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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

Service and Sales Need to Talk

Posted on in Business Advice, Sports Please leave a comment

We are fortunate to have a lot of professional sports clients. Typically when working with these organizations, the dual focus is season-ticket holder retention and sales growth. Many teams focus on creating synergies between their services area and their sales area. It is not just important for pro sports teams; it is also important for any organization. Let’s stick with the pro sports analogy to illustrate the point.

One key term used in the business side of pro sports is the need to create “synergies” between departments. In particular, one of the biggest potential areas of synergy is the service area creating sales leads for the sales division. This is a situation where service personnel identify potential group sales, event sales, or ticket sales through the relationship they have with their existing season-ticket holders. The service areas then send these leads to the sales departments to close. The synergies not only help the organization to perform better financially, but they help your organization to quickly generate sales by having the sales be created through leads generated from the greatest referral source there is – your current clients.

But thinking a little out of the box in terms of the relationships between these two areas, one great way where service and sales need to talk is where the education of one group by the other will pay dividends to the company. For example, salespeople know how to sell. They know the strategies, the mental decision trees, and the techniques to utilize. While many customer service people may detest selling, they must also realize that to do the best job possible in serving their clients, they need to periodically make offers on products and services to help address client needs. You’re actually doing a disservice if you don’t sell to some of your clients because they’re not getting their needs met. The sales personnel need to train service on key selling techniques.

Similarly, service needs to train sales. Sales people often think in a very transactional manner. While some are very process or relationship oriented, many more don’t understand how to think long-term and how to develop relationships using a long-term strategy. Service people in pro sports teams understand the concept of Touch Point Planning. They understand how to develop a relationship over time, viewing your customers as suppliers of information that will help you to retain them and sell to them in the future. Service personnel can teach sales folks how to be very disciplined and how to structure communication points with their clients, realizing that they need to get information from the customers in order to best sell to the customers.

While there are many organizations that experience friction between service and sales, the organizations that are most effective are those where service and sales talk with and teach each other.

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


Be Creative in Growing Your Attendance

Posted on in Business Advice, Sports Please leave a comment

There’s nothing worse on the business side of a professional sports team than to see more empty seats than filled seeds, to be sitting in the upper deck of a basketball arena and hearing the player’s sneakers instead of the fans cheering, for players to hear specific things fans are saying from 30 rows back because there’s nobody in the 29 rows between the player and the fan.

Advertising and marketing for years have been the lifeblood of professional sports franchises, but even in the NFL today all the advertising and marketing in the world cannot guarantee sellouts. So organizations have to be much more creative than they ever have been in the past. And much of that creativity needs to be directed at existing season ticket holders, existing groups, and existing mini plan holders. The organization needs to have a creative strategy for developing relationships with, pulling information from, and ensuring retention of these different client types.

To grow attendance through existing clients requires sound relationships from the start. It is much easier to ask for referrals from somebody with whom you have a good relationship. Is it much easier to suggest a seat upgrade to a plan holder if you know their personal situation better. It is much easier to suggest to a season-ticket holder a group event if you know what civic organizations that they are involved in, what church they attend, and what business needs they have. And it is much easier to suggest a ticket plan to people who participated in a group event if you have detailed contact and other pertinent information about the people who attended the event.

Professional sports organizations are typically so sales and marketing driven that they are in a constant push, push, push mentality. But if they were more concerned with the long-term relationship development with their existing clients and pulling information from them, then the upsell, cross-sell, or referral requests would be far more effective. 

Use relationship development as a vital starting point to business growth.

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


Break Your Customer Service Season into Quarters

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

A quarter is a very interesting thing. A quarter can be a form of money.  A quarter is a time period where public companies report their financials. A quarter is the portion of the pro football schedule where most coaches have divided up their season into four sets of four games each. They do this to best approach a segment of their schedule as well as analyze that segment.

To a business, when it comes to customer retention and growth, a quarter should be equally of interest.

When you are assessing the performance of your business as it relates to customer service, satisfaction, loyalty, and retention-driven growth, you need to also think of your measurements in terms of quarters. Those measures can come in the form of mystery shopping, satisfaction surveys, or focus groups. No matter in what form they come, you need to be evaluating your customer satisfaction at a minimum on a quarterly basis.

Keep in mind that customer satisfaction is driven in any organization by three factors:

  • The Attitudes, Skills, and Knowledge of the employees
  • The Processes within which the customers experience your organization
  • The Products and Services themselves.

So on a quarterly basis, you need to be assessing, analyzing, and addressing these keys to customer satisfaction and loyalty just as you would any other set of key metrics in your business.

Through the different methods of acquiring customer data as referenced previously, and including assessments of internal operational service metrics such as process times, wait times, queue times, first contact resolution, etc., you should have a dashboard of metrics that enables you to quickly see trends in satisfaction, loyalty, and growth.

If you always want to be able to make data-driven decisions that are the best for your company’s future performance, make sure you have hard numbers on such metrics as satisfaction with Attitudes, Processes, and Products.  Make sure you have hard metrics on customer retention rates or attrition rates.  Make sure you have hard metrics on average purchases per customer and frequency of visits.  Make sure you have hard metrics on referral rates from existing customers, and make sure you have hard metrics on the financial impact of each customer to your organization’s bottom line.

You need to manage the biggest component of your top line financials (the customer) at least as well as you manage all those detailed accounts on the expense side of the ledger. Create and utilize customer retention and growth metrics to help guide your company’s planning and performance improvement initiatives.

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