Customer Service - Front Office Management (3rd Friday)

Customer Service

The foundation of creating a customer service culture is - understanding expectations, going the extra mile, and being the customer advocate. Applying the behaviors of helpfulness, genuine interest, and respect moves customers from hostile or ambivalent towards supportive and enthusiastic.

It sounds simple, but successful organizations recognize that customer satisfaction stems from a series of interconnected causes and disciplines, and that customer loyalty drives profitability and growth. This complete experience is what can cause a customer to become a champion for an organization.

An effective customer services is taking 100% responsibility for yourself and the attitude you convey. Each time you come into contact with a customer, your attitude is showing. The challenge is to maintain a friendly, low pressure, and high service environment for your customers and keep yourself productive and service— oriented throughout your day.

Key Factors to Efficient Customer Service
1.       Attitude for Service
2.       Complaint Resolution
3.       Cross and Up Selling
4.       Create Loyal Customers
5.       Customer Follow Through
6.       Generate Customer Interest
7.       Internal Customer Service
8.       Manage Customer Expectations
9.       Referrals
10.   Service to Sales
11.   Suggestion Selling
12.   Telephone Skills – Outbound
13.   Telephone Skills – Inbound
14.  Effective First Impressions - face to face

Attitude Control Principles

Attitude Attackers

Factors externally imposed:
1. Telephone interruptions
2. Meetings
3. Social visiting
4. Other people’s deadlines
5. Unexpected delays
6. Mistakes of others
7. Paperwork and reports
8. Poor communication
9. Outside activities
10. Employees with problems
11. Responding to crises
12. Customer complaints
13. Too much routine work
14. Unexpected interruptions

Factors self-generated:
1. Lack of good organization
2. Procrastination
3. Unrealistic time estimation to do a job
4. Trying to do too much
5. Lack of delegation
6. Snap decisions that backfire
7. Failure to listen
8. Lack of motivation
9. Lack of planning
10. Making all decisions yourself
11. No system of self-accountability
12. Not maintaining daily list of projects
13. Confused responsibilities
14. Lack of creative effort

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living
by Dale Carnegie

 1. Live in "day-tight" compartments. The professional with a commitment to service seals off each interaction with a customer. Don’t allow past successes or failures or future anticipated success or difficulties influence current performance.

2. Don't fuss about trifles. A “trifle” is something that is insignificant in comparison to other things in our lives. When we are focused on trifles, we lose perspective. Keep the big picture in mind and that will help sort out the trifles.

3. Cooperate with the inevitable. When the situation we are concerned with is inevitable and in fact, will take place, utilizing this principle gives us some control over the emotional aspects. By cooperating with the outcome, we are making a conscious choice.

4. Decide just how much anxiety a thing may be worth and refuse to give it more. This decision is ours to make and often it clears our mind. This helps us find ways that we can improve on the situation, or let it go and move on.

5. Create happiness for others. This principle appeals to our nobler motives. It is difficult to sustain a negative attitude when we are doing something good or helpful for someone else.

6. Expect ingratitude. In our jobs, we provide many diverse services and help others. When we do so, the natural thing to expect in return is some signal of gratitude for our assistance. This expectation is often not met. If we do receive heartfelt thanks from someone, we should count ourselves lucky we are dealing with someone who is a grateful person, We shouldn’t let ingratitude deter us.

7. Put enthusiasm into your work. Enthusiasm is the positive energy and sustained effort that keeps us driving toward our goals. Making a decision to have a positive outlook can be critical in enjoying our jobs and working with our internal and external customers.

8. Do the very best you can. It can be difficult to deal with criticism, especially if we feel it is undeserved or hurts our self-esteem. One way to put criticism in perspective is to ask ourselves if we are doing the very best we can with what we know and are able to do. If the answer is an honest “yes,” that helps to not take the criticism personally. If there is room for improvement, we are taking responsibility for our performance.

