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

Would Poor Customer Service Make You Run for Office?

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

The article Livingston County registrar of deeds faces ‘rude’ challenge notes how a Michigan resident decided to run in an election for the Register of Deeds for Livingston County because – as part of the reason – the customer service in the department is terrible. Staff are “definitely rude,” according to the candidate.

It’s interesting to read the article because – in order to get votes – this individual is attacking the very people she would be leading. It’s also interesting that the incumbent defends herself by talking about all the process improvements she made without addressing any efforts she made to ensure that the staff themselves are customer service-oriented (i.e., to ensure they’re NOT rude).

If I tried to run for office or (for private sector companies) take over every organization that provided poor customer service, I’d be taking over a whole lot of businesses. So I’m not suggesting that what this one resident is doing is a path that must be taken, but here’s what I am suggesting.

The two candidates – in total – are correct. Customer service is about employee attitudes, processes, systems, and communications. Improving customer service is about addressing those items, but it’s also about other things.

It’s about helping the customer to help themselves. It’s about trying to determine why you get repetitive questions and determining how to reduce those questions through improved customer education. It’s about learning why you get complaints, determining root causes, and not getting those same complaints again.

Learn a little lesson from this Michigan election. Customer service is important; it could cause the incumbent their job. It could propel an outsider into a new position.

So if it’s so important, know how to manage the demand for customer service, and get into continuous improvement mode.

Listen to our latest podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/


Linked at the Hip – Business Retention and Long-term Thinking

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

If you care about winning a battle, focus on today. If you care about winning the war, think beyond tomorrow.

In far too many businesses, companies focus too much on today’s battles. They get so immersed in making this one sale, in closing this one transaction, in getting through these operational steps, that they find themselves with the same one sale, one transaction, and one step-orientation the next day.

So what’s the problem with that? The problem is that caring almost exclusively about today doesn’t help you to plan for tomorrow, to think strategically, to think long-term, and to succeed long-term. It doesn’t help you to research, study, and anticipate what you customers will do, how the environment will change, and what your competitors will do.

This conundrum is no different in the world of economic development. Too many communities are too focused on new business acquisition and don’t invest enough resources or planning on how to retain and grow the companies already located in their jurisdiction. This is where effective Business Retention & Expansion programs come into play.

Communities that care about the long-term, realize it’s not all about the hunt, the new business, the relocation. It’s about keeping what you have and growing them. It’s about having strategies to ward off other jurisdictions recruiting their businesses. It’s about becoming as vital to the businesses as the businesses are to the community.

Mooresville, NC economic development groups created ‘Moving Mooresville Forward 2017’. According to a recent article, the strategy has 5 key initiatives:

  • Business retention/expansion/acquisition
  • Creating an environment for small business growth
  • Workforce development
  • Transportation planning
  • Creating a business environment and quality of life that fosters individuals’ and businesses’ desire to stay.

Note how these initiatives are focused mostly on what you currently have – your businesses, your environment, your employees, your infrastructure, your quality of life. Mooresville realizes that it must create an environment that fosters retention and expansion, and that same environment would be of interest to companies seeking relocation options from elsewhere to Mooresville.

When you want to succeed for the long-term, plan how to enhance, retain, and grow what you have instead just focusing on today’s sale, today’s transaction, and today’s task.

Check out our BRE News Research Services: http://cssamerica.com/cssbrenews.htm

Listen to our latest podcast episode on “Delivering the WOW Experience!”

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


The Good, the Bad, and the Needed of Municipal Customer Service

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

The Tulare County (California) government has launched a new customer service program. According to Fifth District Supervisor Mike Ennis in the article County unveils customer service program, “Customer service is the lifeblood of any successful business, including local government. Thousands of residents utilize Tulare County services every day. These residents expect and deserve great customer service.”

We’ve worked on improving customer service for local municipalities for over ten years, and we’ve seen the Good (a county IT department going from “worst to first” in customer service), the Bad (employees who bring bad attitudes into training because “it’s not like the residents have a choice”), to the Needed (municipalities lacking customer service standards and plans) of municipal customer service.

And as with many businesses, when organizations do start to focus on customer service, the first thing they think about is training. While training is important, it should never be the totality of a customer service program. The ultimate goal of any customer service program is to provide consistently high levels of customer service to internal and external customers.

To gain that comprehensive focus, training is important – it creates a baseline definition of core expectations, principles, and service skills for employees. But the consistency comes from having a customer service vision defined, having management model the way, having organizational structures, incentives/accountability systems, processes, measures, communication plans, and ongoing reinforcement all aligned toward that vision.

When you think of creating a “customer service program,” don’t just fallback to training as a panacea. Ensure you’re doing all you need to do to truly create a culture of customer service.

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

Listen to our latest podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/

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