Customer Service Tip of the Week

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

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

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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, he or she is SHOCKED at the look of the performer.  Maybe the judge figured the singer would be a bigger person because they have a deep voice, or the judge assumed there would be an older person singing because of the control that they had in their voice.

The judges’ perceptions of the individual are often wrong, but those are based on the voice that they hear.

Our customers are very similar.  Until they really get to know us, they often judge our personalities or what they think of us, and that judgment is largely based on our voice.  If it’s a telephone call, it’s almost exclusively based on our voice.

But how many of us really think about our voice when we’re talking with someone?

Well, we should think about it, regardless of whether we’re talking to a family member we’ve known for 30 years or a customer we’ve spoken with for 30 seconds.

The tone conveys a message:  Are you bored or engaged?  Are you happy or upset?  Are you distracted or focused?  Do you care or not?

And often the positive attributes of voice involve characteristics such as having some fluctuation.  The positive attributes involve having a little pace without talking too fast, talking just quick enough to show some energy and enunciate enough to be understood.  They involve emphasizing the most important words, and the attributes involve a little bit of tempo instead of a staccato – an almost excessive emphasis on each syllable.

When you want to come across in a positive way to the customer, view them as a judge on The Voice.

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Keep On Going – 9/22/20

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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 to another level in a recent country song by Rodney Atkins:  If you’re going through Hell, keep on going; don’t slow down.  If you’re scared, don’t show it.  You might get out before the devil even knows you’re there.

When you’re going through the toughest of times – Keep On Going.

Ed Gagnon once said “Today is harder to get through if we forget that we got through yesterday.”

Even if you can’t envision how this day could possibly end well – Keep On Going.

Too often we’re stumped by that failure, and the frustration causes us to stop.  But there’s a lot to be said for viewing our mistakes or failures simply as stepping stones to what will eventually be success.

Too often we’re dealing with rough times, and doing nothing seems like the only thing to do.  But there’s a lot to be said for making a decision and moving on – continuing to move towards some ultimate goal.  That long-term view can often pull you out of the mire of these short-term concerns.

Too often we’re so immersed in today’s challenges that we can’t see the promise of tomorrow.  But there’s a lot to be said for realizing that this too shall pass, because rough days in the past have ended, too.

The tip for today is Don’t let things stop you.  Don’t let that angry customer or that broken technology or that frustrating colleague or that restrictive policy or the difficulties of that new world that we’re living in cause you to stop.

Continuous improvement requires movement and progress. Getting better requires we Keep On Going.

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

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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 service is about being responsive.  When he gets e-mails, he replies right away that he got the message.  When he gets a voice message, he calls right back.  If the same customer calls 5 times for updates, that’s OK to Paul, because he’ll get back to that customer immediately every one of those 5 times.

Marie defines customer service as getting the customer what they want.  “If I do my job in getting them what they want, that’s all that matters. I hate when they whine that I was rude to them or short on the phone.  They got what they wanted, didn’t they?”

Peter, Paul, and Marie all have different definitions of customer service. They are all right…and they are all wrong.

Great customer service has a cordiality peace – a friendliness aspect.  Having that warm and positive engagement with another human being should always be a part of great customer service.

Delivering exceptional customer service also has a component of speed.  Being respectful of people’s time and responsive to their needs is a part of the process of serving a customer effectively.

And great customer service, in the end, should be about giving the customer what they need – it should be about striving to achieve outcomes as much as possible.

So, Peter, Paul, and Marie were all correct – what each emphasizes is part of the definition of customer service.  But they’re also wrong – each person has a limited view of what it means to deliver great customer service, and each individual’s version of great customer service will lead to a positive experience for only a subset of their customers.

For organizations to deliver great customer service, they need to create and instill a common vision among all staff of the desired customer experience.  Organizations need to make sure that definition is broad enough to address the attitude, the process, and striving for the desired outcome, as well.

Create a Common Definition of Customer Service.

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