trust

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

The Customer Service Wreck that Wasn’t – 12/16/14 TOW

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


The car was at the dealership, sitting in the parking lot waiting to have the front-end aligned. Nobody was in the car, so the car was minding its own business, drinking in the midday sun. Then an 18-wheeler came by and side-swiped it, making one long dentscrape (my new word) down the entire passenger side of the car.

Now I could regale you with everything that went wrong from that point forward at the dealership (since the dentscrape happened to MY car). Instead, I’ll tell you a quick and positive story about something interesting that the body shop does for customers. FYI – This GOOD body shop is NOT the dealer’s body shop.

There were several selling points about the good body shop, including great reviews online, multiple before/after picture examples, convenience, and great interactions with the staff when trying to understand the repair and insurance processes. The one selling point I’d like to focus on is this – they take pictures.

Every evening they take pictures of the car and post them to the web to a URL only given to that particular car owner. Therefore, every night I can check on my baby (er…car) and see the progress made. This may sound like a little thing, but look at what it does:

  • First, it’s a touch point, so the company is in contact with the customer daily – keeping the relationship warm and the dialogue ongoing.
  • Second, the touch point is initiated by the customer (clicking on the URL with curiosity about their car), so there’s little labor involved in the touch.
  • Third, the openness of sharing photos builds trust in the process.
  • Fourth, there’s a comfort that’s imparted to the customer since there’s little fear of the unknown (the progress is made known through the pictures).
  • Fifth, the customer becomes confident because improvements are viewed, and the end point (the new-looking body of the car) becomes more clear over time.

Assuming you don’t work in a body shop, here are the lessons learned. Make it easy for the customer to know what’s going on with the project, service, issue, or product. Offer a “self-service” option to getting updates. Be open with progress and the process in order to build trust and comfort, and give them communications that paint a picture of success.

Show them the pictures that paint the story of success.

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Customer Service Lessons from an 18 Year Old Hitchhiker – 4/23/13 TOW

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

Cameron wanted to see the world, but not on an iPhone or by flying through the friendly skies. He wanted to see the World (or at least North America, Mexico, and Central America) by foot…and with an occasional ride from a stranger. Over the past year, Cameron has hitchhiked to Vancouver, East across Canada, down the East Coast of the U.S. to Central America, up to Mexico, and back to the East Coast of the U.S.

Earning money by playing guitar, and hitchhiking 250+ times, Cameron had to establish rapport quickly with the restaurant owner to wash dishes or play a gig, and with the truck driver to hitch a ride. So I asked him, “How do you meet someone and get them comfortable enough with you in five minutes to give you a ride to the next town? How do you get that rapport and trust that quickly?”

Here’s what he said:

  • Be VERY clear on your goals – He wanted to get to a certain town or location, and he specifically stated that
  • Paint a picture of how you’ve done it in the past – People have fear of the unknown; Cameron overcame the fear by giving examples of what he’s done in the past with others in similar situations
  • Ask them questions about themselves – People like to talk about themselves; they tend to like you more if you show interest in them
  • Be sincere – He truly was interested in what they said; he’s learning-oriented
  • If you hold back, they will not trust you – For them to be open to you, open up to them; thoroughly answer all their questions
  • Adjust your level of “animation” to theirs – Body language is big! People tend to be more comfortable with those who have similar mannerisms. He was always himself, but he adjusted his animation based on the other person.

To be great at customer service, you often have to establish rapport quickly.

Learn a few lessons from an 18 year old hitchhiker.