Welcome to the Nice Guy Blog

Viewing entries tagged
top customer service skills

1 Comment

Mean People Suck

Photo by bayhayalet/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by bayhayalet/iStock / Getty Images

Why they feel like they have the right to not only ruin their day but to ruin someone else's day is beyond me. And for what reason? Often times I think mean people look for a reason to be mean, spread their poison, and to infect others. You can find them almost everywhere you go, disrespecting their server for less than 5-star service, even at a local diner. They are the customer in front of you at Starbucks complaining about getting their Soy Chai Latte with not enough cinnamon on top (First World problems). You might even run into them at the airport, yelling at the gate attendant because a lightning strike has delayed their flight, apparently thinking the airline employee has a direct line to the heavens. We've stood next to, queued up behind and even sat with mean people. They are embarrassing, unempathetic and unsympathetic. They have no filter and they absolutely have no couth. 

There is a way to get what you want when the expected size 10 service fits into size 3 shoes. It’s called, being NICE!

You may be in the camp of, "I pay for it, so I have the right to complain about it." If you reside in that camp, I do not disagree about your need for better service, but I disagree with your methods of trying to get it. There is a way to get what you want when the expected size 10 service fits into size 3 shoes.  Being mean, obnoxious or disrespectful should not be in your bag of tricks. Leave them in your interrogator's toolbox .

How do you handle great, mediocre or poor service and what value do you provide back to the provider of said service regardless of their grade?

There is a difference between communicating and mind-reading. People across the buying table from you cannot possibly read your mind. Simple transactions like putting gas in your car require very little effort; you swipe your card and you expect gas to come out of the pump. But more complex transactions require you open your mouth and ask questions. Better yet, discuss your expectations. While service providers should know generally what your expectations are, they cannot read your mind. Before you pop a cork, vent your steam into constructive conversation. The company you are working with wants you to be happy. Give them a chance to fix the problem and exceed your expectations in round 2.

There is a difference between communicating and mind-reading.

Share positive experiences with the company, but also share your remarks with the world. It's important to catch people in the act of doing something right; when you do, share your positive story with the company that provided the great service. A handwritten note, email or phone call will do the trick quite nicely. Social media makes it so easy to complain about poor service, but the same can be said about great service. Share your positive comments on social as well.

Be quick to praise a company directly for a job well done. Don't be quite as quick to start blasting off the negative press in a public forum if service is less than perfect. While the squeaky wheel does get the oil, the squeak doesn't have to be formed with thick rust. Allow moderate or poor service to be corrected. A company that has a track record of great service can still have a bad day or a poor experience. Watch how they handle the mistake, you might be pleasantly surprised with the results, given the chance.

Know the difference between cost and value, cheap and inexpensive.

Help resolve problems by being solution focused, not "you owe me" focused. Nothing is perfect and we all need help to resolve problems. Take a moment and look at what went wrong and what you might be able to do to help resolve a problem when poor service or a poorly made product finds you. When you are dissatisfied, be open to discussing the issues you face with the company that let you down. When you work hand in hand to help resolve your problem, you are potentially also resolving the problem for future customers as well.

Know the difference between cost and value, cheap and inexpensive. We live in a world where you get what you pay for. Before spending your hard earned cash, caveat emptor (let the buyer beware), understand what you are buying, in both dollars and value.  If you are buying hamburger meat, don't expect filet to be served.

We live in a service world, sometimes service is the only thing that differentiates one company from another. Your money speaks, if unhappy and dissatisfied take your cash somewhere else,  no need to be mean about it. But as you leave, provide your feedback in a constructive, useful way. As you would expect from another human being, be empathetic and nice and leave it to the poor service provider the choice of how they handle your remarks. I can guarantee if they keep up the failing grades and poor service, they will un-WOW themselves out of business.

 

 

 

1 Comment

Where have all the humans gone?

1 Comment

Where have all the humans gone?

Recent experiences with my credit card company, a local hardware store and a home delivery food service company have me pondering the simple question, where have all the humans gone?

"Please listen carefully, as our menu options have changed." More than menu options have changed in today's automation age; relationships are falling by the wayside and the customer journey is being detoured as companies hide behind the guise of increased efficiency, more specific analytics, better customer service, improved productivity and big dollar savings as reasons.

