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

Listening to the Employee’s Voice – 1/27/15 TOW

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


The “Voice of the Customer” is an often-heard phrase. We have a sports research program called the “Voice of the Fan.” These are ways of describing that organizations either need to simply listen to their customers, or they need to have a 12-month strategy for tapping into customer feedback and input to continuously improve.

But what about the employee? Do they have a voice, and what is the voice saying? Most companies realize that asking the customer is the best way of obtaining the “Voice of the Customer.” But few realize that asking employees is the second best way of learning the “Voice of the Customer.”

Employees – particularly those on the front line, are the ones engaged with the customers many times daily. Employees hear the complaints, the confusion, and the questions. Employees hear what make customers say “thanks” and what makes customers frustrated. Ask your employees about your customers – it’s the best customer research money you’ll NEVER spend!

Don’t stop there. Apply your “Voice of the Customer” strategy and principles into creating a Service Culture. Your organization hires employees, but does it ask them why they chose your organization and what expectations they have about the employee experience? Your company “onboards” employees, but does it have 1 week, 1 month, and 90 day check-ins with new hires to gauge whether those expectations are being met and how they’re feeling about their job and your organization?

Think about your employee vets. Are the longer-term staff asked about processes and policies that are barriers to the great customer experience? Are veteran employees asked about the current climate, training needs, or potential system changes (BEFORE they’re implemented)? Is there documented information on how proud they are to work for the organization and how engaged they are in the company’s mission and vision?

We love conducting customer research for our clients, but in your effort to provide a great experience for your external customers, don’t forget your internal customers.

Listen to the Voice of the Employee.

Signup for FREE Tips!    Contact Us    More Resources for You    Visit Our Home Page


Do More Than What You Say You’ll Do – 1/13/15 TOW

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


During a meeting with a client who was trying to work through a culture change, the question was raised about how they could change a culture of broken trust.

WOW! That’s a very direct and not quickly answered question. Many of the answers fall at the feet of organizational leaders – they’re the ones most responsible for creating an environment of trust. But let’s look at the question from a different perspective – the perspective of an individual team.

Many people believe that – to build trust – you must do what you say you’ll do. That way, the client, the co-worker, the peer – they all believe in your actions and begin to trust you.

But there’s a different type of trust, one that’s about more than the task. It’s your being able to trust others enough to open up to them, to share your thoughts, your concerns, your ideas, your critiques, and your feelings. This kind of trust requires you to be willing to communicate what you’re thinking and feeling.

This trust is not as easy as “doing what you’ll say you’ll do.” This is about your being trusting enough in how others will respond, how they’ll respect you and what you share. This is about your willingness to open yourself up for the good of the team.

When trust on a team is lost, yes, team members need to rebuild it by saying they’ll do something, and then doing it. But if your team has deep trust issues due to new members, past conflicts, or some other reason – there need to be intentional efforts on the part of the individuals to share what they think and feel, to start the process of being open and trusting others. Being willing to open up is the first step in engendering trust from others.

Can you take the first step on your team? Tell them “I’m going to share something that I’m uncomfortable sharing, and I’m trusting you will listen and be respectful of me in the process.” Then offer your idea, your concern, your critique, your feeling, or your thought.

Start the process of building back team trust.

Signup for FREE Tips!    Contact Us    More Resources for You    Visit Our Home Page


30 Minutes or Free – 1/6/15 TOW

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


I once worked as a Domino’s Pizza delivery person. It was a GREAT job during summer as a college kid, in particular. You get to drive around, make pizzas, and if a customer canceled an order – you get to eat free! I had a plastic cup in my house filled with cash from tips – it made me feel wealthy at the time (even if they were just 20-25 $1 bills).

This was a while ago – when bell-bottom pants were in (Were they ever really “in”?), when I knew how to drive stick shift, and when Domino’s had its 30 minute guarantee. The 30 minute guarantee stated that if the pizza arrived more than 30 minutes after it was ordered, you’d get it for free!

At the time, I was working in the first Domino’s store in a small town in North Carolina, and one of my deliveries was to a home in a relatively new neighborhood. I looked at the map hanging on the wall (this was pre-GPS and smart phones), wrote down my directions, and headed out. As I entered the development, I took my first right, my next left, and I was well on the way to getting there just in the nick of time – until it happened. I was on the right street, about a quarter-mile from the house, and all I had to do was drive down this road, take a left, and I was there.

But the road I was on was a dead-end. It hadn’t been completed. There was a fence at the end of the road, about 50 feet of undeveloped land, and then I could see that the road started up again on the other side. I had to improvise, and improvise I did! I found the house! But I was 5 minutes late.

They got 2 pizzas for free, but I received a nice tip. Then I went back to Domino’s, having just delivered the first free pizzas in this store’s history.

I explained what happened to the manager, he said “okay,” he walked over to the map, drew lines to show where the street was a dead-end, and went back to making pizzas. There was no blame.

In life, in customer service, and in the pizza world, sometimes things just happen. Sometimes it’s a bad experience, it’s a delay, or it’s a free pizza. And sometimes, there’s no reason to spread blame. Responsibility is something we should be quick to accept, but blame is something we should be slow to pin on others.

Blame is rarely solution-oriented, it rarely benefits the customer, it rarely fosters goodwill or a healthy culture. Focus on responsibility and lessons learned, and avoid the focus on blame.

Be okay with giving away the occasional free pizza.

Signup for FREE Tips!    Contact Us    More Resources for You    Visit Our Home Page