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Providing the Ultimate Customer Service Experience

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Presentation on theme: "Providing the Ultimate Customer Service Experience"— Presentation transcript:

1 Providing the Ultimate Customer Service Experience
Presented By: Leah Graves

2 Many people believe that going above and beyond is not a chore, but a way of life. 
In this session we will discuss delivering exceptional customer service with the unified mission of aiding families through the financial aid process.    

3 Be a Fred Everyone makes a difference
Success is built on relationships Be a Fred is the heart of customer service. Tell Fred story and give some examples of Freds. Everyone makes a difference Do you add to or take away from the experiences of your customers and colleagues? Do you move your families closer to or further from their goals of higher education? Do you perform your work in an ordinary way, or do you execute it superbly? Do you lighten someone’s burden or add to it? Do you lift someone up or put someone down? Success is built on relationships Relationship building is the most important objective because the quality of the relationship determines the quality of the product or service.

4 Why Be a Fred? Fred believed that “excellence and quality should be the goals of every person in any business or profession.” What kind of difference did I make?” So, why be a Fred? Fred believed that “excellence and quality should be the goals of every person in any business or profession.” Don’t ask if you made a difference; you did! Instead ask, What kind of difference did I make?”

5 Un-Fred Like Behavior How could you unintentionally be saying any one of these things to your students by your mannerisms? I don't have time for this. There's too much important stuff to do. Don't you raise your voice to me, you so and so... If you don't like the way we do things, why don't you go someplace else? The concept that perception is reality comes from how the customer/student or parent views the service provided. Unintentionally, we may project an image or perception that we don’t want to. Examples: Acting too busy to assist a student; going on an on about other things he/she has to do within the office. Or, continually checking to see who sent an or who is calling. Turn off your alert OR turn away from your computer; forward your calls to voice mail OR do not look to see who is calling. 2) Raising your voice to the student and “scolding” them in the manner in which you speak to them 3) Answering in a tone such as : “well, this is how we do it at our school, if you are unhappy, maybe you should look at transferring.”

6 Un-Fred Like Behavior cont’d
You're just going to have to learn to follow our policies. This is not my problem. This is your problem. Can't you read the instructions for yourself? If you want this fixed, here's what YOU have to do. The computer says you didn't send it in. (That means you're wrong). Look, I get off in 15 minutes. I can't be bothered with your problem. This is the way we have always done it approach; no room for things that don’t fit into the mold Answering in the manner of “you are going to have to call your lender, you are going to have to review your fafsa…” “Well, I’m looking on our system and it shows you didn’t send it in so we don’t have it. And the computer is always right.” Constantly looking at the clock and rushing through assistance. Sometimes, without knowing, we can say things in a manner that projects an incorrect image or response. Why? Because of nonverbal communication.

7 “The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.”
~Peter Drucker

8 Nonverbal Communication
Words we use 7% How we say words, tone of voice, style Facial expressions, body language 38% 55% If the words we use only account for 7% of our understanding in communication, and how we say words, our tone of voice and style constitute 38% of our understanding, let’s now look at what affects our understanding of communication the most – our body language! Body language accounts for 55% of our total meaning and understanding. ~ From Silent Messages

9 Nonverbal Communication
Smile Silent nod Eye contact Body position Gestures -Smile – when we get nervous we have the tendency to smile and laugh a lot (sometimes when it’s not appropriate) or we look overly serious. Practice speaking in front of a mirror and watch your facial expressions. -Silent nod – when the class asks a question or even in a one-on-one conversation, nodding silently tells your audience (or the other person) that you are listening – not agreeing necessarily but listening to what they are saying. -Eye contact – this is so important! Look at your audience; not the white board, out the window or your notes! Keep your attention centered on the audience. If direct eye contact makes you nervous, a trick is to look at the tip of each person’s nose or their eyebrows. Don’t go higher than the eyebrows or lower than their nose – but if you stay in this range your audience will think you’re looking at them and you’re not getting more nervous because you’re not looking them directly in the eye! Also scan the room when maintaining eye contact, don’t focus on one person or on one side. -Body position – don’t cross your arms, put your hands on your hips or cross your hands when speaking. *Have the audience stand and practice the power posture. The power posture stance is feet shoulder-width apart or one leg turned out in a 45 degree angle, stand straight and tall and arms hanging loose by your side – remember, don’t cross your arms, put them on your hips or cross your hands in front of or behind you – keep them at your side! -Gestures – use gestures to give your hands ‘something to do.’ Gestures should be natural not distracting and should emphasize points.

