You are a Professional!

  I was just thinking about you a few days ago; yes you, the “Professional”, who just happens to work in customer service!  

I was thinking that I wanted to point out just how much power you really have in your role.  Your position “will make or brake” any company. As a matter of fact, any company is only as strong as their customer service department.  Don’t believe me?  Just ask yourself this question; when was the last time you dropped a product or service because of poor customer care? You are a vital component to the success of your company. Your position is not miniscule or obsolete…it’s IMPORTANT! So treat it like it is.  See your role for just what it is…the bottom line maker!  I ‘m sure you’ve seen and heard the statistics and the numbers and all of that…but I want you to take it personal. You are “stock” in whatever company you work for and you are valuable. The power of your company’s success is in your hands!   

   I recently had an experience with a very popular software company’s tech support service department. Everything I’m about to tell you is true!

It was about 6:45 pm on a tuesday evening.  I called in and asked to speak with someone about an issue with my software. The initial person I spoke to was very nice and polite. He gathered my information and transferred me over to the outsourced tech support department in India. They were a contracted company that I really just forgot the name of. After transferring me, I had to do an online chat with them to describe the nature of my problem. The software program that I had originally downloaded to my computer for some reason had stopped working and I could no longer access it. The representative asked me if I had the activation key that originally came with my software download. I told her since it had been 6 months or more since I downloaded the software, that I no longer had it. She asked me to check the emails that initially came with the installation of my software to see if the activation key was still somewhere within one of the HUNDREDS of emails that I had. So because I was trying to be a compliant customer, I sorted through all of my emails but it was not there. Next, I told her that I had purchased an additional backup cd for the software and if she would like, I would  go and find it to see if the information was there. Well, I did so but of course, it was not included with the disk!  She then proceeded to give me a website to go to, to try and log in and access my count that way. After many attempts this failed because I no longer had the original password that I used initially to set up the account; I had changed my password for security reasons. As you can guess, I was not a happy camper. Seriously! I couldn’t change my password or my account wouldn’t work? Who does that? I couldn’t even update it for that matter. It wanted me to set up a hotmail account to access my information!  Oh yes! as if the other FIVE email accounts I have already wasn’t enough to keep track of! Then she says to me,  “I guess you’re just going to HAVE to set up a hotmail account”. I told her that I did not have hotmail nor did I want it. During the process of filling out the online form to reset my account, I allowed her to have access of my computer and I had to enter some personal information. It came down to me selecting my gender. So being the savvy young woman that I am, I selected female. Well, the young woman doing the chat with me, assumed that because my name is Successful, that obviously I had to be a man! So she selected male for me instead! Ok, so maybe she misunderstood me.  I selected female again.  Then again, for the second time, you guessed it,  she selected male; as if I don’t know my gender!  Anyway how could she tell over a chat line? Well buy this time I was just flaming, so I typed in the chat box in all caps,”I AM A WOMAN!   The conversation only went down hill from there, so it ended not long after that. I really needed my computer to work so I called back again to this company and got a second person who left me on hold so long that I just hung up.  At this point I’m ready to give up on this company completely and go with a whole different computer system.

 The next day, I gave it another try because this can’t happen two days in a row can it? I talked to another young lady and she completely changed my mind about this company!  I decided to keep them and I even spoke with her manager and raved on and on and on about her to let her know what a great job she had done. She fixed all of my problems, did not need an activation key, re-installed everything on my computer and I was a happy woman and a happy customer! But they almost lost my business because of horrible customer service. Oh, and by the way, I did let the manager know about the people that spoke with me the day before and I made some polite suggestions. Lol! She assured me that they would look into it and handle the situation.  

Remember the power you have as a  “Customer Service Professional”!

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Why is your voice inflextion and facial expression sooooo important in customer service??

One of my followers asked me to address this issue and for privacy sake, we’ll just call her Tonya no last name. Tonya this is for you!  So, why is it so important that you mind your voice and your face? Well let’s just take a look at the scene that follows:   Imagine if you will, that you just walked up to a customer service booth at a place  where you spend your hard earned cash. You’ve had a rough day already. Your boss is a pain, and I mean a r.e.a.l. pain! You just want to make a simple exchange and go home. You were in the store last week and bought that shower curtain you loved and realized when you got it home that…OMG! it’s in the wrong color!  Seriously, you just had to scream it out when you got home. It took you a week to get back to the store to get the exchange. On your way over to the store you got stuck in traffic, then someone cut you off at the light, “seriously!” you screem. You hit your horn and lean on it for a while just to get your frustration out. I think that’s what horns were made for, honestly. Finaly, you get a parking space after looking for about fifteen minuets and make it to the customer service line with five people in front of you. Some lady up ahead is all bent out of shape for something truly trivial. The line goes down after about ten more minuets and finally it’s your turn.  Sadly, the customer service lady who reminds you of someone with about as much personality as a blade of grass, looks up at you with this frown on her face and her tone of voice is saying, “I really don’t want to be bothered with you!”  I know, I know what your thinking….if she doesn’t like her job…just quit right? R-i-g-h-t. Imagine yourself in this exact position as the customer. How are you feeling? What are you thinking? I won’t even ask what you might be saying! Well, your customers have the right to feel the exact same way. Got it? G-o-o-d.   Your smile, pleasant tone of voice and enthusiasm,  could just land you a promotion one of these times. So you need to be smiling at every customer as if -they- are the CEO. Stranger things have happened.  I’m reminded of a waitress who received a rediculously large tip just for her outstanding customer service!

I hope this clears up any misunderstandings:)  Cheers!

Will a real customer service professional please stand up?!

 In observance of National Customer Service Week; I would like to pose this question. “Will a real customer service professional please stand up?!       

