TMI from Frontline Reps; It's Deadly - Rep with hand over mouth

TMI from Frontline Reps; It’s Deadly

We’ve all had that awkward moment. We’re shopping in a store or asking about the product we ordered, and the frontline rep we’re interacting with starts to overshare. We hear about their life story, about the seven week saga that led to the order being delayed, or about how much they hate their job. It’s a case of TMI (too much information), and in customer service, it can be deadly.

Frontline reps share TMI in three primary ways:

TMI from Frontline Reps; It's Deadly - Rep with hand over mouth1. Too Much Personal Information

This is generally the most problematic form of TMI in customer interactions. Perhaps the rep is lonely, perhaps the rep simply lacks the social awareness to understand where to draw the line, but somehow the rep misses the clue that the customer does not want to hear their personal story.

No matter how bad their experience at the DMV was yesterday, no matter how much their foot hurts from their bunion surgery, the customer is not interested, and even if they might be, they should never have been put in the position to make that determination in the first place. TMI is simply not part of the professional relationship. Read more

Are You Customer Service Reps Eating the Marshmallow | Picture of Marshmallow | Walter Mischel's Marshmallow Experiment

Are Your Customer Service Reps Eating the Marshmallow?

In yesterday’s Monday Motivation, a Monday email sent to subscribers to our eNewsletter The Customer Conversation, we spoke about Walter Mischel’s famous  experiment on self control and delayed gratification in children. Here is part of the email:

Are You Customer Service Reps Eating the Marshmallow | Picture of Marshmallow | Walter Mischel's Marshmallow ExperimentResearcher Walter Mischel at Stanford devised an ingenious experience back in the Sixties to test self control and the ability to delay gratification in children. He put a marshmallow in front of a child and told them they could either eat the marshmallow or wait up to 20 minutes and then get two marshmallows. Most kids couldn’t do it.

However, a few could, and the researchers found something interesting about those who could: later in life, they seemed more successful, across every metric measured, than those who could not delay gratification. Those who gave in quickly… Read more

One Company's Inattention Is Another's Opportunity

One Company’s Inattention Is Another’s Opportunity

A few weeks ago, I stopped by a big box electronics store to make a quick purchase. I had dropped my wife at an appointment and decided to run a few errands until she was done. In this brief trip, I was reminded of how damaging it can be to ignore customers.

One Company's Inattention Is Another's OpportunityI was shopping for a Bluetooth speaker system. I had purchased a larger set of Bluetooth speakers two years ago, as we wanted something loud enough to be used in the back yard. Unfortunately, the speakers I bought were the opposite of hassle-free, requiring a convoluted login and sync process using a computer. The settings never seemed to stick and the speakers have lain on a closet shelf for awhile now.

It was a bad purchase. Bluetooth should be plug and play, much like the cheap Bluetooth speaker I bought for about $15 one day and which has been nothing but a pleasure to use.

So, I was in the market for something in between: small speakers, that were plug and play, but that were powerful enough to cover the garage or backyard. Read more

Be Your Customer's Hero Cover | Customer Service Book

The Official Book Launch and 72 Hours to Claim Gifts



The big day is finally here! Today is the official launch of Be Your Customer’s Hero.

Be Your Customer's Hero Cover | Customer Service BookTo celebrate the launch and to try to work our way onto Amazon’s bestseller lists, we are offering incentives if you purchase multiple copies of Be Your Customer’s Hero in the next three days. The breakdown below shows you the levels and the gifts! Spaces between bullets show anything that’s different from the level above it.

This offer is only good for the next three days and ends at 9:00AM EST on Friday, May 1.

Ready to help take your team’s service to the next level? Let’s go! Read more

The Ultimate Starter Guide to Employee Empowerment

Employee Empowerment the Smart Way

This morning we released CTS Service Solutions’ Ultimate Starter Guide to Employee Empowerment. This guide walks those new to the idea of strategically and consciously attempting to increase employee empowerment in their organizations through many of the basic ideas surrounding empowerment as well as nine tips for empowering employees effectively.

The Ultimate Starter Guide to Employee Empowerment

One of the concepts discussed in the guide is the idea we share at CTS Service Solutions called Smart Empowerment. Smart Empowerment was created as a reality check to some of the more airy and fantastical concepts of empowerment floating around — the short form answer that empowerment is always good and more of it is always better. Read more

Be Your Customer's Hero Customer Service Book

The New Book Revealed: Be Your Customer’s Hero

Be Your Customer's Hero Customer Service BookService triggers that set customers off. Power words that influence customer perception. Go-to tactics that turn difficult situations around.

