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The Proven Value in What You Do - 4/9/24


Forbes wrote an article last year based on a compilation of the results of research on customer service and the customer experience; it was titled:  100 Customer Experience Stats For 2023. In reading the article, you’ll note that many of these key research findings are about you – the value Read more

A Tale of Two Texts - 4/2/24


Having to get allergy shots once a week is never fun, and for Janet, it became an even bigger frustration. She had the shots typically scheduled on Tuesday around 10:30 in the morning, figuring she would avoid the morning rush as well as the lunch rush by going mid-morning.  However, Read more

The Secret Sauce for Great Customer Service - 3/26/24


I was working with the League Office for a major American sport several years back, and one of the executives asked me to describe our Secret Sauce that helped our clients improve the fan experience and customer retention.  I gave him a sense of what makes us unique and Read more

The Miracle of an Apology - 3/19/24


Unfortunate but true story… The manager basically lost his mind.  He terminated his employee on the spot.  She had told the customer that there was going to be a delay in the shipment.  The employee called up the customer ahead of time to let the customer know what was about Read more

It’s Not About the 5-Minute Wait - 3/12/24


Robert went into his supervisor’s office to update her on a situation at the payment desk.  Robert said that a customer was about fourth or fifth in line, waiting to be served, and the customer was complaining loudly about the wait.  He was there to make a property tax Read more

Lessons from the Greats - 3/5/24


I was recently facilitating a workshop on the customer experience, and I made the point that it’s usually beneficial to look at your personal life for great experiences; identify what really resonates with you in a positive way in order to uncover ideas to improve your own customer service. So, Read more

The Empathy Roadmap - 2/27/24


For some people, empathy comes naturally.  There’s an innate desire to learn about the other person and to sincerely convey that sense of interest and caring.  But for many of us, sometimes it helps to have a communication plan.  It helps to know what to do in order to Read more

“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

Change Your Style on the Fly – 5/22/18

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


I was talking to a client recently, and we discussed the importance of relationship-building in their position. So I asked, “How do you develop a relationship?”

The client offered several points, one in particular piqued my interest – she said: “I have to understand how I communicate, and I have to be open to communicating differently.”

Essentially, she conveyed that she had to be self-aware, and she had to be willing and able to tweak her communication style to best work with the customer.

Being able to recognize what works with each client, knowing how to change, and being willing to change your style of communication based on the situation or the individual involved is a high-level customer service skill.

You have to know when to slow down your pace of talk based on how the other person prefers to communicate and how well they are understanding what you’re saying. You have to know when to sit or stand, lean-in or sit back based on what makes them more comfortable or builds their confidence.

You have to be willing to pick up a phone and call somebody even though you prefer e-mail, or be willing to meet with someone even though you prefer not to make the drive. Sometimes they want to text even though you have an aversion to doing that in business.

This is not to say we have to change who we are in any way. This is to say that if we want to deliver a great experience and build relationships, we have to understand each unique customer and what about their experience with us builds their comfort and confidence level. And since some of those experiential characteristics are communication-related on our part, we need to make the refinements necessary to build that client relationship.

Learn when and how to change your style on the fly.

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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

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


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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