productivity | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

The New Burger Experience - 7/16/24


Floyd loves a good hamburger. Any chance he gets to try a new spin on an old standby, he takes it. Recently, a burger joint opened near his house, and Floyd was very excited! It was owned by and named for a world-renowned chef, so it had to be Read more

Boost Customer Happiness - 7/9/24


There’s a cooking show that a friend of mine watches, and the premise is all about reverse engineering food.  They may take a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, analyze it, and determine the ingredients just by tasting it.  Then they figure out a recipe.  The cook will try to make Read more

Brainstorm to Better Yourself - 7/2/24


I’ve led enough sessions with clients on continuous improvement topics to have solid experience on how to lead ideation exercises, brainstorming to develop new ideas.  Oftentimes these sessions start with the right question; the first answers may not be the ultimate solution, but they can serve as a jumping Read more

The Power of the Pause - 6/25/24


When I’m facilitating a meeting, and it feels like it’s going off-track or the discussion is going a little longer than it should, I may say something like “let me pause the conversation so that…” or “let’s pause just for a minute and consider…” I don’t like the word STOP. Read more

Handle Interruptions Heroically - 6/18/24


In the middle of a project, Jimbo, the customer service team member, had to stop what he was doing because he received an e-mail from a customer complaining about their experience at a recent event. Later that day, Jimbo was asked by his boss to put everything on hold for Read more

From Employees to Teammates: The Shift - 6/11/24


Be a great teammate. Be a good team player. We’re all part of the team. We’re no longer employees, we’re team members! The phrase “Team” is used in describing co-workers so much more than it was used years ago.  Then, we would be talking about employees, talking about staff, talking Read more

Nurture New Relationships - 6/4/24


Freddie was a new business owner in town.  He was launching a franchise, had acquired some funding from a local bank, and was in search of staff who cared about customer service. All the while, he was in the process of renovating a storefront for his business, so he was Read more

There’s Positivity in Patience - 5/28/24


The employee at the financial services firm was working with a new client on a relatively simple loan.  The documentation was about as clear as it could get to the employee, but the customer had lots of questions.  The employee calmly, clearly, and specifically answered each question.  The meeting Read more

The Goal – A Great Experience - 5/21/24


The following is a narrative of a great experience (people, process, service, facility) at a minor league sporting event – key points that could apply to any business are in bold… Mark and I pulled into the parking lot, excited about the game.  The Slapshots had been on a roll Read more

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

Make it a “Good Busy” – 9/28/21

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

When I’m speaking with colleagues or clients, I’ll often ask how their day is going. The response I get almost once a week is something like:  I’m incredibly busy!

When I get that response, sometimes I’ll ask whether it is a “good busy” or whether they are “fighting fires.”

I’ll ask that question to gauge how they’re feeling.  Being “good busy” with important work helps you feel positive and fulfilled.  Spending days just fighting fires – urgent tasks that pop up unexpectedly or at the last minute – can result in anxiety, stress, and poor quality work.  That can trickle into customer engagement where we’re too busy to be responsive to customers, are short in speaking with them, or make mistakes in service actions.

While fighting fires is something that we could deal with because other people fill our inbox at the last minute, some of the activities that are urgent and require us to drop everything else or cause us to work into the late hours every evening are things we can control.

If we find ourselves constantly working on the urgent to meet a deadline at the last second, if we find ourselves constantly stressing about not having enough hours in the day, if we find ourselves feeling unsettled with all the plates that are spinning around us at the same time, realize that this situation is something we can take more control over in the future.

Particularly where you have deadlines, document the key steps that need to be addressed and how much time others will need to do their part through the process.  Put those timelines on your daily To Do List.  Reflect back on how much time it takes to do these tasks so that you’re allocating enough time today on something that needs to be completed three days from now.  You have enough understanding of how many activities you can do in one day, so, where you have control over those activities and when they’re done, you can massage your schedule for the week so that the workload is a little more evened out.

