Carolinas

I Think I Think is Wrong - 10/20/20


I think that’s not going to be feasible.  I think we can do that.  I think you’re on the right track.  Methinks thou dost protest too much. Please forgive the Shakespearean reference, but it seems to fit well here.  When we are talking to co-workers and customers, and we’re giving Read more

Be Slowest, and Be the Best – Chick-fil-A - 10/13/20


About one week ago, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution had an article that analyzed the results of a SeeLevel HX research engagement on the customer experience at fast food restaurants.  The results were seemingly contradictory.  The fast food chain with by far the overall best drive-thru experience was Chick-fil-A, and yet Read more

Connect During Customer Service Week - 10/6/20


It’s Customer Service Week…woohoo!  This week should be all about the customers we serve and the staff who serve them.  This should be about conveying we value other people, and – hopefully – having other people convey that they value us.  It’s a week about people – about us. This Read more

Temper the Tone of THE VOICE - 9/29/20


The television show The Voice is a singing competition.  The opening episodes of every season begin with individuals singing while judges have their backs to the singer.  The judges can’t see the singer, so they are evaluating the performer purely based on their voice. Oftentimes, when the judge turns around, Read more

Keep On Going - 9/22/20


Thomas Edison once said “Many of life’s failures are experiences by people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” You are close to success – Keep On Going. Winston Churchill once said "If you’re going through hell, keep going."  This quote has been taken Read more

Lessons Learned for COVID Era Sporting Events


Since the sports world has begun inviting fans back to their events on a limited basis, CSS has been fortunate to work on multiple events with our sports clients.  Much of our work is fan research-oriented, where before or after events, we are engaging fans to identify expectations, potential Read more

Create a Common Definition of Customer Service - 9/15/20


Peter, Paul, and Marie are co-workers. They are all customer service representatives.  When Peter thinks of good customer service, he defines it as being friendly to the customer. “And I am friendly,” Peter says.  “That’s why I don’t know why they send me to customer service training.” Paul thinks customer Read more

COVID-19 Demand Management Strategies for Customer Service Channels


We all want demand for our products or services.  This helps us to generate revenue and to provide something of value to our customers and communities.  But customer demand does not strictly relate to products and services.  Demand also relates to communications, information, issue resolution, education, and other aspects Read more

Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance? - 9/8/20


This is a quote by Edgar Bergen.  He’s one of the most famous ventriloquists of all time, but I guess he wasn’t necessarily one of the hardest workers of all time.  By sharing this quote, I am not supporting the idea that we shouldn’t work hard…or am I? We only Read more

Reach Out More for COVID-19 Customer Retention


Ever since the Coronavirus pandemic became a reality for individuals, their communities, and their countries, it became clear that people were going to be hurting…that lives were going to be changing…that the realities of the past were going to be very different from the current and near-term future realities. When Read more

What’s Truly Unique for Fans in the Seats

Posted on in Business Advice, Carolinas, Sports Please leave a comment

I’ve been fortunate to have been a season ticket holder for a professional football team for 15+ years, so when my company consults with pro sports teams on season ticket holder (STH) retention and fan relations, I can talk as a strategist and researcher or…as a fan.

And I love talking as a fan. One key point that those in the sports industry need to remember is that the game day experience is – to many fans – far beyond what the smart phone experience or television experience could ever become.

As a fan, when I go to the game, there are certain aspects of the experience that I could never get on TV. I feel and am a part of the emotion of 70,000+ people (FYI – I’m a Carolina Panther STH). And even when that emotion is negative, it’s raw emotion, at times it’s yelling, at times it’s tense silence – but it’s almost always a roller coaster of emotion for 3+ hours.

And unlike the fan at home, if I want to watch a defensive end for a couple plays, I can focus just on him. If I see a wide receiver wide open 20 yards downfield, I can yell “He’s open! He’s open!” at the same time that a TV watcher is being shown the quarterback standing in the backfield. I can think to myself – “that pass is going to be intercepted” before the TV cameraman even focuses on the receiver and cornerback.

You see, I can see what I want to see. It’s in my hands (and my eyes) to focus on anything going on, whether in the field of play, on the sidelines, or in the stands. The customer has the power – a power that cannot be duplicated by television.

Television is a wonderful thing and is constantly expanding its capabilities, but these expansions of capabilities erode the gap between the game day experience and the home experience.

