corporate culture

Challenges Create Opportunity, People Create Change - 4/20/21


There are so many great things that have been said over the years about overcoming challenges, pushing aside the roadblocks of life, dealing with difficulties.  And these are important points of discussion because challenges are all around us.  There are challenges with our personal health or in our personal Read more

The Passive Predicament - 4/13/21


The employee is speaking to you.  Do they have that look in the eyes like they’re hanging on your every word, like they’re processing, interpreting, and getting ready to quickly respond to your key points and questions?  Or do they have the look of somebody in the 2nd hour Read more

Regain Lost Motivation - 4/6/21


For many of us over the last 12 months, our home has also become our workplace.  Our work interaction has been 2-dimensional through the computer screen as opposed to the 3-dimensional experiences we’re used to with co-workers and customers. We are all motivated in our own unique ways.  Some are Read more

The Answer is Right, but the Service is Wrong - 3/30/21


Maggie was irate.  The gift she ordered needed to be received by the 20th of the month so she could give it to her cousin for his birthday.  It was the 19th, and Maggie couldn’t find any shipping update online, so she called the company.  The employee said “Oh!  Read more

Question Everything, but What’s the Question? - 3/23/21


The new leader joins the organization, and she decides she wants to question everything.  She wants employees to question everything.  Why have we always done it this way? Why do we continue to do it that way? Is this the best way to work? Sometimes it’s a great management Read more

The Resourceful Rep - 3/16/21


One of our clients is seeking to develop Customer Service Standards.  We’re working with them to identify those key expectations of staff that will enable the organization to deliver a consistent high-level customer experience.  One of the key attributes that this organization is seeking from its team members is Read more

Be Proactive like a Pro - 3/9/21


We constantly work with clients, encouraging them to become more proactive with customers.  Don’t just be reactive, waiting for the customer to ask questions or to complain.  Instead, go to the customer, anticipate their needs, suggest something to them. But many of us, frankly, don’t know how to be proactive.  Read more

Find One Unique Thing - 3/2/21


Many of us are not in a position to develop long-term relationships with our customers.  Our encounters are often one-time only with a customer - very brief and likely to be our only time chatting with this individual. And even though there may not be a long-term professional relationship developed, Read more

Should I Stay or Should I Go? - 2/23/21


Should I stay or should I go?  That’s not just a classic song by The Clash.  It’s also the question customers ask more and more, especially during difficult economic times. A recent study in the Charlotte Business Journal noted that 50% of North Carolina businesses are concerned with how to Read more

Optimism – A Force for Good in Customer Service - 2/16/21


Will 2021 be a better year than 2020?  I have absolutely no idea.  Maybe it would be nice to see into the future and know for certain, but I can’t and I don’t.  But as I wade further and further into this year, I can hope that the water Read more

A Great Carolinas Customer Service Example

Posted on in Business Advice, Carolinas Please leave a comment

There are many examples of great customer service in North Carolina and South Carolina. One organization that has a strong presence in these states and delivers outstanding service is Chick-fil-A.  This Southeastern-based organization has a reputation built from the experience of its customers, where you get consistently good service no matter which restaurant you patronize.  You seem to get consistently courteous, respectful, and personalized service no matter which employee you engage in the drive-thru.  You constantly hear their branded slogan “my pleasure” whenever you thank them for something.  They offer their name to you when you place your order at the drive-thru, and they present a very clean and welcoming appearance when you eat inside.

How does Chick-fil-A do this? There are many methods they use, not the least of which is how they attract their personnel.  We’re familiar with how they will proactively go to particular schools or organizations to recruit staff for their restaurants.  This is done so that they have more control over their applicant pool by seeking out those groups more likely to have personable and professional individuals participating.

They have orientation and training which all staff attend which focuses strongly on the organization’s mission and vision to ensure that everybody understands why they are working there and how important the customer is to them.  The mission in part is to ‘have a positive impact on everyone with whom we come in contact.’ That could be the mission statement for any kind of business in the world, not just a restaurant.  It doesn’t say anything about chickens or waffle fries, but it says a lot about the mindset that it wants its employees to have.

To many customers, the fact that they are closed on Sundays is an example of the organization’s values as well.  And it is also a perk to employees.

Finally, it’s an organization with a strong work ethic – they have the motto “if you’re leanin’, you should be cleanin’.”  They try to promote the need for employees to be proactive and look for opportunities to do something positive for the business or its customers, even when the day is a little slow.

Take the Chick-fil-A challenge.  Go to a restaurant today, and see what you can learn from them to apply to your business.

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


Let Customer Service Crush the Stereotypes

Posted on in Government Please leave a comment

Ever since I was a little kid, on TV and the radio and from people talking, I heard stereotypes of “government workers.” The stereotypes were never very positive. They talked about the slow speed with which the employees did their work, the lack of passion and energy with which they communicated, and the low level of responsiveness.

But most of the folks that I and my company work with in government are not anything like those stereotypes.  Yet, it’s still interesting to see what those industry stereotypes have done to the perceptions of employees who work in that industry.  Employees in that industry are stereotyped as being non-responsive, lazy, slow, non-productive.

Those stereotypes come from perceptions that relate to characteristics of customer service. We believe that customer service at the highest level is comprised of two primary things:

  1. The Attitudes, Skills, and Knowledge of employees.
  2. The Processes within which the customers experience the business.

The stereotypes that I refer to relate to judgments and perceptions that residents have of the employee attitudes and processes at municipal governments and other state and federal government agencies. It’s amazing that those perceptions of negativity so often relate to the perceptions of the customer service.

In other words, what many customers perceive or believe about an industry or an individual organization are based on what they perceive of that industry’s or that organization’s customer service.

If you want to change the perception of your organization or your industry in your customer’s eyes, start by improving your customer service.


Seek to Understand

Posted on in Business Advice Please leave a comment

One of the best tips I can give anyone new to the world of customer service is to “seek to understand.” When you think of the phrase “seek to understand,” you realize that it focuses on one person trying to understand something else or trying to learn about someone else.

When you think about poor customer service, you think about somebody taking a complaint personally. If you take the complaint personally, you’re more focused on how this impacts you rather than seeking to understand how it impacts the other person. When you think of poor customer service, you think of an employee getting into an argument with a customer when it should be easy to avoid the argument. But it is difficult to get into an argument with another person if you are truly seeking to understand. Because seeking to understand focuses on learning from the other and rarely involves the negative emotions of anger or hostility. 

When you think about poor customer service, you think about an employee who is impatient or seems rushed. But people who seek to understand are patient, they try to learn about the other person and their situation. When you think about poor customer service, you think about the employee talking on their cell phone or who is ignoring the customer because of some personal conversation with a co-worker. But employees who seek to understand welcome opportunities to help customers with needs or issues, and they seek to understand what the specifics of those issues and needs are and how to address them.

When you think about poor customer service, you think about employees who do not understand their processes and who don’t understand their products. Employees who seek to understand try to learn what the processes are like so they can work with the customers in the processes. They try to learn what their products are all about so that they can effectively convey that information to the customers.

If you want one great overriding thought to help guide you through your day in serving your customers, Seek to Understand.

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