Customer Service Tip of the Week | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 164

When You Can’t Say “Yes to the Address” - 2/7/23


I was interviewing a frontline staff person for one of our local government clients recently as part of our CSS Training Development Process.  They described their customers and the difficult situations that they face, their tougher conversations with customers. This individual supports local events, so there’s a lot of planning involved.  Read more

How to Fix Other People’s Problems - 1/31/23


I was helping a friend navigate some healthcare processes recently, so I conducted a 3-way call with my friend and the physician practice to try to get things cleared up.  The employee I spoke with on the phone - let’s call her Katie. There had been poor communication between different Read more

What to do When You’re in the Middle - 1/24/23


Bob and Sarah are arguing, and you’re in the middle.  Bob’s an employee, and Sarah is a customer, and they have a difference of opinion.  Somehow you’re involved even though you didn’t have anything to do with the interaction in question, the complaint being addressed.  You find yourself being Read more

Is the Customer Issue an Organizational Issue? - 1/17/23


Customer retention is vital.  Most of next year’s customers are going to be those who are this year’s customers. So, the more you lose today, the fewer you will have tomorrow.  Organizations conduct research, data mine, or bring in consultants to help identify those customers who may be most Read more

Decide Who’s Driving the Bus - 1/10/23


I once heard a speech titled: Who’s driving the bus? I knew the speaker beforehand, so that made his talk extra special.  It was funny and relatable and held many words of wisdom.  The crux of the speech was that every one of us has our own facets, our own Read more

Create a Personal Vision for the Year - 1/3/23


This time of year is all about the New Year’s resolution.  We’re going to exercise or eat differently!  Then…2 months later, who knows what’ll be happening, but at least you set a goal.  For many of us, that’s progress. For businesses, that New Year’s resolution often has to deal with Read more

Avoid Making a Bad Situation Worse - 12/27/22


Twitter.  When you hear that word, does your temperature rise?  Do you roll your eyes?  Do you ask: What is Twitter? From a customer service perspective, Twitter has evolved into a virtual place for consumers to complain about businesses.  For those businesses savvy enough to understand the importance of communicating Read more

2022 Holiday Poem - 12/20/22


The year is winding down. The work is still up front. We’re making that transition to close out the 12th month. We’re trying to find a balance between personal life and work. Trying to be kind to people even if they’re acting like a jerk. It’s taking all of our patience and our Read more

Open Minds and Ornery Customers - 12/13/22


We all have to deal with some crazy customers, at times.  They might be loud or sad.  Flighty or mad.  They may have unrealistic expectations or think it’s OK to skip past people in line because their need must be more important than the others.  Some are rude, some Read more

Apply These Values for Great Customer Service - 12/6/22


One of the industries where we do a lot of our work is local government.  These CSS clients are not necessarily selling a product or having the number of competitors that a lot of our private industry clients and our sports clients face.  But they need to deliver a Read more

Be a Telephone Matchmaker – 6/4/13 TOW

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

Have you ever called a company, and you could just tell the employee was reading a script?

Say this out loud in a flat, MONOTONE voice: Thank you for calling Acme Paper Products. I am thrilled that you have called. Please let me know what I can do to make this a great day for you. I want to be the bright ray of sunshine on the flower of your day. Please let me know what I can do to bring you customer delight.

The employee could say the most wonderful words in the world, but if their voice is flat, with no fluctuation, then what is the employee really conveying? Insincerity? A feeling that “this job would be great if I just didn’t have to deal with customers?” A sense that “I’m stating a script that I’ve stated 100 times before?”

Until people really get to know you, they judge you (and me) based primarily on our tone of voice – particularly on the phone. So whether you’re trying to convey that you want to brighten their day or address their need, make sure you’re aware of how you sound.

There should be some relationship between the tone you use and the feeling you want to impart on the customer. If the words are empathetic (“unfortunately…”), sound that way. If the words show enthusiasm (“I want to help…”), sound that way. If the words convey confidence (“We can definitely…”), sound that way.

