Reveal Your True Colors** A Path To Success
Reveal Your True Colors** A Path To Success
Tricia Johnson, Institutional Advancement
Southeastern Illinois College
Discuss ways to IMPROVE Customer Service and adapt new models with
the rising tide of change (sweat the small stuff for great customer
Create POSITIVE impressions and ways to COMMUNICATE effectively
Develop and maintain CUSTOMER SERVICE guidelines and standards to
help ride the “waves” of continuing education
Questions for Participants ……
1. What does customer service mean to you?
2. How are you defining customer service at your institution/department?
3. Even more important, how do your customers define customer service?
4. Who do you consider customers at your institution/department?
5. What is your institution/department’s current approach to achieving customer
Is it working?
How do you know your customers are fully satisfied?
6. What is most important to your customers?
Defining Customer Service
Customer service typically is thought to refer to what we do to meet the needs
and expectations of the customer as defined by the customer.
Other possible definitions—Customer service is a function of how well an
organization meets the needs of its customers.
Customer service is about treating others as you would like to be treated
Customer service is any contact between a customer and a company, that
causes a negative or positive perception by a customer.
Better yet, define customer service from the Customer’s point of view:
Customer service is a function of how well your organization is able to
constantly and consistently meet and exceed my needs and expectations.
Good Customer Service = Lasting Relationships
Average Customer Service = Steady relationships that could be lost
Poor Customer Service = Lost Business
Here are a few tips:
1. Create systems to define customer service and not rules. Systems make customer
service less of a reaction but an action that is defined by circumstance.
2. Evaluate what level of customer service is truly to be expected. Train your staff and
provide orientation defining the level of service required at your institution.
3. Create a feedback loop….too many customers are lost due to an impression that
their business is not important. A simple thank you card goes a very long way.
4. Be honest and fair, and when in doubt, “the customer is always right”.
5. Customer service must also be viewed as company etiquette. If employees are not
treated well, it’s going to be tough for them to treat others properly.
6. Qualify your hires.
Customer Service is not difficult if you take every detail into account. Meeting and
surpassing expectations will only come from people who have created environments to
do so. Create systems that generate guaranteed predictable results!
• The next wave in customer service – handling the unexpected creatively
• Great Customer Service involves several important things:
• The institution CARES
• They EMPOWER their staff to handle situations
• EXCEED EXPECTATIONS
• Pay attention to DETAIL
• Treat each Customer like a VIP
• Making resources AVAILABLE to all
• Meeting the NEEDS of the individual
• Providing for SERVICE recovery
• Treating fellow employees like Customers
A good job doesn’t cut it anymore…….the prize goes to the TRAIL BLAZERS.
First Contact: The Source of
• “Customer Satisfaction is Worthless: Customer Loyalty
is Priceless”…..Jeffery Gitomer states is the paradigm
• The next step is to shift the focus from loyal
customers to loyal employees.
• The foundation for a loyal relationship begins with
Identify your team’s STRENGTHS:
• Identify your team’s strengths by listing the
things your employees and customers say
your organization does well.
• Identify strengths your organization should
develop by listing the things you would like
your team members and customers to say
you do well.
It doesn’t take money to get good
customers, it takes commitment….
How do we get this level of commitment from employees?
1. Get Excited—the first professional to motivate is YOU!
2. Hire motivated people—”hire smart or manage tough”
• Indoctrinate new staff into the customer service culture during orientation.
3. Measure – Measurements motivate in different ways.
4. Institute profit sharing – What gets rewarded gets repeated.
The Ten Commandments of Great Customer Service!
1. Know who is boss
2. Be a good listener
3. Identify and anticipate needs
4. Make customers feel important and appreciated
5. Help customers understand your systems
6. Appreciate the power of “YES”
7. Know how to apologize
8. Give more than expected……….ALWAYS EXCEED EXPECTATIONS
9. Get regular feedback
10. Treat employees well –--- Internal Customers…..(provide a regular dose of appreciation)
“THERE IS ONLY ONE BOSS—
AND HE OR SHE CAN FIRE EVERYBODY IN THE
COMPANY FROM THE CHAIRMAN ON DOWN,
BY SPENDING HIS OF HER MONEY
Emphasis is on “Feelings”
Customer Service is about the little gestures that make someone feel good
Customer Service is the difference between feeling good or great or feeling
neutral or disappointed once you walk away.
Customer Service is about making people feel good when they are in your
Customer Service is about making people feel comfortable.
Customer Service is about helping people feel confident.
Customer Service is about making people feel important and valued.
Would You Do
The Customer Satisfaction Model
Achieve Customer Delight
(Exceed Expectations & Build
Satisfy Unstated Customer
(Customer Satisfaction &
Develop Customer Confidence)
Meet Basic Customer
(Customer Satisfaction & Prevent
The Rising Tide of Expectations in
An expectation is a personal vision of the result that will come from an experience.
Expectations can be positive or negative.
