Physical Environment And Your Workflow

office-cubiclesNot too long ago, I was imprisoned in a cold, gray, isolated cubicle with outdated furniture and a broken fan. Ok, so, imprisoned might be too harsh of a word but some days, that’s what it truly felt like. Even though it was a job that I was particularly fond of, I started to find myself easily distracted, unnecessarily down, and eventually— less productive. The dreary setting wasn’t very conducive for a positive, happy, and fruitful workflow.

The work place is somewhere most people will spend half their day. For many it could be even more. This much time in a particular setting will undoubtedly alter your frame of mind. You can think of your work place as its own entity with its own personality and quirks. The design and the atmosphere of the workplace do influence your mood, behavior, and disposition. All of that, in turn, will directly impact work performance and proficiency.

Lately, there is a growing trend within businesses to promote harmony within the physical and social environment of the workplace. Countless studies have repeatedly shown how vital a positive social work environment is for employee morale. Newer studies are showing a direct correlation to office design and employee efficiency. A study by the American Society of Interior Designers states that office design is one of the top three factors that influence job performance and satisfaction.

Office furniture, noise levels, distractions, lighting, air quality and temperature are among the top factors influencing employee productivity.

Furniture and Design

It would make sense that uncomfortable and poorly designed chairs and desks would inhibit productivity. Physical discomfort from subpar furniture can lead to knee, back, neck pain. Constant discomfort could make it hard for employees to focus on that upcoming project or finish that task with a looming deadline. Increased sick leave usage and absentee’s are also a direct consequence of work related pain.

Office furniture traditionally isn’t the most comfortable to begin with. When looking for chairs, it’s important to choose ones that offer lower back support to promote better posture. Sitting for extended periods of time adds stress and constriction to the structure of the spine and no one has time for that. Choosing the right ergonomic chair is specific to the users needs. Important features to look for are adjustable heights and armrests, lumbar support, adequate seat width, and breathable seat material. There are quite a few ergonomic styles available now: kneeling, backless chairs, saddle chairs (yes, like a horse saddle), and exercise ball chairs (yes, it bounces).

Equally important are the computer tables and desks. The right table can make the difference between an inspired day and a disorganized day. For the majority of people, clutter can impair productivity and motivation. Your personal workspace environment directly coincides with your performance level. Having a clean, organized, and orderly space induces a purposeful mindset that is ready to work. When looking for a computer table or desk to fit your needs, there are a couple aspects to consider. The height of the table is a primary concern whether you’re working while sitting, standing, or bouncing. Think about spatial arrangements to avoid feeling cramped. Look for quality, durability, and multi-purpose features such as previously installed plug-ins and drawers.

Noise and Distractions

Perhaps it’s Kathy who feels the need to fill you in on every detail of her day or the person across from you talking loudly on the speakerphone. Maybe it’s the constant buzzing of office machines, outside construction, or the music blaring from your neighbor’s headphones. For some people noise is a major player for feelings of distractions and anxiety. Constant interruption leads to the inability to focus and to a decrease in work production. Unfortunately, not all noise can be avoided but the workplace should be monitored to keep distractions to a minimum.

Lighting

Often overlooked, lighting plays an important role in a healthy and productive work environment. Studies show that offices with natural light and windows have more productive employees. Seeing the outside reduces feelings of stress. Good lighting and desk lamps are worth investing in. Without good lighting, some employees may suffer from eyestrains, headaches, and migraines and that will lead to inefficiency in their workflow.

Air Quality and Temperature

Unless you’re an Inuit or a Floridian being too hot or too cold in the workplace really does affect your motivation and concentration. A study released by Cornell University in 2004 showed employees weren’t just cold and uncomfortable, but also appeared distracted and less motivated to work when temperatures were low. The same study showed on the job errors were increased by 44% when the temperature was set at 68 degrees compared to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. With a comfortable temperature and having fresh, free flowing air employee performance is optimal.

marianaMariana Sarceda is a professional copywriter who’s spent long hours in noisy offices, grey cubicles and on chairs with no back support. She’s convinced that offering employees a well-designed and healthy working environment, ergonomic furniture that allows them to be productive and stay organized.  Follow her on Twitter.

Monday Motivation: Remember Them Dents

cars2Can you name this TV theme song?

You take the good, you take the bad,
you take them both and there you have
The facts of life, the facts of life.

