actions | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

Handle Interruptions Heroically - 6/18/24


In the middle of a project, Jimbo, the customer service team member, had to stop what he was doing because he received an e-mail from a customer complaining about their experience at a recent event. Later that day, Jimbo was asked by his boss to put everything on hold for Read more

From Employees to Teammates: The Shift - 6/11/24


Be a great teammate. Be a good team player. We’re all part of the team. We’re no longer employees, we’re team members! The phrase “Team” is used in describing co-workers so much more than it was used years ago.  Then, we would be talking about employees, talking about staff, talking Read more

Nurture New Relationships - 6/4/24


Freddie was a new business owner in town.  He was launching a franchise, had acquired some funding from a local bank, and was in search of staff who cared about customer service. All the while, he was in the process of renovating a storefront for his business, so he was Read more

There’s Positivity in Patience - 5/28/24


The employee at the financial services firm was working with a new client on a relatively simple loan.  The documentation was about as clear as it could get to the employee, but the customer had lots of questions.  The employee calmly, clearly, and specifically answered each question.  The meeting Read more

The Goal – A Great Experience - 5/21/24


The following is a narrative of a great experience (people, process, service, facility) at a minor league sporting event – key points that could apply to any business are in bold… Mark and I pulled into the parking lot, excited about the game.  The Slapshots had been on a roll Read more

Your Best Ability is… - 5/14/24


I enjoy watching sports, and I’ve even listened to some sports press conferences over the years, just to hear what coaches are saying.  Basically getting the leadership perspective from the sports industry either out of my interest or curiosity, or to figure out how to apply it to the Read more

A Complaint is a Gift - 5/7/24


A complaint is a gift.  Okay, so the complainer is not always a “gift.”  The customer’s delivery of the complaint is sometimes more like a stocking filled with coal than a vase filled with roses.  But this is why we need to be able to differentiate the complaint from Read more

Mastering Confidence in Customer Service - 4/30/24


It’s not what you said…it’s how you said it. If you’ve ever had someone say this to you, raise your hand.  (I just raised my hand) Usually this is being said when someone is upset with you, but regardless of the reason, that phrase illustrates that HOW we say something often Read more

Be Amazing - 4/23/24


Watching Michael Jordan steal a pass and then dunk a basketball is amazing.  Taking a rocket to the moon is amazing.  The taste of my mom’s homemade beef soup is amazing. We all have our personal examples of what is amazing.  Usually, it’s something that we cannot comprehend, that we Read more

Talk About Yourself to Build Customer Confidence - 4/16/24


When you’re dealing with somebody who is anxious or nervous about a situation, a customer who feels like they don’t have much control, an individual who is unsure and uncertain, it’s important to put the customer at ease.  It’s important to build their comfort level.  It’s important to help 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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