charlotte | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

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

Keep in Mind 3 Key Questions - 11/22/22


Customers want to be heard.  If they have an issue or need or something that requires your support, they want to be understood. When we are trying to find a resolution or fulfill a need, when we’re trying to help a customer achieve their goal, sometimes we can be so Read more

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


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 Read more

Value the Customer – Actions to Adopt and Avoid - 11/8/22


When conducting research for a local government CSS client, we interviewed and conducted surveys with many of their customers.  We analyzed the results of the research based on those who had a great experience v. those who did not.  We uncovered that there were distinct differences between customers who Read more

Appreciate to Appreciate - 11/1/22


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 Read more

The Customer Can Hear Your Attitude - 10/25/22


Sherry was sitting in the lobby, waiting to be called back for her appointment.  Just off the lobby was an office that Sherry was sitting near.  The person in the office was on a phone call, but Sherry couldn’t see the employee.  She could tell it was a call Read more

How to Handle the Customer’s Error - 10/18/22


Are all of your customers perfect?  Anyone?  Bueller? Of course, customers are not perfect.  Neither are we, but let’s focus this Tip on what they do wrong and what we can do about it in a professional, positive, and productive manner: When the customer isn’t clear, you respond: Is it OK Read more

Critique Yourself before Others Do - 10/11/22


When we’re criticized, we can get defensive, push back, deflect blame to others, and focus more on defending ourselves than really listening to what the other person is saying.  And some of us who get defensive, once we allow our emotions to settle, take time to reflect on what Read more

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

What’s Truly Unique for Fans in the Seats

Posted on in Business Advice, Carolinas, Sports Please leave a comment

I’ve been fortunate to have been a season ticket holder for a professional football team for 15+ years, so when my company consults with pro sports teams on season ticket holder (STH) retention and fan relations, I can talk as a strategist and researcher or…as a fan.

And I love talking as a fan. One key point that those in the sports industry need to remember is that the game day experience is – to many fans – far beyond what the smart phone experience or television experience could ever become.

As a fan, when I go to the game, there are certain aspects of the experience that I could never get on TV. I feel and am a part of the emotion of 70,000+ people (FYI – I’m a Carolina Panther STH). And even when that emotion is negative, it’s raw emotion, at times it’s yelling, at times it’s tense silence – but it’s almost always a roller coaster of emotion for 3+ hours.

And unlike the fan at home, if I want to watch a defensive end for a couple plays, I can focus just on him. If I see a wide receiver wide open 20 yards downfield, I can yell “He’s open! He’s open!” at the same time that a TV watcher is being shown the quarterback standing in the backfield. I can think to myself – “that pass is going to be intercepted” before the TV cameraman even focuses on the receiver and cornerback.

You see, I can see what I want to see. It’s in my hands (and my eyes) to focus on anything going on, whether in the field of play, on the sidelines, or in the stands. The customer has the power – a power that cannot be duplicated by television.

Television is a wonderful thing and is constantly expanding its capabilities, but these expansions of capabilities erode the gap between the game day experience and the home experience.

So to maintain gate receipts, STH retention, and enthusiasm for attending the games, game day professionals and pro sports teams need to address this key point – we need to leverage, improve, and market the two greatest aspects of being at the games: (1) Being a part of the experience with tens of thousands of other fans, and (2) Controlling one’s own perspective on the event.

To keep fans coming to the games, enhance the “group experience,” and find new ways to help fans gain more from their unique view of the event.

Interested in improving your team or club’s fan relations? See more at our new website! http://cssamerica.com/csssport.htm

Listen to our latest podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/


Be Less Sexy to Build More Customer Loyalty

Posted on in Business Advice, Carolinas Please leave a comment

Loyalty – you get it from a dog by loving it, rescuing it from a shelter, or giving it a treat. Loyalty – you get it from employees by valuing them, being loyal to them, and building trust by doing what you said you’d do. Loyalty – you get it from a consumer by…what?

In the article Retail analysts: Do the math on loyalty cash, the discussion is about loyalty cards, or discounts on store credit cards, or credits that can be applied to the store. According to a Charlotte-based analyst, the reason to offer these types of rewards is evident – “The obvious benefit here for the retailer is the additional trip.”

So to answer the question above, loyalty – you get it from a consumer by…giving them a discount? Hmmm.

Not real creative stuff here; but the analysis that companies have to make before they embark on these “cash for the consumer” loyalty programs must be done by looking incrementally. What is the net increase in profitability through these programs? To calculate, you have to look at the revenue from the sale less the item’s cost (standard profit stuff) less the cost of the program. Then compare that to what the company would have generated in profit if it had done…I don’t know…nothing! Or maybe if it had improved between-sale communications with the client, or if it had improved customer service, or if it had improved service recovery processes, or if it had been more particular about what customer service-oriented characteristics it looks for in employees, or if it were better at motivating employees.

In other words, these types of loyalty programs should be a last resort. It’s like a price drop for a salesman to get a sale; it’s weak; it’s like having a sale but not wanting to call it a sale.

It might be harder and less sexy to improve performance, hiring practices, client relationship development, and customer service than to have a new cash-based loyalty program, but in the end customers evaluate businesses based on the Employee Attitudes, Service Processes, and Products/Services, and these loyalty programs often put too much focus on a small piece of the loyalty puzzle.

Sometimes it’s good to be less sexy to be more successful in building customer loyalty.

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

Listen to our latest podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/

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


Linked at the Hip – Business Retention and Long-term Thinking

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

If you care about winning a battle, focus on today. If you care about winning the war, think beyond tomorrow.

In far too many businesses, companies focus too much on today’s battles. They get so immersed in making this one sale, in closing this one transaction, in getting through these operational steps, that they find themselves with the same one sale, one transaction, and one step-orientation the next day.

So what’s the problem with that? The problem is that caring almost exclusively about today doesn’t help you to plan for tomorrow, to think strategically, to think long-term, and to succeed long-term. It doesn’t help you to research, study, and anticipate what you customers will do, how the environment will change, and what your competitors will do.

This conundrum is no different in the world of economic development. Too many communities are too focused on new business acquisition and don’t invest enough resources or planning on how to retain and grow the companies already located in their jurisdiction. This is where effective Business Retention & Expansion programs come into play.

Communities that care about the long-term, realize it’s not all about the hunt, the new business, the relocation. It’s about keeping what you have and growing them. It’s about having strategies to ward off other jurisdictions recruiting their businesses. It’s about becoming as vital to the businesses as the businesses are to the community.

Mooresville, NC economic development groups created ‘Moving Mooresville Forward 2017’. According to a recent article, the strategy has 5 key initiatives:

  • Business retention/expansion/acquisition
  • Creating an environment for small business growth
  • Workforce development
  • Transportation planning
  • Creating a business environment and quality of life that fosters individuals’ and businesses’ desire to stay.

Note how these initiatives are focused mostly on what you currently have – your businesses, your environment, your employees, your infrastructure, your quality of life. Mooresville realizes that it must create an environment that fosters retention and expansion, and that same environment would be of interest to companies seeking relocation options from elsewhere to Mooresville.

When you want to succeed for the long-term, plan how to enhance, retain, and grow what you have instead just focusing on today’s sale, today’s transaction, and today’s task.

Check out our BRE News Research Services: http://cssamerica.com/cssbrenews.htm

Listen to our latest podcast episode on “Delivering the WOW Experience!”

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