customer service | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 5

“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

Lift It Up – 9/12/23

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

I worked with a great client for several years who was in a leadership role in the education industry, and she was the executive champion for a culture-strengthening initiative.  We were the outside firm helping to develop the overall strategy and facilitate the teams addressing the various aspects of the culture.

She often used the phrase Lift It Up.  If there was an important topic, concern, or goal that needed to be known more broadly throughout the organization or brought to the attention of leadership, she would say that we needed to Lift It Up.  If there was a best practice being utilized in one school which could benefit many other schools, she’d say that we needed to Lift It Up.

What it Means to Lift It Up

When you’re making the effort to lift something up, you’re making something a priority.  You’re making an issue or a concern or goal or an opportunity known.  Lifting something up is a positive thing; it’s like you’re recognizing the thing or the people that made that thing work, or that needs to work better.

How to Lift

So, let’s address this from a customer service perspective in a very tangible way, particularly lifting up positives.

Who can you lift up?  You can lift up the co-worker who does something above and beyond.  You can lift up your boss when they’re exhibiting the behaviors of exceptional leadership.  Lift up your customer for bringing something to your attention, doing their part in the process, or being kind and respectful, despite the circumstances.

What can you lift up?  You can lift up best practices of the facility or on a website.  You can note some change that made life easier on staff or on those that you serve.  You lift up examples of documents or posters that remind people of the organizational values or customer service standards.  You can lift up that information received from customers, sharing how that’s helpful.

To whom can you lift it up?  Lift it up to leaders so that they’re aware of excellence on the part of your co-workers or best practices that could be used in other areas of the organization.  Lift it up to your co-workers so that they feel appreciated.  And lift it up to customers for the same reason.

To infuse positivity and best practices in your organization, Lift It Up.

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Addressing the Horror Story that Wasn’t – 9/5/23

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

You may have seen the commercials for one of those garden hoses that fits in your pocket.  When you put it on the valve outside your home and turn on the water, it expands to 50 feet.  When you’re done and turn off the water, it contracts and fits right back in your pocket.

Jamie had only been at his new job for 2 weeks at the hardware store, and he witnessed just how important some of these expandable/retractable hoses are to the homeowners.  A frantic homeowner came in – somebody who had bought one of these hoses from one of Jamie’s co-workers a week ago, and the customer was upset.  She had been so excited about the new hose, but when she turned on the water, it did not expand fully; when she turned off the water, it didn’t contract.

It was a garden hose emergency!  Oh, the horror!

Now, for 99% of us, a garden hose that doesn’t fully expand or contract is not the end of the world.  And maybe to this customer, it was not the end of the world either; however, she was initially so excited about a product that was, now, not performing as designed.

Jamie’s first thought was: This customer is WAY overreacting.  But his second thought was: I better not convey that I think she’s overreacting.

Luckily, Jamie had some training on Key Principles of Situational Service.  So, he provided some Empathy, explaining his understanding of what went wrong to the customer, what she expected to happen versus how the hose actually performed.  He was Patient with her, listening and not rushing her along.  He tried to be Helpful, facilitating a resolution, whether it was initially with the use of the hose and then finally finding an alternative.  He Explained the product exchange process and Why the process was needed, and he did everything with Respect and Courtesy.

Sometimes the issues you are presented with seem like they should be no big deal, but for whatever reason, they are a big deal to the customer.

Apply Jamie’s Key Principles of Situational Service to make sure all of these situations turn out well from the customer’s perspective.

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Respect, Regardless of Rank – 8/22/23

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

I was reading a management book written by a former naval officer.  He was given a leadership role over a ship that had been underperforming and had low morale.  One thing he did to turn around the performance, to improve morale, was instill in everyone onboard the principle that we need to respect each other, regardless of rank.

For anybody who’s watched an old military movie where the personnel show respect for rank, often you hear the statements of “Yes, General” or “Sir!  Yes, Sir” that we see exhibited by those with the more junior ranks.

But the Captain of this ship, the one trying to instill a new, high-performing culture, expected EVERYONE to be respectful of EVERYONE.

To understand “respect” in customer service, we have to paint a picture of it.  For many people, it’s much easier to paint a picture of respectful behavior by describing disrespectful behavior so that people know what action NOT to take.  Sometimes we literally define the word respect to paint that picture for those in customer service.

Communicating Respect to Rank

Today, let’s think about respect in terms of how it’s conveyed to people of rank – whether it’s an organizational leader or even the President.  The words we use (Yes, Sir or Yes, Ma’am) are stated frequently in response to what the ranking person says.  With individuals in those in high-rank roles, we try to understand their needs so that we can address them, carrying out their orders or requests.  We listen as much as possible in that one encounter to minimize the need to meet with them again as well as to ensure we don’t take up any more of their time than is necessary.

Communicating Respect Regardless of Rank

These are all actions and behaviors we can do with each other – with co-workers and with customers.  Use personal names and respectful terms to greet and address individuals throughout the conversation.  Try to understand specifically what they’re saying by asking the right questions and spending the majority of our time listening.  Allow them to speak first, and be patient through the conversation.  Follow through on what we offered to do, trying to limit how much of their time is required, whenever possible.

Respect, Regardless of Rank – find ways to make respect an all-the-time thing.

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