Government | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 13

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

Be Proactive without being Pushy - 9/20/22


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 Read more

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


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, Read more

Being the Emphatic Employee - 9/6/22


Empathy is the key quality of somebody who’s great at customer service.  We talk about it often - what it is, how to convey it, what it looks like, and how it makes the customer feel. But along with knowing how to be empathetic, we also need to know how Read more

The Good, the Really Good, and the Ugly of Customer Service - 8/30/22


Here are three helpful customer service stories.  They may not be from your specific industry, but it’s always good to learn from others. The Good… Paula submitted a ticket to the I.T. vendor.  Below the signature line in the reply she received was the following:  Please share your comments or needs Read more

A Great 2-Minute E-mail - 8/23/22


I know.  You probably get e-mails all the time from customers griping about some aspect of your organization or their experience.  You’ve got too much to do and too little time to do it.  I could not begin to tell you how many times I’ve been told by staff Read more

When They Want to Talk to Your Boss - 8/16/22


“I want to talk to your supervisor.” That’s their opening salvo.  Before you can hardly finish your greeting, the customer is asking for your boss.  This is done by a customer who has tried to get an issue resolved, and it hasn’t worked, so they want to go to somebody Read more

When Passive Voice is a Good Thing - 8/9/22


It’s all your fault, Mr. Customer! We may want to shout it from the rooftops, but other than venting and absolving ourselves of guilt, this wouldn’t help much in the grand scheme of things. We have a customer sitting in front of us or on the phone, and maybe they are Read more

They’re Stressed, So You Can… - 8/2/22


Wow!  That customer looks stressed!  Maybe it’s their body language or their expressions; they could be fidgety or talking really fast. In the past, when we offered guidance in these situations, we focused on how to navigate the conversation step-by-step - what points to cover and what points to avoid. But Read more

Mind (and Mine) Your Own Business

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

When an Iowa City economic development group won an award for how it takes care of its current customers (i.e., local businesses), it noted that its Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) program’s name is “Minding Our Own Businesses” – great name!

In the article ICAD recognized for business retention and expansion efforts, the BRE program noted how it targets about 90 businesses per year, but the interesting point is that “65 to 70 of [the businesses] consistently provide data for its annual existing industry report.” That means that about 70-80% of local companies are providing information/intelligence that will help Iowa City to best retain them and grow with them. That’s a significant level of involvement from what are essentially the City’s customers.

So think about your BRE business or your company’s customers. If you target certain customers for retention, don’t just view them as a group you should “Mind” (i.e., take care of and build relationships with), but also look at them as customers from whom you should “Mine” data. Customers are your greatest suppliers of the information you need to retain and sell to them, so developing relationships, targeting what information to obtain, and having simple but effective methods of gathering intelligence (either through surveys or even more passive means) are all vital to retention.

Don’t just view retention and growth efforts as initiatives that involve providing great one-on-one customer service. While that’s a part of it, realize that having an intelligence-building research strategy is vital to any retention and growth strategy.

Mine your own businesses.

Check out our BRE Survey Approach: http://cssamerica.com/cssbresurvey.htm

See what CSS can do to build your existing industry intelligence through BRE News Research: http://cssamerica.com/cssbrenews.htm


Check Out These Customer Service Plans from the US Government

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

If you go to http://customerservice.performance.gov/, you’ll see on the “Official Website of the U.S. Government,” the result of an Executive Order that the President put into play in April 2011. The President required that all Federal Government agencies create Customer Service Plans. Those plans are seen at the bottom of the US Government’s Customer Service Site.

Click on a few of the Agencies to see what they included. The Executive Order required the following:

  • “Establishing one major initiative (signature initiative) that will use technology to improve the customer experience;
  • Establishing mechanisms to solicit customer feedback on Government services and using such feedback regularly to make service improvements;
  • Setting clear customer service standards and expectations, including, where appropriate, performance goals for customer service required by the GPRA (Government Performance and Results) Modernization Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-352);
  • Improving the customer experience by adopting proven customer service best practices and coordinating across service channels (such as online, phone, in-person, and mail services);
  • Streamlining agency processes to reduce costs and accelerate delivery, while reducing the need for customer calls and inquiries; and
  • Identifying ways to use innovative technologies to accomplish the customer service activities above, thereby lowering costs, decreasing service delivery times, and improving the customer experience.”

Whether or not you agree with the plans, let’s at least consider their required components. They want to improve the customer experience through the use of technology. They want to gain customer feedback and use that for change. They want to have clear standards/expectations. They want to adopt best practices, streamline service processes, and reduce the demand for customer contacts.

These components are positive. They focus on customer satisfaction, data to drive decisions, efficiencies, and use of best practices. It would be nice if there were an employee/cultural component and an overriding Customer Service Vision, but we’ll take what we can get.

Review several of the plans, and ensure your organization has at least these basic components of a Customer Service Plan.

Interested in improving your company’s customer service? See more at our new website! http://www.cssamerica.com/

Read our New Book – “Ask Yourself…Am I GREAT at Customer Service?” http://www.amigreatat.com/

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BRE and Beyond…Act on What You Know Makes Customers Happy

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

Fix what customers don’t like, but also give customers more of what they do like.

Continuous improvement in customer service is not all about root cause analysis and process improvement. Much of it is about doing more of what already satisfies the customer.

In the article Survey: Oshkosh good for business as CEOs cite better economic outlook, the local economic development organization reports results of a survey of local businesses. When economic development organizations have a Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) component, it’s because they want to retain those industries and those jobs (and those fees and taxes, etc.) locally. So surveys are conducted on businesses just like retailers conduct surveys with customers.

The Oshkosh article notes changes made as a result of the survey to help businesses become more accessible to customers and to plan for infrastructure changes. But one of the great things about BRE surveys or any surveys for that matter is that the survey organization also learns what the customer (or in the case, the business) likes – they like talking about their facilities or products, oftentimes they like the personal relationship with BRE organizations, they like help with facilitation of difficult permitting processes, they like the access to qualified technical personnel locally. And BRE organizations that are great at what they do, use the information on what makes customers happy to their benefit.

If the industry likes to share information about their facilities and products, find forums to allow them to present about themselves. If they like the relationships with the BRE staff, create Touch Point Plans for ongoing relationship-building. If the business likes help with permitting processes, create an issue-resolution process in partnership with the local code enforcement agency. If they like the access to qualified technical personnel, ensure businesses are establishing relationships with local providers of technical staff, with community colleges, and even some high schools.

Whether it’s for a BRE organization or a private business, research to uncover customer likes is important. Sometimes capitalizing on what already makes them happy is as important as fixing those things that bring frustration.

Act on what makes customers happy.

Interested in CSS’ Government Services? Check out:

http://cssamerica.com/cssgovt.htm

http://cssamerica.com/cssbrenews.htm

http://cssamerica.com/cssbresurvey.htm