actions | 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

RELATE to Your Customers – 2/28/23

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

One of the more interesting processes we go through with some clients is the development of Customer Service Standards.  One might think that the expectations that organizations have of their staff are pretty consistent when it comes to customer service and relationship-building.  However, the Standards are often unique because the organizations are unique.  Their Core Values are unique. Their purpose is unique.  And their customers are unique.

We helped one of our clients develop their expectations of staff, and the acronym RELATE lent itself nicely to the description of these expectations.  Here’s a quick summary:

  • Relate – Treat all courteously/fairly. Be inclusive, open to and appreciative of the diversity of the community and the customers. Be professional in representing the organization in appearance, interactions, and in showing respect for the privacy of others.
  • Educate – Understand the organization well enough to effectively serve others. Get to know the customers and their needs, educating them about the organization and their service experience.
  • Listen – Acknowledge others and those needs; be patient, communicate clearly, and listen so they feel valued and important, striving to address their need right the first time.
  • Act – Own the service experience, taking responsibility for being prompt/responsive to the needs and issues of others. Help others, and hold yourself accountable for your actions and on behalf of co-workers.
  • Team-up – Work with others in the organization to address collective goals and customer needs – guiding others to the right resource when needed. Understand your role, be involved and trustworthy, sharing information and ideas.
  • Enjoy – Be friendly and welcoming, proactively engaging others in a natural, enthusiastic, and attentive manner. Convey the energy, active nature, and positivity that we hope to see from our customers.

 
Relate, Educate, Listen, Act, Team-up, and Enjoy!  Where are you and your teammates strong in delivering these Standards, and where could you improve?

Do a little self-evaluation so you can better RELATE to your customers.

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A Way to Serve with Empathy – 11/2/21

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

We first wrote a Tip of the Week on empathy back in 2008. It was the most important customer service skill then, and it’s the most important customer service skill now.  And as we’ve noted in society, empathy is becoming a word that is used more often in more aspects of life.  The word is important, but the application of that word in customer service is even more important in what you and I do every day.

We’ve often said that somebody who is great in customer service is great at asking questions.  But an incredibly important skill to have and utilize in order to ask the right questions in the right manner is the ability to be empathetic.

To meet a need right the first time, you have to know the need.  To resolve a problem – permanently – you have to be able to get to the root cause.  To develop a relationship with someone, you have to get to know them individually.  To retain business, you have to know why they’d stay, and why they’d leave.  To improve a process, you have to understand the process.  And to grow relationships with your clients, you have to get to know their goals and aspirations.

To know a need, to get to the root cause, to know someone individually, to know why the customer would leave you, to understand a process, and to know your customer’s goals and aspirations, you usually have to ask:  “What are you hoping to accomplish?”  “Why did that happen?”  “What brought you here today?”  “Why did you choose us?”  “Can you tell me what step happens next?”  “Where would you like to be a year from now?”

Being empathetic means you care enough to understand the customer and what’s unique about them and their situation.  Being empathetic means you care enough to ask a question in order to get the answer.  Being empathetic means that you’re asking the questions in such a way as to get a response from somebody who believes you care enough to be inquisitive, and you will act on their response.

If you want to build your customer service skill set, show your empathy by being inquisitive.  Show your empathy by asking questions in a manner that conveys you care.

Share your empathy by showing your curiosity about the other person.

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Channel Your Inner Aristotle – 10/26/21

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

Aristotle once said: We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

This is a very interesting statement.  We need to break it down to fully understand and appreciate it.

We are what we repeatedly do.

Let’s focus on the word repeatedly.  None of us is defined by any individual action, or at least we should not be defined by that one instance or those few occurrences.  How we define ourselves and how we can summarize who we are is by the repetition of what we do. Theoretically what we do is a reflection of who we are, especially if what we do happens over and over and over again.  Maybe these are repeated mistakes or errors, repeated inactivity or inaction.  Maybe they are repeated acts of quality, selflessness, support for others – our co-workers and customers.

Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

Aristotle takes the positive approach to evaluating our repetitious actions.  He talks about defining excellence in terms of the good that we do over and over again.

He then uses the word habit.  That excellence is not one action.  Excellence is something repeatedly done.  Excellence is a habit.

So, what does this all mean as it relates to customer service?  It talks about the importance of forming habits.  It’s the importance of consistency, the importance of avoiding becoming the on/off switch.

If we want to build trust with our co-workers, we need to consistently do what we say we will do.  We need to consistently respond to their requests or reframe the follow-up time.  We need to consistently meet the deadlines and provide quality work, or let them know if they should expect the slight delay.

With our customers, excellence is not necessarily that one phenomenal moment of truth.  Conversely, excellence is not necessarily hindered by that one mistake you made, that one omission you had, that one error you produced.

Excellence is defined by the consistency of doing the good job.  The consistency of treating people with respect.  The consistent quality and responsiveness and effort to do what’s right on behalf of and for the customer.

Don’t be overly critical of yourself for the one mistake or the one omission.  You can still move toward excellence by forming consistent habits of great customer service.

Channel your inner Aristotle.

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