Talking to Strangers:
Reasons Potential Customers May Distrust You


Interesting to hear the response from managers when asked about what factors impact sales. Many will reference the economy, customer demographics, competition, and recent innovations. While those factors certainly play a role, I often find, when brought in to train sales and service teams, that employees inadvertently chase away new potential customers. It usually happens within the first 10 seconds of customer communication, and most employees have no idea that they are committing these offenses. See if this is true in your organization. Consider these reasons potential customers may distrust you or your team members.

Faking Familiarity

Imagine that you … Read the rest

Customer Service Motivation


Tips for Staying Up When Customers Wear You Down

Someone once said that life would be easy if it wasn’t for other people. Making a living however, usually involves interacting with humans. Your job may be fine when customers are pleasant and everything goes well. Sooner or later though, unavoidable delays, foul-ups and interruptions can make even good jobs turn into, well … work. To help you have more up days than down — even when things go wrong — here are several strategies I share in my seminars for making your job easier and your mood better. The bonus … Read the rest

Major Reasons Customer Service Slides


When I’m asked speak at conferences on how managers can boost business, they often assume we’re going to focus on gaining new customers. Ironically, that’s the last thing we should focus on. Neglecting existing customers to chase new business is akin to gathering water in the proverbial leaky bucket. We can exhaust ourselves trying to collect more water when we’d be further ahead by simply fixing the holes. The more sustainable approach to growing business is ensuring existing customers are so thrilled that they’ll not only return; but they’ll also recommend you to new potential customers. The challenge is without … Read the rest

30 Seconds to Significant Sales


How to up-sell without turning off your customer.

If you and your employees aren’t trained on effective ways to upsell, chances are you either offend customers by being too pushy, or leave money on the table that customers would have willingly spent with you. Either option is costly.

When organizations bring me in to train employees on how to increase revenues from current customers, I often find that not enough attention is paid to up-selling.

Up-selling refers to when you help a customer decide to buy a little extra or “up-grade” slightly the final purchase. A car dealer, for example, … Read the rest

Top 10 Worst Things to Say to Angry Customers


You may have great products, but you can still have customer service problems caused by bad weather, equipment failures, or human error.

While you can’t control external events, you can control what you say to upset customers. Certain phrases will serve to either defuse or enflame.

After more than 20 years of speaking at conferences and training teams on customer service, here are my top 10 worst things to say to unhappy customers (from least offensive to most), along with tips for regaining trust.

  • “Want the good news or bad?”

When customers hear bad news they tend to catastrophize. They … Read the rest

Reasons to Avoid the Friend Zone With Customers


Conventional workplace wisdom espouses the virtue of employees being friendly with customers. While friendliness is a good thing, too often employees interpret it as encouragement to become their customer’s friend. That’s not such a good thing. The key question is what is the most appropriate and profitable employee-customer relationship? Having conducted customer service training seminars for hundreds of organizations over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are five things every employee should consider as they develop relationships with internal and external customers.

Not All Interactions Are Fun

Chances are, customers would rather not go through the process … Read the rest

Trends That Will Change the Way You Serve Customers


You have no doubt noticed that technology is changing the “face” of customer service. Traditional ways we used to interact with customers, win their trust, and keep them coming back are becoming irrelevant. Here are three of the most significant trends in customer service, and how you can position your business to capitalize rather than capsize in response.

Trend #1 — Self-Serve Slavery

What apparently started with self-serve gas stations has now become the norm. Customers are now booking their own travel, doing their own banking and even scanning their own groceries at self-serve checkouts. There are pluses and minuses … Read the rest

How to Stand Out Without Lowering Your Price


Is what you do for a living perceived by potential customers as being a mere commodity; more or less the same as others in your profession? When that happens, customers revert to the easiest differentiator — price. The outlook gets worse as you realize that somewhere in the global economy there is likely someone offering similar products or services for a cheaper price. And with the Internet it’s easier for your customers to find them. What’s most frustrating is when you know your products and services are indeed different, but customers don’t seem to get that and put you in … Read the rest

Do’s and Don’ts for Calming Cranky Customers


Perhaps you’ve noticed that customers are becoming increasingly hostile. Case in point was the highly publicized incident where a patron in a fast-food restaurant became so enraged that he attacked the restaurant manager. The customer spilled his coffee on his breakfast and when the manager refused to replace the meal, the ensuing argument led to violence that ended with the customer being arrested.

It seems in our fast-paced frenetic world customers are now more tired, rushed, stressed and downright fed up. That’s why in my customer service seminars both managers and frontline employees frequently ask me how to handle the … Read the rest

Customer Service Tips When People Are Stressed


image of stressed womanLet’s admit it — when it comes to dealing with customers who are stressed, some jobs are easier than others. A masseuse working in a resort spa will have more pleasant customers than a lost luggage agent at a busy airport. If your customers are sitting in a chair at your hair salon, they’re likely to be more relaxed than if they were sitting in an examination chair in a dental office.

That’s why so many customer service training programs fall short of desired results. Over the last decade there’s been a dearth of frontline training that focuses on enhancing … Read the rest

Strategic Prioritization Pays Off


It may be a popular advertising slogan — our customers are our number one priority — but as a manager, buying into that strategy will actually reduce your effectiveness and damage your business. I learned it the hard way.

More than 15 years ago, when I started my customer service speaking and training business, I was my only employee. I was doing everything: delivering speeches and seminars, strategic planning, handling suppliers, and of course taking out the trash. When writing my lengthy “to-do” lists, I’d always rank customers as being my number one priority. Unfortunately, it took me five years … Read the rest