issue resolution

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

Apply this Twist on Twain – 8/23/16

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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

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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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