culture

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

Choose Positivity – 1/2/18

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


I had the opportunity to conduct employee focus groups and facilitate staff conversations for two different clients recently, and there was a common theme among all the groups. It’s intuitive, it’s understandable, but I was still surprised to hear the sentiment.

Employees consistently said they wanted to work in a more positive environment. Most of us would think that it’s intuitive that that’s what employees desire. Most would think it’s understandable that staff would share those perspectives. But I was somewhat surprised to hear it. Why?

Because, I sometimes have trouble understanding why people or organizations would consistently be negative, or why they would avoid sharing positives, or why their only form of motivation was criticism.

When people work 40 hours, 60+ hours a week, would they prefer to spend those 8/10/12 hours a day around others who are positive or negative? Would they prefer to be in an environment where they are appreciated? Would they prefer to have a reward for a great job or only punishment for a bad job?

I know that many are motivated to avoid the negative, or to avoid punishment, or not to get marked down or written up. But when you think of a healthy work environment, one where people’s values align to those of the organization, one where people WANT to go above and beyond – you are envisioning more positive organizations.

This is not a Tip just for managers; this is a Tip for you and me – everybody. People want positive reinforcement more than negative. They want optimism more than pessimism. They want “Let’s hope it works” rather than “I doubt it will.”

I’m not saying that we ignore the bad or should all be Pollyannas. What I am saying is that we have a choice in how we respond. We have a choice on what outlook we’ll take about a situation. We have a choice about how we engage others. We have a choice about whether we convey appreciation or just think it. And we have a choice about whether we look for ways to build up a co-worker or team, or we only look for ways to criticize.

When you make a choice, choose positivity.

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The MOST Wonderful Time of the Year? – 12/19/17

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


As the song says, “It’s the MOST wonderful time of the year.” True, and it can also be the most stressful time, and in business and the world of customer service, it can easily be the most HECTIC time of the year.

In healthcare, people are trying to get procedures done before year-end. In retail, many businesses are getting 70%+ of their sales in the last quarter of the year. In sports, the football, hockey, and basketball clubs are still playing games.

So, the customer-facing work is often crazy-busy, but the employees’ lives are also different. They’re shopping, planning to see family and friends, dealing with kids being out of school, trying not to go over personal budgets, and trying to keep a good attitude without burning out on the holiday before it even happens.

This is all to say that a hyper-focus on the customer at this time of year is understandable, but it has to be balanced with a sensitivity to the employees serving those customers.

Staff may want or need flexibility. They may be overwhelmed by the constant pressures and non-stop action of work and home, the lack of sleep, the desire to get things done. They may need an occasional mental break, an empathetic comment from their boss, or the “gift of time.”

This should be the MOST wonderful time of the year, but often that time is so jam-packed that an organization’s greatest asset – its people – aren’t feeling the love and joy.

Find ways to provide flexibility, understanding, and the gift of time to staff.

Find some balance for the good of your team.

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23 Thanks – 11/21/17

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


People want to be thanked – they want you to show them that they’re appreciated and valued. In employee climate surveys, one of the key drivers of overall satisfaction and retention is whether the employee feels valued, appreciated. For customers, they want value out of the product and experience your company provides. But they also want to feel valued and appreciated themselves.

So, in appreciation of employees and customers everywhere and in honor of the American holiday of Thanksgiving that is celebrated this week on the 23rd of November, here are 23 ways to say Thanks!

  1. Send a handwritten note of thanks to a co-worker or customer.
  2. Send an e-mail full of specific appreciation to a co-worker, and possibly copy their supervisor.
  3. Call up the customer just to thank them for their business.
  4. Ask if you can meet with a co-worker for a minute or two, and then just go to them and thank them for something specifically they did for you recently.
  5. At the start of a meeting, thank everyone for attending and for their commitment to the project, the team, the organization, the customers, etc.
  6. At the end of a meeting, thank everyone for their focus, attention, ideas, and insights.
  7. Have a “culture moment” at the start of the Agenda for each meeting where you spend a minute or two noting how one of the group did something to support the team, improve the work environment, or build up a co-worker.
  8. Post something positive on social media to your followers about a co-worker, using their handle so they see the recognition.
  9. Post a positive note on your intranet about a co-worker and how they helped you recently.
  10. When some shares an idea or concern, before you respond, thank them for what they shared.
  11. When people have been holding on the phone, before you ask them a question (or answer theirs) first thank them for their patience.
  12. When a co-worker shares something (e.g., food in the breakroom, helpful information about a change in policy, etc.), seek them and thank them immediately.
  13. When a customer points something out that was confusing about their experience or that could have been improved, thank them for the feedback.
  14. When the customer thanks you for something, thank them for the thanks – really!
  15. When you know someone is out of the office, leave a message on their voice mail just thanking them for how they make your company or department a more enjoyable place to work.
  16. Text a co-worker some positive words of appreciation or emojis for something they specifically did for you or others.
  17. For long-term customers, send them a coupon or other unsolicited small gift as a thank you for their long-term commitment.
  18. For new customers, provide them with a personal note (on letterhead or a company branded card) that thanks them for the trust they’ve put in you or your company.
  19. When you have some 1-on-1 time with your boss, thank them for their positive style of leadership or whatever other positive attributes they share.
  20. Print a certificate of “Thanks” and have all department or team members sign it – then give it to your co-worker or customer.
  21. No matter what method you use to say thanks, tell them how their action or their attitude impacts you.
  22. Tell them why their action or attitude is important.
  23. Tell them how their action or attitude isn’t common – how it’s unique/special.

Give others thanks – 23 thanks.

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