Tag Archives: customer service

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C-Suite Learning

C-Suite Learning Will Mean Customer Satisfaction

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The smallest companies sometimes thrive. Not because they are the cheapest but because they are still learning. What about those in the C-Suite, are they still learning?

C-Suite learning may make the difference for customer satisfaction, growth, or stagnation.

Why pick on the leaders?

Leaders are responsible. Responsible for leading the culture of the organization. The smallest companies make it because the CEO is close enough to the customer to make the difference.

As organizations grow the leadership style starts to shift. The culture drives attention to the numbers and numbers are measured against numbers.

The castle is built and there is either a moat or a wall surrounding it. Sometimes both.

Metrics and measurement separate the connection between the product and the customer. The responsibility shifts to the front line.

The front line is stranded and stalled. They wait for the next meeting, the next decision, or the pivot that scraps it all.

Meanwhile the customer chooses a different path.

The company screams, “There is no customer loyalty!”

C-Suite Learning

C-Suite learning can make the difference. Yes, it is about the conference, the professional development, and the concept that leaders are readers. Don’t forget that it is also about connection.

When the C-Suite continues the connection with the customer the culture built will be inviting the customer to join. Remember, this is exactly why the small business succeeds. Front-line (and CEO) learning, passion, and connection.

Too often as the organization grows, it slows. It grows just big enough so that the chaos and disconnect fight back. The business finds itself positioned somewhere between stuck and stalled.

C-Suite learning often stops. The walls and moats shelter decision makers from the front line. Risk is measured differently. Insight becomes more about the numbers gap and less about customer satisfaction.

In the early days, customer satisfaction came first. It mattered more. Decisions were made by the influence of direct engagement. Learning made things grow.

Now a lack of learning makes things stop.

Learning how to make the numbers matters, but management by the numbers alone puts you inside the castle.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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workplace emotions

Are Workplace Emotions Productive or Destructive?

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Workplace emotions are often regarded as inappropriate. Are emotions important for success or are they a distraction?

Perhaps most important is to remember that we are talking about people here. Living, food consuming, and carbon dioxide producing, people.

Engagement and culture are driven by emotion. Emotions are part of people, they come with the package.

Productive or Destructive?

If you’ve been told to remove the emotion be aware of how you’ll manage your future interactions. If you’re telling people to remove the emotion consider revising your approach.

Certainly, there are times to consider setting aside some of the emotion. Business decisions do sometimes need to be made with setting aside some of the emotional connection. Economic hardship, downsizing, or even organizational survival may come to mind. This is reality and a truth.

Sometimes counterintuitive is that one of the most destructive actions related to culture is removing the emotion.

Let me be clear what I’m talking about. This is not about the person weeping about the death of the window plant. He or she may need some additional help.

This is also not about acting out the latest SNL skit in the breakroom. Humor can be helpful in some cases, however, it is also very volatile. Humor, or the use of humor is a different discussion.

Workplace Emotions

What is important about workplace emotions?

Customer’s make decisions based on emotion. Employee’s make decisions based on emotion. Your culture is driven by emotion.

Psychologically when someone shuns another person in the workplace about emotion, the next time they are feeling something, they may disconnect. This includes passion, inspiration, or even kindness.

They’ll disconnect with the thought, disconnect with the moment, and disconnect with the flow.

Is engagement problematic? What about loyalty? Are you measuring employee or customer retention?

Suggesting on the removal of emotion may be one of the most destructive actions you can take. Do you want a team, a brand, and loyal customers? You’re going to need emotion.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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balancing customer service

Balancing Customer Service or Tipping The Scale

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People often suggest that most things in life require balance. Are you balancing customer service? Does the harsh outweigh the delight?

Doing your best work matters. Doing your best work and being recognized for it may feel like it matters even more. What happens when your best work is criticized?

Show Appreciation

Every day employees, business owners, and people helping other people try hard to create satisfaction.

