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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

Find a Connection Point – Part 1: Personal Connection - 9/27/22


Some people are born almost like a master at communication.  They know how to establish rapport with just about anybody, and they do so in a way that seems so natural and so real.  They can form relationships and be laughing with somebody they met two minutes ago like Read more

Be Proactive without being Pushy - 9/20/22


Delivering great customer service isn’t just about responding and reacting.  It’s also about being proactive.  Developing relationships involves reaching out first, not just extending our hand when somebody reaches out to us. But it’s all too clear that those of us who are in service roles prefer those roles to Read more

Be Kind to Yourself When the Customer Isn’t - 9/13/22


I was having a debrief call with one of my clients recently, and this was regarding a survey of employees who work events.  One of the survey questions asked employees for advice on how to improve the customer experience.  When the employees shared their input on the guest experience, Read more

Being the Emphatic Employee - 9/6/22


Empathy is the key quality of somebody who’s great at customer service.  We talk about it often - what it is, how to convey it, what it looks like, and how it makes the customer feel. But along with knowing how to be empathetic, we also need to know how Read more

The Good, the Really Good, and the Ugly of Customer Service - 8/30/22


Here are three helpful customer service stories.  They may not be from your specific industry, but it’s always good to learn from others. The Good… Paula submitted a ticket to the I.T. vendor.  Below the signature line in the reply she received was the following:  Please share your comments or needs Read more

A Great 2-Minute E-mail - 8/23/22


I know.  You probably get e-mails all the time from customers griping about some aspect of your organization or their experience.  You’ve got too much to do and too little time to do it.  I could not begin to tell you how many times I’ve been told by staff Read more

When They Want to Talk to Your Boss - 8/16/22


“I want to talk to your supervisor.” That’s their opening salvo.  Before you can hardly finish your greeting, the customer is asking for your boss.  This is done by a customer who has tried to get an issue resolved, and it hasn’t worked, so they want to go to somebody Read more

When Passive Voice is a Good Thing - 8/9/22


It’s all your fault, Mr. Customer! We may want to shout it from the rooftops, but other than venting and absolving ourselves of guilt, this wouldn’t help much in the grand scheme of things. We have a customer sitting in front of us or on the phone, and maybe they are Read more

They’re Stressed, So You Can… - 8/2/22


Wow!  That customer looks stressed!  Maybe it’s their body language or their expressions; they could be fidgety or talking really fast. In the past, when we offered guidance in these situations, we focused on how to navigate the conversation step-by-step - what points to cover and what points to avoid. But Read more

2014 Customer Service Crystal Ball – Part 2 of Trends

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

Blog 3-5-14Did you enjoy Part 1 of 2014 Customer Service Trends? Check out the first 3 Customer Service Trends if you haven’t already. Here are the final 4 of 7 key Trends we see:

Big Data Will Be Overplayed (Just Like Social Media Customer Service Was Overplayed)

I attended a “Social Media for Parents of School Kids” meeting 4-5 years ago. The presenter – a school psychologist – told us that in 5 years e-mail would no longer exist because Facebook would replace e-mail.

Still waiting…

Social Media Customer Service was not the be all, end all, and neither is Big Data. One way to define “Big Data” is to take all the information you have on your customers and to – as much real-time as possible – analyze it so you can use it to tailor your customer interactions and target your retention/marketing/sales strategies. This topic is getting so much publicity, but the reality of its use – and how pervasive that use will be – will not match the hype.

Too many companies don’t acquire enough information on customers, or they don’t communicate well enough internally, or they don’t have a customer service/retention culture as it is; therefore, inserting systems and data – Big Data – won’t change any of that. Companies can have the best systems in the world to analyze and share data, but if companies can’t/won’t acquire data, or if they don’t break down silos, or if they don’t care about employees and the end customer, Big Data is useless. Big Data will be overplayed in 2014.

Small-to-Midsize Businesses Will Seek To Hire Octopodes

Or octopi? Or octopuses? Apparently the accurate plural of Octopus is quite controversial on the web – Google it and find out…

Companies – especially the small-to-midsize organizations, will seek to hire the customer service “octopus” – the customer service employee who can do it all…Tweet, get on the phone, be face-to-face, compose e-mails, communicate on Facebook, etc. These special individuals are those that are responsive, consistent, effective, and personable. Businesses of this size are generally too small to have dedicated resources to manage each of their customer service-oriented platforms, so they’ll need a few exceptional people who are well-versed and capable in multiple communication vehicles. This need is not as significant for bigger businesses because they can segment their service platforms simply due to scale.

A New App Called “The Butler” Will be the Hottest App in the World

Have you heard of it – “The Butler?” Neither have I. It doesn’t exist, but it’s coming…

We hadn’t heard of Twitter 10 years ago, and we hadn’t heard of Facebook 20 years ago. Most of us hadn’t heard of Microsoft 30 years ago. So something that doesn’t currently exist or few of us know today – “The Butler” – is coming. My hope is that it’s a self-serve app (not a search engine like Google or an application like Siri). Instead, it’s an app where I load in (or link) the names of my cable company, bank, phone provider, and other random online orders/accounts.

