Ralf Weiser's Blog – Shake Up Your Snow Globe! ©

Stop doing, shake your globe, ponder, dream, start reaching your full potential – live on purpose and do it with a smile!

Archive for the category “customer service”

7 strategies to gain and keep customers trusting you


7 strategies to gain and keep customers trusting you pablo-9

Trust makes our world go round. Period. In business that is what you really sell and you can only do that when people trust you personally first and foremost.

Today I am shaking the snow globe of anyone who interacts with customers. In a business setting nothing can be worse than to mutter the words “maybe”, “I think so”, “supposedly”, “perhaps”, etc. in the context of handling customer questions. Well, there is something worse and that is asking the customer for advice as to what should be done.

Why is this the worst case scenario? Because it marks the time from which trust starts to downward spiral. The moment the customer gets to know that you are not sure of yourself and you seem to be grasping for answers is also when his attention is awakening.

It is a totally human response. If something is uncertain and the predictable and expected outcome of the interaction is in question, guess what almost always will happen? The customer will scratch at the surface a little more and ask more questions and will do that more frequently. The more the uncertainties pile up, the worse this condition gets. Heaven forbid other people in your organization give different answers. Now the customer is really getting worried.

Do not let this happen to you. There are a couple of really important and easy to implement steps to get you out of the hot seat.

  1. React and respond expediently. Speed equals trust. Make sure that you are always the one who calls the customer first so they do not have to call you. You send the message that you are on the ball.
  2. Be firm and confident. Much like your smile can be seen at the other end of the telephone line, it is the same with confidence. What are you afraid of? They cannot pull you through the telephone if you do not have all the answers.
  3. It is ok not to know the answer. The way out of this is to always tell the customer what you do not yet know, but how and when you intend to get the answer.
  4. Tell the truth. No one can mess with the truth. Tell it how it is. Focus on gathering and dishing out “just the facts, Mam”. Have a plan handy how the financial side will need to work out.
  5. Never get emotionally involved. You will lose – big time. Do not answer statements. Instead show compassion and genuine empathy. It is what you do and not who you are, so do not let it get to you.
  6. Tell them what you can and will do. Do not tell them what you will not be able to do or what you have not done yet and why. All the customer will hear while you are speaking to him sounds much like the Peanuts’ teacher.
  7. Deliver upon your commitments. Under promise and over deliver. Repeat at will and do so

While I intentionally focused on the business aspects with this post, reflect on how much of it also applies to your social and love life. Consider this as a starting point for your own personal experience based pre-flight check list. I would love to hear from you, if you have some other favorite tactics how to inspire trust.

Ralf

12 words and phrases that work for no one


My top 12 un-favorite words list Ralf a

Ever notice when people use words that somehow cause you to cringe, or otherwise make you uncomfortable? Sometimes you may not even notice your reactions. The words below invoke such strong reactions in me because they do not work. Like trying to nail Jello to a wall they are too non descriptive. They have no place in any communication involved precise and concise action.

  1. Standard: What exactly is that? Speaker and listener would have to be in absolute agreement what the mutual assumptions and expectation are describing a standard product, service, ore condition.
  2. Should: Really? That is nothing but a firm maybe.
  3. Usually: That is rarely usual
  4. Normally: Nothing is ever normal
  5. Typically: Nothing is ever typical
  6. Probably: Duck, because usually that means you are in trouble.
  7. “All you need to do is…”: Yeah, right. As spoken by someone who is not doing anything.
  8. On average: What is ever average?
  9. Routinely: That is probably applicable to machines but not people
  10. But (or the subtle “however”): Use “and” instead
  11. We: That is usually me
  12. Never: Never use never. Nothing is ever impossible, or improbable.

I apologize if I should have now managed to put a thorn into your mind. Next time you hear someone (or perhaps you) use any word listed above you will hopefully start feeling just as irked as I am. Why use these at all in the first place? Use them only in communication when you are in exploration and interpretation mode.

Ralf

3 motivation and attitude improvement rules that are still totally overlooked and underused


3 motivation and attitude improvement rules that are still totally overlooked and underused Ralf a

Today’s post relates to our thoughts and how they either will let us feel great and motivated, or just the opposite. A thought is just a thought and definitely not who you are. Cool thing is that if we take a deep breath and give our brains a quick mental break we can always manage our thoughts. So here are three basic thinking rules for your viewing pleasure.

  • Laugh at yourself once in a while.   It is what you do, not who you are.

