secret desires of corporate clients

Dealing with Angry Covid Customers

5 tips to help prevent customer conflicts from going viral on social media

I noticed a surge in views and comments recently on a YouTube video I posted several years ago on the topic, “Dealing with Hostile and Abusive Customers.” Turns out the recent spike has to do with frontline staff needing to ask customers for proof of vaccination, and the sometimes angry responses. Since the video was posted before covid and it doesn’t talk specifically about vaccine passports, I wanted to pass along a few tips here on how to prevent nonvaccinated customers from becoming irate and unruly. Consider them as tips to prevent you and your employees from ending up on an unflattering viral video on YouTube.

Tip #1 Word your proof of vaccine request positively
In my customer service training seminars, we talk about the importance of wording your messages positively – especially when giving someone ‘bad news’. Notice, for example, the difference in tone with, “We won’t be able to deliver until Friday,” vs “We’ll have it for you as soon as Friday.”

Using positive language with vaccine passports, rather than saying, “We can’t serve you without proof of vaccination,” instead say, “Welcome! We’ll be happy to take care of you as soon as we see your proof of vaccination.”

Tip #2 Listen before responding
If the customer doesn’t have proof of vaccine or claims they don’t agree with the policy, then it’s time to explain limits and show understanding. “In order to protect the health of our customers and staff, we do require proof of vaccine. I understand if you don’t happen to have it with you or if you have other reasons. You’re not alone. There have been other customers with those challenges. Unfortunately, that is the policy that the business operates under. So, here’s what we can do for you…”

Tip #3 Offer alternatives
Many organizations provide alternative ways of doing business for non-vaccinated customers. It may be through curbside pickup, takeout, or delivery. So sooner rather than later, offer those options. For example, “While we can’t offer inside dining, we’d be happy to offer takeout. Would you like to see our menu?”

Tip #4 Don’t get political
Standing at the entrance to a business and talking with customers is not the time nor place to discuss politics or debate public health measures. If someone threatens to write a bad review, point out that they are of course entitled to do that. As a service provider, you don’t need to express your own opinion about the issue. If asked, you can point out that your own opinion isn’t relevant here. What’s important is that is the policy that the business operates under, and whether you or I agree with it is not going to change the policy.

Tip #5 Don’t tolerate abuse
Being in service doesn’t mean being a doormat. I techniques I share that in the YouTube video for dealing with unruly customers apply in this situation. You can view the video at Dealing with Hostile and Abusive Customers. If customers threaten to become violent then it’s time to call security or the police.

Keep in mind that using the first four tips shared here will prevent problems and diffuse the emotions of the vast majority of customers who are actually there to do business. Chances are your business is not the first they’ve encountered requiring proof of vaccine. My hope for you is that equipping you and your team members with these types of tools - that are both sensitive and assertive - will make your workplace safer and more pleasant for everyone. Hope that’s helpful.

The Silent Customer Debate you’ll likely Lose

Most of us have learned – sometimes the hard way - that some customers are leery of salespeople. These customers may be polite on the surface. Internally however, their gut-feeling lie detector is scanning for any sign that an employee can’t be trusted. So when an employee exaggerates slightly - “It looks like a gorgeous day outside”, the customer’s internal debater silently responds, “I was just outside and it’s actually cool.” Or the employee says, “All my customers love this!” Customer thinks, “Every customer loves it? I doubt it.”

That’s why, contrary to popular opinion about how employees should be super enthusiastic around customers, we’re actually more likely to gain a stronger connection by replacing exaggeration with understatement. “It looks like a decent day outside.” Or “A lot of my customers like this.” Those are facts that the customer isn’t inclined to argue with – even internally.

Consider the language you use with your customers, and even with co-workers and friends. Does your language trigger a silent debate, or are you using understatement to gain quiet confidence?

Is giving customers too much info hurting your sales?

