The 2 Mistakes Your Front Desk Staff Cannot Make in the First 6 Seconds of a Phone Call with a Patient

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I took my son to the pediatrician yesterday afternoon for his annual checkup. The nurse did a quick vision test and then recommended I get my son to an optometrist. I was hoping my son would be the one person in our family who did not need corrective lenses.

In the car on the way home I called the eye doctor we’d used for my daughter a few months ago. Here’s how the call went.

Continue reading “The 2 Mistakes Your Front Desk Staff Cannot Make in the First 6 Seconds of a Phone Call with a Patient”

2 Reasons Your Employees Are Failing at the Customer Experience

 

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You know your customer service is not where it needs to be. You know your employees aren’t delivering the level of service your customers expect and deserve. And this is keeping you up at night.

There are 2 reasons why your people are failing at the customer experience.

They aren’t establishing rapport with customers. And this is a big one. And, they aren’t in harmony with what your customers need and expect. Let’s take a look at the reasons agents fail at the customer experience and explore what you can do about it. 

  1. They aren’t establishing rapport with customers

This morning I was monitoring calls for a contact center client; something I often do. Here’s how the Agent opened the call. Continue reading “2 Reasons Your Employees Are Failing at the Customer Experience”

What Aikido Masters Know About Handling Difficult People That You Don’t

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I’m sitting at my desk reading feedback from my recent Verbal Aikido workshop. The workshop was: “What Aikido Master Know About Handling Difficult People That You Don’t” As you know, much of what I teach is focused on how to most effectively deal with difficult customers. So, for this special online training event I taught my clients how to deal with extremely difficult customers. I call these customers collectively The Consumer Vigilante. Here’s what one participant had to say about the training:

“We have seen versions of this before but I like that you are updating and refreshing these webinars. Sometimes seeing them refreshed or in a different format or something, it may help things click with some of the reps. I think with the climate we are in and more customers being stressed out than ever, we are having more and more challenging customers and our reps need the ammunition to help them and help themselves otherwise it makes the job so much harder. I can’t wait to get the recording of this to make this one a required webinar where we will sit down and talk about it afterwards as a team.”

Deb Riley, Former Consumer Affairs Supervisor, Ahold USA

In the training I explained that today’s consumers are impatient, savvy and relentless. Some customers, the consumer vigilantes, will stop at nothing. I walked my audience through the toll difficult customs are taking on employees and organizations:

  1. Extremely difficult customers are putting serious stress on employees. This stress is bringing down morale and inviting burnout.
  2. Difficult customers cost companies money! The time it takes to deal with unhappy and extremely difficult customers is taking time away from your best customers and resulting in a poor customer experience because staff can’t deliver the best service to the best customers.

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Screen shot from my Verbal Aikido rehearsal

I shared thoughts, stories, perspectives and research to inspire my audience to take a more focused approach toward handling difficult customers. And then I presented a powerful solution to handling difficult customers, the consumer vigilantes of the world: What Aikido Masters Know About Handing Difficult People That You Don’t 5 Aikido Principles for Creating Calm, Defusing Anger and Moving to Closure with Difficult Customers.

If you missed the big event, you can still purchase the training video. Your training includes: Unlimited viewing within your organization with no expiration Rights to download and save webinar video Rights to incorporate webinar within your Learning Management System (LMS) What Aikido Masters Know About Handing Difficult People That You Don’t 60-minute video on-demand video training $299 per organization Purchase

5 Ideas to Improve The Way You to Talk to Customers

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The biggest problem with the customer experience in most companies is how employees talk to customers. All too often, employees come across as indifferent, cold, uncaring, rushed or rude. This employee “attitude problem” can be the tipping point that sends customers to the competition. This attitude problem is what drives customers to tweet and blog about a poor customer experience.

The great news is, with the right training and strategy, employees can learn how to soften tones, truly convey empathy, make customers feel taken care of and even make memorable personal emotional connections with customers. Here are 5 tips to get you started on the right track for how to talk to your customers.

1. Acknowledge customer concern, when appropriate 

This helps you convey empathy and compassion and it helps you make an emotional connection

▪       “I can understand how frustrating it is when _________”

▪       “I realize how complicated it is to …..”

▪       “I cannot imagine how upsetting it is to …..”

▪       “I know how confusing it must be when….”

 

2. Yield to customers

Be careful not to over talk or interrupt customers. Interrupting is perceived as rude. Three pointers for yielding to customers:

  • Allow customers to finish sentences
  • If you accidentally interrupt a caller, apologize
  • Even when you know within a second or two that the call will need to be transferred, allow the caller to finish their statement before making the transfer

Here’s a 2-minute video that you can show your employees if you notice a problem with interrupting or over talking customers

3. Try not to correct customers 

Even when customers are wrong, it’s best not to correct them. Telling customers they are wrong can put them on the defensive and make interactions tense. If the matter over which the customer is wrong is not critical, try to let the little wrong slide.

4. Speak in complete sentences

When you speak in complete sentences you sound friendlier and “warmer”. Always speak in complete sentences with customers. Instead of saying, “Last name?” say “Can I please have your last name?”

Here’s a short video on the what and why of speaking in complete sentences

5. Pace your customer 

Try to meet your customer where she is and pace her needs. If your customer is asking lots of questions, sounding confused or frustrated, or continues to ask for clarification, you have an opportunity to pace. You can pace this customer by taking the time to slowly cover every detail and by checking to ensure you are clear and understood. When speaking with a customer who sounds busy or savvy, you can pace this customer by getting right to the point and giving them what they need quickly and efficiently.

 

 

 

Now you can give your employees even more great skills for delivering the best customer experience. Sign up for my newsletter if you don’t get it already – and learn specific tips, approaches and phrases to help your employees deliver a delightful and friendly customer experience.