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

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

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/