I can then – with the touch of the app or a simple voice command – tell “The Butler” (I’ll call him “James”) to complain to X Telecomm company that my cable is out. I can ask James to check on the delivery status of those flowers I ordered for my wife. I can determine my account balance. I can get the pharmacy on the phone. I ask a question or convey an issue (regardless of the company) – and my voice is heard by the company, or the answer is provided.

By this time next year, there will be a HOT customer service app that we do not know today. I hope it’s The Butler.

What’s Old Will Always be New

Essentially, customer satisfaction is about those one-on-one relationships and moments of truth. In that respect, the future of customer satisfaction will be the same as the present. The main difference is the path companies will take to get there. Never overthink customer service. In the end, it’s about you and me – the 1-on-1 – conveying we care while we meet needs and address issues…

To learn more about how to improve customer service in a changing economy and world, visit our NEW website at http://cssamerica.com/home/


2014 Customer Service Crystal Ball – Part 1 of Trends

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

Blog 2-25-14What Customer Service Trends do we predict for 2014? Well here are the first 3 of 7 key trends we see:

We’ll Learn to Rekindle the Fire in 2014

What does that mean? No I’m not talking romance in the world of customer service, although there could be an uncomfortable emotional engagement in this particular trend…What I’m speaking of is face-to-face customer service via the web. If you haven’t seen the new Kindle Fire commercials, they involve someone holding a Kindle tablet, clicking a button to contact customer service, and having a pretty customer service representative appear for a video chat.

The attraction of the video chat is that people prefer a two-way conversation, particularly when dealing with an issue, and it’s easier to understand someone and communicate with them if you can see them. Plus, with the Fire technology, they can see your tablet and highlight information for you.

This trend toward video customer service will move forward slowly though. Beyond the obvious tech issues involved in any widespread rollout, there’s also the creepiness factor of people talking face-to-face without any idea of what they might do in this personal yet physically detached conversation. Another point to consider is where are you going to find people pleasant to talk to, to look at, with good body language regardless of the situation, and who are knowledgeable/smart enough to serve this CSR role? It won’t be easy, and they will be WELL paid.

We Will Realize that We are All the Same

A Healthcare client of ours has an issue with their security staff in the Emergency Department. The head of security believes the sole role of his staff is security, busting the bad guys, keeping the peace, etc. And while that’s the main role, these staff are stationed at the entrance of the Emergency Department, and they are the first person that walk-in patients encounter. So they need to have some communication skills, some knowledge of protocol and procedure, some customer service-orientation.

When I say “we are all the same,” what’s meant is that in 2014 there will be a more holistic approach to customer service – albeit slowly again. This approach includes the act of serving customers being viewed as a mission and taught throughout all levels of an organization rather than the activity of a separate “customer service department.” So watch out if you’re in technology, security, or facilities management – you are customer service, too!

We Will Become Infographics

Have you heard of Infographics? They’re essentially a pictorial representation of something – think Instagram with words and numbers…or a 1-page PowerPoint. It conveys information simply, graphically – hence the name – and it grabs your attention. Generally speaking, as people begin to like to see and absorb information in a certain way (think about surfing the web on a smart phone or sharing pictures on Facebook), that way gets co-opted by “gurus” to apply to their world.

Now imagine a 1-page Infographic for assembling a ceiling fan instead of a 40-page document in small print. Imagine instructions, information, directions, etc. being conveyed in Infographic format instead of a detailed narrative or text-heavy format. I predict we’ll see this trend as well.

What do you think of these first 3 trends? What is your Crystal Ball telling you? Share a comment today!

Check out Part 2 of 2014 Customer Service Trends

To learn more about how to improve customer service in a changing economy and world, visit our NEW website at http://cssamerica.com/home/


Beat the Worst at Customer Service

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

The American Consumer Satisfaction Index was released with its latest findings on customer satisfaction across multiple industries, but if we look at the 15 worst companies in America for customer service, we’re not looking at as many industries as you might think – largely social media, telecommunications, utilities, and the airlines came up short.

In fact, the article The 15 Worst Companies For Customer Service notes that the worst 14 are all from these four industries. Does this mean that customer service is just about the industry, not the company? No, it just suggests that companies in certain industries don’t prioritize customer service.

The Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIns of the world don’t see (or value) how customer service impacts their bottom line. Airlines care about retention, but they haven’t universally seen the financial link between customer service and retention/revenues. Utilities and Telecoms have a legacy of lack of competition, so why provide great customer service if the customer has nowhere to go?

So what’s the common thread? These individual companies don’t see, quantify, value (however you want to describe) the link between customer service and financial success. Either they don’t realize the financial impact of the business they’re losing, or they don’t understand the cost of poor service. Either way, they’re not seeing the link.

So if you care about customer service and you care about your organization, here’s the key point. Before you sing the praises of investing in, focusing on, and striving for great customer service, take the time to identify the true revenue being lost, costs being added, profitability being harmed by poor customer service.

To beat the worst at customer service, start by putting a dollar figure on the benefit of being great at customer service.

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

Listen to our latest podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/

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