Category Archives: User Services Training

Customer Service Tip: Weird research—The most dangerous time for customer service

By: Jeff Toister (submitted by Carmen Gass)

What time of day are you at your best?

It’s just after 7am as I write this post, because that’s when I’m most productive at writing. It would take me forever to write the same thing if I tried to do it just after lunch.

We all have a circadian rhythm, which causes us to experience different levels of energy throughout the day. This can impact us in innocent ways, such as productivity.

Time of day may have even graver implications. Read more here.

Customer Service Tip: Caring for customers—Which door will you choose?

By: Jeremy Watkin (submitted by Carmen Gass)

“Unfortunately, there’s nothing I can do for you.” But is there really NOTHING we can do? If our goal is to take care of the customer, by using a little bit of creativity, we find that we do have some options at our disposal. I like to think of these as alternative doors we can walk through. Read more here.

Customer Service Tip: What Does Customer Service in Higher Education Actually Look Like?

By: Sarah Seigle Peatman, Emily Richardson, Eileen
Soisson, Heath Boice-Pardee (submitted by Carmen Gass)

“Providing good customer service to students has become an expectation in today’s higher education environment, yet customer service in higher education is still new and few are
certain how to do it well, or what the term means when placed in the context of students, faculty, and staff.

To learn more about how colleges and universities are adapting the concept of service competencies to this sector, and to gather practical advice for how units and departments can navigate this shift in mindset, we turned to three acknowledged experts on customer service in higher education: read more here.

Customer Service Tip: Using journey maps to tell the customer’s story

By: Annette Franz (submitted by Carmen Gass)  

Customer experience professionals use storytelling to gain buy-in and commitment from their audiences (typically executives, as well as employees) and to deliver impactful emotional and
rational perspectives and messages, thereby capturing both the hearts and minds of the intended audience. When they tell the customer’s story, they paint a picture of who the customer is, what problems she’s trying to solve, and the experience the company puts her through in order to solve her problem. They end up taking the audience on a journey, the customer’s journey, and it humanizes the customer experience for the audience.

One of the best tools available to develop and to tell that customer story is journey mapping. Read more here.

Customer Service Tip: How invisible ropes ruin the customer service experience

By: Jeff Toister (submitted by Carmen Gass)

The prank was pure genius.

Two boys, each about 12 years old, stood on opposite sides of the road. As a car approached, the boys would pantomime picking up a rope and pulling it taught across the road.

This caused speeding cars to slow down as the drivers perceived they were about to run into whatever the boys had stretched across the road. They couldn’t see anything in front of them, but the boys’ actions told the drivers’ subconscious brains that some danger lurked ahead.

Of course, there was no rope. The drivers were reacting to their perception, not reality.

Customer service is often the same way. The experience is almost always amplified for good or bad by invisible ropes—things that alter your customer’s perception of reality.

This post will help you identify invisible ropes that might annoy your customers and ruin their experience. Read more here.

Customer Service Tip: 16 customer service skills that every employee needs

By: Gregory Ciotti (Submitted by Carmen Gass)

There are certain customer service skills that every employee must master if they are forward-facing with customers.

Without them, you run the risk of finding your business in an embarrassing customer service train-wreck, or you’ll simply lose customers as your service continues to let people down.

Luckily, there are a few universal skills that every support member can master that will dramatically improve their conversations with customers. We’ll cover the 16 most-needed skills to master this incredibly important position. Read more here.

Customer Service Tip: Social interactions for multinational teams (

By: Carmen Gass

“If a fear of unknown differences causes you to shy away from international collaborations, you can overcome such concerns by learning how to communicate respectfully across cultures. This
course explains how members of diverse workforces can effectively correspond. Learn how to avoid common communication mistakes, whether linguistic, written, verbal, or unspoken. Discover how different cultures view eye contact, gestures, personal space, and other body language.”

View course here.

Customer Service Tip: The power of tone

By: Greg Zlevor (submitted by Carmen Gass)

People may listen to your words, but they react to your tone. When asked in an interview with Oprah Winfrey about the process of becoming Abraham Lincoln, award-winning actor Daniel Day Lewis thoughtfully replied, “The voice is a deep reflection of character, of who we are—the voice is the fingerprint of the soul.”

Day Lewis intuitively knew how impactful tone can be. He spent months researching, studying, and eventually taking on the persona of Lincoln after much hard work and soul-searching.  Read more here.

Customer Service Tip: Building rapport with customers (

By: Carmen Gass

“Want to set yourself up for success each time you interact with a customer? Take steps to establish a genuine, human connection with the person you’re speaking with. In this course, instructor Myra Golden helps customer service reps accomplish this by stepping through how to establish rapport within the first few seconds of a customer service interaction.

The course is available here.


Customer Service Tip: Raising the customer experience bar by mapping unexpected journeys

By: Paul Selby (submitted by Carmen Gass)

I faced a dilemma recently. I had ordered something that would be delivered while I was out of town. Normally this wouldn’t be an issue; someone would eventually be home to retrieve the package from the porch. The problem was this was a valuable item and the package might sit for hours. With the holidays approaching making porch pirates a larger threat, I thought I’d see if any options might exist to address my concerns.

