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Many people think of customer service as a department. If you’ve been following me, you’ll know my belief is that customer service is a philosophy, not a department. It should be embraced by every employee, regardless of their job and how long they’ve been there. With that said, the focus on this topic is on what many consider to be the customer service and support department – the people who have contact and interaction with the customer. Continue reading

So, the other day I’m flying to a speaking engagement. While waiting for my flight to board I bought a yogurt parfait. After paying for it, I looked for a spoon. There were knives and forks, but no spoons. The little compartment next to the knives and forks was empty. I asked the cashier if they had any spoons. He pointed to where they weren’t. I told him they were out, and in an effort to get rid of me, he suggested that I could go to the restaurant next store and ask them for a spoon. Continue reading

National Customer Service Week is coming up the first week in October. This is a time to appreciate employees for doing a great job taking care of customers. There are many ways companies are celebrating. Everything from an employee appreciation event, like a lunch or dinner, to fun games that are about team building and comradery. And, of course, there is showing some love and appreciation to your customers. Continue reading

A friend of mine went to the airport rental car agency and had a chance to upgrade to a Tesla. He had never driven a Tesla so he was happy to pay the upcharge to have the experience. If you’ve ever rented a car at the airport, you typically are stopped at a gated exit where the car rental employee looks over the paperwork, checks your driver’s license and sends you on your way. One of the questions they will typically ask is, “Would you like the fuel option?” That allows you the convenience of paying for a tank of gas so you don’t have to worry about filling before returning the car. Continue reading

I’ll never forget having dinner with my close friends, Kim Tucci and the late John Ferrara, more than 30 years ago, at a fancy restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona. John’s twelve-year-old son, Ben, was also with us. The server came over to tell us about the specials and take our order. One of the specials was a seafood dish. Kim asked, “Is the fish fresh?” Continue reading

Your people attend customer service training. They learn techniques and tactics on how to deal with complaining customers, angry customers or customers who just need a little support. They are taught the right answers to some difficult questions. This is what customer service training is all about. But… Continue reading

There is an old joke in the dental world that a patient asked his dentist, “Which teeth should I floss?” The dentist answered, “Only the ones you want to keep.” Customer Service is the same.

All customers are good customers. Okay, maybe not all. Every business has customers – or should I call them former customers – that companies choose not to do business with. But, for the purpose of this article, let’s assume you’re willing to do business with everyone who wants to do business with you. Continue reading

There’s an old joke that goes something like this: A guy goes to the doctor. He raises his arm and complains, “It hurts when I do this.” The doc says, “Then don’t do that.”

In other words, “Stop it!” Continue reading

My brother, Rusty Hyken, was on a trip to Utah with his wife and two dogs. It’s a leisurely three-day drive for them. He made their hotel reservations, and for each hotel they planned to stop at on the way to Utah he asked, “Is your hotel dog-friendly?” All of them said, “Yes.” But to his surprise, while checking into one of the hotels he was told there would be a $120 charge for the dogs to stay in his room. This was a surprise as he called and specifically asked about dogs, and the hotel never mentioned the fee for the dogs. Continue reading

I will always remember my first marketing class in college when we learned about the 4 P’s – Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. Well, now there is a fifth P.

Before I go any further, as a customer service and experience expert, I believe that service and experience are all about marketing. Continue reading

It was a major meeting for my friends at Volkswagen Australia. This was their Customer Experience Summit, and the theme for the meeting was “Think Small: Big Differences Come from SMALL Details.”

Jason Bradshaw, the Director of Customer Experience, shared his vision about Volkswagen Australia being recognized and known for their amazing customer service. His goal is for VW to be one of the best in the industry. His bold move was to tell the audience, which consisted of the ownership and management of the Volkswagen dealerships throughout the country, that everyone should think small. Really? How can thinking small propel you to greatness? Well, it turns out Jason was onto something… BIG! Continue reading

My buddy went to dinner with his wife to celebrate their anniversary. The server overheard them talking about how many years they had been married and was flattered they chose to spend their special night at the restaurant. So, he brought them over complimentary champagne. They were surprised and most appreciative. That is, until the bill came.

As my friend looked over the bill he noticed there were two complimentary glasses of champagne on the bill had a charge of two dollars per glass. Since it was only four dollars, and rather than have a confrontation with the server, he just paid the bill. A perfect evening derailed when the surprise champagne turned out to be a bigger surprise than he expected. Continue reading

We must always be honest with our customers. Even if it is something the customer doesn’t want to hear.

Many of you will be able to relate to this. My wife holds up two pairs of shoes and asks me, “Which pair of  shoes do you like better?” I know I’m in trouble. Is she really interested in my opinion? Or is it a trick question? In her mind she already knows the answer. She just wants me to confirm the answer. I have a 50/50 chance of giving her the correct response. And, even if I choose the correct pair of shoes, she is going to wonder why I didn’t choose the other. Only one other question she asks could get me in more trouble: “Does this dress look good on me?” But at least she didn’t ask, “Does this dress make my butt look big?” Although she just might as well have. Continue reading

Every week, I’m asked, “What is changing in customer service?” The expected answer is that I’ll talk about all the new ways customer service and support is conducted – and I do. There’s self-service solutions that include robust frequently asked questions and video. There’s social media customer service with multiple channels like Facebook and Twitter. And, AI (Artificial Intelligence) that the experts – myself included – say will potentially change everything. Continue reading

I’m often asked, “How many people in an organization does it take to create a culture focused on Customer Amazement?” The short answer is: all of them. But, the process has to start somewhere. Usually it’s at the top with leadership. But sometimes it can come from someone inside the organization at a different level. I refer to that person as The Force Within. That person delivers Amazement within the larger group, which may not necessarily be operating at the same standard as he or she is. Continue reading

Not long ago I was interviewing Kevin Berk, founder and CEO of ServiceGuru, on Amazing Business Radio. We were talking about the word fine. He commented that it is a four letter that begins with the letter F that you never want to hear from your customer. I then joked that fine is the “F-Bomb” of customer service.

Ask someone how their experience with your company is. If they say, “Fine,” and you dig a little deeper, you may find out things really aren’t so fine. Continue reading

I recently had the good fortune to meet Frankie Saucier, the former director of social media customer service (also known as social care) for a major cable company. When the cable goes out, upset customers call, email, tweet, post on Facebook, etc. her cable company for two reasons. One, they want to express their complaint and anger. Two, they want to know when their cable TV will be fixed.

So, Frankie sat down with her team to brainstorm how to handle a tweet that a customer posted asking how long it would be before their cable TV was restored. She asked them, “What would be the best response?” Continue reading

I recently checked into a hotel in Chicago. The front desk clerk was so enthusiastic. Upon checking me in she stated, “I’ve put you in the best available room.”  I was only there for one night, so I thought she was upgrading me. To match her enthusiasm, I responded, “I bet that room has a view of the ocean and the beach!” Of course, there’s no ocean or beach in Chicago. I was just joking.

She then said, “Oh, you’re looking for a view. You could upgrade to a room with a view, if you would like.”

I was surprised and said, “But, I thought you told me you were checking me into the best available room.” Continue reading