Tag: customer service

Customers can be a nightmare…

Customers can be a nightmare! Who you gonna call?

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The Get Real About Business Podcast: Three Essential Ingredients

Last month, Rebecca spoke with Clive Maloney of Get Real About Business about unhappy customers and the importance of getting it right. Listen to the whole thing here. Like this? You can sign up for the whole series, conveniently delivered

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Is your Verbal Handshake like a wet fish?

Have you ever thought about the way you answer the phone as your Verbal Handshake? If not, you should. If our physical handshake delivers a powerful message about our trustworthiness and level of interest in the other person, our Verbal Handshake does exactly the same thing.

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Sorry Not Sorry: A Star Wars Story

A long time ago in a decade far, far away (the 1980s), before apps and the internet, I rang my local cinema to book tickets for the latest Star Wars epic . Here’s how I learned about the power of positive language.

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Making Difficult Calls: 14 March 2018

What was the last difficult call you had to make? Collecting a debt? Making a complaint? Refusing credit? Cancelling a contract? Giving bad news? Apologising for a mistake? Plucking up the courage to make a sales call? From time to

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Every Little Helps

The trust our customers place in us is hard won, and we play fast and loose with it at our peril.

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Selling without being sales-y

You know how it starts. (“Hello, am I speaking to…? Great! How are you today?”).
You know the type. (Pushy. Talks too fast, listens too little).
You know the tactic. (“A special deal, just for you, but only if you buy it TODAY…”).
You know the feeling. (Oh dear, here we go…).
For a nation that loves to buy stuff, the word ‘sales’ has a heap of negative connotations.

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Landing the aeroplane

Imagine the scene: Your aeroplane is three hours into a three-and-a-quarter hour flight when your pilot comes on the intercom and says: “Ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your seatbelts, I’m going to try and land this aeroplane shortly.” What?! You’re

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A Christmas Hamper of Customer Types

If your customers were the contents of a Christmas Hamper, what would they be? Here, then, is a light-hearted delve into the Hamper of Delights that is your customer base. Well, we’re allowed to get a bit silly at Christmas…

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We Who Must Be Named (with care)

Names have power. Names have magic in them. Names wrap up all our expectations and emotional baggage into a neatly labelled parcel, whether we like it or not. Think carefully before you apply a label your customers…

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New! Workshops for small businesses

You asked, we’ve responded! Coming soon… our brand new open workshops designed specifically for small businesses and sole traders. It means everyone can access our expertise and know-how on a range of customer service related topics, including: Customer Service Strategies

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Five ways to spot opportunist complainers

The customer is always the customer – but what if we suspect he or she is trying it on? Here are five ways you might spot those Opportunist Complainers.

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Moving Tales: Customer Service A to B

As some of you will know, I’ve had a busy March and April completing the sale of one house, purchasing another, packing, moving and getting unpacked at the other end. After 21 years in our last home you can possibly

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The Lego Movie: Are teams really that awesome?

“Everything is awesome, everything is cool when you’re part of a team Everything is awesome, living our dream…” The Lego Movie has been offering much delight in our household over these dark winter days, particularly the cringingly awful song ‘Everything

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Customers In Disguise

I’ve worked with some interesting organisations recently, some of which are really not part of the traditional market for ‘customer service training’. And it’s brought about some fascinating conversations. Take, for example, the secondary school where I was asked to

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The Law of Harvest

September means lots of things: going back to school, nights drawing in, the start of that hurtle towards Christmas. It’s also harvesting time, which has been very much in evidence in my rural community. It got me thinking… if we’re

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We’re all in this together

As I work with organisations up and down the UK on their customer service delivery, I get very used to hearing one particular comment. Here it is: “I would love to promise my customers what they want (a response, a

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“Behold the hands…”

“Behold the hands, how they promise, conjure, appeal, menace, pray, supplicate, refuse, beckon, interrogate, admire, confess, cringe, instruct, command, mock and what not besides, with a variation and multiplication of variation which makes the tongue envious.” Michel de Montaigne (1533

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The Complainers: How I see it

Have you been watching The Complainers on Channel 4? The series has been focusing on the work of customer service staff in a selection of large organisations. In particular, it’s been following their exchanges with a set of customers known

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Firestarters (or things that wind up your customers)

“I’m a Firestarter…twisted Firestarter (whoooooooo!) HEY! HEY! HEY!” Firestarters. It’s the name I give to those gestures, sounds and phrases that can turn a perfectly reasonable customer conversation into a raging torrent of accusations, or a slamming down of the

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The Four Step Assertiveness Technique

One of the things my clients often ask me to do is support their customer service teams, complaint handlers and helplines with the more difficult customer behaviour they encounter on the phone. ‘Difficult’ is a highly subjective term, so the

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Whether the weather be fine…

Whether the weather be fine Or whether the weather be not Whether the weather be cold Or whether the weather be hot We’ll weather the weather, whatever the weather, Whether we like it or not!   This catchy little poem

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How changing your jacket can help you deal with difficult customers

One of the subjects I am most often asked to train out is how to handle difficult people – particularly customers who are angry or upset. There are lots of ways our customers can make themselves a challenge, and sometimes

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Lessons in Customer Service from Doctor Who

Last weekend was all about Doctor Who. Hard to believe it’s been going 50 years – and don’t those early episodes look OLD! How times have changed and how technology has moved on since those scratchy black and white days.