Ok, I think I gave that one away.  But it’s true, isn’t it?  The fact of life is that there will always be good and bad, positive and negative, happy and sad, life and death.  You might be able to fool yourself for a bit but inevitably it will catch up to you–especially that last one.

I sat on the couch this evening and watched Cars 2 with my boys and the great philosopher, Mater (maybe let’s call him Plater) blew my mind.  Check out this conversation.

Mater: Oh, for a second there I thought you was trying to fix my dents.
Holley Shiftwell: Yes, I was.
Mater: Well then, no thank you. I don’t get them dents buffed, pulled, filled or painted by nobody. They way too valuble.
Holley Shiftwell: Your dents are valuble? Really?
Mater: I come by each one of ’em with my best friend Lightning McQueen. I don’t fix these. I wanna remember these dents forever.

There are two schools of thought regarding our dents.  On one side, we’re constantly trying to hide our dents, painting ourselves in the best light and positioning ourselves for the next big thing.  One the other side, all the business experts are telling us to embrace our dents–that they acquired numerous dents on the road to success.

So which is it?  Maybe you’ve been through times in life where you couldn’t repair the dents fast enough.  Maybe those dents were so deep that you couldn’t see a positive.  Let’s face it, the facts of life are not easy–in fact, more times than not, they downright suck.

Whatever your circumstance, I encourage you be a bit like Mater and find a way to wear your dents proudly.  I know, that sounds like a stretch, but I have yet to find a dent that didn’t teach me something or make me stronger.  Perhaps we can even look back at those dents and be grateful, if for no other reason than to embrace the opportunity to support someone else struggling with the same dents.

Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Service at Phone.com with 13+ years experience as a customer service professional. He is also the co-founder and regular contributor on Communicate Better Blog. Jeremy ranked #85 on the Top 100 Most Social Customer Service Pros on Twitter by the Huffington Post in 2013. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn for more awesome customer service and experience insights.

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credit: http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0009195/quotes

3 Steps To Meaningful And Lasting Connections

GetImageI’ve written about my favorite Greek restaurant, Victor’s Kafe in the past.  Today I want to spend a little time talking about Tyler and what makes him a customer service super star.  Tyler consistently follows three simple steps.

Step 1- Recognize The Regulars

There’s a group of us at our office that call in orders to Victor’s.  Without fail, Tyler recognizes our caller ID and calls us by name.  What a great, proactive way to immediately get on the customer’s good side.  He’s even gone so far as to say “Hey Jeremy, we’re super busy but I saw your caller ID and didn’t want to make you wait.”

Step 2- Remember Their Preference

After calling me by my first name, Tyler immediately asks, “So are you going with the gyro or falafel salad today?”  Do you have any stores you frequent regularly where the staff never seems to recognize you, let alone remember your usual order?  The great ones not only recognize the regulars but learn your preferences.

Step 3- Have A Conversation

When I arrive at the restaurant, I can always count on a friendly conversation with Tyler.  It’s not like we have a deep heart to heart, but it’s friendly.  Sure, customer service is about solving problems, but there’s always room to have a friendly dialog before getting down to business.

This is nothing new but Tyler is yet another example of a customer service star who understands the importance of making meaningful and lasting connections with customers.  Building a connection with your customers strengthens their connection to your brand.  It’s no wonder that I visit Victor’s often and will continue to tell you to do the same.

Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Service at Phone.com with 13+ years experience as a customer service professional. He is also the co-founder and regular contributor on Communicate Better Blog. Jeremy ranked #85 on the Top 100 Most Social Customer Service Pros on Twitter by the Huffington Post in 2013. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn for more awesome customer service and experience insights.

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A Very Happy Customer Service Lands’ End-ing

lands_end1_09122012Ah yes, there is nothing like a happy ending!

Especially when it comes to customer service.

Are you with me?

My friend Heather, that I have known since junior high school, shared a story on Facebook recently that definitely caught my attention. It was so good that I just had to share with our readers.

Thank you Heather Quast Brushwood for allowing me to share your amazing customer service experience with Lands’ End:

On June 1st, I went shopping with my mother at the Lands’ End (@landsend) in Richmond, VA. First let me say I hate shopping. Hate it. Especially for myself.  But it had to be done. I had to get “summer” clothes for my upcoming vacation. Upon entering the store, I was immediately greeted and waited on by a lovely woman. To say she treated me like royalty would be an understatement. She assisted me with picking out clothes that would look good on my body type (including bathing suits), arranged our room and continued to check on us.  I walked to the register with BAGS of clothes that I felt comfortable in, that looked good and that I did not feel self conscious in. WIN!

