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I Think I Think is Wrong - 10/20/20


I think that’s not going to be feasible.  I think we can do that.  I think you’re on the right track.  Methinks thou dost protest too much. Please forgive the Shakespearean reference, but it seems to fit well here.  When we are talking to co-workers and customers, and we’re giving Read more

Be Slowest, and Be the Best – Chick-fil-A - 10/13/20


About one week ago, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution had an article that analyzed the results of a SeeLevel HX research engagement on the customer experience at fast food restaurants.  The results were seemingly contradictory.  The fast food chain with by far the overall best drive-thru experience was Chick-fil-A, and yet Read more

Connect During Customer Service Week - 10/6/20


It’s Customer Service Week…woohoo!  This week should be all about the customers we serve and the staff who serve them.  This should be about conveying we value other people, and – hopefully – having other people convey that they value us.  It’s a week about people – about us. This Read more

Temper the Tone of THE VOICE - 9/29/20


The television show The Voice is a singing competition.  The opening episodes of every season begin with individuals singing while judges have their backs to the singer.  The judges can’t see the singer, so they are evaluating the performer purely based on their voice. Oftentimes, when the judge turns around, Read more

Keep On Going - 9/22/20


Thomas Edison once said “Many of life’s failures are experiences by people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” You are close to success – Keep On Going. Winston Churchill once said "If you’re going through hell, keep going."  This quote has been taken Read more

Lessons Learned for COVID Era Sporting Events


Since the sports world has begun inviting fans back to their events on a limited basis, CSS has been fortunate to work on multiple events with our sports clients.  Much of our work is fan research-oriented, where before or after events, we are engaging fans to identify expectations, potential Read more

Create a Common Definition of Customer Service - 9/15/20


Peter, Paul, and Marie are co-workers. They are all customer service representatives.  When Peter thinks of good customer service, he defines it as being friendly to the customer. “And I am friendly,” Peter says.  “That’s why I don’t know why they send me to customer service training.” Paul thinks customer Read more

COVID-19 Demand Management Strategies for Customer Service Channels


We all want demand for our products or services.  This helps us to generate revenue and to provide something of value to our customers and communities.  But customer demand does not strictly relate to products and services.  Demand also relates to communications, information, issue resolution, education, and other aspects Read more

Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance? - 9/8/20


This is a quote by Edgar Bergen.  He’s one of the most famous ventriloquists of all time, but I guess he wasn’t necessarily one of the hardest workers of all time.  By sharing this quote, I am not supporting the idea that we shouldn’t work hard…or am I? We only Read more

Reach Out More for COVID-19 Customer Retention


Ever since the Coronavirus pandemic became a reality for individuals, their communities, and their countries, it became clear that people were going to be hurting…that lives were going to be changing…that the realities of the past were going to be very different from the current and near-term future realities. When Read more

Visualize Your Way to Success – 3/21/17

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


Brandon was having a bad day. Well – technically it was not THAT bad. After all, the worst day spent golfing is better than the best day spent working, or so goes the old saying.

But Brandon could not hit anything well. His shots from the tee were okay, but whenever he put a short iron in his hand, he’d hit it fat. For those of you who aren’t golfers, that means that he would take a swing, and the ball would go only a few yards because he would dig a large chunk of earth out in the process – a half-foot long, 2 inch deep divot would go flying through the air.

It was late in the round, and on #15 Brandon hit his best drive of the day. He was only 100 yards from the hole – a chance for a birdie! Well, that’s what a normal person would visualize. But Brandon saw the small pond just in front of the green. So he took his wedge out of the bag for the short shot, got an extra ball out of his bag, and walked over to his ball to hit.

He got out the extra ball because all he could think about was hitting another fat shot, and he visualized the shot landing in the water. So – of course – he visualized having to hit another shot with the second ball.

What happened? Brandon hit a fat shot; the ball plunked right into the water; Brandon dropped the second ball, and he put the next shot right on the green.

With his first shot, Brandon had visualized failure, and failure ensued.

