improvement | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 5

“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

To Do More, Find Ways to Do Less – 2/9/16 TOW

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


“I have too much to do and not enough time to do it.”

“I can never get anything done.”

“They keep adding things to my plate, but they never take anything away.”

I’m sure most everyone reading this tip has said something similar at some point in their work lives. We are asked to do more and more and more, and at some point the quality suffers, or we work ridiculous hours, or we can’t get it all done, or we burn out.

Often, we can’t control what we’re assigned by others to do, so how do we do more? Start by asking yourself: “How can I do less?”

Leverage Technology – About one year ago, I bought a new computer/tablet to replace my 7-year old lap top. Instantly programs loaded more quickly, information linked together more smoothly, technical issues virtually disappeared, and now I use almost NO PAPER – leveraging technology made me more productive.

Stop What You’re Doing – I periodically ask myself – what if I stop doing this? Would anyone care? Too often, people generate reports, track worked hours or productivity or quality statistics that – today – are no longer meaningful or even read. At least once a quarter, look at the data you collect and the reports you generate, and question whether they need to continue.

Reduce the Excess – When CSS started 18 years ago, we spent hours creating these gorgeous 20-page proposals for relatively small projects. Over the years, we moved to 6-page proposals and then 4-page approach documents. Now we do a great deal of 1-2 page Price Quotes. Customers don’t have time to read large documents, so why should we give them something they don’t want? When you’re designing documentation for customers, find out how they’d prefer to receive information and what information is truly important to them. Design it that way, and get rid of the documentation excess.

Don’t Create from Scratch – For years, I’ve been a proponent of replicating (but personalizing/customizing) e-mails. You can be so much more productive/professional if you don’t create everything from scratch.

Get Information in a Productive Format – Finally, get people to give you information in a standardized manner – we provide our mystery shoppers with very specific templates so we can focus on the content of what they found rather than the structure of HOW they provided their analysis to us. Use forms, templates, and clear/specific questions to have people submit information in a way that’s most useful and productive.

To do more, find ways to do less. Build your own customer service capacity.

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Strengthen the Strength – 9/22/15 TOW

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


I was in a meeting recently with a client, and we were discussing continuous improvement. Although continuous improvement in most organizations revolves around identifying and fixing issues that are keeping you from being productive, effective, or great at customer service, this organization takes a slightly broader approach.

Along with addressing issues that need to be fixed, they also focus on using continuous improvement to “Strengthen the Strength.” Essentially, the organization encourages staff to identify their strengths and then work to get better and better and better. Similarly, the organization as a whole strives to build on its core competencies and strengths.

Let’s focus on the individual staff perspective. Maybe you’re somebody who is very organized, and yet you’re not very tech savvy. Identify technology solutions that can enhance your organizational skills. There are many apps and software products that are focused on organizing work, projects, brainstorming, social media management, e-mails – virtually any aspect of business.

Let’s assume you’re someone who is highly responsive. That means that you’re responding to all messages with an e-mail reply typically the same day. So how do you strengthen that strength? Maybe you could ensure that along with responding that you’ve received the message, you also convey what next step will occur and by when. Maybe you’re normally communicating back via e-mail the same day because you prefer e-mail, but you begin learning how your clients prefer to communicate, and you begin using their preferred communication method instead.

At the organizational level, you can also use your strength for the greater good. You may be somebody who is very outgoing; use that positive nature to make connections between different divisions of the organization that may not know each other well but that need to know each other well for the organization to perform better.

You may be very analytical; instead of using your analytical ability just in the normal course of your own work, you could volunteer for continuous improvement teams and provide the type of analysis that gets to root causes and potential solutions.

When you think about continuously improving yourself, down just focus on fixing issues.

Strengthen the Strength.

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Listening to the Employee’s Voice – 1/27/15 TOW

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


The “Voice of the Customer” is an often-heard phrase. We have a sports research program called the “Voice of the Fan.” These are ways of describing that organizations either need to simply listen to their customers, or they need to have a 12-month strategy for tapping into customer feedback and input to continuously improve.

But what about the employee? Do they have a voice, and what is the voice saying? Most companies realize that asking the customer is the best way of obtaining the “Voice of the Customer.” But few realize that asking employees is the second best way of learning the “Voice of the Customer.”

Employees – particularly those on the front line, are the ones engaged with the customers many times daily. Employees hear the complaints, the confusion, and the questions. Employees hear what make customers say “thanks” and what makes customers frustrated. Ask your employees about your customers – it’s the best customer research money you’ll NEVER spend!

Don’t stop there. Apply your “Voice of the Customer” strategy and principles into creating a Service Culture. Your organization hires employees, but does it ask them why they chose your organization and what expectations they have about the employee experience? Your company “onboards” employees, but does it have 1 week, 1 month, and 90 day check-ins with new hires to gauge whether those expectations are being met and how they’re feeling about their job and your organization?

Think about your employee vets. Are the longer-term staff asked about processes and policies that are barriers to the great customer experience? Are veteran employees asked about the current climate, training needs, or potential system changes (BEFORE they’re implemented)? Is there documented information on how proud they are to work for the organization and how engaged they are in the company’s mission and vision?

We love conducting customer research for our clients, but in your effort to provide a great experience for your external customers, don’t forget your internal customers.

Listen to the Voice of the Employee.

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