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