9 Ways to Empower Employees

9 Ways to Empower Employees [SlideShare]

Too many customer experiences are ruined by one simple problem: frontline reps are not empowered to solve customer issues on the spot.

Easy-to-resolve, minor issues soon become difficult-to-resolve major issues because an employee was constrained by policy, process, or simply bureaucracy.

The customer, who just wanted a simple fix, now has to jump through hoops to get her issue resolved. A $5 problem just became a $500 problem — or a $5,000 problem depending on the lifetime value of the customer.

An empowered employee, who had the authority and autonomy to take care of the customer in real time, could have made the difference.
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You Need Customer Service, No Matter How Good Your Experience

You Need Customer Service, No Matter How Good Your Experience

I’ve come across the following concept a number of times in the past few years:

“Customer service is a failure of customer experience.”

For some customer experience practitioners, the concept seems to stem from a worldview that customer service is obsolete — that the ever-important idea of a complete customer experience successfully executed makes traditional customer service unnecessary.

You Need Customer Service, No Matter How Good Your ExperienceThis notion may be useful, but by predicating the existence of customer service on the failure of customer experience, it sends a dangerous message that the skills needed for customer service are “backup skills” and that investment and priority should be centered on customer experience enhancement.

Of course the line between customer service and customer experience is already a specious one, as customer experience by definition includes customer service.

For the purposes of this post, we will adopt the rather general framework I used in Be Your Customer’s Hero:

CX differs from customer service (CS) in that CX entails the entirety of the customer’s interactions with the company. …There’s no consensus about where the line between CS and CX truly is, but the best way to look at it is that CX represents the customer’s entire journey, whereas CS is what happens at specific points along the way.Read more

5 Millennial Traits to Improve Customer Service

5 Millennial Traits to Improve Customer Service

Alleli Aspili of Infinit-O

Alleli Aspili

Guest Poster: Alleli Aspili

The following is a guest post from Alleli Aspili, a Senior Specialist for Business Development in Infinit Outsourcing, Inc. (Infinit-O), an ISO-certified BPO company that caters inbound call center, finance and accounting and healthcare outsourcing to SMEs and who is also responsible for maintaining online brand and content for Infinit Contact, Infinit Healthcare and other Infinit properties.

Alleli explores how the traits common to the Millennial generation can provide a roadmap for providing these consumers the experiences they desire and collects the trends we’ve all been seeing into a handy list.

And now, Alleli…


Businesses looking to have continuous success must learn more about Generation Y, also known as Millennials. This group’s behaviors, beliefs, interests and shopping habits are shaping the global marketplace. Understanding them will help brands improve how they provide customer service to this highly important market.

5 Millennial Traits to Improve Customer ServiceTo do this, businesses must take note of these following Millennial traits.

#1 Millennials use multiple channels and devices

Millennials grew up in a world of technology so it’s not surprising that they are a tech-savvy generation. They are on multiple platforms, use multiple web-enabled gadgets and are online 24/7. They are so addicted to their devices that one study reveals 53% of Millennials said they would rather give up their sense of smell than give up their technology. Read more

Negativity Bias and Customer Service | Lion Hunting

Negativity Bias and Customer Service

Unfortunately, for those working in customer experience and customer service, human beings are inherently biased towards negative information. It is why the local news is known for “if it bleeds, it leads” and for promoting stories with headlines such as “is your child’s new toy a health hazard?”

Negativity Bias and Customer Service | Lion HuntingWe are evolutionarily attuned to watch for threats, and this programming makes us prioritize negative information.

Researcher Daniel Kahneman explains it this way:

“The brains of humans and other animals contain a mechanism that is designed to give priority to bad news. By shaving a few hundredths of a second from the time needed to detect a predator, this circuit improves the animal’s odds of living long enough to reproduce.”

It’s evolutionary; there’s no changing it.

For all of the talk about positivity and great attitudes, people are simply more attuned to negative inputs.

What’s worse for customer experience professionals is that these negative experiences stick around much longer than the positive ones.

Neuropsychologist Rich Hanson says it this way:

“The brain is like Velcro for negative experiences but Teflon for positive ones. That’s why researchers have found that animals, including humans, generally learn faster from pain (alas) than pleasure.”

This means issue resolution is not what we thought it was. The issue was resolved, but the impression made by the issue likely wasn’t.

So, how can we counter negativity bias to make customer experiences as positive as possible? Read more

Why All Experts Should Be Two-Handed Economists | President Truman

Why All Experts Should Be Two-Handed Economists

President Harry S. Truman once famously quipped, “Give me a one-handed economist! All my economists say, ‘on one hand … on the other.”


Photo Credit: White House

While I can completely relate to President Truman’s frustration, his economists were doing exactly what they should have been doing — adding context and perspective to a fluid and complex topic.

Yet, “two-handed” experts are increasingly more rare. All too often short form advice supplants deeper counsel. We live in a world increasingly awash in bold pronouncements from the disconnected.

The manager gives them to the front lines.

The CEO gives them to management.

The consultants give them to the executives.

This general, disconnected advice can be useful as a form of motivation, but it is often useless or — worse — misleading when applied to any deeper purpose. Read more

7 Insiprational Customer Service Stories | Rock Climber

7 Inspirational Customer Service Stories

Great customer service stories fascinate us. Perhaps because they represent the customer service we rarely experience. Perhaps because they restore our faith in our fellow human beings.

