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Apply These Values for Great Customer Service - 12/6/22


One of the industries where we do a lot of our work is local government.  These CSS clients are not necessarily selling a product or having the number of competitors that a lot of our private industry clients and our sports clients face.  But they need to deliver a Read more

Redefine “Access” to Treat Customers Special - 11/29/22


One of our clients puts on major events throughout the country.  When we conduct post-event surveys, many of the attendees rave about the access they had to certain entertainers, locations in the venue, parking lots, or even information.  Others decry the fact that they lacked that access. This does pose Read more

Keep in Mind 3 Key Questions - 11/22/22


Customers want to be heard.  If they have an issue or need or something that requires your support, they want to be understood. When we are trying to find a resolution or fulfill a need, when we’re trying to help a customer achieve their goal, sometimes we can be so Read more

Don’t Let This Shot Affect Your Next Shot - 11/15/22


When I was a teenager, I used to play a lot of golf, and I was pretty good for my age.  I’d have a good attitude and enjoyed the game, but if I hit a bad shot, I’d get upset.  And more often than not, that one bad shot Read more

Value the Customer – Actions to Adopt and Avoid - 11/8/22


When conducting research for a local government CSS client, we interviewed and conducted surveys with many of their customers.  We analyzed the results of the research based on those who had a great experience v. those who did not.  We uncovered that there were distinct differences between customers who Read more

Appreciate to Appreciate - 11/1/22


Why doesn’t Jay, my co-worker, respond to my e-mails or get his task done on time? It’s hard to respect the delay, the incomplete work, the lack of follow through on the part of your co-worker. Why does the customer seem so harried and so frustrated? It’s hard to value the customer Read more

The Customer Can Hear Your Attitude - 10/25/22


Sherry was sitting in the lobby, waiting to be called back for her appointment.  Just off the lobby was an office that Sherry was sitting near.  The person in the office was on a phone call, but Sherry couldn’t see the employee.  She could tell it was a call Read more

How to Handle the Customer’s Error - 10/18/22


Are all of your customers perfect?  Anyone?  Bueller? Of course, customers are not perfect.  Neither are we, but let’s focus this Tip on what they do wrong and what we can do about it in a professional, positive, and productive manner: When the customer isn’t clear, you respond: Is it OK Read more

Critique Yourself before Others Do - 10/11/22


When we’re criticized, we can get defensive, push back, deflect blame to others, and focus more on defending ourselves than really listening to what the other person is saying.  And some of us who get defensive, once we allow our emotions to settle, take time to reflect on what Read more

Find a Connection Point – Part 2: Situational Connection - 10/4/22


Last week we highlighted key topics to consider when you want to find Personal Connection Points with the customer.  Today, we’ll cover some key questions to ask to uncover information about today’s situation that you can use to establish a rapport with the customer.  This is Part 2 - Read more

Be Habitually Great at Customer Service – 5/8/18

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


“It takes 21 days to form a habit.”

Actually, I don’t know if that’s true, but I’ve heard that statement many times. It’s based somewhat on the timeline, but it’s also based on the premise that habits can be formed simply by intentionally repeating the act. You make something second nature by making it a first priority for a period of time.

In customer service, we don’t always perform perfectly; some things we should do or say are not top-of-mind, not the way we were raised or trained. Therefore, we need to write them down, put a sign on our desk or door, a post-it on our computer or on the dashboard of our car, an e-mail reminder we send ourselves, a statement written on the white board, a note taped to the fridge.

However you remind yourself, however you keep something top-of-mind, use that vehicle to reinforce some desired action, and do it for – as they say – at least 21 days.

But what are those habits you want to form? Here’s a list of core customer service habits where we’ve seen employees lacking over the years:

  • Using the customer’s name frequently in conversation.
  • Talking with the customer – keeping them engaged – when you’re working on the computer or looking through files.
  • When they’re waiting onsite, touching base with them every 10-15 minutes with updates.
  • Telling the co-worker to whom you’re transferring the customer about the customer’s situation so that the customer doesn’t have to repeat themselves.
  • Ensuring you end the call or appointment or meeting confirming that the customer got their need met and understands next steps.
  • SMILING!
  • Thanking the customer multiple times during the encounter.
  • Responding to e-mails and voice mails no later than the next day.
  • Putting away your phone when you enter a meeting or you’re on a call.
  • Looking away from your computer when you initially engage the customer.

 
While some of these may sound basic, rarely will you find employees who consistently do these activities in their customer encounters. That’s because they are not yet habits. To be great at customer service, you have to at least be really good…consistently!

Be Habitually Great at Customer Service.

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Use Best Practice Survey Follow-up – 5/1/18

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Although most companies view customer satisfaction surveys as tools to gauge fan perceptions, we view them in a broader sense. It’s an opportunity to better know individual customers. It’s an opportunity to identify needs that you can address later. It’s a chance to tap it their ideas, and it’s a chance to have a positive touch point.

After the survey is completed by the respondent, the process should not be complete. You see, a customer satisfaction survey is also a relationship-builder. Here’s a follow-up e-mail received by a hotel survey respondent (the names have been changed):

Dear Ms. Jones,

Thank you for choosing the Hotel Essex in Downtown for your recent travels to Hockeyville.

Commitment to service and guest satisfaction is a main focus, and we are delighted to hear you enjoyed your stay. The pride and dedication our hotel team takes in providing exceptional customer service to our valued guests speaks strongly to our company’s core values, “good service at a fair price.”

Thank you again for taking the time to provide your feedback on the Guest Satisfaction Survey and we look forward to serving you again soon!

Sincerely,
Jennie Jackson
Guest Services Manager
Contact information followed

In this follow-up communication, the customer is thanked twice. There’s a reference to “Team,” and the company shares its core values and how they align to service. No sales offer. Not an epistle – just a brief “thanks.”

The company has just created a new “Last Impression” with the customer, and it’s a positive one.

Take a look at your research processes, and instead of viewing the process stopping with the customer when they complete the survey, view that as a pivot point to create an additional positive impression in your follow-up.

Build relationships with customers – even through your survey process.

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Peer Recognition Made Easy – 4/10/18

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There may be one manager in the department. There may be one supervisor over your division. Those individuals may see you interact with customers, but usually your conversations with your customers are out of the sight of leadership.

Every day you make a difference, and often you’re working side-by-side with co-workers who are also making a difference. So, if we rely only on leadership to recognize us, we’re losing out on one of the greatest sources of recognition – our peers.

A Quick Story – The client called their account representative, Beverly, with a request about the monthly lawn service they were scheduled to provide. Beverly offered some suggestions to the client, noted that Jeremy would be onsite the next day and could provide more information, and shared how knowledgeable Jeremy is on this particular topic.

Jeremy delivered what Beverly promised, and the client sent a thank you e-mail to Beverly, noting and appreciating Jeremy’s patience and information shared. Beverly then routed the kudos to Jeremy and his supervisor.

It was simple.

The employee heard something positive about a co-worker, and let the co-worker know. The employee experienced a co-worker going above and beyond, and she simply shared that information with him.

Beverly could have just heard the compliment, but she took an extra few seconds to share that compliment with others in the organization. This form of peer recognition is exceptionally easy – all you have to do is to share what you hear positively with that co-worker and potentially with their supervisor.

Many of us appreciate being appreciated, but for many of us all the appreciation comes solely from the fulfillment of doing your job well or the occasional but all-too-rare accolades we receive from supervisors. If instead we take on an attitude of appreciation and a desire to point out the positives of peers, we’re filling up people with accolades by simply passing on the positives that the customers share.

Make peer recognition a part of your everyday job. Simply pass along customer kudos.

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