call center | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

The New Burger Experience - 7/16/24


Floyd loves a good hamburger. Any chance he gets to try a new spin on an old standby, he takes it. Recently, a burger joint opened near his house, and Floyd was very excited! It was owned by and named for a world-renowned chef, so it had to be Read more

Boost Customer Happiness - 7/9/24


There’s a cooking show that a friend of mine watches, and the premise is all about reverse engineering food.  They may take a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, analyze it, and determine the ingredients just by tasting it.  Then they figure out a recipe.  The cook will try to make Read more

Brainstorm to Better Yourself - 7/2/24


I’ve led enough sessions with clients on continuous improvement topics to have solid experience on how to lead ideation exercises, brainstorming to develop new ideas.  Oftentimes these sessions start with the right question; the first answers may not be the ultimate solution, but they can serve as a jumping Read more

The Power of the Pause - 6/25/24


When I’m facilitating a meeting, and it feels like it’s going off-track or the discussion is going a little longer than it should, I may say something like “let me pause the conversation so that…” or “let’s pause just for a minute and consider…” I don’t like the word STOP. Read more

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

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/