Winnthinks

Winnthinks

Welcome to the Winnthinking blog, where you will find food for thought, tips, comment and the occasional guest posting about customer service and people performance.

We love receiving your feedback, and if there’s a related topic you’d like to see covered here, let us know.

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 delivery, a repair, a document, a solution…) – but I can’t rely on the people in ...

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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 – 1592, French essayist). A few years back I was returning to Essex from a ...

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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 as ‘Super Complainers’. Last night’s (10 June 2014) programme focused on the energy giant E.ON. Almost ...

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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 phone, or the steely glare of non-cooperation. Surely there is no employee who sets out to deliberately ...

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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 first thing I always do is talk to the people taking these calls, and find ...

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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 was a favourite when my children were small. It seems particularly apt at the moment, when there is extensive flooding in the ...

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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 they don’t even mean to do it – but it’s something we all come across ...

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New Year’s Resolutions for the Goal-Less

Every January my social media stream fills up with comment about New Year’s Resolutions and the importance of goal setting for the months ahead. As a Coach I am, of course, a huge fan of goal setting, both in the short term and long term. But what if you don’t know where you want to go? Plenty ...

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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. Even the Daleks have learned how to travel up and down stairs. The programme has gone ...

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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. After thinking a little more, they will often also add that they want the person ...

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Experiential Learning: Not Just for Newbies

There’s a truly profound Chinese proverb that is often quoted by trainers, and it goes like this: “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember, I do and I understand.” It’s the powerful principle behind pretty much every meaningful bit of learning you’ve ever done – particularly those occasions when you did something truly stupid, ...

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How to get more bang for your training buck

There are, it is said, three types of training course participant:   Holidaymakers Prisoners Learners Holidaymakers are those who put themselves on a course – usually an in-house one – because they see it as an easy day’s work and a lazy tick on their appraisal form. They will be happy enough to be there, but don’t expect them to ...

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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 – so why does the slogan have such a high ‘Eeuw Factor’?   In fact, before we explore that some ...

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Putting a spout on it

When my now grown up son was about four years old, we had those magnetic letters on the ‘fridge and used them to play simple spelling games with him. So, he would read out a word like ‘hat’, and then tell us which letter he needed to change in order to make it ‘bat’, for ...

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Fifty is the New Twelve

Something strange is happening to me this weekend. I’m going to become a fifty year old. I’ve never been one of those before, so it will be an interesting experience. Happily this momentous occasion will be shared with a number of my nearest and dearest, which should lessen the shock considerably. As will the inevitable ...

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