Uplifting Service - Blog

Uplifting Customer Service: A Job from the Inside Out

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The immediate assumption when we talk about “improving customer service” is that we refer to the activities of customer-facing team members who directly “serve” our external customers, clients, buyers, suppliers, guests, users, attendees, diners, students, patients, etc.

And in fairness, most service education is indeed intended for those who “face” customers – improving the quality of service for those who pay for our services.

But seeing service improvement as mostly a frontline, customer-facing issue will not foster the development of an uplifting service culture where all employees embrace the goal of constantly adding value for others.

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Are you building powerful partnerships where you work?

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Each time you explore, agree, deliver and assure, the possibility for trust grows between you and the other party. In fact, this may be the only way human beings can build trust with one another.

1. EXPLORE: Find out what is important to the other person.
2. AGREE: Make a promise to do something on their behalf.
3. DELIVER: Do what you promised.
4. ASSURE: Check and make sure they are satisfied.

Are you building powerful partnerships where you work?

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Top Twelve Quotes from the 2014 Smarter Services Executive Symposium in Boston

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The “Smarter Services Executive Symposium” in Boston was a deep dive into the world of services, service providers, and field service engineers. The depth of sharing was impressive, as was the depth of expertise.

I gave one keynote presentation and took fourteen pages of notes. Here are my “top twelve take-aways” from the event. Which one is most relevant for you?

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Inside Job: Why Dealing with “Difficult” Colleagues Will Lead to Happier Customers

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Too often, organizations promise satisfaction to external customers and then allow internal politics to frustrate their employees’ good intentions to deliver. It’s important to remember that your customers aren’t the only ones who come through your organization’s door every day seeking quality service. Your coworkers and leaders also need to be served. If they’re not happy, it’s not likely they’ll deliver stellar service, and the same goes for you.

Inevitably, “difficult people” will creep into your work life, disturbing your, your colleagues’, and your leaders’ workflow and negatively affecting the service you all provide your customers.

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Use Internal Service Agreements to Boost Service Consistency

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In many organizations where service is identified as an area for improvement, the problem is not poor service from every department or person, it is inconsistent service in pockets of the organization. Poor service in one area brings down the perception of service levels in all areas.

A classic example of poor service in the US has long been the Department of Motor Vehicles.

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Want better service? Be a better customer!

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When you give a great service, customers appreciate you more. When you give bad service, customers can be a pain in the neck. The other view is also true. When you are an appreciative and considerate customer, service providers will often serve you better. If you rant and pound the table, people will serve you grudgingly if at all.

Here are the tips I use to be a better customer and enjoy receiving better service:

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Service in Reverse: Building Partnerships as Customers

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The common understanding of service in business today is unidirectional – focused on the service from a provider/supplier to its customer. The pressure and expectation to provide 100% satisfaction is relentless. Getting it right “most of the time” is often considered failure. And clients or patrons let us know when we miss the mark – sometimes with tremendous passion!

But what is our role as customer in this exchange of service for purchase and patronage? If our expectation is zero-defects, what service can we provide as customers to help meet this goal?

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Make the Shift from ‘Me’ To ‘We’

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The most listened-to radio station in the world is WIIFM, which stands for “What’s in it for me?” Some people throw this question like a trump card: answer with enough for me and you win my cooperation, but if I find your answer insufficient I may ignore you and your request completely.

I’m tired of this question being used so often and with such depressing power. Here’s why…

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Think you know your customers? Think again!

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Do you really know your customers well enough to stand apart from your competition? Do you want to?

Many people say they know who their customers are. But an alarming number, especially in the B2B world, have only a shallow clue.

Ask yourself these questions, and then think again:

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Amazon does not ‘deliver customer service’, they build powerful partnerships.

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Amazon’s customer service has always been recognized and applauded as world-class. This is remarkable, especially since it is a purely online retailer. Amazon has hardly any ‘human’ interactions – often considered crucial perception points for increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty – in the value delivery chain.

Many companies try to emulate Amazon and cost-effectively provide higher levels of service through leveraging technology. But Amazon does not only ‘deliver customer service’ – they build powerful partnerships with their customers.

How do they do it?

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