Award winning customer service

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AWARD-WINNING CUSTOMER SERVICE This page intentionally left blank AWARD-WINNING CUSTOMER SERVICE 101 Ways to Guarantee Great Performance Renée Evenson New York • Atlanta • Brussels * Chicago • Mexico City San Francisco • Shanghai • Tokyo • Washington, D C Special discounts on bulk quantities of AMACOM books are available to corporations, professional associations, and other organizations For details, contact Special Sales Department, AMACOM, a division of American Management Association, 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019 Tel.: 212-903-8316 Fax: 212-903-8083 Web site: www This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Evenson, Renée Award-winning customer service : 101 ways to guarantee great performance / by Renée Evenson p cm Includes bibliographical references and index ISBN-13: 978-0-8144-7454-9 ISBN-10: 0-8144-7454-3 Customer services Customer relations Employees— Training of I Title HF5415.5.E885 2007 658.8′12—dc22 2007008289 ©2007 Renée Evenson All rights reserved Printed in the United States of America This publication may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in whole or in part, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of AMACOM, a division of American Management Association, 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019 Printing number 10 This book is dedicated to my husband, Joe, who is always here for me You are my rock And to my parents, Don and Rose, who taught me to believe in myself and to always strive to achieve my best A special note of gratitude for My wonderful family who brings me so much happiness, My menagerie of kitties who love me no matter what, All of my good friends who love me no matter what! I am thankful for each and every one of you This page intentionally left blank CONTENTS Acknowledgments Introduction xv CUSTOMERS: Delight Your Audience Pay Attention Listen Completely to Your Customers Know Your Business Do What You Say You Will When You Say You Will 10 Follow Up for Satisfaction 12 Making Customers Happy Is Job #1 14 PERFORMANCE: Your Role of a Lifetime 10 11 12 xiii Present Your Best Face Forward 18 Maintain a Positive Attitude 20 Exude Confidence 22 Honesty Is Always Your Best Choice 24 Energize Yourself 26 Bounce Back with Resiliency 28 PLANNING: A Good Script Begins with Thoughtful Consideration 13 14 15 16 Create a Personal Mission Statement 32 Write a Customer-Focused Plan 34 Set Specific and Relevant Goals 36 Measure Results to Stay on Track 38 vii viii CO N T E N TS COMMUNICATION: Choose the Right Lines in the Script 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 You Don’t Communicate Alone 42 Stop When You See Communication Red Lights 44 Go with Green Light Communication 46 Listen, Listen, Listen 48 Speak Your Best at All Times 50 Pay Attention to Body Language: Yours and Others 52 Give and Get Accurate Information 54 Ask Good Questions 56 Ask Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How 58 Answer and Respond to Enhance Communication 60 Assure to Make Others Feel Valued 62 Zap Zapper Words from Your Vocabulary 64 Charge Ahead with Charger Words 66 LEADERSHIP: Great Performances Need Great Direction 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 Positive Leadership Begins with Awareness 70 Develop Positive Leadership Qualities Think Like a Leader 74 Model Leadership Behavior 76 Learn Critical Thinking Skills 78 Make Solid Decisions 80 Manage Your Time or Your Time Will Manage You 82 Add Value to Everything You Do 84 72 ix CO N T E N TS PREPARATION: Things Are Going to Change 38 39 40 41 42 43 48 49 50 51 52 Analyze Training Needs 102 Learners Come in Different Styles 104 Products, Services, and Company Policies General Steps to Exceptional Customer Service 108 Specific Steps to Exceptional Customer Service 110 Conduct Market Research 112 Understand the Big Picture 114 Handle Customer Complaints 116 Learning Is a Continual Project 118 106 TEAMWORK: The Actors Make the Cast 53 54 55 56 57 58 88 TRAINING: Learn Your Lines 44 45 46 47 Get Ready: Things Will Not Stay the Same Become a Quick Change Artist 90 Help Yourself and Others Work Through Change 92 Remain Objective 94 Maintain an Upbeat Attitude 96 Stay Accountable for Outcomes 98 Strong Teams = Success 122 