Government | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 5

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

Find the Hidden Compliment - 7/26/22


The fact is, they ARE complaining:  The room is too cold.  The wait is too long.  They wish the parking spaces were bigger.  The new app doesn’t have a mapping function.  They cannot pay with their phone.  The website is unclear. In these types of complaints, the ones that are Read more

When You Know More Than They Do - 7/19/22


It was 95 degrees outside.  That’s not too bad when you’re inside and enjoying the air conditioning; but when Rachel’s A/C went out, in came Rachel’s worry.  Luckily, she knew the company to call, and a technician from Acme HVAC (fake name, real company) came out the next morning. Rachel Read more

Investigate for FACTS - 7/12/22


Sometimes the issues that we deal with don’t have an immediate resolution.  There’s unknown information and conflicting stories.  Many individuals are involved, or possibly whoever is involved is not available.  You have to investigate. For situations where you have to be clear on what occurred, make sure you’re gathering all Read more

Become a Great Teacher - 7/5/22


Are you one of those people who really liked school?  School is always made more enjoyable by great teachers and professors. Do you love sports?  Many coaches in football and basketball, in hockey and baseball view themselves as teachers…teaching the game they love to their team. True leadership is about growing Read more

Don’t Assume Their Motivation - 6/28/22


The company was instituting new human resources policies aimed at holding employees accountable for being late to work.  Employee lateness had been rising, and management wanted to make sure they reinforced the need for people to be on time. At a meeting to roll out the new policies, a leader Read more

It’s Not Always About the Outcome - 6/21/22


We want the satisfied customer.  We want the issue resolved.  We want to be able to fix the error or save the client.  We want to feel good coming out of a conversation, or feel like we have accomplished something special.  We want the “win win.” But all those great Read more

Ask: What is your goal? - 6/14/22


Through these Tips, we’ve shared our technique about how to meet the customer’s need right the first time.  It’s a conversation – a give and take with the customer where you hone in on what their true need or concern is, seeking more clarity to more quickly get to Read more

Make it Sincerely Yours - 6/7/22


I’d like to hear more.  I’m sorry about the situation.  Resolving your issue is important to me.  We appreciate your business.  Thank you for bringing this to my attention. These phrases are generally well-received depending on the situation.  But we want to make sure when we’re speaking to others that Read more

Customer Service of the Future…in Government

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

About 1/3rd of the most memorable customer service encounters in government are negative. Does that number seem low? Well keep in mind that the statistic was taken from a survey of employees of Federal, State, and Local governments, and even the sub-50% number from employees still isn’t positive.

But this GovLoop survey was more focused on the future than the past. And many of these employees are optimistic about the future because of some key trends they see developing including “Self-service opportunities, from grocery store kiosks to online applications, will allow citizens to access, process and monitor their government requests on a more widespread and frequent basis. Citizen engagement and partnership efforts that empower citizens will also become more prevalent. Mobile applications, increased social media interactions and the expansion of live, online chats also will radically change the way government delivers services in the next five to ten years.”

So these are the trends to anticipate, and the question becomes, What does this mean to the typical local government or employee? Here are three key takeaways:

  • Here Comes Proliferation. More service channels for the taxpayer mean more complexity, more need to monitor standardization of information and the experience, more staff training, and more metrics to gauge and improve performance. More, more, more infrastructure, training, and monitoring.
  • Calling All Techies! Tech-savvy employees will be a requirement, not a nice-to-have, and most local governments won’t be able to have separate divisions/departments dedicated to separate service channels because staffing is too small. Therefore, many staff will have to learn to be jacks-of-all-trades (responding to e-mail requests, social media complaints, calls, web issues, and potentially onsite visits – all in the same day).
  • Teach the Citizens Well. “Self-Service” means that the customer can do for themselves. This requires a mindset and intentional planning and work to train citizens on how to do for themselves. It’s the proverbial teach them to fish, but the fish they’re catching is information, or a recycle bin, or compost, or an inspection, or a tax payment, or a reservation at a park shelter. For Self-Service to succeed, we need to serve as a teacher to inform, educate on what they can do and how to do it.

