Customer Service….is that a misnomer?

April 27, 2015 by  

Many businesses have a customer service program, or at least they claim to have one…..and all businesses should. However, if the customers are not happy when something goes wrong for them, then the business is in fact not providing customer service.   Now all such programs need policy and procedures.   They also need to training for those handling this position so that they will be effective in dealing with unhappy customers. That means providing them with the flexibility and the power to make the decisions necessary so that the unhappy customer leaves or hangs up the phone, happy.

These “front-line” people need excellent listening skills, viable options for problem solving issues and an ability to determine what will actually make this irate person feel better about whatever happened. Dealing with difficult people requires patience, empathy, honest, respectful assertiveness and the appropriate messaging techniques to suit whomever the customer service personnel are facing.   Difficult conversations, in these scenarios need to have win/win outcomes! When there are really no problems and things seem to be going well, that is great and it is also easy.   The real test comes when something goes wrong….the way a business deals with this situation is the real litmus test of your customer service program and of those responding to the public.   The outcome can either lose you that person’s business, as well as anyone else they tell or tweet to……or, you will have so “enchanted” this formerly upset person, that they will then become one of your best marketing tools; as they will laud your efforts to anyone who will listen.

PS. You should definitely have someone monitoring tweets and facebook entries just in case the upset customer only chooses that route for complaining.   If it is noticed and dealt with from either of these media options, you can still save the situation and end up looking good!

The Definition of Soft Skills……and What They Mean for You!

April 4, 2015 by  

Soft Skills are the essential characteristics and qualities that we all possess, but in differing amounts and with differing abilities to use these traits. They encompass our mental capacities, hard work, and personal attributes; which are all necessary to gain the trust, respect and rapport necessary to do well in our personal, private and business lives.

They include: communication skills, problem solving abilities, organizational skills, habits, personality, conflict resolution skills, negotiation abilities, listening skills, goal setting and accomplishing skills, effective leadership, collaborative skills…the list goes on and on.

The more we work on improving these soft skills, the more likely we will be to land that great job, to get promoted, be admired and valued by our friends and colleagues, have less conflict in our lives and manage our responsibilities in a timely and efficient manner.

Some people seem to have more of these skills innately….lucky for them, it is certainly a huge advantage. However, the good news is, if you wish to gain more of these qualities or enhance the ones you have, it can be done. It just takes a positive attitude, some solid training and the concentrated effort necessary to employ the strategies learned.

So, if you wish to build a successful career, examine your level of ability in soft skills…if you find it lacking, take the time to explore your options for improving those essential aspects for high performance and achievement…you won’t regret it!!