proactive | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

Find a Connection Point – Part 2: Situational Connection - 10/4/22


Last week we highlighted key topics to consider when you want to find Personal Connection Points with the customer.  Today, we’ll cover some key questions to ask to uncover information about today’s situation that you can use to establish a rapport with the customer.  This is Part 2 - Read more

Find a Connection Point – Part 1: Personal Connection - 9/27/22


Some people are born almost like a master at communication.  They know how to establish rapport with just about anybody, and they do so in a way that seems so natural and so real.  They can form relationships and be laughing with somebody they met two minutes ago like Read more

Be Proactive without being Pushy - 9/20/22


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 Read more

Be Kind to Yourself When the Customer Isn’t - 9/13/22


I was having a debrief call with one of my clients recently, and this was regarding a survey of employees who work events.  One of the survey questions asked employees for advice on how to improve the customer experience.  When the employees shared their input on the guest experience, Read more

Being the Emphatic Employee - 9/6/22


Empathy is the key quality of somebody who’s great at customer service.  We talk about it often - what it is, how to convey it, what it looks like, and how it makes the customer feel. But along with knowing how to be empathetic, we also need to know how Read more

The Good, the Really Good, and the Ugly of Customer Service - 8/30/22


Here are three helpful customer service stories.  They may not be from your specific industry, but it’s always good to learn from others. The Good… Paula submitted a ticket to the I.T. vendor.  Below the signature line in the reply she received was the following:  Please share your comments or needs Read more

A Great 2-Minute E-mail - 8/23/22


I know.  You probably get e-mails all the time from customers griping about some aspect of your organization or their experience.  You’ve got too much to do and too little time to do it.  I could not begin to tell you how many times I’ve been told by staff Read more

When They Want to Talk to Your Boss - 8/16/22


“I want to talk to your supervisor.” That’s their opening salvo.  Before you can hardly finish your greeting, the customer is asking for your boss.  This is done by a customer who has tried to get an issue resolved, and it hasn’t worked, so they want to go to somebody Read more

When Passive Voice is a Good Thing - 8/9/22


It’s all your fault, Mr. Customer! We may want to shout it from the rooftops, but other than venting and absolving ourselves of guilt, this wouldn’t help much in the grand scheme of things. We have a customer sitting in front of us or on the phone, and maybe they are Read more

They’re Stressed, So You Can… - 8/2/22


Wow!  That customer looks stressed!  Maybe it’s their body language or their expressions; they could be fidgety or talking really fast. In the past, when we offered guidance in these situations, we focused on how to navigate the conversation step-by-step - what points to cover and what points to avoid. But 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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