actions | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

Caring Goes Beyond Competence - 11/30/21


April went to get some routine car maintenance done at the local service center.  When they finished the oil change, she paid for the service, got her keys, went to her car, and opened the door.  As she was about to enter the car, she stopped.  Somebody had obviously Read more

You Mostly Get What You Give - 11/23/21


It is Thanksgiving week in the United States, so let’s talk “Thanks.” There’s a saying that You Get What You Give.  And while the goal of giving thanks should not be “To receive things,” getting something positive in return is often a nice byproduct of being appreciative of others. It’s amazing Read more

Van Gogh the Vision - 11/16/21


Want to create Service Excellence in your organization?  Have a vision, then paint the picture of that vision.  It’s easier to create something if you can visualize it first, so let’s Van Gogh a Vision. Excellent customer service is delivered in a courteous manner.  Courtesy comes through when employees are Read more

First E-mail Impression? I’ll Enjoy Working with You - 11/9/21


When you provide consulting, research, and training services like we do, you meet a variety of people, and many of them are new individuals to work with even if they are in organizations you’ve worked with for years. When I meet the new customer or they meet me for the Read more

A Way to Serve with Empathy - 11/2/21


We first wrote a Tip of the Week on empathy back in 2008. It was the most important customer service skill then, and it’s the most important customer service skill now.  And as we’ve noted in society, empathy is becoming a word that is used more often in more Read more

Channel Your Inner Aristotle - 10/26/21


Aristotle once said: We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. This is a very interesting statement.  We need to break it down to fully understand and appreciate it. We are what we repeatedly do. Let’s focus on the word repeatedly.  None of us is Read more

To Improve, Understand Why You Do What You Do - 10/19/21


In the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey says that habits form at the intersection of desire, skills, and knowledge.  Desire is the WANT TO do something.  Skills is the HOW TO do something.  Knowledge is a combination of the WHAT TO do and WHY TO do Read more

Tailor to the Type - 10/12/21


We’re all different.  We’re all unique.  Every customer is different and unique, as well, and we should treat them as unique individuals. While we should see each customer as unique, before we fully get to know the customer, there are some core philosophies to take into customer conversations based on Read more

Avoid the Silence; Build the Relationship - 10/5/21


Our interactions with customers are “Moments of Truth.”  These Moments of Truth can be conversations with a customer about some complaint, encounters when they're in the drive-thru, questions about an order that the customer calls in to the company, or brief interactions in the lobby of a government building. Sometimes Read more

Make it a “Good Busy” - 9/28/21


When I’m speaking with colleagues or clients, I’ll often ask how their day is going. The response I get almost once a week is something like:  I’m incredibly busy! When I get that response, sometimes I’ll ask whether it is a “good busy” or whether they are “fighting fires.” I’ll ask Read more

A Way to Serve with Empathy – 11/2/21

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment

We first wrote a Tip of the Week on empathy back in 2008. It was the most important customer service skill then, and it’s the most important customer service skill now.  And as we’ve noted in society, empathy is becoming a word that is used more often in more aspects of life.  The word is important, but the application of that word in customer service is even more important in what you and I do every day.

We’ve often said that somebody who is great in customer service is great at asking questions.  But an incredibly important skill to have and utilize in order to ask the right questions in the right manner is the ability to be empathetic.

To meet a need right the first time, you have to know the need.  To resolve a problem – permanently – you have to be able to get to the root cause.  To develop a relationship with someone, you have to get to know them individually.  To retain business, you have to know why they’d stay, and why they’d leave.  To improve a process, you have to understand the process.  And to grow relationships with your clients, you have to get to know their goals and aspirations.

To know a need, to get to the root cause, to know someone individually, to know why the customer would leave you, to understand a process, and to know your customer’s goals and aspirations, you usually have to ask:  “What are you hoping to accomplish?”  “Why did that happen?”  “What brought you here today?”  “Why did you choose us?”  “Can you tell me what step happens next?”  “Where would you like to be a year from now?”

