Ask The Consultant: Your Top Customer Service Questions Answered

by Micheal Quinn

People approach me with questions on customer service on the unlikeliest instances. The other morning, some guy sidled as much as me within the guys’ room and commenced firing off observe-up inquiries to a customer service keynote speech I’d simply brought. (Despite the awkward setting, I did my pleasant to oblige.)

I get questions on the plane as well–from seatmates and flight attendants alike–or even as soon as at a doctor’s appointment (I consult on patient experience in healthcare as properly, so I guess that physician considered my examination to be a threat to sweep up).

So for this newsletter, I’ve compiled 5 of the greater exciting questions about customer service which have been posed to me in such contexts or despatched to me via e mail. (If you have questions you’d want to have spoken back, let me recognize, and I’ll get them in the next spherical.)

Dear Micah: I manage a huge customer service team, and I guess I become born to allow things to roll off my return. But my personnel can’t appear to do the equal; they get so protective while customers bitch that they continually make the situation worse. Do you know why they take it so in my opinion?–Confused in Cambridge

Dear Confused: Your personnel use protecting language and defensive responses because of what they’ve visible modeled growing up (as children, they may have grown up looking one parent react to the alternative with shielding and accusatory retorts) and the way they’ve found out to react in their non-public lives developing up (it’s quite habitual for absolutely everyone, while a sibling accuses us of some thing inclusive of breaking a toy, of snapping lower back with, “I did not!”)

To break protecting behavior, personnel want to be informed and shown what’s predicted of them at work. In my customer support training workshops, we paintings on replacing defensive phrases and phrases with non-inflammatory alternatives, undertaking this through information, modeling and function-playing. Beyond that, you could take the approach that I do while working with customer support consulting customers: I assist them to increase their personal “language lexicon” with discouraged phrases and phrases that can be used as substitutes.

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Dear Micah: When I see my personnel making mistakes in how they work with the public, I’m by no means positive while the proper time is to accurate them. Should I say some thing proper away? Should I look ahead to an often scheduled take a look at-in?–Tongue-tied in Tel Aviv

Dear Tongue-tied: Immediate correction is the manner to go. If you wait, neither you nor the offending employee will recollect the incident truely. (Important: You in no way want to accurate an employee within earshot or eyesight of a purchaser. Patrick O’Connell, the legendary proprietor of the double Five Star Inn at Little Washington, tells me that he’ll make use of a hidden elevator shaft right off the eating room for worker corrections, to ensure they’re now not audible or seen to clients.)
Dear Micah: We’ve had customer support running shoes are available within the beyond–not, you using the manner–and it’s tough to sustain our momentum after the hullabaloo is over. Can something be done to give staying power to customer service principles?–Frustrated in Fresno

Dear Frustrated: The cost of customer support education is more advantageous if it’s part of a basic customer support initiative that includes one or extra sustaining rituals, to maintain the key points of the training alive. One such ritual that I endorse to customer service consulting and training clients is what I call the “Customer Service Minute.” (In spite of its name, it’s going to much more likely require five mins, but keep it under ten.) The Customer Service Minute takes place at the beginning of every workday (or shift, if you run more than one) and involves employees—all personnel—who acquire in small groups to kick off the workday, or shift, at the proper word.

Each Customer Service Minute have to be devoted to an unmarried aspect of supplying extraordinary service. This normally includes the sharing of examples that illustrate that single service principle in addition to going over beneficial techniques, pitfalls encountered, and challenges triumph over. Note: The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company has accompanied this procedure for over 30 years, every single shift, to keep the complete global corporation on the identical web page in terms of service excellence.

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Dear Micah: At the corporation, I just joined, the so-known as “first-rate exercise” for receptionists calls for them to provide each incoming caller the third degree, before letting a name get thru:

“What is your call?”

“Who are you with?”

“What is the character of your call?”

“Who did you vote for final election?”

(Okay, I made up that ultimate one, but it’s not too a ways from our fact.) If I had been a customer–or, worse, a prospect–this would clearly flip me off. Your thoughts, please. –3rdDegree in Thurmont.

Dear 3rdDegree, Wow, you’re proper: that so-known as the satisfactory practice that calls for receptionists to aggressively display screen calls desires to be revised. I’m not in favor of a business screening calls until it’s absolutely necessary; screening is a quick manner to show off customers and to repel potential customers to boot. (I cover this in my first e-book, Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit, co-authored with Leonardo Inghilleri, from which I’m going to quote here.) There isn’t any faster way to a

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