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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

New York City: A Digital Toolkit for Customer Service

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

New York City is providing a “Digital Toolkit” to small businesses to help them succeed (and hopefully stay and grow) in NYC. According to Mashable (one of the NYC partner organizations along with Google, Tumblr, and Weebly), the Toolkit “can incorporate technology and social media into their business strategy for marketing, sales and customer service.”

Let’s not start a debate about what Google does or doesn’t know about customer service. Instead, the Toolkit is intended to be “incorporated” into a company’s strategy. That begs several questions such as How do you use technology to communicate with and serve customers? How do you ensure consistency between online and offline customer service vehicles? How do you differentiate between online and offline customers and their needs? Are your online and offline customers often the same people?

But the most important question is What is your customer service strategy?

Too many businesses have marketing plans, sales strategies, and pipeline monitoring systems. But how many have a customer service strategy? How many have plans for retaining and growing with existing clients?

Before you jump into social media customer service or use a toolkit to define your own customer service strategy, create the strategy first.

Strategy first…toolkit second.

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/


Google This…Then Think Differently About Retention

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

Go to Google News and search on “business retention.” When I did this recently, there were 102 items of business news for the last week alone, and they are from close to 100 different locations.

Why is this term becoming so ubiquitous (never used that word in a blog post before…very exciting!)? “Business retention” programs are proliferating, and it’s because communities are realizing the value of a company and its jobs and its fees and its taxes and its construction projects and the salaries it pays. Communities are realizing the value of a customer, and their customer is a business.

When the economy tanks (as it did around 2008 and earlier this century as well), businesses in general start talking a lot more about customer service and customer retention. Whereas it’s sexy to talk about new sales, new clients, and new businesses coming to town, all of that “new” stuff is an addition to what already exists – your current customers.

What we tell our economic development clients is the same thing I’d tell most any other business – don’t limit your retention strategy to “delivering great customer service” or to “having lots of face-to-face meetings with your customers.”

Your strategy needs to be based on data, facts, intelligence – some of which you acquire by asking your customers questions, and some of which you acquire by conducting ongoing research on your clients (via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google News, MarketWatch, etc.). Your strategy needs to involve a mix of pre-planned Touch Points that occur throughout the year to pull information from customers via surveys/research/meetings/calls/e-mails or push information of value to them or marketing information for them. But the Touch Points also have to include those (as we say with our healthcare customers) PRN touches – those provided as needed based on that intelligence we just noted.

When you think about how to retain your customers (whether that customer is a business or an individual), you still need to deliver great customer service. But also develop strategies to gather intelligence, and provide strategic Touch Points to develop relationships that grow with your existing customers.

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

Listen to our 2012 Customer Service Trends podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/2012/1/12/stepping-up-service-6-customer-service-trends-for-2012.html

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


Beat Your Competitor with Customer Service

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

Why does the Apple iPad have such a huge share of the tablet market? Why does Google dominate search? Why does Disney dominate discussion of the great family vacation locations?

There’s something they do so much better than others. They beat the competition continuously because they have some competitive advantage. Maybe they’re an innovator, maybe they’re fast, or maybe their customer experience cannot be matched.

Yes, customer service and the overall customer experience can be your differentiator.

To be a differentiator, your customer has to have a perceptibly better experience with you than at your competitors. They have to believe that the knowledge of your staff, the attitudes of employees, the speed of service, the ease of navigating your facility or your website far outshines your competitors.

Maybe your organization anticipates customer needs better than others, and you proactively make suggestions. It could be that you reach out to customers when they’re not onsite with you, and when you do so you’re not just pushing something to sell, but you’re offering some advice or something else of value. You’re developing a relationship.

One key to differentiating is to know how you stack up against your competitors. So be a customer. Shop your competitors. Gauge their employees’ knowledge and attitudes, their speed, their ease of navigation, whether they’re purely reactive or they’re proactive as well.

Know where you stand versus competitors, and then ramp up your customer service to beat your competitor.

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/