customer experience

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

Using I, We, or You in Customer Service - 9/1/20


It’s amazing how many conversations can go horribly wrong or incredibly right, not because of the use of a 4-letter word, but simply because of the use of a 1, 2, or 3-letter word – I, We, You. The incorrect use of I, We, You in conversations causes problems more Read more

Get Your Guru On - 8/25/20


You may have heard of management gurus - these people who seemed to know all and be all, to have the wisdom of 1000 leaders.  Maybe you’ve heard it in your industry as a guru in sports psychology or the master of economics or sociology or human behavior. And so Read more

Whether You Believe You Can Do a Thing or Not, You Are Right - 8/18/20


This is a famous Henry Ford quote, and the quote is all about self-belief, all about confidence. We’ve often spoken about the need to be confident and how to gain confidence, because that confidence - or the lack thereof - is imparted on the customer. But how does a customer tell Read more

Grind it out Today for a Better Tomorrow - 8/11/20


It’s been said that You Learn Perseverance by Persevering.  You are becoming mentally tougher right now.  The pain and the difficulties and the change today are making you stronger for dealing with the uncertainties of tomorrow. We’re all having to be more flexible.  We are all facing less consistency, less Read more

It’s Okay if You Don’t Know Anything about Tomatoes – 7/15/14 TOW

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


Going to Otto’s Home Improvement to get an opinion on a tomato – it shouldn’t be an aggravating experience. But for Lance, it resulted in a nail-on-the-chalkboard (do they still have chalkboards?) feeling.

Lance’s wife was growing tomatoes on the back deck, and several tomatoes were growing quickly. Good news, right? Well there was a problem – the tomatoes were still green on top but becoming black underneath and starting to shrivel up.

Luckily Lance had a “go to” lady in the garden center at Otto’s, so he drove to the store seeking advice. He walked up to 4 staff chatting with each other at the garden center entrance and asked for the “go to” lady, but she was off that day.

So Lance showed a tomato to others and asked for advice. He was greeted by blank stares and no response for about 15 seconds. Then one employee walked up, took the tomato, looked closely, said “that’s a fungus,” and started walking.

Lance took off after the employee, and they walked into the store toward the outdoor chemicals. The employee stopped in front of the plant chemicals, started staring, and didn’t say a word. After about a minute of quiet staring, Lance asked “what are you looking for?”

“A green bottle,” was the reply.

“What is it?”

“I’m not sure, but it works.”

“What brand?

“I don’t know.” There was a long pause, and then the employee said “it’s not there; sorry.” He walked off.

Lance was able to grab the tomato before the employee walked away and then went home to his wife. The next day Lance’s wife took the tomato to another garden center, and the issue was a lack of calcium. The store sold her a spray to add calcium, and the tomatoes grew perfectly thereafter.

In the world of serving others, none of us are omniscient. We don’t know all, and that’s okay. In those times when we don’t know the answer, it’s okay to say “I don’t know,” but follow that up with “I’ll find out.” Take initiative on behalf of the customer, but don’t let that initiative lead you down a path of time wasted and misinformation. Admit the knowledge gap, and quickly move to get the answer.

It’s okay to say you don’t know anything about tomatoes.

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From a School Office to Your Business – 6/17/14 TOW

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Theresa has worked in the elementary school office for years, and she loves it. It’s not just that she loves her job; the people she works with, the parents, and the children love her, too. Why? It’s because of the little things – not that a little thing like leaving her chair and walking to the counter to greet a parent is a reason to love somebody. Not that a little thing like kneeling down to get on a child’s level to talk is a reason to love somebody. Not even a little thing like packets she puts together in anticipation of conversations that relate to common needs (such as information for a prospective parent, student placement paperwork, student/parent handbooks for new families) is a reason to love somebody.

It’s not any one “little thing.” It’s the sum total of the little things that she ALWAYS does. It’s the consistency of the approach, the attitude, the welcome, the smile. It’s the all-the-time sense of caring she projects and the pure focus on “you” that she imparts.

Theresa is a real person. These are real stories. And although these are all little things, in society today, it doesn’t always require a home run moment to create a WOW! When you are interacting with recurring customers, it’s often your consistent excellence that creates a WOW! It’s your consistent sense of caring, your continuous willingness to learn, your ongoing responsiveness, and your striving to fix issues quickly that makes that incredible impression.

If you’re looking to WOW your customers, particularly those that are recurring business for your organization, here’s a thought. Stop trying to hit the home run. Find out what you’re good at, what you care about that can benefit the customer, and just become more and more and more consistent about the excellence in service you provide.

Create consistent excellence to create the WOW!


To Get Tomorrow’s Customers, Do This… – 6/3/14 TOW

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My house was BOILING! Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration since water boils at 212 degrees, but it’s much hotter than it should be when the air conditioner is running 24 hours a day.

We had only used one Air Conditioning contractor since we moved into our house, and it’s the same one that installed the system that was currently causing all our problems. Out of warranty for the system and out of patience with that contractor, we decided to go in a different direction.

Before contacting a new contractor, my wife went to visit a neighbor. The neighbor had a friend over who recommended a different company. I checked out the recommended company on Angie’s List and with the Better Business Bureau. For both organizations, the company got the highest rating possible – All “A’s.”

That’s it – there’s no more story. The real story in this Tip of the Week is that customers drive sales – NEW sales. Whether it’s Angie’s List, the BBB, Yelp, Google, consumer product reviews on retail sites, or good old fashioned word-of-mouth, acquiring new customers is not all about the marketing.

Your existing customers are the recommenders to their friends, family, the BBB, or Angie’s List. When you’re serving a customer, make sure that you are acutely aware that this person is going to drive prospective customers to you or away from you. It’s not just about their own repeat business; it’s also about the business they can bring you.

Serve your customers like they are your best sales people – because their opinions about your company’s attitudes, processes, and products will either make them your best sales people…or your worst nightmare.

To get tomorrow’s customers, make a great experience for today’s.