C3YFKF Bank teller working in bank

Adventures in Customer Service 2.0

Waiting to see the manager at my local branch bank, I watched and listened as lines of customers waited for assistance at the counter. When one man reached the window, I was able to hear the conversation he began with the bank teller.
    • “I just wanted to thank you for the card you sent last month. That was very thoughtful.”
      • “Well, we heard the news and I was thinking about you. Tell me how you’re doing.”
    • “I’m going to make it – I’ll be OK.”
      • “I’m so glad to hear that. It’s really good to see you.”
  • “Good to see you too. Thank you again.”
Overhearing this conversation, and imagining the story behind it, has left me with great appreciation for three important elements of good relationships in general, and customer relations in particular: paying attention, taking the extra step, and being authentic.
Let’s practice those together!


Adventures in Customer Service – Part 1

Our daughter recently bought a pair of shoes from a well-known online distributor (Yes, that one.) and, at the same time, ordered a pair for her mom as a birthday present – realizing a few minutes later that “Standard Shipping” wouldn’t get them delivered in time for the birthday party. Calling the company to explain her predicament, and fully aware that changes would be difficult, she was told her order would be retrieved and expedited at no charge. “We surely don’t want to miss your mom’s birthday party!”
Sure enough, the gift arrived just in time for the party. The shipping carton was opened, and in the inner box were new shoes . . . and a Happy Birthday card from the distributor. The return on investment is ongoing, as our daughter has told the story to friends and neighbors, many times, with the comment, “I’ll never forget what they did!”


Having An On-Line Conversation . . . Or Not?

My wife and I did some Christmas shopping over the weekend – sitting on the couch with a tablet, surfing internet sites until we found what we wanted, and ordering with a few numbers tapped onto the screen. The process was straightforward, simple, impersonal and exactly what we hoped.
Back to work this morning, much of my on-line activity was just the opposite. I sent and received messages with words (sometimes too many!) organized into sentences and paragraphs, with bullet points to provide clarity, and requiring thoughtful responses as I navigated the give-and-take needed to reach useful business agreements.
Both styles of interaction are useful and important; the trick is to recognize and use the style that produces the desired result.
Let’s work together to create and implement productive business communication – whether emails, voicemail messages, flyers, brochures or websites – that encourages in-depth conversation when it’s needed, and “cuts to the chase” when decisions are clear and simple.

Crow in London

Goals vs Objectives

Stopped at a traffic light mid-day in early spring, my eye was drawn to movement in the tree beside the road. In the highest branches, a crow was busy selecting, pulling and tugging small twigs. I was first impressed with his dexterity – the branches were tightly packed, creating a daunting thicket for so large a bird, but he hopped, turned and hopped again, expertly navigating the dense treetop.

Shortly, though, I was even more impressed with his persistence. There had been just enough warm weather to make the twigs pliable. They didn’t snap off easily, but bent from the effort of the crow’s labor, making it difficult for him to separate them from the larger limbs. He worked with patient focus, though, choosing first one and then another, until the twig surrendered its attachment to the tree, and belonged to him. And off he flew, carrying his loot . . . where?

Well, of course. He wasn’t working with such dedication because he wanted a twig. He wanted a nest!

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