When the kind cashier rang me up, she mentioned they were offering 30% off when you spend $100. So, she offered to ring me up in several separate orders to save the MOST amount of money. There was even one item I had to order online and the previous woman helped me with that and also made sure I got the best deals.

Well… on June 17th (yes two weeks later) – I take the items out of the bag to pack them for my vacation. Let me preface this by saying I was home alone without any transportation as I had just dropped off my car for repair while I am away. I lay out the items only to realize that the cashier accidentally forgot to take the ink tag off of several items. HONEST mistake. My mother and I were probably chatting her up way to much. But what do I do? I have no vehicle to return to the store, my husband was working and we are leaving EARLY in the morning for vacation–the very thing I needed the clothes for! In desperation I call the store. Once I reached someone who could help me we realized shortly that she, while trying, was actually not going to be much help. But she did offer me voluntarily the name and phone number of her District Manager Joey Gita.

Sigh… ok. So I chance my luck and call Mr. Joey Gita and left a message. Not only did he call back within 5 minutes but here is what he offered:

He was heading from Fredericksburg to Virginia Beach. He was going to stop by the store, un-screw the tag remover from the table where it is secured, and drive it out TO MY HOME to remove the tags for me. I was flabbergasted! Really?? You would do that for me?? I told him that was not necessary but he absolutely insisted. 20 minutes later he was at my door, on his own personal time, to remove the ink tags for me. He was so personable, polite, and customer oriented he literally baffled me. I didn’t even know what to say! And he interacted with my 3 year old like they were best friends!

To say he went above and beyond is an understatement. So not only did the original saleswoman win my heart and my dedication to the brand but Mr. Gita blew me out of the water and I now will devote my entire wardrobe to Lands End. For someone who hasn’t shopped for herself in over three years this is a huge deal. I promised him I would share my story with everyone I could. Too often you see people complaining about service on social media so lets add a good story! Customer service is not dead, folks!

 

Jenny is the Customer Service Manager for Phone.com with over a decade of customer service experience. She is co-founder and a regular contributor on Communicate Better Blog.

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4 Customer Service Excerpts From My Travel Diary

portlandMy wife and I were afforded the opportunity to leave the kids with their grandparents for the weekend and getaway to Portland, Oregon.  This particular getaway meant air travel, rental cars, restaurants and hotels–a hot bed for customer service and experience stories.

#1- The Flight (Thumbs Up)

I love Southwest airlines.  I probably don’t need to say much more than that.  The whole vibe is totally different from any other airline.  The flight attendants actually seem to like people and enjoy their jobs.  No one is stressing out about whether or not all of the bags will fit on the plane or not.  They are a model for the customer experience.

#2- The Rental Car (Thumbs Down)

Upon arriving at our destination at 11:30PM, we were shuttled to the rental car counter.  The friendly sales associate, seemingly unfazed by the late hour, proceeded to ask at least ten questions all with the intention of getting me to spend more money.  I was immediately reminded why I normally prefer Enterprise.  They still upsell but it’s more like two questions.  It begs the question: Do sales folks like having to grill customers to milk every last dime out of them?

The best upsell was when she tried to get me to spend $10 more to upgrade my car to the next level, pointing to a tiny car in the lot that was sure to be mine if I didn’t upgrade.  I declined and when it came time to get my car, they were out of tiny cars and we were upgraded to a mid-size SUV.  I wonder what I would have done if I paid to upgrade the car and found out she was bluffing the entire time.

#3- The Coffee (Thumbs Up)

A new city means a plethora of new coffee shops to try.  My wife was geeked up to visit one of the many Dutch Brothers that litter Oregon.  It was her first visit so she asked the friendly barista for advice.  She ended up ordering an Annihilator.  The barista handed it to her and asked her what she thought of it.  With one taste, she was hooked.  I confessed that I had been to Dutch Brothers and tried to pay.  My attempt was denied and I was told that this one was on the house because it was my wife’s first visit.  How cool is that?

#4- The Hotel (Thumbs Down)

We stayed in three hotels on the trip.  On the last night, I walked into the room and immediately noticed that they had only given us three pillows.  My wife and I are both proud users of two pillows.  Here’s how my call to the front desk went.