Contrary to popular opinion, customers no longer need you to provide them with information. They’re already carrying phones that provide access to volumes of internet data - for free. By definition, free is worthless. As I share in my seminars, when customers are making buying decisions, what they actually value is what I call A.I.D:

A – Analyze various options available on behalf of the customer (even some offered by competitors)

I - Interpret those options based on the customer’s unique needs

D - Direct the customer to a maximum of three choices (good, better, best)

Helping customers isn’t about giving them catalogues, price lists, or charts – especially in the early stages. It’s about clarifying their unique needs and providing appropriate options so they can feel more confident about buying. Information is a commodity that’s cheap. A.I.D.© makes your service custom-crafted and valuable.

Featured at the upcoming Oct 6th Customer Service Leadership Summit

RHONDA SCHARF
Global Speaking Fellow, Author of 8 books,
Hall of Fame Speaker

 

Alexa is Stealing your Business!
Artificial Intelligence and your Future

Artificial intelligence is taking over our lives. Ask Amazon’s Alexa to call a client or confirm your schedule for the day, and Alexa will do just that immediately. Ask her a question, give her a command, or just share a joke together, and she becomes your new best employee. But how does she impact your businesses?

Is Alexa stealing your business? Bestselling author, Rhonda Scharf reveals what strategies are needed in this new paradigm. We know that good customer service is the foundation of any sustainable business, but how can we deliver when today’s customer demands more than anyone smaller than “Big Business” can provide or afford? Find out what you need to do to stand out. Don’t assume that what got you here will get you there. Spoiler Alert: Rhonda thinks your future looks bright!

You’ll discover how to:

  • Keep your business relevant and competitive when faced with the AI Revolution.
  • Determine what you need to continue to do and what can you stop doing.
  • Set you and your team apart from what AI can and cannot offer.
  • Make yourself and your business invaluable.

To check out the entire 6 speaker program, go to 2021 Customer Service Leadership Summit

Featured at the upcoming Customer Service Leadership Summit 2021

Donald Cooper
MBA, CSP, Hall of Fame Business Speaker

Customer Ownership through Service Leadership
Most markets and industries are over-served and under-differentiated. There are too many other people selling what you’re selling… to customers who are more demanding, less forgiving, more confused, more time-compressed and more cynical than ever before.

You’ll discover how to:

  • Deliver compelling value and experiences that ‘grab’ your target customers, clearly differentiate you from your competitors, make you ‘famous’ and grow your bottom line.
  • Ignite your service culture with clear and passionate leadership, ‘commitments’ instead of wishy-washy goals. Then focus on empowerment, urgency and accountability.
  • Reject tired and limiting beliefs about customer loyalty, service, price and value. Replace them with strategies that have helped thousands of businesses redefine themselves with a 3-step process that generates extraordinary possibilities for customer ownership at every ‘touch-point’.

Donald Cooper believes that acquiring more loyal and profitable customers is not that complicated. In fact, you’ll be amazed how simple and do-able it actually is. In this bottom-line session, Donald delivers his clear and compelling insights into why people buy, why they don’t buy…and what they really want when they do buy. He’ll show you how to think and feel like a customer and understand them on a whole new level. Then, he’ll help you redefine ‘service’ in new, simple and transformational way.

“Every once in a while someone comes along who really touches a nerve – someone who’s message in right on! Donald Cooper is one of those rare individuals who has been there, done it…and tells the tale like no other.”

– Dave Nettleton, President, Sertapak

To check out the entire 6 speaker program, go to 2021 Customer Service Leadership Summit

How to Stand-out Without Shouting

In my seminars, I often talk about today’s customers being so busy and distracted (frequently by their mobile phones) that they don’t notice when service is merely good. So, you can provide consistent service all day long and customers and co-workers will not only not reward you; they don’t even notice you. Worse, the only time some customers do notice is when there’s a problem. Which is why it seems like some days all you hear from are unhappy people. That’s why it’s important to help others take notice when you provide great service. Here’s one of several unobtrusive ways… When you are contacting a customer or coworker to report on their project or shipment, start the conversation by letting them know you’re giving them a courtesy update. Those two words make you stand out because you’re positioning your update as a courtesy.

