mission

Hear Them, and Tell Them What You Heard - 6/18/19


CSS has conducted close to 1000 research projects over the years, many of which were web-based surveys. And oftentimes, in addition to or instead of completing the online survey, respondents e-mail us directly with questions or comments – and we respond personally to every message on behalf of our Read more

It’s Decision Time. What are you going to do? - 6/11/19


Serving others is tough. Whether it’s dealing with an irate customer, having to field the same question from the 100th different customer this month, or keeping 10 plates spinning while still smiling in front of the client, it’s hard. You want to do a great job, and you’re constantly put Read more

You Do Know Jack - 6/4/19


Have you ever had a co-worker who causes more problems than they solve? Simple things they do are often, from a procedure standpoint, correct. But the way they handle situations makes them come off as indifferent. Let’s call this co-worker “Jack.” Even though certain actions by Jack may seem innocent Read more

How to Give the Right Kind of “No” - 5/28/19


In a perfect world, you never need to say “No” to the customer. But as we all know, this is not a perfect world. There are a lot of issues in the world, and there are a lot of issues in customer service. Our companies are not perfect, our Read more

Make it Crystal Clear - 5/21/19


Sometimes we communicate so well, and sometimes we don’t communicate as well as we think we do. When you’re trying to set or manage another person’s expectations, what you say may be very clear to you, but the reality is it may not be clear to the other person. Read more

Harvey Wrote the Book on Focus...and Golf - 5/14/19


In Harvey Penick's Little Red Book, the famous golf instructor provides many key tips about golf that just as well could apply to life in general. One such tip is the following: Once you address the golf ball, hitting it has got to be the most important thing in Read more

Stop Rolling Your Eyes - 5/7/19


Most of our customer service tips offer advice and guidance. But advice and guidance is useless if the individual receiving it is not willing to listen, learn the theory behind it, and try to apply what they’ve heard or learned. I’ve personally facilitated hundreds of training sessions with clients over Read more

Should you tell the customer? The Employee’s Dilemma - 4/30/19


Last week we looked at the dilemma that many companies face – When there is an issue that is going to happen, should they tell the customer? This week, let’s address that same question from the employee’s perspective. I personally experience employees struggling with this question when I’m in Read more

Should you tell the customer? The Company’s Dilemma - 4/23/19


I have a lot of clients that struggle with this question, both at a company/strategic level as well as an individual representative level. When there is an issue that is going to happen, should you tell the customer? This week we’re going to address the question at the Read more

Customer for Life – The Final Step - 4/16/19


Two weeks ago, we addressed the Third Step of keeping a Customer for Life: Address what will keep them. Now, we’re sharing the Fourth and Final Step. To have a Customer for Life, you have to grow your relationship with them. While the 3rd step is the Read more

Build a Great Customer Experience – 11/7/17

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


Over the last 5-10 years, much of the management thinking about how to create a great customer experience has changed. In the distant past, to design a great experience, organizations would create the environment, the policies, and procedures that would deliver what the customer wanted the way the customer wanted. This is a great approach.

More recently, much of the thinking about customer service has focused on the fact that culture is the main driver of a great client experience. While it’s wonderful to have a great environment, policies, and procedures, people are who deliver the service in that environment, who work within those policies, and who execute those procedures. Oh! And people (employees) are the ones who interact with customers. This culture focus, too, is a great approach.

But what drives culture? We often talk about those aspects of an organization that impact culture such as Mission, Leadership, Training, Incentives, Communications, etc. But what drives culture?

In the end, the people are the culture. You want people who care about the customer and can convey that to the customer. You want people who can care about the organizational mission and the employees they work with in living that mission daily. And you want people who can balance the care of the customer, the co-worker, and the company. So, in short, you want people who care.

Not to sound dramatic, but to build a great culture, to get people who care, you have to build the collective heart of the organization. Leaders need to care as much or more about their employees and customers as the employees care about those they serve. There has to be continual leadership focus on relationship-building with staff, showing you care about them as unique, talented individuals. There has to be a desire on the part of leadership to be vulnerable enough to ask staff for opinions and open enough to listen to them and share with them as well.

Employees will care more if they feel leadership cares, if leadership asks, listens, shares, and supports staff.

Building heart is not all on leaders, however. Staff need to do these same things with others – co-workers, customers, and even their bosses. The more we all listen, learn, support, and help others, the bigger the collective heart will grow.

Build heart to build culture and to build a great customer experience.

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Make 5 Minute Presentations to Co-workers – 11/3/15 TOW

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My customer service consulting firm conducts many visioning workshops for clients. The workshops can address the Mission, Vision, Values, Core Beliefs, Statements of Desired Culture, and Definition of a GREAT Client Experience.

At the client’s request, two of this year’s Visioning workshops have incorporated something different and interesting. The Visioning work is necessary because these particular clients are growing, and with new staff and – at times – new functions, there is a lack of understanding that’s developing.

Who works in other divisions? What do they do as individuals? What do they do as a division? How do they impact me? How do I impact them?

Issues can arise because of a lack of understanding of others serving the same customer, others who are “my internal customer,” or those that “serve my department.” There’s miscommunication. There’s a customer being misdirected. There’s one department operating as normal without realizing they’re causing problems and customer complaints for another department.

As a part of these workshops, early on we have leaders of key departments or divisions make 5-minute presentations to others in the room. The presentation can be in any format and any level of formality desired – flexibility is offered to the presenter. However, the focus of the presentation has no flexibility. Every presentation has to answer this key question:

What does your division do for the customer?

If the presenter would like to present other information, they could provide information on services, functions, and/or benefits to the customer. Q&A follows, understanding of common customers and interrelationships are brought to light, and a movement toward a common vision can now begin.

It’s amazing what benefits can result in simple five minute presentations, Q&A, and seeing what everyone in the organization does framed around the customer.

Frame conversations around the customer. Make 5-minute presentations to co-workers.

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Learn How to Swim at a Young Age – 7/14/15 TOW

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When you’re 8 miles from the Canadian border in North Dakota, there’s not much reason to learn how to swim. As a child, you’re more concerned with shooting marbles, building a mini-igloo, and learning how to avoid frost bite.

That’s where and how I grew up, but as I grew older, and moved South, I wished I had learned to be a better swimmer. I wished that I had learned to breathe while doing freestyle. I wished I had learned to float instead of sink to the bottom like a rock.

The reason I wished I’d learned all these things at an early age is that – as I grew older – the fears of the water began to rise, and now the learning process was more about overcoming my mental outlook and fears than learning to refine swimming strokes. I wasn’t (and still today, am not) too old to learn, but it would have been SO MUCH EASIER to have learned swimming at an early age, and it would be so much more enjoyable to be at the pool today.

Maybe this is part of the reason I’m not a proponent of an approach with new hires in a business that is exclusively using on-the-job training. Most organizations have a mission, a vision, and core values. Many have customer service standards. Others have defined best practices for particular processes. Some organizations know what attributes of employees make some great and others more run-of-the-mill.

To assume that new employees will understand the mission, vision, values and standards naturally, to assume they’ll naturally conduct the work in the best manner possible, to assume that they’ll develop the attributes of the highest performing employees naturally is to set them up – and the company – for failure.

An organization with the intention of succeeding and thriving in a culture where employees drive high performance must be intentional about training their new staff on the “whys” of what they do, the expectations of their attitudes and mindsets, and the behaviors of those who excel.

Why? Because it is worlds easier to teach this to a new hire than to retrain and “rewire” a long-term employee.

Be intentional about training new hires to be stars for your company.

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