Business Advice | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 109

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

Be Better Than the Pretzel Man

Posted on in Business Advice, Sports Please leave a comment

I was attending a basketball game a couple years back, and I had an urge for a soft pretzel.  There was a pretzel kiosk setup in the concourse, so I got in line behind 3-4 other customers.  When it was my turn to order, I walked up to the kiosk vendor, and he was looking down at his counter where he was preparing the pretzels.  I waited, and he said nothing and did not look up.  So I asked for a pretzel, and he proceeded to pull out a sheet of wax paper, went to get a pretzel, and added some salt.  Still looking down, he put the pretzel on the counter in front of me with his right hand, and with his left hand he held up three fingers.  I pulled out three dollars, gave it to him, and with his head still looking down, he said nothing else. I took my pretzel and walked away.

The entire transaction took place, and he did not say a word. He did not look up at me. He did not seem to care.

Many sports organizations talk about the “game day experience” as if it was all about the halftime entertainment or the before game rock band playing outside the arena.  But much of the experience from the customer’s perspective relates to the interactions that they have with arena vendors and staff.  This vendor conveyed that he couldn’t care less about the customer.

Although the way he expressed it may have been to the extreme, the reality is that a lot of vendors and city/county personnel who work at sporting events do their job for the task that it is without realizing who they are doing the task for – the fans, their customers.  The more of these individuals who convey that they couldn’t care less, the more fans that you’ll get who could not care less as well.  If the employees and vendors and other game day workers act like they don’t care about the customer or customer service with their poor communications or attitudes, you’ll see more and more fans conveying that same lack of attitude or lack of respect in how they communicate with others.

Make sure that the game day experience is about more than flashy entertainment; make sure it is also about customer service.

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


A Great Carolinas Customer Service Example

Posted on in Business Advice, Carolinas Please leave a comment

There are many examples of great customer service in North Carolina and South Carolina. One organization that has a strong presence in these states and delivers outstanding service is Chick-fil-A.  This Southeastern-based organization has a reputation built from the experience of its customers, where you get consistently good service no matter which restaurant you patronize.  You seem to get consistently courteous, respectful, and personalized service no matter which employee you engage in the drive-thru.  You constantly hear their branded slogan “my pleasure” whenever you thank them for something.  They offer their name to you when you place your order at the drive-thru, and they present a very clean and welcoming appearance when you eat inside.

How does Chick-fil-A do this? There are many methods they use, not the least of which is how they attract their personnel.  We’re familiar with how they will proactively go to particular schools or organizations to recruit staff for their restaurants.  This is done so that they have more control over their applicant pool by seeking out those groups more likely to have personable and professional individuals participating.

They have orientation and training which all staff attend which focuses strongly on the organization’s mission and vision to ensure that everybody understands why they are working there and how important the customer is to them.  The mission in part is to ‘have a positive impact on everyone with whom we come in contact.’ That could be the mission statement for any kind of business in the world, not just a restaurant.  It doesn’t say anything about chickens or waffle fries, but it says a lot about the mindset that it wants its employees to have.

To many customers, the fact that they are closed on Sundays is an example of the organization’s values as well.  And it is also a perk to employees.

Finally, it’s an organization with a strong work ethic – they have the motto “if you’re leanin’, you should be cleanin’.”  They try to promote the need for employees to be proactive and look for opportunities to do something positive for the business or its customers, even when the day is a little slow.

Take the Chick-fil-A challenge.  Go to a restaurant today, and see what you can learn from them to apply to your business.

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


Why the World of Customer Service Stinks

Posted on in Business Advice, World of Customer Service Please leave a comment

I hear so many comments about how the current state of customer service is poor and far below what it used to be, so I thought it was important to talk about some of the main reasons why customer service is so bad nowadays.

Here are my top 10 reasons in no particular order:

  1. Many people are not raised in such a way that they know how to communicate with courtesy and respect.
  2. Individuals are much more self-centered today than in the past, and in customer service, you need to be more other-centered.
  3. Even with all the MBAs that exist in the business leaders of today, too few of them truly understand the financial benefits of high levels of customer satisfaction and retention.
  4. Customer service still is not as sexy as sales and marketing.  It seems more exciting to ring the bell with a new sale than to keep a customer by serving them well.
  5. Customers’ expectations for turnaround time is much higher today, and that has caused organizations – which have not changed the reality of their turnaround times and responsiveness – to meet fewer expectations.
  6. Since there are so many different ways to deliver customer service and deliver products with the advent of the internet, IVR telephone systems, and other technologically-driven means, with variety comes complexity, and with complexity come quality concerns and with consistency in any business.
  7. Organizations care too much about short-term transaction-oriented costs and too little about long-term relationship-oriented value and profitability.
  8. Building World Class Customer Service organizations is something that’s rarely taught from a strategic perspective.
  9. There is an arrogance of thought that customer service is something very easy to do and only needs to be done by low-paid, less educated individuals.  In fact, delivering exceptional service can be very complex and yet very fun, and requires individuals who can quickly change their mindset, change their focus, and have a balance of technical knowledge, organizational knowledge, and customer focus.
  10. Most organizations, especially small businesses, are born from entrepreneurs who know how to sell, sell, sell or who love a product and want to deliver that product.  These leaders are either acquisition-focused or product-focused, but to sustain those businesses, they at some point have to mature as a business and transition towards customer service and relationship building.

Service may stink out there, but those of us who care about it will always have a tremendous niche and tremendous value in the business world.

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