Government | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 14

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

Make Your Existing Clients Your New Star

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

In the article NuStar Energy Plans $365-Million Expansion in Louisiana, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal hailed growth of an existing company in Southeast Louisiana. According to Gov. Jindal, “When I entered office, I said business retention and expansion (BRE) would be our top economic development priorities. Today’s announcement shows our strong commitment to retaining and growing existing Louisiana companies so we can create more opportunities for our people here at home.”

When local communities focus on keeping their existing businesses, they’re doing it to keep fees, taxes, jobs locally. If a State is focusing on business retention and expansion such as Louisiana, they are it doing it to keep fees, taxes, and jobs statewide. There’s no altruism involved in a BRE focus; it’s business…and that’s absolutely fine.

According to the article, “Louisiana Economic Development’s Business Expansion and Retention Group, or BERG, began working with NuStar more than a year ago to cultivate the expansion project.”

So what can any business learn from this example? If you want to sustain a business, you want to grow a business, you have to focus on retaining and growing with who you already have; learn these lessons:

· Get buy-in from the top, with leadership being an outward, visible champion of retention and growth.

· Create structures in your organization that exist to support the effort.

· Dedicate staffing/financial/research-driven resources to retention initiatives.

· Partner with clients by planning together how to succeed/grow.

To be a big success in retaining and growing with existing clients, buy into these BRE lessons.

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

Listen to our latest podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/

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


Don’t Let Local Politicians Drive Customer Service

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

You know it must be bad when local politicians want to draft a resolution that requires that government employees deliver good customer service.

A Maine City Councilor is looking to improve customer service at City Hall by crafting a document that requires that customers “are treated with the utmost courtesy and that all such transactions are handled in a respectful and professional manner.” He’s heard of residents and local business owners not getting prompt, effective service in response to inquiries and in the permitting processes.

While most municipalities have local developers, design professionals, and those who work in the trades who have concerns with permitting and inspection processes, it’s a sad day when politicians feel the need to take up the mantle of customer service champion. Maybe this Councilor truly feels customer service is a major concern, or maybe he is pushing this for some other reason, but the point is that there are ways to improve customer service – and this isn’t at the top of the list.

We’ve worked with local government – in permitting/inspections areas, in particular – for years, and much of what they’ve done to continuously improve customer service focuses on 3 areas:

· Continually Engage the Customer – Have local committees made up of the building community that offer you input into your plans, share feedback on service, and provide support on your initiatives. Augment this with ongoing (at least bi-annual) surveys of the broader constituency.

· Ensure Staff Have the Skills and Mindset They Need – Develop customer service standards – a bare minimum expectation in terms of how staff will engage customers. Provide training on the skills, principles, and philosophies of great customer service. Most permitting/inspections staff are hired because of technical skills, so they need training to ensure they also have great communication and service skills.

· Have a Process Improvement Orientation – So much of what drives satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) with permitting and inspection services relates to processes. How quickly can a permit be issued? How easy is it to submit plans for review? How often to inspectors show up at the scheduled time onsite? Ensure your processes and technology are standardized, efficient, and easy to navigate.

Take the need to improve out of the hands of the politicians. Talk to the customer. Train the staff. Continuously improve your processes and systems.

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

Listen to our latest podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/

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


Google This…Then Think Differently About Retention

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

Go to Google News and search on “business retention.” When I did this recently, there were 102 items of business news for the last week alone, and they are from close to 100 different locations.

Why is this term becoming so ubiquitous (never used that word in a blog post before…very exciting!)? “Business retention” programs are proliferating, and it’s because communities are realizing the value of a company and its jobs and its fees and its taxes and its construction projects and the salaries it pays. Communities are realizing the value of a customer, and their customer is a business.

When the economy tanks (as it did around 2008 and earlier this century as well), businesses in general start talking a lot more about customer service and customer retention. Whereas it’s sexy to talk about new sales, new clients, and new businesses coming to town, all of that “new” stuff is an addition to what already exists – your current customers.

What we tell our economic development clients is the same thing I’d tell most any other business – don’t limit your retention strategy to “delivering great customer service” or to “having lots of face-to-face meetings with your customers.”

Your strategy needs to be based on data, facts, intelligence – some of which you acquire by asking your customers questions, and some of which you acquire by conducting ongoing research on your clients (via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google News, MarketWatch, etc.). Your strategy needs to involve a mix of pre-planned Touch Points that occur throughout the year to pull information from customers via surveys/research/meetings/calls/e-mails or push information of value to them or marketing information for them. But the Touch Points also have to include those (as we say with our healthcare customers) PRN touches – those provided as needed based on that intelligence we just noted.

When you think about how to retain your customers (whether that customer is a business or an individual), you still need to deliver great customer service. But also develop strategies to gather intelligence, and provide strategic Touch Points to develop relationships that grow with your existing customers.

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

Listen to our 2012 Customer Service Trends podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/2012/1/12/stepping-up-service-6-customer-service-trends-for-2012.html

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