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

In Customer Service, Don’t Mess with the King

Posted on in Business Advice, World of Customer Service Please leave a comment

Now that title could mean anything. By “King,” do we mean Elvis? How about LeBron James? Er…no.

Do we mean an actual King?! Close…he’s a Sir, not a King.

In the article King calls for bank culture change, Bank of England governor Sir Mervyn King stated that Britain’s banks “need a real change in culture.” He made that statement because of “excessive levels of compensation, shoddy treatment of customers and a deceitful manipulation of one of the most important rates.”

Well, these might be byproducts of the banking culture in Britain, but the question to ask whenever anyone suggests a need for a culture change is “What is the root cause of the problem?” Once you get to the root cause, you can start to determine what aspects of the culture need to be addressed.

Whether it’s a British bank or a City government, whether it’s a community hospital or a small plastics manufacturer, there are several areas to investigate for root causes when wanting to change a culture:

  • What are the organization’s mission/vision/goals? These help to determine the culture.
  • What behaviors does leadership model to staff? This impacts employee behavior.
  • How is the organization structured? This impacts decision-making and workflow.
  • How well do processes align to organizational goals? This creates the reality of whether the company can move toward its goals.
  • What incentives and points of accountability exist? This also drives employee behavior.
  • How (and who) does the organization hire, retain, fire? This creates the human fabric of the culture.
  • How does the company communicate internally and externally? This reinforces (or contradicts and confuses) what the organization is all about.

The next time you have an issue with a company’s culture, run through this checklist to begin identifying the true root causes of the problems.

Interested in changing your company’s culture? Check out: http://cssamerica.com/cssfast.htm


The Good, the Bad, and the Needed of Municipal Customer Service

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

The Tulare County (California) government has launched a new customer service program. According to Fifth District Supervisor Mike Ennis in the article County unveils customer service program, “Customer service is the lifeblood of any successful business, including local government. Thousands of residents utilize Tulare County services every day. These residents expect and deserve great customer service.”

We’ve worked on improving customer service for local municipalities for over ten years, and we’ve seen the Good (a county IT department going from “worst to first” in customer service), the Bad (employees who bring bad attitudes into training because “it’s not like the residents have a choice”), to the Needed (municipalities lacking customer service standards and plans) of municipal customer service.

And as with many businesses, when organizations do start to focus on customer service, the first thing they think about is training. While training is important, it should never be the totality of a customer service program. The ultimate goal of any customer service program is to provide consistently high levels of customer service to internal and external customers.

To gain that comprehensive focus, training is important – it creates a baseline definition of core expectations, principles, and service skills for employees. But the consistency comes from having a customer service vision defined, having management model the way, having organizational structures, incentives/accountability systems, processes, measures, communication plans, and ongoing reinforcement all aligned toward that vision.

When you think of creating a “customer service program,” don’t just fallback to training as a panacea. Ensure you’re doing all you need to do to truly create a culture of customer service.

Read our New Book – “Ask Yourself…Am I GREAT at Customer Service?” http://www.amigreatat.com/

Listen to our latest podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/

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


Check Out These Customer Service Plans from the US Government

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

If you go to http://customerservice.performance.gov/, you’ll see on the “Official Website of the U.S. Government,” the result of an Executive Order that the President put into play in April 2011. The President required that all Federal Government agencies create Customer Service Plans. Those plans are seen at the bottom of the US Government’s Customer Service Site.

Click on a few of the Agencies to see what they included. The Executive Order required the following:

  • “Establishing one major initiative (signature initiative) that will use technology to improve the customer experience;
  • Establishing mechanisms to solicit customer feedback on Government services and using such feedback regularly to make service improvements;
  • Setting clear customer service standards and expectations, including, where appropriate, performance goals for customer service required by the GPRA (Government Performance and Results) Modernization Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-352);
  • Improving the customer experience by adopting proven customer service best practices and coordinating across service channels (such as online, phone, in-person, and mail services);
  • Streamlining agency processes to reduce costs and accelerate delivery, while reducing the need for customer calls and inquiries; and
  • Identifying ways to use innovative technologies to accomplish the customer service activities above, thereby lowering costs, decreasing service delivery times, and improving the customer experience.”

Whether or not you agree with the plans, let’s at least consider their required components. They want to improve the customer experience through the use of technology. They want to gain customer feedback and use that for change. They want to have clear standards/expectations. They want to adopt best practices, streamline service processes, and reduce the demand for customer contacts.

These components are positive. They focus on customer satisfaction, data to drive decisions, efficiencies, and use of best practices. It would be nice if there were an employee/cultural component and an overriding Customer Service Vision, but we’ll take what we can get.

Review several of the plans, and ensure your organization has at least these basic components of a Customer Service Plan.

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

Read our New Book – “Ask Yourself…Am I GREAT at Customer Service?” http://www.amigreatat.com/

Listen to our latest podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/