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

Tire Dealers Becoming Teachers – 5/19/20

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

I recently needed two new tires for a vehicle, and I first went to the tire dealer’s website to find some options.  The site’s look/feel and ordering process had changed, and I didn’t see a tire I wanted, so I called the store to make an appointment.

When I arrived at the tire store (a place I’d been to 15-20 times), it was very different due to COVID-19.  There was a tent outside with chairs about 8-10 feet apart.  There was a small sign with different directions based on whether you had a scheduled appointment or were a walk-up. The door you normally enter was locked.  The inside experience was different – there was no coffee or water while you waited.  People were asked to wait outside or sit in their car while the tires were changed.  You drive your car into the garage and drive it out of the garage regardless of whether you were in the car while the tires were being changed.  There’s no exchange of paperwork unless you requested a small printed receipt when paying.

Virtually everything changed, and to make it work, the customer had to do their part.  I asked the employee checking me in how it was going with the new setup, and he said it’s going OK, but “the customers are not reading the signs.”

Customer v. Company Roles

Whereas a customer has a role in their own service experience, particularly in an environment like this, the company has the role to teach that customer about the new experience and the customer’s responsibilities.  The company has a role to confirm the customer’s understanding.  The company has the role to ensure the comfort and confidence about what’s going to happen.  The company has a role to explain those next steps and timeframes and then, as always in customer service, deliver on the expectation they set.

When the customer has to learn a new way to do business with your company, realize you are in teaching mode.  Don’t make your customers become experts in your processes.  Make it easy for any customer to have a great experience, even under these new circumstances.

Bring simplicity into your service system, and teach customers how to have a great experience.

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Developing Fan Relations During COVID-19

Posted on in Business Advice, Sports Please leave a comment

As sports teams and organizations across the world are gearing up to start play without fans, these same organizations are also determining what that fan experience is going to be when fans start attending again.  Many sports organizations are focused on locking in revenue from existing fans – keeping those season ticket payments coming in on schedule – or more operationally looking at how the facilities and the fans can be kept safe and healthy.

But there’s a middle ground between today (when teams are trying to lock in revenue) and that time when the first fans walk back into the arenas.  That gap between the financial rush now and the facility rush weeks or months from now is a huge gap in time.  That gap needs to be filled with relationship-building efforts.  That lapse in onsite engagement is something sports organizations need to view strategically as an opportunity to learn more about their fans, develop relationships with their fans, and provide value to their fans.

“Sports organizations need tailored Touch Point Plans to individual fans and fan types right now

 

We’ve provided fan retention consulting and research services to sports organizations since the early 2000s, and we’ve found that too often sports organizations get stuck in the mindset only focused on sales and marketing, exclusively using push communications.  But this COVID-19 world requires a longer term mindset.  It requires an understanding that relationships need to be built even when that fan is not experiencing the event itself.
 
Sports organizations need tailored Touch Point Plans to individual fans and fan types right now.  Those Touch Points should be minimal on sales and marketing, and instead maximizing focus on providing information of value and asking customers questions so you can learn about them, their mindset, and their situations.

Get to know your individual fans better now, at this moment.  Get to know how they’re feeling and how those feelings are trending over time.  Understand their anticipated behaviors, and begin addressing those barriers to return…now.  Don’t create your operations in a vacuum, and assume that an open facility will be filled with the same fans that were there months ago.  Get moving on Fan Relationship Development.


Reduce Their Anxiety Leading Up to Their Return

Posted on in Business Advice Please leave a comment

Building customer comfort and confidence in going to your facilities is a process which has a lot of similarities to the technique we train clients on to reduce customer anxiety.  From a tactical perspective, when you’re interacting with somebody who is anxious or nervous, you want to get them more comfortable and less worried about their situation or what’s going to happen.

Convey your understanding of their situation, so they realize they’re not a number – instead, they feel you view them as an important individual.  Tell them a little bit about yourself and the experience that you’ve had in dealing with similar situations – you’re building their confidence in you.  Next, explain a process or what an experience is going to be like.  Oftentimes anxiety or worry are about fear of the unknown.  By explaining the next steps and the timeframes, your role v. theirs, the unknown becomes known.

“To create customer comfort, make the unknown known

 

Finally, end with appreciation and positivity.  This whole 1-on-1 interaction technique applies to your broader strategy of building customer comfort and confidence.

Here’s the Strategic View:  Communicate with them over time to maintain the relationship leading up to their return visit.  Provide some empathy of their situation, and detail what you and your organization are already doing to ensure that your employees and – most importantly – the customers themselves are safe and healthy.  Explain all the steps that you’re going to take next to prepare to provide a great (and safe) experience.  And thank them in advance for their return and their trust in you.

Build comfort and confidence from your customers by leaning on our successful technique for reducing customer anxiety and worry.