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

Find a Fun Benchmarking Organization for Lessons on Service and Retention

Posted on in Business Advice, World of Customer Service 1 Comment

Why did Apple benchmark with the Ritz-Carlton? Are computers the same thing as hotels?

Why did Southwest Airlines benchmark with NASCAR pit crews? Are airplanes the same things as cars?

Benchmarking is usually more about how you do something than what you do. In the article How the Ritz-Carlton Inspired the Apple Store, the author notes how Apple Stores went to the Ritz-Carlton to learn lessons on customer service. Similarly, many years ago Southwest Airlines went to work with NASCAR pit crews to learn how to turn planes at the gate more quickly.

Continuous improvement in any organization involves thinking beyond your world, growing your organization’s collective knowledge by learning from others. What’s more, it can be lots of fun learning, particularly from those in other industries.

To most effectively benchmark, think about how you deliver a service, interact with customers, communicate, process, produce. Try not to think of this in industry terms; instead, think of this in functional terms. For example, as a bank, don’t think “What bank does a great job of increasing the number of accounts with current customers?” Think more broadly such as “What organizations are great at retaining and selling more services to existing account holders?” Instead of benchmarking with another bank, they might consider benchmarking with a pro sports team.

Instead of a local municipality asking “What City/County governments do a great job with their website?”, they should ask “What organizations effectively engage their customers online and leverage those sites to drive interest and traffic to their programs and facilities?”

Benchmarking is a fun way to get creative ideas, to continuously learn, grow, and improve.

So what industry (other than yours) is interesting to you? Go and learn from them.

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

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/


BRE and Beyond…Act on What You Know Makes Customers Happy

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

Fix what customers don’t like, but also give customers more of what they do like.

Continuous improvement in customer service is not all about root cause analysis and process improvement. Much of it is about doing more of what already satisfies the customer.

In the article Survey: Oshkosh good for business as CEOs cite better economic outlook, the local economic development organization reports results of a survey of local businesses. When economic development organizations have a Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) component, it’s because they want to retain those industries and those jobs (and those fees and taxes, etc.) locally. So surveys are conducted on businesses just like retailers conduct surveys with customers.

The Oshkosh article notes changes made as a result of the survey to help businesses become more accessible to customers and to plan for infrastructure changes. But one of the great things about BRE surveys or any surveys for that matter is that the survey organization also learns what the customer (or in the case, the business) likes – they like talking about their facilities or products, oftentimes they like the personal relationship with BRE organizations, they like help with facilitation of difficult permitting processes, they like the access to qualified technical personnel locally. And BRE organizations that are great at what they do, use the information on what makes customers happy to their benefit.

If the industry likes to share information about their facilities and products, find forums to allow them to present about themselves. If they like the relationships with the BRE staff, create Touch Point Plans for ongoing relationship-building. If the business likes help with permitting processes, create an issue-resolution process in partnership with the local code enforcement agency. If they like the access to qualified technical personnel, ensure businesses are establishing relationships with local providers of technical staff, with community colleges, and even some high schools.

Whether it’s for a BRE organization or a private business, research to uncover customer likes is important. Sometimes capitalizing on what already makes them happy is as important as fixing those things that bring frustration.

Act on what makes customers happy.

Interested in CSS’ Government Services? Check out:

http://cssamerica.com/cssgovt.htm

http://cssamerica.com/cssbrenews.htm

http://cssamerica.com/cssbresurvey.htm


Make Your Existing Clients Your New Star

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

In the article NuStar Energy Plans $365-Million Expansion in Louisiana, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal hailed growth of an existing company in Southeast Louisiana. According to Gov. Jindal, “When I entered office, I said business retention and expansion (BRE) would be our top economic development priorities. Today’s announcement shows our strong commitment to retaining and growing existing Louisiana companies so we can create more opportunities for our people here at home.”

When local communities focus on keeping their existing businesses, they’re doing it to keep fees, taxes, jobs locally. If a State is focusing on business retention and expansion such as Louisiana, they are it doing it to keep fees, taxes, and jobs statewide. There’s no altruism involved in a BRE focus; it’s business…and that’s absolutely fine.

According to the article, “Louisiana Economic Development’s Business Expansion and Retention Group, or BERG, began working with NuStar more than a year ago to cultivate the expansion project.”

So what can any business learn from this example? If you want to sustain a business, you want to grow a business, you have to focus on retaining and growing with who you already have; learn these lessons:

· Get buy-in from the top, with leadership being an outward, visible champion of retention and growth.

· Create structures in your organization that exist to support the effort.

· Dedicate staffing/financial/research-driven resources to retention initiatives.

· Partner with clients by planning together how to succeed/grow.

To be a big success in retaining and growing with existing clients, buy into these BRE lessons.

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/