excellence | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

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

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

Who are Your Best Customers? – 6/29/21

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

A major medical supply company called Medline is in the process of being acquired.  It is an organization that has grown by leaps and bounds, particularly over the last decade.  It is currently a family-owned business, and the member of that family that serves as President of the organization is named Andy Mills.

Several years ago, Mr. Mills was part of a conversation with other healthcare executives, and each person was asked to describe how they treat their best customers.  Mr. Mills said that Medline doesn’t have any “best” customers.  According to a recent article, he stated that “Once you say one customer is more important, you’re giving your team permission to not give their best effort to everybody.  We want everybody to get our best effort. I really believe that, and from day one we emphasize how what they’re working on matters to our customers and end users.”

Now Mr. Mills was not saying that all customers are the same, or all have the same concerns or priorities, or that all customers bring in the same revenue to the business.  He said that they don’t identify any particular customers as better than the others. This may seem like a little bit of a nuanced response, but it’s extremely important.

Every customer we have, no matter the issue or the amount of sales they account for in our business, every customer is important; every customer should be valued; no customer should be viewed as being better than others.

I remember a story of a general – decades ago – in the Army who allowed one of the servicemen to make a previously unscheduled visit home. One of the general’s key staff came into his office and professionally suggested to the general that he should not have treated that one serviceman special. The general replied: “I try to treat everyone special.”

Regardless of the financial value of the person standing in front of us, every one of them has value.  None are better or worse than the previous customer.  We can’t view customers as being better or worse than others.  We need to view them all equally, and if that means that they are ALL the best, that we need to treat them ALL special, then so be it.

Don’t turn on the light switch of excellence for only certain customers.  Provide consistently great customer service.

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Be Proactive like a Pro – 3/9/21

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We constantly work with clients, encouraging them to become more proactive with customers.  Don’t just be reactive, waiting for the customer to ask questions or to complain.  Instead, go to the customer, anticipate their needs, suggest something to them.

But many of us, frankly, don’t know how to be proactive.  We think we give great customer service because we answer questions…when asked.  Or we resolve issues…when the customer complains.  Or we address a need…when the customer presents the need.

That’s not truly great customer service; that’s basic, fair-to-good customer service.

To be great, be proactive.  But how?

Here are some questions to ask yourself (or the customer) to ensure you’re being proactive:

  • Ask the customer “How was your experience?”  Then act on the information provided by sharing key takeaways with others in your organization or by addressing the customer’s experience.
  • Ask yourself “What is their next step in the process?”  Then make sure they understand that next step.
  • Ask yourself “What else do they need to accomplish their goal?”  Then share your knowledge with them.
  • Ask the customer “What are you hoping to accomplish?” or “What’s your goal?”  Then chart a plan to get them there.
  • If you cannot meet their need as requested, ask yourself “What’s an alternative solution?”  Then offer the other option.

 
To be proactive with a customer, you don’t have to be the best in the world at empathizing with other people or reading their minds.  Sometimes you just have to ask the customer (or ask yourself) the right question, and then take action based on the response.

To be great at customer service, be proactive – Ask and Act.

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Excellence is Not Perfection, and that’s OK – 1/26/21

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Surveys have questions with ratings that range from Excellent to Poor.  We custom-design and deliver Service Excellence Training.  Tom Peters wrote the book “In Search of Excellence.”

But how do you define Excellence, particularly in customer service?  Let’s start with what Excellence is not.  Excellence is not something reflected in Customer Service Standards. Those Standards are typically the bare minimum expectation of every employee in every interaction.  If we are adhering to those Standards, we’re being consistent in the way of the organization, but we’re not necessarily being Excellent.

On the other side of the spectrum, Excellence is not perfection.  Perfection is something that is rarely if ever attained, and even then, perfection is usually defined through a result rather than through a perfect match of attitudes and actions throughout the entire process of getting to that result.

So, Excellence is not a bare minimum expectation, and Excellence is not perfection.  However, it is something as consistent as Standards but that continuously strives and reaches for what would be achieved in perfection.

Excellence is really reflected in Exceling through the process.

Oftentimes we don’t have control over the outcome because so many other factors are involved, but we have lots of control over how well we Excel going through the process.  We Excel when we are making decisions in the process for the right reasons with the right goals in mind.  We Excel when we take the action we need to take to reach the goal.  We Excel when we do things within the timeframe we need to do them to have the desired outcome.  We Excel when we bring an attitude that has the capabilities of drawing ourselves and others toward that goal.

Excellence does require a goal – something you’re trying to attain or achieve, something you’re trying to live into every day, something you’re trying to become.  However, when you think about how to achieve Excellence, don’t focus so much on the final achievement of some lofty goal.  When you think about Excellence, consider what you need to do in the process to give yourself and those around you the best chance to achieve that goal.

To Excel, first determine your goal; then identify what you can do to ensure that you have the decisions, actions, timeliness, and attitudes that give you the best chance of achieving that goal.

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