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Archive for July, 2016


Listen for Vocal Cues

The absence of visual cues makes customer CARE by phone challenging since all you have are vocal cues to evaluate the effectiveness of the service. You need to use your voice, and you need to carefully listen to the customer’s voice.

Your voice should communicate confidence, friendliness, warmth, calm, and enthusiasm.headset

  • Sit upright and speak slowly and clearly.
  • Use a headset.
  • Take notes.
  • Be concise.
  • Avoid fillers like “um,” “uh,” “like,” “you know,” and so on.
  • Important information is often communicated with words like, “The point is….”
  • An objection is likely to start with, “Here’s the thing…” or, “Yes, but….”
  • Confusion may start with, “What I need you to understand….”
  • Long pauses may mean the customer doesn’t understand something or is taking time to process what was said. Use prompts like, “Is anything unclear or confusing?”
  • An uncertain tone requires you to reinforce the message and maybe paraphrase the content in a slightly different manner.

Check out my blog post Shhh! Listen! for more information.

This post is from my new program,  Creating a Positive Customer Service Experience. This 3-hour workshop will help your team deliver customer CARE in person, on the phone, and in writing. Contact me for more details or to book this new program!


Where Are You Wasting Time?

Most people don’t realize how much time they waste every day because of bad habits. According to the 2014 annual survey by, more than 60% of respondents report wasting between 30 and 60 minutes a day. If we are losing up to an hour each day, we need to take a look at the habits that are stealing our time.

Habits are actions we perform automatically, so in order to change them, we need to become aware of them. Here are three habits to focus on and get rid of in order to be more positively productive each day.desktop keeping order series

  • Get organized. Putting things where they belong when you are finished with them is a habit that can put more time in your life. When you have to sort through stacks of paper or hundreds of completed e-mails in your in-box, you are wasting time. Take time to get organized, create labeled folders, and put away documents when you are finished with them. See my blog post Is Your Computer Desktop a Mess? for more information.
  • Focus on priorities. Becoming scattered is easy when you are juggling a dozen different tasks, but lack of focus on priorities is a major waste of time. The time spent at work should be productive and deliver the results you need for professional and career success. Take time at the beginning of the week to identify your top priorities for the week and concentrate on accomplishing them. See my blog post Use the Pareto Principle for Productivity at Work.
  • Stop being interrupted. Most people think other people interrupt them; that’s not true. We allow ourselves to be interrupted, and that wastes time. Become assertive about your time and be firm about handling interruptions. Learn to say no graciously, but firmly, when someone wants your attention.

See my blog post Your Habits Can Make or Break Productivity for more information you can use.



Networking 101

It’s surprising how many people say they hate to network, especially Generation X and Y. However, networking is a valuable way to stay in touch with existing clients, get in front of potential clients, and meet colleagues for strategic alliances. Here are some tips to help take the pain out of networking. Business people communicating with each other against white

  • Choose networking events carefully. Our time is limited, and we are pulled in a dozen directions daily. Deciding to attend a networking event is an investment, so give it some thought and do some research. Find out who usually attends the event. Can they help you in your business? Are they potential customers and decision makers? What is the likelihood that you will make at least one good connection?
  • Forget the elevator speech. Yes, you’ve probably practiced it a hundred times, but don’t use it. They don’t work because they’re all about you. Instead, note the person’s name on their nametag, briefly introduce yourself, and immediately ask about them. “Hi, Steve. I’m Karen from Organize4Results. Tell me a little about your business.” Or, “Hi, Steve, I’m Karen from Organize4Results. Have you been to this event before?” Then keep the conversation going and stay focused on them. They will remember you positively long after the event is over.
  • Practice the art of the handshake. There is nothing worse than a dead-fish handshake, except the damp-dead-fish handshake. You know what I mean. A limp, lifeless, clammy handshake is unappealing; you just want to rub your palm against something to cleanse it. A good handshake is firm and dry and uses the same pressure you would use to check the ripeness of an avocado or peach.

Networking isn’t for everyone, but everyone needs to do it for business success. Try these tips; you might enjoy your next event a bit more and make some important business connections. See my blog post Networking for Results for more tips.


Communicate Assertiveness

Assertive communication skills are necessary for professional success, and your ability to speak clearly gets you noticed in all the right ways. An assertive communication style is a win/win style. You demonstrate confidence in your knowledge, yet are open to what others have to say. It’s a two-way street.shutterstock_134649776

  • Be positive. Stating something in the positive creates a level of understanding and authority that negative statements don’t have. For example, “I will take care of this when I receive your completed application” is more convincing and easier to understand than “I can’t take care of this until I receive your completed application.”
  • Be firm. Words such as “maybe,” “might,” and “possibly” are weak. They convey uncertainty. One of the worst statements is, “I think.” People infer that you are unsure and not confident in what you are about to say. If you honestly believe what you are about to say, use, “I believe” to command much more authority. If you’re not sure, just don’t say anything.
  • No slang. It’s easy to fall into slang or colloquial phrases, such as “Whatever,” “Why not?,” and “Tough luck.” They often pepper our language with our friends, but they are not appropriate in a professional setting.  Watch for them and eliminate them.
  • Avoid “you.” “You” is a tricky pronoun. When people hear it, they put up their defenses in the expectation of being attacked or criticized. Rather than use “you,” aim for more neutral language by switching to passive voice. Instead of saying, “Did you send the RFP by the deadline?” say, “Was the RFP sent by the deadline?”
  • Be quiet. Silence is a powerful form of communication. When you’re not sure how to respond, or even if you should, just be quiet.

Make it a habit to speak only after giving it some thought and aim for positive assertiveness. See my blog posts Five Communication Mistakes to Avoid and Watch Your Language for more information.