sales | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 4

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

Ticket Sales Down Due to Accounts Reducing Seats?

Posted on in Business Advice, Sports Please leave a comment

Blog 9-24-14Typically, fewer than 6% of season ticket accounts are likely to reduce their number of seats year-to-year. That’s based on a history of our CSS fan research in the Sports Industry. So when we read stories like USU football: Aggies looking to increase season-ticket sales where the Athletic Director notes the main reason for recent drops in season tickets is a reduction in seats by individual accounts, it’s odd to hear. The AD states “that the school’s tracking system shows the Aggies haven’t lost as many season-ticket buyers as they have the number of tickets bought. Many fans are buying two or four season tickets this year instead of six or more in years past.”

So what can cause a relatively unusual action – reducing the number of tickets – to occur? Among the factors not controllable by the club are the economy, the financial status of the accounts, families downsizing with kids going to college elsewhere, etc. But what are causes that the club can control?

What we’ve found is that when fans are keeping their accounts but reducing the number of tickets, this is a symptom of a wavering commitment to the team. The somewhat controllable factors are the following:

  • Concerns with the “Direction of the Team” – Fan is uncertain about whether their investment is worth the lack of a plan (or a poor plan) for improving performance of the club. The fan is less likely to want to invest big on something that seems like it’s going in the wrong direction.
  • Lack of Personal Connection – From a controllable perspective, there are no strong ties to account representatives that can communicate more 1-on-1 with accounts to allay concerns and strengthen ties. A strong relationship is not being built. Weakness drops commitment.
  • Decreasing Pride in the Team – The organization is doing little in the community or little to overcome negative perceptions of players, coaches, and other personnel. It’s no longer the “cool thing” to be a fan of the team – it becomes more of the cool thing to bash the team or hide your fandom. The organization is doing little personally with the fan to overcome these perceptions.

Much of the decision of the account to decrease their annual season ticket purchases is out of the control of the “business side” of the club. But that can’t be an excuse for failure. Look for those aspects of the organization, the experience, and/or the people involved that are controllable.

Look for those attributes that decrease perceived value or create doubt about the future direction of and relationship with the club.

Find ways to keep the accounts from dropping seats.

Did you like this post? Here are other Sports-related posts:


The Customer Decides the Company’s Fate – 9/2/14 TOW

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week 1 Comment


Argue with the title if you want – “Nobody decides MY fate!” or “I’m in control of my own life.” or “Our nutty CEO decides our company’s fate.”

Feel free to make whatever argument you’d like to make (and I’m sure many are valid), but here’s my perspective. I’ve worked with local government organizations where community complaints about a particular agency cost the leader his job and cost the municipality millions of dollars in rework that also served as repentance.

I’ve seen professional sports clubs where the dwindling attendance caused executives to lose jobs, or the teams spent millions more than in the past to acquire new fans through marketing, advertising, and sales efforts.

There are so many healthcare organizations today whose CEO is seeing that their government reimbursement is being impacted more and more by the results of patient satisfaction surveys.

In other words, the customer’s voice matters. . .BIG TIME!

That means that we have to listen when they care enough to complain. We have to have a process of frequently soliciting feedback to understand their feelings, perceptions, plans, and suggestions. We have to ask at the end of conversations about experiences so we can fix issues on the spot, and so we can find out what they really liked.

The customer deciding our company’s fate means that once we have them, we have to create a culture that seeks to serve. We have to view them for their lifetime value, not transactional amount. We have to nurture the long-term relationship rather than focusing solely on the task at hand. And we have to become so vital to them, so trusted by them, so much in relationship with them, or so pleasing in their experience with us that – when the fateful decision is made – they decide to stay and grow with us.

In other words, if everyone in the organization truly believes that the customer decides the company’s fate, how would we be different than we are today?

Ask the question, and then live the answer.

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Breaking Down the Infamous 1-on-1 Retention Call – 8/26/14 TOW

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


I referenced the infamous recorded Comcast Retention call in a Tip of the Week on July 22. It’s been such a lightning rod for discussion that we just recorded a podcast addressing some of the key language that the Comcast representative used during the call. Now, we’ve gained access to what’s reported as being the company’s 13-Step Retention Call Approach. Let’s analyze this from the customer’s perspective.

  1. Greet customer clearly – This is good; customers want to know the employee’s name and department to make sure they called the right place.
  2. Clarify reason for call – We always say “Clarify and Confirm” – ask clarifying questions, then confirm your understanding. Customers want the employee showing that they know the reason for calling (and, in this case, canceling their service).
  3. Relate and empathize – Love this – especially the Empathy portion. Customers want to be understood.
  4. Take control – Not sure why this is here; “control” has a power/aggressive connotation. It’s not good to encourage representatives to get aggressive with a typically-upset customer. Customers don’t want to be controlled.
  5. Set the agenda – Again, this conveys aggression, taking over, not focused on listening.
  6. Ask targeted questions – This may be fine, depending on the definition of “Targeted.” We use that word to illustrate questions unique to the customer and their situation. However, the employee asked “targeted” questions such as “Why would you not want the fastest internet?” This is pushy and derogatory at the same time.
  7. Consider unstated needs / active listening – Active Listening is great! However, “unstated needs” is sales terminology. If someone wants to cancel, you’re in Service Recovery territory, not hardcore sales territory.
  8. Take ownership / make offer – These should work well.
  9. Overcome objections – This is fine as long as the customer’s still willing to dialogue about the issue; if they want to avoid the debate, quickly cancel and go to step 12.
  10. Close the save – Change this to “Close the save…or close the account.” In the end, do what the customer wants you to do.
  11. Confirm details – Always confirm next steps before closing.
  12. End on a positive note – Good step.
  13. Documentation – Good step.

Many of the steps are positive, but where they go wrong is that they focus too much on controlling the customer in a hardcore sales manner instead of communicating with a customer in a Service Recovery mindset.

When a customer wants to cancel or end the relationship, feel free to professionally ask for reasons, but remember that you’re delivering customer service, not driving the hard sell. You may retain just as many, and you’ll definitely avoid the horrific word-of-mouth that this call created.

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