healthcare | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

Handle Interruptions Heroically - 6/18/24


In the middle of a project, Jimbo, the customer service team member, had to stop what he was doing because he received an e-mail from a customer complaining about their experience at a recent event. Later that day, Jimbo was asked by his boss to put everything on hold for Read more

From Employees to Teammates: The Shift - 6/11/24


Be a great teammate. Be a good team player. We’re all part of the team. We’re no longer employees, we’re team members! The phrase “Team” is used in describing co-workers so much more than it was used years ago.  Then, we would be talking about employees, talking about staff, talking Read more

Nurture New Relationships - 6/4/24


Freddie was a new business owner in town.  He was launching a franchise, had acquired some funding from a local bank, and was in search of staff who cared about customer service. All the while, he was in the process of renovating a storefront for his business, so he was Read more

There’s Positivity in Patience - 5/28/24


The employee at the financial services firm was working with a new client on a relatively simple loan.  The documentation was about as clear as it could get to the employee, but the customer had lots of questions.  The employee calmly, clearly, and specifically answered each question.  The meeting Read more

The Goal – A Great Experience - 5/21/24


The following is a narrative of a great experience (people, process, service, facility) at a minor league sporting event – key points that could apply to any business are in bold… Mark and I pulled into the parking lot, excited about the game.  The Slapshots had been on a roll Read more

Your Best Ability is… - 5/14/24


I enjoy watching sports, and I’ve even listened to some sports press conferences over the years, just to hear what coaches are saying.  Basically getting the leadership perspective from the sports industry either out of my interest or curiosity, or to figure out how to apply it to the Read more

A Complaint is a Gift - 5/7/24


A complaint is a gift.  Okay, so the complainer is not always a “gift.”  The customer’s delivery of the complaint is sometimes more like a stocking filled with coal than a vase filled with roses.  But this is why we need to be able to differentiate the complaint from Read more

Mastering Confidence in Customer Service - 4/30/24


It’s not what you said…it’s how you said it. If you’ve ever had someone say this to you, raise your hand.  (I just raised my hand) Usually this is being said when someone is upset with you, but regardless of the reason, that phrase illustrates that HOW we say something often Read more

Be Amazing - 4/23/24


Watching Michael Jordan steal a pass and then dunk a basketball is amazing.  Taking a rocket to the moon is amazing.  The taste of my mom’s homemade beef soup is amazing. We all have our personal examples of what is amazing.  Usually, it’s something that we cannot comprehend, that we Read more

Talk About Yourself to Build Customer Confidence - 4/16/24


When you’re dealing with somebody who is anxious or nervous about a situation, a customer who feels like they don’t have much control, an individual who is unsure and uncertain, it’s important to put the customer at ease.  It’s important to build their comfort level.  It’s important to help Read more

Recognize the Situation, and Pivot – 1/16/24

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

The customer has a complaint, or they may have an important question about an order or their account.  You may be talking to them in an emergency room, in the lobby of the government building, on the phone, or in a video conversation.  And in many of these Moments of Truth, there is a high likelihood of the customer’s perceptions being affected based on how you handle the situation.

This is a Moment of Truth because of the topic, or the situation itself.  The Topic could be the complaint, the question about an order or an account, an encounter with a new customer, or engagement with somebody who’s upset.  The Situation could be a stressful emergency room visit, an encounter with a government agency, a wait time at the restaurant, or the arrival of the tech at the house 60 minutes after the scheduled time.

During these Moments of Truth, the employees have some control over the interaction. While it’s up to the customer to create their perception about the organization or the employee, this is where the employee needs to understand the critical nature of the topic, the critical nature of the situation.

Recognize the Critical Nature

The best employees in customer service recognize the critical nature of these situations and become agile. They have the ability to pivot – to flex their attitudes and actions in the moment.

