Archive for the ‘Customer Service’ Category

Internal customer service

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

When most people picture a customer, they naturally think of the person who buys a company’s products and services. Making that person’s life better and easier is a great way to think of customer service.

But what about internal customer service—the way employees interact with and support others in the company? The best companies make sure their internal customer service is on par with their external customer service.

Suppose you work in IT and somebody’s computer is down. Now they can’t deliver great external service. You might make it your own goal that “No one will be down more than one hour.” Internal service supports external service.

Internal customer service also sets the tone for employee engagement. Each phone call from a colleague should be answered with the same courteous, “How may I help you?” language and tone that external customers receive.

This also has a huge impact on employee engagement. We are the face of the company to each other. If we see a cold and uncaring face when we interact with other employees, we will each naturally come to see the company itself as cold and uncaring. It’s hard to stay engaged in your work when you see your company in that unflattering light.

Engagement is tied directly to productivity, of course, so It’s not just a matter of being “nice.” Upping your internal customer service game can make the difference between a company that founders on the rocks and smooth sailing.

The Accountability Power-Up

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

A study by the American Society for Training and Development shows how important accountability is for success. If you hear a good idea, there’s a 10 percent probability that you’ll actually do it. Deciding to do it moves the likelihood to 25 percent. Commit to someone else, and the likelihood rises to 65 percent.

But make a specific accountability appointment with that person, complete with deadline and deliverables, and the likelihood of actually doing it shoots up to 95 percent.

That’s what accountability does for success.

Of course we can always find a lame excuse to avoid accountability. “I was too busy.” “There isn’t enough time in the day.” “I tried my best.” “The supplier is a jerk.” “I sent an email!”

If having an excuse is the goal, we will never fail. All you need is a little imagination. But your career will be short and stressful if you don’t understand that “results rule”—and excuses shouldn’t ever be uttered IF you want any respect from your boss or team. To rock your job, build accountability systems for yourself and for those around you. That’s where REAL success happens.

Keeping Up Appearances

Monday, October 14th, 2013

When Jan Carlson took over the reins of Scandinavian Airlines, he identified “Moments of Truth” –the moments when customers form an impression of the business. If a customer saw a coffee stain on a tray when it was pulled down from the seat back, Carlson knew that the person’s first thought would be, “Oh my goodness, I wonder if they remembered to service the engines.”

That same attention to detail has taken many companies from also-ran to extraordinary. And ignoring those details can take you right back into the pits just as fast.

One of the most profound impacts an employee can have on customer perceptions is their own personal appearance.

It’s true that looking your best takes effort. But more importantly, it shows effort. If you greet a customer with your hair uncombed or your clothes wrinkled, it speaks loudly of a lack of effort. The customer can’t help making the subconscious connection between that moment and the rest of the company. If no effort goes into the appearance of the front line, I wonder if any effort goes into the products and services?

So each morning on your way out the door, take a quick glimpse in the mirror. If the face staring back at you is not the image you want to be promoting, turn around and make it right!

Words Matter

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Mark Twain said, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—It’s the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.”

The words we use can convey more than we think. It’s worth taking a moment to choose your words carefully—especially the phrases we use every day.

One phrase that customer service people often fall into is “No problem.” Sounds harmless enough, right? But that phrase turns a lot of people off because “No problem” conveys the subtle message that there might have been a problem, but lucky for the customer, you are willing and able to help them. But who knows about the next request they make? That might be a problem.

Even if you don’t mean it this way, it can sound like you’re doing the customer a favor by doing your job. The message is subtle, but it’s there.

Now consider the difference if you say, “I’d be delighted to do that for you!” Now you haven’t just avoided a problem—you’ve leapt at the chance to make sure they are happy. That’s a message worth sending.

Tape a small piece of paper to the desk by your phone or at the edge of your computer monitor—wherever your eyes are likely to fall on it naturally during a call—with the words “I’d be happy to!” or “I’d be delighted!” It takes a little effort to drop a habit, but once you do, the new habit will become just as automatic as the old one.

Put Customers at the Center of Your Business… REALLY

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

When it comes to running a customer-centered business, everybody talks a good game. “Where The Customer is #1” is one of the most common taglines for businesses of all kinds—even those that treat the customers like #2, if you get my drift.