Training Tip to Combat Defensiveness

What can you do with someone who is defensive and doesn’t receive feedback well?
Being defensive isn’t unusual. It is a very human and common reaction to criticism. My sister and I joke about the fact we weren’t raised to receive criticism as something that is helpful. It can be a slow process to change not only how you react but also to look forward to feedback. You may be working with someone who has years of practice defending actions versus looking for ways to use criticism to make improvements. Here are some suggestions to help both you and your team grow through criticism.

1) Share

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Preparing for A Price Increase to Your Customers

There is a lot that goes into implementing a price increase to your customer base. Operations, sales, accounting and many others need to coordinate what will happen and when. Customer service needs to brace for an influx of customer calls by adding additional staffing, some of whom may be temps or support staff within the office. Unfortunately, some leaders simply settle on a vague directive to the team that they should try to keep as much of the P.I. as possible. They leave the details of what will be said and done to the person taking the call. It has been my

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Patience and Understanding

I did some volunteer work with a group of first graders and one of our lessons focused on patience. It is endearing when a 6 year old scrunches her nose and asks, “Patience? What is that?” But, I admit I am more likely to throw my hands in the air as I shout, “Patience? What is that?” because there are days when it seems as if people are unable to tolerate anything that doesn’t go according to plan. Like you, I have many inconveniences that cross my path every day. It could be unexpected computer issues, airport delays or unreasonable people. On a recent trip during the height

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Scripts, Secret Shopper and Training

A few years ago I had a prospective customer tell me that they did not need the services that Tooty provides because they had the best customer service he had ever witnessed. He added in that the customer service department was well-run, sales were up and their customer satisfaction scores were all above average. The conversation reminded me of a scene from the movie Elf where Will Ferrell burst into a coffee shop shouting congratulations because he saw a sign outside that stated, “World’s Best Cup of Coffee”. He took the sign at face value and thought the claim was true.

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C.S.I.- Customer Service Investigator

One of the benefits of my side-by-side coaching with customer service representatives is that I not only get to hear customers share their concerns about their garbage service, but I get to find out whether or not the company has a working process for investigating and solving repeat service issues. The conversation below is based on an actual customer conversation.  It is a perfect case study for us to use to talk about the importance of developing your team’s investigative skills to improve customer service.  Service issues can’t be

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You Talk Too Much

As a company, Tooty has listened to over half a million customer conversations which includes both secret shopper calls and monitored real customer conversations. Regardless of the industry or the office location, CSRs will tell me how different and demanding their customers are in comparison to anyone else.  Some describe their customers as mean, long-winded or needy.  I recently told a CSR I was hoping she would get some of “those” customers while I was with her, not because I wanted her to be nervous or to be given a hard time but because I wanted to

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Automated Messages and Hold Music Can Create Angry Customers

Having irritating hold music or an out of date or out of tune automated message for your customers is the equivalent of having a sign on your door that says Keep Out. In customer service we often talk about hold time and how long a customer is willing to hold before hanging up. But how many of you have completely overlooked the customer’s experience while sitting on hold?

Many companies use an automated attendant to help during busy times. It is thought of as a way to help manage call volume. The automated attendant and its messaging should present an accurate impression of the company’s

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Get Rid of the Robot

Five year old Hunter asked me why he couldn’t burp out loud in Chick-fil-A. I tried to keep from laughing as I told him it wasn’t polite. I didn’t know if a 5 year old knew the meaning of polite and I really wanted to make sure he understood that burping out loud was not a good habit for a 5 year old to develop. So I asked him if he knew what it meant if I said he was not polite. He explained to me from his kindergarten perspective that not being polite was the same as not being nice. He understood. In recent training with some millennial CSRs I overheard them using some words in ways

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Thankful for Feedback

A year ago I had someone I didn’t really know approach me and offer me advice I really didn’t want. To be respectful I agreed to a free consultation which I also didn’t want and certainly believed I didn’t need! I responded to her suggestions by giving her a list of those things I was not willing to do. Shall we say, I was difficult? And defensive. I wanted to control what was happening to me. She was patient and respected the boundaries I was setting. She negotiated with me and was able to get my commitment to add a few key things to what I was already doing that would give me

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Winning The Price Shopping Battle

My first sales position involved me selling a hair loss product for men door to door. I would stop men in the elevator or at the mall and open with, “Excuse me sir, I noticed that you are thinning on top and I have a product that will help grow your hair back.” My boldness on a sensitive topic was effective. More often than not the prospective customer was quick to buy without caring about the price. Once the deal was done, quite honestly, I didn’t care to ever see the customer again. There were plenty of balding heads waiting for me. Many customer service and sales people

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