Establish a Team Identity 124 Foster a Supportive Environment 126 Form a Cohesive and United Team 128 Strengthen Your Team by Being a Team Player Analyze What You Can Do to Improve 132 MOTIVATION: Monitoring the Process 59 60 Hands-On Customer Service 136 Take Charge: Stop, Look, and Listen 138 130 218 Award-Winning Customer Service 95 CHANGE for the Better Life is all about change Nothing stays the same for very long When you learn to look change in the face and work through the process, you will find it easier to embrace change Learn to help yourself so you can help others • C-ommunicate • • H-elp • • Look for opportunities to help others work through the change process Tell others you want to help If you cannot help immediately, schedule a specific time when you can Do more than you are asked to A-nticipate • • Clearly communicate the vision, goals, and rationale for the changes Be available Listen carefully Ask more questions Get others’ opinions and reactions to the changes Strive to be specific, candid, and objective Watch, look, and listen for things that seem to be wrong Set up early warning measures to help you know when problems are arising Fix the issue before it turns into a major problem Review your work plan for each goal, and ask yourself what can go wrong as we work through the change? Incorporate contingency plans to avoid a crisis situation Discuss issues with your coworkers Have an answer for every what if you can think of N-urture • Nurture yourself and those around you while you work through the transition period Be more patient Do not expect more than you can realistically expect Share your needs with others, and encourage them to share their needs with you Stay tuned in to your coworkers during the time of turmoil QUICK TIPS • G-o • • 219 The change is here, and there is no turning back now It is more important than ever to display a positive attitude about the change Remain sincere and objective, not phony and overly optimistic Tell others exactly what is expected of them Talk about the change in more concrete terms Do not dwell on what used to be E-nthuse • Encourage and reward others for embracing the change Recognize achievement Ask for and act on suggestions for improving your workplace and organization Be a quick change artist by enthusing and energizing those around you 220 Award-Winning Customer Service 96 LISTEN UP for Better Communication The secret of being a great communicator is to listen a whole lot more than you speak Whether you are communicating with customers, coworkers, or other people, be the best listener you can be • L-earn • • I-dentify • • • Put yourself in the speaker’s shoes, and show understanding and empathy N-o judging • • Give your full and undivided attention to the speaker E-mpathize • • Keep quiet and listen T-une in • • Look for ways to identify with what you are hearing S-ay nothing • • View every listening experience as an opportunity to learn something Remain neutral while you are listening to the message U-tilize the information you received to prepare your response P-ause before you answer Always think before you speak QUICK TIPS 97 221 CARE About Your Customers It is human nature to want to be noticed and recognized by others We all want to hear a word of encouragement, to know we are needed, and to know others care for us How you show your customers you CARE? By communicating, acknowledging, responding, and encouraging them Do these every time you talk with your customers Reinforce customer care when you train, hold meetings, or resolve conflict with your coworkers When you demonstrate that you care for your customers, you motivate your coworkers to care for them • • • C-ommunicate openly and honestly with each customer Communication is the foundation on which strong relationship are built Listen actively to the person with whom you are communicating Focus solely on that person, and shut out everything else Show you are interested in communicating with that person only Think before you speak, and choose uplifting words Words, once spoken, can never be taken back, so think before you speak, and ask yourself how will what I say sound to my listener? Ask good questions Maintain a cheerful and enthusiastic attitude Be aware of your nonverbal communication, and maintain an open, relaxed, and confident demeanor Ask yourself: