charlotte | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

What Annoys the Customer? - 9/19/23


Domino’s Pizza had TV commercials years ago where they promoted how they trained their employees to “Avoid the Noid.”  The “Noid” was basically an annoying person or thing that would disrupt the delivery driver, possibly making the driver drop the pizza on the way to your door.  The goal Read more

Lift It Up - 9/12/23


I worked with a great client for several years who was in a leadership role in the education industry, and she was the executive champion for a culture-strengthening initiative.  We were the outside firm helping to develop the overall strategy and facilitate the teams addressing the various aspects of Read more

Addressing the Horror Story that Wasn’t - 9/5/23


You may have seen the commercials for one of those garden hoses that fits in your pocket.  When you put it on the valve outside your home and turn on the water, it expands to 50 feet.  When you’re done and turn off the water, it contracts and fits Read more

Be There ALWAYS for the Customer - 8/29/23


In healthcare, the patient experience mantras often include the phrase Always, such as: We have an always culture.  This gets at frequency of action.  Instead of service excellence being a most-of-the-time occurrence, some-of-the-time occurrence, an occasional or rare occurrence, the idea in an Always Culture is that the organization Read more

Respect, Regardless of Rank - 8/22/23


I was reading a management book written by a former naval officer.  He was given a leadership role over a ship that had been underperforming and had low morale.  One thing he did to turn around the performance, to improve morale, was instill in everyone onboard the principle that Read more

Move on to the Next One - 8/15/23


The ultimate game in professional American football is the Super Bowl.  In this past year’s Super Bowl, James Bradberry of the Philadelphia Eagles was called for a penalty with less than two minutes to go in the game.  The penalty gave the other team a first down; the other Read more

How to Rise to the Occasion - 8/8/23


In the movie Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, Mr. Magorium – played by Dustin Hoffman – tells his protégé that “Your life is an occasion.  Rise to it.” He’s conveying a big picture life lesson – don’t let fear and apprehension keep you from living. Rising to the occasion is also something Read more

Thanks for Reading - 8/1/23


My company, Customer Service Solutions, Inc., just celebrated our 25th Anniversary!  We love the work we do for our clients, and we definitely love our clients.  We’ve developed many friendships over the years, and we’ve tried to provide consistently high quality and personal support for whatever may be their Read more

Share the Why to Value the Customer - 7/25/23


We encourage our clients to explain “The Why behind the What” to the customer.  Usually we suggest that staff explain Why so that the customer understands the reason for a change or can buy-in to a particular solution. However, explaining the Why is also effective when you’re doing some very Read more

Navigate their New Experience - 7/18/23


Everything is changing for customers.  How they buy products and services…how they get customer service…where they get information from, and who provides the information. So, confusion and frustration can ensue.  Let’s help customers navigate our new world, our new systems and processes.  It’s about Empathy and Expectations; it’s about Input 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/