customer retention | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

When Passive Voice is a Good Thing - 8/9/22


It’s all your fault, Mr. Customer! We may want to shout it from the rooftops, but other than venting and absolving ourselves of guilt, this wouldn’t help much in the grand scheme of things. We have a customer sitting in front of us or on the phone, and maybe they are Read more

They’re Stressed, So You Can… - 8/2/22


Wow!  That customer looks stressed!  Maybe it’s their body language or their expressions; they could be fidgety or talking really fast. In the past, when we offered guidance in these situations, we focused on how to navigate the conversation step-by-step - what points to cover and what points to avoid. But Read more

Find the Hidden Compliment - 7/26/22


The fact is, they ARE complaining:  The room is too cold.  The wait is too long.  They wish the parking spaces were bigger.  The new app doesn’t have a mapping function.  They cannot pay with their phone.  The website is unclear. In these types of complaints, the ones that are Read more

When You Know More Than They Do - 7/19/22


It was 95 degrees outside.  That’s not too bad when you’re inside and enjoying the air conditioning; but when Rachel’s A/C went out, in came Rachel’s worry.  Luckily, she knew the company to call, and a technician from Acme HVAC (fake name, real company) came out the next morning. Rachel Read more

Investigate for FACTS - 7/12/22


Sometimes the issues that we deal with don’t have an immediate resolution.  There’s unknown information and conflicting stories.  Many individuals are involved, or possibly whoever is involved is not available.  You have to investigate. For situations where you have to be clear on what occurred, make sure you’re gathering all Read more

Become a Great Teacher - 7/5/22


Are you one of those people who really liked school?  School is always made more enjoyable by great teachers and professors. Do you love sports?  Many coaches in football and basketball, in hockey and baseball view themselves as teachers…teaching the game they love to their team. True leadership is about growing Read more

Don’t Assume Their Motivation - 6/28/22


The company was instituting new human resources policies aimed at holding employees accountable for being late to work.  Employee lateness had been rising, and management wanted to make sure they reinforced the need for people to be on time. At a meeting to roll out the new policies, a leader Read more

It’s Not Always About the Outcome - 6/21/22


We want the satisfied customer.  We want the issue resolved.  We want to be able to fix the error or save the client.  We want to feel good coming out of a conversation, or feel like we have accomplished something special.  We want the “win win.” But all those great Read more

Ask: What is your goal? - 6/14/22


Through these Tips, we’ve shared our technique about how to meet the customer’s need right the first time.  It’s a conversation – a give and take with the customer where you hone in on what their true need or concern is, seeking more clarity to more quickly get to Read more

Make it Sincerely Yours - 6/7/22


I’d like to hear more.  I’m sorry about the situation.  Resolving your issue is important to me.  We appreciate your business.  Thank you for bringing this to my attention. These phrases are generally well-received depending on the situation.  But we want to make sure when we’re speaking to others that 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

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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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