Government | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 6

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

From Lament to Leading the Way – 3 Steps to BRE-Building

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

I was having a conversation with an economic development professional (a Business Retention & Expansion manager), and he was sharing his organization’s approach to retaining and growing with existing local companies. It started positively, and then the more he talked, the more he described his issues:

  • He wanted to a “real” and robust BRE program.
  • The current program was too limited to conducting site visits once/year with key businesses.
  • He wanted “to have a continual dialogue with companies.”
  • He needed to more quickly use the results of the interviews in issue-resolution for the client and community.
  • There’s no system to their relationship-building with companies. It was too much of a task-focused endeavor.

Much of what the BRE professional was lamenting is common in the industry. Too much work, and too little time. So the focus is on hitting a targeted number of site visits, helping when issues arise in a manner that’s not efficient or systematic enough, having large lag time between gathering information and acting on well thought out strategies, and getting activities done more than relationships developed.

This is common…but it doesn’t mean it’s the step to greatness.

To take that next step, even if staffing resources don’t increase, several other aspects of the program should change:

  • BRE programs need to have a mix of research activities; overreliance on site visits (the most labor-intensive data collection method) reduces capacity for issue-resolution, planning, and real relationship development. Phone/web-based surveys, and BRE News Research are efficient ways of complementing site visits.
  • Creating 12-month Touch Point Plans helps organizations build client knowledge and relationships, often without having to take a step onsite. These need to be developed/executed to make relationship-building happen on an ongoing basis.
  • Developing resource databases and detailed search capabilities such as exist in some BRE applications expedites identification of people/grants/processes/services that can be used to impact business needs and issues. These databases can also expedite the sharing of resources with the business itself.

If you’re lamenting the difficulties in moving your BRE program to greatness, take these 3 great steps.

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


Customer Service Wisdom from a Retiree-to-be

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

When you retire, you get reflective. And with reflection, you sometimes come up with nuggets – words of wisdom.

Brenda Fraser is a County employee retiring from 37 years of service, and in the article Face of Hernando County government says customer service, good hires were keys to success, she addresses some of the difficulties in serving customers as a local government employee. Fraser noted that “The hardest part of her job has been ‘communicating to people when it was something that was not positive, communicating that the county really does care. We understand there is a problem. We’re not being cavalier.’ Frazier said she knows, from her view on the inside, that county employees care and work hard. That has made the last few years difficult, she said, as employees have been the subject of public criticism — at a time when many also feared they could lose their jobs because of budget cuts.”

There’s several key points in those words:

  • First, when something’s not positive, you must communicate with the customer about it; also, it pays to be proactive so you can have some control over what’s discussed, where and how.
  • Second, don’t just do a task for a customer and expect them to know you care. Most customers want to be treated as something that’s far more than a cog on your assembly line; therefore, you have to think beyond the task; you have to convey you care about the person for whom you’re doing the task.
  • Third, we need to be empathetic with staff. When constantly preaching about the need for great customer service that they need to deliver to customers, we have to understand that their morale impacts their attitude. Leaders need to take ownership over their role in keeping morale and spirits high since employee feelings will flow to the customers.

When you think about how to deliver great service, remember to be proactive, communicate that you care, and be a spirit-builder with staff.

Did you like this post? Here are other government-related posts:

Learn about our CSS Government services at: http://cssamerica.com/cssgovt.htm


For BRE, Get Your Hands on the Plans

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

If you deal with a customer base of businesses, you have a very specific opportunity not enjoyed by those whose customers are consumers. We’re talking about getting your hands on their plans.

As an example of this, go to this BRE Sample Surveys/Reports page, and click on “Raymond Terrace.” This includes a PDF document that provides the results of a Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) survey conducted by an economic development organization in Australia. On Pages 16-18, there are questions of local businesses asked about the companies’ business plans, succession plans, and marketing plans. It’s important for BRE professionals to know if these plans exist because that can be an indicator of potential company success or impending change – key pieces of intelligence if you’re trying to retain and grow your local businesses.

But even more important than knowing that these plans exist is for these BRE professionals get their hands on those plans. What do the plans tell you about a company’s Vision, strategic goals, anticipated changes, potential supplier needs, facility constraints, and perceptions of how much their future involves your community?

Anybody wanting to save and grow relationships with their business clients needs to think long-term. A sales mentality is often focused short-term, on getting a transaction closed. A service and retention mentality is focused on keeping who you have over time. And one of the best ways to put that long-term mindset in place is to best understand your business client’s long-term plans.

Get your hands on the plans.

For more helpful BRE information, go to http://brebuzz.com/