Business Advice | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 100

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

BOOST Your Retention

Posted on in Business Advice, Healthcare Please leave a comment

Project BOOST is a concept being piloted by The Society of Hospital Medicine. They are working with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan as well as the University of Michigan to reduce readmissions to hospitals. Modern Healthcare ( reported on this project as an example of some creative programs that can be put in place to reduce unnecessary readmissions, which is obviously preferable from the patient’s perspective and helps to manage costs from the facility’s perspective.

What’s especially interesting about the program is that it has a strong customer service component. The program includes a recommended follow-up visit to the doctor within two weeks of discharge to ensure that the patient knows whom to contact, what they need to be doing for themselves, and what to be looking for in terms of post-discharge issues.

To think about this in more general customer service terms, there is a built-in communication step after the patient has left the hospital which ensures that the patient is communicating their situation and their issues back to the physician and also to ensure that the patient is well-educated. To ensure that the patient and their family understand the information being conveyed by the physician/nurses/pharmacists, they use what they call the “teach back” method. This essentially involves the clinician asking the patient to restate what information they were just told.

This is a technique which CSS, our company, teaches to our clients as well. Whether you’re setting expectations or just wanting to make sure you’re on the same page with your customer in terms of what needs to happen next, who’s going to do it, and when it needs to be done, ask the customer to summary those key points back to you. If they can, you’re confident that you’re both on the same page. If they cannot, then you have more work to do to before you close out the conversation.

Learn from Project BOOST. Before the client leaves your business, ensure they’re on the same page with you in terms of what’s going to happen next. And after they’ve left, touch base with your clients a short time after the transaction has occurred to ensure they were satisfied and to keep that relationship-building conversation going.

Interested in improving your company’s customer service? See more information at:

You’re Once, Twice, Three Times a Customer

Posted on in Business Advice Please leave a comment

With all due respect to the Commodores’ great song (“You’re Once, Twice, Three Times a Lady”), this blog post focuses on gaining repeat business. Many companies work so hard on making the initial sale and celebrating the transaction. But what if we looked at each sale or at each “moment of truth” with the customer not as a single event? What if we saw it as a link to the next sale? The idea is to string together 1, 2, and 3 sales to the same customer. This is creating a customer from a transaction. Several things would be different:

  • You would be more concerned with whether the customer was satisfied with the shopping experience.
  • You’d be more likely to ask for improvement suggestions.
  • You’d be more likely to follow-up after the sale.
  • You’d be more likely to set-up periodic customer “touch points” to make sure you’re top-of-mind the next time a buying decision is made.
  • You’d be more likely to get contact information on the customer and to use it.
  • You’d be more likely to inquire about other customer needs/wants.
  • You’d be more concerned with getting to know the customer personally.
  • You’d spend more time talking with co-workers about strategies to keep that customer and bring them back.

Think about the customer by thinking about how to get to the next encounter. Turn your transactions into Once, Twice, Three Times a Customer.

Interested in improving your company’s customer service? See more information at:

Blackhawk at its Best

Posted on in Business Advice, Carolinas Please leave a comment

The big box home improvement stores have dominated the landscape over the past 10-20 years. They offer more products at lower prices than the “Mom and Pop” hardware stores of the past, and many of those smaller stores have gone out of business.

But Blackhawk Hardware in Charlotte, NC, offers a couple things that the big boxes can’t replicate including…popcorn. You walk into Blackhawk, and you smell the popcorn coming out of the old fashion popping machine, and anyone can make a bag (or two) for themselves – free! It’s delicious, and it gets you in the mood to slow down for your shopping experience.

But besides this initial unique and filling introduction to the store, you immediately realize that their customer service is the other thing that cannot be replicated. I’ve looked for light switch covers and washers for a kitchen sink pipe. I’ve looked for certain types of hose sprayers and gifts for relatives. After a second bag of popcorn, I’ve looked for unique light bulbs and a vise to secure a rope swing.

It seems that I cannot only always find what I need, but I also have someone pleasant, candid, and helpful aiding me in my search. As a “small box” store, their prices are sometimes higher for some basic items, but the store is constantly jam packed. It’s jam packed with customers willing to pay a little extra for the selection, the free popcorn, and the exceptional customer service.

The next time you’re in Charlotte and near Park Road Shopping Center, check out Blackhawk Hardware.

It’s a great example of how a family-owned business can compete with the big boys using customer service.

Interested in improving your company’s customer service? See more information at: