Business Advice | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 7

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

Redesign around Millennials (and Others, too!)

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

Blog 7-3-15Millennials. I’ve been in so many meetings lately where they were the main topic of discussion. Why? Because they’re different. How they communicate, how they socialize with each other, why and how they move toward a brand and what could pull them away is different from other generations.

But couldn’t we say that about most of the customer groups out there? Aren’t first-time customers different than those that have been with you for ten years? Aren’t those that transact business with you purely via the web different than those that will only come into the store to make a purchase or get service?

The uniqueness of Millennials is important to note, but it’s important to note because every customer group (every customer) is unique.

To improve the customer’s experience, conduct this exercise with whomever the key 3-5 customer groups are for your business:

  • Research – Conduct research – surveys, focus groups, interviews, etc. – to identify what is most important to them about their experience. Is it speed, simplicity, self-service options, self-evident steps, text-based options, face-to-face dialogue, quality, or kindness? Identify just a few key attributes of their experience.
  • Journey Map – Use those attributes as guiding principles to redesign your customer’s experience by breaking up the experience into several Macro-process steps; here are six sample steps:
    • They identify a need for and inquire about “stuff”
    • They find stuff
    • They request/order stuff
    • They get a status on stuff delivery
    • They receive stuff
    • They complete/pay for stuff
  • Redesign – During evaluation of each step in this customer continuum, how well does the experience in this step address the guiding principles? For example, when they’re requesting/ordering an item, is it “simple, quick, and self-evident?” If not, then that’s where there’s opportunity for a redesign.

The lesson on the laser focus on Millennials is to look at each customer or customer group as unique. Know what’s important to them so you can design your world around theirs. Research. Journey Map. Redesign

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For School Districts, the “Nebulous” is Important

Posted on in Business Advice, Education Please leave a comment

Blog 4-20-15Parent satisfaction and student satisfaction are easily measured. The employment rate of high school graduates and the percentage of graduates moving to college are also easily gauged. The attendance patterns of students and ACT scores are both measurable.

But in the survey results for Springfield Public Schools, there was something overall that was highly important…and highly nebulous.

In a survey of students, employees, parents, and community members, the third most important “measure” of school success was “Communication, collaboration and critical thinking.” This attribute was only less important to respondents than “Highly qualified teachers” and “Employment rate.”

This is important, because when we think of outcomes, we think of graduation, employment, and college entry. But to the stakeholders in this school system, the most important “causes” of these “outcomes” or “effects” were teachers, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking.

When many districts and other educational organizations work to improve student success, they work on the academic rigor, the testing, raising reading or math proficiency, and putting the right curriculums and programs in place.

But people make those approaches work, and what characteristics of the people and the organization make them work? Their communication, collaboration, and critical thinking make them work.

Whenever you launch an initiative to improve performance in your organization, don’t just create the perfect program. Ensure that the people are communicating, collaborating, and asking the right questions to make that initiative a success.

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Learn about our CSS Education services at: http://cssamerica.com/education-industry


Journalists are Sharing Patient Satisfaction Scores

Posted on in Business Advice, Healthcare Please leave a comment

Blog 4-17-15It’s happening. We knew it would come. It’s not that the hospitals haven’t been measuring patient satisfaction for decades. It’s not that the Federal Government is just now monitoring patient satisfaction and reporting it publicly. It IS that it’s become such an easily-obtained set of information that journalists are quickly pulling the data and writing articles. The article See how Triad hospitals fare when it comes to patient satisfaction is a perfect example. It identifies specific hospitals in North Carolina only getting 2 “Stars” out of 5. It notes that nobody in the region is above a 4, and it interviews those performing “badly” in the eyes of the writer, putting them on the defensive. Now here’s the question: What is your organization doing to continually improve patient satisfaction? Some of the answer is process-oriented, some is culture, some directly relates to engaging employees, and some relates to communications and relationship-building with patients. Our suggestion is to start with the Voice of the Patient – What are their true satisfaction drivers? Uncover the true drivers of willingness to recommend and return, if needed. Then identify what correlates most to those drivers. At that point, you can be efficient in your efforts. At that point, you’re tailoring your strategy to improve and sustain that improvement in patient satisfaction through employee engagement, patient engagement, process, communications, cultural, and other initiatives. Continually work to improve your patient satisfaction. Your scores could be in the next headline, the next television segment, or the next in-depth article. The data on the hospitals have become stories waiting to be written.

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