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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

Imagine Being on TV – 10/31/17

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


You’re performing your job – providing customer service over the phone – but cameras are all around. You are on LIVE TELEVISION!! What you say, how you say it – the mannerisms, the voice inflection, the eye movement, the hand gestures – it’s all caught on tape.

That also means the eye roll, the crossed arms, the shaking of the head, the huff, looking at your smart phone as your customer talks – it’s all caught on tape – YIKES!

Sometimes we allow ourselves to let our body language take a bad turn when we’re on the phone. That’s okay, isn’t it? It depends on your view of customer service. We believe that delivering great customer service needs to be an all-the-time attitude, not the proverbial light switch that we turn on and off based on who’s in front of us or whether we’re on the phone or face-to-face, texting or e-mailing.

That means when we’re engaged with the customer or a co-worker, regardless of phone or face-to-face – we want to be great. We want to let that other person know we care. We want to represent the company in a positive light. We want to have a positive impact on those whose day we touch – even if just for a moment.

When the interaction ends, we may want to roll the eyes or “smh” or huff or take a mental break and look at the smart phone for a minute. That’s definitely understandable.

Just know that when engaged with the customer in any manner, we need to be wired for excellence. If we imagine we’re on TV, it makes us self-aware. Then that attitude of service excellence can come through regardless of how we’re communicating with the customer.

Imagine being on TV to become more self-aware of how you need to come across to others.

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The Bad Host – 10/24/17

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True story: The young couple and their child walked into the restaurant and stood for a minute at the host stand. When the host arrived, she immediately and quickly said “I can’t seat you right now. I’ve got to clean a table, and you’re just going to have to wait.”

Now read that statement again out loud (if you can); read it without a smile; read it with a high tone of voice; read it very fast.

This was something I witnessed several times in various forms over 45 minutes. The employee was obviously flustered. She seemed overwhelmed, and she was letting every customer know through her interaction. No greeting; no smile; no welcoming attitude – it was blunt, fast, direct.

When she made her statement to this family, the wife politely said, “Thank you for letting us know.” She then turned around and walked out, followed by the child and husband. Two other families walked out. Lost business, hurt reputation for the restaurant, and probably a couple postings on social media followed.

Who knows what the root cause of the issue was for this employee. Maybe she was just having a bad day; a co-worker or employee could have been rude to her. She may have been short-staffed or overwhelmed with the number of guests arriving. Maybe she was just a bad fit for that role.

Regardless of the reason for the issue, she should not have taken it out on customers just walking in the restaurant, hoping to have a relaxing, tasty meal with family and friends.

Sometimes we just need to be more self-aware when things aren’t going our way. It’s fine for us to have emotions – we’re all human. But also being human we have the ability and responsibility not to take out these frustrations on others – particularly innocent customers and co-workers.

Don’t be the Bad Host – check your emotions before connecting with others.

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Your Future Differentiator – 7/25/17

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We’ve all seen it. Maybe we’ve all done it. But it’s a harbinger of things to come. Actually, it’s a microcosm of what’s already here.

You’re in an elevator, and a person walks in – may or may not look at you – and is staring intently at their smart phone. They look up just fast enough to ensure their floor’s button is hit, and then they’re back to their phone.

You’re walking down the street or at the mall, and as you do your window shopping you notice that you’re spending as much time dodging people who are so intently focused on their phone that they assume everyone will just get out of their way. Or maybe they don’t care if they bump into you. Or maybe they don’t realize they’re walking by hundreds of people – because people are secondary to the feed on the phone or the latest notification or the latest picture of a dessert that a friend posted on social media.

I was watching a golf tournament recently where fans were behind the ropes as famous golfers walked right past them. The fans were so busy looking at their phones and filming the golfers that they didn’t make eye contact with the golfers, they didn’t say “hello” or “good luck” or “the sky sure is blue.” They didn’t engage the person that was a foot away from them because they’d rather just take their picture and post it on social media.

This looking down, this lack of engagement is an habitual obstacle for many who want to shine in the business world, but the good news is that their obstacle is a future differentiator for you.

People who are more focused on the phone in the hand than the human in front of them are not learning how to engage in a 1-on-1 personalized fashion. They’re not learning about body language and tone, they’re not learning how to make someone else feel important – more important than a 3 by 5 inch inanimate object.

These individuals – and we all know them, are related to them, or may be them – are largely good people, but they’re not developing a key skill of customer service: Making the person in front of you seem like the most important person in that world.

Your future differentiator is your ability to ignore your phone or your tablet. It’s your ability to engage others personally and professionally in dialogue – making the individual more important than the technology.

Become great at ignoring the technology when engaged with others, and become a star communicator in the eyes of those you serve.

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