covid-19

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

Keep On Going – 9/22/20

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

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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Lessons Learned for COVID Era Sporting Events

Posted on in Business Advice Please leave a comment

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 concerns, and overall experiences.  Needless to say, we’ve had a ton of lessons learned that we’re sharing with you today.

Find the Customer’s Sweet Spot

Every event is going to have precautionary measures – protocols to utilize in order to keep staff and fans comfortable and safe.  Realize that you are striving to provide a great fan experience, but part of that great experience involves the fans being comfortable enough to have a good time.  So before events, conduct research with fans so you have a sense for what are the most important characteristics or potential protocols that you could put in place, from the fan’s perspective.  Understand what their expectations are and their needs are to have the comfort and confidence to have a great experience.  Before trying to do too much or too little from a sanitization perspective, make sure you have an understanding of those key perception drivers from the fan’s perspective so you have a better chance of hitting their sweet spot for protocols.

Educate New AND Old Customers

Most sports organizations, if they do any pre-event education with fans, tend to tailor those communications to the first-time fans.  This is being done for obvious reasons – first-time fans are the least experienced in how to navigate the fan journey and how to do their part to have the best experience possible.  But in this COVID world, keep in mind that even long-term fans and season ticket holders have never experienced an event of any kind – particularly a major sports event – within a COVID environment.

Make sure that the educational path you take is geared toward these two distinct groups – the first-time fans and the long-term fans about to have their first COVID event experience.  Remember in these times, in order for the customer to be comfortable and confident, you need to become an educator to the fans of what the experience will be like and what THEIR part is in helping to create that safe environment.

Post-event: Research, Refine, Reinforce

Finally, we’re going to discuss post-event activities from 3 perspectives:  Post-event Research, Refinement of plans, and Reinforcement.

First, make sure that you’re conducting Post-event Research on the fan experiences and future expectations.  You want to know what you did great so you can recognize staff. You want to know what was most appreciated by fans, so you can replicate that action.  And you want to know what needs to most be improved upon, because just like the COVID findings and recommendations seem to change every day or every week, the approach for events is going to slightly change every day or every week.

Also make sure that you understand their future expectations.  Identify whether their likelihood to return will go up or down based on whether the number of protocols go up or down.  Gauge their likelihood to return and their likelihood to bring more people to the next event.  Gauge their likelihood to be a repeat COVID Era customer.

Refinement relates to operations and communications.  Based on the feedback from the fans, make those adjustments in your operations.  If you were successful enough to find the sweet spot in your protocols, then you’re just tweaking your operations event-to-event.  In terms of communications, if you do a good job proactively engaging and educating fans and asking how they want to be communicated with, if you do a great job after the fact in your post-event research of asking them what communications were most useful, most used, and most effective, then refine your communication strategy with fans so that you can – again – continuously improve.

Reinforcement relates to changing perceptions.  Fans have the experience that they have, and down the road when they’re making their decisions about recommending your event to others, coming back themselves, spending more money with you, the memories that they have and the perceptions they have days weeks and months down the road are going to help them make those decisions.  You can impact those down-the-road perceptions.  Send them communications about their experience, reinforcing what a great experience that they had, what success that the event had in mitigating negative outcomes from a health perspective, sharing visuals of people having a great time, and highlighting fan comments from post-event surveys about how much they enjoyed their experience and how much the protocols oftentimes enhanced that overall experience.

Take these lessons learned that we’ve gleaned from our client work, and make sure that your COVID Era sporting events deliver a great experience your fans as well.


COVID-19 Demand Management Strategies for Customer Service Channels

Posted on in Business Advice Please leave a comment

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 of the customer experience that surround the product or service itself.

In today’s COVID-19 world, organizations need to think more strategically about Demand Management, particularly for those types of demand – those reflected in the utilization of various customer channels.  Customers can engage an organization via the web, the telephone, e-mail, social media, or onsite visits. But to think strategically, we have to ask some very basic questions first:

  • What mix of demand for customer channels does the organization want?
  • What mix does the customer want?
  • How does your organization create consistency regardless of which channel is selected?

 
In working with our clients, especially those in the COVID-19 world that are trying to be effective despite having largely remote employees and having financial concerns, a key question that clients ask us is:  How can we manage or reduce costs and still deliver a great customer experience…remotely?

While there is no one answer for any organization since each organization’s customer base, services, environment, mission, and goals may all be different, there are some Key Imperatives that any organization can use when crafting a strategy, and these Imperatives have a strong relationship to Demand Management:

  • Know Channel Customer Costs: Understand key financial metrics such as cost per transaction, or cost per customer (per year or per lifecycle).  By understanding these metrics, you can understand which customer engagement channels could drive up (or down) your short-term and long-term costs.
  • Gauge Current Demand and Outcomes: Be clear on current demand levels and their relative customer success.  Believe it or not, very few organizations can quickly and clearly tell you how many customer engagements they have via the web v. via phone. How many engagements do they have via e-mail versus onsite visits?  And even if they can provide numbers such as those, they cannot provide you with good data on the outcomes of those engagements.
  • Assess Consistency of Quality: Finally, understand the quality and depth of response to the same customer question when it is addressed across all the different channels.  In order to manage demand, we need to ensure that there is consistent quality regardless of to which channel the demand may be shifted.

 
To be strategic about shifting customer demand in your customer service and experience channels during COVID-19, start with a clear understanding of these three Key Imperatives.


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