Cancel Culture and Customer Service

According to Wikipedia.com, cancel culture is a form of “shunning or boycotting” an individual based on their egregious behavior or controversial statement. Undoubtedly you’ve heard of celebrities being “cancelled” and falling victim to cancel culture, but what about companies? Yes, companies have also gotten caught up in cancel culture. Look no further than your breakfast table and you’ll find examples of companies and brands such as Goya Foods, Aunt Jemima (Pearl Milling Co.), and Cream of Wheat that have recently faced such backlash.

Being prepared is a company’s best defense when it comes to cancel culture. First and foremost, hear your customer clearly and assess the gravity of the situation. Never underestimate the power and reach of social media. Baby boomers may mistakenly view social media as frivolous; however, it is important to actively monitor your social media for customer complaints. Addressing customer complaints quickly and properly is imperative. Using social media to solicit solutions from customers is a great way to show customers that you care and you’re listening.

Second, consider all the ways your message could be interpreted. This is one of the reasons diversity is important. Despite your intent, your message can be interpreted differently by others based on their life experiences and beliefs. Draw on your team’s diversity for feedback.

And finally, mistakes are bound to happen. But it is important to quickly address errors and accept responsibility. Offer an empathetic and genuine apology alongside your plan for improvement or prevention.

Now, let’s go out there and make it a great day!

We’re Retuning to Work!

At last !  The world is slowly reopening and employees are returning to work.  Everyone is excited about being out and about…especially business owners.  In all of the commotion, there’s a high probability that abundant changes are needed in the workplace.  In this blog, we’re offering ideas about how to enhance employee morale, strengthen customer service, and increase sales.   

Change your perspective

View “new normal” challenges as opportunities for growth and improvement.  Avoid approaching problems with a defeatist attitude.  Visualize how positive outcomes will help your firm thrive.  Then share your ideas with clients via social media and other communication outlets.

Get back to basics

Revisit soft skills basics such as effective communication, empathy, and positive attitudes.  Now is not the time to allow customer service to fall by the wayside; in fact, it’s time to double down on delivering an experience that is unique only to your brand.  Empathize with customers and maintain a positive mindset.

Communication is key.  Be upfront and honest with clients about what they should expect from the level of service you’ll deliver.  Keep them in the loop about policy changes.

Set realistic attainable expectations from your team.  Highlight  expectations in weekly staff huddles.  

If a project cost is going to run over due to price increases in raw materials, share this information with clients immediately.  Give as much information as possible to ensure an understanding that they’re not being overcharged.  

Let your customer know you appreciate their patience by writing personalized “thank you” notes, applying a customized postage stamp, and dropping it in the mail.

Products and Policies

Due to shifts in the marketplace, consider whether you should update your company’s policy or services.  Whether it’s a reduced staffing model or limited supplies, these “constraints” may require a change in how you conduct business.  Doing so may increase employee efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Let us know in the comments how your business is pivoting in the face of such challenges. 

Make it a great day!

4 Tips for Post-Pandemic Workplace Etiquette

As many offices begin to re-open, workers can expect to be met with new safety protocols, open concept workspaces, and varying levels of comfortability in our world of the “new normal”.   As we adjust to these fresh starts, it is more important than ever to draw on our ability to empathize with others and maneuver workspaces with thoughtfulness.

Tip 1: Review Covid-19 Safety Protocols 

Policies and rules vary from business to business, so be sure to take note of all safety protocols provided by your employer prior to returning to the office.  Pack an extra mask so that you’re prepared for situations such as offsite client meetings that may fall under different protocols than your workplace.

Tip 2:  Avoid the “V” Topic

Returning to the office provides an opportunity to become reacquainted with colleagues and catch-up on life events.  Conversations can quickly turn to vaccination status and it should be avoided.  This is private medical information and intrusive inquiries are inappropriate.  Likewise the oversharing of vaccination information can also make people uncomfortable.

Tip 3: Leave Your Tchotchkes at Home

Many companies are moving to open concept workspaces with unassigned seating.  This can be a big adjustment for people who enjoy having all their creature comforts nearby.  Also, refrain from encroaching on temporarily unoccupied desks with your overflow. 