Many times in the world of customer service, we’re reacting and responding – we don’t know what we’re about to deal with, and it’s hard to have time to visualize. But often, we DO have time to visualize. We do have time to see how we want the conversation to flow, how we want the tone to be, how we want it to end positively.

In life, and golf, and customer service – we can visualize success or visualize failure – and whatever we visualize has a greater chance of happening.

Choose to visualize success.

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Improve the Health of Your Customer Service – 5/31/16 TOW

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Webster’s has a couple definitions of health. One is “not being sick.” True, but I don’t like defining something by simply saying what it’s not.

Another definition is “vigor of body, mind, and spirit” – much more positive! Let’s apply that to one of our favorite customer service people – you!

The Body – Human energy is something that has not been scientifically studied like it should. Sure, there’s more sleep recommended, Red Bull, 5-hour Energy shots, healthy eating, etc. that are supposed to give you energy. But the reality is, I’ve never heard of a study that identified the true source of “human physiological energy.” So to create physical vigor, that “body energy,” may be difficult. However, in customer service you at least want to have physical health that enables you to go TO the customer, to quickly respond to e-mails, to be there on time for them, to go to the co-worker to address the issue. If you don’t have the energy for these basic customer care responsibilities, work on your body health.

The Mind – Tying into body health, those who want to be great at customer service must be able to focus on the task and the customer. You have to be able to take in the considerations of the customer, co-worker, and company, finding solutions that will – long-term – be best. You have to think outside yourself, identifying what’s truly best for others, and realizing that the more successful those are that you serve, the more success you’ll have, as well. To create the healthier mind, work on your focus, your consideration for others, and making decisions that are best for the long-term.

The Spirit – What I generally love about caddies of professional golfers is that their conversations with the pros revolve around two things – helping make the best decision, and being exceptionally positive! That positivity with the pros improves their comfort level and confidence in hitting the right shot in the best manner. Positivity can drive confidence and higher results. So are you a good caddy for yourself? Do you spend more time telling yourself positives than beating yourself up for issues? Be a good caddy to yourself. Foster a healthy spirit.

Become healthier to improve your service to others. Work to build vigor into your body, mind, and spirit.

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Weigh-in to Buy-in – 5/24/16 TOW

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Weigh-in to Buy-in – cool phrase! It’s usually associated with companies trying to get their employees onboard for some initiative or a change that requires employees to make it work. Essentially, the principle is that, if you want employees to buy into this initiative or change, you have to allow them to weigh-in. You have to allow them to have input, to participate in the design process, and maybe even be a part of the decision-making process.

People buy-in more readily if the solution is something they helped to create.

That brings us to a discussion of our customers. This same principle that applies to gaining employee buy-in applies to your internal and external customers.

Have you ever proposed a solution to the customer that didn’t satisfy them? Maybe they had a bad attitude, or maybe they were irate about something, so they were too emotional to consider YOUR idea.

But maybe, just maybe, they didn’t buy-in because it wasn’t THEIR idea; it wasn’t something that they helped to conceptualize; it wasn’t something they helped to design; they weren’t part of the decision.

They didn’t get a chance to weigh-in, so they didn’t buy-in.

There are many ways to get them to weigh-in to a solution. First, you could ask them to suggest what would work for them. “What can we do to make this right?” or “What could we do in the future to better serve you?”

Second, you could offer 2-3 alternatives, and ask what would work best for them. Think of the healthcare worker who can’t let the patient outside to smoke (i.e., non-smoking campus); since there are ways other than smoking to relieve anxiety and stress, offer some options, and let them choose.

Third, if this is an ongoing relationship you’re managing with chronic issues to address (think about the season ticket holders in sports), conduct focus groups, share your organizational goals and challenges, and note your desire for a permanent solution – then ask for their guidance and suggestions.

When you want the customer to love the solution (or at least live with it without voicing the negative emotion), find opportunities to let them let you know what solutions would work best.

Let them Weigh-in to Buy-in.

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