How Employee Empowerment Really Works | Manager with employee

How Employee Empowerment Really Works

How Employee Empowerment Really Works | Manager with employee

Employee empowerment can take many forms; however, at it’s most fundamental, it can be broken down into two types: actual and psychological.

By its nature, empowerment starts at the top. Empowerment must first be given by those who have the power to do so. This is actual empowerment, the granting of increased roles, responsibilities, and authority.

Then it must be embraced by those who have been given greater authority. This is psychological empowerment, how employees feel about using the powers they’ve been granted. Read more

Is Your Customer Service Consistent? | Factory Inspector

Is Your Customer Service Consistent?

Is Your Customer Service Consistent? | Factory Inspector

Consistency is one of the greatest challenges in customer service. Whether you are a solopreneur or a Fortune 500 company, consistency can be hard to get your arms around.

Consistency is hard because it takes effort and discipline, not only on the individual level but on the much trickier team level. For example, in the video below, I tell the story of one of my favorite restaurants that used to have its servers write personalized or creative notes on napkins and tickets.

This practice was a regular one for awhile, then it stopped. While the gesture was an ancillary touch (the absence of which was certainly not going to make me stop eating there), I certainly noticed when it didn’t happen. Read more

The Importance of Onboarding Employees | Employee Handbook

The Importance of Onboarding Employees

The Importance of Onboarding Employees | Employee Handbook

Onboarding employees is an extremely important and often neglected practice.

All too often employers simply show new team members where the paper clips are and how to use the computer system, but they don’t show them the organization’s service standards or how to treat customers.

The first days on the job are often no different than the employee’s total experience, a lack of training lies at the heart of many challenges they face.  Onboarding a new employee should represent a microcosm of everything you want from not only your relationships with your employees but also their relationships with your customers. Read more

Communication: The Most Important Skill in Customer Service

Communication: The Most Important Skill in Customer Service

Frontline reps require a wide range of customer service skills if they are going to deliver Hero-ClassTM customer service.

Like a father with his children, I don’t like to play favorites, but at some point, I must acknowledge that one skill is more important than all of the others.

That skill is communication.

Powerful, effective communication is foundational; without it, few other aspects of a customer’s experience will matter. Communication is the glue that keeps customer experiences from falling apart.

Communication is the glue that keeps customer experiences from falling apart. Click To Tweet

Communication is integral to every customer experience. Even something that seems noncommunication-centered, like an online order, has many layers of communication attached to it. From the language on the website to the confirmation message at checkout to the email that is sent once the order is placed, communication plays a crucial role in even an automated experience such as this one. Read more

5 Characteristics to Look for when Hiring for Entry-Level Customer Service

cts_2017-02_5-characteristics-hiring-entry-level-customer-service_FB

Hiring frontline reps is one of the most important parts of the customer experience process. Bringing someone in with the wrong attitude, skill set, or cultural outlook can be toxic to a team, wasteful of time, and damaging to the customer experience.

So, what characteristics should you look for when hiring for entry-level customer service? Should you focus on skill set or attitude?

There’s an old expression that says “Hire the smile, train the skills.” And what that means is to look for personality first. Often, when hiring those new to the workforce, this approach makes sense; however, there are many more attributes that make a great customer service rep, even one with little to no experience. Read more

The Power of Proactive Customer Communication | Wind Turbine

The Power of Proactive Customer Communication

The Power of Proactive Customer Communication | Wind Turbine

Proactive communication with customers is one of the most important customer service practices any organization or team can adopt.

Not only do you show customers that you care about them by checking in, you can also learn about their needs, desires, and preferences. In addition, you can potentially discover any negative feelings or emotions that that may be festering or growing and address them before they evolve into something more difficult to recover from.

As you’ve certainly read, a large portion of customers do not complain when they have a negative experience. In customer service, silent attrition is the silent killer.

Proactive contact can often uncover these hidden negative feelings and offer organizations the opportunity to resolve issues before they fester. Read more

Turn Your Customer Experience Inside Out | Dog looking out car window

Turn Your Customer Experience Inside Out

Turn Your Customer Experience Inside Out | Dog looking out car window

In customer experience, perspective is a powerful force.

Each participant in the customer journey has their own, individual perspective, and often, the gaps amongst these varying perspectives lie at the heart of dissatisfaction, displeasure, and misunderstanding.

Whether it be an unwillingness to take a step back and try to see the experience from the perspective of another or a failure to empathize with the other person’s emotional journey, this perspective gap is at the root of all too many customer experiences.

To remedy this disconnect, it can help to turn our customer experiences inside out. Read more

Customer Communication Should Be for Customers

Customer Communication Should Be for Customers

Customer Communication Should Be for Customers

Customer service communication is at it’s core a balancing act. All too often, our spirit of wanting to do everything possible for our customers runs up against the limitations that reality imposes upon us. Whether it be liability exposure, legal restrictions, operational inability, or just pure right and wrong, sometimes we must refuse what customers want and must establish guidelines, or even, if you must, policies to frame our relationship with customers. Read more

5 Ways to Use Language to Thank Customers

5 Ways to Use Language to Thank Customers

5 Ways to Use Language to Thank Customers

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches here in the United States, we thought it would be a great time to discuss a few different ways you can use language to express your gratitude to customers.

Thanking customers and telling them how much you appreciate them are important parts of the customer’s emotional journey, and it is important to remember that these expressions are only as valuable as they are authentic.

Sure, a team member can occasionally get away with a perfunctory “thank you”; yet, over time, customers can  sense when expressions of gratitude aren’t sincere. Read more

The Peak-End Rule and Customer Experience | proposal at restaurant

The Peak-End Rule and Customer Experience

The Peak-End Rule and Customer Experience | proposal at restaurant

One key to designing great customer experience touch points is to understand the way our minds process and retain information.

Customers do not remember every moment of a customer experience equally. First impressions and primacy effects demonstrate that the beginning of an experience can have outsized importance.

Similarly, the peak-end rule informs us that specific portions of a customer’s experiences are more important than others in determining how the customer remembers the experience.

What is the peak-end rule? The peak-end rule states that we remember an experience by how we felt at its most intense moment and at the end, instead of an average of how we felt throughout.

Look at the picture above; what part of that dinner do you think both people will remember years later?

It is important to remember that the “most intense” moment can be positive or negative. This is one reason why an organization can do almost everything right yet the customer seems to focus on the one thing the organization got wrong.

Read more