When a compliment is received, it feels pretty good. A referral, a handwritten note, a smile, a nod, or even an email can make a difference for your day, perhaps your week. If it is really great, it may last a lifetime.

We tend to welcome comments and gestures of appreciation. Without much thought we accept the gratitude, grow through it, and work hard for more.

It makes the effort feel worthwhile. Justifies the labor and is satisfying.

No Appreciation

The other side of the coin is when we put in the labor without recognition. When we hold the door, give the smile, and lend a hand and no appreciation is shown. Nothing recognized, no gestures, and no take away.

It happens when people are judged. When biases lead the conversations, and when what is done well or done right is what was expected and for that, no gratitude.

When the extra effort, or even the required effort goes unnoticed, unrecognized, and underappreciated it feels like our work lacks value. A lack of value makes us question the reasons for the work in the first place. No appreciation, no reason to do the work.

Balancing Customer Service

Lack of appreciation is a deal breaker. It can ruin the moment, the day, and leave a lasting undesirable impression. Good news travels fast, but bad news often travels faster.

For everyone that you serve and for everyone that is serving you, is there balance? Are you balancing customer service efforts? Internal or external, are you providing motivation or disengagement?

If you’re going to tip the scale, tip it by providing more value. It’s appreciated.

-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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customer service pace

Customer Service Pace and the Cutting Edge

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Suggest to someone that we are existing in a fast-paced World and you likely won’t be starting an argument. Most will easily agree. In your organization, what is the customer service pace?

You have two paths. The first path is to do it the way you’ve always done it. The second is to figure out how to be on the cutting edge.

The cutting edge won’t last for very long. It is chasing an expanding goal. It is fluid, rough, bumpy, and requires some risk.

Customer Service Pace

Organizations that exist on the first path may have upgraded, but they are still stuck. Their root philosophies still exist in the history of how they got here.

Somewhat surprising, that path will eventually get them unstuck. Likely headed for extinction, not distinction.

First path organizations have longer wait times. As a result, the customer can do it faster, be more informed, and continue moving without hesitation, discomfort, and stress.

This is the path where sales, service, and customer interactions are more painful for the customer as compared with organizations on the cutting edge.

Cutting Edge Path

The second path, the cutting-edge path, changes the customer service pace.

It is when order status is at their fingertips on a mobile app. When sales questions are self-answered by a schematic the customer finds on the web. It may be when help is just a YouTube video away.

What is worse for the first path organizations?

The second path organizations not only do it faster and with lower customer cost. The customer experience becomes about ease of use, value, and a feeling of respect.

Connection is Culture

There are exceptions. The exceptions exist in connections. Connections that form a culture. Not the organizational culture, but a culture of the customer.

People will wait in line for hours for the latest iPhone release. Culture.

People will gather at Harley Davidson dealerships for food, music, and test rides. Hanging out for hours. Culture.

It may be the rock concert, the county fair, or the line that forms for fresh cut french fries.

Pace isn’t as important here as is the connection and the experience.

Pick your path. Pace yourself. Be something really special that connects people, or be on the cutting edge.

-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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customer service answers

Customer Service Answers Not Questions

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What is the absolute best customer service action? Often it is about being able to supply the answers before the customer knows the question. Are you delivering customer service answers?

The ABC’s of customer service tell us that customer service is about a feeling. It is perception, expectations, and highly subjective.

Two Paths

There are often two paths. The first path is addressing questions and problems from the script.

When in doubt, you supply the same answer in a different way hoping to satisfy the customer need.

This is commonplace for chat help. The highly trained but not highly skilled agent follows the flow chart and waits for your next input.

The better, but much more difficult path is providing timely and valuable information to the customer before the question arises.

Thanks for visiting us again. The elevator is just around the corner to the right, restrooms are on the left. 

After you turn it on, you’ll hear a beep. The beep is normal and means it is working correctly.

