process | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

Your Best Ability is… - 5/14/24


I enjoy watching sports, and I’ve even listened to some sports press conferences over the years, just to hear what coaches are saying.  Basically getting the leadership perspective from the sports industry either out of my interest or curiosity, or to figure out how to apply it to the Read more

A Complaint is a Gift - 5/7/24


A complaint is a gift.  Okay, so the complainer is not always a “gift.”  The customer’s delivery of the complaint is sometimes more like a stocking filled with coal than a vase filled with roses.  But this is why we need to be able to differentiate the complaint from Read more

Mastering Confidence in Customer Service - 4/30/24


It’s not what you said…it’s how you said it. If you’ve ever had someone say this to you, raise your hand.  (I just raised my hand) Usually this is being said when someone is upset with you, but regardless of the reason, that phrase illustrates that HOW we say something often Read more

Be Amazing - 4/23/24


Watching Michael Jordan steal a pass and then dunk a basketball is amazing.  Taking a rocket to the moon is amazing.  The taste of my mom’s homemade beef soup is amazing. We all have our personal examples of what is amazing.  Usually, it’s something that we cannot comprehend, that we Read more

Talk About Yourself to Build Customer Confidence - 4/16/24


When you’re dealing with somebody who is anxious or nervous about a situation, a customer who feels like they don’t have much control, an individual who is unsure and uncertain, it’s important to put the customer at ease.  It’s important to build their comfort level.  It’s important to help Read more

The Proven Value in What You Do - 4/9/24


Forbes wrote an article last year based on a compilation of the results of research on customer service and the customer experience; it was titled:  100 Customer Experience Stats For 2023. In reading the article, you’ll note that many of these key research findings are about you – the value Read more

A Tale of Two Texts - 4/2/24


Having to get allergy shots once a week is never fun, and for Janet, it became an even bigger frustration. She had the shots typically scheduled on Tuesday around 10:30 in the morning, figuring she would avoid the morning rush as well as the lunch rush by going mid-morning.  However, Read more

The Secret Sauce for Great Customer Service - 3/26/24


I was working with the League Office for a major American sport several years back, and one of the executives asked me to describe our Secret Sauce that helped our clients improve the fan experience and customer retention.  I gave him a sense of what makes us unique and Read more

The Miracle of an Apology - 3/19/24


Unfortunate but true story… The manager basically lost his mind.  He terminated his employee on the spot.  She had told the customer that there was going to be a delay in the shipment.  The employee called up the customer ahead of time to let the customer know what was about Read more

It’s Not About the 5-Minute Wait - 3/12/24


Robert went into his supervisor’s office to update her on a situation at the payment desk.  Robert said that a customer was about fourth or fifth in line, waiting to be served, and the customer was complaining loudly about the wait.  He was there to make a property tax Read more

The Secret Sauce for Great Customer Service – 3/26/24

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

I was working with the League Office for a major American sport several years back, and one of the executives asked me to describe our Secret Sauce that helped our clients improve the fan experience and customer retention.  I gave him a sense of what makes us unique and successful in helping our clients.  Remembering that question recently, I started thinking…

What’s the secret sauce for delivering great customer service?

While it’s not like talking about Delighting Your Customers or The WOW Experience, consistency is truly appreciated by customers.  If the customer understands what they’re going to get, when they’re going to get it, and why something’s happening, it sets and meets their expectation.  They develop comfort and confidence.  And it’s great when you’re confident that a business is going to deliver a positive experience.

But consistency can be somewhat of a nebulous term.  So, let’s talk about 3 concepts you can adopt to provide consistently positive customer service:

Be clear on WHY you’re doing something.  What is your goal for the day?  What are you trying to accomplish short-term and/or long-term?  It’s easier to become consistent if you have that North Star, you have that goal, you know what direction you are heading.  If you don’t allow each individual activity or task or challenge or interaction to pull you away from your goals, it’s easier to be consistent.

