customer service | 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

What’s the Good Word? – 9/21/21

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

Each one of us talks to co-workers and customers every day.  And when you’re speaking with someone, there are always good ways to respond to questions or issues.  But there are also better ways to respond.  Since you’re receiving weekly customer service tips, I know you are all about continuous improvement!!

So, here are four quick examples of how to go beyond saying words that simply fit the conversation, and – instead – find better ways and better phrases to improve the customer experience.

Because CSS conducts research for our clients, oftentimes we’ll get e-mails from their customers that include complaints, and we need to respond to the customer on behalf of the client even though we have no ability or authority to investigate or resolve the issue.

  • Our response is OK if we say: I will send your e-mail to our client.
  • But this is Better: I will immediately forward your concerns and comments to my contact at our client, and I’ll ask that they respond to you directly.

 
I’m sure you often get requests or receive questions seeking status updates on issues or services.

  • Your response is OK if you say: I will check on that.
  • But this is Better: I’m going to investigate that right now for you.

 
Sometimes the customer isn’t being clear – they’re not giving you enough information to take action.  Maybe they have a different dialect from you or the speed with which they are talking makes what they’re saying unclear.

  • Your response is OK if you say: I don’t understand what you’re saying.
  • But this is Better: Help me understand a little more about the specifics of the situation.

 
I’m sure you’ve gotten many questions over the years about topics for which you did not immediately know the answer.

  • Your response is OK if you say: I’ll see what I can find out.
  • But this is Better: That’s a really interesting question. I had not thought of it like that before. I’ll be happy to research that for you.

 
Think about instances where you’re dealing with similar situations, and find ways to go beyond the OK response to something that’s better.

Be intentional about finding better phrases to better the customer experience.

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Use Your Customer Service Freedoms – 7/6/21

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

We’re only a couple days past Independence Day here in the United States.  So it may be a good time for us in the customer service world to think about our freedoms, to think about what we have the liberties to do, to reinforce how this all plays out with our work lives and our interactions with co-workers and customers.

Freedom does not necessarily mean we can do anything we want irrespective of the consequences, but freedom does convey that we have options.  We have choices.  And in those customer service Moments of Truth, these choices can often impact us as much as they impact those that we’re serving.

  • When somebody comes at us negatively, we can’t always control our initial emotional reaction, but we can control how we respond in the situation.
  • When we don’t know the answer, we have the choice to dump the responsibility for finding the answer back on the customer, simply sharing that we don’t know, or sharing that we don’t know but taking the initiative to find out.
  • When we are made aware of a process or communication or service issue, we can address the issue for that one customer and just leave it there. Alternatively, we can at least determine whether this was a 1-time occurrence or whether this could happen 100 times in 100 days to 100 different customers.
  • We have the choice to come into work and complain all day long to co-workers, or we can come into work to encourage each other and try to look for the good in the day.
  • We have the choice to feel like the entire decision and responsibility has to be only on our own shoulders, or we can seek the opinions and guidance of others.
  • We have the choice to ignore e-mails and voice mails until the person follows up 2 or 3 times, or we can choose to respond on a timely basis.

 
We are often put in bad situations in customer service.  Many of these rough situations are not of our doing; they are not our fault.  But that doesn’t mean we are left without choices.  That doesn’t mean we are left without freedoms.  If anything, in these situations there is so much more to consider and potentially do in order to manage our own emotions, build others up, or do what’s within our authority and our capabilities to make a difference.

Use your freedoms in such a way that the company, the customers, and you, yourself, have better days.

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Who are Your Best Customers? – 6/29/21

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

A major medical supply company called Medline is in the process of being acquired.  It is an organization that has grown by leaps and bounds, particularly over the last decade.  It is currently a family-owned business, and the member of that family that serves as President of the organization is named Andy Mills.

Several years ago, Mr. Mills was part of a conversation with other healthcare executives, and each person was asked to describe how they treat their best customers.  Mr. Mills said that Medline doesn’t have any “best” customers.  According to a recent article, he stated that “Once you say one customer is more important, you’re giving your team permission to not give their best effort to everybody.  We want everybody to get our best effort. I really believe that, and from day one we emphasize how what they’re working on matters to our customers and end users.”

Now Mr. Mills was not saying that all customers are the same, or all have the same concerns or priorities, or that all customers bring in the same revenue to the business.  He said that they don’t identify any particular customers as better than the others. This may seem like a little bit of a nuanced response, but it’s extremely important.

Every customer we have, no matter the issue or the amount of sales they account for in our business, every customer is important; every customer should be valued; no customer should be viewed as being better than others.

I remember a story of a general – decades ago – in the Army who allowed one of the servicemen to make a previously unscheduled visit home. One of the general’s key staff came into his office and professionally suggested to the general that he should not have treated that one serviceman special. The general replied: “I try to treat everyone special.”

Regardless of the financial value of the person standing in front of us, every one of them has value.  None are better or worse than the previous customer.  We can’t view customers as being better or worse than others.  We need to view them all equally, and if that means that they are ALL the best, that we need to treat them ALL special, then so be it.

Don’t turn on the light switch of excellence for only certain customers.  Provide consistently great customer service.

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