Like most customers, I started my quest online to see if I could find a solution to my problem. I tried the vendor first, but they didn’t offer any options once the item had left the warehouse.
Then I tried the shipper. Read more here.

Customer Service Tip: Conflict resolution foundations (

By: Carmen Gass

Improve your relationships with your coworkers, clients, and managers and find your way through conflict back to cooperation. In this course, negotiation and leadership coach Lisa Gates shares the secrets of effective conflict resolution and reveals simple, repeatable techniques that apply in most business situations. Access the class here.

Customer Service Tip: Three lessons from Apple on how to amaze your customers

By: Shep Hyken (submitted by Carmen Gass)

There is a lot we can learn from great companies, big and small. Many books have been written about companies like Disney, Nordstrom, Ritz-Carlton and Apple. And, once we learn how they do it, the key is making it work for our companies. It’s not about just learning, but also about  executing what we learned. Read more:

Three Lessons from Apple on How to Amaze Your Customers

Customer Service Tip: Acknowledge and refocus

By: Jeff Toister (submitted by Carmen Gass)

Taking ownership is sometimes confused with being blamed, but it’s really about accepting responsibility for solving a problem.

A great way to take ownership (and diffuse any anger) is through the Acknowledge and Refocus technique. * Acknowledge the problem or service failure. This conveys empathy and helps the customer feel valued. * Refocus on a solution. Being solution-oriented prevents you from getting stuck on discussing blame and will give your customer the confidence that you are here to help.

Sound too easy? Here’s two ways it can go wrong if you aren’t careful:
1. You say, “I’m sorry” but your customer doesn’t feel acknowledged. Be sure your tone and body language convey just as much empathy as your words.

2. You get stuck playing the ‘blame game’. It’s easier than you think. Phrases like “Who told you that?” or “Well, I didn’t do that!” are good signs that you are playing the ‘blame game’ rather than focusing on a solution!

Customer Service Tip: People always complain about that

By: Shep Hyken (submitted by Carmen Gass)

The other day I was at my hotel waiting for my client to pick me up for a meeting. I wanted a quick breakfast, so I went to the hotel’s coffee shop to pick up some oatmeal. They had instant
oatmeal in a cup. The cashier added the hot water and $4.00 later I was on my way. I sat down at an open seat in the hotel lobby and noticed that my oatmeal looked more like soup that oatmeal. Usually, you just wait a few minutes and the oatmeal thickens up, but that was not the case. So, I walked over to the coffee shop to see if they had any suggestions. Her response: “People always complain about that.”

She was very nice and gave me my money back. I started to think about what happened. If “people always complain about that,” then why do they continue to serve it? Read more here .

Customer service tip of the week: The extra mile isn’t about effort

By: Jeff Toister (submitted by Carmen Gass)

Many people mistakenly think that going the extra mile for a customer is all about effort. It’s not. Effort is not nearly as important as perception.

** Customers define the extra mile**
Your level of effort does not necessarily match the quality of service you provide. That’s because your customer, not you, decides whether your service is good, poor, or outstanding.
Sometimes, you’ll give every ounce of effort you have and but the customer is still unhappy. Other times, you’ll barely lift a finger and your customer is ecstatic.

Here’s a simple way to ensure you are truly going the extra mile:
1. Learn your customer’s expectations
2. Find ways to exceed their expectations
3. Repeat

Lunch and Learn: Embedded Librarianship: Re-envisioning Reference

First Name: Carmen Gass

Please join at 12-1 p.m., Thursday, October 4, in E403 Paterno Library.

This presentation will broaden the reference approach by considering embedded librarians as a form of personalized reference for students. It will provide examples of its current success through intentional and meaningful collaborations for designers, course authors, course instructors, and librarians. The customizable program allows for a robust librarian presence
within a course; library instruction and resources are fully tailored to student outcomes and are easily accessible within the Canvas learning environment. Ultimately, these strategies create
a low-risk environment for students to practice their discipline-related information research skills as they progress through course projects. Students now create high-quality papers for online courses, creating a win-win situation for students and faculty! The online learning librarian, Torrie Raish, will be delivering this presentation.

Participants can expect to:
1. Articulate the shared benefit the embedded librarianship creates between instructors, instructional designers, and librarians to enhance student outcomes.

2. Identify communication methods, instructional strategies, and assessments created by the online embedded team to support student learning.

3. Explain how the Embedded Librarian Program has improved the overall quality of research-based assignments using technical components such as research guides, library learning modules, and video tutorials.


Customer Service Tip: Leading a customer-centric culture (

By: Carmen Gass

“What do great companies have in common? They have a customer-centric culture that makes employees obsessed with the customer experience. Discover how to get your team excited about customer service, with these practical tips from expert Jeff Toister. Jeff explains how to create a vision that gets everyone on the same page, engage employees, and be the customer service champion your company needs. The concepts apply whether you lead a small team, a department, or an entire organization.”

You can view the course here.