covid-19 | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 6

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

Keep in Mind 3 Key Questions - 11/22/22


Customers want to be heard.  If they have an issue or need or something that requires your support, they want to be understood. When we are trying to find a resolution or fulfill a need, when we’re trying to help a customer achieve their goal, sometimes we can be so Read more

Don’t Let This Shot Affect Your Next Shot - 11/15/22


When I was a teenager, I used to play a lot of golf, and I was pretty good for my age.  I’d have a good attitude and enjoyed the game, but if I hit a bad shot, I’d get upset.  And more often than not, that one bad shot Read more

Value the Customer – Actions to Adopt and Avoid - 11/8/22


When conducting research for a local government CSS client, we interviewed and conducted surveys with many of their customers.  We analyzed the results of the research based on those who had a great experience v. those who did not.  We uncovered that there were distinct differences between customers who Read more

Appreciate to Appreciate - 11/1/22


Why doesn’t Jay, my co-worker, respond to my e-mails or get his task done on time? It’s hard to respect the delay, the incomplete work, the lack of follow through on the part of your co-worker. Why does the customer seem so harried and so frustrated? It’s hard to value the customer Read more

The Customer Can Hear Your Attitude - 10/25/22


Sherry was sitting in the lobby, waiting to be called back for her appointment.  Just off the lobby was an office that Sherry was sitting near.  The person in the office was on a phone call, but Sherry couldn’t see the employee.  She could tell it was a call Read more

How to Handle the Customer’s Error - 10/18/22


Are all of your customers perfect?  Anyone?  Bueller? Of course, customers are not perfect.  Neither are we, but let’s focus this Tip on what they do wrong and what we can do about it in a professional, positive, and productive manner: When the customer isn’t clear, you respond: Is it OK Read more

Critique Yourself before Others Do - 10/11/22


When we’re criticized, we can get defensive, push back, deflect blame to others, and focus more on defending ourselves than really listening to what the other person is saying.  And some of us who get defensive, once we allow our emotions to settle, take time to reflect on what Read more

Find a Connection Point – Part 2: Situational Connection - 10/4/22


Last week we highlighted key topics to consider when you want to find Personal Connection Points with the customer.  Today, we’ll cover some key questions to ask to uncover information about today’s situation that you can use to establish a rapport with the customer.  This is Part 2 - Read more

Find a Connection Point – Part 1: Personal Connection - 9/27/22


Some people are born almost like a master at communication.  They know how to establish rapport with just about anybody, and they do so in a way that seems so natural and so real.  They can form relationships and be laughing with somebody they met two minutes ago like Read more

Defining Organizational Agility in a Time of Uncertainty

Posted on in Business Advice Please leave a comment

You may have heard references in management theory over the many decades about the importance of a business being an “Agile” organization, but oftentimes that is a word thrown out in generalities to illustrate vague points about how organizations should be managed and make decisions.  In this time of COVID, however, the definition of an Agile business and how that comes into play in a real world, real-time situation has rarely been so clear.

 

Agile businesses will be far more successful through this economic and healthcare uncertainty, so let’s start by defining the Agile business. The synonyms of Agility are: Nimble, Spry, Light-Footed, Flexible, Deft, Coordinated.

 

Here are some core questions about your organization to consider:  How nimble is your company?  How flexible are you in dealing with the vicissitudes of internal and external change?  How coordinated are the different divisions, leaders, and business lines with each other?

 

“Agile businesses will be far more successful through this economic and healthcare uncertainty.”

 

These are core questions that you need to answer if you want to be able to change quickly and effectively how you operate as you are impacted by change that’s outside of your immediate control.

 

The Opposite of Agile

If these questions are too abstract, consider the brutal honesty of antonyms of Agile: Uncoordinated, Inflexible, Rigid, Stiff, Bungling, Inept, Lumbering.

 

Could any of these terms be applied to your business? Are different divisions ever lacking coordination and communication with each other?  Are processes or people too inflexible at times, not willing to change the way they’ve always done things? Is the quality or efficiency or effectiveness only good enough to get you by as opposed to being representative of a high-performing organization?  Does the organization feel too big and too slow to pivot into a different direction if necessary?

