POSITIVE Global Customer Service Model

POSITIVE Global Customer Service Model – Serving Diverse Customers

The following acronym (POSITIVE) provides some strategies for creating or contributing to a positive global service environment and building strong relationships with your customers. It provides a model to move you from good customer service to the best customer service possible.

Put your best foot forward. Maintain a positive approach to situations involving customers, smile frequently, and have a “can-do” attitude. When dealing with customers and potential customers, never forget that they are your reason for employment.

Offer whatever level of assistance possible. In addressing customer needs and wants, go out of your way to uncover and resolve problems and to build a strong customer-provider relationship.

Stay abreast of current industry trends and strategies for delivering quality customer service. By upgrading your knowledge and skills regularly, you will be prepared to address any type of customer situation.

Identify true customer needs by listening to proactively. You have two ears and one mouth. Use them accordingly.

Take the time to get to know more about your customers. The more you know, the better you can provide quality service.

Invite your customers to open up and share information. Ask open-ended questions (e.g. Who, What, When, How, Why, and To What Extent) that typically lead to more detailed responses from others.

Verify understanding. When a customer provides information, ensure that you heard and understood it correctly before responding. Use closed-ended (typically start with an action verb) to gather this information.

Engage in relationship-building strategies immediately. Use strong interpersonal communication skills. Start with a smile (on your face and in your voice and words) and a professional greeting when meeting customers face-to-face, over the telephone or in an email. If something goes wrong, immediately start on a course of service recovery with a sincere apology and taking steps to “make the customer whole” again with any appropriate compensation.

Source: Please Every Customer: Delivering Stellar Customer Service across Cultures, Lucas. R.W., McGraw-Hill Professional, New York, NY (2011).
Bob Lucas B.S., M.A., M.A, CPLP is principal in Robert W. Lucas Enterprises, Inc and an internationally-known author and learning and performance professional. He has written and contributed to thirty-one books and compilations. He regularly conducts creative training, train-the-trainer, customer service, interpersonal communication and management, and supervisory skills workshops. Learn more about Bob and his organization at www.robertwlucas.com and follow his blogs at www.robertwlucas.com/wordpress, www.customerserviceskillsbook.com, and www.thecreativetrainer.com. Like Bob at www.facebook.com/robertwlucasenterprises

Avoiding Customer Service Breakdowns

Avoiding Customer Service Breakdowns

There are a number of things that you might do as a customer service representative that can irritate customers or cause them to form a negative opinion of your or your organization. Remember that your goal should be to project a professional presence, help create a positive service culture and provide the best possible customer service.

The following is a partial listing of actions that you should avoid at all costs when customers are present or on the telephone.

-Do not forget that your co-workers and people from other departments in your organization are your internal customers. Treat them with the same courtesy, respect, and attention that you would an external customer.

-Talking to a co-worker about a non-work related topic;

-Engaging in lengthy personal conversations with a customer;

-Bringing up sensitive topics for discussion with a customer (e.g. politics, religion, abortion, civil or gun rights, or any other controversial subject);

-Performing administrative tasks (e.g. filing or working on the computer);

-Waiting until you run out of currency, coins or forms before getting more;

-Not having your computer booted up and software activated and ready to access before the start of business;

-Interrupting service for one customer to deal with another’s question;

-Discussing personal problems or complaining about ANYTHING to another customer or co-worker;

-Conveying a sense that you are overworked or do not have time to deal with the customer’s needs;

-Talking about or disrespecting a competitor.

For more information about providing positive customer service, how to avoid service breakdowns and strategies for service recovery when things do go wrong, get a copy of Customer Service Skills for Success.