The best can stop all other activities and focus on that individual.  They can downshift, pulling their emotions back to keep the situation calm.  They understand the frustration with wait times, and proactively communicate with the customer to decrease the perception of the wait and reduce the angst and anger.  Staff have empathy for the customer and convey understanding of the situation back to that customer.  The best staff have patience, speak with a specific intent for how to best communicate with that particular individual, and work through these situations with and for the customer.  They recognize and pivot.

Identify the critical Topics and Situations that you encounter.  Get in-tune with these situations, recognize when these critical moments are happening, and adjust your behaviors and words to deliver a great experience.

Signup for FREE Tips!    Contact Us    More Resources for You    Visit Our Home Page


Customer Service Lessons from the E.R. – 11/7/23

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

Every industry is interesting in its own way, and healthcare is definitely no exception.  We’ve done many different types of studies and projects in the emergency rooms at hospitals, and it’s interesting to look back at some of the results of focus groups we conducted with the E.R. patients.

We asked about their experience, everything from the admission through triage, care they received all the way through the discharge and billing.  For this Tip of the Week, so that it applies to everyone reading, let’s focus on some of the ways that patients evaluated employees:

Talk On My Level: When the staff and physicians would speak with the patients “on their level” and were not condescending, that was greatly appreciated.  Patients liked when a nurse talked with a child in terms they could understand and in an appropriate manner, or they spoke more slowly and clearly with a senior.

Don’t Judge Me: Patients were concerned about being judged by the staff – where patients were unsure if they truly needed emergency care or they didn’t want to be perceived as being there unnecessarily.  When staff conveyed that patients were there for a reason (they made a good decision to go to the E.R.), that was positive.  With one participant, a physician directly doubted/argued the need for the patient to be in the E.R., and this left a highly negative impression.

Convey You Care: Staff and physicians were generally perceived positively if they conveyed they cared about the patient.  The way patients felt that the personnel cared was when service was quick, personnel asked questions, patients weren’t rushed, and the staff and physicians showed empathy.

Think about these takeaways when considering how your customers view you. Do you speak in a way appropriate for that particular customer, making communications clear but not condescending?  Do you avoid judging the other person and arguing about their request?  Do you try to provide service quickly, ask questions, avoid rushing the other person, and convey a little empathy?

If so, they’ll likely appreciate you more.  They’ll feel respected, and are much more likely to respect you, in turn.

Talk on the customer’s level, avoid judging, and convey you care.

Signup for FREE Tips!    Contact Us    More Resources for You    Visit Our Home Page


Be There ALWAYS for the Customer – 8/29/23

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

In healthcare, the patient experience mantras often include the phrase Always, such as: We have an always culture.  This gets at frequency of action.  Instead of service excellence being a most-of-the-time occurrence, some-of-the-time occurrence, an occasional or rare occurrence, the idea in an Always Culture is that the organization is highly consistent in its attitudes, behaviors, and actions toward and for the customer.

Therefore, this focus on Always is essentially a focus on consistency.  Organizations that talk about Always are typically addressing specific behaviors or actions that are documented, expected, trained, and rewarded.

As an example from one of our clients, they try to always be Caring.  This means they always treat others with dignity; they are always courteous; they are always trying to be helpful.

They’re always Committed to the organization, viewing their facility and their work as something to take pride in, something to care for so that the professional image is exhibited in their locations and in all they do.

They try to always convey Teamwork, where they respect and appreciate the contributions of co-workers.  And they understand their co-workers to be the organization’s greatest asset.

Finally, they always strive to operate with Integrity – this means maintaining confidentiality. They’re always honest, they strive to be ethical in their decision-making. They are accountable for their actions and their inactions.

So, what is something that you should work on, and by “work on” we mean: What is one important aspect of customer service where you could be more consistent?  With what aspects of your attitudes and actions can you get to Always?

See where your customer service lacks consistency, and strive for Always.

Signup for FREE Tips!    Contact Us    More Resources for You    Visit Our Home Page