above and beyond | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

“You’re the Boss” - 2/20/24


Terrence is excellent at what he does.  From a technical standpoint, he knows how to keep the facility clean.  He’s the lead custodian, and he knows that keeping things straight does not necessarily mean keeping things sanitary.  He knows what chemicals to use and not to use, how to Read more

Customer Understanding Leads to Relationship Growth - 2/13/24


We’ve worked with educational organizations at all grade levels over the years.  One special and unique characteristic about the staff who work in these organizations is that there’s a clear intent to know about the students as individuals, to focus on them rather than purely focusing on what’s delivered Read more

Define Customer Service Success Differently - 2/6/24


When I’m watching television, listening to the radio, or listening to a podcast, it’s always interesting when the topic moves to the question:  How can you be a success?  The speakers often discuss the process of becoming a success with the assumption that people believe success is defined by Read more

Care Enough to Give Them a Heads Up - 1/30/24


Nothing bad at all might happen.  Every day in the office could seem like every other day.  Sights and sounds and smells might continue to be the same.  But we have a lot of construction going on around our offices, and the building manager knows the type of work Read more

Be Better than AI Customer Service - 1/23/24


There was a recent CBS Sunday Morning Show story called: How artificial intelligence is revamping customer call centers. The journalist described how artificial intelligence is being used in customer service, and he noted the millions of pieces of information that can be processed in a matter of seconds. There are clear Read more

Recognize the Situation, and Pivot - 1/16/24


The customer has a complaint, or they may have an important question about an order or their account.  You may be talking to them in an emergency room, in the lobby of the government building, on the phone, or in a video conversation.  And in many of these Moments Read more

Sharpen Your Service Delivery - 1/9/24


You work so hard at being responsive and providing high quality information.  You work hard at fixing problems.  But is your delivery…dull? I’m not saying that it has to be exciting, but let’s think of the word “exciting.”  It means that something’s interesting, has energy, is positive.  Just by its Read more

Make Empathy Your Superpower - 1/2/24


I was facilitating a Service Excellence Training class for a Higher Ed client in the Northeast several years back.  As I was walking through the portions of our technique for defusing the angry customer, I talked about empathy.  I talked about accepting responsibility. Immediately, one of the hands in the Read more

Holiday Poem 2023 - 12/26/23


The days are getting longer, The skies are getting brighter. Festivities behind us, And festivities before us.   There’s ups and downs and change coming, And we can’t predict when or where. There’s challenges and joys and opportunities around, Of which you may or may not be aware.   But one thing we know as we look at each Read more

Refresh, Rejuvenate, Refocus - 12/19/23


It’s that time of year.  We’re going 100 miles an hour, and holiday time is upon us.  We not only have all the work to do, but we somehow have less time to do it.  We somehow have other things that are of competing interest, and even though those Read more

Make Deposits with Your Customer – 10/24/23

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment

Carrie has a 50+ hour a week job, and – financially – she does better than many.  She’s in the media, but she doesn’t like everything to be public.  Carrie’s a real person with real issues and real needs and real gifts, as well.

One day, her best friend, the person that knows her best as well, asked Carrie a simple question: Why do you give so much to other people?

You see, Carrie has paid people’s rent when they were in a tough position.  She has paid others’ medical expenses and taken care of other life necessities.  And typically the only person that knew what she did was the person she was helping.  Sometimes she helped others anonymously, so even that person did not know.

Her best friend knew of Carrie’s giving because she pieced it all together, story by story, understanding how all the people helped somehow had some deep or tangential relationship to Carrie.  So, the friend asked Carrie the question, and Carrie gave the answer.

Carrie said: I always like to put in deposits because it’s the right thing to do, and I’m able to do it.  But also, I know, someday I’m going to have to make some withdrawals, and it’s probably going to be easier to make some withdrawals if I’ve built up a bank account of goodwill.

That’s a long story to make a short point about customer service.

When we do the bare minimum for the customer, we are providing a product or service. We are giving them the commodity they’re purchasing.  But when we do a little bit more – when we give them a little bit more time, when we show them a little bit more patience, when we reach out to them just to check in even when it’s not really necessary – We are making deposits.

And every business at some point in time is going to mess up, where our action or inaction will be a withdrawal from the account we have with that customer.  So, let’s give a little extra at every opportunity, and maybe when we make a mistake, the customer will be fine with us making that withdrawal.

Keep making deposits with your customer.

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How to Rise to the Occasion – 8/8/23

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment

In the movie Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, Mr. Magorium – played by Dustin Hoffman – tells his protégé that “Your life is an occasion.  Rise to it.”

He’s conveying a big picture life lesson – don’t let fear and apprehension keep you from living.

Rising to the occasion is also something we need to do in serving others.  Maybe it’s not as dramatic an occasion as living life to your fullest, overcoming the fears and the apprehension.  But it’s still important.  Rising to the occasion in a customer service encounter suggests that there is an occasion where the basics, the routine response, the status quo won’t suffice.

Maybe the situation doesn’t warrant the muted response, or the customer doesn’t respond to our typical approach, so we have to RISE!

How to Rise

So, how do you rise to the occasion in customer service?  It’s about ratcheting up the quality of your performance.

Can you respond more quickly, respond with more urgency on the customer’s behalf?  Take action now.  Make them a priority now.

Can you take ownership of a situation and shepherd it forward until it’s complete?  Don’t look for the handoff to others, look for the next step you can take together with them, the document you can work on together, the process you can complete together, the final step you can identify and act on together.

Can you meet their specific need with a specific solution?  Identify their issue, need, or goal.  Then put on your consulting hat and outline a specific solution to address that need.

Rising to the occasion is about the now, taking action together, and tailoring your solution to their situation.

When you are in an occasion of serving the customer, and they need expedited or extra support, tailored support, a final conclusion – Rise to the Occasion!

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Redefine “Access” to Treat Customers Special – 11/29/22

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment

One of our clients puts on major events throughout the country.  When we conduct post-event surveys, many of the attendees rave about the access they had to certain entertainers, locations in the venue, parking lots, or even information.  Others decry the fact that they lacked that access.

This does pose an interesting question:  If we want to treat our customers special – even if we’re not in the entertainment industry – what kind of special access can we provide to customers?

In some ways, “Special” is in the eye of the beholder, but allow yourself the opportunity to think on the following questions for those customers where something a little special, something above and beyond, makes them walk away feeling a little special.  Let’s redefine “Access.”

People: In what cases can you grant a customer access to a particular co-worker or department within your organization that is not commonly promoted as a point of contact in communications or the company website?  Maybe it’s access to a leader, an expert, a not highly-publicized telephone line or department.

Resources: When can you provide access to resources that are not commonly available?  It could be some internal documents, some How To’s, an online portal or an app, information you can e-mail, or key lessons learned from other similar clients.

Locations: Where can you provide physical access to a certain location at your facility, special parking or entrances, or certain special locations?  The information or the product or service is the same, but how they get there may be unique, where it’s located might be special.

Experiences: What are the types of experiences you can grant access to for this individual?  You could invite them to a webinar or a town hall meeting.  They could attend some special entertainment or presentation.  Think about even small gatherings you have for those community, civic, or charity events that might be promoted to the general public but not directly communicated to the customers.

Granted, access is tough to offer to customers, at times, but if we take a step back and redefine what could be considered a “Special Access Opportunity,” we might be able to grant access to our customers in new ways.

Redefine “Access” to Treat Customers Special.

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