Monday, August 22, 2016

Make It L.A.S.T. (part 1)

A few weeks ago, a representative from Michigan Business Consultants came to my workplace to present Module I of a five-module workshop series about delivering quality customer service. This module was titled: "Managing Difficult People and Situations". Honestly when it started I'd buckled myself in to be bored because 1) professional development blahdeblah whompwhompwhomp, 2) it was three hours long, first thing in the morning, and 3) as a back-end middle person of sorts, I don't actually interact with any clients so I'd assumed none of the content would be relevant to me. But it was actually quite fascinating! Beyond customer service itself, the workshop emphasized ways to communicate clearly and solve problems effectively, which I think is applicable to anyone in any situation. So, for anyone who happens to be interested in professional development or conflict resolution, check out the first half of my notes:

  • Small ideas make big things happen
  • We make things harder than they need to be and force our intentions on others for lack of creativity and our negative assessment of the situation
  • When customers complain, it's an opportunity to examine where we miss the mark, show that we recognize this, and re-establish trust (complaints are a gift!)
    • Need to figure out what people want in order to remedy perceived indifference
  • If you exceed a customer's level of expected service (consistently and with all customers), it bodes well for everyone involved
    • Customers expect "FedEx fast and Disney friendly"
  • Customer rage
    • People want (varied): apologies, explanations, repairs/fixes, monetary refund, free products/service in the future, a "thank you for your business", to be treated with dignity... and the vast majority don't receive any of this
    • It's more about service/perception than about money
  • "What can I do to make this right?" = the golden question
  • Pygmalion effect (self-fulfilling prophecy)
    • Since it won't go away or fix itself and you can't run from it, what can you do to improve the situation and make it bearable?
    • Attitude + approach!
  • Follow through! Follow up!
  • Effective listening allows you to understand what's needed and show that you care (through action!)
  • Appropriate responses: what to say and how to say it
    • What's the impression left on the listener? How does it make them feelwhat's a possible alternative response?
    • People don't care and don't want to know what you can't do
    • "It's our policy" = "There's no hope for you"
      • Policies keep us safe and manage risk (they exist for a reason!), but sometimes breaking them is a matter of service
      • Maybe make an allowance once, but explain why the policy's in place so that this won't happen again
      • But don't let customers take advantage of you! Set boundaries, stand firm, be assertive. (Tools that can help you face any situation)
Read part 2 HERE. 

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