Customer Service Tip of the Week

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

Using I, We, or You in Customer Service - 9/1/20


It’s amazing how many conversations can go horribly wrong or incredibly right, not because of the use of a 4-letter word, but simply because of the use of a 1, 2, or 3-letter word – I, We, You. The incorrect use of I, We, You in conversations causes problems more Read more

Get Your Guru On - 8/25/20


You may have heard of management gurus - these people who seemed to know all and be all, to have the wisdom of 1000 leaders.  Maybe you’ve heard it in your industry as a guru in sports psychology or the master of economics or sociology or human behavior. And so Read more

Whether You Believe You Can Do a Thing or Not, You Are Right - 8/18/20


This is a famous Henry Ford quote, and the quote is all about self-belief, all about confidence. We’ve often spoken about the need to be confident and how to gain confidence, because that confidence - or the lack thereof - is imparted on the customer. But how does a customer tell Read more

Grind it out Today for a Better Tomorrow - 8/11/20


It’s been said that You Learn Perseverance by Persevering.  You are becoming mentally tougher right now.  The pain and the difficulties and the change today are making you stronger for dealing with the uncertainties of tomorrow. We’re all having to be more flexible.  We are all facing less consistency, less Read more

Give Your Customers a Crystal Ball – 12/2/14 TOW

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When conducting focus groups for a local government client recently, I found myself in many discussions with the customers of this municipality about their experience. The customers are business people, looking to perform renovations, develop property, and build facilities throughout the community.

And while many times we can define the customer experience by using words like attitude, responsiveness, respect, speed, and quality, these customers often used a different word – predictability.

To them, knowing what’s going to happen and when, knowing what’s their role v. that of the local government was vital to their success. By having a predictable process, a predictable set of roles and rules, a somewhat predictable timeframe, and a predictable manner in getting issues addressed, they could have more realistic expectations, but there were also two other benefits.

First, predictability for the customer enables them to plan next steps and timeframes. Second, predictability enables the customer to communicate with their stakeholders about what those stakeholders need to do and by when.

Going outside government, think of the hospital with outpatient surgery patients who need to know how to prep for procedures and how long they’ll take, so that they can have the friend pickup them up at the right time and help them get started on the care process at home.

Consider the sports fan going to the game and needing to know where to pick up the tickets and how long that process will take, so they can meet up with friends at a certain location and time.

Think about the elementary school parent considering moving into town but wanting to rent the apartment in the location where the best schools are zoned. They need to know what those schools are, where to move to get zoned there, how to register their child, and when they’ll get confirmation that the child gets into the desired school.

When you think about delivering the great customer experience, first think about how to make the experience predictable for the customer.

Help your customers predict next steps – give them the customer service Crystal Ball.

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A Letter of Apology – 11/25/14 TOW

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If you were searching your Inbox for the Customer Service Tip of the Week at the normal time last week, I’m sorry that it wasn’t there to be found. Our e-mail provider had a major service issue, and the e-mail was delayed. Constant Contact has been an excellent e-mail/survey partner for CSS, so I wasn’t thrilled, but I’ll cut them a little slack because of past – and positive – history.

Lessons can be learned from last week by reviewing the e-mail/letter/blog post sent from the CEO. Click here to review the letter.

The CEO started by empathizing with the client and apologizing. She explained the issue that caused the problem without appearing to make many excuses. She reassured the clients that the system was now working fine, apologized again, noted how she values the client’s time, and offered support if the client needed help.

In this day and age of “LOL” and “IMO”, this letter of apology was “OMG” – pretty good! Professional letter writing is definitely a lost art. Read the letter, and e-mail me at edward.gagnon@cssamerica.com with your thoughts. What would you have done differently? What did you like best?

Sometimes we can learn best from the failures of others, so we don’t replicate those failures ourselves. And even in the missteps of others, we can learn the positives of what they did right to respond.

Learn a little lesson from a letter of apology.

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Practice Active Root Core Thinking…Huh? – 11/18/14 TOW

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We need to be “Active Listeners.” We need to be “Critical Thinkers.” We need to find the “Root Cause” and determine the “Core Need.”

You hear similar statements all the time, and, yes, these are all important things, but what do they really mean? Here are some examples:

You’re a fan relations representative for a pro sports club, and the season ticket holder asks if they can relocate from their seats to a certain section with no availability. Instead of simply saying “No,” ask “Is there something in particular you like about that section?” You might uncover a reason for their move that could be addressed elsewhere.

You work for a local municipality, and the developer says they need a permit. Instead of assuming what permit they need, you could say “I’d be happy to help you with that! Tell me a little about the project so I can best help you get started.”

You work for a hospital, and the patient says they “need a smoke.” Of course, it’s a smoke-free campus, so you say “Unfortunately, we can’t do that since it’s a smoke-free campus, but help me understand what you’re feeling that’s making you want to smoke, and maybe I can find a way to help you.”

If you are someone interested in being an “Active Listener” or a “Critical Thinker,” someone interested in “Root Causes” or “Core Needs,” that’s a good desire to have – especially in customer service. But don’t get too hung up on the fancy terms. Look at the three examples just provided to truly understand what’s being suggested by those terms:

  • Be inquisitive; ask questions – they show you’re engaged and care.
  • Understand their goal, so you can better understand potential solutions.
  • Don’t make assumptions – you might waste your time and that of the customer by going down the wrong path based on misinformation.
  • Be patient – don’t hear the symptom and think you know the root cause.
  • Restate your understanding of the person’s needs; ensure you know so specifically what they want that you can address it right the first time.

 
Practice Active Root Core Thinking…or just plain old good communication skills.

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