consistent | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

A Story of Willie and Aubrey - 2/8/22


The gift shop was a great experience!  Aubrey had bought items online from the shop for years, but she had never stepped foot in the store itself.  However, when travel plans took her on a trip to new surroundings, she took time out of her day to go to Read more

It Matters Who You Know - 2/1/22


The season ticket account holder has an issue, but he’s not too concerned about it:  I’m going to call my guy, and he’ll take care of it. The patient is confused about their bill.  The family member says: I know someone who can help. The husband discovers a problem in the Read more

Put an End to 1-Star Ratings - 1/25/22


If you ever had service performed on your car, I would not doubt it if you received the immediate e-mail asking for that 5-star rating. They want the big ratings because that makes them look good, and to get the big average rating you have to avoid the 1-Star Read more

Signs of Service Recovery Situations - 1/18/22


As we continue the slow trend of more and more customer interactions becoming in-person again, we need to remember those signs that we’re about to enter one of THOSE conversations.  It can typically take only 5-10 seconds to realize this is going to be a high-risk situation with the Read more

In Survey Development, Think in Reverse - 1/11/22


We often meet with clients interested in conducting a survey, and when we discuss the project, many clients come with questions in-hand.  They are interested, curious, even excited sometimes about the possibility of tapping into the voice of the customer! And when we review their questions and start to see Read more

Foster Positive Feelings - 1/4/22


I bet a lot of you all are like me - when you’re asked to share your feelings, it’s not always something that feels comfortable.  It obviously depends on the situation and who’s asking you to share your feelings.  So, many of us might hesitate in sharing our feelings. However, Read more

How to Make the Situation Right - 12/28/21


The manager in the field office felt that - when problems arose with customers - the company didn’t do an especially good job of responding effectively.  He felt like this was hurting customer renewals of annual service agreements.  The company developed many customer service and retention initiatives with little Read more

2021 Holiday Poem - 12/21/21


Breathe and rest and relax and rejuvenate. Close the eyes, and fill the lungs. Take a break, and be with friends. This is a time to begin. Renaissance is called a rebirth. Birth can bring new life. Life gives opportunity for living. Living gives opportunity for joy. We have so many outside factors, So many things that tug Read more

“I’m Sorry” Doesn’t Mean “I’m Guilty” - 12/14/21


Individuals and organizations mess up; that’s part of life… They told me that they were going to be at my home at a certain time; they were REALLY late.  The customer service representative said they would get a message to a co-worker, and the co-worker would call me back; I Read more

Apply Selfless Service - 12/7/21


Andrea had worked in human resources for years, and the company decided that it wanted to hire employees who were more customer service-oriented, regardless of the position.  After making that decision, they added some creative questions to the interview process. One of the most interesting questions that Andrea had to Read more

A Way to Serve with Empathy – 11/2/21

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

We first wrote a Tip of the Week on empathy back in 2008. It was the most important customer service skill then, and it’s the most important customer service skill now.  And as we’ve noted in society, empathy is becoming a word that is used more often in more aspects of life.  The word is important, but the application of that word in customer service is even more important in what you and I do every day.

We’ve often said that somebody who is great in customer service is great at asking questions.  But an incredibly important skill to have and utilize in order to ask the right questions in the right manner is the ability to be empathetic.

To meet a need right the first time, you have to know the need.  To resolve a problem – permanently – you have to be able to get to the root cause.  To develop a relationship with someone, you have to get to know them individually.  To retain business, you have to know why they’d stay, and why they’d leave.  To improve a process, you have to understand the process.  And to grow relationships with your clients, you have to get to know their goals and aspirations.

To know a need, to get to the root cause, to know someone individually, to know why the customer would leave you, to understand a process, and to know your customer’s goals and aspirations, you usually have to ask:  “What are you hoping to accomplish?”  “Why did that happen?”  “What brought you here today?”  “Why did you choose us?”  “Can you tell me what step happens next?”  “Where would you like to be a year from now?”

