Empowering Your Customer Service Team

Many organizations want to do the right thing for customers, but too often put a multi-layered, time-eroding approval process in place to get there. By then, the customer is gone, or the loyalty that could arise from their experience has dwindled. That’s not effective empowerment; in fact, it’s not empowerment at all. Your agents must be able to take action …

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Improving Performance: Two Types of Standards

The cornerstone of an effective quality observation process is documenting specific, observable behaviors and tailoring coaching accordingly. An effective way to consider performance (quality) standards is to categorize them as either “foundation” or “finesse.” Foundation standards measure whether something was done, and can be assessed with a simple yes or no. For example, the agent uses their name in the …

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Make Your Customer Access Strategy Uniquely Yours

What access channels should be opened up? What’s the nature of service you intend to provide? Beyond applying sound management principles, these decisions are yours to make. My overarching advice: Make your customer access strategy uniquely yours — do what’s best for your customers and your organization. Here are some examples of how customer access strategies are playing out: London-based …

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Customer Expectations of Service Delivery

Service quality is defined in terms of the customer’s perception of how well your services meet his or her expectations. Simple, right? But wait, aren’t expectations always changing? What do customers expect? This can seem like a daunting challenge for those of us designing and managing customer services. The good news is identifying customer expectations is not the hit-or-miss guesswork …

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How to Balance Service and Cost in the Contact Center

Back in December, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Jeff Toister, a customer service consultant based in San Diego. The interview touched on a variety of topics, but was focused on issues around staffing and scheduling. We discussed how offering great service typically saves money, something that may be counterintuitive to many. You can access the interview here. …

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In Customer Service Timing Is Critical

The right place at the right time. It’s a common phrase, but in customer service, it matters more than ever. Timing is critical. In customer service, we’re like pilots or stage hands. Like them, we also work in a time-driven environment. It’s not just what we do, it’s when we do it that counts so much. Learn more about how …

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Does Your Executive Team Understand Staffing Tradeoffs?

Are you working through difficult discussions related to resources and budget? Just remember, contact centers must handle most customer-related work as it happens, so resource mismatches quickly result in big problems. It’s essential that those making decisions have a basic understanding of staff tradeoffs in a contact center (read: real time) environment. The following table is an example of how …

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Knowing Your Customers

How do you know what a customer needs? If you mention customer advocacy and pose that question many executives will say, “Well they tell us, right?” I think they picture a frustrated customer across the counter or perhaps calling or posting a message that describes a problem. But there’s so much more to it. The video below from the LinkedIn …

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What to Say to Angry Customers

With the current crisis, contact center representatives are grappling with heightened workloads and anxious customers. It takes practice to find ways to ensure your impact is as positive and helpful as possible. Remember that you’re doing important work. It’s hard work and it can sometimes be disheartening and downright draining. But your role in helping customers during the most difficult …

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“Press 1 for Frustration” Article

This article from Heather Kelly at The Washington Post is a great behind-the-scenes look at the challenges of reaching customer service when call volumes are high and wait times are long. I was honored to be a resource for the article—and I’m thankful for the heroic work so many customer service professionals are doing. https://wapo.st/3cme3JX

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