culture | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 9

“You’re the Boss” - 2/20/24


Terrence is excellent at what he does.  From a technical standpoint, he knows how to keep the facility clean.  He’s the lead custodian, and he knows that keeping things straight does not necessarily mean keeping things sanitary.  He knows what chemicals to use and not to use, how to Read more

Customer Understanding Leads to Relationship Growth - 2/13/24


We’ve worked with educational organizations at all grade levels over the years.  One special and unique characteristic about the staff who work in these organizations is that there’s a clear intent to know about the students as individuals, to focus on them rather than purely focusing on what’s delivered Read more

Define Customer Service Success Differently - 2/6/24


When I’m watching television, listening to the radio, or listening to a podcast, it’s always interesting when the topic moves to the question:  How can you be a success?  The speakers often discuss the process of becoming a success with the assumption that people believe success is defined by Read more

Care Enough to Give Them a Heads Up - 1/30/24


Nothing bad at all might happen.  Every day in the office could seem like every other day.  Sights and sounds and smells might continue to be the same.  But we have a lot of construction going on around our offices, and the building manager knows the type of work Read more

Be Better than AI Customer Service - 1/23/24


There was a recent CBS Sunday Morning Show story called: How artificial intelligence is revamping customer call centers. The journalist described how artificial intelligence is being used in customer service, and he noted the millions of pieces of information that can be processed in a matter of seconds. There are clear Read more

Recognize the Situation, and Pivot - 1/16/24


The customer has a complaint, or they may have an important question about an order or their account.  You may be talking to them in an emergency room, in the lobby of the government building, on the phone, or in a video conversation.  And in many of these Moments Read more

Sharpen Your Service Delivery - 1/9/24


You work so hard at being responsive and providing high quality information.  You work hard at fixing problems.  But is your delivery…dull? I’m not saying that it has to be exciting, but let’s think of the word “exciting.”  It means that something’s interesting, has energy, is positive.  Just by its Read more

Make Empathy Your Superpower - 1/2/24


I was facilitating a Service Excellence Training class for a Higher Ed client in the Northeast several years back.  As I was walking through the portions of our technique for defusing the angry customer, I talked about empathy.  I talked about accepting responsibility. Immediately, one of the hands in the Read more

Holiday Poem 2023 - 12/26/23


The days are getting longer, The skies are getting brighter. Festivities behind us, And festivities before us.   There’s ups and downs and change coming, And we can’t predict when or where. There’s challenges and joys and opportunities around, Of which you may or may not be aware.   But one thing we know as we look at each Read more

Refresh, Rejuvenate, Refocus - 12/19/23


It’s that time of year.  We’re going 100 miles an hour, and holiday time is upon us.  We not only have all the work to do, but we somehow have less time to do it.  We somehow have other things that are of competing interest, and even though those Read more

Listening to the Employee’s Voice – 1/27/15 TOW

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


The “Voice of the Customer” is an often-heard phrase. We have a sports research program called the “Voice of the Fan.” These are ways of describing that organizations either need to simply listen to their customers, or they need to have a 12-month strategy for tapping into customer feedback and input to continuously improve.

But what about the employee? Do they have a voice, and what is the voice saying? Most companies realize that asking the customer is the best way of obtaining the “Voice of the Customer.” But few realize that asking employees is the second best way of learning the “Voice of the Customer.”

Employees – particularly those on the front line, are the ones engaged with the customers many times daily. Employees hear the complaints, the confusion, and the questions. Employees hear what make customers say “thanks” and what makes customers frustrated. Ask your employees about your customers – it’s the best customer research money you’ll NEVER spend!

Don’t stop there. Apply your “Voice of the Customer” strategy and principles into creating a Service Culture. Your organization hires employees, but does it ask them why they chose your organization and what expectations they have about the employee experience? Your company “onboards” employees, but does it have 1 week, 1 month, and 90 day check-ins with new hires to gauge whether those expectations are being met and how they’re feeling about their job and your organization?

