k-12 | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

Be Proactive without being Pushy - 9/20/22


Delivering great customer service isn’t just about responding and reacting.  It’s also about being proactive.  Developing relationships involves reaching out first, not just extending our hand when somebody reaches out to us. But it’s all too clear that those of us who are in service roles prefer those roles to Read more

Be Kind to Yourself When the Customer Isn’t - 9/13/22


I was having a debrief call with one of my clients recently, and this was regarding a survey of employees who work events.  One of the survey questions asked employees for advice on how to improve the customer experience.  When the employees shared their input on the guest experience, Read more

Being the Emphatic Employee - 9/6/22


Empathy is the key quality of somebody who’s great at customer service.  We talk about it often - what it is, how to convey it, what it looks like, and how it makes the customer feel. But along with knowing how to be empathetic, we also need to know how Read more

The Good, the Really Good, and the Ugly of Customer Service - 8/30/22


Here are three helpful customer service stories.  They may not be from your specific industry, but it’s always good to learn from others. The Good… Paula submitted a ticket to the I.T. vendor.  Below the signature line in the reply she received was the following:  Please share your comments or needs Read more

A Great 2-Minute E-mail - 8/23/22


I know.  You probably get e-mails all the time from customers griping about some aspect of your organization or their experience.  You’ve got too much to do and too little time to do it.  I could not begin to tell you how many times I’ve been told by staff Read more

When They Want to Talk to Your Boss - 8/16/22


“I want to talk to your supervisor.” That’s their opening salvo.  Before you can hardly finish your greeting, the customer is asking for your boss.  This is done by a customer who has tried to get an issue resolved, and it hasn’t worked, so they want to go to somebody Read more

When Passive Voice is a Good Thing - 8/9/22


It’s all your fault, Mr. Customer! We may want to shout it from the rooftops, but other than venting and absolving ourselves of guilt, this wouldn’t help much in the grand scheme of things. We have a customer sitting in front of us or on the phone, and maybe they are Read more

They’re Stressed, So You Can… - 8/2/22


Wow!  That customer looks stressed!  Maybe it’s their body language or their expressions; they could be fidgety or talking really fast. In the past, when we offered guidance in these situations, we focused on how to navigate the conversation step-by-step - what points to cover and what points to avoid. But Read more

Find the Hidden Compliment - 7/26/22


The fact is, they ARE complaining:  The room is too cold.  The wait is too long.  They wish the parking spaces were bigger.  The new app doesn’t have a mapping function.  They cannot pay with their phone.  The website is unclear. In these types of complaints, the ones that are Read more

When You Know More Than They Do - 7/19/22


It was 95 degrees outside.  That’s not too bad when you’re inside and enjoying the air conditioning; but when Rachel’s A/C went out, in came Rachel’s worry.  Luckily, she knew the company to call, and a technician from Acme HVAC (fake name, real company) came out the next morning. Rachel Read more

K-12 Sustainable Excellence? A School District’s Approach

Posted on in Business Advice, Education Please leave a comment

Blog 2-18-14In Tennessee, the Maury County Public School System is working toward a status of “Excellence” in the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence (TCPE). The TCPE is a statewide initiative modeled after the Malcolm Baldrige quality awards. And while Baldrige may be very familiar to manufacturing, healthcare, and other service industries, one can readily wonder why a school system is participating.

When an organization wants to adhere to the Baldrige Award Criteria, it’s important to understand to what they’re committing. For the Education Criteria for Performance Excellence, the primary categories of evaluation are:

When you look objectively at these categories, you soon see that it’s hard to achieve “Excellence” in any industry without being at least “Above Average” in all of them. How easy is it to be an excellent performer without leadership that sets a clear direction and models behaviors to others? It’s tough to achieve Excellence without a definition of it and a Plan to get there. Excellence is often defined by the customer – the individual with the opinion and decision-making power to stay with or leave a business – so how can we be Excellent without an intentional focus on the customer? And how do you know when you’re straying from the path to Excellence or whether it’s a time to reward and recognize unless you Measure performance and continuously improve?

I could go on, but you get the picture. Organizational Excellence in Education, Sports, Healthcare, Government, etc., has several key components. This is particularly true if you want Sustainable Excellence.

To attain high levels of performance and continuously improve, make sure you have the plan, customer-focus, leadership, workforce, and operations that drive measurable results.

Did you like this post? Here are other Education-related posts:

Also, check out our Education site: http://cssamerica.com/education-industry


Educating Educators on Customer Service

Posted on in Business Advice, Education Please leave a comment

Assuming something is rarely a wise course of action. If you’re a manager, you know how to manage. If you’re in a leadership position, you have great leadership attributes. If you serve the public, you are great at customer service.

For anyone who’s known bad managers, bad leaders, or people in government who are poor in customer service, you know why those assumptions are wrong.

The new Superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District understands the need to avoid those assumptions, as well. In the article Will “High-Quality Customer Service” For San Diego Principals Mean High-Quality Schools?, Cindy Marten (the new Superintendent) views her role as one of supporting principals, and part of that support involves viewing principals as customers. Marten notes “We’re providing high-quality customer service for our principals, and the reason why we’re doing that on behalf of the principals is that we expect high quality service for our principals to have with their teachers and with the community members, and you can’t deliver high-quality customer service by yourself — you’re not an island.”

In any business, before you change behaviors, you have to set expectations with staff about what are those desired behaviors. Marten is setting expectations with central office staff that they view and treat the principals and schools as customers – being proactive and responsive to needs. The thinking is two-fold: First, help the central office staff to see that they’re impacting student success by impacting the schools’ success. Second, help principals to realize that the high level of customer service provided to them by the central office should be mirrored by the principals in interactions with the parents and teachers.

The statement “you’re not an island” is one we’ve used a lot in our client conversations. Don’t feel like you have the entire weight of the world on your shoulders when addressing a customer’s needs – tap into others. But also realize that others are impacted by your actions, others are stakeholders in your encounters and decisions; so think about the downstream effects to co-workers and customers of what you do today.

When you want to change a culture to be more customer-focused, start by setting the right expectations of staff in their dealings with each other.

Did you like this post? Here are other K-12 education-related posts:

Learn about our CSS Education services at: http://cssamerica.com/cssed.htm