customer retention | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

A Story of Willie and Aubrey - 2/8/22


The gift shop was a great experience!  Aubrey had bought items online from the shop for years, but she had never stepped foot in the store itself.  However, when travel plans took her on a trip to new surroundings, she took time out of her day to go to Read more

It Matters Who You Know - 2/1/22


The season ticket account holder has an issue, but he’s not too concerned about it:  I’m going to call my guy, and he’ll take care of it. The patient is confused about their bill.  The family member says: I know someone who can help. The husband discovers a problem in the Read more

Put an End to 1-Star Ratings - 1/25/22


If you ever had service performed on your car, I would not doubt it if you received the immediate e-mail asking for that 5-star rating. They want the big ratings because that makes them look good, and to get the big average rating you have to avoid the 1-Star Read more

Signs of Service Recovery Situations - 1/18/22


As we continue the slow trend of more and more customer interactions becoming in-person again, we need to remember those signs that we’re about to enter one of THOSE conversations.  It can typically take only 5-10 seconds to realize this is going to be a high-risk situation with the Read more

In Survey Development, Think in Reverse - 1/11/22


We often meet with clients interested in conducting a survey, and when we discuss the project, many clients come with questions in-hand.  They are interested, curious, even excited sometimes about the possibility of tapping into the voice of the customer! And when we review their questions and start to see Read more

Foster Positive Feelings - 1/4/22


I bet a lot of you all are like me - when you’re asked to share your feelings, it’s not always something that feels comfortable.  It obviously depends on the situation and who’s asking you to share your feelings.  So, many of us might hesitate in sharing our feelings. However, Read more

How to Make the Situation Right - 12/28/21


The manager in the field office felt that - when problems arose with customers - the company didn’t do an especially good job of responding effectively.  He felt like this was hurting customer renewals of annual service agreements.  The company developed many customer service and retention initiatives with little Read more

2021 Holiday Poem - 12/21/21


Breathe and rest and relax and rejuvenate. Close the eyes, and fill the lungs. Take a break, and be with friends. This is a time to begin. Renaissance is called a rebirth. Birth can bring new life. Life gives opportunity for living. Living gives opportunity for joy. We have so many outside factors, So many things that tug Read more

“I’m Sorry” Doesn’t Mean “I’m Guilty” - 12/14/21


Individuals and organizations mess up; that’s part of life… They told me that they were going to be at my home at a certain time; they were REALLY late.  The customer service representative said they would get a message to a co-worker, and the co-worker would call me back; I Read more

Apply Selfless Service - 12/7/21


Andrea had worked in human resources for years, and the company decided that it wanted to hire employees who were more customer service-oriented, regardless of the position.  After making that decision, they added some creative questions to the interview process. One of the most interesting questions that Andrea had to Read more

How to Make the Situation Right – 12/28/21

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

The manager in the field office felt that – when problems arose with customers – the company didn’t do an especially good job of responding effectively.  He felt like this was hurting customer renewals of annual service agreements.  The company developed many customer service and retention initiatives with little benefit.  So they solicited ideas from three of their best technicians.

The manager gathered the techs in a room and identified existing customers with common issues that weren’t yet resolved.  After sharing the situations with the techs, he sent them off to individually come up with the best solutions.

The next day, the manager met again with the technicians to hear their ideas.  The first tech – Jackie – researched data on her customer, and offered her best guess on what would satisfy the customer and get them to renew their contract.

The next technician – Mark – focused on the issue with the customer’s system, and he came up with an idea for how to compensate the customer for the issue and fix the system.

The third tech – Stacey – came up with what seemed like a crazy idea.  She didn’t offer compensation.  She didn’t focus on past customer history in the database.  The other three people in the room looked at each other but didn’t say a word in response.  Finally, the manager said:  Why would you possibly think that’s the way to resolve the issue and to retain the customer?

Stacey responded:  Because I called him up and asked what was his understanding of the issue and what we could do to fix it.  This is what he suggested.  It sounded reasonable and was within policy, so we went ahead and fixed it.

We can spend a lot of time coming up with the most creative and complex and high compensation ideas to address service recovery situations.  Yet, sometimes the quickest and easiest way to identify a solution in a service recovery situation is to ask them.

Consider asking the customer what would make the situation right.

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“I’m Sorry” Doesn’t Mean “I’m Guilty” – 12/14/21

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

Individuals and organizations mess up; that’s part of life…

They told me that they were going to be at my home at a certain time; they were REALLY late.  The customer service representative said they would get a message to a co-worker, and the co-worker would call me back; I never got a call.  A salesperson promised what the company could do; the team that had to deliver the service could not meet the unrealistic expectations set by the salesperson.

In every situation, employees attempted to find an alternative solution. In not one case did anybody say “I’m sorry.”

That omission bugged me, and it took me a minute to figure out why.  Then it was clear – they looked for the solution without ever acknowledging the situation that caused the need for the solution.

None of these organizations acknowledged they’d done something wrong.  In not one of these cases did the person resolving the issue cause the issue, so maybe they didn’t want to admit guilt.

In situations like this, however, saying “I’m sorry” is not an admission of personal guilt.  It’s showing organizational accountability.  While I understand people don’t want to admit guilt (especially if they’re not “guilty” of anything), they could still say “on behalf of the organization, I apologize.”  By saying that, they’re not accepting personal responsibility, but they’re acknowledging that the organization caused the problem.

Some people won’t say “I’m sorry” because they feel it’s a sign of weakness.  But we shouldn’t view service recovery situations as battles where one person wins and the other loses.  Instead, we should look at it as an opportunity to save a relationship, to help a customer, to serve others, to retain their business.

It’s not a sign of weakness to admit fault.  It’s a sign of strength and humility to acknowledge an issue.

When your co-worker or your organization makes a mistake with a customer, make an apology a part of your response.

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Diss the Dissatisfiers – 8/3/21

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

Do people still talk about “being dissed?”  When I was growing up, we used to talk about how someone may get dissed by others – short for disrespected; you could also define “diss” as holding in contempt.  I understood the term “diss” and used the term, at times, to describe the situation – it seemed like a cool slang term to use, even though I may not have been the coolest person in my school (as my family members would attest).  But I digress…

In general, it’s not good to diss someone, but someTHINGS are sometimes worthy of being dissed.  Let’s talk about customer dissatisfiers.  Some businesses are so focused on creating the WOW experience or reciting their customary script that they forget that one or two negative experiences can easily overshadow that one WOW.

For many organizations, before they try to determine how to delight the customer, they first need to shore up the quality and consistency of their experiences.  They need to identify those key customer dissatisfiers.  They need to determine what situations or responses or reactions or processes or product experiences that could cause a customer never to come back.

The fast-food restaurant has a “B” sanitation grade.  It had incredibly fast service, but who would want to eat there?

The boutique had snobby employees.  They had interesting products in a nice ambiance, but who wants to pay money to somebody who’s treating them as “lesser than?”

The big box store took forever to check out.  Sure, they had a large selection, but who wants to wait in line over 20 minutes to buy a $10 phone cord?

The sporting event played music so loud that you couldn’t hear anything else.  Sure, the team won, but if the between-play music dominated the environment and didn’t allow you to talk with others, didn’t the music detract from the experience?

I appreciate when businesses try to create the WOW.  But organizations need to also identify those key aspects of the experience with their people, products, processes, places, or overall experience that can drive customers away.

Find those pain points for your customers – the reasons that could cause their exit. And then find ways to ensure you take the pain out of your experience.

Diss the Dissatisfiers.

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