motivation

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

Water Rippling in the Pond – 8/14/18

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


You drop a rock into a creek, and you see the mini waves created. You watch a golf tournament, and a golfer dumps a shot in a lake – and it ripples. You see a water sculpture with a basin below, you toss in a penny to make a wish, and the water flows in every direction.

Ripples in the pond.

So much of the environment that we’re in – literally, and more so the mental environment that we’re in – is influenced by the words of others. If we hear constant negativity, if others voice constant obstacles, if there is rancor and anger and confusion, then there’s a great risk for those in the environment. We can allow those words to affect our mindset, our behavior, and maybe our own words as well.

Sometimes the environment that we’re in is full of encouragement, reinforcement, positivity, and appreciation. Sometimes those words build us up and are filled with thanks. The words in our environment can emphasize what COULD work and what possibilities for good exist. Those words also affect our mindset, our behavior, and maybe the words that we use as well.

Realize that the environment that we are in is often influenced by communication. The environment created by the words we use is like water rippling in the pond. Our words can influence others. They have the ability to change a perception or a mindset or a behavior or an outlook.

So, when we need to use words, choose words that move the environment in a direction of good.

Remember, your words create an effect like water rippling in the pond.

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Inflate Your Team – 4/17/18

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


I was talking with a friend recently about their job change. They’re still working in the same company, still doing the same type of technology support, but their position had been moved from a user area to the information technology department.

This person seemed happier in their job than they had ever been before. They smiled more during conversations. They seemed more relaxed and at peace. The workload was the same, the content of the work was the same, but there was one big difference – the people she worked side-by-side with every day were different.

In her other department, even if she started the day with the best attitude possible, by the end of the day her motivation was gone, she was worn out, she felt times of stress, and she often felt down.

In her new department, she ended the day with more energy, she was generally happy, the tension and stress weren’t there anymore, and she felt at peace about the accomplishments of the day’s work.

I’m sure she herself had something to do with how she felt in this new department, but just as big an impact on her were the people that she worked with in each place. In retrospect, she viewed her co-workers in the first department as Deflators. The people in her new department are Inflators.

In the previous department, staff talked negatively, didn’t plan well, made every issue a big issue, were concerned more with their own image than team performance, communicated expectations poorly, and then complained when hidden expectations were not met. These were the Deflators.

Her new department included people who were very professional, well-organized, understood their common goals, enjoyed each other’s company in fun activities like fantasy football, were happy to jump in and help co-workers, and generally functioned as a team.

Take a look back at what caused one group to be considered Deflators and the other to be considered Inflators. Then look at yourself. What impact do you have on your co-workers with your attitude, your planning, your willingness to help, and your focus on others?

Make sure you’re a model of great teamwork. Be an Inflator.

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Peer Recognition Made Easy – 4/10/18

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


There may be one manager in the department. There may be one supervisor over your division. Those individuals may see you interact with customers, but usually your conversations with your customers are out of the sight of leadership.

Every day you make a difference, and often you’re working side-by-side with co-workers who are also making a difference. So, if we rely only on leadership to recognize us, we’re losing out on one of the greatest sources of recognition – our peers.

A Quick Story – The client called their account representative, Beverly, with a request about the monthly lawn service they were scheduled to provide. Beverly offered some suggestions to the client, noted that Jeremy would be onsite the next day and could provide more information, and shared how knowledgeable Jeremy is on this particular topic.

Jeremy delivered what Beverly promised, and the client sent a thank you e-mail to Beverly, noting and appreciating Jeremy’s patience and information shared. Beverly then routed the kudos to Jeremy and his supervisor.

It was simple.

The employee heard something positive about a co-worker, and let the co-worker know. The employee experienced a co-worker going above and beyond, and she simply shared that information with him.

Beverly could have just heard the compliment, but she took an extra few seconds to share that compliment with others in the organization. This form of peer recognition is exceptionally easy – all you have to do is to share what you hear positively with that co-worker and potentially with their supervisor.

Many of us appreciate being appreciated, but for many of us all the appreciation comes solely from the fulfillment of doing your job well or the occasional but all-too-rare accolades we receive from supervisors. If instead we take on an attitude of appreciation and a desire to point out the positives of peers, we’re filling up people with accolades by simply passing on the positives that the customers share.

Make peer recognition a part of your everyday job. Simply pass along customer kudos.

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