Government | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 21

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

Government Charges You to Wait?

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

The San Francisco Chronicle published an article on April 1 (no joke) about new fines and fees being instituted by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. The article (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/cityinsider/detail?&entry_id=60331) noted how recipients of parking tickets in San Francisco are being charged $2 more, and people using the government customer service center will be charged $3 to be able to wait in line to pay tickets, purchase parking cards, or buy Fast Passes.

All this is understandable. Municipalities in California are having a particularly difficult time financially, and they need to increase revenue. So charge more for parking. Charge more for tickets.

But charge for the right to wait in line? Charge to be inconvenienced? Charge for the opportunity to buy something from you?

When I work with a client considering levying a new fee on the customer, the questions I ask include: How will this impact your relationship with your customer? How will this impact your customer retention? How will this impact the customer’s word-of-mouth? How will this impact your long-term success?

Most businesses – if they asked themselves these questions – will do everything they can to avoid increasing prices unless they can show some equal increase in value to the client.

In municipalities, the same questions are not asked, and maybe it’s because they don’t think they need to be asked. After all, where else is the customer going to go to pay a ticket, buy a parking pass, or buy a Fast Pass?

Whether you work in a municipality or a private business, before you put an additional burden on the customer, before you expect more from your customer, before you put barriers between them and your organization, think about the long-term impact.

Exhaust every opportunity to improve your organization’s performance before dumping that responsibility on your customer.

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


Take the HCAHPS Test

Posted on in Business Advice, Government, Healthcare Please leave a comment

Will the government be getting into healthcare with the proposed healthcare reform legislation? That’s probably not the best question to ask, because the government is already in healthcare in many ways. I’m sure we’re all familiar with Medicare and Medicaid, but since this is a customer service and retention-related blog, have you heard of HCAHPS?

The government is already in healthcare in the customer service/satisfaction aspect of the business. The federal government has required that hospitals survey patients using standardized tools to gauge satisfaction with multiple areas of the patient experience including communication, responsiveness, information provided, processes, etc. Then this information is posted on the internet for any current or prospective patient to review to compare one hospital to another.

What if this approach related to other organizations? What if two retail stores had their customer satisfaction ratings posted side-by-side? Or maybe you could compare all restaurants in your region in an evaluation – side-by-side – of key characteristics of the food, the environment, the price, the customer service. How about comparing 3 banks or 4 car dealerships or 5 animal hospitals or 6 grocery stores?

If you were one of those retailers or restaurants or banks or grocery stores being objectively compared for all your current or prospective customers to see, how would you do?

It’s a scary proposition, but if you’re not willing to consider it, believe me, your customers make this evaluation every day.

Think of this as the HCAHPS test. How would you objectively compare on key characteristics of the customer experience with your competitors? If you have no idea, then you might want to consider mystery shopping, having a research firm such as ours to shop your organization…and your competitors.

Make sure you know how you measure up.

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


Be Vigilant in Tough Times

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

When the economy is bad, and people are hurting, the stories that seem to bubble to the surface in the news are often those that focus on government. When somebody’s mad, the one large entity that people direct that wrath toward is often the government. We might define government as a local municipality, state government, or the federal government. But in any case, problems that are minor which may have been overlooked in the past are now front page news.

There are some obvious reasons for this. When the economy is bad, people’s purse-strings are tightened, and their scrutiny of every individual dollar is heightened. Oftentimes the dollars that are not in one’s control or which seem to rise during bad economic times are those dollars spent on government services – real estate taxes, utilities, sales taxes, personal income taxes, etc.

So during these times, governments have to be hypersensitive to the feelings of their customers – the residents and businesses. They need to make sure that when issues arise they jump out in front with proactive communication plans that not only target the media but which also target individual customers one-on-one. Since the media is more than happy to jump on a negative story and milk it for all it’s worth during times like these, government entities have to determine ways to influence the perceptions of the public in a more one-on-one manner, more directly. They cannot rely on reactive responses to the media; they need to have proactive communications and plans targeting their customers directly.

There is a need to be vigilant during the tough times in getting your message out, because if government organizations – or any organizations for that matter – are in reactive mode when issues arise, loss of control of the message can be a loss of the positive image of the brand that the organization has worked so long to nurture and develop.

Focus on the one-on-one, and be vigilant in your proactive communications during the tough times.

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