attitude | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

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

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


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 Read more

Don’t Let This Shot Affect Your Next Shot – 11/15/22

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

When I was a teenager, I used to play a lot of golf, and I was pretty good for my age.  I’d have a good attitude and enjoyed the game, but if I hit a bad shot, I’d get upset.  And more often than not, that one bad shot and the frustration that followed would be followed by another bad shot and more frustration.  It would snowball, and everything would go downhill.

One day, I was playing the third hole on my home course with my Dad.  I was hitting my second shot, and instead of the ball going straight to the green, it took a sharp left turn into a big pine tree.  The ball pinged from branch to branch until it dropped to the ground.  Highly upset at hitting such a horrible shot, I flung my club into that same tree.  But the club did not drop to the ground; it was stuck up in the tree.

How My Dad Responded

Now my Dad could have responded in a number of ways.  He could have yelled at me for throwing my club.  He could have told me to climb up the tree and get it.  He could have given me a stern lecture on my poor behavior. 

He did none of those.  Instead, he walked over to the tree, climbed up, and got my club.  He then handed it to me and walked away.

I don’t know if I had ever been so embarrassed in my life.

How I Responded

Needless to say, I stopped throwing clubs.  Today, I rarely play golf, and when I do, I don’t play or score nearly as good as when I was a teenager.  But I seem to take more joy in playing.  And when I hit a bad shot, I don’t let it affect me much at all.  More importantly, I don’t let it affect my next shot and eventually ruin my round.

In customer service, you have many opportunities to get frustrated.  And while the immediate reaction – the frustration – is understandable, don’t let that bad situation affect the attitude you take into the next situation, the next conversation, the next encounter.

Don’t let one frustration snowball and ruin your whole day.

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Appreciate to Appreciate – 11/1/22

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

Why doesn’t Jay, my co-worker, respond to my e-mails or get his task done on time?

It’s hard to respect the delay, the incomplete work, the lack of follow through on the part of your co-worker.

Why does the customer seem so harried and so frustrated?

It’s hard to value the customer when they’re late for the appointment, they’re not being respectful of you, or they didn’t bring in the information they were told that you needed.

Appreciate – Two Definitions

There are two core definitions of the word appreciate, and they go hand-in-hand.  One definition, essentially, is to understand.  You appreciate (understand) the situation, or you appreciate (understand) the position in which the other person finds themselves.

The other definition is to value, to respect, to have gratitude for the other.

Oftentimes it’s hard to value, respect, or have gratitude for somebody that is not doing their part, that is conveying a certain negative attitude that does not seem appropriate for the situation.

To help us avoid allowing that perception of the other person to negatively impact our own attitude, sometimes it helps to try to understand them…to try to appreciate the situation…to try to appreciate the position that they’re in at this moment.

The more we ask questions, listen to their words, and watch their body language – being inquisitive about their situation – the more we understand.  And the more we can understand somebody and begin to empathize with somebody, the easier it is to respect them, the easier it becomes to thank them, the easier it is to value them.

Take the time to appreciate what the other person is going through.  It helps us manage our emotions, and it can help us to appreciate them that much more.

Understand to Respect.  Appreciate to Appreciate.

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Find the Hidden Compliment – 7/26/22

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

The fact is, they ARE complaining:  The room is too cold.  The wait is too long.  They wish the parking spaces were bigger.  The new app doesn’t have a mapping function.  They cannot pay with their phone.  The website is unclear.

In these types of complaints, the ones that are not as much personal as they are about process or product or technology or payments, there are often hidden compliments within the complaint.

There are two clear ways we can view these complaints based on a point in time.  In-the-moment, we have to focus on the issue and the resolution.  For the future, we can find that hidden gem of information, and oftentimes that gem is a compliment.

Why look for compliments?  First, compliments are positive, and it’s usually better for our mindset and mental health to make sure we have at least some semblance of a balance in customer service – where those positives don’t allow themselves to be overrun by all negatives.

Second, compliments tell us what customers like.  Frequently, the best way to improve is to Strengthen Our Strengths as opposed to purely fixing our organizational faults.

The room is too cold? The wait is too long? The parking spaces need to be bigger?  The view through the positive lens suggests that customers want to conduct their business in this building. They appreciate the opportunity to engage us face-to-face.  They’re willing to come to us, to reach out to us.  That method of engagement is not a barrier to our relationship with them.

The app doesn’t have a mapping function? They can’t pay with their phone? The website’s unclear?  Let’s put these complaints in a positive light.  They like that we provide an app!  They like the ability to do customer service in a self-service manner.  They want to pay for our services.  They are willing to move toward the latest technology.

When we’re dealing with that complaint, we need to be in-the-moment and focus on the issue.

But when it’s not in that moment of truth, look for opportunities to continuously improve by finding the hidden compliment in the complaint.

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