municipal

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

Customer Service Complexity Increasing – Here’s One Reason Why

Posted on in Business Advice, Government 1 Comment

In the Environmental Ladder article “Smart Customer Service for a Smart Grid World,” the writer talks about how most call centers at utilities spend the majority of their customer interactions addressing basic questions about bills, transfers of service, payment plans, etc. But as the utilities’ technology advances such as in the use of the smart grid and real-time data and information shared by consumer and utility alike, things change.

With knowledge comes, power – right? Well the information provided to the consumer, and the choices that the information offers create questions from the educated consumer for the utility. If consumers are more educated on how to manage their power day-to-day, what their consumption is, how to modify power plans, then the more questions they can ask of the customer service representative. The consumer can request more changes; they can better challenge utility decisions.

You see, an educated customer can create work for the business. In the grand scheme of things, this is great. We want consumers educated, having more data upon which to evaluate a service or a supplier. But businesses must realize that more information means that the customer’s expectations will change, their demands will rise, their ability to compare competitive businesses increases.

So businesses need to ensure that their staff understand that the FAQs (frequently asked questions) of the past may no longer apply. And today’s questions may differ from tomorrow’s. Companies need to be more agile in understanding what customers are asking about over the past week and must have plans in place for quick training of staff or quick communications out to consumers to answer those ever-changing FAQs.

Increases in customer knowledge can create increases in complexity for the customer service staff.

Make sure your education and training of your customer service representatives is staying ahead of the education of your customers.

Read our New Book – “Ask Yourself…Am I GREAT at Customer Service?” http://www.amigreatat.com/

Interested in improving your company’s customer service? See more at our new website! http://www.cssamerica.com/


Fearing the Feds…in Customer Service

Posted on in Business Advice, World of Customer Service Please leave a comment

Let’s keep the government off our backs! That’s the upshot of the article in CIO.com that addressed the mantra of Australian private sector industries struggling to deliver good customer service.

One of the telecommunications executives has heard rumblings from government leaders which suggest that the government is considering mandating that telecoms and ISPs start delivering a certain level or type of customer service. His solution is to get the private sector companies to work together toward improving customer service and reducing complaints – before the government forces them to do so.

Think about your business – imagine if your bank, your hospital, your shop, your university were to get federally mandated guidelines that addressed how or at what level you must deliver customer service.

A nightmare?

Yes, but it’s already happening. Hospitals, for example, will begin to have reimbursement from the Federal Government adjusted based on patient satisfaction scores in the U.S. including the patient’s assessment of their customer service.

The problem with a government mandate is that the business loses control over priorities or actions; the business gains an administrative burden; the business now has an 800-pound gorilla helping to manage it – the Federal Government.

Companies wouldn’t have to worry so much about government intervention if they took the time to measure the link between customer satisfaction, loyalty, word-of-mouth, repeat business, etc. and organizational profits. They wouldn’t be concerned with governmental edicts if they knew what percentage of this year’s revenue came from last year’s customers. They wouldn’t fear the repercussions of the government if they put a dollar value on the cost of the repercussions of their own upset or angry customers.

Put a dollar figure on the value of your customer. Let that number – not the government – be your incentive to improve customer service.

Read our New Book – “Ask Yourself…Am I GREAT at Customer Service?” http://www.amigreatat.com/

Interested in improving your company’s customer service? See more at our new website! http://www.cssamerica.com/


BRE-vity is the Soul of Wit

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

Do you remember the quote from your high school literature class – “Brevity is the soul of wit”? Basically, Shakespeare meant that clear and intelligent discussion (and wit, of course) usually involves concise wording. In other words, don’t be long-winded. Keep it short. You make better points when you use fewer words.

For Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) organizations, brevity is paramount in data gathering, analysis, reporting, and prioritization. Typically economic development staff in local municipalities, chambers, or other agencies must try to stay on top of what’s going on in hundreds or thousands of local businesses. These BRE groups must do it with limited staffing and resources. So they must be focused, highly prioritized, and efficient. They must have a clear strategy on who to visit versus survey versus monitor using more passive means. They must leverage partnerships, understand when to outsource research, determine ways to gather data on local businesses in as little time as possible, and prioritize.

The analysis of all data collected needs to be as automated as possible, and reporting needs to let a few key metrics (about the company’s jobs/tax/fees impact on the community and its risk of job loss) guide prioritization, actions, and future contacts.

If you’re in an organization that is asked to manage a large client base with a small staff base, learn from BRE organizations.

Focus on how to optimize effort to maximize impact.

Read our New Book – “Ask Yourself…Am I GREAT at Customer Service?” http://www.amigreatat.com/

Interested in improving your company’s customer service? See more at our new website! http://www.cssamerica.com/