improvement | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

How to Fix Other People’s Problems - 1/31/23


I was helping a friend navigate some healthcare processes recently, so I conducted a 3-way call with my friend and the physician practice to try to get things cleared up.  The employee I spoke with on the phone - let’s call her Katie. There had been poor communication between different Read more

What to do When You’re in the Middle - 1/24/23


Bob and Sarah are arguing, and you’re in the middle.  Bob’s an employee, and Sarah is a customer, and they have a difference of opinion.  Somehow you’re involved even though you didn’t have anything to do with the interaction in question, the complaint being addressed.  You find yourself being Read more

Is the Customer Issue an Organizational Issue? - 1/17/23


Customer retention is vital.  Most of next year’s customers are going to be those who are this year’s customers. So, the more you lose today, the fewer you will have tomorrow.  Organizations conduct research, data mine, or bring in consultants to help identify those customers who may be most Read more

Decide Who’s Driving the Bus - 1/10/23


I once heard a speech titled: Who’s driving the bus? I knew the speaker beforehand, so that made his talk extra special.  It was funny and relatable and held many words of wisdom.  The crux of the speech was that every one of us has our own facets, our own Read more

Create a Personal Vision for the Year - 1/3/23


This time of year is all about the New Year’s resolution.  We’re going to exercise or eat differently!  Then…2 months later, who knows what’ll be happening, but at least you set a goal.  For many of us, that’s progress. For businesses, that New Year’s resolution often has to deal with Read more

Avoid Making a Bad Situation Worse - 12/27/22


Twitter.  When you hear that word, does your temperature rise?  Do you roll your eyes?  Do you ask: What is Twitter? From a customer service perspective, Twitter has evolved into a virtual place for consumers to complain about businesses.  For those businesses savvy enough to understand the importance of communicating Read more

2022 Holiday Poem - 12/20/22


The year is winding down. The work is still up front. We’re making that transition to close out the 12th month. We’re trying to find a balance between personal life and work. Trying to be kind to people even if they’re acting like a jerk. It’s taking all of our patience and our Read more

Open Minds and Ornery Customers - 12/13/22


We all have to deal with some crazy customers, at times.  They might be loud or sad.  Flighty or mad.  They may have unrealistic expectations or think it’s OK to skip past people in line because their need must be more important than the others.  Some are rude, some Read more

Apply These Values for Great Customer Service - 12/6/22


One of the industries where we do a lot of our work is local government.  These CSS clients are not necessarily selling a product or having the number of competitors that a lot of our private industry clients and our sports clients face.  But they need to deliver a Read more

Redefine “Access” to Treat Customers Special - 11/29/22


One of our clients puts on major events throughout the country.  When we conduct post-event surveys, many of the attendees rave about the access they had to certain entertainers, locations in the venue, parking lots, or even information.  Others decry the fact that they lacked that access. This does pose Read more

Create a Personal Vision for the Year – 1/3/23

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

This time of year is all about the New Year’s resolution.  We’re going to exercise or eat differently!  Then…2 months later, who knows what’ll be happening, but at least you set a goal.  For many of us, that’s progress.

For businesses, that New Year’s resolution often has to deal with something…well…New!  It’s a new direction or a new way of doing business.  Maybe it’s looking for new customers, developing a new product, or creating a new culture.

With many of our clients, it truly is about that new Vision.  They want to paint a picture of what the future could be, of what success could look like, of the impact and benefit the organization could have on its customers and its community.

Oftentimes, this visioning leads to strategic planning.  Sometimes it leads to more focused annual planning; it leads to effective alignment throughout the organization based on the common vision.  And sometimes – at a minimum – it creates a litmus test within which decisions can be made.  In other words: Will Option A better position us to achieve our vision, or will Option B?

Create Your Personal Vision Statement

This is also a perfect time of year for us to individually think about our own vision.  As you know, our days can go by quickly if we’re spinning a lot of plates – engaging and supporting the customer, the company, the co-worker.  It’s a lot to just try to get done.  But if we want to end the year in a better situation or with a better set of skills or with more success stories to tell, consider taking a few minutes to paint your own future picture.

