employee morale

Challenges Create Opportunity, People Create Change - 4/20/21

There are so many great things that have been said over the years about overcoming challenges, pushing aside the roadblocks of life, dealing with difficulties.  And these are important points of discussion because challenges are all around us.  There are challenges with our personal health or in our personal Read more

The Passive Predicament - 4/13/21

The employee is speaking to you.  Do they have that look in the eyes like they’re hanging on your every word, like they’re processing, interpreting, and getting ready to quickly respond to your key points and questions?  Or do they have the look of somebody in the 2nd hour Read more

Regain Lost Motivation - 4/6/21

For many of us over the last 12 months, our home has also become our workplace.  Our work interaction has been 2-dimensional through the computer screen as opposed to the 3-dimensional experiences we’re used to with co-workers and customers. We are all motivated in our own unique ways.  Some are Read more

The Answer is Right, but the Service is Wrong - 3/30/21

Maggie was irate.  The gift she ordered needed to be received by the 20th of the month so she could give it to her cousin for his birthday.  It was the 19th, and Maggie couldn’t find any shipping update online, so she called the company.  The employee said “Oh!  Read more

Question Everything, but What’s the Question? - 3/23/21

The new leader joins the organization, and she decides she wants to question everything.  She wants employees to question everything.  Why have we always done it this way? Why do we continue to do it that way? Is this the best way to work? Sometimes it’s a great management Read more

The Resourceful Rep - 3/16/21

One of our clients is seeking to develop Customer Service Standards.  We’re working with them to identify those key expectations of staff that will enable the organization to deliver a consistent high-level customer experience.  One of the key attributes that this organization is seeking from its team members is Read more

Be Proactive like a Pro - 3/9/21

We constantly work with clients, encouraging them to become more proactive with customers.  Don’t just be reactive, waiting for the customer to ask questions or to complain.  Instead, go to the customer, anticipate their needs, suggest something to them. But many of us, frankly, don’t know how to be proactive.  Read more

Find One Unique Thing - 3/2/21

Many of us are not in a position to develop long-term relationships with our customers.  Our encounters are often one-time only with a customer - very brief and likely to be our only time chatting with this individual. And even though there may not be a long-term professional relationship developed, Read more

Should I Stay or Should I Go? - 2/23/21

Should I stay or should I go?  That’s not just a classic song by The Clash.  It’s also the question customers ask more and more, especially during difficult economic times. A recent study in the Charlotte Business Journal noted that 50% of North Carolina businesses are concerned with how to Read more

Optimism – A Force for Good in Customer Service - 2/16/21

Will 2021 be a better year than 2020?  I have absolutely no idea.  Maybe it would be nice to see into the future and know for certain, but I can’t and I don’t.  But as I wade further and further into this year, I can hope that the water Read more

Everyone is a Customer Service Representative

Posted on in Business Advice, Healthcare 1 Comment

This wish applies to any business, but let’s focus this wish on the healthcare providers of the world.

If I could wish one thing for any hospital that would improve its patient satisfaction, it would be this. I would wish that every person — food service worker, physician, nurse, administrator, CNA, physical therapist, unit manager, unit secretary, human resources manager, business office clerk, environmental services employee, volunteer — view themselves as a customer service representative.

Every individual noted above has their technical or clinical or financial or other professional responsibility. But, in healthcare, as with other service industries, part of that technical or clinical or financial or other professional responsibility involves communicating with others. It involves face-to-face communications, it involves telephone conferences, it involves e-mails being sent. Part of that responsibility includes communications with co-workers or communications with vendors or patients or family members or physicians or other guests.

That communication conveys something. It conveys that you care about the individual as a person, or you don’t. It conveys that you are focused on the person more than the task, or you’re not. It conveys that you’re responsive and “other focused,” or it conveys that you’re slow to respond and “me focused.”  It conveys that you understand the “care” part of healthcare as opposed to the technical or clinical or financial aspect of the task being the only thing of importance.

Imagine a hospital where every person you walked by, every person you spoke with on the phone, every person you communicated with via an e-mail treated you like you were special. Whether you are a co-worker or the visitor or the patient, you felt special.  You felt like these people wanted to help you, and caring for your health or your other needs were simply the methods that they used to care for you as a person.