Expectations can be stated or unspoken.
Expectations are usually based at least partially on perceptions. A perception is the way we
see something based on our experience.
Everyone’s perception of a situation will be at least slightly different.
There are two levels of expectations—
Primary expectations include a customer’s most basic requirements of an interaction.
(ie. Answer questions, getting new course developed)
Secondary expectations include expectations based on our previous experience that are
enhancements to our primary expectations. (ie. Good service or tasty food, good up-front
planning to limit cost overruns)
Service Quality Organizational Gaps
GAP 1. What the customer wants vs. what management thinks the customer
GAP 2. What management thinks the customer wants vs. what management
thinks is being delivered.
GAP 3. What management thinks is being delivered vs. what is really
GAP 4. What is really delivered vs. what management tells the customer is
GAP 5. What the customer expects to be delivered vs. what the customer
thinks is delivered.
Becoming More Customer-Focused
• Think marketing, not selling (people do not want to be sold on something)
• Put yourself in the customer’s shoes at all times
• Think about the customer’s buying decision and how you can help them see the benefits of what
your institution offers over other alternatives
• Clearly understand the customer’s objectives and anything they will tell you about what is behind
• Use “you,” “your” and “we” more than “I” or “our” in conversations or writing—ie. refrain from
saying “our project” when it is really “your project”
• Ask the customer, “what is the most important thing to you in our working together?”
• Ask the customer for feedback if they are getting their needs and expectations met before, during
and after your product or service is delivered
• Design your internal processes with the customer in mind
• Always ask “what is the impact of our decision on the customer”
Proven Strategies and Best Practices to
Achieve Excellent Customer Service
Pay attention to the little things that can
make or break customer satisfaction.
Use numbers and facts to prove service
Redesign internal operating procedures
and practices to better support and
encourage customer satisfaction.
Find new ways to make it easier for
customers to reach you.
Identify what constitutes superior
customer satisfaction for each of your
Collect feedback before, during, and after a
Involve customers in creative thinking and
Set up a customer advisory panel or focus
Calculate the lifetime value of each client
to appreciate their real worth to you.
Know what infuriates your customers—
what are their “hot buttons.”
Train employees on the human side as well
as the business side of customer
Consciously create and build a stronger
customer service culture.
“THERE ARE NO
TRAFFIC JAMS ALONG
THE EXTRA MILE.”
Importance of Words in Customer Service
Words to Avoid
Words to Use
You have to…
It’s not our policy…
Why don’t you…
It’s required, it’s necessary
Shut Down Communication
What’s your problem?
Would you mind…
I want (need) you to …
I am (organization is) unable
What have you considered?
It works well when…
Make No Judgments
It works well when…
It may not work well if…
I’ll do it, or I’ll do this
Can you tell me about the difficulty
Ask for What You Want
Importance of Feedback
1. Feedback tells us how we are doing—it is one of the primary ways we learn
about ourselves—our strengths that others see in us, and also our
limitations or weaknesses that could lead to improvement opportunities.
2. Feedback is a gift —employees need to be properly trained in the art of
giving and receiving feedback so that the process is constructive and
3. “Listening Posts” can be established within a company and in the
marketplace to gather critical information that is used to drive decision making
about matters impacting employees and customers.
4. If properly managed, those providing external feedback to a company can
become “marketing champions”.
5. Feedback is a form of market research. It is also a key tool in measuring
6. Customer feedback is a valuable management tool and the most important
driver for continuous improvement within a company.
“CUSTOMERS ARE NOW INFLUENCED BY PEERS,
NOT MARKETERS: THE CHALLENGE IS HOW YOU
CREATE A NETWORK OF ADVOCATES FOR YOUR
BUSINESS……BY LISTENING TO OUR
CUSTOMERS, THAT IS ACTUALLY THE MOST
PERFECT FORM OF MARKETING
YOU COULD HAVE.”
Mark Jarvis, Chief Marketing Officer, Dell
Communicating Effectively with
What describes GOOD service and BAD service?
Good customer service is taking that extra step to help without
being asked! It’s all about attitude and skills.
What attitudes assist in providing good service?
Enjoy helping people
Handle people well
Care for your customers
Give fair and equal treatment to all
Be understanding of people with special needs
Skills for Customer Service
Know your organization
Learn the services provided
Know your place on the team and be a TEAM PLAYER
What do Customers Want?
Brainstorm what it is that a customer wants when they
come to your institution, department, office………..
Discuss and share with the group
The Communication Equation
What you HEAR…………40% of the message
• Tone of voice
• Vocal clarity
• Verbal expressiveness
What you SEE OR FEEL…......50% of the message
• Facial expression
• Dress and grooming
• Posture/Body Language
• Eye Contact
• WORDS…………only 10% of the message!