With variety comes complexity, and with a greater tech emphasis comes the search for people who can blend a technology skill set and a customer service mindset.

Get ready for the future of government customer service.

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Go Back to Where You Started in Business Retention & Expansion

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

Have you ever been deep into a conversation and then stopped, and tried to backtrack step-by-step to see how you got there?

The back-tracking can go something like this: We’re talking about the recent national elections because we were discussing local political elections because we were discussing a nearby zoning issue because we were discussing the property that adjoins our neighborhood because we were discussing putting a fence in the backyard because we were discussing getting a dog because we were discussing how much fun we have with a friend’s dog because we were discussing the dog’s name Pete because…well…you get the picture. We were talking about a dog named Pete, and we ended up talking about the recent national elections.

For an Economic Development organization’s Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) Program, it’s often helpful to do the same sort of exercise – not just to have fun, and not necessarily in a conversation, but about the life of the BRE program. Frequently, relatively young organizations (particularly those under 10 years in business), find themselves at a certain place, and they’ve evolved to that place. They may have had a grand plan to start with, but over time the strategic planning ended and the day-to-day fire-fighting and daily operations took over. And a great question to ask at that point is this: If we had to start this organization over again, how would it look different than it is today?

A great way to answer that question is to go back to the start of the BRE Program. Consider what were the initial goals, the initial focuses, the initial planned allocation of time and resources. How do those goals/focuses/time allocations differ from the reality of today?

The recent article City announces business retention program gives us some of that view of the start. These are some of the highlights from the article:

  • Use the BRE program to better know specific needs from specific companies.
  • Set as a goal of the BRE program to help businesses make profits and grow.
  • Leverage the BRE program to proactively identify growth opportunities and business issues.
  • Promote with local businesses the desire to keep them and have them hire and invest more locally.
  • Target key companies and businesses.
  • Look for macro-issues that impact multiple businesses – have a coordinated effort to address the concerns.
  • Don’t be an island – create a stakeholder system to support research, relationship development, retention, and ongoing funding.
  • Identify dedicated resources for the BRE program.

I’m not suggesting that what we do today is wrong, but what I am suggesting is sometimes it helps to refocus, and a great way to do that is to look at the initial plans, goals, and strategies. Then use those as a guide to redirect and refocus current efforts.

To reenergize your program and reallocate your time, go back to where you started in Business Retention & Expansion.

See more BRE blog posts at: http://brebuzz.com/bre-blog-posts/


Give Customer Service Some Definition

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

In the article New city administration sets priorities at day-long planning session, El Paso city officials met to identify 2014 goals. According to the article, “Customer service emerged as a key focus, for the new administration, during the planning session. The city’s mission statement says that it is ‘dedicated to outstanding customer service for a better El Paso.’ City Representative Larry Romero added that part of the city’s duty in providing high customer service is first identifying the priorities and levels of service needed. Deputy city manager Jane Shang said the city needs to revaluate and change processes to streamline city government and, ‘deliver services quicker and better.’

Based on those points, here are some nuggets for any business to consider:

  • A Mission Defines Your Daily Purpose. Use the Mission to guide your planning efforts. Are you aligning your plans to your Foundation Statements (Mission, Vision, Values)?
  • Define “Customer Service” for Your Organization. Customer service is a general term, so is it defined as the employee attitudes, systems, processes, facilities, or something else?
  • Define Where You Want to be GREAT! Don’t strive for perfection in everything – there have to be priorities set. Are you going to delight the customers with your attitudes, systems, processes, AND facilities? If so, do you have an unlimited budget?
  • Define Your Customer Service Standards. Where you don’t have an unlimited budget, define bare minimum expectations. If we’re not going to have facilities that resemble the Ritz-Carlton, what is at least a minimum expectation?

Whether you work for a municipality or not, to create a focus for your customer service initiatives, give customer service some definition.

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