Customer Service Tip of the Week | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

Handle Interruptions Heroically - 6/18/24


In the middle of a project, Jimbo, the customer service team member, had to stop what he was doing because he received an e-mail from a customer complaining about their experience at a recent event. Later that day, Jimbo was asked by his boss to put everything on hold for Read more

From Employees to Teammates: The Shift - 6/11/24


Be a great teammate. Be a good team player. We’re all part of the team. We’re no longer employees, we’re team members! The phrase “Team” is used in describing co-workers so much more than it was used years ago.  Then, we would be talking about employees, talking about staff, talking Read more

Nurture New Relationships - 6/4/24


Freddie was a new business owner in town.  He was launching a franchise, had acquired some funding from a local bank, and was in search of staff who cared about customer service. All the while, he was in the process of renovating a storefront for his business, so he was Read more

There’s Positivity in Patience - 5/28/24


The employee at the financial services firm was working with a new client on a relatively simple loan.  The documentation was about as clear as it could get to the employee, but the customer had lots of questions.  The employee calmly, clearly, and specifically answered each question.  The meeting Read more

The Goal – A Great Experience - 5/21/24


The following is a narrative of a great experience (people, process, service, facility) at a minor league sporting event – key points that could apply to any business are in bold… Mark and I pulled into the parking lot, excited about the game.  The Slapshots had been on a roll Read more

Your Best Ability is… - 5/14/24


I enjoy watching sports, and I’ve even listened to some sports press conferences over the years, just to hear what coaches are saying.  Basically getting the leadership perspective from the sports industry either out of my interest or curiosity, or to figure out how to apply it to the Read more

A Complaint is a Gift - 5/7/24


A complaint is a gift.  Okay, so the complainer is not always a “gift.”  The customer’s delivery of the complaint is sometimes more like a stocking filled with coal than a vase filled with roses.  But this is why we need to be able to differentiate the complaint from Read more

Mastering Confidence in Customer Service - 4/30/24


It’s not what you said…it’s how you said it. If you’ve ever had someone say this to you, raise your hand.  (I just raised my hand) Usually this is being said when someone is upset with you, but regardless of the reason, that phrase illustrates that HOW we say something often Read more

Be Amazing - 4/23/24


Watching Michael Jordan steal a pass and then dunk a basketball is amazing.  Taking a rocket to the moon is amazing.  The taste of my mom’s homemade beef soup is amazing. We all have our personal examples of what is amazing.  Usually, it’s something that we cannot comprehend, that we Read more

Talk About Yourself to Build Customer Confidence - 4/16/24


When you’re dealing with somebody who is anxious or nervous about a situation, a customer who feels like they don’t have much control, an individual who is unsure and uncertain, it’s important to put the customer at ease.  It’s important to build their comfort level.  It’s important to help Read more

Handle Interruptions Heroically – 6/18/24

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

In the middle of a project, Jimbo, the customer service team member, had to stop what he was doing because he received an e-mail from a customer complaining about their experience at a recent event.

Later that day, Jimbo was asked by his boss to put everything on hold for a “rush request” from the boss’s boss for some customer satisfaction data from the past month.

Just as Jimbo was getting ready to go home, he decided to check e-mail one more time before shutting off his computer.  A long-time client had requested a status update on an annual renewal gift that she should have received last week; since she hadn’t received it, she wanted to change the gift she selected.

These were just 3 interruptions that Jimbo had to deal with – none at opportune times (if there even is such a thing), and yet – this staff person gathered himself each time, took a deep breath, got focused on the person he was engaged with, and handled the situation professionally.

The interruptions were not what he wanted, but they were typical of what he – and likely you – deal with EVERY workday.

When you’re providing customer service, rarely does the day flow as planned and without interruptions.  About the only thing you can consistently count on is that at some point during the day, you’ll be interrupted.

But you keep your composure.  You smile.  You find a way to make that interruption a temporary priority, and you still get most of your priorities done and done well.

Don’t let the frustrations of interruptions keep you from being your best.  Continue to do a good job because that’s who you are, that’s what you do, and that’s what the job requires.  Handle Interruptions Heroically.

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From Employees to Teammates: The Shift – 6/11/24

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Be a great teammate. Be a good team player. We’re all part of the team. We’re no longer employees, we’re team members!

The phrase “Team” is used in describing co-workers so much more than it was used years ago.  Then, we would be talking about employees, talking about staff, talking about divisions or departments or agencies.

But today, we’re all asked to be part of a team.  But what does that really mean, particularly in customer service?

Attitude and Empathy:  Much of what goes into being a good teammate relates to the attitude that you bring. You’re part of a group dynamic with the others on your team.  Try to convey an attitude of positivity rather than negativity or apathy.  Talk about what you get to do as opposed to what you have to do.  Consider the impact of your role or responsibilities on teammates by understanding their roles and responsibilities, their priorities.  Bring empathy to your team.

Communication and Collaboration:  Convey what you know, not hiding information to garner power.  Work with others, not purely working in silos.  Most issues in work – and to some extent in life – boil down to communication.  And it’s easier to work toward a common goal if you communicate well and collaborate.

Actions and Accountability:  With 11 players on a football field, a pro football coach often talks about how his players need to “do their 1/11th.”  He means two things by this; first, don’t expect others to do your work for you.  Make sure you’re pulling your weight.  Second, try to get your job done before you wade too much into the waters of others’ responsibilities.  If we try to do others’ jobs without trusting them to do theirs, there’s always a chance we don’t do ours well, and we could also alienate those teammates.  Accountability?  When you mess up, acknowledge, apologize, learn from it, and move on.  We’re better teammates if we complement our responsibilities with our accountability.

Intentionally shift from employee to teammate.

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Nurture New Relationships – 6/4/24

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Freddie was a new business owner in town.  He was launching a franchise, had acquired some funding from a local bank, and was in search of staff who cared about customer service.

All the while, he was in the process of renovating a storefront for his business, so he was dealing with the local municipality a lot on plans and inspections.  But to Freddie, the process was shockingly easy.  Well, maybe the process wasn’t easy, but going through the process was easy.

For the most part, submitting plans through the web portal, getting comments on plans and getting inspections scheduled and conducted was typical. Getting results of the inspections and correcting issues – these were all fairly standard processes – sometimes cumbersome, sometimes clunky or not self-evident.

The Secret Weapon

But Freddie had a secret weapon; the municipality in this community had a navigator position.  This was essentially a governmental point person to help business owners and developers work through all the different processes that they had to deal with for remodels, renovations, new development, etc.  No matter what area of the city or county that Freddie was dealing with, the navigator helped him through the process.

The navigator not only met with Freddie upfront when he first submitted his plans, but the navigator conducted what was akin to an onboarding session like you would do for a new employee.  The navigator set up bi-weekly calls with Freddie to ensure he was on track, and would have as-needed communications to help through issues.

See Him as an Individual

The navigator learned about Freddie as well as learning about his project.  The navigator would send Freddie information in advance of when he needed it to help him to prep for the next step and make sure he kept things on time and on budget.

The navigator’s name was Helen.  And while this seemingly fairy tale experience did not end with the main characters getting married, it did end with Helen having started and nurtured a relationship on behalf of the municipality with the new business owner.

Think about the new customers you have and how they and their needs are so different than those of your existing customers.  Intentionally map out a process and approach to help them navigate any pitfalls.  Dedicate resources to onboard these clients, nurture relationships, and grow your business by helping them to grow their success with a great customer experience.

Nurture New Relationships.

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