10 Vocal Delivery Volume Rate Pitch Inflection Vocal variety
Even though our tone of voice and style accounts for 38% of our understanding of communication, it is still important we keep the following things in mind: -Volume – when speaking in a business presentation you need to project your voice; don’t shout but be loud enough that your audience can easily hear you without straining. Projecting your voice will also reduce some of the distractions that divert your audience’s attention – for example landscaping outside the training room, working on the roof, people walking by the window, etc… -Rate – don’t talk too fast or too slow; speak in a presentation as if you were talking one-on-one to an individual. When we get nervous we often have the tendency to talk faster so slow down! -Pitch – when making a statement have your pitch go down; when asking a question have your pitch go up. Especially ladies – we have the tendency to sound like we are always asking questions because we have the tendency to let our voice rise when we end sentences…practice having your pitch go down when we end statements. -Inflection and vocal variety go hand in hand – the key here is to remember staying animated. Does your voice sound differently when you read to a child? If yes, that’s vocal variety. Keep that animation when you’re talking with your audience. *Something to help with vocal delivery is to tape record yourself. Practice your speech and tape record yourself – then go back and listen for if your volume was loud enough, rate slow enough, pitch going down, animation, listen for those vocal pauses and get rid of them and listen to your pronunciation, articulation and clarity. You want to focus on your vocals so don’t tape record your body and get distracted by what you look like – focus on what you sound like!

11 Practice Communication
What do you want me to do about it?

12 Are You An Effective Communicator?
Do you make eye contact? Do you watch the person's body posture and facial expressions? Do you empathize and try to understand feelings, thoughts and actions? Do you keep from interrupting and let the person finish? Do you ask questions to clarify information? This and the next slide are some questions for members of the audience to answer as they evaluate their communication habits. They can also use these questions to help them practice and prepare for their next encounter. *I don’t read the questions since they have them written in their workbook.

13 Are You An Effective Communicator?
Do you smile and nod your head to show interest? How do you listen, when you don't like the person who is talking or what someone is saying? Do you ignore outside distractions? Do you listen for and remember important points? Do you keep from judging what was said - do you remain neutral?

14 The Image You Portray Students read between the lines.
We aren’t judged by our intentions; but on our actions. Student’s experience is based upon that one moment in time. The student can only judge the service based on their individual and momentary contact. Just like most of us, customers read between the lines. That is, if you are being short with them, it tells the customer they aren’t important or that you are in a hurry. We aren’t judged by our intentions; but on our actions. Each customer’s experience is based upon that one moment in time that you serve them. They are unaware of all the other things that surround your actions. It’s important to note that, while your day may be hectic and there may be good reason to act the way you do, the customer can only judge the service based on their individual and momentary contact.

15 Acceptable Things To Say/Do
Treat every question as if it were the first time it was asked. (For the student, it IS actually the first time.) Don’t assume that you know what they are going to ask. Listen attentively. Don’t criticize or judge. Offer assistance and become a resource for the student. Remember, students do not receive the formalized loan training that we do. What may seem like common knowledge is not so. 1. Most of the situations that escalate are because the previous reps did not take the time to listen and resolve the issue. Listening is the most important thing you can do! Treat every question as if it were the first time it was asked. (For the borrower, it IS actually the first time for them.) Don’t assume that you know what they are going to ask. Also, don’t criticize or judge. Offer assistance and become a resource for the student. Remember, students do not receive the formalized loan training that we do. What may seem like common knowledge is not so.

16 Listen To Their Concerns!
Take time to LISTEN Let them vent; you may find out the root cause of the problem DO NOT INTERRUPT! 2. By letting the borrower vent their frustrations, perhaps you can gain insight into the real issue that is making them upset. 3. Do not interrupt! No matter how tempting it may be since you have the answer in front of you, it normally escalates the situation further.

17 Listening for Understanding
When working with students, it’s best to S.T.O.P. what you are doing: S: step back from what you are doing T: take time to listen O: objectively listen without making judgment P: pay attention to what they are really saying Using the STOP method: First Step back from what you are doing. As much as you may be able to multi-task, no one person can listen intently and do something else at the same time. You are bound to miss something. Take time to listen to what is being said; allow the student to finish before jumping in Objectively listen without making judgment; too often we pass judgment which interferes with the message we want to send across to the student Pay attention to the student’s disposition, their demeanor. Often, it is what they aren’t saying that really makes up the bulk of the message. (give an example or ask for one)

18 Empathize with the Student
Customer-centric culture Verbalize your understanding and acknowledge their problem Be sincere in stating your empathy Put yourself in that person’s shoes. How would you react? How would you feel? Verbalize your understanding of their situation. Most people want you to acknowledge their frustration and/or problems. Be sincere in stating your empathy. Callers can tell when you are using a canned phrase or statement, so try and understand how they are feeling. Don’t just say “I’m sorry” because you think you are supposed to – really mean it!

