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

Be Vigilant in Tough Times

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

When the economy is bad, and people are hurting, the stories that seem to bubble to the surface in the news are often those that focus on government. When somebody’s mad, the one large entity that people direct that wrath toward is often the government. We might define government as a local municipality, state government, or the federal government. But in any case, problems that are minor which may have been overlooked in the past are now front page news.

There are some obvious reasons for this. When the economy is bad, people’s purse-strings are tightened, and their scrutiny of every individual dollar is heightened. Oftentimes the dollars that are not in one’s control or which seem to rise during bad economic times are those dollars spent on government services – real estate taxes, utilities, sales taxes, personal income taxes, etc.

So during these times, governments have to be hypersensitive to the feelings of their customers – the residents and businesses. They need to make sure that when issues arise they jump out in front with proactive communication plans that not only target the media but which also target individual customers one-on-one. Since the media is more than happy to jump on a negative story and milk it for all it’s worth during times like these, government entities have to determine ways to influence the perceptions of the public in a more one-on-one manner, more directly. They cannot rely on reactive responses to the media; they need to have proactive communications and plans targeting their customers directly.

There is a need to be vigilant during the tough times in getting your message out, because if government organizations – or any organizations for that matter – are in reactive mode when issues arise, loss of control of the message can be a loss of the positive image of the brand that the organization has worked so long to nurture and develop.

Focus on the one-on-one, and be vigilant in your proactive communications during the tough times.

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


The Servant Mindset

Posted on in Business Advice, Government 1 Comment

A county manager talks about staff needing to have a “Servant Mindset” with the community. He is talking about government workers on the local level in tax collections, parks, social services, and the health department being servants of the residents of the community.

That’s his way of describing customer service. That’s his way of sharing his mental image of what it means to provide customer service.

To many people, this conjures up the image of someone subservient to the other, someone who defers to the other, someone dressing fancy, saying “Yes, Sir” and “Yes, Ma’am” and catering to the other person’s every whim. Could that possibly be the image he is referencing?

Well…yes.

We know that many government workers have a bad reputation for being slow or inconsiderate or even rude at times. And that reputation – fair or not – has to be turned around; changing that perception is not going to happen purely from some slick marketing or branding campaign. It has to happen through the thousands and thousands of interactions that occur on a weekly basis. That perception has to be changed through the reality that residents experience on a daily basis. It has to be based on each call, or e-mail, or face-to-face interaction which the community experiences. At some point, for government entities (and most businesses), reality is the ultimate determinant of perception.

So the manager strives to impact those interactions by impacting the mindset of each employee. If the employee takes the attitude that “I need to defer to the other” and “I need to dress professionally” and “I need to be respectful in what I say and how I say it,” then how that employee is perceived by the customer will improve. This mindset creates an underlying feeling in the conversation that the customer is important, they are being served, and they are being respected.

The next time your company is coming up with the next big thing to impact your perception and your brand, start first by impacting the mindset that each employee has toward their relationship with their customer.

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


When Mayors Get It Right

Posted on in Government Please leave a comment

The new mayor had taken office, and she had appeared on many different local television shows and radio shows. It seemed like every time she spoke, she spoke about the importance of retaining jobs. She spoke about the importance of keeping local businesses.

It was amazing to hear, and yet it was not amazing to hear. It was amazing to hear in the sense that very few politicians ever talk about retaining jobs. Sure, they are more than willing to promote the next new local headquarters or the company that is moving a facility to their jurisdiction. But rarely do politicians talk about the importance of retaining jobs and companies in the future.

The reason why it was not so surprising is that the local economy had lost some major employers recently, and there was an increasing sense of concern permeating the community about the loss of more jobs.

Just like with any private sector business attempting to retain clients, government entities need to have strategies focused on retaining their local businesses and local jobs. These strategies involve having an organizational structure setup that is continuously touching base with local businesses in key industries to ensure they are getting their needs met. This strategy includes ongoing research by directly contacting companies as well as more passive research where the municipalities are gathering information on local businesses about leadership changes, changes in company performance, facility changes, and industry trends. That strategy includes making sure that there are incentives in place to help with economic development for companies willing to expand and stay locally so that those incentives can fend off other jurisdictions offering relocation incentives.

It’s sad that it takes a bad economy to get politicians to talk about business retention, but if it does nothing else, it proves that every local job, every local business, and every industry impacted by local business is important.

Make sure that your jurisdiction has a sound strategy for business retention and expansion.

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