Tag Archives: customer service

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small errors

How Small Errors Become Big Problems

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It is common for big problems to be linked to big errors. Often though the big problem developed from small errors that grew over time. Are small errors worth fixing, or should they be ignored?

Bad Habits

It often feels natural to skip over the little mistake. Many believe it is perfectly fine to procrastinate about the task at hand, brush it off, and save it for later.

Habits are formed this way. The habit may be to shrug and walk away. Place the blame on other circumstances or situations. Ask who was the last person who touched it and suggest that the starting point exists somewhere else. After all, you’re too busy.

Wrong Directions

We were late because of traffic.

The guy on the corner gave us bad directions.

The signage is simply not adequate on this road.

If you are lost, do you keep driving hoping to pop out at the right place?

Certainly, this may work if you’re close. As in, close to having the right directions, but if you are traveling North when you should be going South, good luck. Your problems are compounding with every mile.

Most of the time our wrong turns, bad choices, and faulty data are not because of an isolated incident. They are the result of compounded issues that grow with each successive twist or turn. They grow bigger and get faster. Worse yet, they get further away and harder to come back to.

The result is a bigger problem.

Small Errors

A messy customer experience doesn’t get better when you wait. Often the issue festers. While it festers the same experience can be inappropriately duplicated.

The problem grows over time. More people affected, more costs eroded, and a brand that sours.

It seems likely that sometimes the best way to deal with big problems is to deal with them when they are small errors. Casting blame, looking away, or denial of an issue doesn’t let anything slip away except more time and money.

Next time there is a small error consider fixing it before it grows into a big problem. It is the right kind of habit.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten RespectNavigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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service escalation

Service Escalation and Why Your Customers Ask For It

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“Follow the chain of command.” That is what we are often taught. Many workplace professionals identify this as a sign of respect, integrity, and loyalty. Are your customers asking for service escalation?

It happens the moment a customer asks to speak with the manager. Some customers may act on impulse. They have learned from experience that you need to jump to a higher level to get results.

Starts Internally

The same is true internally. When the operations group feels that the sales group over-committed. When the sales group feels that operations aren’t fulfilling efficiently. Employee teams either solve the problems or escalate them.

In most cases there is a force at work here. The force is trying to stop the escalation. The concept is simple. When you stop the problem from escalating you are servicing the customer more efficiently.

No fingers are pointed. Time and effort are minimized. Everyone is happy. At least that is the concept.

It is a tug-of-war with the customer. For the customer it may send the message that their service problem is not important. The customer demands escalation, the leadership wants to train the staff not to escalate.

Training the staff to avoid escalation has value to the customer, but only when it is proven. Proof occurs when the staff is appropriately empowered (and trained) to solve problems.

Service Escalation

In the smallest organization, the President is the front line. Things typically work out. In every organization larger than the smallest, different challenges develop.

Organizational leaders should understand the challenges faced by the customer. A good starting point is listening carefully to those they have empowered on the front line.

The culture of service internally is what the external customer always feels.

Escalation occurs when the customer feels it is required.

Listen for the requirements. It is a story you can’t afford to miss.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten RespectNavigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Will AI change

How Will AI Change Your Service?

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Let the cat out of the bag. If you aren’t paying attention to Artificial Intelligence (AI) you may get left behind. Of course, many of us are adopting it and using it with micro changes that are so subtle we barely notice. How will AI change your service?

Easy Targets

Customer service and the customer experience are easy targets for AI intervention. Computers are increasingly storing more and more information about human interactions, behaviors, and patterns.

While privacy has been a concern, it is all happening very fast, and sometimes without your knowledge. These are important aspects, but this likely won’t stop the process.

Simulated voice technology is rapidly expanding. Computers are calling people, and people find it hard to recognize the difference between a human, and the computer. There is face recognition in pictures stored on your phone, the social media channels have data about you, and some suggest big brother is watching.

How can all of this benefit us? It is simple really.

