exit interview

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

Three Lost Customers in One – 10/20/15 TOW

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


This is a true tale of 3 lost customers – me, myself, and I.

I sat in a drive-thru at the shiny new fast food restaurant – the first time I had ever been there – and the line never moved. It was 2, 4, 8 minutes of waiting. I told myself that if it got to 10, I’d leave; I left. That was 2 years ago, and I’ve driven by it hundreds of times but have never been back.

The local cleaners changed owners, and I kept going – it was highly convenient – but the new owners don’t smile, don’t say hello, don’t say thank you. Their greeting is “Phone Number,” so they can key it into their system. They don’t say another word until you tell them the number of pieces and what you want done with them. When you’re at the register, and they’re waiting on the credit card machine, they don’t say a word – they look around with a stone face. I’m leaving that business, too.

The local cable/internet company came to upgrade my neighbor’s lines, and they cut the lines to my home. When they installed cable, they literally installed the shortest line possible, so there was no way to move the television more than 3 inches and still be hooked to cable. When calling their customer service line to setup appointments, the wait was long and the wait on the technician to come out to the house was longer. I switched internet providers and am waiting on a new TV provider to enter my region so that can be switched as well.

Sorry to be venting, but I’m not just sharing these issues just to vent (although it does feel good!) – I’m sharing these stories to illustrate the types of things that can drive customers away. The company may never realize it either if they don’t ask customers about their experience, don’t try to see the experience through the customer’s eyes, and don’t contact lost customers to ask about exit reasons.

They lose business – revenues drop – and it’s all about the customer experience.

Customer service matters. Time, engagement, caring, responsiveness – they all matter to the bottom line, the P&L, customer churn – whatever term we want to use.

And since customer service matters, ensure you’re tapping into customers so you know truly what they are feeling, why they’re leaving, and why revenues are going up and down.

Learn the lessons of these “three” lost customers.

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Know What You Need to Know for BRE Success

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

When Economic Development Organizations create their Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) Programs, they often have key goals such as:

  • Having a better understanding of business needs and expectations
  • Better matching community and government resources with specific needs of a given business
  • Improving relationships between the local government and its constituent businesses
  • Identifying companies at-risk of relocating or at-risk of job loss
  • Increasing local business retention and job growth.

These are all very good, very laudable goals. But to achieve goals such as these requires that the BRE professionals have resources, information, and intelligence on their local businesses.

If you want to understand needs, bring resources to bear for a local business, improve a relationship, know who’s at-risk of job loss, and grow the local economy, you need key pieces of information. Here’s a checklist for you to use to ensure you have what you need:

  • BRE Surveys – Understand retention drivers, current business outlook, likelihood to be recruited, perception of your local business environment, and many more characteristics.
  • Interviews from Site Visits – Learn about the local industry’s products/services, personnel needs/issues and recent changes, lease details, local customers and suppliers.
  • Business News ResearchGain information on leadership changes, facility closures/expansions, acquisitions, earnings, corporate strategies.
  • BRE Alerts – Get same day/next day updates on information that addresses imminent impact on a local business.
  • Exit Interviews – Learn the reasons why businesses left, so you can apply lessons learned to those that stayed.
  • Resource Updates – Have ongoing dialogue with local resources that help address business needs/issues so that you’re abreast of changes to programs, personnel, and information.

What else do you need? What do you need to know to best serve your local industries?

Get what you need so you can give what your locals businesses need.

Learn more about keeping up-to-date on your local businesses at http://brebuzz.com/


Do Some Root Cause Analysis on Customer Retention Issues

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

Here are comments from a Reuters article on Leap Wireless’ earnings issues:

  • Churn — or customer defection rate — rose to 4.4 percent from 4.2 percent a year earlier
  • Customer retention programs did not work out as well as expected and came at a higher-than-anticipated cost
  • Customer retention in the quarter was also hurt by reduced promotional activity.

Now, let’s do a little root cause analysis. To analyze these points, think “cause and effect.”

The first bullet is an effect – customer churn is up. But what was the cause? The second bullet says that customer retention programs didn’t work. So that was the cause? No, that wasn’t the root cause because the 3rd bullet says that customer retention was hurt by reduced promotional activity.

So reduced promotional activity was the root cause, correct? No, because promotional activity is needed due to something else missing.

So what’s the real root cause? They obviously have more work to do to determine the root cause(s); it’s unclear if they’ve surveyed exited clients. I’m uncertain if they’ve researched demographics and other characteristics of the customers, their usage patterns, their plans to determine key drivers of churn. It’s not clear if they survey clients to identify retention drivers and act on that intelligence.

What is clear is that the company is losing money and losing customers. As with any company in this situation, they need to systematically identify the root cause instead of jumping from symptom (i.e., lower profitability or retention) to solutions (increased promotions).

Do some root cause analysis on customer retention issues.

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