We’re all going to be busy at times if not almost all times, but the type of busy we’re dealing with is often affected by how well we’re planning to meet the deadlines.

Make it a Good Busy.

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Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance? – 9/8/20

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

This is a quote by Edgar Bergen.  He’s one of the most famous ventriloquists of all time, but I guess he wasn’t necessarily one of the hardest workers of all time.  By sharing this quote, I am not supporting the idea that we shouldn’t work hard…or am I?

We only have so many work hours in the day – hopefully we have some time for our personal lives and for sleep. But the work is still there to be done.  The question is, how do we find ways to work less hard?

I’m not suggesting we find ways to be less productive or less quality-oriented or less customer-service oriented.  I’m just posing the question:  How can we find ways to work a little bit smarter and a little less hard?

Ask yourself a few questions:

  • When do I write things on paper that I have to keep track of and manage (or rekey into a computer) which I could instead log directly into the computer and save?
  • When do I touch a document or a project or spreadsheet or report or an e-mail 3-4 times, when I could touch it once?
  • When do I copy 5 or 10 or 20 people on an e-mail who all now have to read that e-mail, when I could copy 1 or 2? Similarly, when do I get copied unnecessarily when I could reach out to those senders and let them know they don’t need to copy me under certain circumstances?
  • Could I do a better job of planning my day today – and working my plan today – so I don’t have to constantly think today about what I need to be doing tomorrow?
  • Is there a report or document that I produce once a week that I could stop producing and no one would ever notice or ever care?
  • If I slept an extra 10 minutes or drank an extra cup of water or ate 1 less candy bar (Milky Way is my preference), would I be able to work a little shorter day and have the energy to get a little bit more done?

 

These are some simple questions, and if we can come up with answers to a few of them and implement solutions, maybe we would find ourselves working a little less hard and yet being a little bit more productive, more focused, more energetic, and producing a little higher quality work.

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To Do More, Find Ways to Do Less – 2/9/16 TOW

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“I have too much to do and not enough time to do it.”

“I can never get anything done.”

“They keep adding things to my plate, but they never take anything away.”

I’m sure most everyone reading this tip has said something similar at some point in their work lives. We are asked to do more and more and more, and at some point the quality suffers, or we work ridiculous hours, or we can’t get it all done, or we burn out.

Often, we can’t control what we’re assigned by others to do, so how do we do more? Start by asking yourself: “How can I do less?”

Leverage Technology – About one year ago, I bought a new computer/tablet to replace my 7-year old lap top. Instantly programs loaded more quickly, information linked together more smoothly, technical issues virtually disappeared, and now I use almost NO PAPER – leveraging technology made me more productive.

Stop What You’re Doing – I periodically ask myself – what if I stop doing this? Would anyone care? Too often, people generate reports, track worked hours or productivity or quality statistics that – today – are no longer meaningful or even read. At least once a quarter, look at the data you collect and the reports you generate, and question whether they need to continue.

Reduce the Excess – When CSS started 18 years ago, we spent hours creating these gorgeous 20-page proposals for relatively small projects. Over the years, we moved to 6-page proposals and then 4-page approach documents. Now we do a great deal of 1-2 page Price Quotes. Customers don’t have time to read large documents, so why should we give them something they don’t want? When you’re designing documentation for customers, find out how they’d prefer to receive information and what information is truly important to them. Design it that way, and get rid of the documentation excess.

Don’t Create from Scratch – For years, I’ve been a proponent of replicating (but personalizing/customizing) e-mails. You can be so much more productive/professional if you don’t create everything from scratch.

Get Information in a Productive Format – Finally, get people to give you information in a standardized manner – we provide our mystery shoppers with very specific templates so we can focus on the content of what they found rather than the structure of HOW they provided their analysis to us. Use forms, templates, and clear/specific questions to have people submit information in a way that’s most useful and productive.

To do more, find ways to do less. Build your own customer service capacity.

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