer she is wrong. Telling a customer they are wrong never makes them want to agree with you. It only pushes them more forcefully into their original position.

E mpathize with unhappy customers and allow this empathy to season your responses.

F ind a way to say “yes” to customers. Instead of saying “no” or telling the customer what you can’t do, think critically about what you actually can do.

G ive a token item such a coupon as a concrete form of apology.

H ave a sense of urgency. Demonstrate with your words and speed of response that getting to the bottom of the problem is just as important to you as it is to your customer.

I nvolve customers in the problem resolution process. Sometimes it’s very helpful to simply ask, “How do you see us resolving this?”

Jot down the customer’s name and details of the problem they are describing so you don’t have to ask the customer to repeat information.

K eep customers apprised of your timetable and progress toward resolving their problems.

L isten with the intent to truly understand your customer, not with the intent to interrupt, reply, or correct.

M onitor your voice and attitude to make sure you sound  friendly, helpful and willing.

N egotiate resolutions that balance both the interests of your company and your customer.

Open the door with unhappy customers with open- ended questions. Make your questions demonstrate a sincere interest in better understanding the customer’s problem or experience.

P ut yourself in the customer’s shoes. How would you feel if the exact same problem happened to you?

Q uickly apologize. Apologize both when the company is at fault and even when the customer is responsible for the error. An apology goes a long way in creating calm, diffusing anger and regaining goodwill.

R ecognize that the issue is not the issue. The way the issue is handled becomes the real issue.

S ay “no” diplomatically and without causing resentment. The best way to do this is to start out by telling the customer what you can do.

T hank customers for their feedback.

U p-Service your customers by suggesting products or services that enhance the value of their current purchase.

View the customer as the reason for your work- –not as an interruption to your work.

W OW customers.

EX amine the root cause of problems and work to eliminate problems at the root.

Y ou are the company to each customer. Never underestimate your power to influence the customer’s future buying decisions.

Zero in on the customer’s needs and wants.


Now you can give your representatives even more great skills for delivering the best customer experience and for handling difficult customer situations. Sign up for my email list and learn specific tips, approaches and phrases to help your employees help your customers.