purpose

When Jack Gave Arnie a Tip - 1/21/20


Jack Nicklaus may have been the greatest golfer ever.  Many think that Arnold Palmer was the most important golfer of the 20th century.  These two greats were contemporaries, so they became competitors and friends all at once.  And when somebody who is one of the greatest of all time Read more

Make it Abundantly Clear - 1/14/20


Becky was laying in her hospital bed and staring at the whiteboard on the wall.  It had a room number, the room’s phone number, and the date.  It had the pictures of the pain scale, with happy-to-sad faces and ratings from 0-10.  It noted when the last meds were Read more

Become the Wishing Well - 1/7/20


When you don’t know if the next step will solve the customer’s problem, give hope a chance.  If you’re not certain how things will progress on their project, give hope a chance.  If you want to end the conversation by having them feel positive, even if uncertain, give hope Read more

Why Silence is Golden - 12/31/19


In the world of customer service, to begin finding a resolution, sometimes we have to initiate conversation. To keep things moving forward, oftentimes we have to proactively engage in discussion.  To have effective dialogue, we need to avoid those long periods of dead silence. But don’t let those truths of Read more

2019 Holiday Poem - 12/24/19


There is joy absolutely everywhere, Sometimes you just need to look for it. There are birds and babies. There are flowers and sweet older ladies. You just have to look for them. People hold doors open for others, with smiles. There are days when you can see for miles. You just have to look for them. There Read more

Encourage the Customer - 12/17/19


Everybody sing with me:  Feelings, whoa whoa whoa, feelings… Excellent old song, and be thankful that I’m just writing the words and not singing to you.  While not all of us are comfortable with discussing feelings, feelings are an important part of the customer experience. No, you can’t make someone feel Read more

Hearing is Believing - 12/10/19


“I just want to be heard.” When I work with clients whose customers are the community, this is a phrase I’ve heard far too often from residents.  For retail businesses and other industries where there are many choices, often customers will take their business elsewhere instead of complaining.  But with Read more

Assuming the Solution – The Great Time Waster - 12/3/19


Here are 3 customer service scenarios for a college IT department: A staff member calls in and says that they’re having trouble logging in.  The employee responds:  “I can reset your password for you.” A faculty member calls IT and says: “I need help showing a video during class Read more

Become a Best Practice - 11/26/19


When evaluating the service that our clients provide to their customers, we look at all sorts of things – from employee attitudes to knowledge, from service skills to procedures, systems, and technology.  We look at navigation to and within the facilities, and we look at layout and signage and Read more

Serve with Integrity - 11/19/19


I’ve been reading a book recently about a Charlotte-based service company, and the author of the book conveys the CEO’s perspective on management, culture, and serving customers. At the back of the book, the author noted the organization’s Core Values. They are honesty, integrity, fairness, and respect. I literally Read more

2017 Holiday Poem – 12/26/17

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


It’s the end of the year and the middle of a season.
It’s the time with family, to live life with a reason.
It’s about who we are and who we do for.
It’s about to begin a new year full of more.

More time and more days and more chances to grow.
2018 will give more opportunities to show
All that we are and all that we have
Can be used to do things that are of good and not bad.

We all have talents, treasures, and gifts to share
Lose humility for a second to admit our gifts are beyond compare.
Compared to some we have little, but compared to most we have lots.
Just ignore what we don’t have to focus on what we’ve got.

May you enjoy the new year and the blessings that it brings
And I’m not talking presents, possessions and things.
Enjoy time with others, use your gifts to do good
And take joy in the simple things like we all know we should.

Happy Holidays!

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Turn it Off – 12/27/16

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


Prior to starting Customer Service Solutions, Inc., I worked as an internal consultant in a large urban hospital. To help the leadership quickly gauge overall performance of individual departments and create a focus on key metrics for individual department heads, my team was charged with creating “Excellence Reports.” These were brief reports which highlighted the 1-3 most important metrics for each department.

For the first 12-18 months, my team compiled the metrics and created reports, and the reports fostered great dialogue with department heads about how to use the information, the causes of downward trends, and how to best share the information.

Then for about a 2-month stretch, it was crickets. I received no questions or feedback from any department heads. So I went to my COO, told him the situation, and asked what he’d suggest. I thought he’d recommend creative ways to re-engage the managers, to reconfigure the reports, or to adjust my communications.

Instead, the COO said “Turn it off.”

“What?”, I replied. He said “Turn it off. If they start calling and asking where the Excellence Reports are and are wanting the data, then you can inquire about how it’s being used, it’s value, etc.”

So I turned them off. One month passed – no contact from managers. Two months passed – no contact from managers. The crickets continued.

Sometimes we start something in work that has great purpose and value, but if we’ve been holding that meeting, sending that memo, creating that report for years, at some point we have to question if it’s still of value to others, if it’s still worth my time to produce, if it really helps me to better serve my customers.

If not, then consider turning it off. It could save everyone time and release at least one of the many things you’re responsible for in the new year.

Once in a while consider turning it off.

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Elaine had an Eye for Customer Service – 3/29/16 TOW

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


I don’t know if she realized it, but Elaine was great! The Optometrist Assistant went to the waiting room to call on Rodney, and she smiled as she said his full name. She introduced herself and asked him to follow her to the exam room.

As they entered she said – You get the BIG chair!

She asked about Rodney’s weekend and shared a little about hers as well when he asked. She told Rodney what she was about to do and why – whether it was checking vision or putting drops in his eyes.

They discussed the doctor he had met with months earlier when he was having an issue with floaters, and she raved about the doctor – “a special person…84 years old – been here his entire career…very thorough.”

When she was done with the diagnostics and drops, she conveyed a sense of urgency (but not anxiety) on Rodney’s behalf by pleasantly saying “let me get Dr. Smith in here for you.”

These are snippets from the conversation between Elaine and Rodney, but they illustrate so much that’s great in customer service:

  • Share your name and use their name – This personalizes the conversation
  • Be inquisitive – This conveys your interest and shows you care
  • Build up co-workers in front of customers – This adds credibility to the co-worker and the organization
  • Describe next steps – This reduces worry by making the unknown known
  • Explain “the Why behind the What” – This enables the customer (or patient!) to feel more comfortable with what’s being done; it helps with their buy-in and support.

 
Sometimes little things mean a lot. Learn from this little interaction about how a great customer experience can look.

Develop an eye for great customer service.

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