customer service | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 129

“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

Know the Needle You are Trying to Move

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

For governmental enterprises, there oftentimes are services being provided for which there is little or no competition such as:  How somebody applies for food stamps. What the process is for somebody to pay their annual business taxes. What needs to be done to change an address on a vehicle that somebody owns.

These are all services or processes that government agencies deliver in which they have no competition.

In most organizations outside of the public sector, a strong reason to try to improve your customer service is because it leads to higher client retention and helps to stave off the competition. But in some government agencies the question can be asked “why do we need to care about customer service, since we have no competition?”

If that question is even being asked, then it is probably because you have a management team that does a horrible job of conveying the importance of customer service to its employees. But that’s a topic of another blog posting. For today, let’s talk about why customer service matters to government. First of all, customer service is not just about the smiles and the eye contact. Customer service is also about process.  And anybody who understands great customer service realizes that the most efficient and effective processes typically accomplish both goals of saving the organization money and delivering a high quality, consistent experience to the customer. So the first reason to care about customer service is to realize that by delivering service in a highly effective way for the customer, organizations typically also provide more cost-effective delivery of services.

Let’s also look at it from a positive side relating to employee attitudes. Employee attitudes are another characteristic of customer service along with processes. Much of how a customer feels about their experience is related to the attitudes of the employees who engage them.

As an employee, if you think about working in a department that has horrible customer service, you’d envision yourself dealing with constantly complaining customers, having to deal with waiting rooms where there is a huge backlog of customers, having too much work to do in the time to do it, and having slow manual processes to work with to deliver those services. Everybody in your department is putting out their own fires, so they won’t help you; other departments are too focused on themselves, so they won’t help you either. It’s an environment that if you work there, your stress would be high, your workload would seem to be increasing, there would seem to be no flow to the work, people would be saying nasty things about you or your department, and your co-workers would be testy when interacting with you. It would be a lousy work environment.

But imagine working in an environment where the processes were very efficient, and things got done right the first time. Imagine that the customers only had to fill out their information once and that the waits were shorter, and therefore the complaints were fewer. Imagine knowing how to deal with irate customers because you’ve gone through some great customer service training, so you’re very comfortable in those situations.  Imagine people saying great things about your department and thanking you for your service.  And imagine your co-workers and other departments jumping in to help and being sincerely supportive of you and having great attitudes when working with you.

There is a personal benefit to great customer service. This applies in any industry, but it’s especially important to talk about and understand in the government sector.

Move the customer service needle to improve your organization’s efficiencies, the customer experience, and your own personal work environment.

Interested in improving your company’s customer service?  See more information at:  http://www.cssamerica.com/


Be Better Than the Pretzel Man

Posted on in Business Advice, Sports Please leave a comment

I was attending a basketball game a couple years back, and I had an urge for a soft pretzel.  There was a pretzel kiosk setup in the concourse, so I got in line behind 3-4 other customers.  When it was my turn to order, I walked up to the kiosk vendor, and he was looking down at his counter where he was preparing the pretzels.  I waited, and he said nothing and did not look up.  So I asked for a pretzel, and he proceeded to pull out a sheet of wax paper, went to get a pretzel, and added some salt.  Still looking down, he put the pretzel on the counter in front of me with his right hand, and with his left hand he held up three fingers.  I pulled out three dollars, gave it to him, and with his head still looking down, he said nothing else. I took my pretzel and walked away.

The entire transaction took place, and he did not say a word. He did not look up at me. He did not seem to care.

Many sports organizations talk about the “game day experience” as if it was all about the halftime entertainment or the before game rock band playing outside the arena.  But much of the experience from the customer’s perspective relates to the interactions that they have with arena vendors and staff.  This vendor conveyed that he couldn’t care less about the customer.

Although the way he expressed it may have been to the extreme, the reality is that a lot of vendors and city/county personnel who work at sporting events do their job for the task that it is without realizing who they are doing the task for – the fans, their customers.  The more of these individuals who convey that they couldn’t care less, the more fans that you’ll get who could not care less as well.  If the employees and vendors and other game day workers act like they don’t care about the customer or customer service with their poor communications or attitudes, you’ll see more and more fans conveying that same lack of attitude or lack of respect in how they communicate with others.

Make sure that the game day experience is about more than flashy entertainment; make sure it is also about customer service.

Interested in improving your company’s customer service?  See more information at:  http://www.cssamerica.com/


A Great Carolinas Customer Service Example

Posted on in Business Advice, Carolinas Please leave a comment

There are many examples of great customer service in North Carolina and South Carolina. One organization that has a strong presence in these states and delivers outstanding service is Chick-fil-A.  This Southeastern-based organization has a reputation built from the experience of its customers, where you get consistently good service no matter which restaurant you patronize.  You seem to get consistently courteous, respectful, and personalized service no matter which employee you engage in the drive-thru.  You constantly hear their branded slogan “my pleasure” whenever you thank them for something.  They offer their name to you when you place your order at the drive-thru, and they present a very clean and welcoming appearance when you eat inside.

How does Chick-fil-A do this? There are many methods they use, not the least of which is how they attract their personnel.  We’re familiar with how they will proactively go to particular schools or organizations to recruit staff for their restaurants.  This is done so that they have more control over their applicant pool by seeking out those groups more likely to have personable and professional individuals participating.

They have orientation and training which all staff attend which focuses strongly on the organization’s mission and vision to ensure that everybody understands why they are working there and how important the customer is to them.  The mission in part is to ‘have a positive impact on everyone with whom we come in contact.’ That could be the mission statement for any kind of business in the world, not just a restaurant.  It doesn’t say anything about chickens or waffle fries, but it says a lot about the mindset that it wants its employees to have.

To many customers, the fact that they are closed on Sundays is an example of the organization’s values as well.  And it is also a perk to employees.

Finally, it’s an organization with a strong work ethic – they have the motto “if you’re leanin’, you should be cleanin’.”  They try to promote the need for employees to be proactive and look for opportunities to do something positive for the business or its customers, even when the day is a little slow.

Take the Chick-fil-A challenge.  Go to a restaurant today, and see what you can learn from them to apply to your business.

Interested in improving your company’s customer service?  See more information at:  http://www.cssamerica.com/