Active Listening

Rock, Paper... People

Copyright: 123RF

Copyright: 123RF

Take a quick look at your desk.  What do you see?

Lots of paperwork? I thought so.  

Chances are, your job involves a lot of both paperwork and phone work, and sometimes the ringing phone feels like an interruption. That feeling can lead to a greeting that sounds rushed or unhelpful, sending your call off to a rocky start.

This week, aim to catch yourself thinking: "Arghhh – the phone is ringing!" and say instead: "Yay, the phone is ringing!" or "I’m gonna rock this!"  Then your greeting will sound professional and friendly, ready to handle anything.

Smile, Breathe, Rock On. You got this!

Stuff Happens

Copyright: 123RF Stock Photo

Copyright: 123RF Stock Photo

If you’re in the business of providing customer service (and who isn’t?) then you know that things will go wrong.  Yes, please work on reducing the number of times things go wrong, but this note is about how to handle the conversation – in an email.

What your customer needs when they share their concern is to feel heard, valued and to know what’s up next.  

I had an interaction that did just that a while ago and thought I’d share.
Notice the difference between a robotic, “We’re sorry for the inconvenience” and this reply:

"Thanks for reaching out, and huge bummer to hear the sizing wasn't perfect for you. We can definitely exchange that Medium out for a Small.

I'm attaching a return label for you to print, pop on the box, and hand off to your local postal worker. Once we receive your lid* back in our warehouse, I'll ship you out a Small.

Have a great afternoon." 

*lid – it was a bike helmet.  These days I only dream of returning a medium for a small. :-)

How do you apologize and make it right in your emails to customers?

If you’d like help with ideas on how to personalize, humanize and empathize your emails drop me a note.

Words for the Week

thumbs up woman.jpg

"I can" or "I will"

Customers don't care about your company policies or procedures or what you can't do

What they are interested in is what you can do.  Focus on that.

Rather than saying, "We can't update passwords over the phone" try, "Your security is important to us. If you email us the new password, we'll update it right away."

Change, "We can't get there on Tuesday" to, "We can be there Wednesday morning or afternoon, which do you prefer?"

If you are doing this already, send me an example by email. I will read them.


On another note:  Would you like to get WARD CERTIFIED?  Now you can, click here to learn more.

Look familiar?

                   Was this you this morning?

                   Was this you this morning?

Chances are you're feeling a little sluggish today yet your job is to sound upbeat, professional, and caring.
This is the perfect day for the Swivel and Answer and this is how it works... 

When you hear the phone ring, swivel your chair to the left, then back to center, then answer.

Next time the phone rings, swivel your chair to the right, then back to center, then answer.

Do you sense a pattern?  Keep it up.  Keep on swiveling and not only will be you able to button your pants again, you'll also sound more energetic on the phone.

At Ward Certified, we're grateful for elastic pants!

Happy Monday.



Sound available.

Copyright: <a href=''>julief514 / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

You are busy, but you shouldn’t sound busy.

If you slow down and don’t interrupt your caller, they will feel heard, cared for and like you better.

Wow, that’s quite a promise, you say?

But it’s true.  When you fully listen to your caller and act as if they are the most important person in your world (right now), they can feel it.

Choose to speak at a slower pace to indicate you have time for them.  Need help?  Say this tongue twister, “Around the rugged rocks the ragged rascals ran.”  That’s the pace, and nice job with the enunciation!

Choose not to interrupt.  Snap a rubber band on your wrist as a reminder to let them finish their sentence… completely.  Resist the urge to help them along. Just listen.

You know that feeling you get when you help someone?  When they say ‘thank you’ and you know you earned it?  Ya, that feels good and these techniques will help you experience that more often.



If you've ever wanted to get yourself Ward Certified™, now is the time.  Click here to learn more.

You're making me crazy!

Image by: NBC's, The Office

I’m often asked how to deal with a co-worker that drives you bonkers.

Well… You can pick your nose, you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your co-workers.  It’s a job.  Some people will annoy you.

If, on the other hand, you decide to deal with it (which by the way would make me very proud!) here’s some advice.

  • Start with a positive
  • Be specific
  • Get their perspective

Here's what it might sound like.

"Our working relationship matters to me, we work so closely here at Awesome Co., I’d like us to get along better.  When you and I work on X, Y seems to happen.  What’s your take on it?"

The goal is to change behavior and people won't be open to change if they are feeling defensive.  This conversation builds bridges, not fences.

Another tip: If the thought of this makes you nervous, practice it on a friend - or your dog - first.


If you've ever wanted to get yourself Ward Certified™, now is the time.  Click here to learn more.

Triple Nod

Screen Shot 2017-10-07 at 11.38.19 AM.png


Do you deal with customers and clients in person?

If so, get to know the triple nod.

  • No nodding = bored or disinterested
  • Too much nodding = impatient or overly agreeable
  • The Goldilocks of nodding - just right - is three, slow and deliberate nods.  That signals your customer to keep going by showing that you are listening.

BTW:  Works on internal customers too.