morale

Libby Listened to Serve - 7/16/19


Libby was new to her role with the organization. She had never been a customer service representative in a call center before, but she was hired because of her attitude. She wanted to learn, enjoyed working with people, and could carry on a conversation with a wall. After going through Read more

Chris Got Noticed for All the Right Reasons - 7/9/19


Chris was working through a temporary agency, and he got a job at a warehouse. He was packaging items to be shipped out, and his shift didn't start until 7:30 a.m. Chris always got there a little bit early because of the bus schedule, and he hated just sitting Read more

What Does “No News” Mean? Here’s a Quick Story - 7/2/19


Steven was trying to make the purchase of his new used car official, so he could get license tags for his State. In order for the State to allow him to put the vehicle in his name, he had to submit paperwork to prove that the prior owner (from Read more

Are you the Output or the Input? - 6/25/19


You’re the output and the input. Sorry to put it into such technical/industrial engineering terminology. But in a service system, we all have some role as a part of the process. First, we receive the output. Somebody has a customer that they direct to us, so that handoff is from Read more

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

Choose Positivity – 1/2/18

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


I had the opportunity to conduct employee focus groups and facilitate staff conversations for two different clients recently, and there was a common theme among all the groups. It’s intuitive, it’s understandable, but I was still surprised to hear the sentiment.

Employees consistently said they wanted to work in a more positive environment. Most of us would think that it’s intuitive that that’s what employees desire. Most would think it’s understandable that staff would share those perspectives. But I was somewhat surprised to hear it. Why?

Because, I sometimes have trouble understanding why people or organizations would consistently be negative, or why they would avoid sharing positives, or why their only form of motivation was criticism.

When people work 40 hours, 60+ hours a week, would they prefer to spend those 8/10/12 hours a day around others who are positive or negative? Would they prefer to be in an environment where they are appreciated? Would they prefer to have a reward for a great job or only punishment for a bad job?

I know that many are motivated to avoid the negative, or to avoid punishment, or not to get marked down or written up. But when you think of a healthy work environment, one where people’s values align to those of the organization, one where people WANT to go above and beyond – you are envisioning more positive organizations.

This is not a Tip just for managers; this is a Tip for you and me – everybody. People want positive reinforcement more than negative. They want optimism more than pessimism. They want “Let’s hope it works” rather than “I doubt it will.”

I’m not saying that we ignore the bad or should all be Pollyannas. What I am saying is that we have a choice in how we respond. We have a choice on what outlook we’ll take about a situation. We have a choice about how we engage others. We have a choice about whether we convey appreciation or just think it. And we have a choice about whether we look for ways to build up a co-worker or team, or we only look for ways to criticize.

When you make a choice, choose positivity.

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The Light that Others Reflect – 10/25/16

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Getting philosophical for the next 300 words.

The angry customer. The pushy or obnoxious co-workers. The demanding manager. The products that don’t always work. The stress on the faces and in the voices of customers and the employees serving them.

There are many dark moments that you may have to deal with during the course of your week at work. These are the dark encounters of our work day, those that can bring down morale, reduce the joy, and dampen employee enthusiasm.

But there is a light. There is a source of positivity, laughter, vision, and empathy. And that light is you.

I’ve been in some focus groups of employees discussing low morale. It seems like half the staff have the mindset of “once leaders change, then I’ll change.” While the other half seem to say “I’m not going to wait for others to behave professionally or positively before I act that way as well. They don’t control my behaviors.”

There’s an obvious difference in the two reactions. The first is passivity in the darkness. The second is taking ownership.

When we have a light – a positive nature, kindness, professionalism, respect, empathy and encouragement – we can be like the light in a room. Have you ever been in a room with a couple large mirrors? Those mirrors reflect that one light, helping the entire room to brighten more than it would otherwise.

The point is that dark situations at work should be opportunities for us – opportunities to bring in light. Opportunities to have your light be reflected in the attitudes and actions of others.

Be the Light that Others Reflect.

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To Do More, Find Ways to Do Less – 2/9/16 TOW

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“I have too much to do and not enough time to do it.”

“I can never get anything done.”

“They keep adding things to my plate, but they never take anything away.”

I’m sure most everyone reading this tip has said something similar at some point in their work lives. We are asked to do more and more and more, and at some point the quality suffers, or we work ridiculous hours, or we can’t get it all done, or we burn out.

Often, we can’t control what we’re assigned by others to do, so how do we do more? Start by asking yourself: “How can I do less?”

Leverage Technology – About one year ago, I bought a new computer/tablet to replace my 7-year old lap top. Instantly programs loaded more quickly, information linked together more smoothly, technical issues virtually disappeared, and now I use almost NO PAPER – leveraging technology made me more productive.

Stop What You’re Doing – I periodically ask myself – what if I stop doing this? Would anyone care? Too often, people generate reports, track worked hours or productivity or quality statistics that – today – are no longer meaningful or even read. At least once a quarter, look at the data you collect and the reports you generate, and question whether they need to continue.

Reduce the Excess – When CSS started 18 years ago, we spent hours creating these gorgeous 20-page proposals for relatively small projects. Over the years, we moved to 6-page proposals and then 4-page approach documents. Now we do a great deal of 1-2 page Price Quotes. Customers don’t have time to read large documents, so why should we give them something they don’t want? When you’re designing documentation for customers, find out how they’d prefer to receive information and what information is truly important to them. Design it that way, and get rid of the documentation excess.

Don’t Create from Scratch – For years, I’ve been a proponent of replicating (but personalizing/customizing) e-mails. You can be so much more productive/professional if you don’t create everything from scratch.

Get Information in a Productive Format – Finally, get people to give you information in a standardized manner – we provide our mystery shoppers with very specific templates so we can focus on the content of what they found rather than the structure of HOW they provided their analysis to us. Use forms, templates, and clear/specific questions to have people submit information in a way that’s most useful and productive.

To do more, find ways to do less. Build your own customer service capacity.

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