19 Key Phrases “I can understand why you are angry, if I were in this situation, I would be as well.” “I definitely understand, let’s work together to get this fixed today.” “My name is _____. If you have any further problems please contact me! We want to make sure you are taken care of.” “Unfortunately, we made an error. I apologize for the inconvenience. I know this is frustrating for you. Let’s work to get this fixed.” Here are some key phrases you can use when speaking with the student. Notice the “I” language, not “you” language (this is foundational in empathic listening).

20 Provide a Solution or Resolution
Do not put up barriers Focus on solutions OK to say no – if there are other options to offer! Not all requests can be met, but offer other assistance 1. Once a situation escalates, no one wants to hear about our policies or barriers to their request. 2. Instead, focus on what you CAN do for them as an alternative resolution. 3. It is OK to advise them when something is not possible, but make sure you are stating a resolution or process that can get them a similar end result. Creativity can be a great asset in this situation. 4. When there is no possible solution to their request, apologize and offer any other assistance that perhaps can be done. This is a good time to discuss examples they have of difficult situations.

21 Honesty & Ownership Be honest!
Do not make claims that cannot be accomplished. If we made a mistake, take ownership of it and fix the problem. Apologize when appropriate. There is a chance they misunderstood or were even given incorrect information. This helps you deflate escalated situations.

22 Close and Follow-up Close with resolution or acknowledgement of the problem Paraphrase and summarize solutions Advise of documentation Advise of any needed follow-up Close with resolution or acknowledgement of the problem (briefly repeat what you have talked about) Paraphrase and summarize solutions. This is expected in regular customer service situations and is even more important when situations escalate. Advise the student that you are documenting the discussion so others later will know the topics you discussed. Advise of any needed follow-up you need to do. Be specific and give a timeframe. 5. CALL BACK IF YOU HAVE ADVISED YOU WILL DO SO. If more than 48 hours to get a resolution, call back to advise you are still working on it.

23 Perspective Offer service through the eyes of the student
The student’s perspective is vastly different than yours You are their only hope in some circumstances They don‘t know if there are any options and what those options may be Make explanations simple and complete without causing more confusion Seeing service through the eyes of the customer is important. The customer’s perspective is vastly different from yours. They haven’t had the training that you are receiving and, in many cases, Mom and Dad have done everything for them in the past. All of a sudden, they are thrown into an independent world without the proper experience to handle it. Some students feel like they are at the end of their rope when they come to you. They have no idea if there are options and, if there are, what they might be.

24 What About You? What factors have a direct reflection on how you will handle a situation? Mood Illness Family issues Work issues Unhappy at job “It’s All About Me” attitude Each of these factors can change (for better or worse) how you handle escalated situations. Don’t let personal issues interfere with your professionalism.

25 Strategies to Reduce Stress
Recognize when the stress hits you Do some breathing exercises Keep in mind that it’s just another day Don’t just complain, find a solution! You control yourself and only you can relieve stress After you have a “bad” encounter (in person or over the phone), here are some steps you can take to reduce stress: -The first thing to remember is to recognize when the stress hits you. If you can’t do that, it is impossible to deal with it. You won't be able to relief stress. Once you recognize the reasons for your stress, take the time to figure out the small things you can do to improve your working conditions in regard to the particular issue. -Do some breathing exercises before work. Get up in the morning, take a nice walk and on the way to work, simply breathe. Before you walk in that door, smile and keep your head up knowing you are ready to face the world and whatever it throws at you for the day. Breathe deeply, using your diaphragm and slow deep breaths…not shallow breathing! -Keep in mind that it’s just another day and it will be over soon. Taking it one day at a time can save you a lot of grief when trying to deal with stress. -You may have heard this throughout your life, and it definitely plays a factor in handling stressful situations at work too: If you have a problem, don’t just complain about it, find a solution! By no means will you be able to figure out how to get angry customers from calling you, or be able to make the call center you work for change their policies on script adherence no matter how silly you think the script is. -You can take steps to make sure that you handle the factors you can control yourself and relieve stress.

26 Exceed Expectations Make it easy “That’s what I’m here for…”
Make sure to communicate your openness and willingness to help “How can I help you…” Give them one source service Don’t make them have to go 10 places for something It’s a fact that today’s students expect more now than ever. After you anticipate needs, you can exceed expectations by doing the following… (read slide) Statements like: “This is what I’m here for” or “Let’s work on this together” Use “we” and “us” instead of “you” or “I”

27 Positive Impressions Leaves the student feeling good
Student can be easier to deal with Cuts down on we vs. them syndrome Leads to overall job satisfaction The customer needs a positive impression in order to market you by word-of-mouth When the customer leaves feeling good about the experience they spread the word Positive impressions offer simplicity and less stress that the make the customer easier to deal with It builds camaraderie to cut down on the we/us/they syndrome And it leaves you feeling good with an overall sense of job satisfaction

28 Summary Be a Fred to your students
Know the importance and effects of nonverbal communication and vocal delivery Listen Offer a customer-centric focus to your service

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