process improvement | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 21

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

Keep in Mind 3 Key Questions - 11/22/22


Customers want to be heard.  If they have an issue or need or something that requires your support, they want to be understood. When we are trying to find a resolution or fulfill a need, when we’re trying to help a customer achieve their goal, sometimes we can be so Read more

Don’t Let This Shot Affect Your Next Shot - 11/15/22


When I was a teenager, I used to play a lot of golf, and I was pretty good for my age.  I’d have a good attitude and enjoyed the game, but if I hit a bad shot, I’d get upset.  And more often than not, that one bad shot Read more

Value the Customer – Actions to Adopt and Avoid - 11/8/22


When conducting research for a local government CSS client, we interviewed and conducted surveys with many of their customers.  We analyzed the results of the research based on those who had a great experience v. those who did not.  We uncovered that there were distinct differences between customers who Read more

Appreciate to Appreciate - 11/1/22


Why doesn’t Jay, my co-worker, respond to my e-mails or get his task done on time? It’s hard to respect the delay, the incomplete work, the lack of follow through on the part of your co-worker. Why does the customer seem so harried and so frustrated? It’s hard to value the customer Read more

The Customer Can Hear Your Attitude - 10/25/22


Sherry was sitting in the lobby, waiting to be called back for her appointment.  Just off the lobby was an office that Sherry was sitting near.  The person in the office was on a phone call, but Sherry couldn’t see the employee.  She could tell it was a call Read more

How to Handle the Customer’s Error - 10/18/22


Are all of your customers perfect?  Anyone?  Bueller? Of course, customers are not perfect.  Neither are we, but let’s focus this Tip on what they do wrong and what we can do about it in a professional, positive, and productive manner: When the customer isn’t clear, you respond: Is it OK Read more

Critique Yourself before Others Do - 10/11/22


When we’re criticized, we can get defensive, push back, deflect blame to others, and focus more on defending ourselves than really listening to what the other person is saying.  And some of us who get defensive, once we allow our emotions to settle, take time to reflect on what Read more

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

Capitol Customer Service

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

The White House held a forum with dozens of CEOs last week, and the topic moved to customer service. The government was trying to learn how to be more customer-friendly, and they were particularly interested in what Southwest Airlines CEO, Gary Kelly, had to say.

Now I know many of you are thinking such things as “it’s about time!” or “isn’t that an oxymoron – government customer service?” But one particular reaction might be “why would a government agency turn to an airline for advice?”

The answer is the same reason why an airline would turn to NASCAR – the stock car racing league – for advice.

You may have heard the story of the airline that was trying to improve the speed and efficiency with which it “turned” planes at the gate. So where did they go to determine how to improve? They went and met with NASCAR pit crews to observe, talk, and learn about how they could do so much so fast so effectively in a 5, 10, or 15 second pit stop.

Kelly suggested at the forum that to satisfy customers, “It’s more important for us to be on time and have great employees…than offer frills.”

In other words, do what you do with great efficiency and great attitudes, and that’s more important in engendering customer loyalty than offering a perk or two.

The next time you’re trying to get better, to learn, to grow, don’t just look at yourselves or at an organization just like you.

Benchmark with the best, regardless of industry.

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


Don’t Wait on Fixing Waits

Posted on in Business Advice, Healthcare Please leave a comment

Where do you hear the loudest customer complaints in the typical hospital of today? It’s the Emergency Room.

“Why have I waited so long?!” “Why did that person on the stretcher go back to a room before me?! I was here first!” “I’ve been here 2 hours, and nobody’s told me anything!”

These complaints are pervasive, but they also point to the impact of customer service. Remember that customer service involves processes. Customer service is part employee attitudes/skills/knowledge, and the other part is process. How long something takes, how long are the waits, how efficient is a process, how redundant are the processes, how smooth the flow of information and people is or isn’t – those are all characteristics of process.

And whereas businesses spend lots of money every year to have employees trained on how to deal with irate customers, a tactic just as valuable as that is to identify the root causes of why customers are irate and to address those root causes. In healthcare, so many of those complaints are about one thing – process.

So if you want your organization to be better from a customer service-perspective in your customers’ eyes, if you want to reduce the number of conflicts with customers which your employees have to address, then fix your processes. Find out where waits exist, the cause of the waits, the communications during the waits, and perceptions of the length of the wait time, and address them.

Many of our clients redesign departmental layouts, they change processes, they do a better job of scheduling staff to flex up/down with variations by time-of-day or day-of-week with customer volumes or arrival rates. They train staff on how to and how often to interact with customers during wait to provide updates, keep them engaged, convey they care, and – ultimately – to reduce the perception of the wait time. The clients create activities for the customers or distractions which help to reduce the perception of the wait times.

In other words, the hospitals and other organizations best at dealing with waits try to reduce wait times while at the same time reducing the perception of waits.

Wait times are a symptom of an issue with your customer service. Don’t wait on fixing waits.

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


Retention – They’re Finally Getting It

Posted on in Business Advice, Education Please leave a comment

If you would have spoken with 10 administrators 10 years ago in the world of higher education – from community colleges to universities – you could have easily spoken for 2 hours about their priorities without student retention ever being discussed.

My, how times have changed.

It seems that more and more often, retention is discussed whenever goal-setting for enrollment is the topic.  Retention rates are part of the performance dashboards.  Retention strategies are developed with some similar planning focus to marketing strategies.

And why is there all of this focus on retention?  Because these institutional leaders – just like smart businesspeople – understand that retention means dollars.  Retention means less effort in recruitment.  Retention means less hassle in dealing with student complaints and turnover.  Retention means less change to address.  Retention means a faster path to success.

Not all educational institutions get it, however, when it comes to retention.  An organization that truly gets it understands that successful retention strategies require a great deal of research with current students on retention drivers, likelihood to stay, preferences, and satisfaction levels.  Research is required on former students to determine the true loss reasons for controllable exits.  Strategies need to have a component to look at the relationship-building structures and processes which need to be put into place to develop relationships with students and to quickly identify students at-risk of leaving.

Strategies need to be created to address internal cultural issues and priorities that currently run counter to the goal of retention.  And measurement strategies need to be adopted to ensure that issues and solutions are identified early enough to be addressed.

An education-based retention strategy needs to have the concerted effort and focus that balances internal culture with external relationship building, where all the key impact drivers of retention are measured.

Do you have a truly comprehensive retention strategy?

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