am I doing all I can to communicate clearly? A-cknowledge what your customers are saying to you Stay tuned in, and stay interested Show compassion for them Watch for nonverbal signals that might not match what customers are saying Acknowledge what you pick up from the nonverbal signals Ask yourself: I acknowledge each customer and give individual attention? R-espond to customer needs Give customer problems top priority, and handle them immediately Find the right solution for each customer Show and tell your customers that you appreciate them Thank them for doing business with 222 • Award-Winning Customer Service you Ask yourself: am I responding to each customer’s needs? E-ncourage customers by demonstrating that you value them Tell them they are important to you Respect their decisions, even if you not agree with them Respect cultural differences by being tolerant of all customers QUICK TIPS 98 223 Face-to-Face Customer Service To customers, you present the face of your business Build strong relationships with customers by meeting them face to face • • • • F-irst impressions matter—smile; make eye contact; keep an open, relaxed demeanor; stay interested A-ttitude is everything—present a positive attitude; be trustful; be helpful; be credible; believe you can make a difference C-ommunication is key—tune in; focus; listen completely; think before you speak; speak clearly E-ffectiveness is important—know your products and services well; look for ways to solve problems; find the best solution When you put your best face forward, customers will give you: • • • • F-eedback—when you listen, customers will tell you what they need A-ction—customers will act on your proposed solutions when they trust you C-ommitment—strong relationships equate to committed customers E-nd result—when you are effective you will see positive results 224 Award-Winning Customer Service 99 Stop! Look! Listen! Act! for Outstanding Customer Service When you find your level of customer service is derailing, get everyone back on track by remembering to stop, look, listen, and act • • • • Stop! everything you are doing when a customer comes in or calls Greet the customer Give your name Ask how you can help Form a mindset that this particular customer is the reason you have a job Look! at the customer Focus only on the customer with whom you are speaking Help your customer form a positive first impression of you by making eye contact, smiling when you speak, presenting a positive attitude, being interested, and maintaining an open, relaxed demeanor Listen! actively and completely Pay complete attention and really listen to what the customer is saying Before responding or forming your conclusion, gather as much information as you can to make sure you understand the request Remain objective and never judge a customer Listen, also, for what is not said Pay attention to nonverbal cues and tone Act! on the customer’s request Think of options to solve the problem, determine the best solution, and present it to your customer Be prepared to offer an alternative solution if the customer is not satisfied Next, always what you say you will when you say you will Show that you are reliable and accountable QUICK TIPS 100 225 Customer Satisfaction Quiz After every customer interaction, ask yourself: • • • • • • • • Did I everything possible to give that customer outstanding service? What was the customer’s first impression of me? How well did I relate to the customer, and did I build a rapport throughout the interaction? How well did I listen and understand the customer’s request? How well did I answer all the customer’s questions? How well did I handle the customer’s request? Did I offer the best solution? How effective and efficient was I? If you cannot answer all the questions positively, think about what you could have done differently and next time it 226 Award-Winning Customer Service 101 Customer Quick Bytes Use these customer quick bytes as meeting openers to generate new ideas or to solve problems • Customers will generally remember a company for two reasons: • • When the product or service is particularly good, or When the product or service is extremely bad How are our customers remembering our company? • Customers appreciate the following qualities in customer service providers: • • • • Courtesy; Knowledge of