process improvement | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 8

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

Riding the Train to Better Customer Service

Posted on in Business Advice, World of Customer Service Please leave a comment

For those of you from “my era,” you may remember the song “Metro” by the rock group Berlin. The singer was on a train from Paris to London, met her boyfriend in a pouring rain, and he was “Swimming through apologies.”

Well the group Berlin must have been ahead of its time, because there is a modern day Metro that apparently got tired of giving apologies, and they decided to do something about it.

In the article Metro To Revamp Customer Service, the author discusses how the Fairfax Metro system is creating a new customer service program. After dealing with numerous complaints, the Metro has created a “Customer Service Action Plan” to improve the customer experience. Let’s quickly review the key plan points:

  • Provide customer service training
  • Put new electronic displays in the train stations
  • Improve their payment card system
  • Upgrade the stations themselves with better lighting and other improvements
  • Address and communicate better about security and youth behavior.

If we take a broad assessment of these key points, they deal with the impact of staff on the experience, process improvement, facility layout/signage, external communications, and safety. From that broad perspective, that’s very good. That deals with people, processes, and products. It deals with communications to the public. So we like the comprehensive nature of what they’re trying to do. So what are they missing?

How will they reinforce the importance of customer service and skills with staff after the training? What will they do to ensure the trains run on time? How can they ensure that processes (other than payment processes) are quick and self-evident?

When you think of revamping your organization’s customer experience, be comprehensive enough to address your people, processes, and products. But don’t just do something that will make an impact today. Incorporate plans to continually communicate and improve the experience in the future.

Ride the train to GREAT customer service!

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

Listen to our latest podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/


The Good, the Bad, and the Needed of Municipal Customer Service

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

The Tulare County (California) government has launched a new customer service program. According to Fifth District Supervisor Mike Ennis in the article County unveils customer service program, “Customer service is the lifeblood of any successful business, including local government. Thousands of residents utilize Tulare County services every day. These residents expect and deserve great customer service.”

We’ve worked on improving customer service for local municipalities for over ten years, and we’ve seen the Good (a county IT department going from “worst to first” in customer service), the Bad (employees who bring bad attitudes into training because “it’s not like the residents have a choice”), to the Needed (municipalities lacking customer service standards and plans) of municipal customer service.

And as with many businesses, when organizations do start to focus on customer service, the first thing they think about is training. While training is important, it should never be the totality of a customer service program. The ultimate goal of any customer service program is to provide consistently high levels of customer service to internal and external customers.

To gain that comprehensive focus, training is important – it creates a baseline definition of core expectations, principles, and service skills for employees. But the consistency comes from having a customer service vision defined, having management model the way, having organizational structures, incentives/accountability systems, processes, measures, communication plans, and ongoing reinforcement all aligned toward that vision.

When you think of creating a “customer service program,” don’t just fallback to training as a panacea. Ensure you’re doing all you need to do to truly create a culture of customer service.

Read our New Book – “Ask Yourself…Am I GREAT at Customer Service?” http://www.amigreatat.com/

Listen to our latest podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/

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


BRE and Beyond…Act on What You Know Makes Customers Happy

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

Fix what customers don’t like, but also give customers more of what they do like.

Continuous improvement in customer service is not all about root cause analysis and process improvement. Much of it is about doing more of what already satisfies the customer.

In the article Survey: Oshkosh good for business as CEOs cite better economic outlook, the local economic development organization reports results of a survey of local businesses. When economic development organizations have a Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) component, it’s because they want to retain those industries and those jobs (and those fees and taxes, etc.) locally. So surveys are conducted on businesses just like retailers conduct surveys with customers.

The Oshkosh article notes changes made as a result of the survey to help businesses become more accessible to customers and to plan for infrastructure changes. But one of the great things about BRE surveys or any surveys for that matter is that the survey organization also learns what the customer (or in the case, the business) likes – they like talking about their facilities or products, oftentimes they like the personal relationship with BRE organizations, they like help with facilitation of difficult permitting processes, they like the access to qualified technical personnel locally. And BRE organizations that are great at what they do, use the information on what makes customers happy to their benefit.

If the industry likes to share information about their facilities and products, find forums to allow them to present about themselves. If they like the relationships with the BRE staff, create Touch Point Plans for ongoing relationship-building. If the business likes help with permitting processes, create an issue-resolution process in partnership with the local code enforcement agency. If they like the access to qualified technical personnel, ensure businesses are establishing relationships with local providers of technical staff, with community colleges, and even some high schools.

Whether it’s for a BRE organization or a private business, research to uncover customer likes is important. Sometimes capitalizing on what already makes them happy is as important as fixing those things that bring frustration.

Act on what makes customers happy.

Interested in CSS’ Government Services? Check out:

http://cssamerica.com/cssgovt.htm

http://cssamerica.com/cssbrenews.htm

http://cssamerica.com/cssbresurvey.htm