Customer Service Tip of the Week | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 4

Redefine “Access” to Treat Customers Special - 11/29/22


One of our clients puts on major events throughout the country.  When we conduct post-event surveys, many of the attendees rave about the access they had to certain entertainers, locations in the venue, parking lots, or even information.  Others decry the fact that they lacked that access. This does pose Read more

Keep in Mind 3 Key Questions - 11/22/22


Customers want to be heard.  If they have an issue or need or something that requires your support, they want to be understood. When we are trying to find a resolution or fulfill a need, when we’re trying to help a customer achieve their goal, sometimes we can be so Read more

Don’t Let This Shot Affect Your Next Shot - 11/15/22


When I was a teenager, I used to play a lot of golf, and I was pretty good for my age.  I’d have a good attitude and enjoyed the game, but if I hit a bad shot, I’d get upset.  And more often than not, that one bad shot Read more

Value the Customer – Actions to Adopt and Avoid - 11/8/22


When conducting research for a local government CSS client, we interviewed and conducted surveys with many of their customers.  We analyzed the results of the research based on those who had a great experience v. those who did not.  We uncovered that there were distinct differences between customers who Read more

Appreciate to Appreciate - 11/1/22


Why doesn’t Jay, my co-worker, respond to my e-mails or get his task done on time? It’s hard to respect the delay, the incomplete work, the lack of follow through on the part of your co-worker. Why does the customer seem so harried and so frustrated? It’s hard to value the customer Read more

The Customer Can Hear Your Attitude - 10/25/22


Sherry was sitting in the lobby, waiting to be called back for her appointment.  Just off the lobby was an office that Sherry was sitting near.  The person in the office was on a phone call, but Sherry couldn’t see the employee.  She could tell it was a call Read more

How to Handle the Customer’s Error - 10/18/22


Are all of your customers perfect?  Anyone?  Bueller? Of course, customers are not perfect.  Neither are we, but let’s focus this Tip on what they do wrong and what we can do about it in a professional, positive, and productive manner: When the customer isn’t clear, you respond: Is it OK Read more

Critique Yourself before Others Do - 10/11/22


When we’re criticized, we can get defensive, push back, deflect blame to others, and focus more on defending ourselves than really listening to what the other person is saying.  And some of us who get defensive, once we allow our emotions to settle, take time to reflect on what Read more

Find a Connection Point – Part 2: Situational Connection - 10/4/22


Last week we highlighted key topics to consider when you want to find Personal Connection Points with the customer.  Today, we’ll cover some key questions to ask to uncover information about today’s situation that you can use to establish a rapport with the customer.  This is Part 2 - Read more

Find a Connection Point – Part 1: Personal Connection - 9/27/22


Some people are born almost like a master at communication.  They know how to establish rapport with just about anybody, and they do so in a way that seems so natural and so real.  They can form relationships and be laughing with somebody they met two minutes ago like Read more

Find a Connection Point – Part 1: Personal Connection – 9/27/22

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Some people are born almost like a master at communication.  They know how to establish rapport with just about anybody, and they do so in a way that seems so natural and so real.  They can form relationships and be laughing with somebody they met two minutes ago like it’s someone they’ve known for years.

But for most of us, it’s not a talent or quality we were born with; it’s something that we need to work on, and in customer service there’s a lot of benefits to being able to establish rapport and begin to develop a relationship.

It could be a new customer that you’re wanting to provide a great experience to and lay the groundwork for a long-term relationship.  Maybe it’s an existing customer that’s coming in a little irate, griping a little bit, who’s a little bit upset. One way to take away some of the emotion and disarm them is to find some common ground so it doesn’t seem so adversarial.

There are ways to communicate that foster these connections, and we’re going to address some topics you can discuss in a 2-Part series.  For this week, Part 1 of our focus on the topics that create these connections is About Them and You:

About Them and You

Noted below are 3 categories of connection points that are more about the people involved – you and the customer.

Background – Where were they born or grew up?  Where have they lived in the past or currently reside?  What type of work have they done or do they do today, and in what industries?  What types of organizations or initiatives have they been a part of over the years?

