Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Common Mistake

Ever send an email that someone urgently requested and not know if it made it in time? A common customer service mistake is to not acknowledge an email. Your customer has no idea if you have received it. Sometimes all it takes is a simple “Thank You” to an email.

I have had many requests for information. Often folks are in a hurry to receive the information. After emailing it to them I never hear back. They needed it. It was important. But they couldn’t take the few seconds to let me know it did not get caught in a spam filter or it has washed up on a beach. This requires me to send a follow up email to confirm they received it.

Someone in my customer service course said he did not have time to acknowledge all his emails. He received over 150 a day. The reality - it takes very little time to simply say “Thank you” to a customer. Most importantly it is very important to the customer to hear that you received their email.

Avoid the common mistake and acknowledge your customers’ emails.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

2 Voice Mail Tips

Your voice mail needs options and information. Is there an option other than leaving a message in your voice mail? You can offer another number or best yet a pressed number to place the caller with someone live. Some people prefer leaving a message but others may need to talk with someone right away.

Do you give your customers the best information on your voice mail? If it is a heavily used number you can provide some basic information before they leave a message. Let your customers know when they can expect a reply. The best voice mails are updated daily. It only takes 15-20 seconds. Your customers know when to expect you to answer your phone. 

You don’t have to be available 24 hours a day via phone. Let voice mail work for you. Provide your customers with options and the best information.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Tip for a Tip

Smile about this tip. A basic customer service skill is to smile when you talk to someone on the phone. Why? Your voice has a more pleasant tone when you smile.
Now here’s a tip about that tip. Reinforce using your smile with a mirror. Many folks who talk with their customers on the phone will keep a small mirror nearby. They will see themselves on the phone and discover whether they are smiling. 
Another tip for this tip is to post a smiley face nearby. Instead of a mirror some folks stick a smiley face where they can see it when they are on the phone.
Smile when you are on the phone and watch yourself smile. A simple tip that will make a difference for your customers.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Hello! Customer service is about building relationships. When folks enter your space “Hello” says you recognize them. In most cases this is best. Some retail stores greet you with, “Can I help you?” Most of the time your answer is “No”. This ends the relationship.
“Hello” starts the relationship. When someone wants more information they know who to ask. 
I was volunteering at a conference to give directions & assistance to attendees. I stood on one side of the hall while my peer stood on the other. He held a big sign that said “Ask Me.” I simply said “Hello” to folks who passed me. I had 5 times more questions that my co-worker. “Hello” starts the relationship.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Blue Light Customer Service

The blue light starting it all. My son-in-law was driving through main street in Emerald Isle, NC at 2 am with his 2 small children asleep. 
The police car passed him in the opposite direction. It turned around and ignited its blue lights. Once stopped, the officer approached slowly, examining the car’s contents. “You were going 10 over the speed limit.”
My son-in-law was tired from a 9 hour trip to the beach with his family. The town speed limit had just dropped from 35 to 25. He was minutes from joining the rest of us at our annual beach home. It’s been our family tradition for over 25 years in this small town.
In hushed tones the officer continued. “I don’t want to wake the children. Please don’t do it again and enjoy your stay.”
It was a simple gesture. The officer made his point. My son-in-law now pays more attention to his speed limit. It was extraordinary customer service. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Slow Down to Speed Up

Slow down to speed up is a key in customer service. How many times have you been in a hurry only to make a mistake and have to go back to fix it? You may have saved a little time initially but you spent more time overall. 
You can work with customers effectively but not efficiently. So take you time with customers. Don’t be in a hurry. Make sure you get it right the first time. Make sure you get it right the way they want it done.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

No Problem is a Problem

“No Problem” can be a problem. A common reply to “Thank You” is “No Problem.” If you want to provide customer service that sets you apart from the others tell folks You’re Welcome.
No Problem speaks from your point of view. It often tells customers their issue was not a problem and they should not have brought it to your attention.  You’re Welcome acknowledges the customer’s point of view.
Listen to service providers next time when you say Thank You. Judge from your own reactions. 
Congratulations I have now anointed you a You’re Welcome cult member with all the rights & privileges … You’re Welcome!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Adam's Story

Adam is the example of Extraordinary Customer Service. He sells shoes at Tops For Shoes in downtown Asheville, NC. This is an independent show store going into it's 3rd generation of ownership. They live and breathe customer service. The only way employees leave is through death or having to move away.
Adam has been working at the store for 5 years. He was in the restaurant business. A friend got him a job in the stockroom of the shoe store so Adam would have something else to do. In a couple of years he found himself on the shoeroom floor selling shoes - something he never thought he would do.
Adam quickly discovered that his job was not selling shoes. His job was helping solve people's problems. If they have hurting feet, leg problems, or back issues he understands the shoes he was fitting were to solve the problems.
This is what Extraordinary Customer Service is all about. Helping people solve problems not selling goods or services. Adam does not want to sell you a shoe you will not wear. He wants you to be better because you saw him. That's Extraordinary Customer Service!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

It's Just A Tweak

Extraordinary customer service is actually quite simple. Think about a time when you experienced poor customer service. Now think about a time when you experienced extraordinary customer service. The difference between the two are often just a simple tweak. It doesn't take much to transform a poor experience into an extraordinary one.