Customer Service Tip of the Week | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 7

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

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

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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 – Topics that create these connections About The Now:

About The Now

Whether you’re dealing with a new customer or an existing customer coming in upset, you can connect with the customer about what is going on today, right now.  Noted below are 3 categories of connection points that are more about today’s situation.

Environment – What’s the weather like outside?  Is the building pretty, clean, bright, or easy to navigate?  Are they using a mobile device or tablet or computer, and is that what you are using or could be using, as well?

Situation – Have you had other customers who’ve dealt with the situation they’re describing?  Have you personally dealt with a similar situation?  Are there lessons learned in those situations that you can share with them to paint a picture of next steps or final resolutions?

Goals – If you understand their goals, is there some way you can relate to their goals?  Do you understand why they want what they want?  I’m not asking do you agree with their goals; I’m just asking if you can understand and appreciate why they are seeking a particular solution?

Just like we noted in the Part 1 Tip last week, you could ask some of these questions, but it’s just as important to listen closely to what they convey, learning the specifics of what they share, so you can use that information to connect with them, to build rapport.

Find some Situational Connection Points.

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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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