Experiences – What are their hobbies?  What do they like to do to relax or stay active?  Where have they vacationed, what are their interests, and what are their leisure activities?

Friends/Relatives – Are they a parent?  Do they have siblings or friends with whom they do things?  Do they live near family, or are they traveling to visit?  Are they a pet lover?

If you uncover some of these points, you may find some things that you can relate to about the other person, and they can relate to you a little bit better, as well.  By either asking the questions directly when appropriate or just doing an exceptionally good job at listening to the details of what they share, you can establish that rapport.

Find some Personal Connection Points.

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Be Proactive without being Pushy – 9/20/22

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Delivering great customer service isn’t just about responding and reacting.  It’s also about being proactive.  Developing relationships involves reaching out first, not just extending our hand when somebody reaches out to us.

But it’s all too clear that those of us who are in service roles prefer those roles to sales, and when we think about proactively reaching out, often we think that we’re selling to others – Ick!  However, if we don’t reach out to our clients or customers, we are not fully meeting their needs.

So, if we are not pushing products, why are we proactively reaching out to customers?  Here are some examples of why to reach out.

Freshen: To keep the relationship fresh.  If they haven’t heard from us except when they are buying something or complaining, those quiet periods are when relationships go stale.  It’s when they view us more as a commodity than as a partner.  We need to keep the relationships fresh.

Understand: Reach out to better understand them and their needs or issues.  This can be via an informal survey; maybe as part of a conversation, you ask about how things are changing in their business or their lives.  You’re trying to learn from them to better serve them.

Match-make: You reach out because you have a base understanding of their needs, and your organization has something that might help them, in particular.  You’re trying to match who they are with what you can do for them.  In some ways, we’re doing them a disservice if the customer has to go to your company for one thing and 3 other companies for other services – all of which you provide – but they don’t know that because we haven’t informed or educated them on all you can do for the customer.

Thank: You proactively reach out to convey appreciation and show that you value them.  You literally reach out to say Thank You and to check-in on them.  It makes them feel like an individual instead of an account number.

Request: You can even reach out to simply ask them if they know of anyone who might be a good fit with your business, who might benefit from a relationship like your customer has with your company.  You’re not selling; you’re just giving them the opportunity to make a connection for a friend with you and your organization.

Great customer service includes reaching out to customers – be proactive without being pushy.

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Be Kind to Yourself When the Customer Isn’t – 9/13/22

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I was having a debrief call with one of my clients recently, and this was regarding a survey of employees who work events.  One of the survey questions asked employees for advice on how to improve the customer experience.  When the employees shared their input on the guest experience, comments were often worded like this:

“The customers seemed to have a good time at the event, but they were griping and complaining when they arrived because of the parking issues.”

“They enjoyed the event, but a lot of fans had difficulty with mobile ticketing and couldn’t see the screens because of the bright sun.”

“They enjoyed the entertainment, but many complained about the heat and lack of shade.”

“Overall, customers had a good time, but the guests complained that the food ran out too soon.”

So overall, the entertainment was great, but the employees were fielding lots of complaints and dealing with lots of issues relating to processes, technology, concessions, or other issues.

Not only were the employees having to deal with difficult processes and address complaints, but the frustrations of these guests were being transferred to the employees.  The employees had more work to do because of these issues, and they themselves became frustrated and upset just like the guests.

As an employee, what can you do when you’re getting hammered by process and experiential complaints even though you might be doing a great job?

First, be clear to yourself that the complaint about these items is not a complaint about you.  Understand that truth, and by taking things less personally, it’s easier to control your emotions.

Second, focus on listening, and provide a little empathy.  Don’t feel like you have to counter every complaint with a comeback.  If you focus on listening and understanding, it takes away the burden of your having to respond to every criticism or always saying the right thing.  In these situations, sometimes the less you can say, the better it is for all parties.

Finally, help the company to improve.  Very few organizations are good at tapping into the voice of the employee to seek the voice of the customer like our client has done through this research.  If you’re not asked to share customer feedback, proactively find ways to share those common themes – those common positives and concerns that you’re hearing from customers – with leaders on your work team.

Be kind to yourself even when the customer isn’t being so kind.

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