So I have this spiffy tablet. What do I do with it? Well, one thing I thought of is updating the blog. It has been a very long time since I posted. Since my last post, I’ve changed jobs (twice), and left my ideas on customer service in a small room in the back of my mind. The ideas still percolate, but even in the past two years tech has leapt forward in degrees of magnitude. My 4th grader has a school issued iPad. I have multpile smartphones,  since I must be available for work at the drop of a hat. Even though in six months the only reason my work phone rings is because I have my desk phone forwarded. Tech is still taking over, but in a much more controlled, thoughtful manner.

Where two years ago everyone had full admin rights to their work machine, that is changing, going back to where you only get the software the company thinks you need. And 99% of the time, the company is right. I keep seeing BYOD is the wave of the future, but I’m not so sure. Your own device=security risk. Things seem to be circling back to more rigidly controlled, less freewheeling. It makes sense, both from an info sec standpoint and a dollars standpoint. Less risk, less money spemt on compliance issues, or dead machines because that link from a buddy was really phishing and you got infected.

Hmmm. Not bad for a first post from a 7″ tablet sitting and drinking coffee.


It’s been a long time since last post…

Well, it’s been a long time since my last post. As happens, life reared up the ugly head and my time became monopolized for other things. I’ve seen people use the term ‘real life’ but, that’s the whole point of a blog, right? It’s about ‘real life’, just jotted down on the web.

During my time away, I got to thinking about the what arguably could be the most important, but also most fluid of all the posts regarding customer service, the ‘HOW’.

What really got me thinking about the HOW is how do I handle customer service now, and the differences between how I actually do it compared to how I would teach other people. Realized how I would teach is not how I’m doing it right now. So, added bonus for myself, train myself to do it in the HOW method I think it should be done. I know that teaching oneself isn’t the best way to identify gaps or logical jumps. But, it is a start.

Before I put up my next post to really dig into the HOW, I’m going to work up an outline, using my day to day work life and make note of gaps in how I’m doing it, how I would do it differently, and work up from there.

Goal is the same, but has been redefined, and refined. Now to start the steps to attaining that goal.

Step one taken…

Let’s step over here for a moment…

So, today brought up a great opportunity for some on the spot training for dealing with internal customers.

Are your internal customer’s important? Is it important to treat co-workers like customers, give them your best customer service? Well, you see those people every day, you deal with them every day. So, do they get less, or more service? Less, because, hey, you’ll see them tomorrow, and make it up then. More, because you’ll see them tomorrow and maybe give you great service in return?

I lean towards the ‘more’ side. The customers I deal with every day deserve the best service I can give. Not only because I’ll see them tomorrow, and they’ll remember, but because it builds a solid relationship that only strengthens your customer service relationship.

So, the training aspect. Not so much training, as a reminder. For myself as well as all of you out there.

I’m sure you’ve encountered that person that absolutely rubs you the wrong way, no matter what. You just can’t talk to them, they are always right, they know more, etc, etc. Dealing with that person makes your teeth itch, your ears grind…. you get the picture? So, how do you give that sort of person great customer service?

The same as everyone else. Thing is, they may not think of it that way. While you’re busily working away, researching, putting in effort, you get an email written under the assumption you’re not doing anything at all. See that wall? You’re driving up it right about now, huh?

This is where it pays to be patient, do all the things you would for your favorite customer. Great customer service is part of the job, and doing the job right means work, effort. Not just doing the job, but dealing with people. Maintaining that professional attitude. There will be instances where you get angry enough your eyeballs shake. It’ll happen, if it hasn’t already. Do the job, give your very best customer service, even when it isn’t recognized, and then take a break. A short walk, stretch, disengage for a few minutes. Get centered.

That one person may not recognize the effort, but others will. As long as you recognize the effort, you’ve accomplished to goal of giving great customer service.

The 5 W’s of Great!! Service – When

When do you give your very best customer service?

Each and every interaction with a customer. Easy, right?

So, should every interaction be worthy of fanfares, confetti, leaving the customer with the feeling they’ve just won a world championship?

Well, no. That’s not possible.

Not every customer interaction is going to give you that opportunity.

Every customer interaction will give you the chance to excel at anticipating customer needs, being proactive, professional, adding value for the customer, and leaving the customer with a solid sense of confidence in you, your ability, and the company you represent.

The opportunity may come at lunch, walking through the mall, grocery shopping. You might get a phone call on the weekend, especially if it’s end of month, quarter, or year, then it’s ‘all hands on deck’ to get everything taken care of.

That’s the time. Not just when you’re sitting at your desk.

