issue resolution

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

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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