collaborate | 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

Connect – The Power of Working Together – 7/11/23

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment

Herman Melville, the American writer/novelist, once said:  We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us.

One great characteristic of those working in customer service is the fact that we are living and working for others as much or more than for ourselves.  Melville talks about having connections with those others.  A good way for us to look at connecting with others is to see it both from an external connection as well as an internal connection.  

Externally, we could be talking about our customers, the parents of the children we serve, our clients, our season ticket holders, residents in our community.  How do we build relationships with them?

It helps to have common goals so that we know that we are working together towards something.  It helps to build trust – doing what we say we will do – and loyalty.  It helps to be solution-oriented when building relationships, so we can see positive outcomes from our actions together.

Internally, we could think about connecting in terms of collaboration – finding ways to work well with our co-workers and colleagues.  We do this by proactively sharing information – looking at information we have available and asking ourselves:  Who else would benefit from this information or knowledge?  We do it by providing ideas to our co-workers. We do it by offering our support in their efforts or the organization’s efforts to move toward goals.

There is power in connecting in customer service.  With those we serve outside the organization, the power comes through relationship-building, and it results in the building of mutual trust and loyalty as well as better outcomes.

Within an organization, the power comes in a greater sharing of knowledge, freer offering of ideas, and greater acknowledgement when we received those ideas.  It comes in more frequent and more expeditious achievement of organizational goals.

And all along the way, these positive outcomes, this loyalty, this trust, and the sharing of information results in a better place to work, a more cohesive culture, a more positive experience, and a more productive work life.

Intentionally connect with others to tap into the power of working together.

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From Team-up to Partner – 4/21/20

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The phrase used to be “Team-up.”  Company A and Company B are going to Team-up to address this big consumer need.

Now the term is “Partner.”  Organization A and Organization B are going to partner together to seek a resolution to this community issue.

Both of these phrases essentially deal with different organizations working together with a common goal.  But even within the same organization, the ultimate organizational success usually requires people from different areas or with different functions to “Team-up.”

So, what do you do when you’re asked to Team-up with someone else at your own company?

To Team-up effectively, here are 3 quick suggestions:

  • Help Others – When you see a co-worker with a need (figuring out some video conferencing app, understanding how to interpret a policy, or dealing with a difficult customer situation), stop what you’re doing and offer to help. Don’t simply bypass someone in need.
  • Know Your Role – Understand how your job, your skills and expertise, and your experience fit in the greater organization. Know how your actions and decisions affect others; often, what you say or the work you produce (your “Output”) is the Input for a co-worker.
  • Collaborate with Others – Be willing to meet with and work together in formulating plans, dealing with issues, and delivering services. Support what’s best for the whole group, even if it may not be your first choice.  Encourage your co-workers and give them positive reinforcement.

Before you Team-up with others, take a moment to truly understand what is expected of you. Seek opportunities to help, understand how you affect others, and work with others as a good teammate toward a collective goal.

Team-up.

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6 Ways to Provide Something Extra – 4/14/20

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment

Winnie and Wayne ordered take-out last week, and when they brought their food home, they put the bag on the kitchen table and started unloading.  As they were pulling out the boxes, they noted two little handwritten notes. Each was a Thank You Note written by a different employee – one for each customer.

True story. Simple gesture. Special to the recipient, especially considering how exceptionally tough times are in the restaurant industry.

Sometimes when we are hurting, the best thing to do is to give a little extra to somebody else.  Sometimes when having customers knocking on your door every day is no longer a given, we need to do a little something extra.

Here are some “something extras” that we can consider doing for customers in the days where we’re currently living:

  1. Send that handwritten Thank You Note to a customer.
  2. Call or e-mail someone in an informal and personalized way just to check on them.
  3. If you find something that is helping you mentally, physically, spiritually, share that with others that you think may be open to that type of example.
  4. If you are waiting on something for the customer to do to complete a transaction or to get a process moving, either do it for them and let them know, or give them a quick call or text as a reminder to help them keep things moving.
  5. In e-mails and calls, don’t just share the facts, ask how they’re doing and convey that you hope they stay safe.
  6. In a “Stay-at-Home” world, find ways to virtually provide/receive information so they don’t have to make a trip.

I’m heartened by how much people are rallying around each other and, in many ways, being more collaborative and less conflict-oriented.  Many of these behaviors are simply reflective of a more caring culture.

Find some ways to give something extra.

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