relationship | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

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

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

Nurture New Relationships – 6/4/24

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

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 dealing with the local municipality a lot on plans and inspections.  But to Freddie, the process was shockingly easy.  Well, maybe the process wasn’t easy, but going through the process was easy.

For the most part, submitting plans through the web portal, getting comments on plans and getting inspections scheduled and conducted was typical. Getting results of the inspections and correcting issues – these were all fairly standard processes – sometimes cumbersome, sometimes clunky or not self-evident.

The Secret Weapon

But Freddie had a secret weapon; the municipality in this community had a navigator position.  This was essentially a governmental point person to help business owners and developers work through all the different processes that they had to deal with for remodels, renovations, new development, etc.  No matter what area of the city or county that Freddie was dealing with, the navigator helped him through the process.

The navigator not only met with Freddie upfront when he first submitted his plans, but the navigator conducted what was akin to an onboarding session like you would do for a new employee.  The navigator set up bi-weekly calls with Freddie to ensure he was on track, and would have as-needed communications to help through issues.

See Him as an Individual

The navigator learned about Freddie as well as learning about his project.  The navigator would send Freddie information in advance of when he needed it to help him to prep for the next step and make sure he kept things on time and on budget.

The navigator’s name was Helen.  And while this seemingly fairy tale experience did not end with the main characters getting married, it did end with Helen having started and nurtured a relationship on behalf of the municipality with the new business owner.

Think about the new customers you have and how they and their needs are so different than those of your existing customers.  Intentionally map out a process and approach to help them navigate any pitfalls.  Dedicate resources to onboard these clients, nurture relationships, and grow your business by helping them to grow their success with a great customer experience.

Nurture New Relationships.

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Care Enough to Give Them a Heads Up – 1/30/24

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Nothing bad at all might happen.  Every day in the office could seem like every other day.  Sights and sounds and smells might continue to be the same.  But we have a lot of construction going on around our offices, and the building manager knows the type of work we do and the number of client calls and meetings we have throughout the week.

The construction doesn’t affect every part of the building all the time, but the building manager wanted to update me on the progress.  She told me when my area might be most affected by loud – and I mean LOUD – noise, so I could plan to go offsite if needed, and she asked me to proactively check-in with her if the noise was disruptive or something unusual happened.

She gave me a heads up.

This wasn’t even a warning of what would definitely happen.  It was an explanation of what might happen, when it might happen, and why it could happen.  She explained things in detail, yet conversationally.  She asked me to reach out and let her know if anything unexpected happens or if I had any questions.

This is basically a situation where nothing negative may end up happening to the customer, but the company knows something could happen.  Therefore, instead of hoping for the best and not engaging the customer unless the customer came to her with a complaint, she decided to be proactive. She decided to set some expectations. She decided to create dialogue.  She had enough knowledge of her customer’s type of business to understand how I might be impacted.

And I appreciated it.

Service recovery is typically what you do to recover after an issue happens, but the building manager engaged before something happened.

This is about being proactive to avoid the complaint, or to mitigate the negative effect on the customer, or to enable the customer to prepare themselves so that they are not inconvenienced, frustrated, or upset.

The next time you’re aware of something with your organization’s products, services, communications, or environment that may negatively affect the customer, let your customer know what to expect.  Let them know when things may happen.  Let them know how to communicate and with whom to communicate if any difficult situations arise.

Care enough to give the customer a heads up.

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It’s Not What You Did… – 12/12/23

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The statistic we have quoted a lot relating to customer retention is that 68% of lost business is due to perceived indifference. That means that about 2 out of every 3 customers were lost because the customer perceived that that company was indifferent to them.

It’s kind of an odd way to look at things. This statistic does not suggest that the company specifically did something to lose the customer.  This statistic can be interpreted to convey that it was what the company did not do that lost the customer.

So, let’s think about this as it relates to our individual roles…

The reason for the customer loss may not be the billing error as much as it is the LONG process to get the error rectified.

The reason for the customer loss may not be the content of the e-mail in response to the customer complaint; instead, the reason may be the lack of empathy conveyed in the company response.

The reason the customer decided to start buying the product elsewhere may not have been the callback from the company after the customer left a voice message with a question; the reason could be the fact that the customer call was not returned for a week after the message was left.

The reason they didn’t renew their annual membership wasn’t that the membership was a bad value. It’s just that the only time the organization contacted the customer was when the company was trying to sell the customer something.

When you think about how to better the customer experience, instead of always focusing on how to improve what’s currently done, consider what aspects of the experience lack urgency on behalf of the customer, lack empathy, lack responsiveness, or lack an intent to develop a relationship.

To improve retention, don’t always focus on what the company did.  Sometimes focus on what the company did not do.

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