obama | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

The Proven Value in What You Do - 4/9/24


Forbes wrote an article last year based on a compilation of the results of research on customer service and the customer experience; it was titled:  100 Customer Experience Stats For 2023. In reading the article, you’ll note that many of these key research findings are about you – the value Read more

A Tale of Two Texts - 4/2/24


Having to get allergy shots once a week is never fun, and for Janet, it became an even bigger frustration. She had the shots typically scheduled on Tuesday around 10:30 in the morning, figuring she would avoid the morning rush as well as the lunch rush by going mid-morning.  However, Read more

The Secret Sauce for Great Customer Service - 3/26/24


I was working with the League Office for a major American sport several years back, and one of the executives asked me to describe our Secret Sauce that helped our clients improve the fan experience and customer retention.  I gave him a sense of what makes us unique and Read more

The Miracle of an Apology - 3/19/24


Unfortunate but true story… The manager basically lost his mind.  He terminated his employee on the spot.  She had told the customer that there was going to be a delay in the shipment.  The employee called up the customer ahead of time to let the customer know what was about Read more

It’s Not About the 5-Minute Wait - 3/12/24


Robert went into his supervisor’s office to update her on a situation at the payment desk.  Robert said that a customer was about fourth or fifth in line, waiting to be served, and the customer was complaining loudly about the wait.  He was there to make a property tax Read more

Lessons from the Greats - 3/5/24


I was recently facilitating a workshop on the customer experience, and I made the point that it’s usually beneficial to look at your personal life for great experiences; identify what really resonates with you in a positive way in order to uncover ideas to improve your own customer service. So, Read more

The Empathy Roadmap - 2/27/24


For some people, empathy comes naturally.  There’s an innate desire to learn about the other person and to sincerely convey that sense of interest and caring.  But for many of us, sometimes it helps to have a communication plan.  It helps to know what to do in order to Read more

“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

Check Out These Customer Service Plans from the US Government

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

If you go to http://customerservice.performance.gov/, you’ll see on the “Official Website of the U.S. Government,” the result of an Executive Order that the President put into play in April 2011. The President required that all Federal Government agencies create Customer Service Plans. Those plans are seen at the bottom of the US Government’s Customer Service Site.

Click on a few of the Agencies to see what they included. The Executive Order required the following:

  • “Establishing one major initiative (signature initiative) that will use technology to improve the customer experience;
  • Establishing mechanisms to solicit customer feedback on Government services and using such feedback regularly to make service improvements;
  • Setting clear customer service standards and expectations, including, where appropriate, performance goals for customer service required by the GPRA (Government Performance and Results) Modernization Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-352);
  • Improving the customer experience by adopting proven customer service best practices and coordinating across service channels (such as online, phone, in-person, and mail services);
  • Streamlining agency processes to reduce costs and accelerate delivery, while reducing the need for customer calls and inquiries; and
  • Identifying ways to use innovative technologies to accomplish the customer service activities above, thereby lowering costs, decreasing service delivery times, and improving the customer experience.”

Whether or not you agree with the plans, let’s at least consider their required components. They want to improve the customer experience through the use of technology. They want to gain customer feedback and use that for change. They want to have clear standards/expectations. They want to adopt best practices, streamline service processes, and reduce the demand for customer contacts.

These components are positive. They focus on customer satisfaction, data to drive decisions, efficiencies, and use of best practices. It would be nice if there were an employee/cultural component and an overriding Customer Service Vision, but we’ll take what we can get.

Review several of the plans, and ensure your organization has at least these basic components of a Customer Service Plan.

Interested in improving your company’s customer service? See more at our new website! http://www.cssamerica.com/

Read our New Book – “Ask Yourself…Am I GREAT at Customer Service?” http://www.amigreatat.com/

Listen to our latest podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/


Why the President Wanted to Mystery Shop

Posted on in Business Advice, Government, Healthcare Please leave a comment

You may have read the articles that came out recently that addressed the Federal Government’s plans to call different physician practices as a prospective patient. These callers would not have asked questions for the true purpose of learning the answer or becoming a patient. These are mystery shoppers. These are individuals who call to see how certain questions are answered and how certain policies are applied.

Essentially what the Federal Government wanted to do was to determine if some physician practices are turning away patients or delaying their access to care/appointments if they do not have a preferred form of health insurance. It wanted to use these mystery shoppers to identify people who are not doing essentially what they’re supposed to be doing.

It’s interesting that many companies use mystery shopping in this “gotcha” manner. This is why so many employees are negative toward mystery shopping. They feel like it is something being done to catch employees doing wrong. Staff feel like the only reason why they’re being shopped is so they can be caught and dealt with in some kind of a punitive manner.

But mystery shopping done effectively tries to gauge consistency of service, responses, and processes across the organization, from person-to-person and facility-to-facility. Mystery shopping done right tries to identify what internal best practices exist so that they can be leveraged across the organization. Mystery shopping done right identifies organizations do great, and what organizations need to improve upon. And mystery shopping done right also includes sometimes contacting your company’s competitors to see where you have a competitive edge and where you’re falling short through the customer’s eyes.

So while we understand the Federal Government trying to identify who is doing things in the most appropriate way, we encourage you to have a broader perspective in the use of mystery shopping. Use mystery shopping to reward, recognize, find internal best practices, find areas which are opportunities for improvement, and find ways to beat your competitors.

Mystery shop to improve performance.

Read our New Book – “Ask Yourself…Am I GREAT at Customer Service?” http://www.amigreatat.com/

Interested in improving your company’s customer service? See more at our new website! http://www.cssamerica.com/


The President is Pro-Customer Service – What This Tells Us

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

In the article Obama Calls for ‘Customer Service’ Improvements in Federal Agencies, it’s noted how the President signed an Executive Order “mandating that each agency consult with OMB to develop a plan within 180 days to improve the user experience of its customers.” At least some component of the plan involves leveraging technology for customer service improvements.

Now we could delve into the political reasons for a President addressing customer service, but that’s not the focus of this post. The focus here is what we can learn from their approach.

The government is typically not an early adopter of new business trends and technology, but the article points out that the benefit of that is that it can look at what’s worked (best practices) and what hasn’t worked in private industry to learn from the outcomes of others. So this is Lesson One – don’t rely on your own smarts when there are probably others (in similar industries or situations) who may have already blazed a trail, identified what works and what does. Find best practice organizations and learn from them.

Much of the Federal Government’s initiatives are focused on internally sharing information on the customer (i.e., you and me), becoming more integrated from a data-standpoint to become more efficient internally and consistent and responsive externally. This is Lesson Two. At some point, you have to look at all the systems, all that data that you have organizationally that relates to your customer and make sure it’s shared internally, easily accessible internally, fresh and accurate. You have to see a common picture of your customer no matter where you are in the organization.

Find best practices from others, and find a way to have all the siloed pieces of your organization sharing what they know about your customer. It can improve efficiencies, quality, and – oh yeah – customer service.

Read our New Book – “Ask Yourself…Am I GREAT at Customer Service?” http://www.amigreatat.com/

Interested in improving your company’s customer service? See more at our new website! http://www.cssamerica.com/