The Problem with “If it was me”

“If it was me, I would have done …”

“If it was me, I would have said …”

“If it was me, I would have made …”

The problem with “if it was me” is … it wasn’t you!  

“If it was me” tends to be used in conversations when someone, somewhere did not act or speak in a manner approved by the speaker.  When “If it was me” conversations don’t include the person being discussed, those conversations are very often judgmental gossip sessions.

“If it was me” doesn’t acknowledge:

  • Different view points, methodologies or perspectives
  • The other person’s experience or lack of experience
  • The possibility that perhaps it was you who failed by not providing adequate tools, training or resources
  • What the individual did right

“If it was me” slams the door on conversations that could provide valuable information and insight.  Instead of saying “if it was me”, try:

  • What worked well?
  • Is there something you could do differently that would result in a better outcome?
  • Why did you try that?
  • Is there a reason you didn’t  …?
  • Was there something about the situation that made you uncomfortable?
  • Is there something I can do to help you?
  • What do you think?

If or when a service team member is not performing to standard, it does need to be addressed, but success rates are higher when those meetings are conversations instead of lectures and when they involve the desire to understand individual strengths, challenges and learning styles.

The reality is there is no one just like you.  Get past you and focus on them.


Customer Service Wars is an Oxymoron

If customer service is about treating people in such a way that they feel valued and respected, it seems to me that the word ‘war’ doesn’t belong.

Which company will be more successful?  The company that looks to improve customer service levels with the intention of winning a war and crushing the competition or the company that enters into the same plan with the intention of building long-term, sustainable relationships and positively memorable experiences for their internal and external customers?

What would happen if, instead of trying to beat our competitors and win the war, we focused on becoming the absolute best we could be?  I read a quote the other day that went something like this:  “I am in competition with no one.  I have no desire to play the game of being better than the other person.  I am simply trying to be a better person than I was yesterday.”

Am I naive to think that it is possible replace the word ‘person’ with ‘business’  and still enjoy success?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.  Please feel free to share your ideas either here or on my FB page.


The Book is Almost Done!

Customer Service from the Inside Out is almost done!  Huge thanks to Kimb Tiboni Manson for the cover design.  A copy is printed off and posted on the wall in front of me to provide the occasional extra kick- in- the- butt motivation to keep writing when all I want to do is take a break and grab a cup of coffee or glass of wine, depending on the time of day of course!

Creating a customer service strategy is not easy.  It takes time, it takes effort and it takes commitment. This book is intended as a resource for companies willing to work hard and make the commitment necessary to earn a loyal fan following.

In conjunction with the book, a two day-workshop is also being introduced.  ‘Customer Service from the Inside Out’ (go figure!) is designed for business owners and leaders determined to be the best they possibly can be from a customer service perspective.  A copy of the book will be included in the registration fee.  The new workshop is being launched right here in Winnipeg December 3 & 4 as part 2 of a workshop double feature.  Click here for more information.

Oh … and while I’m engaged in shameless self-promotion, check out the fabulous new information sheet Kimb put together for me, promoting my speaking / facilitation services.  She does great work!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.  I’m going back to writing a book …





5 Simple (Some even Easy) Customer Service Tips

Customer service isn’t rocket science and yet, great customer service is rare.

A friendly smile and warm welcome are a great first step.  Here are five other ideas to help you and your team move from good to great.

1.       Give something extra.

Giving something extra doesn’t have to cost a lot. It can be as simple as putting a handwritten “Enjoy your dinner” note on the room service tray or sending up a pot of tea with lemon to a guest with the sniffles.

A pleasant surprise is remembered; a pleasant surprise is shared.  Find ways to surprise your customers … pleasantly.

2.       Make it personal.

If you know your customer’s name, use it.  If you don’t know, find out.  Introduce new employees to regular customers.  Let your customers know you appreciate them by remembering they drink their coffee black, they always ask for an extra pillow, they have two grandchildren or they are scared of dogs.

3.       Take complaints seriously.

I know.  Nobody likes dealing with customer complaints.  You don’t need to like it, but you and your team need to know how to manage complaints when they arise.   First of all, be thankful for the complaint.  By far the majority of unhappy customers don’t complain … to you. Chances are they are letting others know. When a customer complains, what they are saying is “I want to come back.  I am giving you a chance to fix this.”  When you receive that opportunity, LEAP on it.

L – Listen to what they are saying. Ask questions.  Do not brush them off with a quick solution, a reason (a.k.a. an excuse, from the customer’s viewpoint), or an insincere and half-hearted “Sorry.”

E -Empathize.  Put yourself in their shoes. If you simply don’t understand their anger or frustration, remember the times you’ve felt angry or frustrated.  How did you want others to respond to you?

A -Apologize.  An apology doesn’t necessarily mean accepting blame, unless of course you did mess up.  In that case, acknowledge the error.  Sometimes customers complain because they’ve had a bad day, someone else messed up.  Be sorry they are frustrated. Find a way to show them you care.

P –Partner. Be prepared to ask “What can I do to make this better?” or provide a variety of options for the customer to select from.  Dictating a resolution leaves the customer out of the process. Work with them to find a solution.

Studies show that if you and your team can resolve a complaint before the customer walks out the door, there is a 70-90% chance you saved a customer relationship.

4.       Watch your Language

No, this isn’t about proper grammar and avoiding slang, swearing, or industry jargon, although those all hold true. This is about focusing on delivering negative news in a positive way.  For example, turn:

  • “We only have studio suites available that evening” into,
  • “I can reserve a studio suite for you that evening.”

Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, focus on what you do have.

5.       Know your Plan B (and possibly C & D)

Too many rules, regulations and red tape are bad for business. They frustrate your customers and your employees.  But some structure is necessary.   Create guidelines instead of scripts; train your employees and provide on-going coaching and support.  Create scenarios, or use real incidents and ask them to provide suggestions on how to handle those situations.  Let your employees come up with their own words, based on your company’s service promise.

Bonus Tip:

Be sure you and your managers are walking the talk.  Everyone in the company, owners, managers, back-of-house and frontline employees, must be customer focused.  Be the example by providing excellent customer service, not only to the paying customer, but also the people you rely on each and every day to keep those paying customers coming back.

To learn more about the services offered by Servicedge Training and Consulting, or to sign up for a free 45 minute “Service Strategy” consultation with Laurie, click here.