econdev | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

Handle Interruptions Heroically - 6/18/24


In the middle of a project, Jimbo, the customer service team member, had to stop what he was doing because he received an e-mail from a customer complaining about their experience at a recent event. Later that day, Jimbo was asked by his boss to put everything on hold for Read more

From Employees to Teammates: The Shift - 6/11/24


Be a great teammate. Be a good team player. We’re all part of the team. We’re no longer employees, we’re team members! The phrase “Team” is used in describing co-workers so much more than it was used years ago.  Then, we would be talking about employees, talking about staff, talking Read more

Nurture New Relationships - 6/4/24


Freddie was a new business owner in town.  He was launching a franchise, had acquired some funding from a local bank, and was in search of staff who cared about customer service. All the while, he was in the process of renovating a storefront for his business, so he was Read more

There’s Positivity in Patience - 5/28/24


The employee at the financial services firm was working with a new client on a relatively simple loan.  The documentation was about as clear as it could get to the employee, but the customer had lots of questions.  The employee calmly, clearly, and specifically answered each question.  The meeting Read more

The Goal – A Great Experience - 5/21/24


The following is a narrative of a great experience (people, process, service, facility) at a minor league sporting event – key points that could apply to any business are in bold… Mark and I pulled into the parking lot, excited about the game.  The Slapshots had been on a roll Read more

Your Best Ability is… - 5/14/24


I enjoy watching sports, and I’ve even listened to some sports press conferences over the years, just to hear what coaches are saying.  Basically getting the leadership perspective from the sports industry either out of my interest or curiosity, or to figure out how to apply it to the Read more

A Complaint is a Gift - 5/7/24


A complaint is a gift.  Okay, so the complainer is not always a “gift.”  The customer’s delivery of the complaint is sometimes more like a stocking filled with coal than a vase filled with roses.  But this is why we need to be able to differentiate the complaint from Read more

Mastering Confidence in Customer Service - 4/30/24


It’s not what you said…it’s how you said it. If you’ve ever had someone say this to you, raise your hand.  (I just raised my hand) Usually this is being said when someone is upset with you, but regardless of the reason, that phrase illustrates that HOW we say something often Read more

Be Amazing - 4/23/24


Watching Michael Jordan steal a pass and then dunk a basketball is amazing.  Taking a rocket to the moon is amazing.  The taste of my mom’s homemade beef soup is amazing. We all have our personal examples of what is amazing.  Usually, it’s something that we cannot comprehend, that we Read more

Talk About Yourself to Build Customer Confidence - 4/16/24


When you’re dealing with somebody who is anxious or nervous about a situation, a customer who feels like they don’t have much control, an individual who is unsure and uncertain, it’s important to put the customer at ease.  It’s important to build their comfort level.  It’s important to help Read more

From Lament to Leading the Way – 3 Steps to BRE-Building

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

I was having a conversation with an economic development professional (a Business Retention & Expansion manager), and he was sharing his organization’s approach to retaining and growing with existing local companies. It started positively, and then the more he talked, the more he described his issues:

  • He wanted to a “real” and robust BRE program.
  • The current program was too limited to conducting site visits once/year with key businesses.
  • He wanted “to have a continual dialogue with companies.”
  • He needed to more quickly use the results of the interviews in issue-resolution for the client and community.
  • There’s no system to their relationship-building with companies. It was too much of a task-focused endeavor.

Much of what the BRE professional was lamenting is common in the industry. Too much work, and too little time. So the focus is on hitting a targeted number of site visits, helping when issues arise in a manner that’s not efficient or systematic enough, having large lag time between gathering information and acting on well thought out strategies, and getting activities done more than relationships developed.

This is common…but it doesn’t mean it’s the step to greatness.

To take that next step, even if staffing resources don’t increase, several other aspects of the program should change:

  • BRE programs need to have a mix of research activities; overreliance on site visits (the most labor-intensive data collection method) reduces capacity for issue-resolution, planning, and real relationship development. Phone/web-based surveys, and BRE News Research are efficient ways of complementing site visits.
  • Creating 12-month Touch Point Plans helps organizations build client knowledge and relationships, often without having to take a step onsite. These need to be developed/executed to make relationship-building happen on an ongoing basis.
  • Developing resource databases and detailed search capabilities such as exist in some BRE applications expedites identification of people/grants/processes/services that can be used to impact business needs and issues. These databases can also expedite the sharing of resources with the business itself.

If you’re lamenting the difficulties in moving your BRE program to greatness, take these 3 great steps.

See more BRE blog posts at: http://brebuzz.com/bre-blog-posts/


Business Retention & Expansion – The Process That Drives Your Top Line

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

In news articles that come out on a daily basis, business retention and expansion successes are touted. Oftentimes, these articles announce an expansion of a plant, consolidating functions from other locations to the local facility, or moving into a larger local facility.

But for all these good things to happen, they don’t simply occur on their own. Most local municipalities today have (or fund) an economic development organization to help drive these successes. Many of these EDOs have a dedicated Business Retention and Expansion program. We work with several BRE organizations and have identified some of what makes for a great BRE program. Review these keys, and apply them to your business:

· BRE organizations need to be great at quick issue resolution. Can you efficiently link your customers with somebody who can resolve them, or how quickly can you resolve issues yourself?

· The best of BRE Programs view their role as relationship-building. They define and execute 12 month Touch Point Plans to continually pull/push information to local business to learn about them, understand their retention drivers, and look for growth and partnering opportunities.

· BRE organizations need a focus on efficiency. Just like most account representatives in business today, BRE representatives have too many clients to truly know all deeply and personally. They have to prioritize communications, touches, and retention efforts for maximum staff time efficiency and maximum retention and growth of jobs

Learn from the Business Retention and Expansion leaders, and use these keys to continually develop client relationships and grow your community and your business.

Read our New Book – “Ask Yourself…Am I GREAT at Customer Service?” http://www.amigreatat.com/

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