 

In the future, we’ll address how to become more Agile.  For now, ask yourself some key questions about your business so you can determine whether you’re Agile enough to succeed in an environment of uncertainty.


Change Management – Facts about Past Decisions Reduce Fear about Future Decisions

Posted on in Business Advice Please leave a comment

Change can result in fear.  Particularly where change is thrust upon someone very suddenly, it can create shock or disbelief.  Sometimes that change is not something an organization can plan for; it therefore cannot adequately prepare its employees for what’s ahead…at least initially.

In this COVID world, Change Management is about dealing with the unknowns, but still developing a plan for the future.  It’s about managing organizational strategy for the long-term, while still developing an agile mindset and approach in the near-term.  It’s about dealing with employee emotions and continually trying to motivate them, while at the same time having the disadvantage of not having them in a room with you to gauge their feelings, gauge their expressions, and gauge many of their behaviors.

“Providing facts about how past decisions were made…enable employees to understand how decisions will be made in the future.”

 

So, organizations need to create their own Change Management model that coincides with the Change Management model for its employees.

 

Talking with Employees about the Change that was Made

For this conversation, let’s focus on the early stages of organizational change.  After having made the immediate and necessary adjustments in staffing, expenditures, and operations to offset lost revenue and inflows, the organization needs to begin explaining in some clear and objective detail why that needed to happen.  Particularly for those that are still with your organization, employees need to understand the facts behind the action, because facts are something concrete that enable employees to more logically accept decisions that were made in the past and understand how decisions will be made in the future.

Let me repeat.  The reason to explain to current employees in some detail and factually why recent decisions were made is so they feel like they understand that future decisions will be based on facts and objectivity, and they know the criteria for those decisions.

More Facts about the Past, Less Fear about the Future

In other words, you’re not only creating a dialogue with staff by explaining details on the “why” of the changes, but you’re also addressing their fear of the unknown by at least helping them to understand a process and a list of criteria that you might go through in the future to make similar decisions.

When you’re thinking about the importance of Change Management for an organization and how that relates to employee communications, don’t underestimate the importance of being open, dialogue-oriented, and factual about the reasons for the past change.

Help employees to more objectively understand how decisions could be made moving forward.


Tire Dealers Becoming Teachers – 5/19/20

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

I recently needed two new tires for a vehicle, and I first went to the tire dealer’s website to find some options.  The site’s look/feel and ordering process had changed, and I didn’t see a tire I wanted, so I called the store to make an appointment.

When I arrived at the tire store (a place I’d been to 15-20 times), it was very different due to COVID-19.  There was a tent outside with chairs about 8-10 feet apart.  There was a small sign with different directions based on whether you had a scheduled appointment or were a walk-up. The door you normally enter was locked.  The inside experience was different – there was no coffee or water while you waited.  People were asked to wait outside or sit in their car while the tires were changed.  You drive your car into the garage and drive it out of the garage regardless of whether you were in the car while the tires were being changed.  There’s no exchange of paperwork unless you requested a small printed receipt when paying.

Virtually everything changed, and to make it work, the customer had to do their part.  I asked the employee checking me in how it was going with the new setup, and he said it’s going OK, but “the customers are not reading the signs.”

Customer v. Company Roles

Whereas a customer has a role in their own service experience, particularly in an environment like this, the company has the role to teach that customer about the new experience and the customer’s responsibilities.  The company has a role to confirm the customer’s understanding.  The company has the role to ensure the comfort and confidence about what’s going to happen.  The company has a role to explain those next steps and timeframes and then, as always in customer service, deliver on the expectation they set.

When the customer has to learn a new way to do business with your company, realize you are in teaching mode.  Don’t make your customers become experts in your processes.  Make it easy for any customer to have a great experience, even under these new circumstances.

Bring simplicity into your service system, and teach customers how to have a great experience.

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