customer relationship management | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

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

Connect – The Power of Working Together – 7/11/23

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

Herman Melville, the American writer/novelist, once said:  We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us.

One great characteristic of those working in customer service is the fact that we are living and working for others as much or more than for ourselves.  Melville talks about having connections with those others.  A good way for us to look at connecting with others is to see it both from an external connection as well as an internal connection.  

Externally, we could be talking about our customers, the parents of the children we serve, our clients, our season ticket holders, residents in our community.  How do we build relationships with them?

It helps to have common goals so that we know that we are working together towards something.  It helps to build trust – doing what we say we will do – and loyalty.  It helps to be solution-oriented when building relationships, so we can see positive outcomes from our actions together.

Internally, we could think about connecting in terms of collaboration – finding ways to work well with our co-workers and colleagues.  We do this by proactively sharing information – looking at information we have available and asking ourselves:  Who else would benefit from this information or knowledge?  We do it by providing ideas to our co-workers. We do it by offering our support in their efforts or the organization’s efforts to move toward goals.

There is power in connecting in customer service.  With those we serve outside the organization, the power comes through relationship-building, and it results in the building of mutual trust and loyalty as well as better outcomes.

Within an organization, the power comes in a greater sharing of knowledge, freer offering of ideas, and greater acknowledgement when we received those ideas.  It comes in more frequent and more expeditious achievement of organizational goals.

And all along the way, these positive outcomes, this loyalty, this trust, and the sharing of information results in a better place to work, a more cohesive culture, a more positive experience, and a more productive work life.

Intentionally connect with others to tap into the power of working together.

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Frame the Ways to Get Back Your Customer – 3/7/23

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

Every organization that gains customers is in a position to lose customers.  For the sports organization, it’s the lost account holder.  For the healthcare provider, it’s the member who enrolls with the competitor at the end of the year.  The retailer, the software provider, the financial services firm – lost customers occur, typically with clear financial repercussions.  Even with local government, it’s the customer moving elsewhere, the customer circumventing the system, the resident griping and complaining.  Maybe that loss is loss of support, but it is still a loss.

So, if you’re smart enough or lucky enough to get a chance to identify the reason for the loss, maybe there’s a chance you win them back.  Or at least there’s a good chance that you can put some improvement in place to mitigate similar losses in the future.

If you’re formulating a survey or talking with the customer, create some structure around how you ask about exit reasons.  Use this framework as a starting point:  Think about Product, People, Process, Policy, and the Place.  You’re trying to get a holistic view of the customer experience in those controllable categories of exit reasons.

For Product or Service, what about the product could have been improved?  What could have been done so it stood out a little more relative to the competition?

For People, think about the organization, the culture, how those communications flow and how those relationships are developed.  Ask the customer about the attitude, skills, knowledge of your team.  How do they communicate with the customer?  And did the company as a whole proactively communicate with the customer – trying to keep the relationship strong?

Regarding Process, how self-evident is the experience?  What are the wait times or lead times like for the customer?  Is everything as self-evident as possible?  Are the terminology and technology and paperwork simple enough and clear enough for any customer to understand and navigate?

Do the Policies restrict the customer experience or enhance it?  Are policies conveyed clearly, and are they in the best interests of the customer?

And what about the Place?  This could mean the physical facility or the environment that people experience online or with your apps.  Is it intuitive and clear and, again, easy to navigate?

There are many reasons why companies lose customers.  To win them back, organize your thoughts within this framework.

Consider the Product, the People, the Process, the Policy, and the Place.

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Tailor to the Type – 10/12/21

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

We’re all different.  We’re all unique.  Every customer is different and unique, as well, and we should treat them as unique individuals.

While we should see each customer as unique, before we fully get to know the customer, there are some core philosophies to take into customer conversations based on the type of customer or situation that we’re encountering:

  • If they’re upset, listen.
  • If they’re new, learn.
  • If they’re long-term, appreciate.

 
When people are upset, they want to feel that you care, like you truly want to help.  But when you interrupt or argue, you’re not allowing them to vent and blow off steam.  You’re not allowing them to make their point.  You’re conveying that you don’t care.  If they’re upset, listen.

When a customer is new, you want to begin developing a relationship, and as we often say, it’s easier to have a relationship with someone you know than with someone you don’t know.  Be inquisitive.  Ask questions.  Why did they shop with you?  What do they need?  What do they look for in a business like yours?  If they’re new, learn.

When you’ve had a customer for a period of time – a recurring customer – they want to feel like you value their past purchases, their business…like you value them.  Get to know their name; be patient; reference past positive interactions.  Say “Thank You” over and over again – they deserve it!  If they’re long-term, appreciate.

Tailor to the type.

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