proactive | 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

Be Proactive without being Pushy – 9/20/22

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

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 sales, and when we think about proactively reaching out, often we think that we’re selling to others – Ick!  However, if we don’t reach out to our clients or customers, we are not fully meeting their needs.

So, if we are not pushing products, why are we proactively reaching out to customers?  Here are some examples of why to reach out.

Freshen: To keep the relationship fresh.  If they haven’t heard from us except when they are buying something or complaining, those quiet periods are when relationships go stale.  It’s when they view us more as a commodity than as a partner.  We need to keep the relationships fresh.

Understand: Reach out to better understand them and their needs or issues.  This can be via an informal survey; maybe as part of a conversation, you ask about how things are changing in their business or their lives.  You’re trying to learn from them to better serve them.

Match-make: You reach out because you have a base understanding of their needs, and your organization has something that might help them, in particular.  You’re trying to match who they are with what you can do for them.  In some ways, we’re doing them a disservice if the customer has to go to your company for one thing and 3 other companies for other services – all of which you provide – but they don’t know that because we haven’t informed or educated them on all you can do for the customer.

Thank: You proactively reach out to convey appreciation and show that you value them.  You literally reach out to say Thank You and to check-in on them.  It makes them feel like an individual instead of an account number.

Request: You can even reach out to simply ask them if they know of anyone who might be a good fit with your business, who might benefit from a relationship like your customer has with your company.  You’re not selling; you’re just giving them the opportunity to make a connection for a friend with you and your organization.

Great customer service includes reaching out to customers – be proactive without being pushy.

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And YOU get a Thanks, and YOU get a Thanks… – 6/15/21

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Yes, Oprah Winfrey gets her first shout-out in a CSS Customer Service Tip of the Week!  She’s famous for many things – one of which was giving out presents to everybody in her audiences.  She would happily proclaim:  And YOU get a gift, and YOU get a gift, and YOU get a gift!

And as generous as that was, in the back of our minds we all know that she’s SO wealthy, that she can afford to give all those people gifts.  Well, even if we all are not rich, we can still afford to give our customers the gift…of thanks.

I’m sure that we’ve all been brought up in homes where we were told that – in business – when the transaction ends, somebody should say “thank you” and somebody should say “you’re welcome.”  But oftentimes in our personal lives, we give them our money, they give us the merchandise, and there is dead silence.  But we want to hear a thank you.  So we, the customer, say “thank you!”  It’s like saying “thank you for taking my hard-earned money.”  Or “thank you for the privilege of buying this combo meal; I really appreciate it!”

It shouldn’t be that way.  Employees should initiate the thanks.  Employees should convey the appreciation because the customer has an option; the customer could take their business elsewhere.  So, the employee should be the one closing positively and showing appreciation.

As you’re completing your transaction, and as that conversation on the phone or face-to-face is about to end, get in the habit of initiating the thanks, of initiating the appreciation.  And even if the customer says thanks before you get the opportunity, say thanks to them back. Say “I really appreciate your coming in” or “I really appreciate your bringing this to our attention.”

Realize that the customer has an opinion, and that opinion matters – that decides if they want to stay with you or want to go elsewhere.  Make sure that their last memory of their experience with you is your statement of appreciation.

Thank the customer first.

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It’s Right to Note “That’s Not Right” – 6/8/21

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TJ was doing some construction work for the homeowner, and he noticed something unusual about the paint texture on the storm door that he was about to install.  The homeowner had purchased the door, and when TJ was getting ready to install it, he noticed that the door had a grainy texture to the paint instead of being perfectly smooth.  “That’s not right,” TJ said, and he talked with the homeowner and investigated whether the paint job was defective or just a different finish than expected.

As he was walking through the house, he noticed cracks on the wall and remembered about some recent construction that had been done near that spot.  He said “that’s not right,” and he told the homeowner, investigated the cause, and offered some potential solutions.

As he was getting ready to wrap-up his work, he noticed some trim at the house that could use a fresh coat of paint.  “That doesn’t look right,” he thought.  He wasn’t a painter, but he offered the homeowner two different painters whom TJ trusted to contact if the homeowner wanted some help.

TJ was observant and proactive.  He didn’t make or buy the storm door, he didn’t cause the crack in the wall, and he wasn’t a painter.  But he noticed all the concerns, proactively brought them to the attention of the homeowner, and gained nothing directly from any of the issues.  In fact, it required more of his time than ignoring the issues would have required.

But TJ was focused on identifying the needs of the customer and doing what was best for the customer.  Know that TJ has gotten multiple referrals from that homeowner and also got some repeat business as well.

Be like TJ.  Look around.  Identify customer needs and point them out to the customer.  Maybe you can address the needs, or maybe you’ll just recommend a course of action to the customer.  But by being proactive, you gain trust, respect, and loyalty.

Identify situations where “that’s not right” to get the right kind of relationship with your customer.

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