Think about your employee vets. Are the longer-term staff asked about processes and policies that are barriers to the great customer experience? Are veteran employees asked about the current climate, training needs, or potential system changes (BEFORE they’re implemented)? Is there documented information on how proud they are to work for the organization and how engaged they are in the company’s mission and vision?

We love conducting customer research for our clients, but in your effort to provide a great experience for your external customers, don’t forget your internal customers.

Listen to the Voice of the Employee.

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Do More Than What You Say You’ll Do – 1/13/15 TOW

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During a meeting with a client who was trying to work through a culture change, the question was raised about how they could change a culture of broken trust.

WOW! That’s a very direct and not quickly answered question. Many of the answers fall at the feet of organizational leaders – they’re the ones most responsible for creating an environment of trust. But let’s look at the question from a different perspective – the perspective of an individual team.

Many people believe that – to build trust – you must do what you say you’ll do. That way, the client, the co-worker, the peer – they all believe in your actions and begin to trust you.

But there’s a different type of trust, one that’s about more than the task. It’s your being able to trust others enough to open up to them, to share your thoughts, your concerns, your ideas, your critiques, and your feelings. This kind of trust requires you to be willing to communicate what you’re thinking and feeling.

This trust is not as easy as “doing what you’ll say you’ll do.” This is about your being trusting enough in how others will respond, how they’ll respect you and what you share. This is about your willingness to open yourself up for the good of the team.

When trust on a team is lost, yes, team members need to rebuild it by saying they’ll do something, and then doing it. But if your team has deep trust issues due to new members, past conflicts, or some other reason – there need to be intentional efforts on the part of the individuals to share what they think and feel, to start the process of being open and trusting others. Being willing to open up is the first step in engendering trust from others.

Can you take the first step on your team? Tell them “I’m going to share something that I’m uncomfortable sharing, and I’m trusting you will listen and be respectful of me in the process.” Then offer your idea, your concern, your critique, your feeling, or your thought.

Start the process of building back team trust.

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30 Minutes or Free – 1/6/15 TOW

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I once worked as a Domino’s Pizza delivery person. It was a GREAT job during summer as a college kid, in particular. You get to drive around, make pizzas, and if a customer canceled an order – you get to eat free! I had a plastic cup in my house filled with cash from tips – it made me feel wealthy at the time (even if they were just 20-25 $1 bills).

This was a while ago – when bell-bottom pants were in (Were they ever really “in”?), when I knew how to drive stick shift, and when Domino’s had its 30 minute guarantee. The 30 minute guarantee stated that if the pizza arrived more than 30 minutes after it was ordered, you’d get it for free!

At the time, I was working in the first Domino’s store in a small town in North Carolina, and one of my deliveries was to a home in a relatively new neighborhood. I looked at the map hanging on the wall (this was pre-GPS and smart phones), wrote down my directions, and headed out. As I entered the development, I took my first right, my next left, and I was well on the way to getting there just in the nick of time – until it happened. I was on the right street, about a quarter-mile from the house, and all I had to do was drive down this road, take a left, and I was there.

But the road I was on was a dead-end. It hadn’t been completed. There was a fence at the end of the road, about 50 feet of undeveloped land, and then I could see that the road started up again on the other side. I had to improvise, and improvise I did! I found the house! But I was 5 minutes late.

They got 2 pizzas for free, but I received a nice tip. Then I went back to Domino’s, having just delivered the first free pizzas in this store’s history.

I explained what happened to the manager, he said “okay,” he walked over to the map, drew lines to show where the street was a dead-end, and went back to making pizzas. There was no blame.

In life, in customer service, and in the pizza world, sometimes things just happen. Sometimes it’s a bad experience, it’s a delay, or it’s a free pizza. And sometimes, there’s no reason to spread blame. Responsibility is something we should be quick to accept, but blame is something we should be slow to pin on others.

Blame is rarely solution-oriented, it rarely benefits the customer, it rarely fosters goodwill or a healthy culture. Focus on responsibility and lessons learned, and avoid the focus on blame.

Be okay with giving away the occasional free pizza.

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