products and services; Reliability; Decision making ability How we measure up? • The top reasons for customer dissatisfaction are employees who: • • • • • Ignore customers; Do not listen; Are not knowledgeable; Are not reliable; Do not follow up or follow through Which of these are we guilty of? • Service that was outstanding yesterday may only be satisfactory today and not good enough tomorrow What can we to make sure our service is outstanding every day? INDEX A Acceptance, 92–93 Accountability, for outcomes, 98–99 Accurate information, 54–55 giving, 54 receiving, 54 Acknowledgment, 221 Actors, 16–17, 69, 147 Allen, Woody, 134 Anger, 196 Anticipation, 218 Appraisals, periodic, 160–161 frameworks, 161 Appreciation, 216 Assuring, 62–63 Attention, paying, 4–5 Attitude, positive, 20–21, 44, 136, 196, 221 gratitude and, 210–211 maintaining, 96–97 projecting, 108 Audience, 3–4 in theater, Awareness, leadership and, 70-71 B Bad habits, 147 Barrymore, Drew, 214 Beatty, Warren, 198 Behavior changing, 195 exemplifying proper, 144–145 model leadership, 76–77 positive, 127 proactive, 204–205 reactive, 204–205 Berry, Halle, 17 Best face forward, 18–19 Big picture, 114–115 Body language, 52–53 Bogart, Humphrey, 101 Boredom, 200 Business, knowing, 8–9 But, 60 C Calmness, 196–197 Caring, 221–222 Change, 88–89, 218–219 helping yourself and others through, 92–93 objectivity and, 94–95 phases of, 92–93 positive attitude towards, 96–97 preparing for, 88–89 Characters, 17 Charger words, 66–67, 152 Charge, taking, 138–139 Clooney, George, 198, 199 Cohesion, 129 Comfort zone, 73, 87, 88 Commitment, 199, 216, 223 momentum and, 200-201 227 228 INDEX Commitment (continued ) staying one step ahead and, 202–203 Common sense, 99 Communication, 41, 218, 221 conflict and, 186 with coworkers, 48 effective, 108 enhancing, 60-61 green light, 46–47 improving, 72 people in, 42–43 red lights, 44–45 in team building, 128 Company policies, 106–107 Compassion, 216 Compensation, 142–143 Competition, 114 Complacency, 133 Complaints, 84, 97 chronic, 192–193 customers, 116–117 Confidence, 22–23 in conflict resolution, 186 Conflict, 173 anticipating, 188–189 calmness and, 196–197 communication and, 186 confidence and, 186 contentment and, 192–193 effective resolution to, 184–185 as opportunity, 184 positive aspects of, 184–185 responsibility and, 183 win-win solutions to, 190-191 Contentment, 192–193 in customers, 208–209 Contingency plans, 204–205 Contributions, positive, 180-181 Control, effective, 173 Conversations ending, 83 grapevine, 97 Cooperation, 129 Coworkers communicating with, 48 creative, 206–207 empowering, 191 listening to, 187 spending time with, 136–137 training, 106 Creativity, 128–129 in coworkers, 206–207 Crisis, 204 Critical thinking, 78–79, 90 Cruise, Tom, 183 Cruz, Penelope, 146 Cue cards, 214 Customers complaints, 118–119 contented, 208–209 ending transactions with, 110111 greeting, 110 handling, 116–117 happiness of, 14–15 helping, 110 listening to, 6–7 plans focused on, 34–35 satisfying, 103 surveys, 112–113 WOWing, 209 D Daily plan, 82 Decision-making, 80-81 Demoralizing, 150-151 Denial, 92–93 Depp, Johnny, 16 DiCaprio, Leonardo, 147 Directing, 31, 69, 101 INDEX Distractions, 6–7, 44 Documentation, 140-141 Doing what you say, 9-11 Dressing, 18–19 229 Focus, 178–179 Follow-ups, 12–13 Ford, Harrison, 87 Foster, Jodie, 165 Fun time, 212–213 E Eastwood, Clint, 68 Empathizing, 220 Encouragement, 131, 155, 217 See also Motivation vocabulary, 143 Energizing, 26–27 concluding meetings by, 176–177 Enthusing, 219 Environments, supportive, 126–127 Equality, 77 Exploration, 92–93 Eye contact, 52 G F H Face-to-face service, 223 Feedback, 147, 223 accepting, 162–163 corrective, 156–157, 195 demoralizing, 150-151 ending sessions, 153 focused, 148–149 meaningful, 148–149 negative, 162–163 periodic appraisals, 160-161 positive, 152–153 quick, 154–155 specific, 148–149 systems, 112–113 timely, 149 tips for giving, 152–153 Field, Sally, First impression, 108 Gestures, 52 Goals, setting, 36–37 concrete, 158–159 fun time and, 212–213 for improvement, 158–159 Goldberg, Whoopi, 121 Grapevine conversations, 97 Gratitude, 210–211 Green light communication, 46–47 Greetings, 110 Grooming, 18–19 Group dynamics, 174–175 Hands-on experience, learning and, 104 Hands-on service, 136–137 Hanks, Tom, 100 Happiness, of customer, 