My new book Be Your Customer’s Hero: Real-World Tips and Techniques for the Service Front Lines is finally here. And I couldn’t be happier with the end product!

I am truly thrilled to put this book into the hands of customer-facing professionals all around the world.

Be Your Customer’s Hero (HERO) is a different type of customer service book. Short chapters. Straight talk. Effective techniques. HERO was written to serve busy frontline professionals and the even busier managers and business owners that work with them.

HERO is not about theory; HERO is about results. Read more

Understanding the Other Side of a Bad Customer Experience | Noodles being spooned into takeout box

Understanding the Other Side of a Bad Customer Experience

Creating great customer experiences and delivering great customer service almost always boils down to one thing: being able to understand the experience of customers — to walk a mile in their shoes and to build a better shoe or create a better walking path with that knowledge.

It begins by understanding what your customers are going through, especially when the experience is not a positive one.

A Tale of Takeout

My wife and I were both exhausted. On most nights, my wife cooks dinner, as my culinary repertoire is limited to frozen pizzas and eggs. However, on Tuesday, she just didn’t feel like it, and she decided to grab takeout from a place nearby — but not that nearby.

She usually only gets takeout from this restaurant coming home from the office. It’s on the way and really only adds 15-20 minutes to the commute home; to leave the house and get it is another matter entirely. It’s about 45-60 minutes total, 15-20 minutes of car time each way and about 15-20 minutes parking and going into the restaurant. There is virtually no parking in front of this Japanese/Sushi/Hibachi restaurant in a busy shopping center; you almost always end up parking in a separate lot, sometimes pretty far away. Read more

Customer Information Form Basics: What You Need to Know

dreamstimefree_192239The words Big Data are spoken every day in corporate offices around the world. And the benefits of it to companies and customers is, well… big.

And while Big Data is becoming more accessible to small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), the basics of customer information — small data, if you will — is still where customer and experience meet for most organizations.

To collect this information, you need a method, and the customer information form is a tried and true way to get to know your customers. Let’s look as some of the basic types of information your form should have and then look at five tips to be effective with the form.

Four Types of Customer Information

Not all information is equal. But the more you know about your customers the better you can serve them. Here are four types of customer information you should consider having your form capture.

Basic Contact Information

This is the solid foundation you need to stay in contact with your client. Name, address, phone number, email address and the like are essential to making sure you can contact your customers in a timely fashion. Almost every form captures this basic data; the trick is having the real-time systems in place to make sure it is accurate. Read more

Customers That Stick Guide to Online Customer Service Certificate and Degree Programs Banner

Introducing a New Guide to Customer Service Higher Education

Today we are releasing our new guide to customer service and customer experience higher education programs. The Customers That StickTM Guide to Customer Service Certificate and Degree Programs is designed to help shine a light on the growing importance of our field and to help generate interest in those higher learning institutions that are at the forefront of customer service and customer experience education.

Customers That Stick Guide to Online Customer Service Certificate and Degree Programs Banner

We believe this is a first-ever attempt to catalog and collect these programs in one location.

This project is extra meaningful to me because I am a graduate of one of the programs listed. I have a Certificate in Customer Experience from the Center for Services Leadership at Arizona State University. You can see its entry in the guide here.

Please check out our press release and the actual guide for more information. Also, we would love any feedback on how we can grow and deepen this resource over time. If you have any suggestions, as always, please contact us.

What Email Support Tone Do Customers Prefer?

According to Help Scout, 94% of all online retailers provide email customer service. That means that a significant number of interactions with customers are made through email. Software Advice, a website that rates customer service software, released some interesting findings in a survey this summer on the best ‘tone’ for email customer support.

So, how do we train customer support agents to speak in a tone that customers prefer without negatively impacting the customer’s experience or our business? First we need to understand our customers’ preferences.

Casual Tone Is Preferred Over Formal

First our agents must speak to our customers in the tone they would prefer. Based on the survey we now know that customers generally prefer a casual tone. In fact, 65% said they prefer a casual tone while only 35% said they preferred a formal tone.

Of course, there is a fine line to consider when conversing with customers via email.

We must take into consideration the nature of the correspondence and what the customer’s emotional state is. The appropriate tone is context dependent.

Customer Perferences for CSS Agents' ToneExcept When Denying a Request

Most customers prefer a casual tone, except when they don’t. Read More