So to maintain gate receipts, STH retention, and enthusiasm for attending the games, game day professionals and pro sports teams need to address this key point – we need to leverage, improve, and market the two greatest aspects of being at the games: (1) Being a part of the experience with tens of thousands of other fans, and (2) Controlling one’s own perspective on the event.

To keep fans coming to the games, enhance the “group experience,” and find new ways to help fans gain more from their unique view of the event.

Interested in improving your team or club’s fan relations? See more at our new website! http://cssamerica.com/csssport.htm

Listen to our latest podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/


Be Less Sexy to Build More Customer Loyalty

Posted on in Business Advice, Carolinas Please leave a comment

Loyalty – you get it from a dog by loving it, rescuing it from a shelter, or giving it a treat. Loyalty – you get it from employees by valuing them, being loyal to them, and building trust by doing what you said you’d do. Loyalty – you get it from a consumer by…what?

In the article Retail analysts: Do the math on loyalty cash, the discussion is about loyalty cards, or discounts on store credit cards, or credits that can be applied to the store. According to a Charlotte-based analyst, the reason to offer these types of rewards is evident – “The obvious benefit here for the retailer is the additional trip.”

So to answer the question above, loyalty – you get it from a consumer by…giving them a discount? Hmmm.

Not real creative stuff here; but the analysis that companies have to make before they embark on these “cash for the consumer” loyalty programs must be done by looking incrementally. What is the net increase in profitability through these programs? To calculate, you have to look at the revenue from the sale less the item’s cost (standard profit stuff) less the cost of the program. Then compare that to what the company would have generated in profit if it had done…I don’t know…nothing! Or maybe if it had improved between-sale communications with the client, or if it had improved customer service, or if it had improved service recovery processes, or if it had been more particular about what customer service-oriented characteristics it looks for in employees, or if it were better at motivating employees.

In other words, these types of loyalty programs should be a last resort. It’s like a price drop for a salesman to get a sale; it’s weak; it’s like having a sale but not wanting to call it a sale.

It might be harder and less sexy to improve performance, hiring practices, client relationship development, and customer service than to have a new cash-based loyalty program, but in the end customers evaluate businesses based on the Employee Attitudes, Service Processes, and Products/Services, and these loyalty programs often put too much focus on a small piece of the loyalty puzzle.

Sometimes it’s good to be less sexy to be more successful in building customer loyalty.

Read our New Book – “Ask Yourself…Am I GREAT at Customer Service?” http://www.amigreatat.com/

Listen to our latest podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/

Interested in improving your company’s customer service? See more at our new website! http://www.cssamerica.com/


Banking on Deposits Requires More Than Acquisitions

Posted on in Business Advice, Carolinas Please leave a comment

Many small banks are trying to increase their core deposits, relying less on fees to generate revenue. And while this is a good thing for many banks, there needs to be a retention component to the core deposit growth strategy.

In the article Small Charlotte-area banks get creative in boosting core deposits, Adam O’Daniel makes the point that small banks in the Carolinas are attempting to increase core deposits (i.e., local deposits) to help fund growth because of their stable nature; remember that cash that comes in from loans or short-term investments creates more variability, uncertainty, and risks for banks than cash from core deposits.

The way many of these banks are growing core deposits is through acquisition. The concept is that if the small banks buy even smaller banks in small towns, the acquirer would have that stable cash flow for a long period of time to fund other activities. Without getting too much into the minutia, here’s the key customer retention-related point – just as banks have acquisition strategies to buy other banks, they need culture-oriented strategies and client retention and growth strategies which address the employees and customers they acquire.

Internally, these banks need to be looking at how they retain the small town staff that have formed the relationships with the customers – because the customer relationship and loyalty may be more with “my Teller, Betty” than with “Bank XYZ.” The banks need to ensure that executives are incented for retention just as much as profits, since the acquisition assumed that the core deposits would be retained. And the banks need to have processes in place to quickly analyze and get to know their new customers, build relationships with them, and proactively seek to grow those relationships once retention is solid.

When trying to grow through acquisition, make sure you’re not going to lose the good employees and solid clients you acquire. Understand what drives loyalty at the local level.

Interested in improving your company’s customer service? See more at our new website! http://www.cssamerica.com/

Read our New Book – “Ask Yourself…Am I GREAT at Customer Service?” http://www.amigreatat.com/

Listen to our latest podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/