customer experience | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

When You Can’t Say “Yes to the Address” - 2/7/23


I was interviewing a frontline staff person for one of our local government clients recently as part of our CSS Training Development Process.  They described their customers and the difficult situations that they face, their tougher conversations with customers. This individual supports local events, so there’s a lot of planning involved.  Read more

How to Fix Other People’s Problems - 1/31/23


I was helping a friend navigate some healthcare processes recently, so I conducted a 3-way call with my friend and the physician practice to try to get things cleared up.  The employee I spoke with on the phone - let’s call her Katie. There had been poor communication between different Read more

What to do When You’re in the Middle - 1/24/23


Bob and Sarah are arguing, and you’re in the middle.  Bob’s an employee, and Sarah is a customer, and they have a difference of opinion.  Somehow you’re involved even though you didn’t have anything to do with the interaction in question, the complaint being addressed.  You find yourself being Read more

Is the Customer Issue an Organizational Issue? - 1/17/23


Customer retention is vital.  Most of next year’s customers are going to be those who are this year’s customers. So, the more you lose today, the fewer you will have tomorrow.  Organizations conduct research, data mine, or bring in consultants to help identify those customers who may be most Read more

Decide Who’s Driving the Bus - 1/10/23


I once heard a speech titled: Who’s driving the bus? I knew the speaker beforehand, so that made his talk extra special.  It was funny and relatable and held many words of wisdom.  The crux of the speech was that every one of us has our own facets, our own Read more

Create a Personal Vision for the Year - 1/3/23


This time of year is all about the New Year’s resolution.  We’re going to exercise or eat differently!  Then…2 months later, who knows what’ll be happening, but at least you set a goal.  For many of us, that’s progress. For businesses, that New Year’s resolution often has to deal with Read more

Avoid Making a Bad Situation Worse - 12/27/22


Twitter.  When you hear that word, does your temperature rise?  Do you roll your eyes?  Do you ask: What is Twitter? From a customer service perspective, Twitter has evolved into a virtual place for consumers to complain about businesses.  For those businesses savvy enough to understand the importance of communicating Read more

2022 Holiday Poem - 12/20/22


The year is winding down. The work is still up front. We’re making that transition to close out the 12th month. We’re trying to find a balance between personal life and work. Trying to be kind to people even if they’re acting like a jerk. It’s taking all of our patience and our Read more

Open Minds and Ornery Customers - 12/13/22


We all have to deal with some crazy customers, at times.  They might be loud or sad.  Flighty or mad.  They may have unrealistic expectations or think it’s OK to skip past people in line because their need must be more important than the others.  Some are rude, some Read more

Apply These Values for Great Customer Service - 12/6/22


One of the industries where we do a lot of our work is local government.  These CSS clients are not necessarily selling a product or having the number of competitors that a lot of our private industry clients and our sports clients face.  But they need to deliver a Read more

When You Can’t Say “Yes to the Address” – 2/7/23

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

I was interviewing a frontline staff person for one of our local government clients recently as part of our CSS Training Development Process.  They described their customers and the difficult situations that they face, their tougher conversations with customers.

This individual supports local events, so there’s a lot of planning involved.  Unfortunately, this person oftentimes has to say No to the specific request.  His agency has to deal with staffing shortages.  They receive requests from local residents and organizations that result in fees that those groups are not used to paying.  They want the event held at a certain address, but the location is unavailable on that date.

When I asked him for keys to addressing these situations – where they repeatedly have to say No to the specific client request – this is what the individual shared:

  • Regarding fees, try to ease them in lightly. Note the different fee ranges for the different types of services, and let them know what they can do within their range even if it’s not everything they wanted to do.
  • If it’s a first-time customer, let them know that they can build toward their perfect event over time. Year 1 could be a streamlined and lower cost version, but they could build in Year 2, and by Year 3 have the event they want, the scale they want, the schedule they want.
  • Identify alternatives. When the exact location isn’t available on that date, share the alternative addresses, share the no cost options that are in different locations.

 
Get them focused on the end goal – what they’re trying to accomplish with their events – so that there’s some flexibility in the details of when and how and where that event could be held…and still accomplish the same goal.

When you can’t say “Yes to the Address,” find ways to say Yes to their goals.

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

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

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 if I ask you a couple of quick questions just to make sure I understand the situation?
  • When the customer doesn’t complete the form, you respond: To make sure we get this moving for you, I just wanted to get some additional information.
  • When the customer calls the wrong number, you respond: Since I’m not the best one to address that for you, let me get you in touch with the person who can help you.
  • When the customer goes to the wrong location, you respond: I’ll be happy to show you the best way to get to where you need to be.
  • When the customer leaves out some facts in a situation, you respond: Just to make sure I’m clear, I’m going to walk through my understanding of what we just discussed. Where they left out the facts, you ask: Now, what happened at this point?
  • When the customer gave you the wrong information, you respond: Unfortunately, I’m not able to pull up that account, but let’s try a different method.

 
Notice that we are avoiding blame.  We are using a lot of phraseology that deals with you, as the employee, gaining clarification or understanding.  We are not calling anything an error as much as we are using terms that convey we are making this as complete as possible, or getting the best person to address the need.  We are identifying what the issue is without noting who caused the issue.  We are often talking about why we are asking the question or talking about a particular topic.

When addressing the customer’s error, be professional, positive, and productive.

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

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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 – Topics that create these connections About The Now:

About The Now

Whether you’re dealing with a new customer or an existing customer coming in upset, you can connect with the customer about what is going on today, right now.  Noted below are 3 categories of connection points that are more about today’s situation.

Environment – What’s the weather like outside?  Is the building pretty, clean, bright, or easy to navigate?  Are they using a mobile device or tablet or computer, and is that what you are using or could be using, as well?

Situation – Have you had other customers who’ve dealt with the situation they’re describing?  Have you personally dealt with a similar situation?  Are there lessons learned in those situations that you can share with them to paint a picture of next steps or final resolutions?

Goals – If you understand their goals, is there some way you can relate to their goals?  Do you understand why they want what they want?  I’m not asking do you agree with their goals; I’m just asking if you can understand and appreciate why they are seeking a particular solution?

Just like we noted in the Part 1 Tip last week, you could ask some of these questions, but it’s just as important to listen closely to what they convey, learning the specifics of what they share, so you can use that information to connect with them, to build rapport.

Find some Situational Connection Points.

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