story

Don’t Assume because... - 8/13/19


You've probably heard this statement growing up. Your parents said, “Don’t assume, because it makes…you look bad.” Or something like that… Recently my laptop screen died, and since it was an older laptop, I decided to go ahead and buy a new one instead of paying to have the screen Read more

Patience Leads to Positivity - 8/6/19


Thank you for your patience. That’s a statement I enjoy saying…when I am the customer. When I’m trying to learn something and I’m about to go into a process, I want to have a feel for what the whole process involves. Over the years, I’ve gotten tired of feeling like Read more

Back to Reality...for Customer Expectations - 7/30/19


Have you ever walked into a patient registration area of a hospital and seen a sign that said “if you’ve been waiting longer than 15 minutes, please see the receptionist?” Have you ever called a customer service number and been told by a recording that “the average hold time is Read more

For Excellence to Happen, Get Engaged - 7/23/19


The customer was throwing an absolute fit in the lobby. Sitting among several other customers waiting for her number to be called, she was raising her voice and letting out the occasional expletive about the lengthy wait time. An employee sitting behind the counter thought to herself: I’m going Read more

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

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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WOW with a UFU – 6/21/16 TOW

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


The doctor personally called the little girl’s mom two days after the successful procedure, just to check-in on how her daughter was doing.

The server manning the Take Out station at the restaurant knew the customer made it a point to state she wanted a burger cooked medium well (little-to-no red in the middle). She called the customer about 30 minutes after the customer left the restaurant to confirm the burger was cooked appropriately.

The account representative called the season ticket holder during the summer. The fan was getting older and had been struggling with walking and might need knee surgery. The employee wanted to see how the customer was doing.

Not to be confused with UFOs, these are UFUs – Unexpected Follow-ups. They occur after the procedure, after the transaction, after the season. There’s no transaction to make – it was already made. There’s no sale to make – it was already made. There’s no issue to resolve – there’s no problem to address.

The follow-up was unexpected. The follow-up was a WOW!

To WOW your customer, you don’t always have to go “above and beyond” or give them some item of great value.

Instead, show that you value them. Contact them to ask about…them. Convey you care. Share information that they mentioned once to you, but your memory of it makes them remember you for the next thousand days.

Get away from a pure focus on the transactions. Consider the relationships. Consider the long-term. Consider reaching out to one person today that you saw a few yesterdays ago.

Contact them to ask them about…them.

WOW with a UFU.

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Plant the Seed of Customer Service Success – 6/7/16 TOW

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


After many stories over the years of poor customer service in a big box home improvement store, here’s a positive story – it’s a story about how ideas sometimes are better than answers.

If you’ve ever been a novice gardener (which I am) somehow heading up a community garden (which I am) and seeing plants having their tops eaten off about 3 feet above ground (which is happening), you know the pain I’m feeling. The entire community garden is fenced in, so there’s only one way in – OVER the fence.

Yes, deer are jumping over our 7-foot fence like it was a 6” curb, and they’re having some glorious meals! Since I’m not any kind of expert gardener nor an expert in all things deer, I Googled my heart out only to find some less-than-appealing solutions often having to do with other animals or Irish Spring soap.

The most logical suggestion is to raise the fence.

So I went to a local big box home improvement store and wandered around somewhat aimlessly when – shock of shocks – an employee walked up to me and asked if he could help.

“I’m not even sure what I’m looking for,” I replied, “but here’s my issue.” I explained the issue and told him about my thought of how to raise the 22 posts around the garden by 3 feet using a particular type of tapered metal spike.

If he were to answer my question about whether they had such a spike, the answer would have been “No.”

Instead, he offered multiple ideas, multiple options – all were ways to raise the height with different types of materials, different ways to secure this additional 3-feet of fence to the posts. He didn’t answer a question about the spike – he offered a multitude of sound ideas to address the problem.

This is the 20th century, and many people can get an answer from the internet, so when they go to you for service – to help with a need or issue – they often need something more than an answer. They want creative ideas that lead to options and ultimately – a cost-effective quality solution.

When faced with a customer’s question, assess the question to understand the “why” of it. What they may really be seeking is your idea, your creativity, your solution. These are the times when your “No” won’t help them, but your consultative support will.

Know when a customer wants an idea, not just an answer.

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