issue resolution

Customer Service Experts have a Presence - 7/20/21


Standouts in the sports, entertainment, business, and political fields are sometimes said to have “an air about them.”  Unfortunately, that definition of air sometimes is perceived as an air of superiority or an air of condescension or something that doesn’t always have the most positive connotations. Well, the greats in Read more

It’s Not You, It’s Them - 7/13/21


George Costanza - from the Seinfeld television sitcom - broke up with someone he was dating and told her “It’s not you, it’s me.”  It’s a famous line, and I’ve heard it used many times in humor, but I have a customer service twist on that comedic line. It’s not Read more

Use Your Customer Service Freedoms - 7/6/21


We’re only a couple days past Independence Day here in the United States.  So it may be a good time for us in the customer service world to think about our freedoms, to think about what we have the liberties to do, to reinforce how this all plays out Read more

Who are Your Best Customers? - 6/29/21


A major medical supply company called Medline is in the process of being acquired.  It is an organization that has grown by leaps and bounds, particularly over the last decade.  It is currently a family-owned business, and the member of that family that serves as President of the organization Read more

Why Did They Walk Away? - 6/22/21


Granted, the drive-thru line was long, but Cynthia thought it would move pretty quickly.  After almost 10 minutes of only moving up one spot, she drove away. Benny was on hold, but the system didn’t tell him for how long.  Then he looked at his watch; 5 minutes later he Read more

And YOU get a Thanks, and YOU get a Thanks… - 6/15/21


Yes, Oprah Winfrey gets her first shout-out in a CSS Customer Service Tip of the Week!  She’s famous for many things – one of which was giving out presents to everybody in her audiences.  She would happily proclaim:  And YOU get a gift, and YOU get a gift, and Read more

It’s Right to Note “That’s Not Right” - 6/8/21


TJ was doing some construction work for the homeowner, and he noticed something unusual about the paint texture on the storm door that he was about to install.  The homeowner had purchased the door, and when TJ was getting ready to install it, he noticed that the door had Read more

Respond to Negativity in Kind, or Respond Kindly - 6/1/21


An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.  It seems like that’s what makes the world go ‘round nowadays.  You yell at me, and I yell at you.  Then you yell louder, and I yell louder.  And all that cacophony just pushes us further and further apart. In Read more

Tailor to the Type - 5/25/21


Every customer is different.  We need to look at each customer as unique, because they feel that they and their situation are unique. But even when you have that individual focus, there are a few basic philosophies of great customer service that apply to certain customer types: If they’re upset, listen. If Read more

The Problem with “No Problem” - 5/18/21


The man asked for his girlfriend’s hand in marriage, and she said: That’s not a problem! The customer walks into the bike shop wearing a cast and notes that the new bike he just bought had brakes that failed and that need to get fixed. The employee responds:  No problem. The Read more

Compliment the Customer – 4/21/15 TOW

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Bob’s home phone (the landline) was not working, and he had called the phone company (using his cell phone) to get it addressed; it worked for an hour and then stopped working again. Bob called the phone company again two days later and noted that the problem had reappeared. The automated system walked him through some questions and remotely rebooted the “gateway,” but the problem persisted. So he called back a third time to talk to a customer service representative. And while there was no resolution, the representative – Vernon – scheduled a service appointment for a technician.

Twice near the end of the call, Vernon told the customer “you’re very nice” (in a platonic, very appreciative tone). He truly appreciated Bob not getting upset; he appreciated Bob working with him on different options to resolve the issue.

This was not a scripted “Thank you for calling” or “I appreciate your business.” This was a sincere compliment to the customer.

Why did the representative provide this compliment? Because if you work in the world of customer service, you know what it’s like to deal with the angry, rude, and unrealistic customers. You know what it’s like to suffer the slings and arrows for the errors of others.

So you also know what it feels like to run across someone who’s not like that at all. You appreciate those customers that are kind, despite their frustration. You appreciate those who are patient even when having an issue. You enjoy the nice person, the empathetic client, the one who asks about you and compliments you.

You appreciate them and those qualities they offer when they could – instead – be negative.

In customer service, you’re often trying to make the experience special for the customer.

Compliment the customer when they make an encounter special for you.

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A Letter of Apology – 11/25/14 TOW

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If you were searching your Inbox for the Customer Service Tip of the Week at the normal time last week, I’m sorry that it wasn’t there to be found. Our e-mail provider had a major service issue, and the e-mail was delayed. Constant Contact has been an excellent e-mail/survey partner for CSS, so I wasn’t thrilled, but I’ll cut them a little slack because of past – and positive – history.

Lessons can be learned from last week by reviewing the e-mail/letter/blog post sent from the CEO. Click here to review the letter.

The CEO started by empathizing with the client and apologizing. She explained the issue that caused the problem without appearing to make many excuses. She reassured the clients that the system was now working fine, apologized again, noted how she values the client’s time, and offered support if the client needed help.

In this day and age of “LOL” and “IMO”, this letter of apology was “OMG” – pretty good! Professional letter writing is definitely a lost art. Read the letter, and e-mail me at edward.gagnon@cssamerica.com with your thoughts. What would you have done differently? What did you like best?

Sometimes we can learn best from the failures of others, so we don’t replicate those failures ourselves. And even in the missteps of others, we can learn the positives of what they did right to respond.

Learn a little lesson from a letter of apology.

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Not So Fast with Quick Issue Resolution – 11/4/14 TOW

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The technique we suggest to our clients for dealing with the irate customer is easily taught but not easily perfected. It involves listening, empathizing, accepting responsibility, and delivering on a remedy. We’ve taught literally thousands of Service Excellence training participants how to use this highly effective technique, but many employees have trouble executing it well.

When observing staff role-playing the technique in their small groups, there are reasons why it sometimes doesn’t work – the employee’s tone doesn’t sound sincerely empathetic. The employee makes no eye contact. The employee doesn’t ask questions about the specifics of the issue. Maybe the employee gets defensive.

But the biggest pitfall stems from the fact that most employees want to get out of these conversations fast. There are two typically reasons for this desire for speed: (1) Employees are uncomfortable dealing with angry customers, so they quickly want to remove themselves from the situation, and (2) Employees sincerely believe that quick resolution is what the customer wants – which typically is true.

The biggest pitfall is an employee’s lack of patience.

Whether the employee is trying to extricate themselves from the conversation or help the customer get that quick resolution, the most frequent drawback in taking those perspectives is that they try to navigate the conversation too quickly. They’re not patient. They talk fast. They don’t give the customer enough time to vent. They quickly go to a solution without learning the facts. They interrupt the customer. They say “I’m sorry” so early on and so quickly that the sincerity is lost. They try to end the conversation before they allow the customer to drop the emotions. They try to take control with speed rather than take control with well-worded questions.

Quick resolution is a noble goal, but the best way to get there involves listening, empathizing, and being patient enough to ask the right questions so you can present the right solution. Speeding to an end rarely ends well.

Summon all your patience when presented with a service recovery situation.

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