There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.
— Sam Walton

There has been a paradigm shift in the way organizations big and small deal with incoming customer traffic. Phone automation including interactive voice response (IVR) has taken over. The improper overuse of phone automation is pushing clients to competition, damaging a company's reputation and frustrating customers. If a little is good, a lot must be much better. NOT! Reception has been replaced by an 800-number, a voice activated robot and a touch tone keypad. When poorly implemented, the customer experience suffers, along with any positive vibes we had about the company. Failing service grades equate to lost business. We will spend our money somewhere else.

Don't get me wrong, when it comes to technology, I am all in, but if you want to really frustrate me, try wasting my time and I will take my business to the competition faster than you can say, "Please hold, your call will be answered shortly."



Is it just me or does it seem like no one wants to talk anymore? Call me old school, but when I pick up the phone to call a company, I'd love to have an opportunity to quickly, if not immediately, speak to a human being. Business has gotten wise to guys like me, so they have replaced the "Operator" button (0) with the, "Please listen carefully..." auto-response. They claim to appreciate my business, at least that's what they tell me 12 times as I am waiting on hold because they are experiencing call volume higher than normal. With all the analytics companies have access to, shouldn't they know when to expect "higher than normal" call volume and staff accordingly? And while I appreciate that they are working with other important customers just like me, I am thinking these other customers must have the inside skinny on how to reach a human being faster than I do.

Is our business really as important to them as the robotic voice claims? In theory I am sure it is, but in practice I think not. At a time when exposure to a customer should be at it's highest, companies are doing their best to avoid human contact. And while they think we might appreciate the automated instructions on how to access frequently asked questions on their website, we would have done that already if we thought we could find the answer quickly. Finding the solution to the problem online is even more challenging than finding the 800-number to call to reach a human being.



As a result of hammering, stammering and manipulating my way through automation, unlocking the secret passage, making it to the bonus round and actually speaking to a person, why is my reward sometimes a stiff, ill-prepared, script reading, mumbling representative with their headset microphone adjusted too close to their mouth? Attention C-level execs, business owners, customer service managers and people in a position of authority, if you are going to make me climb to the top of the phone tree, at least make the reward of speaking to a real person a satisfying victory. Invest in training your front line, your business depends upon it.

Maybe one day there will be touchtone keys for empathy, compassion, rapport and appreciation. In the meantime I will continue hitting the "0" button, waiting for a human to pick up the phone. I hear Tuesdays and Thursdays before 7AM are days they experience their lightest call volume, at least that's what their robot tells me.

1 Comment

Forget Content, Contact is King

Comment

Forget Content, Contact is King

Marketing basics 2016, “Content is King.”  The problem you’ll face with that 101 approach is that no matter how amazing your content is, you are missing the bigger picture.  Using your content to broadcast your message to the masses will do little in today’s social world. Building business relationships, in conjunction with your marketing program will get the biggest impact from all of the content you are creating. 

People want a connection with you, they don’t just want to be force fed your content. If marketing is a spoke of the wheel, relationship(s) is the air that fills the tire.  Engage and get involved or your marketing will be flat.  Change the tone from, I can provide this for you, to, let’s communicate and work on this solution together.

Comment

Five Top Tips for Providing 5-star Service

6 Comments

Five Top Tips for Providing 5-star Service

In order to grow your business and add depth to your client list, your goal should be to create a lasting, memorable and very positive experience for your customer. Long gone are the days of being satisfactory, there is way too much competition out there to be less than stellar or exemplary when it comes to customer service. Additionally, it's no longer just about the product you provide. Service, support, sales, operations and every other department within your organization must work in tandem, delivering the same amazing service to your customer to keep them coming back. According to Shep Hyken, an expert in customer satisfaction, "Customer service is not a department, it's a philosophy." Going above and beyond is an important factor in getting your customer to come back again and again. Your brand is exposed to the market through a multitude of channels. Word of mouth can make or break your business. Search engine results, social media channels and good old conversations with friends can help you build your client list or bust it completely.

6 Comments