improvement | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 2

“You’re the Boss” - 2/20/24


Terrence is excellent at what he does.  From a technical standpoint, he knows how to keep the facility clean.  He’s the lead custodian, and he knows that keeping things straight does not necessarily mean keeping things sanitary.  He knows what chemicals to use and not to use, how to Read more

Customer Understanding Leads to Relationship Growth - 2/13/24


We’ve worked with educational organizations at all grade levels over the years.  One special and unique characteristic about the staff who work in these organizations is that there’s a clear intent to know about the students as individuals, to focus on them rather than purely focusing on what’s delivered Read more

Define Customer Service Success Differently - 2/6/24


When I’m watching television, listening to the radio, or listening to a podcast, it’s always interesting when the topic moves to the question:  How can you be a success?  The speakers often discuss the process of becoming a success with the assumption that people believe success is defined by Read more

Care Enough to Give Them a Heads Up - 1/30/24


Nothing bad at all might happen.  Every day in the office could seem like every other day.  Sights and sounds and smells might continue to be the same.  But we have a lot of construction going on around our offices, and the building manager knows the type of work Read more

Be Better than AI Customer Service - 1/23/24


There was a recent CBS Sunday Morning Show story called: How artificial intelligence is revamping customer call centers. The journalist described how artificial intelligence is being used in customer service, and he noted the millions of pieces of information that can be processed in a matter of seconds. There are clear Read more

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


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 Read more

Sharpen Your Service Delivery - 1/9/24


You work so hard at being responsive and providing high quality information.  You work hard at fixing problems.  But is your delivery…dull? I’m not saying that it has to be exciting, but let’s think of the word “exciting.”  It means that something’s interesting, has energy, is positive.  Just by its Read more

Make Empathy Your Superpower - 1/2/24


I was facilitating a Service Excellence Training class for a Higher Ed client in the Northeast several years back.  As I was walking through the portions of our technique for defusing the angry customer, I talked about empathy.  I talked about accepting responsibility. Immediately, one of the hands in the Read more

Holiday Poem 2023 - 12/26/23


The days are getting longer, The skies are getting brighter. Festivities behind us, And festivities before us.   There’s ups and downs and change coming, And we can’t predict when or where. There’s challenges and joys and opportunities around, Of which you may or may not be aware.   But one thing we know as we look at each Read more

Refresh, Rejuvenate, Refocus - 12/19/23


It’s that time of year.  We’re going 100 miles an hour, and holiday time is upon us.  We not only have all the work to do, but we somehow have less time to do it.  We somehow have other things that are of competing interest, and even though those Read more

Critique Yourself before Others Do – 10/11/22

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

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

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

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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Put Yourself at the Controls of Change – 4/28/20

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

You have probably heard about manufacturing plants and restaurants who are pivoting during these challenging times and starting to make hand sanitizers, masks, and gowns.  They are being forced to change, and they’re trying to find the opportunities among the obstacles that surround them.

Sometimes we, too, as individuals in our work life are being forced to change – as many of us are today.  But there is some change that we can control.

What do you want to change?  What do you need to change?

Maybe some of it is attitudinal.  For those of us who are lucky to have a boss that’s encouraging and motivating, maybe not having that boss around requires us to be more self-motivated. Set your own daily goals.  Pat yourself on the back when you reach those goals.  Be the great encourager…to yourself.

Maybe the improvement needed is more of a technical nature.  We should want to improve our computer skills since we’ll be using those so much more.  Can we become expert at using the video conferencing systems and tools?  Can we become more proficient at toggling between different functions on our computer for information, since we’re relying less and less on paper?

The improvement area could be communication skills, particularly if having that face-to-face interaction and all the body language and expressions are so much less available for emphasizing our points.  You may want to improve your business writing skills – since you’re communicating more often via messaging to others.  Maybe you need to improve your concentration skills since it’s easier to get distracted when you’re in a video conference with 10 people than if you’re in a face-to-face meeting in the same conference room.

Finally, we can look for improvement areas in how we do our work.  Improving might mean that we’re more organized in our work since we can’t simply walk to the person in the next cubicle to talk about a project or chit chat with our office colleague about something.  Those random or nearby encounters are less likely, so we have to be a bit more intentional about planning when to contact others.

Change is difficult – particularly when it’s thrust upon you.  But if you can identify your own change – your own improvement path – you can give yourself some control.

Create the change that will help you improve.

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