call center | 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

Canceling Internet Service – 8 calls, 5 employees, 5 tweets, 2 phones, and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Posted on in Business Advice, World of Customer Service Please leave a comment

Welcome to my nightmare from Saturday. I wanted to cancel internet service at my home, and this is what transpired…

Web Attempt to Cancel

I logged into to my account on the company website to cancel internet service (but keep my television service). The website FAQs said that I could not cancel over the internet, and it provided a number to call.

Call Attempt #1

  • I called a toll free number found on the website.
  • The system stated “I noticed you’re calling from an out of town number,” which seemed odd since it was a toll-free number.
  • It said to press 1 for Los Angeles, 2 for El Segundo, etc. I’m in Charlotte, so I wasn’t expecting the El Segundo reference.
  • The system asked what I was calling about, and I said to disconnect; after I confirmed again that it was to disconnect…I got the proverbial “All of our agents are currently busy” message.
  • After 8 minutes of silence (absolutely no noise, beeps, or music), I hung up.

Call Attempt #2

  • I called the same number and went through the same menu.
  • The call was transferred to a representative after 2 minutes of the menus, and he picked up immediately – whew!
  • Charles introduced himself; I introduced myself.
  • He then said “Is anyone there? I cannot hear anyone. If I don’t, I will be forced to hang up.” After not hearing my repeated statements of “Hello! Charles! Can you hear me?!”, he hung up.

Call Attempt #3

  • I used a different phone (a cell instead of the landline at the house), called the same number and went through the same menu.
  • I received the “All of our agents are currently busy” message.
  • This time I DID get music and a message about every 90 seconds about agents being busy.
  • I held for 26 minutes, and it disconnected me and started beeping…
  • While I was on hold, I tried to do an online chat, and they also said I couldn’t cancel via the web, but they gave me a different number to call to cancel.

Call Attempt #4

  • I called the alternative toll free cancellation number.
  • It sent me through a menu (at least they didn’t ask me about El Segundo…).
  • I received the “All of our agents are currently busy” message.
  • They picked up after 7 minutes, and they could hear me…hallelujah!!!!!!!!!!!
  • I confirmed several items for the representative, and then they all of a sudden couldn’t hear me, so they disconnected me – UGH!!!!

Call Attempt #5

  • I called the alternative toll free cancellation number again.
  • It sent me through a menu again, and I received the “All of our agents are currently busy” message.
  • I Tweeted, they responded within 4 minutes – WOW…Great!
  • Still holding on call #5…
  • They picked up in 6 minutes but couldn’t hear me…I’ve tried 2 different phones (1 AT&T landline and the other Verizon cell), and they couldn’t hear me on the landline, and they both could and could not hear me on the cell.

Call Attempt #6

  • I called the alternative toll free cancellation number again.
  • It sent me through a menu again, and I received the “All of our agents are currently busy” message.
  • I tweeted again but didn’t get a response.
  • After 6 minutes, I finally got through to the 4th rep on my 6th call using my 2nd phone, 2nd phone provider, and 2nd toll free number. She “couldn’t hear me,” and disconnected my call.

It’s interesting that the provider initially responded so quickly to my tweets. When I tweeted that my frustration was about cancellation, they didn’t return the tweet.

I later sent a summary tweet with my concerns, and they did respond and asked me to Direct Message them so they could schedule a call. We did so, and they promised a call in 2-4 hours; the call came 48 hours later.

I returned the call and left a message; they returned my call, and we got it canceled.

Finally Tally

I initiated 8 calls, talked to 5 employees, called 3 phone numbers, used 2 phones, tweeted 5 times, made 2 web attempts (via website and live chat) and now all I have to do is bring their modem to one of their facilities during their hours to cancel their service. I think cancelling their TV service will be next…if I’m willing to go through the hassle again.


Translate Great Employee Morale to Great Customer Satisfaction

Posted on in Business Advice, World of Customer Service Please leave a comment

The call center world sometimes relates very closely to the other “worlds” of customer experience management.

We just need a little translation.

In the recent call center-focused article Satisfy Your Workforce For Higher Customer Service Levels, the author describes some of the keys to having a satisfied call center staff. Let’s start the definition process. Think of “call center staff” as employees. The author describes the link between employee and customer satisfaction, and then he talks about how to improve employee satisfaction.

He says you need to have “adherence goals and objectives based on the unique characteristics of their call center environment.” Translation: Set expectations with staff and goals for staff that are specific to their scope of responsibilities.

The author notes that “defining expectations should (include)…consulting your staff.” Translation: Make development of goals and defining expectations of staff a dialogue. If they’re part of the process, their buy-in will improve.

You also “need to average handle times of calls and identify potential barriers that might prevent adherence.” Translation: Find the barriers to your employees’ success, and eliminate those barriers.

It’s beneficial to have “incentives that boost an agent’s willingness to comply with their schedule.” Translation: Identify key rewards/recognition opportunities to incent staff to change behaviors and improve.

In business, you can always learn from others. Sometimes you just have to be a good translator.

Improve morale to improve customer service.

Read our New Book – “Ask Yourself…Am I GREAT at Customer Service?” http://www.amigreatat.com/

Interested in improving your company’s customer service? See more at our new website! http://www.cssamerica.com/


Life as a Call Center Rep

Posted on in Business Advice, World of Customer Service Please leave a comment

It’s great; it stinks. That sums it up.

For someone who likes to talk with others, who enjoys answering questions, educating others, and solving problems, it’s a very rewarding job. For someone who likes a different challenge every minute, it can fulfill that desire.

But for many call center representatives, there is the difficulty in trying to meet the numbers – have a low handle time, get the post-call work done quickly, take short restroom breaks – it can be frustrating.

Like with any business, frustration often results from competing priorities. You are in a customer service role to serve. You are there to help others. You are there to help guide, to respond, to defuse, to educate. But at the same time, you are there to get the work done quickly. To address the need as fast as possible without involving anyone else if at all possible. You are there to interact with as many customers as you can in your limited time during the day.

According to a Chicago Sun-Times for the article on what life can be like as a call center customer service representative, “The reps at [her] call center were expected to field calls, take down information, check files, fill out forms, flag down faxes, write notes about each conversation and more, at times viewing four computer screens at once. Three seconds after they hung up, a new call would come in. A big call board would flash with multi-colored lights indicating whether new calls were being picked up in less than 30 seconds, and if they weren’t, there’d be trouble.”

For any organization wanting to succeed in employee retention, customer retention, operational excellence, and long-term growth, there needs to be a balance. There need to be measurements of and incentives for satisfaction, loyalty, retention, repeat purchases, and new business generated from current customers just like there are measurements and incentives relating to productivity, error rates, and throughput time.

Find a balance of what you measure and reward for the sake of your people, your customers, and your business success.

Read our New Book – “Ask Yourself…Am I GREAT at Customer Service?” http://www.amigreatat.com/

Interested in improving your company’s customer service? See more at our new website! http://www.cssamerica.com/