healthcare

Who Loves Ya, Baby? - 2/25/20


Telly Savalas played Kojak - a hard-nosed detective who solved crimes while eating a lollipop.  He was a tough guy with a tough attitude but a soft side.  He used to say:  Who loves ya, baby? So, who loves their customer? If you want to see somebody who loves their Read more

6 Actions for Attitude Adjustments - 2/18/20


The battle over one’s attitude can feel like a never-ending fight… I need to stop letting little things bother me. I need to not let that customer’s anger infect my mindset.  Just because my co-worker isn’t doing what they said they’d do shouldn’t mean that I should have an attitude Read more

A Hair-Cut Above...and Below - 2/11/20


After going to the same barber for more than a decade, I decided to leave.  The customer experience went down, and the price went up.  For my last several visits, I was the one who was driving the conversations – when I could get a word in edgewise between Read more

When Employees Fight Over a Customer - 2/4/20


There’s nothing like the feeling of comfort I get from a warm greeting at a business establishment.  A feeling of “you are my most important customer” and “I cannot wait to serve you” brings a tear to the eye of a customer service consultant.  But that’s not the only Read more

LOTS of Opportunities to Appreciate Customers - 1/28/20


They give us their money, and we give them merchandise. We say “Thank you!”  That is the old-time stereotypical opportunity for a company to thank their customers.  But there are opportunities all day long for us to convey appreciation to our customers. Beyond the actual transaction, there are so many Read more

When Jack Gave Arnie a Tip - 1/21/20


Jack Nicklaus may have been the greatest golfer ever.  Many think that Arnold Palmer was the most important golfer of the 20th century.  These two greats were contemporaries, so they became competitors and friends all at once.  And when somebody who is one of the greatest of all time Read more

Make it Abundantly Clear - 1/14/20


Becky was laying in her hospital bed and staring at the whiteboard on the wall.  It had a room number, the room’s phone number, and the date.  It had the pictures of the pain scale, with happy-to-sad faces and ratings from 0-10.  It noted when the last meds were Read more

Become the Wishing Well - 1/7/20


When you don’t know if the next step will solve the customer’s problem, give hope a chance.  If you’re not certain how things will progress on their project, give hope a chance.  If you want to end the conversation by having them feel positive, even if uncertain, give hope Read more

Why Silence is Golden - 12/31/19


In the world of customer service, to begin finding a resolution, sometimes we have to initiate conversation. To keep things moving forward, oftentimes we have to proactively engage in discussion.  To have effective dialogue, we need to avoid those long periods of dead silence. But don’t let those truths of Read more

2019 Holiday Poem - 12/24/19


There is joy absolutely everywhere, Sometimes you just need to look for it. There are birds and babies. There are flowers and sweet older ladies. You just have to look for them. People hold doors open for others, with smiles. There are days when you can see for miles. You just have to look for them. There Read more

It’s About Leadership and Appreciation – 7/5/16 TOW

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


CSS does a lot of work with local government, education, and healthcare organizations. They all have a great deal in common. They typically have tons of customer interactions using various methods – phone, in-person, e-mail, etc. They have many policies, procedures, regulations, and laws to which they must adhere. They’re typically mid-to-large sized organizations, and creating an engaged and aligned workforce can be a challenge.

We’re working with one client in particular on culture change, and in a recent survey of staff, we asked them to describe their desired culture and what’s needed to create it. Two themes came up repeatedly in response to the “What’s needed” question – Leadership and Appreciation.

Leadership. Many staff said that the culture needs to start with leadership. Managers need to model the organizational values and customer service standards. Executives need to treat the staff like they expect staff to treat the customers.

Appreciation. In these types of organizations, legal, political, and financial barriers limit the amounts and types of financial compensation, incentives, and rewards that can be provided to employees. So in this survey, staff focused on Appreciation. They wanted to be recognized for good work and behaviors that align to the organizational values. They liked some of the initiatives that the organization had already put in place that enable staff to recognize each other. They wanted to feel valued, and that sense of being valued is in part driven by the Appreciation of their attitudes, skills, knowledge, and quality work.

An engaged workforce – having employees truly passionate about the company, its customers, and their role in the success – is not easy to create, but it can be done.

And it starts with a concerted effort to address two themes.

Start with Leadership and Appreciation.

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Weigh-in to Buy-in – 5/24/16 TOW

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


Weigh-in to Buy-in – cool phrase! It’s usually associated with companies trying to get their employees onboard for some initiative or a change that requires employees to make it work. Essentially, the principle is that, if you want employees to buy into this initiative or change, you have to allow them to weigh-in. You have to allow them to have input, to participate in the design process, and maybe even be a part of the decision-making process.

People buy-in more readily if the solution is something they helped to create.

That brings us to a discussion of our customers. This same principle that applies to gaining employee buy-in applies to your internal and external customers.

Have you ever proposed a solution to the customer that didn’t satisfy them? Maybe they had a bad attitude, or maybe they were irate about something, so they were too emotional to consider YOUR idea.

But maybe, just maybe, they didn’t buy-in because it wasn’t THEIR idea; it wasn’t something that they helped to conceptualize; it wasn’t something they helped to design; they weren’t part of the decision.

They didn’t get a chance to weigh-in, so they didn’t buy-in.

There are many ways to get them to weigh-in to a solution. First, you could ask them to suggest what would work for them. “What can we do to make this right?” or “What could we do in the future to better serve you?”

Second, you could offer 2-3 alternatives, and ask what would work best for them. Think of the healthcare worker who can’t let the patient outside to smoke (i.e., non-smoking campus); since there are ways other than smoking to relieve anxiety and stress, offer some options, and let them choose.

Third, if this is an ongoing relationship you’re managing with chronic issues to address (think about the season ticket holders in sports), conduct focus groups, share your organizational goals and challenges, and note your desire for a permanent solution – then ask for their guidance and suggestions.

When you want the customer to love the solution (or at least live with it without voicing the negative emotion), find opportunities to let them let you know what solutions would work best.

Let them Weigh-in to Buy-in.

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Elaine had an Eye for Customer Service – 3/29/16 TOW

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


I don’t know if she realized it, but Elaine was great! The Optometrist Assistant went to the waiting room to call on Rodney, and she smiled as she said his full name. She introduced herself and asked him to follow her to the exam room.

As they entered she said – You get the BIG chair!

She asked about Rodney’s weekend and shared a little about hers as well when he asked. She told Rodney what she was about to do and why – whether it was checking vision or putting drops in his eyes.

They discussed the doctor he had met with months earlier when he was having an issue with floaters, and she raved about the doctor – “a special person…84 years old – been here his entire career…very thorough.”

When she was done with the diagnostics and drops, she conveyed a sense of urgency (but not anxiety) on Rodney’s behalf by pleasantly saying “let me get Dr. Smith in here for you.”

These are snippets from the conversation between Elaine and Rodney, but they illustrate so much that’s great in customer service:

  • Share your name and use their name – This personalizes the conversation
  • Be inquisitive – This conveys your interest and shows you care
  • Build up co-workers in front of customers – This adds credibility to the co-worker and the organization
  • Describe next steps – This reduces worry by making the unknown known
  • Explain “the Why behind the What” – This enables the customer (or patient!) to feel more comfortable with what’s being done; it helps with their buy-in and support.

 
Sometimes little things mean a lot. Learn from this little interaction about how a great customer experience can look.

Develop an eye for great customer service.

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