exit interview | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

Same Place, Different Experiences - 9/26/23


Meredith was getting discharged from the clinic, when the nurse came in, gave her a packet of information including the discharge instructions, explained the next steps, and asked if Meredith had any questions.  Freida, across the hall, was told that she could leave when ready.  However, Freida had to Read more

What Annoys the Customer? - 9/19/23


Domino’s Pizza had TV commercials years ago where they promoted how they trained their employees to “Avoid the Noid.”  The “Noid” was basically an annoying person or thing that would disrupt the delivery driver, possibly making the driver drop the pizza on the way to your door.  The goal Read more

Lift It Up - 9/12/23


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 Read more

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


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 Read more

Be There ALWAYS for the Customer - 8/29/23


In healthcare, the patient experience mantras often include the phrase Always, such as: We have an always culture.  This gets at frequency of action.  Instead of service excellence being a most-of-the-time occurrence, some-of-the-time occurrence, an occasional or rare occurrence, the idea in an Always Culture is that the organization Read more

Respect, Regardless of Rank - 8/22/23


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 Read more

Move on to the Next One - 8/15/23


The ultimate game in professional American football is the Super Bowl.  In this past year’s Super Bowl, James Bradberry of the Philadelphia Eagles was called for a penalty with less than two minutes to go in the game.  The penalty gave the other team a first down; the other Read more

How to Rise to the Occasion - 8/8/23


In the movie Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, Mr. Magorium – played by Dustin Hoffman – tells his protégé that “Your life is an occasion.  Rise to it.” He’s conveying a big picture life lesson – don’t let fear and apprehension keep you from living. Rising to the occasion is also something Read more

Thanks for Reading - 8/1/23


My company, Customer Service Solutions, Inc., just celebrated our 25th Anniversary!  We love the work we do for our clients, and we definitely love our clients.  We’ve developed many friendships over the years, and we’ve tried to provide consistently high quality and personal support for whatever may be their Read more

Share the Why to Value the Customer - 7/25/23


We encourage our clients to explain “The Why behind the What” to the customer.  Usually we suggest that staff explain Why so that the customer understands the reason for a change or can buy-in to a particular solution. However, explaining the Why is also effective when you’re doing some very Read more

Three Lost Customers in One – 10/20/15 TOW

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


This is a true tale of 3 lost customers – me, myself, and I.

I sat in a drive-thru at the shiny new fast food restaurant – the first time I had ever been there – and the line never moved. It was 2, 4, 8 minutes of waiting. I told myself that if it got to 10, I’d leave; I left. That was 2 years ago, and I’ve driven by it hundreds of times but have never been back.

The local cleaners changed owners, and I kept going – it was highly convenient – but the new owners don’t smile, don’t say hello, don’t say thank you. Their greeting is “Phone Number,” so they can key it into their system. They don’t say another word until you tell them the number of pieces and what you want done with them. When you’re at the register, and they’re waiting on the credit card machine, they don’t say a word – they look around with a stone face. I’m leaving that business, too.

The local cable/internet company came to upgrade my neighbor’s lines, and they cut the lines to my home. When they installed cable, they literally installed the shortest line possible, so there was no way to move the television more than 3 inches and still be hooked to cable. When calling their customer service line to setup appointments, the wait was long and the wait on the technician to come out to the house was longer. I switched internet providers and am waiting on a new TV provider to enter my region so that can be switched as well.

Sorry to be venting, but I’m not just sharing these issues just to vent (although it does feel good!) – I’m sharing these stories to illustrate the types of things that can drive customers away. The company may never realize it either if they don’t ask customers about their experience, don’t try to see the experience through the customer’s eyes, and don’t contact lost customers to ask about exit reasons.

They lose business – revenues drop – and it’s all about the customer experience.

Customer service matters. Time, engagement, caring, responsiveness – they all matter to the bottom line, the P&L, customer churn – whatever term we want to use.

And since customer service matters, ensure you’re tapping into customers so you know truly what they are feeling, why they’re leaving, and why revenues are going up and down.

Learn the lessons of these “three” lost customers.

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Know What You Need to Know for BRE Success

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

When Economic Development Organizations create their Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) Programs, they often have key goals such as:

  • Having a better understanding of business needs and expectations
  • Better matching community and government resources with specific needs of a given business
  • Improving relationships between the local government and its constituent businesses
  • Identifying companies at-risk of relocating or at-risk of job loss
  • Increasing local business retention and job growth.

These are all very good, very laudable goals. But to achieve goals such as these requires that the BRE professionals have resources, information, and intelligence on their local businesses.

If you want to understand needs, bring resources to bear for a local business, improve a relationship, know who’s at-risk of job loss, and grow the local economy, you need key pieces of information. Here’s a checklist for you to use to ensure you have what you need:

  • BRE Surveys – Understand retention drivers, current business outlook, likelihood to be recruited, perception of your local business environment, and many more characteristics.
  • Interviews from Site Visits – Learn about the local industry’s products/services, personnel needs/issues and recent changes, lease details, local customers and suppliers.
  • Business News ResearchGain information on leadership changes, facility closures/expansions, acquisitions, earnings, corporate strategies.
  • BRE Alerts – Get same day/next day updates on information that addresses imminent impact on a local business.
  • Exit Interviews – Learn the reasons why businesses left, so you can apply lessons learned to those that stayed.
  • Resource Updates – Have ongoing dialogue with local resources that help address business needs/issues so that you’re abreast of changes to programs, personnel, and information.

What else do you need? What do you need to know to best serve your local industries?

Get what you need so you can give what your locals businesses need.

Learn more about keeping up-to-date on your local businesses at http://brebuzz.com/


Do Some Root Cause Analysis on Customer Retention Issues

Posted on in Business Advice, World of Customer Service Please leave a comment

Here are comments from a Reuters article on Leap Wireless’ earnings issues:

  • Churn — or customer defection rate — rose to 4.4 percent from 4.2 percent a year earlier
  • Customer retention programs did not work out as well as expected and came at a higher-than-anticipated cost
  • Customer retention in the quarter was also hurt by reduced promotional activity.

Now, let’s do a little root cause analysis. To analyze these points, think “cause and effect.”

The first bullet is an effect – customer churn is up. But what was the cause? The second bullet says that customer retention programs didn’t work. So that was the cause? No, that wasn’t the root cause because the 3rd bullet says that customer retention was hurt by reduced promotional activity.

So reduced promotional activity was the root cause, correct? No, because promotional activity is needed due to something else missing.

So what’s the real root cause? They obviously have more work to do to determine the root cause(s); it’s unclear if they’ve surveyed exited clients. I’m uncertain if they’ve researched demographics and other characteristics of the customers, their usage patterns, their plans to determine key drivers of churn. It’s not clear if they survey clients to identify retention drivers and act on that intelligence.

What is clear is that the company is losing money and losing customers. As with any company in this situation, they need to systematically identify the root cause instead of jumping from symptom (i.e., lower profitability or retention) to solutions (increased promotions).

Do some root cause analysis on customer retention issues.

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