process

Libby Listened to Serve - 7/16/19


Libby was new to her role with the organization. She had never been a customer service representative in a call center before, but she was hired because of her attitude. She wanted to learn, enjoyed working with people, and could carry on a conversation with a wall. After going through Read more

Chris Got Noticed for All the Right Reasons - 7/9/19


Chris was working through a temporary agency, and he got a job at a warehouse. He was packaging items to be shipped out, and his shift didn't start until 7:30 a.m. Chris always got there a little bit early because of the bus schedule, and he hated just sitting Read more

What Does “No News” Mean? Here’s a Quick Story - 7/2/19


Steven was trying to make the purchase of his new used car official, so he could get license tags for his State. In order for the State to allow him to put the vehicle in his name, he had to submit paperwork to prove that the prior owner (from Read more

Are you the Output or the Input? - 6/25/19


You’re the output and the input. Sorry to put it into such technical/industrial engineering terminology. But in a service system, we all have some role as a part of the process. First, we receive the output. Somebody has a customer that they direct to us, so that handoff is from Read more

Hear Them, and Tell Them What You Heard - 6/18/19


CSS has conducted close to 1000 research projects over the years, many of which were web-based surveys. And oftentimes, in addition to or instead of completing the online survey, respondents e-mail us directly with questions or comments – and we respond personally to every message on behalf of our Read more

It’s Decision Time. What are you going to do? - 6/11/19


Serving others is tough. Whether it’s dealing with an irate customer, having to field the same question from the 100th different customer this month, or keeping 10 plates spinning while still smiling in front of the client, it’s hard. You want to do a great job, and you’re constantly put Read more

You Do Know Jack - 6/4/19


Have you ever had a co-worker who causes more problems than they solve? Simple things they do are often, from a procedure standpoint, correct. But the way they handle situations makes them come off as indifferent. Let’s call this co-worker “Jack.” Even though certain actions by Jack may seem innocent Read more

How to Give the Right Kind of “No” - 5/28/19


In a perfect world, you never need to say “No” to the customer. But as we all know, this is not a perfect world. There are a lot of issues in the world, and there are a lot of issues in customer service. Our companies are not perfect, our Read more

Make it Crystal Clear - 5/21/19


Sometimes we communicate so well, and sometimes we don’t communicate as well as we think we do. When you’re trying to set or manage another person’s expectations, what you say may be very clear to you, but the reality is it may not be clear to the other person. Read more

Harvey Wrote the Book on Focus...and Golf - 5/14/19


In Harvey Penick's Little Red Book, the famous golf instructor provides many key tips about golf that just as well could apply to life in general. One such tip is the following: Once you address the golf ball, hitting it has got to be the most important thing in Read more

Don’t Let 2 Great Employees Deliver a Lousy Experience – 12/13/16

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


When Daymond called his local auto service center, he needed to talk to someone in the parts department. A couple items on his SUV had broken recently, and he knew he could replace them himself. Daymond spoke with Marty, who was very patient, found Daymond’s car in the system, and identified the VIN to get the exact right part in the right color. It took Marty several minutes to determine what was available, but Daymond appreciated the effort. They had the rear window washer nozzle in stock, but they didn’t have the luggage rack cover available; Daymond could pay for both when he arrived, and they’d order the rack cover at that time. It was an 8-10 minute conversation, and Daymond was pretty happy about the game plan.

Upon his arrival an hour or so later, Daymond was greeted by a very friendly employee named Janet. Daymond noted that he spoke with Marty and was there to pick-up the parts. Janet then started asking the same questions about the auto, looking for the VIN in their system. Daymond – interjected – “Is Marty here? I had this discussion about an hour ago, and he has all the information; I’m just here to pick up, pay, and go.”

“Unfortunately, he’s not here,” Janet replied.

“Did he take notes and leave the parts for me?” asked Daymond.

“I don’t see any notes on paper or in the system, so I guess not,” said Janet.

So Janet proceeded through the same questions, the same 8-10 minute conversation repeated over again, and the same result was delivered as Marty promised. Daymond walked away with one part in hand and one ordered.

If Daymond was to have judged either Marty or Janet individually, he would have given them relatively high marks; however, when he judged the experience, the score would have been low. It was redundant – where he was asked and he answered the same questions twice. To either employee, it may have seemed like a normal encounter, but it wasted some customer time, created customer frustration, and was also inefficient from the organization’s perspective. In other words, it wasted staff time, too.

The next time you talk with a customer, if they tell you that they’ve already told someone their story, please apologize to them. But don’t stop there. Find out how a customer can be put in a position to tell the same thing to multiple people; then find ways to eliminate the redundancy.

Don’t let two great employees deliver a lousy experience.

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Less Ego, Better Customer Service – 8/2/16

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week 1 Comment


Tonya was a relatively new radiology tech at the hospital. She had been out of training and into her routine for months, and she was very confident. She could get a clear scan (“pretty” is what she calls them), a picture easy for the physician to read.

But this situation was different She couldn’t get clear pictures with the ultrasound, and it was starting to take some time. She kept searching for the right angle, and it just wasn’t working. So Tonya turned to the patient, smiled, and said “I’m going to get another tech to help so we can get this wrapped up for you.”

She left the exam room and came back about a minute later with a co-worker – her supervisor. The supervisor introduced herself to the patient, continued with the scan, and offered advice to Tonya on how to more quickly get the desired scan.

Shortly, the patient left, Tonya had learned some new tips, and the staff were on to the next patient.

Tonya could have kept working on her own, as her ego could have kept her from asking for help. Instead, she had a sense for how the process was going and how it was going to continue. She had a sense of the patient’s patience, but she also didn’t want to abuse that patience with an excessive procedure.

She knew that the best customer experience would involve a quicker completion, so she took the steps needed on the patient’s behalf.

Don’t let ego get in the way of good customer service. Ask for help.

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Cut Time in Half to Double the Customer Satisfaction – 7/26/16

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


At a speech I once gave to a local business association, one of the members offered a customer service horror story. He called a local physician practice and wanted to speak with his doctor. They put him on hold, and he waited through several rings. His wife told him to hang up the phone, but he decided to count rings. Finally, 187 rings later, someone answered the phone.

As a customer in any business, I want to get a person on the phone as quickly as possible. I want to pay for an item as quickly as possible. I want to fill out as few papers as necessary to complete a transaction. Consider the following aspects of customer interactions with your business. Make an effort to cut each of the following in half:

  1. The number of computer screen flips to enter a transaction – Simplifies work for the employee and speeds the process.
  2. The number of questions asked to open an account – Simplifies effort to the customer and speeds access to your business.
  3. The number of menus on a phone system – Expedites access to your sales representatives.
  4. The amount of time to take an order – Speeds closure of a transaction.
  5. The length of a proposal or contract – Simplifies decision-making to more quickly close business.
  6. The length of time to reply to a phone call – Shows responsiveness and allows customer to take next action.
  7. The percentage of time that you speak during a customer service call – Helps you learn more about the customer and establish better rapport.

Cut these in half, and watch your customers’ satisfaction levels rise with quicker and easier access to you and your services.

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