Can You Imagine

Imagine you wake up in the morning, check your calendar on your phone, send a text to person you are meeting with that day that you’ll arrive by 9:00 AM. Later you go to your car, your car won’t start and your car battery starts to lose power and eventually dies. Now you won’t make your 9:00 AM.

AI knows all of this. It knows your calendar, who you are meeting, and that you confirmed the appointment. It knows you tried to start your car several times. Your car reported a check engine situation and right before the battery died it sent an electronic signal indicating what was happening.

Will AI Change Your Service

Now you need a ride, you need to notify the person you are meeting with, and you need to know how long until you can actually arrive. Guess what, AI can manage all of this. It knows your location, how long until Uber can be there, the location you are going to, traffic patterns, and more.

No need for you to panic, make calls, calculate times, and adjust schedules. AI can do it all. In fact, it can not only do it faster, it can do it better because it has more data on current situations that may affect your journey.

The future of the best customer experience exists in AI. It has already started.

Therefore, the best question may not be, “How will AI change your service?” The best question may be, “How fast can you jump on board?”

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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high value customers

Do You Know Your High Value Customers?

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Who are your high value customers? How do you define high value? What is in it for your organization and what should be in it for the customer?

Frequent Buyer

The staff at your favorite restaurant may know the high value customer. It is the person, couple, or family that comes in often, doesn’t push a lot of buttons or make much noise, and they leave great tips. It doesn’t take a spreadsheet, Salesforce CRM, or your frugal mother-in-law to figure it out.

If a simple mom and pop roadside diner can do it, why can’t big business?

Measuring Length

We find it often. It is the take a number in the deli line, it is being the twelfth caller in the queue, or it may happen after checking in at your local retail cellular telephone store. It is the FIFO (first in, first out) system at its best.

There is little regard for length of time you’ve been a customer, how much you spend, or how much profit you are providing back to the organization. If they don’t have this figured out they certainly don’t know anything about your digital footprint, your spending potential, or who your friends are.

How Will Artificial Intelligence (AI) Change Your Service?

Artificial Intelligence or AI, is going to rapidly evolve and change the face of all of this. You need to start thinking about AI and acting on it now. As this starts to unfold you might start thinking about how you can know more about your customer.

What key performance indicators (KPI) will you track and monitor? What metrics and measurements will you use?

High Value Customers

One thing is certain. When I go to a restaurant that I visit frequently, spend a lot of money, and tip very well, I expect a booth, not a table. I expect the staff to know my favorite drink (N.A. Iced Tea) and I expect my food order to get prepared timely and with the greatest care.

These are my expectations. Not because I am pushy, full of myself, or because I’m trying to impress a friend. It is because I believe I should be treated differently based on my commitment to their business.

Your customers probably expect the same thing. They dream of airlines that really work, they dream of appointments that are running on schedule, and they want their shopper’s club card to actually provide some real value.

All of this or none of this matters if you don’t know your high value customers.

It may be time to start figuring it out, and while you are at it, make some changes that applaud them more.

– DEG

Buy Now on Amazon

 

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

 

Originally published on March 28, 2018, last updated on April 7, 2018

 


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business people #custserv

Customer Service Culture, not a Department Seminar – Wmspt, PA

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Customer service is a culture, not a department seminar. Half day seminar. Additional details by clicking on the website link below.


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customer service voice

What Is Your Customer Service Voice?

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Most of us have one, a voice that offers our opinions, expresses our values, and sets our desired expectations. Your voice may be more impactful than you realize. What is your customer service voice?

Internal and External

Keep in mind that customer service is both an internal and external part of your organizational culture. What is said, discussed, and believed is a big part of what sets expectations and creates outcomes.

Ship it anyway, the customer won’t notice.

I can’t find their telephone number on their website.

They completely rearranged the supermarket again, now I can’t find anything.

Your voice may be more powerful than you realize. What people say, even to themselves sets the expectations for future outcomes.

