success

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

You Do Know Jack - 6/4/19


Have you ever had a co-worker who causes more problems than they solve? Simple things they do are often, from a procedure standpoint, correct. But the way they handle situations makes them come off as indifferent. Let’s call this co-worker “Jack.” Even though certain actions by Jack may seem innocent Read more

How to Give the Right Kind of “No” - 5/28/19


In a perfect world, you never need to say “No” to the customer. But as we all know, this is not a perfect world. There are a lot of issues in the world, and there are a lot of issues in customer service. Our companies are not perfect, our Read more

Make it Crystal Clear - 5/21/19


Sometimes we communicate so well, and sometimes we don’t communicate as well as we think we do. When you’re trying to set or manage another person’s expectations, what you say may be very clear to you, but the reality is it may not be clear to the other person. Read more

Harvey Wrote the Book on Focus...and Golf - 5/14/19


In Harvey Penick's Little Red Book, the famous golf instructor provides many key tips about golf that just as well could apply to life in general. One such tip is the following: Once you address the golf ball, hitting it has got to be the most important thing in Read more

The Rising Tide – 5/6/14 TOW

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


The rising tide lifts all boats. I’m not sure who coined the phrase, but it fits into our workplace just as much as the high seas.

When I wrote the tip about motivating yourself by writing down your daily successes, a reader commented that it would be great to have a team meeting with other customer service staff each morning, and then have staff share one of their success stories from the prior day.

At face value, it sounded like a good idea, and as I thought about the concept and responded to the reader, it began to sound better and better.

Think about having a daily meeting that was simply “5 minutes of positives.” What would it do for you, your teammates, your staff? You could quickly see what one person did great, and pat them on the back. You could learn about how one person handled a tough situation effectively. You could feel good for others and enjoy the recognition when they celebrate your success. You could have a picture of success painted for you every day, creating a consistent focus among teammates on great customer service, and reinforcing what a great job others are doing.

This is about starting your day with 5 minutes of positive energy. This is about not just you or your customer; it’s about your team. It’s about the quality of the workplace continuously improving – creating a rising tide of positives and successes that lifts everyone.

Being intentional about having “5 minutes of positives” can be big in a team developing a common focus on customer service and more confidence in what they do.

Help the tide of your team to rise with 5 minutes of positives.


Motivate Yourself? – 3/18/14 TOW

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week 2 Comments


How often have you heard the expression “self-motivated?” It’s usually used to describe others such as “That job applicant is obviously NOT self-motivated” or “Joe needs to be more self-motivated.”

So what exactly are these (typically) managers saying when they lament a lack of self-motivation in others? It’s usually that they don’t know how to motivate someone, and it’s frustrating to them. It could also be that they don’t want to have to motivate someone. They’d rather that employees motivate themselves.

“They get to keep their job – isn’t that motivation enough?!”

Well this Tip has a simple idea that will make those managers (the good ones and bad ones) happy. This advice will also help those of us who don’t get the outside motivation we need.

It’s simple – 3 Steps. Step #1: Make a Success List every day. This is what I do (and it works).

At the start of the day, get out a blank sheet of paper, and write “Successes” at the top. Then throughout the day, note a word or two to remind yourself of one of your accomplishments. Today, for example, I have 5 successes so far (I just write on my sheet what you see to the left of the hyphen below):

  • Bob Smith – The name of a client who said he’d be a reference for CSS for some pro sports mystery shopping work
  • Client X Mtg – A sales meeting I had this morning that went great
  • Article Published! – Notes an article that was published today
  • Great Interview – A helpful telephone interview with a client to share information in preparation for some upcoming training
  • Survey Launched – We launched a new survey today.

By the way, completing this Tip of the Week will be #6!

You don’t use the Success List as a rehash of your To Do’s. There may be some of that on there, but it’s basically your accomplishments – a customer conversation that went well, some kudos you received in an e-mail, some interest on a new project, some thank you that a customer provided, or a word of encouragement from a co-worker or supervisor. Maybe it’s the fact that your week is planned or you reduced the backlog of work. Maybe you went through an old file and purged some old documents.

Whatever it is, write it down.

Here’s Step #2 – Read it as the last thing you do before you go home.

And Step #3 – Read it again as the first thing you do to start the day.

Being self-motivated is a wonderful attribute, but not many of us – day in and day out – can do that without intent. Be intentional. Recognize your own successes. Pat yourself on the back – you deserve it!

Create your own daily “Success List.”

 


Analyze This… – 7/2/13 TOW

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

No we’re not talking about the Robert De Niro movie. I’m going to give you a real world situation, and I want you to analyze the customer service of this employee – Frank the building inspector.

Frank looked at his list of inspections for the day and cringed at the first one on the list. “What a way to start the day,” he murmured. “Waynesville Brothers Contracting. I can’t stand those guys. They’re always trying to get away with stuff. Drives me crazy.”

As Frank started out to the job site, he grew more irate about the conversation he anticipated having. When he got there to do the inspection, the site manager was a new guy named Pete. Frank immediately went up to Pete and introduced himself by name. Pete responded “it’s good to meet you.” Frank responded gruffly, “I won’t be here long hopefully. I’ll let you know what I find out.”

Soon Frank started the inspection, and as was usually the case with Waynesville Brothers Contracting, he found lots of issues. But for a first inspection, it wasn’t quite as bad as normal. When he went back to Pete, he interrupted Pete’s discussion with a subcontractor and said, “I’m ready when you are to go over this stuff.”

Pete asked “How did we do?,” and Frank responded “let me go through the list – there’s several items to address.”

As they walked through the items, Pete asked several questions. Whereas he was an experienced manager, he had moved to the East Coast within the past year from the Midwest, and he wasn’t as familiar with the State code. When Frank realized this, he slowed down on his review of the items, and he clearly stated why some of the items were in violation of code.

At the end, Frank said, “do you have any more questions, Pete?” Pete said “Nope, I’ve got it.” Frank said, “then let me give you a number to call and a website when you’re ready to schedule the re-inspection.” After providing the information, Frank said, “good to meet you. Have a good one,” and he left.

Now for the analysis. . .

What did Frank do right? What did Frank do wrong? Analyze Frank’s mindset, his terminology, his probable tone of voice, his assumptions, his use of personal names, and his general way of interacting.

While I’m sure you did a great job in analyzing Frank, it’s not always as easy to analyze ourselves. . .but we need to do so. To get better, we have to know the starting point – how we’re doing today.

So analyze yourself after you have a customer interaction. Try to do this at least once per day – particularly with conversations that you can tell – in your gut – did not go well. Ask “What did I do well?” and “What could I have done better?”

To improve, know your starting point. Analyze yourself.

 


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