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

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

5 Expert Tips for Customer Service Recovery | upset customer

5 Expert Tips for Customer Service Recovery

5 Expert Tips for Customer Service Recovery | upset customer

No matter how great a customer experience your organization provides, you will always have a need for service recovery.

Part of creating great customer experiences is not just designing fantastic, memorable experiences but planning and preparing for the service issues that inevitably occur.

No matter how good the product or service, no matter how effective the systems and procedures, every organization eventually drops the ball with a customer.

And even when they do everything perfectly from their perspective, they can still disappoint customers who had differing expectations.

No matter how good your customer experience, you will always need customer service. Read more

Save Your Customer Service Team from Vampire Customers

Save Your Customer Service Team from Vampire Customers

Save Your Customer Service Team from Vampire Customers

Vampire customers exist in every organization.

You know the ones — the ones that are excessively needy, that are overly demanding, and that can often be downright unpleasant.

In short, the ones that suck the life out of your team.

If your organization is like most, then I’m willing to bet that a small handful of “problem” customers are responsible for the majority of your service challenges. It’s the principle of the 80/20 rule, but in customer service, it’s usually closer to the 95/5 rule or the 98/2 rule.

A very small number of customers create a great majority of the serious issues. Read more

Exceeding Customer Expectations Is Nice but Not Necessary | Cherry on Cake

Exceeding Customer Expectations Is Nice but Not Necessary

Exceeding Customer Expectations Is Nice but Not Necessary | Cherry on Cake

Let me say it here once and for all:

You do not have to exceed customer expectations to deliver great service.

Do surprise and delight matter? Sure.

Do WOW moments make an impact? Of course.

Do we all love stories about incredible customer service? Heck yeah!

But they are the cherry on top; they are not the cake. Read more

How to Build Customer Loyalty through Consistency

How to Build Customer Loyalty through Consistency

Customers are creature of habits.How to Build Customer Loyalty through Consistency

They like the comfort and convenience of predictable customer experiences. For all of the talk about WOWing customers, it is consistency that is the secret sauce in customer experience.

In fact, consistency is one of the three aspects of Hero-Class® customer service that I outlined in Be Your Customer’s Hero.

Why?

Because consistency is incredibly difficult to achieve, which means that those who can deliver it can differentiate their organization from the competition.

Consistency is one of the best ways to differentiate through customer service. Click To Tweet

Why Consistency Works

In the book Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal, the author contends that 40% of what we do each day is based in habit.

Habits can be extremely powerful. They operate at a subconscious level, causing us to function on auto-pilot. If you can addict a customer (in a win-win, good for everyone kind of way), you can keep that customer for a very long time. Read more