federal government | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

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

Check Out These Customer Service Plans from the US Government

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

If you go to http://customerservice.performance.gov/, you’ll see on the “Official Website of the U.S. Government,” the result of an Executive Order that the President put into play in April 2011. The President required that all Federal Government agencies create Customer Service Plans. Those plans are seen at the bottom of the US Government’s Customer Service Site.

Click on a few of the Agencies to see what they included. The Executive Order required the following:

  • “Establishing one major initiative (signature initiative) that will use technology to improve the customer experience;
  • Establishing mechanisms to solicit customer feedback on Government services and using such feedback regularly to make service improvements;
  • Setting clear customer service standards and expectations, including, where appropriate, performance goals for customer service required by the GPRA (Government Performance and Results) Modernization Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-352);
  • Improving the customer experience by adopting proven customer service best practices and coordinating across service channels (such as online, phone, in-person, and mail services);
  • Streamlining agency processes to reduce costs and accelerate delivery, while reducing the need for customer calls and inquiries; and
  • Identifying ways to use innovative technologies to accomplish the customer service activities above, thereby lowering costs, decreasing service delivery times, and improving the customer experience.”

Whether or not you agree with the plans, let’s at least consider their required components. They want to improve the customer experience through the use of technology. They want to gain customer feedback and use that for change. They want to have clear standards/expectations. They want to adopt best practices, streamline service processes, and reduce the demand for customer contacts.

These components are positive. They focus on customer satisfaction, data to drive decisions, efficiencies, and use of best practices. It would be nice if there were an employee/cultural component and an overriding Customer Service Vision, but we’ll take what we can get.

Review several of the plans, and ensure your organization has at least these basic components of a Customer Service Plan.

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

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/


Why the President Wanted to Mystery Shop

Posted on in Business Advice, Government, Healthcare Please leave a comment

You may have read the articles that came out recently that addressed the Federal Government’s plans to call different physician practices as a prospective patient. These callers would not have asked questions for the true purpose of learning the answer or becoming a patient. These are mystery shoppers. These are individuals who call to see how certain questions are answered and how certain policies are applied.

Essentially what the Federal Government wanted to do was to determine if some physician practices are turning away patients or delaying their access to care/appointments if they do not have a preferred form of health insurance. It wanted to use these mystery shoppers to identify people who are not doing essentially what they’re supposed to be doing.

It’s interesting that many companies use mystery shopping in this “gotcha” manner. This is why so many employees are negative toward mystery shopping. They feel like it is something being done to catch employees doing wrong. Staff feel like the only reason why they’re being shopped is so they can be caught and dealt with in some kind of a punitive manner.

But mystery shopping done effectively tries to gauge consistency of service, responses, and processes across the organization, from person-to-person and facility-to-facility. Mystery shopping done right tries to identify what internal best practices exist so that they can be leveraged across the organization. Mystery shopping done right identifies organizations do great, and what organizations need to improve upon. And mystery shopping done right also includes sometimes contacting your company’s competitors to see where you have a competitive edge and where you’re falling short through the customer’s eyes.

So while we understand the Federal Government trying to identify who is doing things in the most appropriate way, we encourage you to have a broader perspective in the use of mystery shopping. Use mystery shopping to reward, recognize, find internal best practices, find areas which are opportunities for improvement, and find ways to beat your competitors.

Mystery shop to improve performance.

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

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