How to create steps of service (and why you need them)
Inside Customer Service - Toister Performance Solutions, Inc.
by Jeff Toister
1w ago
I love In-N-Out for its remarkable consistency. The service is the same every time I go. There's a warm and friendly greeting. The cashier takes my order and confirms it. They conclude the transaction by handing me my receipt, telling me my guest number, and thanking me. It always happens. Each step has a purpose. The greeting establishes rapport and makes me feel welcome. Carefully walking through my order ensures they get it just right. The conclusion ends the transaction on a positive note. The steps also promote quality. I've only experienced two errors over a lifetime of going to In-N-Out ..read more
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Help phone customers faster with visual communication
Inside Customer Service - Toister Performance Solutions, Inc.
by Jeff Toister
1M ago
Your customer struggles to describe the problem over the phone. "The doohickey won't connect with the thingamajig," they stammer. Their words don't make sense. You try to walk them through some diagnostics. It's equally muddled. The customer can’t see something that should be right in front of them. Are you two even looking at the same thing? This would be so much easier if you were face-to-face. You could see exactly what the customer was talking about and vice-versa. In this post, I'm going to share three techniques you can use to solve this problem when serving customers via phone, email, o ..read more
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How to convince managers to reinforce customer service training
Inside Customer Service - Toister Performance Solutions, Inc.
by Jeff Toister
2M ago
You're a customer service trainer. You care deeply about helping employees develop customer service skills. It bothers you when employees' managers aren’t nearly as invested. These managers take a "fix my people" approach. The manager delegates customer service training to you and expects you to do all the work. They fail to reinforce the training and employees quickly go back to their old habits. It's a broken model. This problem plagued me for years until I found a solution. It's a simple worksheet that you use to complete an action plan with the employees' manager before training. Let's tak ..read more
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Sentiment arc: a better alternative to customer surveys
Inside Customer Service - Toister Performance Solutions, Inc.
by Jeff Toister
3M ago
A customer calls your company for service. After the call, they get an email asking them to complete a survey. The survey is intended to evaluate overall customer service and the individual rep's performance. A host of problems hurt that mission. Response rates are too low Survey scores are notoriously inflated Reps get blamed for factors outside of their control A new metric called the sentiment arc can solve those problems and eliminate annoying surveys. It works by tapping into your existing data to answer a fundamental question: Is the customer happier at the end of the contact th ..read more
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How to improve customer satisfaction with concrete language
Inside Customer Service - Toister Performance Solutions, Inc.
by Jeff Toister
4M ago
Imagine two customers call a contact center at the same time. They're both experiencing the same issue—a promised discount wasn't applied to their last order. The two reps taking their respective calls follow the same routine: Listen to the customer Apologize for the issue Solve the problem The only difference is how each rep communicates. Alton uses general language. "I'm sorry for the error. Your account will be credited within 3-5 business days." Laura uses more concrete language. "I'm sorry the promotional discount wasn't applied to your order. You'll receive a $25.37 credit back t ..read more
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How to use inspiring stories to grow your service culture
Inside Customer Service - Toister Performance Solutions, Inc.
by Jeff Toister
5M ago
A customer walked into Nordstrom with two tires and asked for a refund. Nordstrom doesn't sell tires, so the customer clearly didn't buy the tires from that store. Yet the associate gave the customer a refund anyway. The story became a legend. You need legendary stories of your own if you want to deliver legendary customer service. This guide will show you three things: What makes a great customer service story. Where to gather your own legendary tales. How to use stories to inspire your team. We'll also break down the Nordstrom tire story to see why it works so well at Nordstrom, but ..read more
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The 3 Essential Customer Service Skills (and How to Grow Them)
Inside Customer Service - Toister Performance Solutions, Inc.
by Jeff Toister
6M ago
You want your team to grow their customer service skills. The challenge is finding the right skills to focus on. There seems to be a million different ideas out there. Which ones are the most essential? My advice is to focus on three fundamentals: Rapport Listening Problem-solving These skills are the foundation of consistently great service. Each of them has endless permutations and combinations, so they can be adapted to any situation. I'm going to show you what each skill entails, why they're essential, and how you can train yourself or your team to master each one. Rapport Skills B ..read more
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3 ways to build better connections with remote coworkers
Inside Customer Service - Toister Performance Solutions, Inc.
by Jeff Toister
8M ago
Building relationships can take more effort when you aren't located in the same office. You don't have those natural moments to strike up a conversation in the break room, the hallway, or at lunch. It's not hopeless. Some remote customer service professionals have built great relationships with coworkers. My 2023 burnout study found that remote contact center agents are just as likely to have a good friend at work as agents who work onsite. What's their secret? Here are three principles that can help. Principle 1: Rapport Rapport allows you to work more effortlessly with other people because y ..read more
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Performance observations: a step-by-step guide
Inside Customer Service - Toister Performance Solutions, Inc.
by Jeff Toister
9M ago
If you want to solve a customer service problem, go and see it. That's a performance observation. It's a process for observing employees doing their work to understand how they currently do things and what can be improved. It's a go-to technique for improving performance, designing training, or identifying best practices. You might worry employees won't be truthful if you observe them. Or perhaps they'll change how they do things just to impress you. In reality, that rarely happens. I've conducted over 1,000 performance observations. And ooh boy, I’ve seen and heard a lot! Most employees are b ..read more
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How to measure customer service training
Inside Customer Service - Toister Performance Solutions, Inc.
by Jeff Toister
10M ago
You've sent your team through customer service training. People seemed to like the training. It even feels like the team has a bit more energy than before, though you can't quite say for sure. But you face a nagging question. Did the training really work? Those post-training surveys don't seem like enough. Kirkpatrick's four levels of evaluation sounds interesting, but your executives don’t care about levels. They just want results. This guide can help you. There's no advanced math or exotic statistics. These are straightforward techniques that will be credible with your CEO. I've repeatedly u ..read more
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