issue resolution

Tire Dealers Becoming Teachers - 5/19/20


I recently needed two new tires for a vehicle, and I first went to the tire dealer’s website to find some options.  The site’s look/feel and ordering process had changed, and I didn’t see a tire I wanted, so I called the store to make an appointment. When I arrived Read more

Developing Fan Relations During COVID-19


As sports teams and organizations across the world are gearing up to start play without fans, these same organizations are also determining what that fan experience is going to be when fans start attending again.  Many sports organizations are focused on locking in revenue from existing fans - keeping Read more

Reduce Their Anxiety Leading Up to Their Return


Building customer comfort and confidence in going to your facilities is a process which has a lot of similarities to the technique we train clients on to reduce customer anxiety.  From a tactical perspective, when you’re interacting with somebody who is anxious or nervous, you want to get them Read more

Moving toward Normalcy: The Face-to-Face Keys - 5/12/20


As we slowly go back to a face-to-face world, here are a few quick reminders for what positively differentiates employees who understand the importance of body language and expressions v. those who don’t. Especially if you’re wearing a mask and serving customers, ensure your eyes are focused on the other Read more

Pivot to a Stronger Post-COVID Culture


If there ever was a time for virtually every organization to assess their culture, this is it.  Culture not only drives customer service, but it also drives long-term organizational success.  While leaders can define the Desired Culture and can chart a Vision, leaders typically do very little of the Read more

5 Steps to Valuing Another’s Time - 5/5/20


Is your time valuable?  Is the customer’s time valuable?  I would think we would answer “yes” to both questions, but what does that really mean?  It’s important, and it’s finite. Time is precious because it doesn’t come in unlimited quantities.  We can’t go to Amazon and buy more time.  It’s Read more

Put Yourself at the Controls of Change - 4/28/20


You have probably heard about manufacturing plants and restaurants who are pivoting during these challenging times and starting to make hand sanitizers, masks, and gowns.  They are being forced to change, and they’re trying to find the opportunities among the obstacles that surround them. Sometimes we, too, as individuals in Read more

From Team-up to Partner - 4/21/20


The phrase used to be “Team-up.”  Company A and Company B are going to Team-up to address this big consumer need. Now the term is “Partner.”  Organization A and Organization B are going to partner together to seek a resolution to this community issue. Both of these phrases essentially deal with Read more

6 Ways to Provide Something Extra - 4/14/20


Winnie and Wayne ordered take-out last week, and when they brought their food home, they put the bag on the kitchen table and started unloading.  As they were pulling out the boxes, they noted two little handwritten notes. Each was a Thank You Note written by a different employee Read more

Hope is a Powerful Word - 4/7/20


It was a typical daddy-daughter conversation. The two were just chatting about whatever a father and an 8-year old discuss, and the father decided to ask his daughter a question. What is your favorite word? With no hesitation, the girl said “Hope.” “What a great word!” the father replied.  He was Read more

Apply this Twist on Twain – 8/23/16

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


Mark Twain said “A letter written in passion is a mistake…It usually wrongs two persons, and always wrongs one – yourself.”

Twain is using the word “passion” to address anger, frustration – more negative emotions. And while letter-writing in the 21st century is seemingly falling by the wayside, we can apply his quote to e-mails – particularly business e-mails to customers and co-workers.

With this perspective in mind, here’s another Mark Twain quote: “When you get an exasperating letter, what happens? If you are young, you answer it promptly, instantly – and mail the thing you have written. At forty what do you do? By that time you have figured out that a letter written in passion is a mistake in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred.”

These statements were made 104 years ago, but they apply today. When putting something in writing and mailing (or pressing “send”), you can’t take it back. The message can be moved onto a social media post, into the newspaper, or into your supervisor’s inbox in a minute. Just as importantly, it can be taken to heart by the recipient immediately. And all of these results could result in your looking bad to customers, peers, supervisors, and the public at large.

Emotions and e-mail rarely mix well. They’re the oil and water of communications, and unless you’re exceptional at conveying your “passion” with the written word, consider a pause before pressing send. Consider having a dialogue with the other – a communication that enables tone and body language to be involved, hopefully positively.

Don’t wrong yourself. Pause before pressing send when passion is involved.

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How Good Are You When Things Go Bad? – 8/9/16

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


The more issues that your organization has to address, the more customer service matters. With most of the survey research that CSS performs for clients, we conduct additional correlation analyses to identify which aspects of the customer experience or relationship with the business tend to have the greatest impact on loyalty, willingness to recommend, or overall customer satisfaction.

With some of our clients – those that by the nature of their business have lots of difficult customer situations – there are interesting attributes that drive overall satisfaction. For one event-based client, whether the customer had traffic issues AFTER the event had a strong impact on overall customer satisfaction. In other words, if that last impression was bad, the overall event satisfaction went down; if the exiting process was quick/easy, the overall satisfaction was much higher.

Similarly, our surveys for a local government code enforcement agency continually note that when issues are resolved quickly/fairly and staff listen well to customers, overall satisfaction is much higher. When issue handling is poor, overall satisfaction is poor.

Oftentimes we think customer satisfaction is driven by the “WOW” or the exceptional experience, but with many industries overall customer satisfaction is determined by what transpires when things go bad.

To make sure you’re “good” when things go bad, here are quick summaries of comments from customers about what they want in an issue resolution experience:

  • Listen to and understand my perspective
  • Don’t rush me
  • Apologize
  • Own the resolution – even if you didn’t cause the problem
  • Provide direction – Where do I need to go? What do I need to do?
  • Respond quickly to my inquiries
  • Keep me up-to-date
  • Include me in decision-making, preferably with options
  • Resolve issues fairly.

Simple tips, but they are tips direct from customers that directly impact their overall satisfaction. Sometimes it is easy to deliver good customer service when things go well.

Make sure you’re good when things go bad.

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Tell Me Something Good – 6/28/16 TOW

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I believe that the original version of “Tell Me Something Good” was by Rufus. The name of the group might not ring a bell, but one of their singers you may know – Chaka Khan.

Why are we talking about a 42-year old song?

Because those simple words represent a customer’s hopes when they’re talking with you. They want you to tell them something good.

When they have an issue, they want you to tell them that you’re going to work on it, to resolve it, or to offer an alternative.

When they have a question, they want you to tell them something that will provide the answer, clarity, or direction.

When they have a need to address, they want you to tell them you can charter a path to the solution.

When you have to deliver the bad news, it helps to tell them that the organization cares about them, is apologetic, and will do better in the future. Tell them there are other options they can consider.

When they are engaged with you and giving you money, they want you to tell them something that conveys you appreciate them and their business.

When they point out an issue in your company, they want you to acknowledge their voice, their input, and their effort to help you improve. And then they want you to tell them what you’ll do next. Later, they want you to tell them that you did it.

Sometimes all the customer service training, advice, and guidance can fill your mind with too many ideas, techniques, and thoughts to truly deliver a great customer experience.

So what’s a good guiding principle for any customer encounter? Bring something positive to every conversation.

Tell them something good.

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