Conversational Language - Positive Phrases
Good things DO come in small packagesThese little words should win medals, as adding any one of them into your conversation has the potential to transform average customer service into great customer service.
Positive Words
  1. Definitely
  2. Absolutely
  3. Certainly
  4. Fantastic
Example Use
•    I definitely will make sure that it gets sorted…
•    I absolutely agree…
•    I can certainly help you…
•    That is a fantastic alternative…
Some extras to use; Especially, Exactly, Marvelous, Delightful, Reassure
Everyday phrases
As a customer service representative, it is your job to make the customer feel at ease from the minute you say “hello”. Good use of these phrases will help to reassure your customer that you are the life-saving, sympathetic ear that they hoped for.
5. “Rest assured Mr……”
6. “I do understand the inconvenience you have faced……”
7. “I will be more than glad/ happy to assist you….”
8. “I will ensure that…”
9. “What I will do for you right away is……”
10. “I assure you I will try my best…..”
11. “I’m sorry for the inconvenience that you have faced, what I can do for you is ….”
Empathy statements
When using the phone, empathy statements allow you to establish a connection with the person that you are communicating with. These statements create trust and mutual understanding, which can bring great benefits to customer service interactions.
12. “I would feel the same in your situation, but we will sort this out….”
13. “I know how frustrating it can be – let’s see how I can help you….”
Handling upset customers
Handling calls from angry customers can be difficult, because if you get it wrong, you will lose the customer’s loyalty. So, it is important that customer service agents know how to show empathy, which can be done by incorporating the phrases below into the customer interaction.
14. “We always value customers who are keen to give us their feedback. I will be sure to pass on what you have told me to our managerial team…”
15. “I have experienced a similar problem recently, so I understand what you are saying. Let me see what I can do to help you out….”
Advise… don’t patronize
It can be difficult to tell a customer what they need to do without coming across as patronizing, especially when dealing with technical complaints. Yet, incorporating these phrases into your vocabulary can help you to overcome this and create a more positive customer experience.
16. “I would suggest / I recommend…..”
17. “To avoid a similar inconvenience in future I request you to….”
From A to B with a smile
When giving out over-the-phone instructions, it is your job to make the process as easy as possible. Try weaving the following phrases into your conversation to help your customer get from A to B with a smile on their face.
18. “All you need to do is to just….”
19. “A simple way / method to change it will be to…..”
20. “As soon as you receive…”
Smooth Selling
Whilst dealing with a customer complaint, it may also be part of your job to sell up other areas of the business. Here are some useful phrases to help you seal the deal.
21. “We have a variety of …..’
22. “It’s a wonderful service where instead of _______, you can ____________ …..’
23. “This is the best plan/scheme for your requirements…..’
Positive Scripting
Positive scripting is the process of designing a script to ensure that you do not frustrate or anger your customers. So, all of the above words and phrases would work well in this format.
However, you should make sure that your customers know what not to say and give them positive alternatives in the script, just like in the two examples below.
Instead of, “I don’t know/I’m not sure”say… 24. “Let me find out for you….”
Instead of, “If you check our website…”say… 25. “I can email you a link to the webpage, so…”
Suggestions sent in by our readers
Feel Felt Found
The old ‘Feel Felt Found’ approach – it’s an old one, but a great one. It works well in sales scripts, but can be used in a variety of ways…
  • Mr/s customer, I know how you FEEL….
  • Many of our happiest customers FELT the same way…
  • However, what they FOUND, after XXX is….
Or with an unhappy incoming call..
  • Mr Customer I understand how you FEEL…
  • Something similar happened to me and I FELT the same way…
  • What I FOUND and I hope this will be the same for you is…
  • And then you can get on to your proposed solution.
The -LY Ending
This is a little known persuasion secret by all but the major corps and their marketing agencies.
Surprisingly, if you start a sentence with a word ending in LY then what follows is regarded as truth and is very hard to object to.
For example…
Interestingly this is what other customers have…
Naturally my goal is to make sure…
Amazingly we were able to…
Just look at some of the statements used by big PLC’s
Exceedingly good cakes
Probably the best lager in the world

Fantastic, Great and Marvelous
Words such as Fantastic, Great, Marvelous are positive words and are definately appropriate during a telephone conversation. They help the agent to sound upbeat and interested in helping the customer.
Agent; Could I please take your telephone number Mr Jones?
Customer; I can give you my mobile number if that’s ok?
Agent; That would be fantastic, thank you.
Such positive words bring great energy to a call, and yes , ok, they may be over the top, but you’ll never hear a customer complain about how the agent was too positive or upbeat.

A personal touch
I have found that the personal touch is really good. If you can get the agents to really believe in the company and its values, then every call will sound sincere.
The last thing a customer wants to hear (and trust me, they can tell) is a robotic agent who is just saying what they have to.
If you can get your agents to realize that the customer is a person, not a problem, they will enjoy each call more, and this will show in an increase in performance.

Don’t forget tone and expression
One of the most important things to remember while on a call is that the person on the other side can actually see you. Your expression while thanking, encouraging or even apologizing to the customer should be the same as if talking face to face.
Your tone and expression should be genuine as fake words come out fake.
Remember a customer would always be interested to talk to someone who shows warmth and compassion. It has always worked for me and the genuine comments received at the end of the call gives me a ‘High’ which reflects in next so many calls.