customer relationship management | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

“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

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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