Friday, September 27, 2013

First things first!

A very recent situation with one of our customers reminded me of a situation that bears discussion. Some say that "customers are always right." We know that that's not really the case. But whether they're right or wrong, we want them to walk away from a problem feeling satisfied. Whether by providing clarifying information and allowing them to understand something better, or by truly fixing a problem, the outcome must be positive.

The particular situation that happened recently was a customer reporting a problem to us, but not doing it with a new customer support ticketing system we had just setup for their use. Literally the first thing that popped into my mind was, "Dang it! Why didn't they use the new system?" The second thing that popped into my mind was, "Dingus! Read the freaking problem and worry about the process later!"

Never put the customer's problem at a lower priority than having him comply with some process your company has designed...
Rep <answering support phone call>: Super support line, can I help you?
You: Yes, I wanted to report a critical problem with your product.
Rep: Thanks for calling, but did you know that you can report that problem online at our website?
You: Uh, yeah, ok. But I wasn't near my computer and thought I'd just call it in to you for quick handling.
Rep: Thank you, but it's better if you report it through the website in the future.
You: So you don't have the ability to log critical problems?
Rep: Yes, I can, but we like it better when they come in that way.
You: So why do you still have the support phone line?
Rep: For folks who don't have access to our website.
You: So can I just tell it to you now?
Rep: Yes, please go ahead, but try to use the website next time if you can.
You: Uh, I forgot what the problem was...
Okay, you may think this is an exaggeration, but I've had this happen to me before. Is it useful information that I can report problems online? Sure. Is that fact more important than actually getting a critical problem logged in and fixed? Not likely. Yet, here you are, being berated for not following their procedure. Your actual problem has become secondary. That is bad.

Instead, how about this:
You: Yes, I wanted to report a critical problem with your product.
Rep: Please go ahead, sir.
Rep: Thank you very much, and we'll get that reported immediately. Also, in case you don't know, if it's ever more convenient for you, we offer the ability to log problems in at our website. It makes things a little easier for us to track that way, and you can follow the status of your requests.
You: Sure, thanks!
Always handle the customer's situation first. If you have any information for them about a different way to handle things, or any suggestions for next time, then go ahead and have that discussion. Having had his problem handled, now he'll be in the mood to listen to some other process points.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Thanks to Scott Sheppard

First, I'd like to take the opportunity to thank Scott Sheppard for his crazily in-depth review of my new book. As always, Scott went way beyond expectations and actually wrote a review that was fun to read. He also had a couple good points for me that I'll be trying to implement. If you haven't seen it, please take a look here. And be sure to read his blog... always some good entertainment.

It was actually a comment that Scott made to one of my blog postings a few weeks ago (check it out here) that reminded me of another similar trick when meeting people.

Many times, you'll be in a non-work setting with a large number of coworkers... think something like a company picnic or party. You may have just a few people that you work with, or you might have hundreds. Especially if a significant number of them report to you, they will think that you know all their names. Even if most of them don't report to you, they'll still expect that you'll be able to pin a name on them.

Unfortunately, as sad as it is, this is not always true. Especially in the larger companies I've been a part of, it can be very difficult to remember every name. Certainly, there are many you interact with frequently, and those folks aren't a problem. But there will be a few that just won't be waiting for you on the tip of your tongue. Not only can this be embarrassing, but it can leave the coworker feeling like they just don't matter to you. This is bad.

If you're at this event solo, this may not be a problem. You can just use general greetings and completely bypass the name fiasco. The "Nice to see ya!" trick works well. But, what if you have your significant other along with you? You're the one who's going to be expected to do the introductions, and that's going to leave you hanging out to dry.

My wife and I adopted a process for this long ago. When the third party approaches, if I don't immediately make use of the other person's name or do an introduction, she steps forward and introduces herself, as if I had forgotten to do so.
3rd party: Hi Eric! How are you?
Me: Hi Joe! Doing great thanks. By the way, this is my wife.....
3rd party: Hi Eric! How are you?
Me: Hey! Great! How are you doing?
3rd party: Good thanks. I was just....
Wife <At first chance>: Hi I'm.... by the way.
3rd party: And I'm Joe.
Me: Oh sorry about that.
I know some of you have probably thought of this trick already, and I realize I'm giving away some secrets to those of you who I still might need to use this on. But that's just part of the sacrifices I'm willing to make on your behalf.

And once again, many thanks for the great book review to my buddy, um, uh.....
Wife <now at first chance>: Hi I'm..... by the way.
3rd party: And I'm Scott.
Me: Oh sorry about that.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Get the Book!

My sincere thanks to all of you who have been [pretending] to read this blog. Hopefully, you're learning a trick or two along the way.

For those of you who wish to take bigger bites, my long-in-production book has finally hit the presses! You can read all about some of the blog topics as well as literally ZILLIONS (literally!) of others, all from the comfort of your Kindle. Or iPad, or Nook, or whatever.

Or even feel free to get a hard-cover or paperback edition and show it off with pride to all your friends! If you'd like, I'd be happy to autograph it and thereby immediately reduce its value! It's your call!

It's available at Amazon, most other online bookstores (shortly), and should even be orderable from those physical places that we used to actually walk into to see what books were around... I forget what they were called...

Make it easy on yourself and just click HERE and I'll send you to the Amazon page. Anyway, in whatever form you allow me entertain you, enjoy! And thank you for your support!