Common Sense Customer Service Is Not So Common Anymore

Common Sense Customer Service Is Not So Common Anymore

You may have experienced what my family and I did, related to one of those “dah” moments when we visited the Applebee’s restaurant in Maitland, Florida this weekend. We were celebrating my mother’s 96th birthday and she wanted to go there for their ribs. We ordered a spinach and avocado appetizer and found a hair in it. Our server said, “Wow, that’s not good. It’s a good thing you found it before eating any of it.” She quickly replaced the dish and things were going okay until we got our entrees. I ordered a baked potato and instead received mashed potatoes. When I pointed out the error, the order delivery person stated, “Oh, I saw that sitting there in the kitchen. I’ll go get it” ( I love this team approaches service where no one person assumes total responsibility for service and instead it is shared by half the staff!). Shortly thereafter, Steve (the manager) came by asking how things were going. When I said, that thus far things were a bit challenging in getting what we wanted and that I was disappointed because we were celebrating my mom’s birthday. When I shared with him about the hair and baked potato, he commented, “I heard about the hair, but they remade the appetizer, didn’t they? And, I see you got your baked potato. Please let me know if there is anything else that we need to correct.” He then left. Notice that nowhere in his comments did the words, “I am sorry” or “I apologize” come out of his mouth. No wonder that neither the server nor the food delivery person used those words either. Obviously, service recovery training is not something organizations want to waste time or money on these days.

Unfortunately, I see such scenarios often with service providers in different industries and organizations. What happened to basic service 101 where staff and management are trained to take ownership of service breakdowns, apologize, go out of their ways to resolve the issue and ensure that the customer is satisfied and/or compensated for their inconvenience before the service experience is over. Obviously, return business must not be an issue to many of these purported service professionals. I guess many of them have not suffered the ill effects of the current economy and do not worry about that issue.

There was one positive aspect of our dining experience. After I had received the check and paid for the meal, Steve came back with a $5.00 coupon and stated, I was going to buy your mother a dessert for her birthday but since you already paid, you can use this on future business. Of course, he is making an assumption that such an opportunity will occur in the future.

I’d be curious to hear if about similar service breakdowns and how they were handled.

Customer Services Skills Blog by Robert W. Lucas

Welcome to the Robert W. Lucas Enterprises, Inc., Customer Service Blog

Please feel free to comment on entries and Like Me at www.facebook/robertwlucasenterprises. I hope you find value in my future articles, comments, and observations related to customer service. Visit my other blogs on Creative Training at http://www.thecreativetrainer.com and Non-Fiction Writing at http://www.robertwlucas.com/wordpress


Customer Service Skills for Success

Customer Service Skills for Success – Tips for Delivering Excellent Customer Service

In one of my books, Customer Service: Skills for Success, I feature how-to strategies on topics for customer service representatives that can assist in moving from good customer service to excellent customer service delivery. By applying strategies found in the text, customer service professionals can enhance their knowledge and skills and make them more successful in delivering service to all types of customers.

Customer Service: Skills for Success - Tips for Delivering Excellent Customer Service

In the chapters of Customer Service: Skills for Success I cover the concepts and skills needed for success in the service profession. Strategies provided to readers include listening techniques, verbal and nonverbal communication, using technology to deliver service, addressing the needs of internal and external customers in any business environment, how to build customer loyalty and what to do when service breaks down and they need to recover. I also share experience and tips on how to use positive global service strategies for dealing with diverse customers.

Here are three tips for ensuring better service delivery to your customers:

  1. If you seek trust; communicate it through your words and nonverbal cues.
  2. If your supervisor empowers you to make decisions, that means he/she trusts your ability to handle various issues. Do not take this trust lightly. Before taking action, stop,Customer Service: Skills for Success weigh alternatives, and then resolve the situation to the best of your ability in order to send a message of competency and professionalism.
  3. Unhappy people are still either customers or potential internal or external customers when they contact you at work. Your goal should be to try to serve them effectively them so that they return for future products or services. If you fail at this goal, you and your organization or department will potentially suffer financial and prestige loss.

I am always interested in hearing what is working and what is not in organizations related to customer service. If you have ideas, suggestions, tips or cutting edge practices in the professional that you would like to share with others, please comment.

For ideas and information on how to improve your own customer service skills, get a copy of Customer Service Skills for Success by Robert W. Lucas.

About Robert W. Lucas

Bob Lucas has been a trainer, presenter, customer service expert, and adult educator for over four decades. He has written hundreds of articles on training, writing, self-publishing, and workplace learning skills and issues. He is also an award-winning author who has written thirty-seven books on topics such as, writing, relationships, customer service, brain-based learning, and creative training strategies, interpersonal communication, diversity, and supervisory skills. Additionally, he has contributed articles, chapters, and activities to eighteen compilation books. Bob retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1991 after twenty-two years of active and reserve service.

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