bre | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 3

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

The Proven Value in What You Do - 4/9/24

Forbes wrote an article last year based on a compilation of the results of research on customer service and the customer experience; it was titled:  100 Customer Experience Stats For 2023. In reading the article, you’ll note that many of these key research findings are about you – the value Read more

A Tale of Two Texts - 4/2/24

Having to get allergy shots once a week is never fun, and for Janet, it became an even bigger frustration. She had the shots typically scheduled on Tuesday around 10:30 in the morning, figuring she would avoid the morning rush as well as the lunch rush by going mid-morning.  However, Read more

The Secret Sauce for Great Customer Service - 3/26/24

I was working with the League Office for a major American sport several years back, and one of the executives asked me to describe our Secret Sauce that helped our clients improve the fan experience and customer retention.  I gave him a sense of what makes us unique and Read more

The Miracle of an Apology - 3/19/24

Unfortunate but true story… The manager basically lost his mind.  He terminated his employee on the spot.  She had told the customer that there was going to be a delay in the shipment.  The employee called up the customer ahead of time to let the customer know what was about Read more

It’s Not About the 5-Minute Wait - 3/12/24

Robert went into his supervisor’s office to update her on a situation at the payment desk.  Robert said that a customer was about fourth or fifth in line, waiting to be served, and the customer was complaining loudly about the wait.  He was there to make a property tax Read more

Lessons from the Greats - 3/5/24

I was recently facilitating a workshop on the customer experience, and I made the point that it’s usually beneficial to look at your personal life for great experiences; identify what really resonates with you in a positive way in order to uncover ideas to improve your own customer service. So, Read more

The Empathy Roadmap - 2/27/24

For some people, empathy comes naturally.  There’s an innate desire to learn about the other person and to sincerely convey that sense of interest and caring.  But for many of us, sometimes it helps to have a communication plan.  It helps to know what to do in order to Read more

“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

BRE – Be a Uniter, Not a Divider

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

When economic developers discuss Business Retention & Expansion initiatives (BRE), problem-solving responsibilities often come to mind.

What issue is ABC Manufacturing having locally? How can I fix it?

BRE is also associated with opportunity identification.

Company XYZ is busting at the seams. We may be able to help them expand locally!

But one area that is not addressed enough but which serves both the goals of problem-solving and expansion is collaboration. In the article 7 Rivers Alliance continues to foster collaboration in region, the alliance (a group of members from three neighboring states) is working to get local businesses in a room together to talk about common issues and opportunities. The alliance “organizes meetings where they can provide updates on projects, discuss best practices, identify available resources and provide a local way to advance their learning. Topics of past meetings have included identifying data available for economic development, increasing access to capital and geographic information system mapping.”

Essentially, the alliance is trying to answer the question: “Are there some best practices that can be shared?”

BRE professionals are not islands. They don’t have to come up with every great idea, every solution, every opportunity on their own. And more importantly, often it’s not efficient to identify and determine a solution purely for one business in one situation. If the issues and opportunities cross multiple local businesses, get them in a room together, and just facilitate their sharing of information and best practices.

Sometimes, helping your customers help each other is the best thing a BRE professional can do.

Know What You Need to Know for BRE Success

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

When Economic Development Organizations create their Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) Programs, they often have key goals such as:

  • Having a better understanding of business needs and expectations
  • Better matching community and government resources with specific needs of a given business
  • Improving relationships between the local government and its constituent businesses
  • Identifying companies at-risk of relocating or at-risk of job loss
  • Increasing local business retention and job growth.

These are all very good, very laudable goals. But to achieve goals such as these requires that the BRE professionals have resources, information, and intelligence on their local businesses.

If you want to understand needs, bring resources to bear for a local business, improve a relationship, know who’s at-risk of job loss, and grow the local economy, you need key pieces of information. Here’s a checklist for you to use to ensure you have what you need:

  • BRE Surveys – Understand retention drivers, current business outlook, likelihood to be recruited, perception of your local business environment, and many more characteristics.
  • Interviews from Site Visits – Learn about the local industry’s products/services, personnel needs/issues and recent changes, lease details, local customers and suppliers.
  • Business News ResearchGain information on leadership changes, facility closures/expansions, acquisitions, earnings, corporate strategies.
  • BRE Alerts – Get same day/next day updates on information that addresses imminent impact on a local business.
  • Exit Interviews – Learn the reasons why businesses left, so you can apply lessons learned to those that stayed.
  • Resource Updates – Have ongoing dialogue with local resources that help address business needs/issues so that you’re abreast of changes to programs, personnel, and information.

What else do you need? What do you need to know to best serve your local industries?

Get what you need so you can give what your locals businesses need.

Learn more about keeping up-to-date on your local businesses at

Give Your BRE Plan a Check-up

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

Let’s do some BRE benchmarking. As a business retention/expansion executive, you probably know what your job is on a daily basis – the mission/purpose of your role, your part of the economic development organization. But what are the big picture long-term goals and objectives?

It’s easier to achieve a goal, if you’ve effectively identified the goal, planned the process, and measured progress. Noted below are Objectives/Purposes/Goals taken from three BRE planning documents. Compare your organization to these samples:

Hugo Business Retention and Expansion Research Report

  • To demonstrate support for local businesses
  • To help solve immediate business concerns
  • To increase local businesses’ ability to compete in the global economy
  • To establish and implement a strategic plan for economic development
  • To build community capacity to sustain growth and development

Entergy Business Retention and Expansion Guide

  • To demonstrate to existing firms that the community appreciates their contribution to the local economy
  • To encourage expansion that leads to sustainable job growth
  • To help businesses solve their problems and challenges
  • To assist local businesses in gaining awareness of available resources
  • To develop collaborative relationships for participating in comprehensive long-range retention and expansion activities
  • To build the community capacity and cooperation to sustain growth and development activities
  • To provide better information and understanding for all local leaders of the strengths and weaknesses of the business climate

City of Shoreview Business Retention and Expansion Strategic Plan

  • Support business development that increases the tax base and adds quality jobs
  • Retain quality businesses by creating a positive economic environment that supports and fosters business expansion in the community
  • Plan for and pursue redevelopment opportunities consistent with City goals
  • Promote reinvestment in the community by directing time and financial resources to pre-determined business and neighborhood targets
  • Strive to meet the needs and demands of the community for specific services

Where are the gaps in your organization’s goals that you need to fill based on what these other BRE programs emphasize. How will you plan (strategically) the process to achieve the goals? How will you measure your progression toward the goals?

Make sure your BRE program isn’t simply about making visits and resolving issues. There’s got to be a strategic component. There’s got to be ongoing research on the clients even when you are not face-to-face with them. There’s got to be the goal, the long-term plan, and the measurements of progress.

Give your BRE Plan a check-up.

Learn more about keeping up-to-date on your local businesses at