Anticipate and satisfy the NEXT need

They used to say in Victorian England that good butlers do not respond to requests. Instead, they anticipate their employers’ needs and fulfill them so employers don’t need to ask. Today, the principle of anticipating needs – while the rest of the planet becomes increasingly focused on filling orders – it's more important than ever in differentiating your service. An electrician for example, while looking at the wiring plan for a home renovation, suggests also installing lights in high-use closets that activate when the closet door opens and closes. A hairstylist suggests a style that the client can easily recreate at home. An executive assistant briefs his supervisor on background info about the client for the supervisor’s upcoming meeting. In short, to be seen as a Trusted Advisor, you need to continually demonstrate that you’re focused on your customers’ and coworkers’ strategic needs; not just their immediate requests.

Recovering Trust when Things Go Wrong

Imagine buying track lighting online and when you install it, discover that one head doesn’t work. Since it’s over two months since your purchase, Amazon directs you to the manufacturer, Juno Lighting. Your phone expecting a hassle. You’re quickly directed to a live person who offers to send an immediate replacement head as well as a shipping sticker to make it easy for you to return the old one. No runaround. No delay. That’s what happened to my buddy, Gerald. Apparently, the folks at Juno Lighting realize the internet that generates revenues for them is also the same network customers use to either rant or rave about them. Now you, and thousands of others who receive my tips, just heard about Juno’s great service. Incidentally, we recently bought new lights and, because of Gerald’s experience, ordered from Juno as well. The lesson is when things go wrong, fix it faster and with less hassle than people expect. Customers will not only forgive you; they’ll reward you.

Featured at the upcoming Customer Service Leadership Summit 2021

Stephen Hammond
Lawyer, Workplace Behavior Specialist, Author

Harassment Headaches and Diversity Dividends
Avoiding brand-damaging headlines and customer backlash while creating a truly inclusive workplace

Even well-educated employees can say and do the wrong thing when communicating with customers and colleagues, destroying the reputations of individuals and corporate brands. While you can’t babysit your employees – ensuring every word coming out of their mouths is respectful – you can instill the basics of avoiding words and behaviours that garner expensive lawsuits and banner headlines.

You’ll discover how to:

  • Avoid triggering sensitivity hot-buttons, while becoming more inclusive in our diverse world.
  • Learn from the mistakes of others, particularly in the eyes of the Canadian judicial system.
  • Become truly inclusive, instead of just ticking off the boxes.
  • Address the single biggest barrier to inclusion: bystanders who fear repercussions.

“The feedback we received from our leadership group about Stephen’s message was so positive that we decided to provide this critical workplace training to all staff.”

– Trevor Sutherley, Deputy Fire Chief, Parkland County

To check out the entire 6 speaker program, go to 2021 Customer Service Leadership Summit

Featured at the upcoming Customer Service Leadership Summit 2021

MICHELLE CEDERBERG
Speaker, Coach, Bestselling Author

The Success-Energy Reset
How to Regain Focus and Recharge Work and Life, in a Post-Pandemic World

In an age of disengagement, distraction and fatigue still lingering from the pandemic, how we work and live has been tested. As we navigate on-going uncertainty, we are busy, stretched, and stressed and it can feel difficult to stay positive and lead effectively.

Health and Productivity Expert, Michelle Cederberg shares research from her new book The Success-Energy Equation to help you and your team regain focus and tap into a well of energy that will increase productivity, and reduce overwhelm and stress in every area of your life.

You’ll discover how to:

  • Get clear on your own definition of success; what really matters to you in work and life, and what drives you to do what you do – particularly in a post pandemic world.
  • Look at typical barriers that get in the way of success, how you can effectively navigate them, and lead your team productively despite them.
  • Discover four science-backed variables that contribute to higher levels of goal achievement and overall well-being.
  • Embrace a simple but powerful daily habit to ensure on-going success with everything you do that’s important to you (what it is may surprise you).

To check out the entire 6 speaker program, go to 2021 Customer Service Leadership Summit

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