rapport | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

A Story of Willie and Aubrey - 2/8/22


The gift shop was a great experience!  Aubrey had bought items online from the shop for years, but she had never stepped foot in the store itself.  However, when travel plans took her on a trip to new surroundings, she took time out of her day to go to Read more

It Matters Who You Know - 2/1/22


The season ticket account holder has an issue, but he’s not too concerned about it:  I’m going to call my guy, and he’ll take care of it. The patient is confused about their bill.  The family member says: I know someone who can help. The husband discovers a problem in the Read more

Put an End to 1-Star Ratings - 1/25/22


If you ever had service performed on your car, I would not doubt it if you received the immediate e-mail asking for that 5-star rating. They want the big ratings because that makes them look good, and to get the big average rating you have to avoid the 1-Star Read more

Signs of Service Recovery Situations - 1/18/22


As we continue the slow trend of more and more customer interactions becoming in-person again, we need to remember those signs that we’re about to enter one of THOSE conversations.  It can typically take only 5-10 seconds to realize this is going to be a high-risk situation with the Read more

In Survey Development, Think in Reverse - 1/11/22


We often meet with clients interested in conducting a survey, and when we discuss the project, many clients come with questions in-hand.  They are interested, curious, even excited sometimes about the possibility of tapping into the voice of the customer! And when we review their questions and start to see Read more

Foster Positive Feelings - 1/4/22


I bet a lot of you all are like me - when you’re asked to share your feelings, it’s not always something that feels comfortable.  It obviously depends on the situation and who’s asking you to share your feelings.  So, many of us might hesitate in sharing our feelings. However, Read more

How to Make the Situation Right - 12/28/21


The manager in the field office felt that - when problems arose with customers - the company didn’t do an especially good job of responding effectively.  He felt like this was hurting customer renewals of annual service agreements.  The company developed many customer service and retention initiatives with little Read more

2021 Holiday Poem - 12/21/21


Breathe and rest and relax and rejuvenate. Close the eyes, and fill the lungs. Take a break, and be with friends. This is a time to begin. Renaissance is called a rebirth. Birth can bring new life. Life gives opportunity for living. Living gives opportunity for joy. We have so many outside factors, So many things that tug Read more

“I’m Sorry” Doesn’t Mean “I’m Guilty” - 12/14/21


Individuals and organizations mess up; that’s part of life… They told me that they were going to be at my home at a certain time; they were REALLY late.  The customer service representative said they would get a message to a co-worker, and the co-worker would call me back; I Read more

Apply Selfless Service - 12/7/21


Andrea had worked in human resources for years, and the company decided that it wanted to hire employees who were more customer service-oriented, regardless of the position.  After making that decision, they added some creative questions to the interview process. One of the most interesting questions that Andrea had to Read more

Avoid the Silence; Build the Relationship – 10/5/21

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

Our interactions with customers are “Moments of Truth.”  These Moments of Truth can be conversations with a customer about some complaint, encounters when they’re in the drive-thru, questions about an order that the customer calls in to the company, or brief interactions in the lobby of a government building.

Sometimes during these interactions, there are waits. At the fast-food restaurant, the employee at the window is waiting for the food to be prepared.  In the building lobby, the customer is waiting for the employee to finish paperwork with the previous customer.  With the customer calling in about the product they ordered, the wait could be the time it takes for the employee to conduct the research so that they can give the customer the answer.

During these Moments of Truth, the employees are often waiting or doing an activity while the customer is present.  Yet, too many employees only communicate with the customer when they need information or they’re wanting to convey information.

So mostly, there’s dead silence.

From the customer’s perspective, silence can mean that there’s an issue, that the employee has forgotten the customer, that staff don’t care.  And that just makes the wait feel longer, and the customer’s emotions can more easily go negative.

Employees need to view these periods of silence as relationship building opportunities.  While the research is being done or the wait is underway, the employee can simply say nothing and create a cold, impersonal experience for the customer, or the employee could engage the customer. During the wait, the employee could talk to the customer about their situation or describe what is being done. The employee could use these times of waiting and research to build relationships.

The next time you’re with the customer and the conversation stalls during a wait or some other activity that is going on, use that time to keep the communication going to build your organization’s relationship with the customer.

View waits as opportunities to build relationships.

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Find One Unique Thing – 3/2/21

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

Many of us are not in a position to develop long-term relationships with our customers.  Our encounters are often one-time only with a customer – very brief and likely to be our only time chatting with this individual.

And even though there may not be a long-term professional relationship developed, we can still establish a pleasant and professional rapport.  We want them to feel like we care, and one way we can do that is to uncover something unique about that person.

Use Your Customer Database

Some of us are fortunate that we have customer databases that may tell us a little bit about the individual.  In sports, you may see that this NASCAR fan loves Chase Elliott.  That’s something unique to talk about with that customer.  In banking, you might look on the system and note that they’re a relatively new customer.  That’s an opportunity to thank them for their business and welcome them again.

No Database? No Problem.

But even if you don’t have that customer database, there are ways to quickly uncover something unique about the individual so you can establish a rapport.  Recently, I heard a dog barking in the background during a client call, so I asked the other person about their dog, and we chatted about our pets.  I was on a video call, and there was a wrestling belt in the background behind them on a shelf.  So, I asked them about the belt and learned about a particular award they won at their company.  Those conversations not only showed my interest in them, but they became a lot more positive and fun for me, too!

In government, when you’re talking with a local resident, ask what city or town they live in, and if you’ve never been there, ask them to describe the area.  If you’re providing service in someone’s home, if you see a nice piece of art or photo or piece of furniture, don’t just notice it – compliment it!

It doesn’t have to be much.  Identifying or bringing up something unique doesn’t have to be a Broadway production – some big formal theatrical unveiling of some unique pearl of knowledge.

Just Find One Thing

But identifying that one unique thing is important – it helps them to no longer feel like the number, no longer feel rushed or feel like a transaction.  They now feel like you see them as the unique individual they are, and that little effort on your part to establish a rapport makes a big difference in the feeling they take away from the conversation.  And in the long run, it makes a big difference in their perception of your organization.

The next time talking with a customer, find out one unique thing about them.

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Connect During Customer Service Week – 10/6/20

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

It’s Customer Service Week…woohoo!  This week should be all about the customers we serve and the staff who serve them.  This should be about conveying we value other people, and – hopefully – having other people convey that they value us.  It’s a week about people – about us.

This should be a week about creating, rekindling, and continuing to connect with others.

So, how do you connect with someone – particularly with an individual you’ve never met before today?  Here are some quick tips:

Create Comfort.  The more comfortable someone is with you, the more willing they are to be open with you, and the more willing they will be to listen to you.  Create comfort with your voice, your patience, and the general environment that surrounds your conversation.

Ask Another.  The more inquisitive you are about the other person – understanding them and their unique situation – the more likely they are to engage with you.  Asking questions gives them an opportunity to share, and it gives you an opportunity to listen.  People connect more with those who they feel listened to them.

Name Names.  Share your name right off the bat, and use their name frequently during the conversation.  Names personalize.  Names create rapport.  Names help to connect.

Uncover Commonalities.  The more the other person can relate to you or feel like you’re relating to them, the more comfortable they would be, and the deeper connection that will be created.  So, empathize with their situation, even if you haven’t experienced the exact same thing.  Highlight some aspect of them, their background, their situation that has some commonality to you, your background, or your typical days.

To connect during Customer Service Week, create comfort, ask another question or two, name names, and uncover commonalities.

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