So who is a real customer service professional? Well let’s just take a virtual look:

They are “true, people, people”. High energy, no need for a cup of coffee to wake up in the morning people. They are wake up on the right side of the bed every morning people; always willing to help people. They are outgoing above and beyond people, the find the solution whatever it takes people. They are the good morning how may I help you with a big smile people and  the it would be my pleasure people. They are the let me get that for you people, and the would you like to supersize that people. They are the see the glass as half full not empty people and the offer you the little things that mean so much people.  Yes, these are the insourced NOT outsourced people and  the you have my undevided attention people. They are the I have the solution to your query people, and the I don’t sound like a robot people. They are the not only will I give you what you asked for people but the I’ll even through in something extra at no extra charge people. They are the take ownership people and they’re the buck stops here people. They are the I won’t take my problems out on you people and the you are my main priority right now people. They are the no “problem” is to big or to small people, and the no “person” is to big or to small people. They are the turn your day around people and the turn your frown into a smile people. They are big, little, short, tall, fat, skinny, all colors of the spectrum, everyday people doing extraordinary things.   They are….. Passionate, Happy, Caring, Empathetic, Giving, Compassionate, Responsible, Resourceful, Dependable, Trustworthy, Efficient, Knowledgeable, Quick and Enthusiastic!

They are people…so that means they understand!
Happy National Customer Service Week to all the customer service professionals out there! Make it a great rest of the week:)

Get What You Want Part 2—The Power of TNT

This is good stuff ….keep it up!

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Back when I was in sales, we had a saying, Fail to plan and plan to fail. I have a lot of people ask how I manage to get so much done, and much of it boils down to planning and TNT. We can’t use TNT if we don’t plan.

What is TNT?

Aside from the explosive stuff Wile E. Coyote employed in his many unsuccessful attempts to snag a roadrunner, TNT is Today NOT Tomorrow (a great acronym I learned in Peg Pickering’s book, The Art of Getting It Done).

The world will never reward us for what we intended to do.

In Part One, we explored the notion of being busy versus fruitful. I also shared a neat, yet scary bit of math. We can miss out on a lot of great stuff because of five minutes wasted. Just wasting 5 minutes, 12 times a day adds…

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How to deal with difficult customers….

  The first thing to know in dealing with a difficult customer or any customer for that matter, is that you are ultimately  in control of this call.      

        Imagine yourself  going for a drive. You determine when you leave, where you’re going, the direction you’re going to take, the speed at which you’re going to drive and the sites that you’re going to see.  I’ll tell you right here and right now that emotional intelligence will come in real handy when you’re dealing with a rude customer.  Again, emotional intelligence is basically using the art of diplomacy with people.  That is simply just knowing how to deal with them sensitively but yet still be effective!  

        When a rude or upset customer comes on your line the first thing you want to do is resist your innate impulse to rebut them.      

          I’ve talked about this before; one of the main, major skills you need as a customer service professional is the ability to listen! When a customer calls into your line and they’re upset or frustrated, one of the things they may have already pre-supposed, is that all you’re going to do is provide them with a bunch of excusess. The first thing on your to do list in this situation is to hear them out.  At this point in the conversation it is crucial that you DO NOT interrupt them. This accomplishes more than one objective:  Number one, it keeps them from cutting you off every time you say something; keeping you from getting upset by the customer. Secondly, it gives the customer the sense that you actually care about their concern. Thirdly, it puts control in your hands.  Why you ask? It’s because they don’t control the conversation, you do.  You’re the one who’s driving remember? Avoid speaking in an alarming or condescending tone; though tempting this maybe.  What I’ve found in my experience, is that customers are not always rude because they just want to be. People in general want to be nice. But if you come across rude because they are rude, this only worsens the situation. Sometimes people are just having a bad day.  They don’t mean to be rude but not everyone knows how to control their emotions. (Consider yourself, have you ever done this when you called in to customer service? )     

         This is where we customer service professionals come in. Sometimes customers can be rude because they have spoken with other rude customer people in the past and they already have their guard up. All they want is viable solution. This is where probing questions come in. The type of probing questions you will ask will depend on the information that they’ve already given you. This is why it is so important that you listen to them when they first begin so you don’t ask questions that they’ve already answered. This also shows that you’ve paid attention to them.  

          So, because we are customer service professionals and we are students of our businesses and no customer knows more about our product or service than we do (hint hint), there is no problem,, there is only a perceived problem.  When a customer calls in with a concern or issue, we already have their solution. If we do not have the solution, then we already have readily available a plethora of organized resources to ensure we assist them in getting their concerns resolved quickly. Here is where preparation is key.  A true customer service professional will take the time to study their products and services inside and out, so that the customer is never more knowledgeable than you! We are the subject matter experts.  During the probing questions phase of the conversation will tell you if the customer has a real problem and if they really do need help or if they’re just being a pain. Now, if they have a real problem handle it. If they are just being a pain, and want to gripe and complain; listen to what they have to say, thank them for their business respectfully and let them go(all the while keeping a stress ball handy) lol. You never have to raise your voice or reciprocate their rudeness to you. Besides, your reciprocating with snippity words and then they intern reciprocate with more angry words only escalates the situation and gets your blood pressure up and who needs that?!  Certainly not you. Believe it or not, life does exist outside of that ONE angry person! It’s not worth letting one bad apple spoil your otherwise beautiful day!  

     Always remember you are ultimately in control!

  If this blog is of some benefit to you, please submit your comments and let me know. Also, you can submit some topics that you would like for me to address and I’ll be more than happy to respond!  If you have any suggestions for this blog, I’d be happy to hear those as well.  

Make it a great one!