Front Desk: “Hello, how can I help you?”

Me: “Hi! Is there any shot we can get another pillow in our room?”

Front Desk: “Sorry. We don’t have any extra pillows and my boss says there are no exceptions.”

Me: “Really?  But there’s two of us and we both sleep with two pillows.  This is going to make it difficult for one of us to sleep tonight.” (I was a hair dramatic)

Front Desk: “Sorry but my boss said there are no exceptions.”

Me: “Can I speak with your boss?”

Front Desk: “Sorry but he’s not available.”

Me: “Ok fine. Well please let him know that I’m unhappy with this policy.  In the meantime, please do your best to get me another pillow. Keep me posted.”

Front Desk: “Ok.”

Lo and behold, there was a knock at the door about thirty minutes later with a lumpy new pillow.  The employee was quick to say “Here’s a pillow.  This is the last one we have” and I replied with a simple “Thank you very much.”  What is it about a poor experience like this that turns it into a situation where one person wins and another loses?  Had the hotel staff been equipped with an arsenal of extra pillows, this could have been a win-win all the way around.  Instead I was reminded of the slew of other hotel chains I’ve stayed at where this would never have been an issue.

Conclusion

The lesson here is quite simple.  In the two cases where the companies and their employees delivered an AWESOME customer experience, I found myself delighted and determined to return.  In the two cases where employees stuck to silly processes and policies, I was reminded that it may have been worth it to pay a little extra to work with companies that consistently deliver an AWESOME customer experience.

Companies and customer service professionals, take a long look through your customer’s eyes and decide which of these you want to be.

Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Service at Phone.com with 13+ years experience as a customer service professional. He is also the co-founder and regular contributor on Communicate Better Blog. Jeremy ranked #85 on the Top 100 Most Social Customer Service Pros on Twitter by the Huffington Post in 2013. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn for more awesome customer service and experience insights.

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Burger, Fries And A Customer Service Surprise

BurgerMy sister ventures out to Los Angeles to pick me up from the airport on a Friday evening after I arrive back from a two week vacation in Europe. I’m full of jet lag and ready to eat dinner and go to bed. She’s frustrated from traffic and wandering around trying to find me.

And, we have a 2 1/2 hour drive home.

We stop for a meal at a restaurant right off the freeway.

The waitress seats us. Leaves.

We wait almost 10 minutes before anyone returns.

We order water, burgers, fries and a slice of pie (to go).

There are only a couple of other patrons in the restaurant dining.

We wait over 15 minutes for our water. When it’s finally delivered, it is without a smile and left without any other questions.

Our burgers and fries arrive, delivered by someone else (not our waitress). We eat and then we wait for our to-go pie so we can hit the road.

No waitress. We have no clue where she went. We flag someone else down, who packs up our pie. They bring it back to us, drop it off on the table and leave before we can say anything else. We raise our voice slightly and ask them to help us with our check. They nod and walk away.

We wait over 10 minutes for our check.

Finally, our check arrives. We have to pay at the register. The supervisor is making his rounds to a couple of other customers. He reaches our table and asks how the service was today.

We share with him our experience of mostly waiting for our beverages, food and check.

He says, “Yes, we’re trying to improve on that.

Silence. He looks at me. Then to my sister. I look at him, then to my sister. My sister looks to me then him.

I say, to break the awkward silence, “That’s good that you are trying to improve...”

He smiles and nods, with pursed lips. Obviously nothing further to say or do.

Should this be a surprise?

We pay our check then hit the road.

You can clearly tell that this supervisor was not empowered to take any responsibility for the situation. He’s aware of it, has probably heard it from many people, and has a canned verbal response of how to react. Or, perhaps he’s just scared. My sister did look pretty tough in her oil covered diesel mechanic outfit as she came from work to the airport.

I suppose I’m not sure what else I’d like to hear from him. It was a fluke I was at this restaurant and more than likely will never return, so what do I really care?

However, should supervisors and managers have better answers for situations like this? How do you handle it?

I suppose I would have liked to see a discount on our bill or even throwing in an extra slice of pie to bring home for another family member.

Resolving problems with creative (simple, inexpensive) solutions that leave a lasting impression on the customer is KEY. This organization failed to train their team to put a focus on this. 

How would you have responded? What would you expect in return?

Jenny is the Customer Service Manager for Phone.com with over a decade of customer service experience. She is co-founder and a regular contributor on Communicate Better Blog.