Create a consistent cadence.  This is about building some structure into your day or week.  Knowing when you are doing your daily or weekly plans.  Knowing when you take your breaks or hold recurring meetings.  Knowing when you do your check-ins with co-workers or customers.  Essentially knowing when and how frequently you are addressing your priorities, in particular.

Have a standard way or model of working.  I was on a call with a client recently, and they asked me a strategic question, and I gave them a very holistic strategy for addressing their need.  They really liked the model that I shared, and it’s something I’ve used for 20+ years to address certain problems.  The model can be applied to an educational organization, government organization, retail organization, sports, healthcare – you name it!

By having a model, or having a standard process or way of doing things, you create some structure for yourself.  You can create some consistency.  Now, within that model or process, you might have different focus areas for different situations or different customers, but if you can create a standard process you go through or a standard model which serves as the lens through which you look at certain situations, it helps you to be more consistent.

Build your Why, When, and How in order to provide consistently positive customer service.

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Navigate their New Experience – 7/18/23

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

Everything is changing for customers.  How they buy products and services…how they get customer service…where they get information from, and who provides the information.

So, confusion and frustration can ensue.  Let’s help customers navigate our new world, our new systems and processes.  It’s about Empathy and Expectations; it’s about Input and Improvement:

  • Empathy: If customers are upset or frustrated, and you show empathy, they’ll feel you’re listening. Listening conveys that you’re an understanding person who cares about them, their situation, their feelings.  Don’t argue or interrupt; instead, agree with some of what they say.  They’ll feel that they’re interacting with someone who’s on their side, and that can bring down the emotion.
  • Expectations: If customers are used to different processes, systems, and wait times, be proactive in communicating what they should expect from now on; in e-mails, texts, letters, onsite signage, and in discussions, explain processes simply and succinctly.  Describe timeframes, and share what they need to do v. what will be done by the company.  And when the customer is engaged with your business, ensure that your best teachers are charged with engaging the customers on the new steps.
  • Input: Getting through the implementation of change is a success; but it’s just the start.  How can we get feedback from the customer?  If satisfaction and retention of the customer are important, then we need to find ways to get them to weigh-in on the process.  What’s the experience like from their perspective, and how can we be set up to pivot based on the input?
  • Improvement: Take the customer input; use it to consistently improve the processes, systems, communications, and training.  Consider 90-day post-implementation action planning – make continuous improvement just how you operate.  Seek input to drive progress.

When changing the customer experience, help the customer to navigate their new world.

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Change on the Fly – 5/30/23

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

Situational service requires some advanced engagement skills.  It involves seeing each situation independent of any others, reading the moment, and changing on the fly to create the best possible customer experience and outcomes.  So, what are some keys to situational service?  Keep these guiding principles in mind:

Start Open-minded: When the customer engages you, avoid assumptions about them and their situation.  Don’t let the first impression cloud what might be the deeper issue or need, the background of the situation, the person themselves.  It’s more effective to start by being open, and then narrow the focus after gathering information; it’s less effective to start with a preconceived notion, and then have to later backtrack or restart the conversation.

Gauge the Emotion: While we focus on words, since that conveys much of the specifics of a situation, the emotions can convey how they feel about the issue or need.  Note in their tone and body language, specifically, how they feel so that you can use that information to determine how to handle the situation.

Uncover the Urgency: Determine whether time is a concern, whether that’s in-the-moment or for the final resolution.  That time consideration will help you to understand their feelings better, but it will also help you to understand whether to respond by reiterating timing and next steps, or to focus more on their feelings and solution options.

Adjust to the Situation: The first 3 guiding principles ensure you get the information you need (the facts, their emotions, and time considerations) to handle the situation most effectively.  Now, adjust.  Settle them down first, addressing any anxiety, anger, confusion, or upset with the right technique for the emotion, or move directly to the issue and solutions if the negative emotions aren’t present.  Be patient if they care more about the conversation and the process, or quickly get to the point if there’s urgency involved.

When you’re engaged with the customer, get the facts, gauge the emotions, and clarify times.  Then focus on providing the best service for the situation.

To excel in service, develop your ability to change on the fly.

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