Being empathetic means you care enough to understand the customer and what’s unique about them and their situation.  Being empathetic means you care enough to ask a question in order to get the answer.  Being empathetic means that you’re asking the questions in such a way as to get a response from somebody who believes you care enough to be inquisitive, and you will act on their response.

If you want to build your customer service skill set, show your empathy by being inquisitive.  Show your empathy by asking questions in a manner that conveys you care.

Share your empathy by showing your curiosity about the other person.

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Channel Your Inner Aristotle – 10/26/21

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Aristotle once said: We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

This is a very interesting statement.  We need to break it down to fully understand and appreciate it.

We are what we repeatedly do.

Let’s focus on the word repeatedly.  None of us is defined by any individual action, or at least we should not be defined by that one instance or those few occurrences.  How we define ourselves and how we can summarize who we are is by the repetition of what we do. Theoretically what we do is a reflection of who we are, especially if what we do happens over and over and over again.  Maybe these are repeated mistakes or errors, repeated inactivity or inaction.  Maybe they are repeated acts of quality, selflessness, support for others – our co-workers and customers.

Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

Aristotle takes the positive approach to evaluating our repetitious actions.  He talks about defining excellence in terms of the good that we do over and over again.

He then uses the word habit.  That excellence is not one action.  Excellence is something repeatedly done.  Excellence is a habit.

So, what does this all mean as it relates to customer service?  It talks about the importance of forming habits.  It’s the importance of consistency, the importance of avoiding becoming the on/off switch.

If we want to build trust with our co-workers, we need to consistently do what we say we will do.  We need to consistently respond to their requests or reframe the follow-up time.  We need to consistently meet the deadlines and provide quality work, or let them know if they should expect the slight delay.

With our customers, excellence is not necessarily that one phenomenal moment of truth.  Conversely, excellence is not necessarily hindered by that one mistake you made, that one omission you had, that one error you produced.

Excellence is defined by the consistency of doing the good job.  The consistency of treating people with respect.  The consistent quality and responsiveness and effort to do what’s right on behalf of and for the customer.

Don’t be overly critical of yourself for the one mistake or the one omission.  You can still move toward excellence by forming consistent habits of great customer service.

Channel your inner Aristotle.

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To Improve, Understand Why You Do What You Do – 10/19/21

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In the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey says that habits form at the intersection of desire, skills, and knowledge.  Desire is the WANT TO do something.  Skills is the HOW TO do something.  Knowledge is a combination of the WHAT TO do and WHY TO do it.

Many of those who are best at serving others, who are best at customer service, have the desire to help others.  They have the desire to meet a need, to resolve an issue, or to just engage people and do something for others.

In our professional lives, we hope to build our skill set, we go through training, watch webinars, read, and learn from co-workers and mentors to build our skill set.

To build our knowledge, we learn policies and procedures and people and places and products and services.

Understanding the Why

But the one area of this habit-forming approach that is often neglected – or at least not considered enough – is the “why to.”

And yet, the why to is often the most important thing.  It notes the purpose of what we’re doing.  It notes the potential benefit of our actions and our attitudes.  It suggests the key reason for the habit we have or the habits we’re hoping to form.

So, think about the habits you have formed or want to form.  Maybe it’s a habit of how you greet somebody or how and when you respond to messages.  Maybe it’s a habit of how you plan or how you organize.  Maybe it’s the mindset you take when you’re dealing with an angry customer.  Maybe it’s a habit of who you share information with or who you don’t share information with in certain circumstances.

Now take a step back, and ask yourself the why question.  Why do you greet people like you do?  Why do you respond to messages the way you do and in the timeframe you do?  Why do you plan or organize the way you do?  What do you have a certain mindset when dealing with certain people?  Why do you share information with some people but not other people?

If you want to change a habit, want to form a new habit, really want to improve the things you routinely do, the actions you routinely take, the attitudes you routinely have, then start with asking yourself why you’re doing those things today.  By understanding yourself a little bit better and the reasons behind the habits, it’s easier to see whether and why you should change those behaviors.

To improve, understand why you do what you do.

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