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4 Lessons Learned From The Five9 User Conference

five9As a customer of cloud contact center software company, Five9, I was recently invited to attend a user conference to learn all about their new Freedom release along with a bunch of cool tips and tricks about the product.  The conference was at the swanky Torrey Pines Lodge which made attendance a must.

This being my first such user conference experience, I found it to be interesting and insightful both from the perspective of a user of the product, and as a student of the customer experience.  Here are four lessons I learned.

1. Share Your Vision- Guarav Passi, Executive Vice President of Product Management was particularly insightful when talking about the new Five9 Freedom release.  He talked about the goal of simplifying and improving the experience for their most important customers– the agents using the software.  To achieve this, they made the platform web-based, eliminating the need for Java. (Yay!)  They also made it easier for agents to disposition calls and integrated email, chat and social media into the platform with the purpose of minimizing the number of windows to have open while supporting customers.

2. Sharing User Stories- A few satisfied Five9 customers shared their story of how they are using the system.  Raj Patel from Lending Tree spoke of the ability to dynamically configure his IVR and even A/B test between two IVRs to gauge success.  Dan Cartmell from Greenwood Hall spoke of the way a cloud contact center solution allows agents to work from home and the improved speed of the dialer for outbound calls.  In both cases, the reporting and analytics were vastly improved over their previous solution.  In this setting, the real benefit was to be able to then ask these users some of the questions I had about using the service.

3. Be Transparent- Scott Welch, Executive Vice President of Cloud Operations revealed the Five9 network topology.  Most impressive was their four different points of presence around the world, ensuring superior redundancy and reliability.  I guess that’s to be expected with a name like Five9, right?  He talked about how his team does fire drills to practice for outage conditions.  What a great idea!  When company leaders take the time to share these plans, it shows transparency and goes a long way to instill confidence.

4. Share Tips and Tricks- In the final session, various employees shared tips and tricks of how to best use Five9.  They spoke of ways to optimize call quality, tools for workforce management, ways to improve the already awesome queue callback feature, and a cool statistics portal I didn’t know about.  Tips and tricks are such a great way to help users make better use of the product and increase the value.

A good user conference can go a long way to build loyalty to your product and brand.  By allowing your customers to talk to one another, share their stories, and hear from key company leaders, you increase user trust in the product and the perceived value.  I can’t wait to see the new Five9 Freedom release!

Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Service at Phone.com with 13+ years experience as a customer service professional. He is also the co-founder and regular contributor on Communicate Better Blog. Jeremy ranked #85 on the Top 100 Most Social Customer Service Pros on Twitter by the Huffington Post in 2013. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn for more awesome customer service and experience insights.

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Unsuspecting Acts Of Kindness In Customer Service

15a2524Stuck at a stoplight at a busy intersection, I notice a homeless man standing on a corner. He holds a sign asking for spare change as well as a can to place it in.

A frail old lady with a walker and carrying a shopping bag on her shoulder slowly approaches the same corner. 

She is clearly having trouble with the bag. 

The homeless man puts his sign and can down. He walks over to the lady and reaches out his hand. 

She nods and he takes the bag. He puts his hand on her shoulder then guides her across the street when the light turns for her to cross.

When she is safe across the road, he hands the bag back to her, pats her on the back and she waves as he runs back across the street to his corner. 

He picks up his cardboard sign and can then faces the busy street again.

My light turns green and I move on.

While this random scene of kindness will linger in my mind long afterward, I can’t not connect this to customer service now.

When you call into a support center, you typically are prepared to wait on hold a long time, talk to a robot or an unhappy agent who may not even speak your language. These are the stereotypes we believe. And, that we more often than not, experience.

To be in a position where we can help with issues and throw in genuine kindness on top of it is a struggle, especially when some customers may not be so kind.

Imagine if every support call, even highly technical calls, had one or two U.A.O.K.s? What is this you say?

Unsuspecting

Acts

Of

Kindness

This is the knock your socks off sort of customer experience.

Unsuspecting Acts Of Kindness are truly powerful ways to help your customer:

  • Trust your brand
  • Tell others about your brand
  • Stay loyal, long term customers

You want the customers you have to stay your customers. You want to encourage new customers to dive into your brand.

How do you even begin this?