At the beginning of my career I worked in customer service for 17 years. The first couple of years were very intimidating, when dissatisfied customers would call and simple let me have it. Often times, I felt personally threatened or at least attacked. As a result I would try defending my or the company’s position, which occasionally lead to the proverbial pouring oil into the fire scenario. By staying on the defensive side, the customer would think I did not care and thus give him even more to yell about. Which in turn, lead me to dig in even further. Quite a while back, the company I work for sent me to a customer service seminar. Amongst other things, the speaker taught us about the mental approach of separating what it is you do for living, from who you are as a human being. He suggested looking at what customers are really mad about. In almost 99% of the cases people are mad about everything else but you personally. He also recommended trying to look up, and start laughing at oneself. Sometimes, we get so entangled in our daily lives, that we take our oh-so-important problems way too seriously. Customers usually do not take well to taking yourself too serious during a telephone conversation, as they called to get their problems addressed, and not yours. I tried this theory out the very next day with amazing results. Regardless of how bad they sometimes vented staying focused on the customer’s issues, defused the once very polarized situation.

 

  • Rather be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

Looking like a fool does not improve your attitude and motivation. This rule I picked up along the way of getting promoted all the way into management functions at work. With the added responsibilities, came a steady diet of meetings. Meetings have become a staple of my daily schedule. All these people gatherings have a profound common denominator: they are based on personal interaction. The part I was struggling with the most was listening to what was being said. I was listening to respond more than listening to understand. Unfortunately, proper listening skills do not get taught in high school or during college. It was also not part of the on the job training program. So in one-on-one as well as large group meetings, I used to jump to conclusions, rather than waiting for everyone to finish the points they were trying to make. This was a very foolish thing to do. In hindsight, I should have sat on a rock, and thought about my actions a lot earlier. Then one day, I reflected on a meeting that had gone badly. I asked myself what I could have done better. This is when I realized my habitual mistake, of interrupting other people’s conversations. Changing this habit was tough but worth the effort. I look foolish a lot less often nowadays.

 

  • Choose your attitude! Be there! Play! Make their day!

The phrases above are part of a rule that I keep honing and refining throughout my life. They key to success in life is your own motivation and morale, as well as that of i.e. your family, friends, peers and people that you serve.   Quite a while back, I was watching a motivational and morale boosting tape called “Fish”. It struck a chord with me, as I finally was able to express in short terms, where motivation comes from. To me it always starts with you and thus with me. Choose your attitude well after you get up in the morning. This is a simple yet effective mind game; it really is your choice to either feel upbeat, or be moping around all day. Usually, everyone will most likely be impacted by, if not mirror, your attitude. Sounds like a no-brainer to me, right? Well, it is indeed tough and easier said than done. “Be there” is all about paying attention, while someone is trying to communicate with you. Have you ever done it? It sounds simpler than it is. After all, most of our interactions are caused by interruptions from people who just want a “minute” of your time. It is much simpler to half listen and to keep on going with whatever you may be doing at the time. But it shows no or little respect to your counterpart. But respect is what every one of us craves. Also, respect is a keystone of keeping up a high spirit. So give them what they need, without dilution. “Play” deals with having fun during the day and committing acts of random kindness. Jokes, even pranks or practical jokes go a long way to loosen up our work. “Make their day” is sprinkling a dash of servant leadership around you. Do things no one expects you to do. Walk in someone else’s shoes for a while; realize how tough her or his job is. It really helps staying focused on what is important in life.

One of my favorite and local leadership people I follow by reading his books and Tweets is Pat Croce. He was the owner of Philly’s own 76ers and also is a great businessman. Check out his book I Feel Great and You Will Too!: An Inspiring Journey of Success with Practical Tips on How to Score Big in Life. You will find a smattering of other great nuggets of advice improving your motivation and attitude. Here are two great video clips featuring him about motivation and staying positive. Discover Pat on Motivation and Attitude.

Ralf

Your success story begins with this one key step


Your success story begins with this one key step 20150325_164819

How many friends have you made with your mouth versus your ear? Oh my, this question hit me square in the forehead quite a while back. Here you have all the technology to reach out to so many people in real time and yet nothing matters until someone starts to listen. The key to making a difference is learning to keeping your mouth closed and to just listen. You can inject your knowledge and experience etc into the dialog depending on the questions that you will be asked in the process of listening. This is the most effective way of making any conversation a win-win situation.

It remains one of the toughest things to do for me. How about you? You have so much to share. You have bundled up so much experience. You have been on an excited life’s journey that should be shared. There is a time to share all of this, but you need to scan for the best time to do so. Best practice is to park your desire to make statements and assertions – that is if you are interested in learning something new about the other conversation partner. It is takes a little exercise, but the rewards can be remarkable. Then you need to literally force your brain to think about how to switch from questions that would give you a yes/ no response to open ended ones. At first, you will not fell easy about this, but just recall that these questions had better start out with a W or an H (where, who, why, what, when, how).

Stand back and then stand by what ensues. The greater percentage of people will enrich your life by blessing you with their experience, talents and most of all they will give you two elements of human interaction that are the most scarce these days: They are now giving you their attention and a little bit of trust that if you do this well can last a life time.

Blessed beyond measure,

Ralf

 

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