proactive | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

Tailor to the Type - 10/12/21


We’re all different.  We’re all unique.  Every customer is different and unique, as well, and we should treat them as unique individuals. While we should see each customer as unique, before we fully get to know the customer, there are some core philosophies to take into customer conversations based on Read more

Avoid the Silence; Build the Relationship - 10/5/21


Our interactions with customers are “Moments of Truth.”  These Moments of Truth can be conversations with a customer about some complaint, encounters when they're in the drive-thru, questions about an order that the customer calls in to the company, or brief interactions in the lobby of a government building. Sometimes Read more

Make it a “Good Busy” - 9/28/21


When I’m speaking with colleagues or clients, I’ll often ask how their day is going. The response I get almost once a week is something like:  I’m incredibly busy! When I get that response, sometimes I’ll ask whether it is a “good busy” or whether they are “fighting fires.” I’ll ask Read more

What’s the Good Word? - 9/21/21


Each one of us talks to co-workers and customers every day.  And when you’re speaking with someone, there are always good ways to respond to questions or issues.  But there are also better ways to respond.  Since you’re receiving weekly customer service tips, I know you are all about Read more

You can read me like a book - 9/14/21


Let’s say that I’m the customer, so it’s important to listen to what I say when we’re talking.  However, sometimes there are hidden words within the words.  I’m not talking about the tone of voice that I use as much as I’m talking about the words I choose. Sometimes you Read more

Show Your Confidence - 9/7/21


“Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.” To do something great, you need to have confidence in yourself.  That confidence often comes from positive experience, preparation, understanding what has happened and could happen, and having the knowledge and resources and training to address it when it does happen. If you Read more

Dear Customer, What do you expect? - 8/31/21


Studies show that 40% of customer dissatisfaction was because the company didn’t meet the customer’s expectations.  The company overpromised and under delivered, or the company didn’t even do the bare minimum of what the customer expected. To avoid dissatisfying your customer, meet or exceed their expectation.  Simple, right?  It only Read more

Listen Here…or Hear - 8/24/21


To listen or not to listen?  That is the question… Okay, so I’m no Shakespeare, but I like to quote the masters – Shakespeare, Senge, Seinfeld – whenever I get the chance. Today’s topic is listening versus hearing.  There are distinct differences.  It's important to go beyond hearing what somebody says Read more

Show Nothing but R-E-S-P-E-C-T - 8/17/21


With the new Aretha Franklin movie, Respect, coming out, it’s a great time to talk about Respect in customer service.  Respect is a word, a concept, an experience that’s brought up a lot in customer service, and it’s usually discussed when someone has been disrespected, Respect is part of Read more

It Matters How They Heard About You - 8/10/21


In the 1,000+ surveys that CSS has conducted over the past 20 years, it’s interesting to read how our clients’ customers heard about them.  This question is typically asked of first-time customers, and it’s especially helpful for those customers because you don’t typically have a lot of information on Read more

And YOU get a Thanks, and YOU get a Thanks… – 6/15/21

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment

Yes, Oprah Winfrey gets her first shout-out in a CSS Customer Service Tip of the Week!  She’s famous for many things – one of which was giving out presents to everybody in her audiences.  She would happily proclaim:  And YOU get a gift, and YOU get a gift, and YOU get a gift!

And as generous as that was, in the back of our minds we all know that she’s SO wealthy, that she can afford to give all those people gifts.  Well, even if we all are not rich, we can still afford to give our customers the gift…of thanks.

I’m sure that we’ve all been brought up in homes where we were told that – in business – when the transaction ends, somebody should say “thank you” and somebody should say “you’re welcome.”  But oftentimes in our personal lives, we give them our money, they give us the merchandise, and there is dead silence.  But we want to hear a thank you.  So we, the customer, say “thank you!”  It’s like saying “thank you for taking my hard-earned money.”  Or “thank you for the privilege of buying this combo meal; I really appreciate it!”

It shouldn’t be that way.  Employees should initiate the thanks.  Employees should convey the appreciation because the customer has an option; the customer could take their business elsewhere.  So, the employee should be the one closing positively and showing appreciation.

As you’re completing your transaction, and as that conversation on the phone or face-to-face is about to end, get in the habit of initiating the thanks, of initiating the appreciation.  And even if the customer says thanks before you get the opportunity, say thanks to them back. Say “I really appreciate your coming in” or “I really appreciate your bringing this to our attention.”

Realize that the customer has an opinion, and that opinion matters – that decides if they want to stay with you or want to go elsewhere.  Make sure that their last memory of their experience with you is your statement of appreciation.

Thank the customer first.

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It’s Right to Note “That’s Not Right” – 6/8/21

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TJ was doing some construction work for the homeowner, and he noticed something unusual about the paint texture on the storm door that he was about to install.  The homeowner had purchased the door, and when TJ was getting ready to install it, he noticed that the door had a grainy texture to the paint instead of being perfectly smooth.  “That’s not right,” TJ said, and he talked with the homeowner and investigated whether the paint job was defective or just a different finish than expected.

As he was walking through the house, he noticed cracks on the wall and remembered about some recent construction that had been done near that spot.  He said “that’s not right,” and he told the homeowner, investigated the cause, and offered some potential solutions.

As he was getting ready to wrap-up his work, he noticed some trim at the house that could use a fresh coat of paint.  “That doesn’t look right,” he thought.  He wasn’t a painter, but he offered the homeowner two different painters whom TJ trusted to contact if the homeowner wanted some help.

TJ was observant and proactive.  He didn’t make or buy the storm door, he didn’t cause the crack in the wall, and he wasn’t a painter.  But he noticed all the concerns, proactively brought them to the attention of the homeowner, and gained nothing directly from any of the issues.  In fact, it required more of his time than ignoring the issues would have required.

But TJ was focused on identifying the needs of the customer and doing what was best for the customer.  Know that TJ has gotten multiple referrals from that homeowner and also got some repeat business as well.

Be like TJ.  Look around.  Identify customer needs and point them out to the customer.  Maybe you can address the needs, or maybe you’ll just recommend a course of action to the customer.  But by being proactive, you gain trust, respect, and loyalty.

Identify situations where “that’s not right” to get the right kind of relationship with your customer.

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The Passive Predicament – 4/13/21

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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 of a 3-hour documentary on the origins of cardboard?

Passive people are often considered poor at customer service.  Proactive people are generally better at customer service.  Neither group is all bad or all good, but there are many more benefits of being proactive when you’re in the role of serving customers, developing relationships, and resolving issues.

Proactive people are better at perceiving their surroundings and the customer’s needs, because they make it a point to care enough to be aware; it’s hard to be proactive if you’re not aware something needs to be done.

Proactive people anticipate future customer needs and next steps; this helps needs to be met more quickly and often met in one communication or transaction (rather than multiple contacts with the same customer).

Proactive people are – by definition – action-oriented.  They do things.  They move things (decisions, resolution, fulfillment) forward.  And proactive people tend to respond quickly, thereby helping customers feel important – that their issue/need does matter.

Passive people generally do not anticipate well, they are not as perceptive (because they don’t care to be that engaged), they lack action, and they lack responsiveness and speed.

If you want to be great at customer service, avoid the passive predicament.  Use the power of being proactive.

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