vision

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

Visualize Your Way to Success – 3/21/17

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


Brandon was having a bad day. Well – technically it was not THAT bad. After all, the worst day spent golfing is better than the best day spent working, or so goes the old saying.

But Brandon could not hit anything well. His shots from the tee were okay, but whenever he put a short iron in his hand, he’d hit it fat. For those of you who aren’t golfers, that means that he would take a swing, and the ball would go only a few yards because he would dig a large chunk of earth out in the process – a half-foot long, 2 inch deep divot would go flying through the air.

It was late in the round, and on #15 Brandon hit his best drive of the day. He was only 100 yards from the hole – a chance for a birdie! Well, that’s what a normal person would visualize. But Brandon saw the small pond just in front of the green. So he took his wedge out of the bag for the short shot, got an extra ball out of his bag, and walked over to his ball to hit.

He got out the extra ball because all he could think about was hitting another fat shot, and he visualized the shot landing in the water. So – of course – he visualized having to hit another shot with the second ball.

What happened? Brandon hit a fat shot; the ball plunked right into the water; Brandon dropped the second ball, and he put the next shot right on the green.

With his first shot, Brandon had visualized failure, and failure ensued.

Many times in the world of customer service, we’re reacting and responding – we don’t know what we’re about to deal with, and it’s hard to have time to visualize. But often, we DO have time to visualize. We do have time to see how we want the conversation to flow, how we want the tone to be, how we want it to end positively.

In life, and golf, and customer service – we can visualize success or visualize failure – and whatever we visualize has a greater chance of happening.

Choose to visualize success.

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Don’t Carry the Baggage – 11/15/16

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


It’s so easy to react in a certain way, and it’s so natural.

There’s a customer coming toward you – oh no, not THAT customer! Complain, complain, complain.

Fred – your co-worker from Sales – wants to meet with you – ugh. That will take 3 hours, you’ll get in 2 words, and you’ll have 17 To Do’s afterward – without a Thank You!

These are our feelings when we see certain people or know we’re going to encounter them. This is how we react when we see that name come up on caller ID. These are our thoughts when we think we know what is about to happen.

This is our baggage. These are our preconceived negative notions that we take into conversations because we’ve had bad experiences in the past or have heard negative things about an individual.

The problem with carrying this baggage with us into these interactions is that it can cause us to carry a negative attitude – seeking that which bugs us and focusing on what might go wrong. It can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

You have a good chance of having the interaction you expect. So expect the conversation will go well. Expect success.

Sure, you only have control over half the conversation – what you say and how well you listen. You have no control over what they say or how well they listen – but control your half with good intention. Control your half with openness. Control your half with a positive attitude. Control your half with professionalism. Control your half with a vision of success.

I know that certain people you have to deal with at work elicit negative reactions. But don’t let that initial reaction taint your approach in your response.

Don’t Carry the Baggage.

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Make 5 Minute Presentations to Co-workers – 11/3/15 TOW

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My customer service consulting firm conducts many visioning workshops for clients. The workshops can address the Mission, Vision, Values, Core Beliefs, Statements of Desired Culture, and Definition of a GREAT Client Experience.

At the client’s request, two of this year’s Visioning workshops have incorporated something different and interesting. The Visioning work is necessary because these particular clients are growing, and with new staff and – at times – new functions, there is a lack of understanding that’s developing.

Who works in other divisions? What do they do as individuals? What do they do as a division? How do they impact me? How do I impact them?

Issues can arise because of a lack of understanding of others serving the same customer, others who are “my internal customer,” or those that “serve my department.” There’s miscommunication. There’s a customer being misdirected. There’s one department operating as normal without realizing they’re causing problems and customer complaints for another department.

As a part of these workshops, early on we have leaders of key departments or divisions make 5-minute presentations to others in the room. The presentation can be in any format and any level of formality desired – flexibility is offered to the presenter. However, the focus of the presentation has no flexibility. Every presentation has to answer this key question:

What does your division do for the customer?

If the presenter would like to present other information, they could provide information on services, functions, and/or benefits to the customer. Q&A follows, understanding of common customers and interrelationships are brought to light, and a movement toward a common vision can now begin.

It’s amazing what benefits can result in simple five minute presentations, Q&A, and seeing what everyone in the organization does framed around the customer.

Frame conversations around the customer. Make 5-minute presentations to co-workers.

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