Imagine having this culture where all hospital personnel truly understood how they themselves were customer service representatives. If you can imagine this, it is easy to imagine patient satisfaction scores going through the roof.

Interested in improving your company’s customer service?  See more information at:  http://www.cssamerica.com/

Act During Customer Service Week – This Week!

Posted on in Business Advice Please leave a comment

The clock is ticking. We are in the middle of Customer Service Week, and there are few times during the year when the gods of customer retention look down on us and place a gift right in our lap. The gift is having a week set-aside for us to focus on two key customer groups: 1) Those clients of ours that buy our products and services and help us to stay afloat, and 2) Our key internal customers — the employees.

With Customer Service Week here, we all have the perfect excuse to reach out to our clients to thank them for sticking with us, to convey appreciation for their referrals, to ask about what we can improve, and to reignite relationships that had gone flat because you’re so busy searching for the next new customer. We have the perfect excuse to interview them, survey them, ask them questions, use them as a supplier of information to make us better. We have the perfect excuse to say “hello” without putting them under pressure to buy our services.

So much of customer satisfaction is driven by the employees. Employees convey the attitudes of whether we care or are indifferent. The employees execute the processes that result in quick turnaround or long delays. The employees do the work that makes things happen right the first time or results in errors and rework. And employees act on the communications that convey that we are responsive or that we are lax in our customer dealings. The employees have such a huge impact on the end-customer’s satisfaction that we need to model, as managers, the behaviors that we expect of these employees by treating them as we would expect them to treat their customers.

So this is a great time to recognize employees for the tremendous value they provide in our ongoing operations and our trek toward our long-term vision for success. Reward employees for staying with you and growing with you, so you don’t have to spend so much time working your HR people to death, trying to find warm bodies to replace highly skilled individuals.  This is a time to simply thank employees for making your organization look good, since to many customers the employees ARE your company.

Take action this week to appreciate your internal and external customers.

Interested in improving your company’s customer service?  See more information at:  http://www.cssamerica.com/

What David and Goliath Can Learn From Each Other

Posted on in Business Advice, World of Customer Service Please leave a comment

Customer service may be a universal term, but it does not have universal definition. Oftentimes that difference in the definition is based on the size of the businesses.  So let’s look at what the Davids and Goliaths of the business world can learn from each other.

Most small businesses are about client relationships. Relationship building is vitally important to small businesses because they don’t have large budgets for advertising and marketing; so when they get a customer, they must whatever they can to develop relationships with and keep those customers.

Next, small businesses typically have personnel who are easy to get a hold of. If you have a question or you need something, you’re typically no more than a couple conversations away from talking to the company president. When you call in, you’re often talking to somebody who has a vast knowledge of the entire operations as well.

Finally, small businesses work extremely hard to quickly resolve issues – to keep that customer.  Keep in mind that customers – based on many national studies – have a much higher likelihood of repurchase if issues are resolved and resolved quickly.

Large businesses need to do likewise. They need to focus on relationship building, not just transaction closing.  They need to make it easy for customers to get an answer to a question.  And they need to have dedicated resources who can jump on issues when they arise.

But small businesses can also learn from large businesses.

For example, large organizations who are great at customer service have strategies on how to manage customer data, track information on customer utilization of products and services, and retain and grow with those clients.

Large organizations also measure a great deal.  They want to know how the customers feel, so they do customer satisfaction surveys. They want to understand what the customer experience is like, so many do mystery shopping. They measure issue resolution rates and helpdesk inquiries.

Many large businesses also focus heavily on alignment.  They have accountabilities in place for when staff fall short of expectations as well as incentives so that employees will have some reason to exhibit the behaviors with customers that will actually achieve the organizational goals.

Small businesses need to do likewise. They need customer retention and growth strategies.  They need to track customer satisfaction, issues, and other factors so they can make data-driven decisions to continuously improve their customer service.  And they need accountability and incentive pieces in place to align behaviors of staff with organizational goals.

To improve customer service performance, sometimes it helps to look at the nimbleness and personalized characteristics of the small business as well as the structure and data-driven orientation of the large business.

Interested in improving your company’s customer service?  See more information at:  http://www.cssamerica.com/