communication

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

Make it OK to Sell the Parrot – 8/21/18

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


This has been said so many different ways. I’ve noted how an attitude cannot be like a light switch, where you turn it on with your customer and you turn it off when you’re with the co-worker. Last week’s Tip discussed how communication is like water rippling in a pond, because of how it can affect the environment within which you work – words are not just part of the conversation. They often impact the person you’re speaking with or others in the organization. When noting body language, we often suggest picturing yourself in front of a mirror, because your body language provides a reflection of the attitude that the other person perceives.

All of these examples offer a couple key points. First is that – to deliver great service and be a positive influence on the culture, we should look at our attitudes and actions as something that needs to be consistent, an all-the-time thing. Second, we need to have some understanding of how we can influence or impact others.

Will Rogers once said, “Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.”

It’s important to be conscious of how we act and how we speak, because in life and in customer service, it’s not always about us. People who are great at customer service realize that so much of what we do is about and for others. So, consciously think about the impact of your attitudes and actions on others. Strive for more discipline in thinking through what is said and what is done…before it is said and done.

While it’s a difficult thing to do for me and I’m sure many of you, working hard to be a more consistent model to others is a key to long-term customer service success.

The parrot sees and hears EVERYTHING! Make it OK to sell the parrot.

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Water Rippling in the Pond – 8/14/18

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


You drop a rock into a creek, and you see the mini waves created. You watch a golf tournament, and a golfer dumps a shot in a lake – and it ripples. You see a water sculpture with a basin below, you toss in a penny to make a wish, and the water flows in every direction.

Ripples in the pond.

So much of the environment that we’re in – literally, and more so the mental environment that we’re in – is influenced by the words of others. If we hear constant negativity, if others voice constant obstacles, if there is rancor and anger and confusion, then there’s a great risk for those in the environment. We can allow those words to affect our mindset, our behavior, and maybe our own words as well.

Sometimes the environment that we’re in is full of encouragement, reinforcement, positivity, and appreciation. Sometimes those words build us up and are filled with thanks. The words in our environment can emphasize what COULD work and what possibilities for good exist. Those words also affect our mindset, our behavior, and maybe the words that we use as well.

Realize that the environment that we are in is often influenced by communication. The environment created by the words we use is like water rippling in the pond. Our words can influence others. They have the ability to change a perception or a mindset or a behavior or an outlook.

So, when we need to use words, choose words that move the environment in a direction of good.

Remember, your words create an effect like water rippling in the pond.

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Listen Up! – 5/29/18

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


When I was growing up, I would hear the phrase Listen Up frequently. It was usually being stated by adults who wanted to get the attention of a group of kids. It was usually stated loudly. It usually worked. At least for a minute or 2.

As an adult in the working world, I now find myself in customer service situations or advising clients on how to create a great customer experience. And while the phrase Listen Up has not lost its importance, it means something different today. Today, in business it relates to what employees should do with co-workers and customers. It suggests that in order for us to really solve a problem or address a need or resolve an issue, we have to be experts at listening.

So, what do experts at listening do most effectively?

They watch to observe and interpret the body language as much as they do the words. I was in a meeting recently where we were discussing certain individuals in the organization, and we were trying to uncover how they felt about a situation; it turns out that most of our conclusions were being driven by the body language they conveyed in meetings when the topics were discussed.

Experts at listening are experts at asking questions. They start with open-ended questions to let the other person share their issue, need, goal, their story or perspective. Then the listener drills down to specifics with close-ended questions to refine their understanding of the situation and the impact of potential solutions.

Listening experts let the other person talk. It seems obvious to say, but how can you listen if you’re doing all the talking? People who are great at listening let the other person talk 70-80% of the time – hearing the other’s perspective and guiding the conversation with those questions asked.

Great listeners are great at paraphrasing. They’ve listened so well that they can pause the conversation and – in their own words – explain the situation, the steps, the goals, and the desires conveyed by the other person. They can translate the body language, tone, the words and emotions of another.

Keep in mind that great listeners are often considered to be great conversationalists because the discussion flows, and the other person gets to share, feels comfortable doing so, and is speaking with someone who has an empathetic ear.

The art of listening is key to great conversations and great customer service.

Listen Up!

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