call center | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

Find a Connection Point – Part 2: Situational Connection - 10/4/22


Last week we highlighted key topics to consider when you want to find Personal Connection Points with the customer.  Today, we’ll cover some key questions to ask to uncover information about today’s situation that you can use to establish a rapport with the customer.  This is Part 2 - Read more

Find a Connection Point – Part 1: Personal Connection - 9/27/22


Some people are born almost like a master at communication.  They know how to establish rapport with just about anybody, and they do so in a way that seems so natural and so real.  They can form relationships and be laughing with somebody they met two minutes ago like Read more

Be Proactive without being Pushy - 9/20/22


Delivering great customer service isn’t just about responding and reacting.  It’s also about being proactive.  Developing relationships involves reaching out first, not just extending our hand when somebody reaches out to us. But it’s all too clear that those of us who are in service roles prefer those roles to Read more

Be Kind to Yourself When the Customer Isn’t - 9/13/22


I was having a debrief call with one of my clients recently, and this was regarding a survey of employees who work events.  One of the survey questions asked employees for advice on how to improve the customer experience.  When the employees shared their input on the guest experience, Read more

Being the Emphatic Employee - 9/6/22


Empathy is the key quality of somebody who’s great at customer service.  We talk about it often - what it is, how to convey it, what it looks like, and how it makes the customer feel. But along with knowing how to be empathetic, we also need to know how Read more

The Good, the Really Good, and the Ugly of Customer Service - 8/30/22


Here are three helpful customer service stories.  They may not be from your specific industry, but it’s always good to learn from others. The Good… Paula submitted a ticket to the I.T. vendor.  Below the signature line in the reply she received was the following:  Please share your comments or needs Read more

A Great 2-Minute E-mail - 8/23/22


I know.  You probably get e-mails all the time from customers griping about some aspect of your organization or their experience.  You’ve got too much to do and too little time to do it.  I could not begin to tell you how many times I’ve been told by staff Read more

When They Want to Talk to Your Boss - 8/16/22


“I want to talk to your supervisor.” That’s their opening salvo.  Before you can hardly finish your greeting, the customer is asking for your boss.  This is done by a customer who has tried to get an issue resolved, and it hasn’t worked, so they want to go to somebody Read more

When Passive Voice is a Good Thing - 8/9/22


It’s all your fault, Mr. Customer! We may want to shout it from the rooftops, but other than venting and absolving ourselves of guilt, this wouldn’t help much in the grand scheme of things. We have a customer sitting in front of us or on the phone, and maybe they are Read more

They’re Stressed, So You Can… - 8/2/22


Wow!  That customer looks stressed!  Maybe it’s their body language or their expressions; they could be fidgety or talking really fast. In the past, when we offered guidance in these situations, we focused on how to navigate the conversation step-by-step - what points to cover and what points to avoid. But 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/