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The Customer Service Magic Ingredient

If you were to ask most customers what they’re looking for in a transaction, they will probably tell you they want the right product or service, at the right price, delivered at the right time and to the right quality.

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“We Never Sell a Stale Cake”

Think about that for a moment.   This, a coaching colleague tells me, is the actual advertising slogan used by her local bakery, deep in darkest Nottinghamshire. I have looked at their website and it all looks just delectable –

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The Forgotten Middle

I want to put in a word for the forgotten Middle. Everywhere I look, in the professional journals, online forums and on the business bookshelves, there’s heaps of opinion and commentary about Leadership; who our great leaders are, the qualities

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Why the Gift of the Gab is not always a winner in sales

A best-seller for me at the moment is sales training. That’s certainly a sign of the times, when businesses are pushing harder and harder for every scrap of custom they can get in a marketplace where people are really only

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Listen up, Greater Anglia!

Yesterday I had a day out in London with a good friend of mine. It should be a simple enough train journey home (I live 45 minutes away from London on the mainline), but as anyone who goes into London

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Top Tips for Taming Email

As a coach it seems that increasingly I am working with people who are fighting a malignant force in their place of work. You may well recognise it. It’s…email. Yes, email. It’s a blessing and a curse. On the one

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“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”

It’s a well known and well respected quotation from the eminent management expert, Peter Drucker. I use it all the time when working with organisations looking to improve their service delivery or the effectiveness of their managers, and there won’t

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Cockle-Warming Customer Service in Cold Hard Times

Customer service is a funny thing. We all know when we’ve received a poor version of it, and indeed, when that happens, we tend to go away and tell everyone we know all about it. Oh, and lots of strangers

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Customer Service Room 101

Customer service is a funny thing. We all know when we’ve received a poor version of it, and we tend to tell everyone we know about it too, including lots of strangers in cyberspace as well as our family, colleagues

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No time to train your customer service staff? Try this…

It’s the age-old problem for phone based customer service teams… they’re missing their targets, but you can’t take the team out for training because your customers are going to keep on calling in and the phones need answering. Here’s the

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How to create your own luck

Someone very smart once said to me that “people will only ever treat you as well as you let them.” What wise words! We all, to a very large degree, create our own ‘luck’ when dealing with other people, and

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Calling all Line Managers!

Have you been promoted into a management role, but feel that you have yet to discover all you are capable of? Maybe you are an experienced manager, but want some fresh ideas about how to support and motivate your staff

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A World of Winnthinking direct to your Inbox!

Frequent visitors to this website will have noticed the arrival of something new – just over there, on the right. It’s our new Sign Me Up! box, giving you the opportunity to get a little bit of Winnthinking delivered to

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What makes customers behave badly?

In a previous life I spent six and a half years as a complaint handler on behalf of an investment company. People get very emotional about their money, and rightly so, and during the course of what must have been

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Writing it right

I’ve spent a lot of time recently helping a client work on their written material. In particular that has been about the quality and tone of the letters and emails the company sends its customers. As an investment company, they

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Lessons from Pantomime

I have been having such fun in the past few weeks. It’s the pantomime season (oh yes it is!) and my local drama group is putting on a really good quality show. This year’s production, Old Mother Hubbard, is sold

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Motivation without money: Can it be done?

A very timely item cropped up in Call Centre Focus this week, and although it concentrated on the situation in contact centres across the UK, it reflects all too starkly what is happening across most sectors right now. This is

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“Everyone lives by selling something”

“Everyone lives by selling something.” So said Robert Louis Stevenson, who was probably better known for writing tales of ‘derring-do’ on the High Seas than for giving business advice to the High Street. But the author of Kidnapped and Treasure

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A Short Guide to Brilliant Customer Service

As regular visitors to Winnthinking will know, great customer service begins with enjoying your customers and truly appreciating them as the beating heart of your organisation. As with any heart, you need to keep them happy and active in order

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What’s your Alternative Job Title?

Last time I promised you a fun exercise you can run with your customer service people, to get them thinking differently about the day job. The following works well within a team meeting or as part of a broader development

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Customer service happens head first

Following my last Winnthink someone asked me to post up a few thoughts about this knotty problem: How do you get your customer service people to do it better – particularly when you can’t promise them any more money or

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Customer service: who gives a monkeys?

Last year, as often happens, I designed a course about delivering outstanding customer service. Not just good customer service. Not even great customer service – but how do you make an utterly, fantastically OUTSTANDING experience for every customer, every time?

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