renewal | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

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

Diss the Dissatisfiers - 8/3/21


Do people still talk about “being dissed?”  When I was growing up, we used to talk about how someone may get dissed by others – short for disrespected; you could also define “diss” as holding in contempt.  I understood the term “diss” and used the term, at times, to Read more

Keep it Simple in Complex Situations - 7/27/21


Life involves making a series of decisions, and whenever serving customers or dealing with difficult issues, those decisions can become more challenging. Part of what makes decisions difficult is that there are so many factors to consider:  People. Policies. Procedures. Places. Products. Processes. Personalities. Who are the people involved?  What policies Read more

Customer Service Experts have a Presence - 7/20/21


Standouts in the sports, entertainment, business, and political fields are sometimes said to have “an air about them.”  Unfortunately, that definition of air sometimes is perceived as an air of superiority or an air of condescension or something that doesn’t always have the most positive connotations. Well, the greats in Read more

Diss the Dissatisfiers – 8/3/21

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Do people still talk about “being dissed?”  When I was growing up, we used to talk about how someone may get dissed by others – short for disrespected; you could also define “diss” as holding in contempt.  I understood the term “diss” and used the term, at times, to describe the situation – it seemed like a cool slang term to use, even though I may not have been the coolest person in my school (as my family members would attest).  But I digress…

In general, it’s not good to diss someone, but someTHINGS are sometimes worthy of being dissed.  Let’s talk about customer dissatisfiers.  Some businesses are so focused on creating the WOW experience or reciting their customary script that they forget that one or two negative experiences can easily overshadow that one WOW.

For many organizations, before they try to determine how to delight the customer, they first need to shore up the quality and consistency of their experiences.  They need to identify those key customer dissatisfiers.  They need to determine what situations or responses or reactions or processes or product experiences that could cause a customer never to come back.

The fast-food restaurant has a “B” sanitation grade.  It had incredibly fast service, but who would want to eat there?

The boutique had snobby employees.  They had interesting products in a nice ambiance, but who wants to pay money to somebody who’s treating them as “lesser than?”

The big box store took forever to check out.  Sure, they had a large selection, but who wants to wait in line over 20 minutes to buy a $10 phone cord?

The sporting event played music so loud that you couldn’t hear anything else.  Sure, the team won, but if the between-play music dominated the environment and didn’t allow you to talk with others, didn’t the music detract from the experience?

I appreciate when businesses try to create the WOW.  But organizations need to also identify those key aspects of the experience with their people, products, processes, places, or overall experience that can drive customers away.

Find those pain points for your customers – the reasons that could cause their exit. And then find ways to ensure you take the pain out of your experience.

Diss the Dissatisfiers.

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Why Did They Walk Away? – 6/22/21

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Granted, the drive-thru line was long, but Cynthia thought it would move pretty quickly.  After almost 10 minutes of only moving up one spot, she drove away.

Benny was on hold, but the system didn’t tell him for how long.  Then he looked at his watch; 5 minutes later he looked again. And 3 minutes later, he looked again. Then 2 minutes later, he hung up.

Jenny took her lunchbreak to go to the bank and get a few questions answered about her account.  She got into the branch and stood in line.  She stood, and she stood, and she stood.  Eventually, she could not stay in there any longer.  She was frustrated and had to get back to work.  She turned and walked away.

Three different customers with three different needs – they were trying to get their needs addressed three different ways.  And if each of the three companies did a customer satisfaction survey, they would never know why Cynthia or Benny or even Jenny left.  Technically, they might not have information on those three customers, and none of their systems may even know those three people had a need.  These customers left – maybe to never return.

The companies lost business that day and maybe customers for a lifetime, and they didn’t know why they walked away.  They didn’t know why they hung up the phone or drove away.

This is the big problem with gauging customer satisfaction based on numbers of complaints or who visits your office the most.  If we don’t find other ways to uncover what the customer experience is like other than surveys that occur after the transaction, then we could miss information on some of the most important customers – those who were so dissatisfied that they left before getting served.

Take a step back and look at your overall research strategy.  Do you incorporate mystery shopping?  Do you conduct annual surveys of customers gauging more broad-based perceptions?  Do you conduct research such as focus groups with customers who don’t engage with you anymore or who have not renewed contracts or have closed accounts?

Make sure that your customer experience research provides the answer to the question:  Why did they walk away?

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Should I Stay or Should I Go? – 2/23/21

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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 maintain their existing customer base.  Even after almost one year of dealing with COVID-19, that concern continues – understandably so.

Customers are the life of any business, so sustainability and growth as an organization depends largely on retention and growth of the customer base.  Since the question I’m highlighting from the Business Journal study focused on existing customers, let’s talk about your current base of clients.

For you to maintain your existing customer base – before developing strategies or launching some major personalized reach-out campaign – let’s pause.  Let’s first determine what information we don’t know, and then let’s ask our existing customers to supply us with the information we need to keep them!

Retention:  Why did our customers begin working with our companies?  What about our products, our services, our people brings them the most value?  Why do they stay with us?  Why would they leave?

Growth:  Are they aware of our array of products and services – especially those that they don’t currently use?  Do they know about new customer processes or technology, policies or perks that could benefit them?  Are they aware of special values, resources, or unique opportunities available to them as existing customers?

Future Plans:  How likely are they to stay with us, to purchase more, to want to upgrade what they get from us?  How likely are they to look elsewhere for our types of services, and who else is competing for their interest or their dollar?

Every day, our customers are asking themselves whether they should stay or go.  Let’s make sure we’re asking them the questions so that we have the answers we need to keep them for the long-term.

Get customers to tell you why they would stay.

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