Power of Voice

When we believe the customer won’t notice, we’ll allow our work to have less quality. Believing that they won’t notice also signals that they don’t care. The belief becomes that they will continue to buy out of need, buy based only on price, or buy because they are sloppy or not frugal.

Certainly, the idea of fewer customer service oriented calls conceptually saves money. It removes the human cost. Similar to the auto attendant signaling us to “press or say one for sales, two for…” so that we are directed to the correct department.

The real problem may be that people are calling only after the website or help chat has left them with unanswered questions or additional frustration. Better yet is the system that demands your customer number, order number, or telephone, only to get a live person and have to repeat it all again.

When technology drives better service, when the investment is expensive enough to make it better, not cheaper, typically service will improve. Unfortunately, many efforts to remove the human factor are an immediate attempt to cut costs, not improve service.

The supermarket may measure profit and margins by what shoppers select and where they can find it. Single piece candy bars aren’t in the back corner of the store, that is where the milk, meat, and seafood is located.

The store may not care about the amount of energy required for your shopping experience, but they certainly want you see all the high margin items you can conveniently buy from them. In contrast, the e-commerce store allows sort, filter, and easy reorder, plus it arrives at your door.

Customer Service Voice

What we say, what we discuss, and most importantly what we tell ourselves and others will condition our expectations. This is our customer service voice.

When we believe that cheap is all that matters, that is probably exactly what we’ll get.

Perhaps our customer service voice should change. It may require more talk about what we buy being connected with what it is worth, not just connected with what it costs.

These are the businesses that are focused on doing what matters, not what is cheap.

They are out there. Their employees and customers both have the same voice.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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undecided customers

More Options and Undecided Customers

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One concept is that people aren’t buying because they lack the option that they need or want. Whether it is buying an idea, a product, or picking the best apple from the bushel. Counting options can create undecided customers.

It is an easy trap and one that businesses often fall into. If people are not buying, what we are selling it must mean we aren’t selling the right stuff. Of course, that could be the case, but what should you do?

More Options

Many businesses and marketers will expand the menu. They are convinced that what they are already offering is important, valid, and desired, otherwise it wouldn’t be on the menu, so their solution is add more options.

To the novice marketer lots of options seems like the right path. If we don’t have it, we’ll create it, or offer it as an option. Options cost, but it feels better than losing the sale.

However, more options often doesn’t close the sale. It makes the buying decision even harder. In some cases, it makes it so much more challenging that the customer walks away, still thinking, but cannot decide.

Most consumers pride themselves on making good choices. Given more options, the safest choice is sometimes no choice right now. They will wait, studying the options, they will think about it more.

Undecided Customers

Choosing our Netflix movie, hiring the right candidate, or picking the wonton soup from the Chinese menu all occurs after we’ve filtered. More options doesn’t make the choice easier, it makes it harder. It is the greatest way to delay a choice, make the customer work harder, or just not buy at all.

Having something for everyone seems appealing, until no one can decide.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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customer service time appreciative strategies

Customer Service Time You Will Never Get Back

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Apologies do not always make a difference. Attempting to fix a wrong will not always make it right. Unfortunately, in many circumstances customer service time is time that you will never get back. Have you lost time that you’ll never get back?

In a rapidly expanding service economy organizations that focus on proper delivery, minimizing breakdowns in service, and maximizing opportunities by caring most about the customer often find it easy to make a difference. It is easy because so many businesses get it wrong.

Time Wasted

Is your business getting it right or getting it wrong? Certainly, we recognize that time is money, who is wasting your time? How has your time been wasted?

  • Waiting in line or in the queue
  • Shipping delays
  • Bad weather shutdowns
  • Wrong product shipped
  • Product not to spec
  • Wait staff with too many tables
  • Order given to wrong customer
  • Wrong information in customer database record
  • Failure to place order on production schedule
  • Equipment malfunction or breakdown

Some of these, none of these, or all of these may result in an experience that is less than desirable for the customer. What is worse is that it represents a loss in time that can never be recovered.

