values | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

Caring Goes Beyond Competence - 11/30/21


April went to get some routine car maintenance done at the local service center.  When they finished the oil change, she paid for the service, got her keys, went to her car, and opened the door.  As she was about to enter the car, she stopped.  Somebody had obviously Read more

You Mostly Get What You Give - 11/23/21


It is Thanksgiving week in the United States, so let’s talk “Thanks.” There’s a saying that You Get What You Give.  And while the goal of giving thanks should not be “To receive things,” getting something positive in return is often a nice byproduct of being appreciative of others. It’s amazing Read more

Van Gogh the Vision - 11/16/21


Want to create Service Excellence in your organization?  Have a vision, then paint the picture of that vision.  It’s easier to create something if you can visualize it first, so let’s Van Gogh a Vision. Excellent customer service is delivered in a courteous manner.  Courtesy comes through when employees are Read more

First E-mail Impression? I’ll Enjoy Working with You - 11/9/21


When you provide consulting, research, and training services like we do, you meet a variety of people, and many of them are new individuals to work with even if they are in organizations you’ve worked with for years. When I meet the new customer or they meet me for the Read more

A Way to Serve with Empathy - 11/2/21


We first wrote a Tip of the Week on empathy back in 2008. It was the most important customer service skill then, and it’s the most important customer service skill now.  And as we’ve noted in society, empathy is becoming a word that is used more often in more Read more

Channel Your Inner Aristotle - 10/26/21


Aristotle once said: We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. This is a very interesting statement.  We need to break it down to fully understand and appreciate it. We are what we repeatedly do. Let’s focus on the word repeatedly.  None of us is Read more

To Improve, Understand Why You Do What You Do - 10/19/21


In the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey says that habits form at the intersection of desire, skills, and knowledge.  Desire is the WANT TO do something.  Skills is the HOW TO do something.  Knowledge is a combination of the WHAT TO do and WHY TO do Read more

Tailor to the Type - 10/12/21


We’re all different.  We’re all unique.  Every customer is different and unique, as well, and we should treat them as unique individuals. While we should see each customer as unique, before we fully get to know the customer, there are some core philosophies to take into customer conversations based on Read more

Avoid the Silence; Build the Relationship - 10/5/21


Our interactions with customers are “Moments of Truth.”  These Moments of Truth can be conversations with a customer about some complaint, encounters when they're in the drive-thru, questions about an order that the customer calls in to the company, or brief interactions in the lobby of a government building. Sometimes Read more

Make it a “Good Busy” - 9/28/21


When I’m speaking with colleagues or clients, I’ll often ask how their day is going. The response I get almost once a week is something like:  I’m incredibly busy! When I get that response, sometimes I’ll ask whether it is a “good busy” or whether they are “fighting fires.” I’ll ask Read more

Keep it Simple in Complex Situations – 7/27/21

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

Life involves making a series of decisions, and whenever serving customers or dealing with difficult issues, those decisions can become more challenging.

Part of what makes decisions difficult is that there are so many factors to consider:  People. Policies. Procedures. Places. Products. Processes. Personalities.

Who are the people involved?  What policies apply?  What are the procedures in this situation?  Where is this taking place?  What products are involved?  What process is the customer using?  What are the personalities of others…and yourself?

If we sat down and wrote a list of all the different factors that could be considered in our most challenging situations, we could probably come up with literally 100 different combinations of the factors I just referenced.  The situation could be extremely complex.

But complex situations can still involve quick or effective decisions.  It’s possible because you can narrow the focus of the decision.  You’re not necessarily making the situation more simple; instead you’re simply focusing on your key decisioning factors:  What are your priorities? What are your goals? What are your values?

As an example, I typically focus on what’s best for the customer, what’s best for our long-term relationship, and how I can help them succeed.  I strive to make decisions that convey they’re important, that show I’ve listened, and that share a feeling of respect for them as a person.  No matter the situation, if I’m guided by these considerations, the decision becomes much more clear.

If you are clear on what is most important in your decisioning process, then it’s easier for you to more quickly come to a decision.

The person could be your boss, co-worker, or a new customer.  The situation could take place on the phone, on the website, in your office, or in a storefront.  The other person could be flighty or fun, an optimist or a pessimist. But if you know your priorities, your goals, and your values, the decision will be much more clear more quickly.

How do you handle the conversation may be different; maybe the factors will apply in how you present or seek information, but your priorities and goals and values will help you narrow the focus of your decision-making process.

We can be presented with the complex.  But when we are presented with the complex, revisit your priorities, goals, and values to bring some simplicity to the decision-making process.

Use simplicity to address the complex.

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Serve with Integrity – 11/19/19

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I’ve been reading a book recently about a Charlotte-based service company, and the author of the book conveys the CEO’s perspective on management, culture, and serving customers. At the back of the book, the author noted the organization’s Core Values. They are honesty, integrity, fairness, and respect. I literally did a double-take on the pages, because my company’s Core Values are respect, honesty, fairness, and integrity. Yes, the order is different, but the values are the exact same!

Maybe it’s a crazy coincidence, or maybe it’s that these are just really good values for any organization to have that truly wants to care about its team members and its customers.

Among those values, the one I want to discuss is integrity. Integrity is an important word, but it’s not always the most easily understood word. There was even a commercial a few years back where elementary school children were talking about the importance of integrity and defining it in their own words.

The way the CEO whose book I’m reading defined it was: Doing the right thing in all circumstances. It includes doing what we say we will do.

The way my company defines it is: Uncompromising adherence to moral and ethical principles.

Those definitions are not the exact same, but they don’t necessarily conflict either. The point is that we will be ethical. We will do what we say we will do. And we’re consistent about it.

My company uses the word “uncompromising.” The CEO of the service company uses the phrase “in all circumstances.”

The reason why this is important is not just because it is the right thing to do and the right way to treat other people, but it implies consistency. And where there is consistency in taking action that you stated you would take, where there is consistency in doing what is fundamentally right – the ethical thing – then you build trust.

In the long-term, you don’t want to work with somebody you cannot trust. Employees will not follow a leader they cannot trust. Customers will not stay with companies which they cannot trust.

To build lasting relationships, ensure that integrity is one of your Core Values.

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I want to be an Astronaut – 9/10/19

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When I was young, if a child was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, the answers were often a fireman, a Pro Football player, a teacher, somebody who got to drive a truck, or an astronaut. Maybe the question is still asked today, and, if so, I’m not sure how similar or different the answers may be from my childhood experiences. But when the question is asked, the child is basically stating what he or she wants to become. It is sharing their vision of their future.

And once a child – or anyone of us for that matter – identifies a vision, then we can start charting the course to get there. It makes no sense to chart a course to nowhere.

It’s the same thing in the world of business and in the world of customer service. We need to start with the vision.

What do we want to become or achieve as an organization or as an individual? What is our vision for the great customer experience that we’re going to deliver to our clients, and is that their vision as well?

If the vision for the great customer experience is going to help us to achieve our overall vision, then the next step is to ask: What’s our vision for the desired culture? In theory, the culture of an organization is set up to help the organization succeed, so that culture should help to deliver a great experience, it should help to deliver on the organization’s vision!

And what is culture? It is how we do things around here. It’s how we talk to each other, how we work together, how we make decisions together, how we serve each other and serve others together.

Take a few minutes individually or as an organization and just pause. Make sure that you have a clearly articulated vision. Then work back to make sure that you know what your role is and what you need to be in order to move yourself and your organization toward that vision.

Envision the future to become the future.

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