morale | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

When You Can’t Say “Yes to the Address” - 2/7/23


I was interviewing a frontline staff person for one of our local government clients recently as part of our CSS Training Development Process.  They described their customers and the difficult situations that they face, their tougher conversations with customers. This individual supports local events, so there’s a lot of planning involved.  Read more

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

Don’t Assume Their Motivation – 6/28/22

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

The company was instituting new human resources policies aimed at holding employees accountable for being late to work.  Employee lateness had been rising, and management wanted to make sure they reinforced the need for people to be on time.

At a meeting to roll out the new policies, a leader stood up in front of his staff and said:  The new policy states that if you’re late to work once, you will get a verbal warning.  If you are late to work a second time, you’ll get a written warning.  If you’re late to work 3 times, you have to take a day off without pay.  And for every other day that you’re late, you have to take an additional day off without pay.

One of the young employees raised their hand, and said:  Just to clarify, I only need to be late for work 3 times, and I get to have a day off?  And every other time I’m late, I get another day off?

The leader looked quizzically at the employee, and said:  Yes…uh, that’s correct.

The employee said to himself:  Cool!

One person’s punishment may be another person’s motivation.  One person’s carrot may be another person’s deterrent.

We cannot assume that everybody is wired the same way, with the same things that get them excited, or make them apathetic, or inhibit their behaviors.  Whether we’re talking about people who report to us, peers that we’re trying to influence to change their decision or behavior, or customers who we are trying to get on board and do their part in a process or their part to accomplish a task, we can’t assume everybody’s motivators are the same.

Seek out the other individual’s goal or their preferences or their desires, and let that guide the approach we take to motivating.

Don’t assume their motivation.

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It’s Not Always About the Outcome – 6/21/22

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We want the satisfied customer.  We want the issue resolved.  We want to be able to fix the error or save the client.  We want to feel good coming out of a conversation, or feel like we have accomplished something special.  We want the “win win.”

But all those great feelings and those accomplishments relate to outcomes.  And all too often, we do not control the outcome.

I did the best I could.

Sometimes we have to give ourselves some grace.  We have to realize that we’re not in control of the customer, our policy, our product, our facility, and oftentimes our process or the attitudes of our co-workers.

But there’s nobody in more control of us, than us.

So, if we do the best we could at preparing for the situation through training and practice and reading and learning and listening to others, we can feel good about that.  If we do the best we could in trying to understand the customer, we can feel good about that.  

If we think of potential solutions and we engage the customer and others to try to figure those out, if we tap into what our systems and our policies and our procedures have to offer, we can feel good about that.

The ultimate outcome or the feelings of others are things that we cannot control.

So, if we want to feel good personally regardless of the outcome, we need to do the best we can.  We can feel good about the effort and the actions, and not feel bad because we couldn’t create the perfect outcome.

Do the best you can to prepare and to engage and to try to help.  And instead of feeling bad about the outcome, try to feel a little bit better about the effort you put in preparing for that moment and putting that preparation into practice.

Feel good that you did the best you could.

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Choose Positivity – 1/2/18

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I had the opportunity to conduct employee focus groups and facilitate staff conversations for two different clients recently, and there was a common theme among all the groups. It’s intuitive, it’s understandable, but I was still surprised to hear the sentiment.

Employees consistently said they wanted to work in a more positive environment. Most of us would think that it’s intuitive that that’s what employees desire. Most would think it’s understandable that staff would share those perspectives. But I was somewhat surprised to hear it. Why?

Because, I sometimes have trouble understanding why people or organizations would consistently be negative, or why they would avoid sharing positives, or why their only form of motivation was criticism.

When people work 40 hours, 60+ hours a week, would they prefer to spend those 8/10/12 hours a day around others who are positive or negative? Would they prefer to be in an environment where they are appreciated? Would they prefer to have a reward for a great job or only punishment for a bad job?

I know that many are motivated to avoid the negative, or to avoid punishment, or not to get marked down or written up. But when you think of a healthy work environment, one where people’s values align to those of the organization, one where people WANT to go above and beyond – you are envisioning more positive organizations.

This is not a Tip just for managers; this is a Tip for you and me – everybody. People want positive reinforcement more than negative. They want optimism more than pessimism. They want “Let’s hope it works” rather than “I doubt it will.”

I’m not saying that we ignore the bad or should all be Pollyannas. What I am saying is that we have a choice in how we respond. We have a choice on what outlook we’ll take about a situation. We have a choice about how we engage others. We have a choice about whether we convey appreciation or just think it. And we have a choice about whether we look for ways to build up a co-worker or team, or we only look for ways to criticize.

When you make a choice, choose positivity.

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