There are times when apologies don’t really matter. There are times when trying to fix the wrong isn’t comparable to the damage.

Customer Service Time

We can’t control the weather, sometimes we can’t control equipment breakdowns, and sometimes we get more business than what we are prepared to handle.

For the customer, none of it matters because when it equates to time they’ll never get back, it is gone forever.

Sometimes they are too.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Customer Service Best Practices

Do You Use Customer Service Best Practices?

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Organizations everywhere are trying to build their brand. Their image, reputation, and the work that they do are possibly the result of years of innovation. Has your organization considered customer service best practices? How will you build your brand?

In society, we are always using best practices and lessons learned. The same is often true for businesses and even to some extent our government.

Refining Products and Services

General Motors, Ford, and even Tesla use best practices. They are building and refining designs that may have started more than 100 years ago. Part of their mission is to improve the product, even the nuts, bolts, and welds. They strive to improve the reliability, durability, and power.

We can’t forget about comfort, safety, and the feeling of the ride. The features and systems that make the automobile what it is today are largely based on best practices developed across time. Engineers and experts learn from years of trial and error.

Best practices and lessons learned hold tremendous value. This is true in building science, agriculture, and even in technology management. We make things better, stronger, and more efficient. In part, because we’ve learned from the past.

Innovation and Design

We can’t ignore the other side of following best practices. This side goes to the innovators, risk takers, and all of the artful approaches for something new.

The risk is different for innovation. The costs are sometimes higher; the time to bring it to market may be longer. Even this work is based somewhat on what has come before it. It is different because it pushes beyond the limits of past experiences.

This form of exploration considers trends in style, taste, and even color. It doesn’t always follow. It often intentionally goes a completely different direction.

Customer Service Best Practices

The best practices that you put in place to build your brand are important. Your culture of customer service and creating the best customer experience should build on lessons learned.

Additionally, the best will consider how to go beyond the norm. Beyond the norm considers how direction will be set and how to risk developing something new, something more efficient, and most of all, tasteful.

The most important part of best practices is that they are always evolving, it is innovation after the learning.

You can ignore the past if you wish, but nearly everything we build is based on an earlier idea that has been modified.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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changing customer service

Are You Changing Customer Service Practices?

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Change is a vital part of organizational development. Organizations that care about being front-runners always have a laundry list of what they will change. The question often becomes, “Do they?” Are you changing customer service practices?

At least several schools of people exist when it comes to change. There is the group who resists and in contrast the group who is eager to push the process forward. Often the largest group is the group of fence sitters, those who are waiting to see how things really take shape before they commit.

Shifting Economy

In the US, our economy has been shifting for decades. It is has been called a digital economy, new age, and many other attention seeking labels.

My belief is that we are operating in a service intensive economy. Even manufacturing operations are commonly introducing more service components to their business.

Early Adopters

Some people will recall when the internet was labeled a fad, a cellular phone was too expensive, and computers weren’t necessary to run your business.

There are the early adopters to technology, the ones leading the charge. They line up for several city blocks sometimes in unfavorable weather conditions just hoping for a chance to get the latest and greatest release.

Software developers push out new releases, upgrades, fixes, and patches. Eager businesses sign up to become beta testers with the advantage of co-development for future releases.

Traditional products and services are sometimes still admired but those who are growing are often providing a new twist. Failure to change, innovate, and adopt technology means that they are watching from behind.

Changing Customer Service

The customer experience and customer service practices have never been more important. Being a front-runner, a beta tester, or an innovation expert is what will propel organizations to the front, or in the absence of change allow them to fall behind.

There certainly is not a guarantee that the next front-runner, technology embracer, or fad will become the one that all others in category will chase.

There is however, a guarantee that a new tradition, a new method, something technological will propel the leaders. It has been true for centuries. That likely isn’t going to change.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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