Aegis promotes Hooff and Weislak
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Aegis promotes Hooff and Weislak

June 22, 2005

What's your service mentality IQ?By Nancy Friedman customer service, phone etiquette, telemarketing
Most of us in the customer service arena are very good at what
we do. And the reason is simple: To do the job well, we always
carry a service mentality with us.
People often ask me, "Nancy, what is the key to good customer
service?" My answer is simple: There is no one key. There are many
keys, and they all need to be on your customer service key
ring.
So, come along with us and learn the seven service mentalities
that will raise the bar for you and your company. See how many of
these attributes you possess.
Empathy
Some call it sympathy but whatever you call it, it needs to be
there. When someone has a problem, we need to empathize with them
and show we understand the frustration they're feeling. What we
don't want to do, however, is tell a customer, "I know exactly how
you feel," because you aren't able to know exactly how anyone else
feels. But you can empathize, and that's why empathy is key for a
service mentality.
Here's a better way to explain it. I had my wallet stolen a
while backat Disneyland no less. Everything was in it, and the
money was the least of my problems. My credit cards, checkbook,
Social Security card, driver's licenseall of it was gone.
Over the years I have learned to be a "good" customer, so I
called the first credit card company and told them of my plight. I
said, "Hi, my name is Nancy Friedman. I'm at Disneyland and my
wallet was stolen. Everything's gone." And I told her what was in
the wallet. She said without skipping a beat, "Name?" I said, "It's
still Nancy Friedman."
Where was her empathy, her sympathy? It wasn't there! All I
needed to hear was a simple, "Gee, that's got to be so frustrating.
Let me get the ball rolling to help you."
Enthusiasm
We need enthusiasm whenever we help a customer. They need to know
you are truly excited to help (of course, we need to do this
without going over the top and giggling our way through the
conversation). Enthusiastic customer service people get the job
done faster, simpler and with a touch of class. How much enthusiasm
do you show in your job?
Responsibility
This is one of the most important keys to a great service
mentality. Be responsible for your job, your position and the
company. Being responsible means it is your job.
If you have answered the call on behalf of your company, you
have indeed accepted 100 percent responsibility for the call. "I
wasn't here," "I don't know anything about that," "It's not my
department," or all of those other lines are not on the
responsibility key ring of customer service.
Take responsibility for the call; you answered it. It's yours!
This is important in face-to-face situations as well. It's the old
"don't point, go show."
Resiliency
This key is a little trickier to use. To be resilient, we need to
have a mentality to bounce back from unfortunate events, setbacks
or other negative incidents. It's really an attitude
adjustment.
One situation with a customer may be more difficult than
another, and when you get to the next customer, your resiliency
needs to kick in and bounce you right back to where it was before
that negative event. Be resilient!
Ownership
Ownership is a cousin of responsibility. So many times we encounter
people in the customer service arena who don't want to take
ownership of the problem. When you own the problem, you'll handle
it far better than if you don't want anything to do with it.
Don't forget: Never take those barbs from the customer
personally. They're not attacking you; they're attacking the
problem. You're just the lightening rod, not the target. Own the
customer you're working withon the phone or in person. Take
ownership! Be proud!
Balance
Balance is the fine line between "the customer is always right" and
knowing what to do about the problem. At Telephone Doctor, we don't
necessarily believe the customer is always right. We do, however,
know that customers always think they're right. And that is the
perception we need to deal with at the time.
Many times the customer is in error, yet they're hell bent on
proving they are right. So, you see, the customer thinks they're
right, even though we frequently know they are not. And that's the
secret key: not letting on that we know the customer is wrong.
Balance is the art of creating a win-win situation. Once you
have the key of balance, you'll be able to handle situations to
make everyone happy.
Adaptability
Most of us learn at a very early age that everything doesn't happen
the way we want it to all of the time. So, we often need to adapt
to a certain situation. Learning how to adapt to all of these
situations can make you a top customer service individual. It's
related to your attitude. Why do some folks adapt very easily and
some are not able to adapt at all? It's mainly because of attitude.
It shapes how they handle a situation and react to it.
If you have some of these "secret" ingredients of customer
service, you're well on your way to success. And even if you're
missing one or two, here's your opportunity to learn more about
them.
Good luck to you! And may your service mentality be with you,
today and always.
Nancy Friedman is president of Telephone Doctor Customer
Service Training in St. Louis and will be an IndyMac Bank-sponsored
featured speaker at the NAMB 2005 Annual Convention and Exposition
in Minneapolis (see www.namb.org
for details). For more information, call (314) 291-1012 or visit www.telephonedoctor.com.

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