14–15 Help, 218 Hepburn, Katharine, 135 Honesty, 24–25, 216 How, 58–59, 158, 166 Hunt, Helen, 120 I I, 60, 114 Identifying, 220 Improvement, 158–159, 202 Information, accurate, 54–55 giving, 54 receiving, 54 230 INDEX Integrity, 26 Interruptions, 46 J Jolie, Angelina, 164 Judgment, 80, 99, 220 K Kidman, Nicole, 41 L Leadership, 69 awareness and, 70-71 behavior, 76–77 qualities of, 72–73 thinking and, 74–75 Learning, 102–103, 202, 220 continual, 118–119 hands-on experience and, 104 listening and, 104 styles, 104–105 visualization, 104 Listening, 6–7, 48–49, 138–139, 220 to coworkers, 187 learning by, 104 minutes, 176 number of attendees for, 174 opening, 168 participation in, 170-171 planning productive, 166–167 positive contributions in, 180181 questioning techniques in, 170171 Mission statements, 32–33 Momentum, 200-201 Motivation, 135, 178 See also Encouragement team, 142–143 N Nonverbal signals, 44, 46 Norms, 174–175 Nurturing, 218 O Objectivity, 94–95 Outcomes, accountability for, 98–99 Outfits, 18–19 P M Management, time, 82–83 Market research, 112–113 conducting, 112–113 Meetings, 165 concluding, 176–177 focus and, 178–179 gaining agreement in, 168 ground rules, 191 group dynamics in, 174–175 guiding, 170-171 leading, 168–169 maintaining control during, 172–173 Paying attention, 4–5 Peak producers, 194–195 People, in communication, 42–43 Performance prompts accurate information, 54–55 asking questions, 56–57 assuring others, 62–63 best face forward, 17–18 body language, 52–53 charger words, 66–67 in communication, 42–43 communication red lights, 44–45 confidence, 22–23 INDEX customer-focused plans, 34–35 customer happiness, 14–15 doing what you say, 10-11 energizing oneself, 25–27 enhancing communication, 6061 follow-ups, 12–13 goal-setting, 36–37 green light communication, 46–47 honesty, 24–25 important questions, 58–59 knowing business, 8–9 listening to customers, 6–7, 48–49 mission statement, 32–33 paying attention, 4–5 positive attitude, 20-21 resiliency, 28–29 speaking, 50-51 staying on track, 38–39 zapper words, 64–65 Personal mission statements, 32–33 Personal plans, 200-201 Pitt, Brad, 182 Plans contingency, 204–205 customer-focused, 33–35 meetings, 166–167 personal, 200-201 Poor performance, 156–157 Positive attitude, 20-21, 44, 136, 196, 221 gratitude and, 210-211 maintaining, 96–97 projecting, 108 Positive charges, 206–207 Preparation, 88–89 for change, 88–89 Proactive behavior, 204–205 Problem performers, 194–195 231 Problems anticipating, 188–189 solving, 178 Procrastination, 82 Products, 106–107 Q Questions asking, 56–57 important, 58–59 in meetings, 170-171 Quick bytes, 226 Quick change artists, 90-91 Quiz, satisfaction, 225 R Reactive behavior, 204–205 Recognition, 142–143 Red light communication, 44–45 Rehearsals, 30, 68, 86 on-the-spot, 164–165 Relationships, 41, 217 Reputations, 80 Resiliency, 28–29, 89 Resistance, 92–93 Respect, 177, 181, 194, 216 Responses, 221–222 Responsibility, 72, 75, 105 conflict and, 183 Reviews, 160-161 Rewards, 142–143 Roles, 17 Ryan, Meg, 86 S Sadness, 92–93 Saving face, 66 Scheduling time, 27 Services, 106–107 Setting goals, 36–37 concrete, 158–159 232 INDEX Setting goals (continued ) fun time and, 212–213 for improvement, 158–159 Smiling, 52 Solutions, focusing on, 194 Speaking, 50-51 Spielberg, Steven, 69 Staying one step ahead, 202–203 Staying on track, 38–39 “Stop! Look! Listen! Act!,” 224 Strengthening, 203 Supportive environments, 126–127 Surveys, customer, 112–113 T Tarantino, Quentin, Team building, 121 characteristics of strong, 122–123 cohesive and united, 128–129 communication in, 128 cooperation in, 128 creativity in, 128–129 improving, 132–133 motivation and, 142–143, 178 strengthening, 130-131 success and, 122–123 supportive environments for, 126–127 team identity in, 124–125 Theater, audience in, Theron, Charlize, 31 Thinking critical, 78–79, 90 leadership, 74–75 Time management, 82–83, 137 wasting time, 167 Timing, 51 “To do” lists, 82 Tolerance, 217 Track, staying on, 38–39 Training coworkers, 106 general steps, 108–109 needs, 102–103, 104–105 specific steps, 110-111 Trust, 76 Tuning in, 220 V Value, adding, 84–85 Visualization, learning and, 104 Vocabulary charger words, 66–67 encouragement, 143 positive, 171 zapper words, 64–65 W Washington, Denzel, 30 Watch-and-see approach, 150 Wayne, John, 40 We, 125 Welles, Orson, 215 What, 58–59, 158, 166 “What if?”, 90-91 When, 58–59, 158, 166 Where, 58–59, 158, 166 Who, 58–59, 158, 166 Why, 58–59 Win-win solutions, 190-191 Y You, 608 Z Zapper words, 64–65 [...]