Tip 4: Embrace Meeting New Neighbors

These new open concept workspaces create a fluid community.  While some may prefer the routine of seeing the same faces everyday, open concept seating allows for new connections and communities to grow so it is likely you will have rotating workplace neighbors. 

Observing these general tips should help with the transition from remote work.  Be sensitive to the fact that everyone’s level of comfort will vary (respect one another’s boundaries).  Extend a bit of grace as we all continue to shift and pivot. 

We’d love to hear from you.  Please share your tips for transitioning from remote work in the comments below!

Make it a great day.

Three Words Your Clients Want to Hear: “Yes, Yes, Yes”

While giving top-notch customer service is a priority for your company, it’s almost impossible to appease every customer request. So, how do you keep customers happy and loyal if you can’t always give them what they want?  

During this global pandemic, if you are not acting as a concierge to your clients—no matter your industry—you are missing golden opportunities to be a differentiator.    

We recommend creating a philosophical platform (instead of a policy) to build on and train your team how to say “yes” even when the answer is “no”.

Establish a culture of saying Yes – Starting with the C-Suite (the company executive offices), a culture of yes needs to be exemplified throughout the company so that all employees understand that saying yes is a core value to uphold.

  • When company leaders and managers are constantly telling employees no, that negativity will likely pass on to your clients
  • Come up with other ways to make customers happy when the product requested is out of season or out of stock.  For example, offer a quality substitute—even if you have to obtain it from a competitor.  Be creative and innovative
  • Celebrate employees in front of colleagues when they solve difficult problems
  • Encourage employees to ask questions and offer opinions; doing so shows you respect their input
  • When resolving difficult situations, use positive language…it is key to diffusing arguments

Provide world-class customer service – When dealing with high-end clients, you have to pull out all of the stops.  Prove that you are committed to delivering gold standard experiences on a consistent basis.

  • After resolving a difficult problem, send the customer a handwritten note of thanks along with a basket of fruit or some other gift that resonates with them
  • Take extra time on the phone to answer a question or resolve an issue.  Never brag about what you did or expect the customer to thank you because that’s part of the platinum service for which you are known
  • Go above and beyond the call of duty.  Your customers will come back to you over and over.  They will become your brand ambassadors
  • Whenever possible, say yes

Your team wants positive energy from you and the C Suite.  Show them how to implement the company’s core values.  It’s one of the best ways to successfully create a Yes Culture.

The next time you have an opportunity to turn a “no” into a “yes”, consider it as an opportunity to do something extraordinary for your client (without a hidden agenda).  They will be drawn to you and will always want to buy from you.  You are their “go to” for business and consultation.

Make it a great day.

Virtual Customer Service

We are in a world where nearly everything has pivoted to accommodate a virtual lifestyle and workspace.  

Virtual customer service has been around for a number of years, however, since the introduction of COVID 19, businesses that provided “live” service, whether in person or over the telephone, now offers chatbots as its primary source of customer engagement.  A chatbot is a computer program that simulates and processes human conversation—either written or spoken—allowing humans to interact with digital devices as if they were communicating with a real person.

One of the challenges with which customers face, is the frustration of engaging with chatbots long wait times to engage with a live person to get answers to their questions.  Businesses must figure out how to solve that problem and learn how they might give consumers amazing experiences.

Some employers have set up a virtual call center (VCC).  A VCC is a customer service call center where agents from around the world answer support calls.  Some agents work from home and some are in other locations; nonetheless, they are connected via virtual call center software.

Virtual customer support platforms:

  • Live chat – For customers who need a quick resolution, live chat on the company’s website is an excellent solution.  Customers will be able to converse with a customer service representative.
  • Self-serve – This platform is excellent for customers who prefer to conduct research on their own rather than live chat with a customer support representative.
  • Interactive Voice Response (IVR) – IVR is a part of the telephonic system that a business uses to interact with callers through the dial pad, keypad, or voice requests. Callers may hear statements such as, “Press 1 for English”, “Press 2 for Spanish”.
  • Email – Most companies put all of the contact information on the “Contact Us” webpage.  A team is responsible for answering customer questions via email.  This platform gives consumers a way to explain complex issues in great detail and without human interaction.
  • Phone support – This is the most common and easiest way to provide support to consumers.  Most people have one and know how to use it.

To be an industry leader and to ensure your business thrives, you must decide the best way to accommodate customer interaction on a virtual platform.