Being empathetic means you care enough to understand the customer and what’s unique about them and their situation.  Being empathetic means you care enough to ask a question in order to get the answer.  Being empathetic means that you’re asking the questions in such a way as to get a response from somebody who believes you care enough to be inquisitive, and you will act on their response.

If you want to build your customer service skill set, show your empathy by being inquisitive.  Show your empathy by asking questions in a manner that conveys you care.

Share your empathy by showing your curiosity about the other person.

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Channel Your Inner Aristotle – 10/26/21

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

Aristotle once said: We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

This is a very interesting statement.  We need to break it down to fully understand and appreciate it.

We are what we repeatedly do.

Let’s focus on the word repeatedly.  None of us is defined by any individual action, or at least we should not be defined by that one instance or those few occurrences.  How we define ourselves and how we can summarize who we are is by the repetition of what we do. Theoretically what we do is a reflection of who we are, especially if what we do happens over and over and over again.  Maybe these are repeated mistakes or errors, repeated inactivity or inaction.  Maybe they are repeated acts of quality, selflessness, support for others – our co-workers and customers.

Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

Aristotle takes the positive approach to evaluating our repetitious actions.  He talks about defining excellence in terms of the good that we do over and over again.

He then uses the word habit.  That excellence is not one action.  Excellence is something repeatedly done.  Excellence is a habit.

So, what does this all mean as it relates to customer service?  It talks about the importance of forming habits.  It’s the importance of consistency, the importance of avoiding becoming the on/off switch.

If we want to build trust with our co-workers, we need to consistently do what we say we will do.  We need to consistently respond to their requests or reframe the follow-up time.  We need to consistently meet the deadlines and provide quality work, or let them know if they should expect the slight delay.

With our customers, excellence is not necessarily that one phenomenal moment of truth.  Conversely, excellence is not necessarily hindered by that one mistake you made, that one omission you had, that one error you produced.

Excellence is defined by the consistency of doing the good job.  The consistency of treating people with respect.  The consistent quality and responsiveness and effort to do what’s right on behalf of and for the customer.

Don’t be overly critical of yourself for the one mistake or the one omission.  You can still move toward excellence by forming consistent habits of great customer service.

Channel your inner Aristotle.

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Who are Your Best Customers? – 6/29/21

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A major medical supply company called Medline is in the process of being acquired.  It is an organization that has grown by leaps and bounds, particularly over the last decade.  It is currently a family-owned business, and the member of that family that serves as President of the organization is named Andy Mills.

Several years ago, Mr. Mills was part of a conversation with other healthcare executives, and each person was asked to describe how they treat their best customers.  Mr. Mills said that Medline doesn’t have any “best” customers.  According to a recent article, he stated that “Once you say one customer is more important, you’re giving your team permission to not give their best effort to everybody.  We want everybody to get our best effort. I really believe that, and from day one we emphasize how what they’re working on matters to our customers and end users.”

Now Mr. Mills was not saying that all customers are the same, or all have the same concerns or priorities, or that all customers bring in the same revenue to the business.  He said that they don’t identify any particular customers as better than the others. This may seem like a little bit of a nuanced response, but it’s extremely important.

Every customer we have, no matter the issue or the amount of sales they account for in our business, every customer is important; every customer should be valued; no customer should be viewed as being better than others.

I remember a story of a general – decades ago – in the Army who allowed one of the servicemen to make a previously unscheduled visit home. One of the general’s key staff came into his office and professionally suggested to the general that he should not have treated that one serviceman special. The general replied: “I try to treat everyone special.”

Regardless of the financial value of the person standing in front of us, every one of them has value.  None are better or worse than the previous customer.  We can’t view customers as being better or worse than others.  We need to view them all equally, and if that means that they are ALL the best, that we need to treat them ALL special, then so be it.

Don’t turn on the light switch of excellence for only certain customers.  Provide consistently great customer service.

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