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

The New Burger Experience - 7/16/24


Floyd loves a good hamburger. Any chance he gets to try a new spin on an old standby, he takes it. Recently, a burger joint opened near his house, and Floyd was very excited! It was owned by and named for a world-renowned chef, so it had to be Read more

Boost Customer Happiness - 7/9/24


There’s a cooking show that a friend of mine watches, and the premise is all about reverse engineering food.  They may take a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, analyze it, and determine the ingredients just by tasting it.  Then they figure out a recipe.  The cook will try to make Read more

Brainstorm to Better Yourself - 7/2/24


I’ve led enough sessions with clients on continuous improvement topics to have solid experience on how to lead ideation exercises, brainstorming to develop new ideas.  Oftentimes these sessions start with the right question; the first answers may not be the ultimate solution, but they can serve as a jumping Read more

The Power of the Pause - 6/25/24


When I’m facilitating a meeting, and it feels like it’s going off-track or the discussion is going a little longer than it should, I may say something like “let me pause the conversation so that…” or “let’s pause just for a minute and consider…” I don’t like the word STOP. Read more

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

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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