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

Structured for Service?

Posted on in Business Advice, Government, Healthcare, Sports Please leave a comment

Yet another company is caring about customer service, and this one is an Australian telco – Telstra. The organization is trying to get rid of its reputation for horrible customer service by – in part – creating a combined structure for its sales and service areas. According to a Wall Street Journal article, Telstra wants to “improve service, win customers, simplify processes and build new growth businesses.”

In short, it’s restructuring for the money. Who knows today if it will work for tomorrow, but the attempt has some key points that need to be addressed.

First, your organizational structure has a HUGE impact on customer service. We see this all the time with hospitals and pro sports teams alike. Two different departments talk to the same customer (i.e., patient or season ticket holder) at two different times. Does one department know what the customer just communicated to another department? Think “shift change” on a hospital unit or a handoff of a new sale to a season ticket account representative on a sports team. Is the organization structured for responsiveness and seamless communication?

The article also talks about how structures impact processes. If you’ve ever tried to get a permit to renovate a building or to add a deck to your home, you know about which I’m referring. How many different places do you have to go, people do you have to interact with, information sources you have to research to get the “okay” to do the work? The structure of most local governments emphasizes the efficiency of the siloed department above the efficiency of the overall process from the customer’s perspective.

To improve customer service, look at your structures and processes. Where do they hinder Service Excellence?

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/


The President is Pro-Customer Service – What This Tells Us

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

In the article Obama Calls for ‘Customer Service’ Improvements in Federal Agencies, it’s noted how the President signed an Executive Order “mandating that each agency consult with OMB to develop a plan within 180 days to improve the user experience of its customers.” At least some component of the plan involves leveraging technology for customer service improvements.

Now we could delve into the political reasons for a President addressing customer service, but that’s not the focus of this post. The focus here is what we can learn from their approach.

The government is typically not an early adopter of new business trends and technology, but the article points out that the benefit of that is that it can look at what’s worked (best practices) and what hasn’t worked in private industry to learn from the outcomes of others. So this is Lesson One – don’t rely on your own smarts when there are probably others (in similar industries or situations) who may have already blazed a trail, identified what works and what does. Find best practice organizations and learn from them.

Much of the Federal Government’s initiatives are focused on internally sharing information on the customer (i.e., you and me), becoming more integrated from a data-standpoint to become more efficient internally and consistent and responsive externally. This is Lesson Two. At some point, you have to look at all the systems, all that data that you have organizationally that relates to your customer and make sure it’s shared internally, easily accessible internally, fresh and accurate. You have to see a common picture of your customer no matter where you are in the organization.

Find best practices from others, and find a way to have all the siloed pieces of your organization sharing what they know about your customer. It can improve efficiencies, quality, and – oh yeah – 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/


When Contracts are Ending, Decisions are Pending

Posted on in Business Advice, Government, Sports Please leave a comment

In the recent article Landlords must focus on customer service, landlords in Nottingham, England note how they are focused more and more on customer service. With the down economy, they’ve been forced to shorten the length of leases, which means the customer’s decision to stay or go is made much more quickly and frequently. According to Anna Kirk of King Sturge, “tenants, in the main, hold the balance of power.”

So the customer holds the power. The customer makes the decision. The customer – your revenue stream – has leverage. For a landlord, the tenant’s leverage increases as the length of the lease decreases.

Likewise, for economic development agencies who have a business retention and expansion program, when local businesses’ leases are up, that’s an opportunity for them to move.

Similarly, when a season ticket holder for a sports organization comes to the end of the season, they have to decide whether or not to renew.

The point is that – whether with the landlord, for a local municipality, or for a pro sports team – when contracts are ending, decisions are pending. Revenue streams are not permanent; you have to work to make them continue. You have to work to build relationships and value during the contract term so that you’re not having to sell so hard at the end.

Having a 3-month, 6-month, or 12-month contract with a client should be looked at as a 3-month, 6-month, or 12-month opportunity to build rapport, relationship, trust, and credibility. You should be executing a plan during that timeframe to result in a renewal at the end.

So what’s your plan?

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/