Where do you want to be by the end of the year in your role or your career?  What kind of relationships do you want to have with your customers?  Where do you want your experience level to be greater, or your skills better?  How much enjoyment do you want to have in your role, and what are a couple of the things you need to start doing, stop doing, or do differently to bring more joy and enrichment to your own job?

If you create a personal vision of what you want this year to become, you have a much better chance to achieve it.

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Critique Yourself before Others Do – 10/11/22

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When we’re criticized, we can get defensive, push back, deflect blame to others, and focus more on defending ourselves than really listening to what the other person is saying.  And some of us who get defensive, once we allow our emotions to settle, take time to reflect on what the other person said.  We sometimes are willing to see those kernels of truth.  We are willing to learn from them and possibly make a change moving forward.

While it’s not great to be defensive, it’s often a natural reaction.  It’s also a sign of maturity and wisdom to be able to overcome that initial defensiveness and try to get some lessons learned from what the other person said.

But what if we critiqued our own mistakes before the customer or co-worker complained?  Not everything we do imperfectly or incorrectly or not on a timely basis or not in the best way possible is something that’s going to draw a complaint.

If you’re like me, you probably make little mistakes every single day.

We make many decisions every day, so it’s natural that some of those decisions are going to be wrong.  The resulting action or inaction could be wrong.

Self-critiques that can lead to Self-improvement

But when we know in our gut or it’s clear based on some reaction/data/feedback that we didn’t do our best, we have to learn from our own mistakes:

  • I really should have called that person back when I first thought about it.
  • I knew I should have had somebody check my work before I moved it to the next step.
  • I should have paused and thought through what might happen on that call before I responded to the customer.
  • I really should have listened one more minute or asked one more question before sharing my thoughts.
  • That meeting took a lot longer than it could have, and if I had just gone in a little bit more prepared, we probably would have ended on time.
  • That would have gone much better if I stopped sending e-mails and just picked up the phone and called the person.
  • That call would have been a lot cleaner if I would have looked away from the computer screen and focused totally on the caller.

If we make these comments to ourselves and put lessons learned into place, then maybe we would have fewer reasons for the co-worker or the customer to critique us.  And if they did critique us, we probably would have already had that conversation with ourselves about a very similar issue, and we might understand their critique more because we heard it from ourselves first.

Therefore, we might not respond so defensively, we might not get so emotional, and we might actually understand where they’re coming from a lot sooner.

If you critique yourself before others do, the critiques of others won’t affect you as much.

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Challenges Create Opportunity, People Create Change – 4/20/21

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There are so many great things that have been said over the years about overcoming challenges, pushing aside the roadblocks of life, dealing with difficulties.  And these are important points of discussion because challenges are all around us.  There are challenges with our personal health or in our personal lives.  We could have the challenges of dealing with mean or angry individuals at work.  It could be the challenge of trying to support a customer but not getting the support of your co-worker.  The challenges could be inconsistent communications or ineffective systems and processes.  Maybe our challenge is due to our own personal burdens or biases or lack of professional development.

We have these challenges, but to overcome them or push them aside or deal with them, people have to take some action:

  • You’re dealing with essentially the same complaints from customers in your office every day. What can you do to reduce the number of those complaints that you have to deal with each day?
  • You’ve been given bad directions to a customer’s home 4 times this week – it wasted your time! What can you do to make sure it doesn’t happen 4 times next week?
  • You deal with an issue where you’re just not comfortable or confident. What can you do to become more comfortable and more confident?
  • The system is not intuitive for you. It takes you much longer to accomplish your work than it should.  What can you do to become more proficient?
  • The frustration of that angry customer gets to you. You get flustered and you get defensive, and the next thing you know you’re in a 10-minute conversation that never seems to go anywhere.  What can you do to manage your own emotions better?

We’re always going to have challenges.  We are human, and the people we work with are human, as well.  The systems that we work with are FAR from perfect, too!

Identify 1 or 2 of the challenges that cause you heartburn.  Then determine 1 or 2 actions you can take so that these situations happen less frequently or you’re more effective at dealing with them in the future.

Challenges create opportunity.  Be one of the people that creates change.

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