listen | 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

Value the Customer – Actions to Adopt and Avoid – 11/8/22

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

When conducting research for a local government CSS client, we interviewed and conducted surveys with many of their customers.  We analyzed the results of the research based on those who had a great experience v. those who did not.  We uncovered that there were distinct differences between customers who felt valued and those who did not feel valued by the organization.

Empathize v. Defend. When the customers felt like the organization was listening to them, trying to understand their situation, trying to learn about their unique issue or goal or concern, the customer felt valued.  When dealing with an issue, if the customer felt like the employee was more focused on defending themselves or the policy or the procedure, the customer felt devalued.

Proactive v. Reactive. When the employee would suggest alternative options or provide a follow-up call to the customer, when the employee would share information about next steps, the customer felt valued.  However, if the customer had to reach out or they’d never hear from the organization, the customer felt devalued.

Work Together v. Win a Debate. When there was a need to be addressed or a goal to be achieved, if the customer felt like the employee was trying to figure out a way that they could work with the customer to identify a game plan, the customer felt valued.  When the customer felt like the conversation lingered too much on what facts were correct and which were incorrect, who was right and who was wrong in a particular situation, the customer did not feel valued.

Find Solution v. Deflect Blame. When the issue needed a resolution, if the employee was focused on figuring out what would work best for the customer, the customer felt valued.  However, if the customer felt like the employee was more focused on making sure they were not held responsible for the issue, the customer felt devalued.

Avoid being defensive, being purely reactive, debating the customer, and focusing on deflecting blame.

To help the customer feel valued, empathize, be proactive, work together, and find a solution.

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Appreciate to Appreciate – 11/1/22

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Why doesn’t Jay, my co-worker, respond to my e-mails or get his task done on time?

It’s hard to respect the delay, the incomplete work, the lack of follow through on the part of your co-worker.

Why does the customer seem so harried and so frustrated?

It’s hard to value the customer when they’re late for the appointment, they’re not being respectful of you, or they didn’t bring in the information they were told that you needed.

Appreciate – Two Definitions

There are two core definitions of the word appreciate, and they go hand-in-hand.  One definition, essentially, is to understand.  You appreciate (understand) the situation, or you appreciate (understand) the position in which the other person finds themselves.

The other definition is to value, to respect, to have gratitude for the other.

Oftentimes it’s hard to value, respect, or have gratitude for somebody that is not doing their part, that is conveying a certain negative attitude that does not seem appropriate for the situation.

To help us avoid allowing that perception of the other person to negatively impact our own attitude, sometimes it helps to try to understand them…to try to appreciate the situation…to try to appreciate the position that they’re in at this moment.

The more we ask questions, listen to their words, and watch their body language – being inquisitive about their situation – the more we understand.  And the more we can understand somebody and begin to empathize with somebody, the easier it is to respect them, the easier it becomes to thank them, the easier it is to value them.

Take the time to appreciate what the other person is going through.  It helps us manage our emotions, and it can help us to appreciate them that much more.

Understand to Respect.  Appreciate to Appreciate.

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The Customer Can Hear Your Attitude – 10/25/22

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Sherry was sitting in the lobby, waiting to be called back for her appointment.  Just off the lobby was an office that Sherry was sitting near.  The person in the office was on a phone call, but Sherry couldn’t see the employee.  She could tell it was a call because Sherry could hear only one voice.

The words of the employee were not clear because of the distance, and Sherry wasn’t the nosy type, so she didn’t listen too closely.  Yet, the call was interesting.  The employee was interesting.  Sherry’s perceptions were interesting.

All Sherry could discern was the tone of the employee’s voice.  But the tone was positive.  There were occasional laughs.  It wasn’t non-stop talking or non-stop silence.  Sherry could tell there was a good flow to the conversation.  The employee’s tone seemed to fluctuate, but it never got too loud.

Sherry began to draw conclusions from what she heard:  The employee seems pleasant, seems like a good listener.  They’re polite and have a good sense of humor.  The employee’s definitely interested in hearing what the other person has to say.  They’re not reading a script; instead, the employee is very conversational.

Who knows if Sherry’s conclusions are correct.  But it’s what Sherry perceived about the employee, felt about the employee.  And those conclusions, perceptions, and feelings were based solely on the employee’s tone-of-voice.

We often cite the statistic that studies have shown that – on phone calls…

86% of what one person perceives about the other’s personality is based on that person’s tone-of-voice.

Only 14% is based on the actual words.

Believe the stats.  When talking with others, keep in mind that the customer can hear your attitude through your voice.

Let your tone convey the perception of you that you hope to create.

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