complaint | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

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

A Complaint is a Gift - 5/7/24


A complaint is a gift.  Okay, so the complainer is not always a “gift.”  The customer’s delivery of the complaint is sometimes more like a stocking filled with coal than a vase filled with roses.  But this is why we need to be able to differentiate the complaint from Read more

Mastering Confidence in Customer Service - 4/30/24


It’s not what you said…it’s how you said it. If you’ve ever had someone say this to you, raise your hand.  (I just raised my hand) Usually this is being said when someone is upset with you, but regardless of the reason, that phrase illustrates that HOW we say something often Read more

Be Amazing - 4/23/24


Watching Michael Jordan steal a pass and then dunk a basketball is amazing.  Taking a rocket to the moon is amazing.  The taste of my mom’s homemade beef soup is amazing. We all have our personal examples of what is amazing.  Usually, it’s something that we cannot comprehend, that we Read more

Talk About Yourself to Build Customer Confidence - 4/16/24


When you’re dealing with somebody who is anxious or nervous about a situation, a customer who feels like they don’t have much control, an individual who is unsure and uncertain, it’s important to put the customer at ease.  It’s important to build their comfort level.  It’s important to help Read more

Your Best Ability is… – 5/14/24

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

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 business world.

A pro football coach was discussing some of the injuries that players were dealing with, and he stated: Someone’s best ability is their availability.

I found this interesting, because usually when we talk about the best players, we’re talking about those with the best skills.  But really, the most impactful players are the ones that are on the field, the ones that are able to participate in 80%, 90%, 100% of their team’s plays.  Maybe there are more skilled players on the bench, but because they’re nursing injuries, they may miss weeks of games or may be limited to only a few plays for each game.

In customer service, availability is also huge.  It’s not just a matter of handling that question or the complaint.  It’s a matter of being available to communicate.  Availability is the opportunity to serve.  Availability gives us a better chance of being responsive.  Availability enables us to show our abilities, to show our skills and knowledge.

So how do you make yourself available?

Consider how you can be available via the phone or via e-mail a little bit more.  Consider how to spend less time in meetings to find more time for the customer.  Look at the administrative tasks that you perform, those reports you produce for management, and determine how to spend less time on these to free up more time for the customer.  Find activities you perform that do not affect the customer, and figure out which of these items you could stop doing, reduce time on, or defer to the lighter times of the day or week.

You have tremendous abilities in customer service, communication, and issue resolution.  To be even more impactful, find ways to make availability your BEST ability.

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A Complaint is a Gift – 5/7/24

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

A complaint is a gift.  Okay, so the complainer is not always a “gift.”  The customer’s delivery of the complaint is sometimes more like a stocking filled with coal than a vase filled with roses.  But this is why we need to be able to differentiate the complaint from the complainer for a moment.

A complaint is feedback; it’s an opportunity to improve.  It’s often an example of something 5 or 50 other customers have experienced, but they did not voice to you.  Companies send out surveys, and many customers don’t respond.  Some customers proactively provide real-time feedback; others will only share when asked, if even then. 

It’s hard to learn from a lack of information.

So, a complaint is a gift because it provides information.  It tells you what the customer experienced, perceived.  It conveys who was involved, what happened or didn’t happen, what experiences didn’t meet expectations, what was too early or too late, what attitudes came across poorly, what products didn’t work, what policies were frustrating, and what processes were clunky or not self-evident.

In the moment, we need to deal with the complaint and the customer.  But to make a complaint a gift, we need to revisit the complaint after the fact and identify what information was gained, what lesson was learned, and how we can apply those learnings moving forward.

Give yourself time to get over any negative emotions from the dust-up with the customer, and then glean what you can from what happened and the customer’s perspective on the experience.  Use the complaint for continuous improvement.

Unpack the complaint to make it a gift.

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Build Your Shield – 3/21/23

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

When the customer complains or the boss gets upset, when the negativity gets too personal or you get that unprofessional e-mail from the angry client – those are the times when we can feel hurt.  Those are the times when we in customer service roles can feel that physical or emotional or spiritual gut punch.

But there are ways we can build an inner strength to deal with some of this outer negativity.  There are ways we can build our own capabilities to deal with criticism.

Be Self-motivated. Don’t rely on others to motivate you or affect your self-perception.  The more you get your motivation and drive from the inside, the less the feelings and perceptions of others will affect you.

Accept Responsibility for Your Actions. If you accept responsibility for the issues you caused, you can more readily understand the other person’s point of view in those situations.  And when somebody comes after you with accusations that are not your doing, it helps you more objectively receive those comments, knowing they’re not really speaking the truth about you.

Be Proud of What You’ve Accomplished. Know the good that you have done, and keep that good top-of-mind even if a bad tone is coming your way.

Be Tolerant and Respectful of Others. You don’t have to love the other person, you don’t have to agree with their position.  But if your concern is conveying respect and being tolerant of the other individual, it helps you to focus more on treating them as a human (imperfect like we all are) rather than getting immersed in their negativity.

Have Integrity. Do the right thing, even when it’s not the easy thing.  Take solace in knowing that what you’re doing is fair, honest, and true, and you’ll never regret how you addressed the situation.

We can prepare for the difficult moments by building our own shield day-after-day.  This is not a shield to separate us from the complaints or the complainers.  It is something that we can nurture inside of us to strengthen our ability to handle criticism in the moment.

To Build Your Shield, self-motivate, accept responsibility, take pride in your accomplishments, be respectful, and have integrity.

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