  • Discuss your most basic service encounter in a chat with your team.
  • Map out the steps of your most general customer experience. Write each step on a white note card.
  • Place each white note card on a large table in order of the experience.
  • Get a stack of neon note cards. Have your team come up with possible U.A.O.K.s and write them on the neon note cards and place in between each of the basic steps on the table in front of you. Think: What can we do to take the basic to unbelievable?

This experience may open your eyes to limitless possibilities!

Jenny is the Customer Service Manager for Phone.com with over a decade of customer service experience. She is co-founder and a regular contributor on Communicate Better Blog.

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5 Monday Customer Service Must Reads

A-must-read-1024x791One of the most important things you can be doing consistently as a customer service professional is routinely reading blogs and articles about your craft.  You will find yourself constantly inspired and invigorated if you commit to doing this.  Here are five of my favorites for this past week.

Three Social Customer Care Trends You Need To Know by Jeff Toister

In this post, Jeff Toister shared some insight from the 2014 Customer Experience Management Benchmark.  Remarkably, so many companies are still way behind when it comes to customer service via social media.  One of the most alarming stats he shared was that 68% of Fortune 500 CEOs are still not on social media.  The fact of the matter is that our customers are on social media and they are talking about us.  They would love to talk to us.  Your business should be on there actively seeking to engage those customers!

A Membership Experience Is A Powerful Customer Service Strategy by Shep Hyken

Shep Hyken shares about his entertaining experience as a brand new member of Dollar Shave Club.  From product, to marketing, to customer service, they really nail it when it comes to the member experience.  As opposed to an online store that simply sells razors, Dollar Shave Club take it to a new level when they call their customers “members” and throw in tons of perks in the process.  And look at what happened.  Shep Hyken posted about them on his blog and now I’ll probably become a customer of theirs in the future.

The Art Of The Focus. How To Get Into The Zone by Doug Sandler

There can never be enough said about learning how to lock in and focus on one thing at a time.  In this post, Doug Sandler gives us a great exercise to write out a list of our important daily objectives and then the distracting ones. He then encourages us to schedule blocks of time for the important activities.  I’m going to give this one a shot on Monday.

Turning A Customer Service Culture by Adam Toporek

Adam Toporek gives us insight into the huge task of turning a ship around and compares that to Comcast’s plan to create a customer-centric culture.  The size of this task is absolutely mind-boggling.  Regardless of how it goes, we are sure to learn a ton about culture change within organizations through this process.

Cash Register Versus Customer by Chip Bell

In this post, Chip Bell shares an experience at a hardware store where the cashier could not simply charge him $1.99 for an item without first scanning a barcode.  We read so often about companies that empower professionals to do what is right by the customer up to a certain dollar amount.  In this case, the machine won and there was apparently nothing the cashier could do.  What a great reminder to ensure that our customer service professionals are empowered.

So there’s five must reads for you.  What are your recent favorite customer service articles and stories?

Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Service at Phone.com with 13+ years experience as a customer service professional. He is also the co-founder and regular contributor on Communicate Better Blog. Jeremy ranked #85 on the Top 100 Most Social Customer Service Pros on Twitter by the Huffington Post in 2013. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn for more awesome customer service and experience insights.

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How You Handle The Bad News Says A Lot About You

goodbadI was recently digging through a folder on my computer where I store good voicemails from customers.  One particular message stood out from several years ago.  The message was from someone I interviewed for a job.

In this case, I had interviewed the person right before a holiday weekend.  That person then called me and left a couple messages over that weekend.  After making my hiring decision, I called back and left a message to let the candidate know they were not hired.

The call back from this person resulted in a message that I’ll never forget.  The message started out with a very polite tone but quickly went south.  The candidate thanked me for the interview and then went on to say that they would never want to work for a man that doesn’t call back (over a 4 day holiday weekend).  Finally, they hoped our company failed in the worst way possible and that we all lost our jobs.

Wow!  After I got over the initial shock, I found myself grateful that I didn’t extended an offer to that candidate.  You see, in life you will receive both good news and bad news.  Bad news is never easy to stomach, but the way you respond says a lot about you.  When customers or life deal you bad news, practice responding gracefully and spinning it to a positive.

Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Service at Phone.com with 13+ years experience as a customer service professional. He is also the co-founder and regular contributor on Communicate Better Blog. Jeremy ranked #85 on the Top 100 Most Social Customer Service Pros on Twitter by the Huffington Post in 2013. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn for more awesome customer service and experience insights.

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