Effective Communication Skills
what has been
The purpose is to create and maintain a welcoming environment—how can we achieve
• Be attentive, acknowledge a person as soon as they appear, even if you are busy
• Establish eye contact
• Tell them your name
• Ask how you can help and provide assistance
• Give the customer your full attention
• Be polite and courteous…………………
What does good rapport feel like?
Practice greeting someone………
Make the customer feel comfortable
Make the customer feel important and valued
Using Your Voice
• Become loud or angry or upset
• Speak faster when nervous
• Speak slowly when tired or bored
• Have a cheerful voice my tone of voice is warm and
• Find it easy to talk to people you don’t know
• Control your tone in most situations
• Sound bossy, weak or unsure
• Have a clear and easy-to-hear voice
• Speak in a very formal or very trendy manner?
Think about how you might modify your voice in certain
Body Language for Positive Results
Brainstorm some examples of good body language:
Introduce yourself (if appropriate) or wear a name
Shake hands if appropriate
Lean forward to listen more carefully
Be aware of cultural differences
Know how to use the phones
Speak clearly and slowly
Smile (you can hear it in your voice!)
State your name and organization and ask how you may
Write down the caller’s name and use it in conversation
Don’t say rude things while someone’s on hold
If they are explaining something, use words to show you
Have a pad and pencil ready to take notes or messages
Don’t eat or drink while on the phone
Customer Retention is Profitable
• Resolving a complaint within 24 hours results in 96% retention. For each
day of delay, about 10% additional loss.
• Companies can boost profits 100% by retaining 5% more of their
• WHY DO CUSTOMERS COME BACK?
• What was promised
• Knowledgeable help
• Prompt, willing attention
• Good treatment
Guaranteeing Return Business
Leave a positive impression, SMILE
Check to see if customers have everything they need
If you have said you will follow up, then do so
Tell them something that may be useful to them later (new class, new
• Invite them to another course that is relevant to one they are taking, ask
them to visit website
• Say goodbye and thank you
• First impressions count and will affect the interaction. People make
judgments in the first 30 seconds.
• GOLDEN RULE—You only have one chance to make a first impression
• How does your department/institution make a first impression?
Factors Affecting the Quality of Service
Acceptance of and adherence to policies and
In pairs, one person takes on the role of the
customer/student and one is the staff
member in department
• Use your own scenario from experiences
in your department/institution
• Swap after 5 minutes
Organizations that take Customer Service seriously, and
approach it with passion and zeal, are the
organizations that will prosper and continue to stand
out among their competitors.
“A lot of people have fancy things to say about customer
service, including me. But it’s just a day-in, day-out,
ongoing, never ending, unremitting, persevering,
compassionate type of activity”
Leon Gorman, President of L.L. Bean
If you only remember 12 things…
High-Performing Institutions/Organizations Who
Consistently Achieve Excellent Customer Service
1. Focus on satisfying internal customers as much as external customers
2. Define customer service based on what it means to your customers
3. Know it is all about enhancing the customer’s “experience”
4. Pay attention just as much to service quality as you do technical quality
5. Know what your customers want and expect and then deliver it
6. Perform as promised and eliminate irritants
7. Recover remarkably when service gaps or breakdowns occur
8. Involve everyone in the improvement process including customers
9. Identify and manage “moments of truth” striving for “moments of magic”
10. Use customer feedback to measure customer service performance
11. Keep the customer front and center in everything you do
12. Put a “service framework” in place to insure desired results
For More Reading on Customer Service
Customer Satisfaction is Worthless , Customer Loyalty is Priceless. Jeffrey Gitomer, New York, 1998
Hug Your Customers. Jack Mitchell, New York, 2003
The Loyalty Effect: The Hidden Force Behind Growth, Profits and Lasting Value.
Frederick F. Reichheld, Harvard Business School Press: Boston, MA, 1996.
Delivering Knock Your Socks Off Service. Chip R. Bell and Ron Zemke, AMACOM
Books: New York, 1991.
Customers.com. Patricia B. Seyhold, Random House: New York, 1998.
The One to One Future: Building Relationships One Customer at a Time. Don Peppers
and Martha Rogers, PhD., Doubleday: New York, 1993.
Delivering Quality Service: Balancing Customer Perceptions and Expectations. Valarie
A. Zeithaml, A. Parasuraman and Leonard L. Berry, The Free Press: New York,
Moments of Truth: New Strategies for Today’s Customer – Driven Economy. Jan
Carlson-President of Scandinavian Airlines, Harper & Row Publishers: New York,
The Pursuit of Wow! Tom Peters, Vintage Books: New York, 1994.
Managing to Keep the Customer: How to Achieve and Maintain Superior Customer
Service Throughout the Organization. Robert L. Desatnick, Jossey Bass: San
The Customer Driven Company: Moving from Talk to Action. Richard C. Whitely,
Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., 1991.
Managing the Customer Experience. Shaun Smith & Joe Wheeler, Prentice Hall, 2002.
The Ultimate Question. Fred Reichheld, Bain & Company, 2006.