You’ll see a new feature on your screen. It is an upgrade we’ve been working on for a the past year. 

No, it isn’t rocket science or magic. Done properly, providing answers before the question can significantly improve the subjective nature of any transaction.

Customer Service Answers

Here are a few tips to consider for providing answers before the question arises:

  1. Analyze frequently asked questions. What are customers wondering or curious about? Think, what will they need next. Not just now, but next.
  2. New features or design. Change is often a surprise. Surprises can make customers start to lack trust. Identify for them what to expect and when.
  3. Link and leverage. Listen carefully to how they are using the product or service. Connect them with offerings that compliment or leverage their needs.

When you provide customer service answers before the question is asked your service will be valued and respected.

Answering questions is valuable. Providing answers before the question, amazing.

-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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pull customer service

Pull Customer Service Matters More

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Get the work done. Push it out the door. Sell more, ship more, and grow the business. These all matter but are they push or pull? Pull customer service may be what makes a bigger difference.

What Is Your Plan?

Plenty of businesses and organizations have a decent plan. Plenty of them execute according to the plan and have some success.

It certainly is not always about reinventing the wheel. Sometimes it is about how we care for the wheel.

If you are already bought-in that care is important, especially for the customer experience, does your culture push or pull?

We often talk about push. Push through the day. Push through the comfort zone. Make greater things happen even in the face of adversity.

Have grit, grind through the emotional labor.

These concepts are not necessarily bad, but they are all about the push. And yes, the push can be motivational.

Plan to Pull

What about pull though? What about having a culture of customer service that is so strong the organizational culture creates a pull?

Imagine the outcomes when the service experience is so good that internal and external customers are pulled in. Imagine they are so attracted to the good vibes that they simply want more.

Organizations with pull customer service are not bickering over who does the work. You don’t hear, “That’s not my job.”

Pull Customer Service

In a pull culture, growth begets growth. It is attraction that builds community. Community builds connection. Connections build more pull. Nobody internal or external feels pushed. Push isn’t a motivator, it is all pull.

They sell more, ship more, and grow more without pushing.

The grind isn’t really a grind because it pulls people in. Sure, there may be moments here and there, but the overall feeling is pull.

Wouldn’t it be nice to push less?

-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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emotionally intelligent

3 Emotionally Intelligent Actions For Customers

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In a service economy, customer service means everything. Unfortunately, sometimes our perceptions or behaviors don’t seem to align with customer needs. Are you taking emotionally intelligent actions?

Organizational Actions

Certainly, most organizations believe that they are acting responsible for the customer. At the same time, they are also appropriately conditioned to act financially responsible for their organization.

Here are three of many emotionally intelligent actions you can take for your customers.

  1. Be perceptive. Emotionally intelligent organizations are working with their social radar to scan the environment for needs. In the restaurant, it is the nearly empty glass of iced tea, the coffee mug running low, or the quiet table selected for two. Apply this type of logic regardless of your business.
  2. Anticipate needs. Perhaps nothing is more powerful than the ability to anticipate the needs of your customer. While hard to describe this entails a sense of upcoming needs and offering a solution before the customer recognizes the need. Properly executed perhaps nothing will inspire trust or make the moment more memorable than this action.
  3. Control Emotions. Good days, bad days, and unexpected situations may leave the human side of customer service scrambling to keep things in check. Our emotions will condition outputs. Hopefully good actions much more than not so good, but stress requires more effort to keep our human performance in check.

What emotionally intelligent actions make the top of your list?

Emotionally Intelligent

Thriving in a service economy will require you to be a step ahead of the competition.

Many organizations spend money, time, and other precious resources on items that don’t always have a memorable impact with customers.

In other cases, they struggle to balance financial responsibility with being truly customer centric. No organization can afford to “give away the store.” However, efforts to conserve resources often impact customer satisfaction.

Be emotionally intelligent, find the right balance.

-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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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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