Link the tone to the words and the message.

Truly brighten someone’s day.


View Touch Points from the Customer’s Perspective – 5/28/13 TOW

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I received an email from my wireless telephone provider. They mentioned that I was now eligible for an upgraded phone at a discounted price (and if you’ve seen a 1990s flip phone, you’ll know why they want me to upgrade). Apparently the upgrade date had been reached, and I was eligible for the upgrade. One minute later, I received an email from the same provider telling me that it was an anniversary of sorts, and therefore I was eligible for an upgrade at a discounted price. About one minute later, I received a third email from the same wireless provider noting that I was now eligible for a discounted upgrade to my cell phone as a reward for my loyalty.

What the organization didn’t realize was that they were sending essentially the exact same e-mail at the exact same time with 3 different subject headings. The exact same upgraded cell phones were offered in each e-mail with those discounts available. So there may have been a Touch Point Plan that the provider had developed, but they were not looking at the plan from the customer’s perspective. Something that might have appeared very professional at first to the customer, turned out to be an aggravation after the third – essentially duplicate – e-mail arrived at my inbox.

If you work in a client relationship management role at your organization (for example, you’re a season ticket services representative for a sports team), this Tip of the Week is especially important for you. When you build your Touch Point Plans from the organization’s perspective, you determine when to send out information based on events or timeline triggers; make sure, however, that you’re not just looking at the plans from the organization’s perspective. Invert your Touch Point Plans to test them from the customer’s perspective to know what they’re going to receive and how they might perceive the information.

Develop Touch Point Plans from the customer’s perspective.


Same Wait, Different Experience – 5/21/13 TOW

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Jenny went to Clinic A. She waited 35 minutes after registering to get taken to a room for her annual physical. Beth went to Clinic B. She waited 35 minutes after registering to get taken to a room for her annual physical.

Jenny felt great about the experience she had that preceded her physical. Beth thought that timeframe was awful.

Here was Jenny’s situation: She was greeted as soon as she walked in the office by the registration clerk. The clerk smiled, handed her a clipboard with a couple forms to complete, and asked Jenny to return the forms once complete. After confirming that Jenny understood what was being requested, she sat down.

The forms took about 4-5 minutes to complete, and when she provided the forms to the clerk, the clerk smiled, thanked Jenny, and noted that she just found out they were running about 30 minutes behind. She apologized to Jenny, confirmed Jenny didn’t want to reschedule, and noted the water cooler, the magazines, and other items available to help the time pass. The clerk said someone would touch base with an update in about 15-20 minutes.

After 15 minutes, an employee told Jenny that it was looking like it would be 15 more minutes before Jenny would be taken back; 10 minutes later the same employee stated that it would be 10 minutes more (about 35 total), and she apologized for the additional delay. Ten minutes later, a nurse came out and called “Is Jenny Smith here?” As Jenny approached, the nurse apologized for the delay and noted she was happy to see Jenny.

Here was Beth’s situation: She walked into the clinic, found the registration window, and stood there for about 30 seconds until the employee looked up and said “hello.” The clerk provided the forms on the clipboard and asked Beth to complete and return them.

When Beth provided the forms to the clerk, the clerk said “Thanks. We’ll call you shortly.” After about 20 minutes, Beth walked up to clerk and asked when she’d be seen. The clerk said “We’re running a little behind. We’ll call you back shortly.” So Beth returned to her seat.

About 15 minutes later, a nurse came through a door and said “Johnson!” That was Beth’s last name, so she jumped up and walked toward the nurse. The nurse held the door open and pointed at the scale just inside the door and said “I need you to get on the scale to check your weight.”

Same wait time. Same paperwork. Totally difference experience.

Communications can take a bland experience and make it palatable – or even positive! It’s like taking a quarter pound hamburger patty and adding the lettuce, tomato, condiments, cheese?, and a nice bun. It’s taking the basic and making it something worthy of your business.

Make sure the blandness of some processes and products are made palatable by great customer service.