Treat each new interaction as an opportunity to employ your skills, stretch your ‘customer service’ wings. Keep on pushing yourself, and every time you’ll give great customer service.

The 5 W’s of Great!! Service – Where

So, where do you give great customer service? Wherever you are, of course.

Really, there ‘where’ of customer service is not nearly as important as the other 4 W’s, and of course, the H, How.

But where you give great customer service goes with you. It doesn’t always mean only at your desk, or in front of your computer during business hours. If you’re up to get something from the break room, or maybe step outside to have a smoke, or just taking a walk to stretch, and someone asks you a question about Mr. Customer, or case number 12345, it’s still time to give great customer service.

The 5 W’s of great customer service are all tying together. I’m sure you noticed that already.

Let’s say you are in the break room, getting a coffee refill, and a team manager asks you about the case for Mr. Customer, would you really say, “Oh, I’m not at my desk, so I can’t help you?” Well, of course not. You might say that you’ll look up that information and get back with that manager. Remember, that manager is also your customer. Same if a co-worker asks. They just had Mr. Customer on the phone, and this new issue has come up, what do you know about it. It is your responsibility to give your co-worker great service, so they in turn can go back to Mr. Customer and give equally great service.

So what about if you’re out running errands on a Saturday afternoon, and see the boss. The boss might have a question about an issue from Friday. It’s Saturday, you’re not near your tools. Is this an appropriate place for great customer service? Absolutely! Even if you can’t recall every single detail, give the boss what do you recall, make a note on your Droid-iBerry, and follow-up next chance you get.

You DO have a smartphone of some sort, right? If not, I highly recommend it. I am partial to Android, but I’m sure you’ll find one right for you. (Go Android!)

What I’m saying is there’s always a tool at hand to help you give great service. A smartphone, or just a simple piece of paper and a pencil. The most important tools are YOUR brain and YOUR attitude. Keep those in tip-top shape, and no matter where you are, you’ll give great customer service!


Fantastic article

This article from Brian Solis in an extremely timely opinion, given how the economy has been heaving about like a drunken manatee the past few years.

Many brands once seen as untouchable are either gone from the landscape, or fading fast. Blockbuster, Borders, Sears, Circuit City. Companies that either not nimble enough to adapt to change, or come in to little, to late, are bound to fail.

With social media becoming so interwoven with our day-to-day existence, it’s not enough for a company to just have a Facebook presence, or a Twitter account. Social media must be utilized to the fullest potential. You’ve got to invite feedback, actually listen to that feedback, and take overt, measurable, action.

This paragraph, I love:

As we’re learning, it’s not enough to be present on social networks. It’s not enough to engage in customer conversations. Leadership organizations, not just marketing departments, must realize that social media are not a cure for the ills of common business malpractices. The rules of relationships still apply and in fact are only amplified.  In social media and in the real world, the pillars of any great business must embody service, innovation, experiences, performance, value, and now co-creation. Remember, customers are not looking to build a community with your company simply because they can. Community rules require the cultivation of affinity and belonging through relevance, empathy and the consistent delivery of tangible and intangible benefits.

First point listed, the pillars of any great business must embody service. Service to the customer, the ones who spend the money. Service to their employees, to retain them, to keep them creative, productive, challenged. Service to itself, to remain innovative, forward-thinking, looking to bring in that new business as well as keep the repeat business.

Companies have to care, or at least project the image that they do. All too often, and you can find it on the interwebs, there are stories of horrid service. I’ve included that in my postings. The root of all that bad press is the impression the companies don’t care.

Some may argue that an organization is too big to care. That’s no longer an excuse, not with the proliferation of tools like Twitter, and Facebook, and now Google+, and etc. I didn’t catch news of what happened in Norway via the news sites, or news channels. It was a Google+ posting.

One complaint, by someone with enough followers, and shared, retweeted, forwarded, can span the globe in mere seconds. Seconds!

This isn’t like the ‘phone game’ played when I was a kid in grade school. For those who don’t know the name, here’s how we played:

Get two dozen (or so) children, sit them in a circle. Child 1 whispers a story to the person on his left. Next person whispers it to their left, and so on around the circle. The trick is to find out if what child 1 said is what child 24 heard.

That doesn’t happen anymore, not with being able to direct right back to the original post. One person has a bad experience with Company X, and they have a follower who also had a bad experience. The follower retweets, shares, and adds their own frustrations. That person has 5 followers who do the same. Now, Company X should have people watching the social media feeds to find these kind of issues, respond to those customers, and regain that trust in the company.

The ones that don’t, or don’t take social media seriously, will be shuttering their windows, instead of building a solid base of customers to grow their business.