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Having irritating hold music or an out of date or out of tune automated message for your customers is the equivalent of having a sign on your door that says Keep Out.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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Understanding Difficult People

This year I found myself in the middle of a challenging situation that involved two people who were totally irrational. Their mean spirit, ruthless tactics and harsh words made me want to lash out. I began to plot their demise and calculate how I could triumph. I rehearsed clever zingers that would put them in their place and practiced my response to their eventual apologies. And then I woke up! I knew I had to be a calming influence in a tough situation even though every bone in my body wanted to react. Trying to endure verbal assaults without having your own emotions come through

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Balancing Quality of Service and Time

Does great customer service take too long? That may depend on your point of view. For any trucking operation,time is money when it comes to drivers and it is a valuable commodity in a customer service department, too. Some managers and CSRs have convinced themselves that using a script takes too long. Others have landed on a number for an appropriate length of a call such as 3 minutes or less in order to be productive and get the phones answered. It is unclear as to where the magic number of 3 minutes has come from, but it is a good starting point for you to use

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Time is Money

I recently hopped in the car for what I thought would be a quick 10 minute drive, but because of new road construction it took an additional 20 minutes to get to my destination. I needed to look for an alternate route to go around the construction on my return trip in hopes of making up lost time. Guess what? That alternate route had heavy traffic because everyone had the same idea! 45 minutes was added to a 10 minute trip which meant I was going to be behind by an hour for the rest of the day. Now I had to figure out what task could be pushed back or pushed out to the following

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Every Call Counts

Every call counts. Often times in customer service there is a snap judgment on whether the current call needs to be handled completely (and documented) or if it is a call where a quick answer will allow it to end in seconds without much involvement from the CSR. Suppose your customer calls and asks you to confirm which week is their recycling week or when their bill is due. The most common approach for a CSR to take is to give a quick answer and hang up. What are you missing with this approach? The opportunity to update the account information, ask for payment

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Customer Service Stays Positive Despite Storms and Viruses

Boston has reportedly received 96 inches of snow this year and I have decided to measure any problems I have to the nightmare they have right now. It was 7 below zero this morning here in Chicago and I am smiling because I am not in Boston. They had severe cold and 96 inches of snow. Viruses may have been plaguing your office and you are finding yourself short staffed. Smile because you could be short-staffed, have 96 inches of snow and freezing temperatures. No matter what comes your way in customer service, you need to prepare and keep a positive attitude.<br

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Service Is The Star

There is something that a customer service representative fears more than an unfriendly voice on the other end of the line and that is an unfriendly voice asking why there was another rate increase. How can you change the attitude in your office from panic to pride? Change their focus. The quality of your service needs to be the star when it comes to having the rate for service challenged by a customer or your competition. Providing a clear strategy and direct answers will help your CSRs and sales representatives handle even the most difficult customers

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