government | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 6

Don’t Assume Their Motivation - 6/28/22


The company was instituting new human resources policies aimed at holding employees accountable for being late to work.  Employee lateness had been rising, and management wanted to make sure they reinforced the need for people to be on time. At a meeting to roll out the new policies, a leader Read more

It’s Not Always About the Outcome - 6/21/22


We want the satisfied customer.  We want the issue resolved.  We want to be able to fix the error or save the client.  We want to feel good coming out of a conversation, or feel like we have accomplished something special.  We want the “win win.” But all those great Read more

Ask: What is your goal? - 6/14/22


Through these Tips, we’ve shared our technique about how to meet the customer’s need right the first time.  It’s a conversation – a give and take with the customer where you hone in on what their true need or concern is, seeking more clarity to more quickly get to Read more

Make it Sincerely Yours - 6/7/22


I’d like to hear more.  I’m sorry about the situation.  Resolving your issue is important to me.  We appreciate your business.  Thank you for bringing this to my attention. These phrases are generally well-received depending on the situation.  But we want to make sure when we’re speaking to others that Read more

A Story of Willie and Aubrey - 2/8/22


The gift shop was a great experience!  Aubrey had bought items online from the shop for years, but she had never stepped foot in the store itself.  However, when travel plans took her on a trip to new surroundings, she took time out of her day to go to Read more

It Matters Who You Know - 2/1/22


The season ticket account holder has an issue, but he’s not too concerned about it:  I’m going to call my guy, and he’ll take care of it. The patient is confused about their bill.  The family member says: I know someone who can help. The husband discovers a problem in the Read more

Put an End to 1-Star Ratings - 1/25/22


If you ever had service performed on your car, I would not doubt it if you received the immediate e-mail asking for that 5-star rating. They want the big ratings because that makes them look good, and to get the big average rating you have to avoid the 1-Star Read more

Signs of Service Recovery Situations - 1/18/22


As we continue the slow trend of more and more customer interactions becoming in-person again, we need to remember those signs that we’re about to enter one of THOSE conversations.  It can typically take only 5-10 seconds to realize this is going to be a high-risk situation with the Read more

In Survey Development, Think in Reverse - 1/11/22


We often meet with clients interested in conducting a survey, and when we discuss the project, many clients come with questions in-hand.  They are interested, curious, even excited sometimes about the possibility of tapping into the voice of the customer! And when we review their questions and start to see Read more

Foster Positive Feelings - 1/4/22


I bet a lot of you all are like me - when you’re asked to share your feelings, it’s not always something that feels comfortable.  It obviously depends on the situation and who’s asking you to share your feelings.  So, many of us might hesitate in sharing our feelings. However, Read more

Unblurring the Lines – 6/16/15 TOW

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


Forty percent of customer dissatisfaction is due to a customer’s expectations not being met. Maybe the company overpromised, or it didn’t even do the bare minimum of what the customer should expect (source: TARP).

But that statistic begs the question: What SHOULD the customer expect?

In today’s world of self-service (from websites to checking out at the grocery story to printing your own boarding pass for your flight), the lines of customer service are being blurred. With customers responsible for more of their service in some of these self-service vehicles, the lines of responsibility between company and customer are not as clear as in years past.

We’re working with a client now that’s running into this predicament. Many complaints are from customers who don’t realize how processes work and what’s their responsibility in service delivery v. that of the business. It’s a government organization where customers schedule appointments or submit plans or request services, and there’s not an obvious distinction between who does what.

The way we’re addressing this is by having customers and employees meet and basically define roles and responsibilities in key services/processes that make up the vast majority of projects. Which responsibilities are those of the customer, which are responsibilities of the organization, and which are mutual responsibilities?

They’re being defined first – clearly stated and documented. Then there will be ongoing educational and communication plans implemented within the government entity and with the customers to clearly articulate who does what.

There will still be the complaints in the future, but they should be far less because customers and employees came together to intentional define and document roles and responsibilities.

Don’t let your customers complain and employees get frustrated due to incorrect expectations that result from a lack of clearly defining roles and responsibilities.

“Unblur” the lines.

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Give Your Customers a Crystal Ball – 12/2/14 TOW

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When conducting focus groups for a local government client recently, I found myself in many discussions with the customers of this municipality about their experience. The customers are business people, looking to perform renovations, develop property, and build facilities throughout the community.

And while many times we can define the customer experience by using words like attitude, responsiveness, respect, speed, and quality, these customers often used a different word – predictability.

To them, knowing what’s going to happen and when, knowing what’s their role v. that of the local government was vital to their success. By having a predictable process, a predictable set of roles and rules, a somewhat predictable timeframe, and a predictable manner in getting issues addressed, they could have more realistic expectations, but there were also two other benefits.

First, predictability for the customer enables them to plan next steps and timeframes. Second, predictability enables the customer to communicate with their stakeholders about what those stakeholders need to do and by when.

Going outside government, think of the hospital with outpatient surgery patients who need to know how to prep for procedures and how long they’ll take, so that they can have the friend pickup them up at the right time and help them get started on the care process at home.

Consider the sports fan going to the game and needing to know where to pick up the tickets and how long that process will take, so they can meet up with friends at a certain location and time.

Think about the elementary school parent considering moving into town but wanting to rent the apartment in the location where the best schools are zoned. They need to know what those schools are, where to move to get zoned there, how to register their child, and when they’ll get confirmation that the child gets into the desired school.

When you think about delivering the great customer experience, first think about how to make the experience predictable for the customer.

Help your customers predict next steps – give them the customer service Crystal Ball.

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Practice Active Root Core Thinking…Huh? – 11/18/14 TOW

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We need to be “Active Listeners.” We need to be “Critical Thinkers.” We need to find the “Root Cause” and determine the “Core Need.”

You hear similar statements all the time, and, yes, these are all important things, but what do they really mean? Here are some examples:

You’re a fan relations representative for a pro sports club, and the season ticket holder asks if they can relocate from their seats to a certain section with no availability. Instead of simply saying “No,” ask “Is there something in particular you like about that section?” You might uncover a reason for their move that could be addressed elsewhere.

You work for a local municipality, and the developer says they need a permit. Instead of assuming what permit they need, you could say “I’d be happy to help you with that! Tell me a little about the project so I can best help you get started.”

You work for a hospital, and the patient says they “need a smoke.” Of course, it’s a smoke-free campus, so you say “Unfortunately, we can’t do that since it’s a smoke-free campus, but help me understand what you’re feeling that’s making you want to smoke, and maybe I can find a way to help you.”

If you are someone interested in being an “Active Listener” or a “Critical Thinker,” someone interested in “Root Causes” or “Core Needs,” that’s a good desire to have – especially in customer service. But don’t get too hung up on the fancy terms. Look at the three examples just provided to truly understand what’s being suggested by those terms:

  • Be inquisitive; ask questions – they show you’re engaged and care.
  • Understand their goal, so you can better understand potential solutions.
  • Don’t make assumptions – you might waste your time and that of the customer by going down the wrong path based on misinformation.
  • Be patient – don’t hear the symptom and think you know the root cause.
  • Restate your understanding of the person’s needs; ensure you know so specifically what they want that you can address it right the first time.

 
Practice Active Root Core Thinking…or just plain old good communication skills.

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