complaint | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

How to Fix Other People’s Problems - 1/31/23


I was helping a friend navigate some healthcare processes recently, so I conducted a 3-way call with my friend and the physician practice to try to get things cleared up.  The employee I spoke with on the phone - let’s call her Katie. There had been poor communication between different Read more

What to do When You’re in the Middle - 1/24/23


Bob and Sarah are arguing, and you’re in the middle.  Bob’s an employee, and Sarah is a customer, and they have a difference of opinion.  Somehow you’re involved even though you didn’t have anything to do with the interaction in question, the complaint being addressed.  You find yourself being Read more

Is the Customer Issue an Organizational Issue? - 1/17/23


Customer retention is vital.  Most of next year’s customers are going to be those who are this year’s customers. So, the more you lose today, the fewer you will have tomorrow.  Organizations conduct research, data mine, or bring in consultants to help identify those customers who may be most Read more

Decide Who’s Driving the Bus - 1/10/23


I once heard a speech titled: Who’s driving the bus? I knew the speaker beforehand, so that made his talk extra special.  It was funny and relatable and held many words of wisdom.  The crux of the speech was that every one of us has our own facets, our own Read more

Create a Personal Vision for the Year - 1/3/23


This time of year is all about the New Year’s resolution.  We’re going to exercise or eat differently!  Then…2 months later, who knows what’ll be happening, but at least you set a goal.  For many of us, that’s progress. For businesses, that New Year’s resolution often has to deal with Read more

Avoid Making a Bad Situation Worse - 12/27/22


Twitter.  When you hear that word, does your temperature rise?  Do you roll your eyes?  Do you ask: What is Twitter? From a customer service perspective, Twitter has evolved into a virtual place for consumers to complain about businesses.  For those businesses savvy enough to understand the importance of communicating Read more

2022 Holiday Poem - 12/20/22


The year is winding down. The work is still up front. We’re making that transition to close out the 12th month. We’re trying to find a balance between personal life and work. Trying to be kind to people even if they’re acting like a jerk. It’s taking all of our patience and our Read more

Open Minds and Ornery Customers - 12/13/22


We all have to deal with some crazy customers, at times.  They might be loud or sad.  Flighty or mad.  They may have unrealistic expectations or think it’s OK to skip past people in line because their need must be more important than the others.  Some are rude, some Read more

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

How to Fix Other People’s Problems – 1/31/23

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

I was helping a friend navigate some healthcare processes recently, so I conducted a 3-way call with my friend and the physician practice to try to get things cleared up.  The employee I spoke with on the phone – let’s call her Katie.

There had been poor communication between different employees at the clinic, but Katie didn’t throw the others “under the bus.”

The office coordinator (who has since left the practice) had previously told my friend that the coordinator had certain paperwork, but the papers had not been filed correctly.  However, Katie still apologized on behalf of the office for the coordinator’s misstatement.

Another practice was supposed to forward information to this office, but they sent it to the wrong facility.  Katie offered to call that other practice to get them to resend it.

Katie tried to call my friend, but my friend had changed their phone number and forgot to tell the office, so the calls did not go through.  Katie did not complain or huff and puff in frustration; instead, she offered to update the contact information so she could follow up with my friend.

It wasn’t Katie’s fault, and it’s probably not your fault in most cases when you find yourself in these situations.  Sometimes it’s the co-worker that drops the ball.  Maybe it’s another organization that didn’t do something correctly.  Perhaps the customer makes a mistake.

Katie showed that even though it wasn’t her fault, she was willing to rectify the problem.  She was willing to apologize on behalf of others.  She was willing to be proactive, and she was willing to do it without a negative tone or a negative word.

Channel your inner Katie the next time you find yourself having to fix problems caused by others.

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What to do When You’re in the Middle – 1/24/23

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

Bob and Sarah are arguing, and you’re in the middle.  Bob’s an employee, and Sarah is a customer, and they have a difference of opinion.  Somehow you’re involved even though you didn’t have anything to do with the interaction in question, the complaint being addressed.  You find yourself being the moderator, the mediator, the facilitator.

CSS does a tremendous amount of facilitation work, and it’s not just facilitating disagreements between customers and employees.  Usually it’s facilitation of groups where you have various stakeholders meeting, and they all have their own particular interest or position.

The key phrase we use when facilitating conversations like this is Healthy, Productive, and Effective.  You want Healthy conversation, where the discussion is about the issue or the goal, not the individuals involved.  Make sure people don’t make it personal or take it personal.

Productive means you try to stay on task.  Everybody understands up front what the goal is and how much time we have to discuss it, and those things that are not pertinent are identified and put on a “parking lot” for future reference.

Effective means starting with the end in mind and keeping a focus on that end.  The end is the goal.  It’s not the process to get to the goal.  People can get stuck in their specific solution or the process to get to that solution, but you just want them to think about the goal.  The more you can get them to focus on a common goal, the better chance you have of getting them there.  The more they fixate on their solution or their position or how they want to get there, the more difficult it’s going to be for you to be effective and for participants to get to their goal.

The next time you find yourself in the middle of an argument or a meeting between Bob and Sarah, identify a common goal up front.  Try not to get people focused on their position.  Make the conversation about the goal and not about the personalities involved.  Identify the time constraints, and professionally move the tangents to the parking lot.

Facilitate effectively when you find yourself in the middle.

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Is the Customer Issue an Organizational Issue? – 1/17/23

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

Customer retention is vital.  Most of next year’s customers are going to be those who are this year’s customers. So, the more you lose today, the fewer you will have tomorrow.  Organizations conduct research, data mine, or bring in consultants to help identify those customers who may be most at-risk of being lost.

But every individual in an organization can help identify at-risk customers.  Let’s ask some questions: When is a complaint a sign of risk?  When is an issue a sign of risk?  When is a lack of activity a sign of risk?

Defining Risk

By Risk we mean…Risk of losing a customer.  Risk of having many customers having the same complaint or issue that your customer is experiencing.  Risk of customers not using your services, not engaging with your business, finding other ways to get their needs met.

As with most aspects of customer service and retention, frontline staff are often best-positioned to help the organization as a whole.

Finding Organizational Issues

If the complaint is about a highly-used process or some aspect of the product or service, that could be a bigger risk for the whole organization if other customers are using that same process, product, or service.  However, when a complaint is about an individual employee, that actually may not be a sign of risk for the whole company.  Maybe it’s a localized situation.

When the issue being discussed is about organizational communications or tools such as website functionality or inconsistency in information flow or content, that could be a risk to the whole organization.  However, if the issue is some characteristic of a transaction that’s unique to that person, that may have less likelihood to be a risk to the organization.

When the lack of activity is because the organization has not been reaching out to the customer, has not kept their relationship fresh, then that could be a risk to the whole organization.  However, when the lack of activity is due to some change in circumstances in the individual’s life, it may not be a sign of risk for the whole company.

Issues that you see one-on-one with your customer may or may not be symptoms of bigger issues for the whole organization, but it’s helpful to the company for you to occasionally take a step back and consider whether a concern for one customer could also impact the many.

Determine if the customer’s issue is an organizational issue.

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