The stories that resonate the most tend to be the ones that touch the heart or make us feel inspired. Most of these stories tell a tale of connection — of one person going out of their way to make another feel good.

To examine the place customer service stories have in our lives and to collect some of our favorite stories, we have created a dedicated page of Inspirational Customer Service Stories.

Here is a preview of the stories you will find examined there:7 Insiprational Customer Service Stories | Rock Climber

  1. A Target Employee Becomes a Career Counselor — This Target employee went above and beyond the call of duty when a teenage boy came in to buy a tie.
  2. A Lost Giraffe Gets a Day at The Ritz — When his son lost Joshie the Giraffe at a Ritz Carlton resort, his father asked the staff for a favor and had his expectations blown away.
  3. A Waitress Serves Heroes Who Become Her Heroes — This waitress decided to buy a couple of firefighters a free meal, and she could never have imagined what would happen next.
  4. A McDonald’s Worker Abandons His Register — When an elderly disabled man approached the register at a busy McDonald’s, the cashier left his register, but he didn’t leave his customer.
  5. A Lost Lego Gets Ninja Treatment – When this young child wrote to Lego about the toy he lost, this Lego rep made two fans for life — the boy and his father.
  6. A Hotel Takes Birthday Surprise to the Next Level — A brief comment a few month’s earlier about my wife’s birthday turns into a Hero-Class® WOW start to a birthday weekend.
  7. A Trader Joe’s Employee Brightens a Customer’s Day — When this mother of adopted children hit the breaking point, a Trader Joe’s employee delivered the right gesture at the right time.

Want to read the stories?

CLICK HERE for our Inspirational Customer Service Stories page!


Be Your Customer's Hero

For Great Customer Service, Treat Policies Like Plaque | Dentist working

For Great Customer Service, Treat Policies Like Plaque

We are all familiar with dental plaque, the buildup of bacteria that becomes a film on our teeth. Work with enough organizations, and you will easily recognize the similarities organizational policies have to plaque.

For Great Customer Service, Treat Policies Like Plaque | Dentist workingHere are a few characteristics of plaque from Wikipedia, which could almost perfectly describe the accumulation of policies in  organizations:

  • Its formation is a normal process that cannot be prevented
  • Its progression and build up is what leads to … problems
  • It is important to disrupt … and remove it daily

Sure, policies do not begin like plaque. They are created with a reason, often a very good one. However, taken as a group, policies begin to act like plaque — it’s the buildup over time that, left unaddressed, causes you harm. Read more

5 Ideas for National Customer Service Week 2015

5 Ideas for National Customer Service Week 2015

National Customer Service Week is coming up next week, October 5 – 9, so we came up with 5 ideas you can use (one per day) to celebrate with your team and your customers.

5 Ideas for National Customer Service Week 2015History of National Customer Service Week

First, a quick history of National Customer Service Week (NCSW). NCSW was established in 1992 by proclamation of President Bush (#41). The proclamation begins:

In a thriving free enterprise system such as ours, which provides consumers with a wide range of goods and services from which to choose, the most successful businesses are those that display a strong commitment to customer satisfaction. Today foreign competition as well as consumer demands are requiring greater corporate efficiency and productivity. If the United States is to remain a leader in the changing global economy, highest quality customer service must be a personal goal of every employee in business and industry. (Read the full proclamation.)

Of course, as we all know, every week should be customer service week; however, NCSW affords us the opportunity to highlight the importance of customer service, to generate discussions with customers and team members, and to celebrate the accomplishments of our teams. Read more

Don't Forget the Connection in Interconnection

Don’t Forget the Connection in Interconnection

As digital service solutions become more commonplace, it becomes more challenging to maintain the old one-to-one service paradigm to which most consumers have become accustomed.

Don't Forget the Connection in InterconnectionFor all of the important talk about omnichannel strategies, what often gets lost in the discussion is the feel of customer interactions on digital channels.

In some ways, human psychology is pretty straightforward. We are designed to react to faces, to tone, and to body language (see chapters 44 and 46 of Be Your Customer’s Hero for more). As you remove each of these biological cues, the potential for misunderstanding increases. Read more

5 Customer Service Lessons from American Ninja Warrior

5 Customer Service Lessons from American Ninja Warrior

As we close out season 7 of American Ninja Warrior this evening, I thought it would be fun to talk about Ninja Warrior and customer service.

5 Customer Service Lessons from American Ninja Warrior

The Ninja Warrior competition has a number of parallels to frontline customer service.

For one, the course is ever-changing. The different obstacles require a number of different skill sets, and reps have to quickly shift between skills in a rapidly changing environment.

Also, each day is different, and a situation you have succeeded with in the past is the one that can take you out. And worst of all, the better you get — the farther you go — the harder it gets to succeed.

So, let’s take a look at 5 customer service lessons from American Ninja Warrior.

#1 Know Your Speed Limit

American Ninja Warriors need great balance, and among the most important skills is finding the balance between speedy and careless. Too slow, and you may not advance to the next round. Too fast, and you may make a fatal error. Read more