... any time you feel customer satisfaction is at stake 14 6 Award- Winning Customer Service Making Customers Happy Is Job #1 The customer is the reason you have a job You are in the customer service business, and this should be your mantra You may also want to add to your mantra that without customers, customer service employees are not needed You have learned the most common reasons for customer dissatisfaction... best way to satisfy your customers Learn your job well 10 4 Award- Winning Customer Service Do What You Say You Will When You Say You Will You might feel you give great customer service, but unless you do what you say you will when you say you will, your customers are only going to remember that you were not reliable or dependable They will forget about the great customer service you gave them up to... remind him that this is how he treats his customers Listen actively—focus entirely on your customer 8 Award- Winning Customer Service 3 Know Your Business A fairly basic concept for employees in customer service is that you should know your business Do you? Are you completely knowledgeable about all that your company has to offer? To find the best solution for your customers’ problems, you need to know... Cultivate Contented Customers 208 Develop an Attitude of Gratitude 210 Make Fun Time a Daily Goal 212 14 QUICK TIPS: Cue Cards 94 95 96 97 98 99 CHARACTER Counts 216 CHANGE for the Better 218 LISTEN UP for Better Communication 220 CARE About Your Customers 221 Face-to-Face Customer Service 223 Stop! Look! Listen! Act! for Outstanding Customer Service 224 100 Customer Satisfaction Quiz 225 101 Customer Quick... the shelves If you do not sell the merchandise, your business is going to close No matter what you are doing, your customers are your most important job Stop! And pay attention to them The customer is the reason you have a job 6 Award- Winning Customer Service 2 Listen Carefully to Your Customers Paying attention and listening go hand in hand If you do not pay attention, you cannot be a good listener,... appreciate your confident and honest reply Reliability and dependability are important to customers 12 5 Award- Winning Customer Service Follow Up for Satisfaction Most likely, you will not need to follow up every customer contact, but there are situations in which a follow up is appropriate In the case of a customer who is upset with your company, like Ms Robbins, a follow up is not only appropriate,... award winning production “I can’t deny the fact that you like me! You like me!” —SALLY FIELD 4 Award- Winning Customer Service 1 Pay Attention Have you ever walked into a business and been completely ignored by the employees? Most likely the answer is yes When it happened, you probably felt invisible You may have even walked out wondering how a company can stay in business when its employees treat customers... consistently high-quality service puts you and your company on the fast track to success How well you treat your customers may make the difference between achieving your business goals and just barely keeping your doors open (or not keeping them open at all!) Giving great customer service is not a matter of doing what you think your customers want Rather, it is a matter of doing what your customers want One... • Follow up to make sure your customer knows how to use a new product Follow up if your customer had a lot of questions before buying the product Follow up if the customer was confused about the agreedupon solution to a problem Follow up to thank a customer for a large sale Follow up by telling existing customers about new products or an upcoming sale Follow up when a customer is upset with your company... make customers go away Customer service is the most important aspect of your job You get it How can you get all your coworkers to get it? Customer service leaders need a practical tool to help them learn the skills necessary to train employees and transform problem behavior This book offers a whole set of attitude adjustment tools, tips, and helpful advice for problemsolving issues of providing customer
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