proactive | 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

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

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

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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The Passive Predicament – 4/13/21

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The employee is speaking to you.  Do they have that look in the eyes like they’re hanging on your every word, like they’re processing, interpreting, and getting ready to quickly respond to your key points and questions?  Or do they have the look of somebody in the 2nd hour of a 3-hour documentary on the origins of cardboard?

Passive people are often considered poor at customer service.  Proactive people are generally better at customer service.  Neither group is all bad or all good, but there are many more benefits of being proactive when you’re in the role of serving customers, developing relationships, and resolving issues.

Proactive people are better at perceiving their surroundings and the customer’s needs, because they make it a point to care enough to be aware; it’s hard to be proactive if you’re not aware something needs to be done.

Proactive people anticipate future customer needs and next steps; this helps needs to be met more quickly and often met in one communication or transaction (rather than multiple contacts with the same customer).

Proactive people are – by definition – action-oriented.  They do things.  They move things (decisions, resolution, fulfillment) forward.  And proactive people tend to respond quickly, thereby helping customers feel important – that their issue/need does matter.

Passive people generally do not anticipate well, they are not as perceptive (because they don’t care to be that engaged), they lack action, and they lack responsiveness and speed.

If you want to be great at customer service, avoid the passive predicament.  Use the power of being proactive.

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