plan | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

A Story of Willie and Aubrey - 2/8/22


The gift shop was a great experience!  Aubrey had bought items online from the shop for years, but she had never stepped foot in the store itself.  However, when travel plans took her on a trip to new surroundings, she took time out of her day to go to Read more

It Matters Who You Know - 2/1/22


The season ticket account holder has an issue, but he’s not too concerned about it:  I’m going to call my guy, and he’ll take care of it. The patient is confused about their bill.  The family member says: I know someone who can help. The husband discovers a problem in the Read more

Put an End to 1-Star Ratings - 1/25/22


If you ever had service performed on your car, I would not doubt it if you received the immediate e-mail asking for that 5-star rating. They want the big ratings because that makes them look good, and to get the big average rating you have to avoid the 1-Star Read more

Signs of Service Recovery Situations - 1/18/22


As we continue the slow trend of more and more customer interactions becoming in-person again, we need to remember those signs that we’re about to enter one of THOSE conversations.  It can typically take only 5-10 seconds to realize this is going to be a high-risk situation with the Read more

In Survey Development, Think in Reverse - 1/11/22


We often meet with clients interested in conducting a survey, and when we discuss the project, many clients come with questions in-hand.  They are interested, curious, even excited sometimes about the possibility of tapping into the voice of the customer! And when we review their questions and start to see Read more

Foster Positive Feelings - 1/4/22


I bet a lot of you all are like me - when you’re asked to share your feelings, it’s not always something that feels comfortable.  It obviously depends on the situation and who’s asking you to share your feelings.  So, many of us might hesitate in sharing our feelings. However, Read more

How to Make the Situation Right - 12/28/21


The manager in the field office felt that - when problems arose with customers - the company didn’t do an especially good job of responding effectively.  He felt like this was hurting customer renewals of annual service agreements.  The company developed many customer service and retention initiatives with little Read more

2021 Holiday Poem - 12/21/21


Breathe and rest and relax and rejuvenate. Close the eyes, and fill the lungs. Take a break, and be with friends. This is a time to begin. Renaissance is called a rebirth. Birth can bring new life. Life gives opportunity for living. Living gives opportunity for joy. We have so many outside factors, So many things that tug Read more

“I’m Sorry” Doesn’t Mean “I’m Guilty” - 12/14/21


Individuals and organizations mess up; that’s part of life… They told me that they were going to be at my home at a certain time; they were REALLY late.  The customer service representative said they would get a message to a co-worker, and the co-worker would call me back; I Read more

Apply Selfless Service - 12/7/21


Andrea had worked in human resources for years, and the company decided that it wanted to hire employees who were more customer service-oriented, regardless of the position.  After making that decision, they added some creative questions to the interview process. One of the most interesting questions that Andrea had to Read more

Make it a “Good Busy” – 9/28/21

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

When I’m speaking with colleagues or clients, I’ll often ask how their day is going. The response I get almost once a week is something like:  I’m incredibly busy!

When I get that response, sometimes I’ll ask whether it is a “good busy” or whether they are “fighting fires.”

I’ll ask that question to gauge how they’re feeling.  Being “good busy” with important work helps you feel positive and fulfilled.  Spending days just fighting fires – urgent tasks that pop up unexpectedly or at the last minute – can result in anxiety, stress, and poor quality work.  That can trickle into customer engagement where we’re too busy to be responsive to customers, are short in speaking with them, or make mistakes in service actions.

While fighting fires is something that we could deal with because other people fill our inbox at the last minute, some of the activities that are urgent and require us to drop everything else or cause us to work into the late hours every evening are things we can control.

If we find ourselves constantly working on the urgent to meet a deadline at the last second, if we find ourselves constantly stressing about not having enough hours in the day, if we find ourselves feeling unsettled with all the plates that are spinning around us at the same time, realize that this situation is something we can take more control over in the future.

Particularly where you have deadlines, document the key steps that need to be addressed and how much time others will need to do their part through the process.  Put those timelines on your daily To Do List.  Reflect back on how much time it takes to do these tasks so that you’re allocating enough time today on something that needs to be completed three days from now.  You have enough understanding of how many activities you can do in one day, so, where you have control over those activities and when they’re done, you can massage your schedule for the week so that the workload is a little more evened out.

We’re all going to be busy at times if not almost all times, but the type of busy we’re dealing with is often affected by how well we’re planning to meet the deadlines.

Make it a Good Busy.

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General George Patton on Customer Service – 4/3/18

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


Here’s a quote from General George Patton: “Plans must be simple and flexible. They should be made by the people who are going to execute them.”

We’ve worked with enough companies to know that employees get irate when they’re told about plans too late or they’re not involved in any way, shape, or form in the decision-making process. Therefore, they’re given last minute instructions and plans that – oftentimes – they know will not work as designed. This lack of frontline employee input can easily lead to a lack of success.

But not all plans are strategic in nature or need to be executive-driven. Many plans – especially those that are more situational – can be developed by individual employees. You are the ones who are going to be executing these plans. You are the ones who are going to tailor them to the situation or the individual that you are interacting with at the time.

Therefore, create plans to cover some of these important but common situations:

  • You’re asked a question, and you don’t have the knowledge or experience to answer.
  • The customer complains and then demands immediate resolution.
  • You’re given a last minute project by a supervisor, when you already have competing deadlines on other projects.
  • The other person is making a request that you know cannot be addressed the way they want it addressed, or in the timeframe they want it addressed.
  • The customer asks about a product or service that you don’t have or don’t deliver.
  • The customer complains about your co-worker, your company, or some issue that occurred years ago.

 
These are all typical issues that many of us may run into occasionally (or frequently!). Instead of putting yourself in a position to have to come up with the perfect answer on the spot, create plans for how you would address each of the situations.

Yes, the customer and the specific concern may to be unique in every case. However, if you have a plan, your comfort and confidence level will rise, and you will eliminate one variable of the equation when determining how to address the situation.

Create simple and flexible plans for common (but important) situations.

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The Wedding Crasher – 7/19/16 TOW

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


In theory, the wedding photographer is invited, stays on the periphery, gets the candid shots, and takes excellent wedding party/posed pictures as well. That is what Mary experienced at her wedding – the photographer visited the site of the wedding and reception beforehand, met with the bride-to-be, discussed plans, timing, and locations. She scoped out photography angles, lighting characteristics, and got a sense for the theme and colors of the wedding. The wedding was beautiful, and everything was captured wonderfully by the photographer.

Mary’s sister Maggie had a different wedding photographer – this individual spoke to Maggie on the phone a couple times before the wedding and “didn’t have time” the week of the wedding to scope out the locations and plans with Maggie. Instead, he visited the wedding and reception sites a couple weeks earlier on his own.

On the day of the wedding he showed up – just 15 minutes before the ceremony – wearing his bright red shirt and tie – which stuck out like a sore thumb with the earth tones and white colors of the wedding. He continually moved during the ceremony to get the right shot – often distracting those in attendance, and he took way too many pictures – at least it appeared that way because of how much he was in the middle of all the activity.

He was as much of a wedding crasher as he was a wedding photographer.

When the pictures came back, there were several good, but too many were posed, too many had lighting issues, certain features of the reception location were missed, too many relatives and friends were not included, and – therefore – Maggie thought his fees seemed too high.

Sometimes the best experiences are made that way by talking to the customer first – what do they want, what do they expect, and how do they define success? Sometimes your planning process helps you paint a prettier picture with your product.

Don’t simply deliver a product. Engage the customer beforehand to see the desired experience through their eyes.

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