relationship | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

“You’re the Boss” - 2/20/24


Terrence is excellent at what he does.  From a technical standpoint, he knows how to keep the facility clean.  He’s the lead custodian, and he knows that keeping things straight does not necessarily mean keeping things sanitary.  He knows what chemicals to use and not to use, how to Read more

Customer Understanding Leads to Relationship Growth - 2/13/24


We’ve worked with educational organizations at all grade levels over the years.  One special and unique characteristic about the staff who work in these organizations is that there’s a clear intent to know about the students as individuals, to focus on them rather than purely focusing on what’s delivered Read more

Define Customer Service Success Differently - 2/6/24


When I’m watching television, listening to the radio, or listening to a podcast, it’s always interesting when the topic moves to the question:  How can you be a success?  The speakers often discuss the process of becoming a success with the assumption that people believe success is defined by Read more

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


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 Read more

Be Better than AI Customer Service - 1/23/24


There was a recent CBS Sunday Morning Show story called: How artificial intelligence is revamping customer call centers. The journalist described how artificial intelligence is being used in customer service, and he noted the millions of pieces of information that can be processed in a matter of seconds. There are clear Read more

Recognize the Situation, and Pivot - 1/16/24


The customer has a complaint, or they may have an important question about an order or their account.  You may be talking to them in an emergency room, in the lobby of the government building, on the phone, or in a video conversation.  And in many of these Moments Read more

Sharpen Your Service Delivery - 1/9/24


You work so hard at being responsive and providing high quality information.  You work hard at fixing problems.  But is your delivery…dull? I’m not saying that it has to be exciting, but let’s think of the word “exciting.”  It means that something’s interesting, has energy, is positive.  Just by its Read more

Make Empathy Your Superpower - 1/2/24


I was facilitating a Service Excellence Training class for a Higher Ed client in the Northeast several years back.  As I was walking through the portions of our technique for defusing the angry customer, I talked about empathy.  I talked about accepting responsibility. Immediately, one of the hands in the Read more

Holiday Poem 2023 - 12/26/23


The days are getting longer, The skies are getting brighter. Festivities behind us, And festivities before us.   There’s ups and downs and change coming, And we can’t predict when or where. There’s challenges and joys and opportunities around, Of which you may or may not be aware.   But one thing we know as we look at each Read more

Refresh, Rejuvenate, Refocus - 12/19/23


It’s that time of year.  We’re going 100 miles an hour, and holiday time is upon us.  We not only have all the work to do, but we somehow have less time to do it.  We somehow have other things that are of competing interest, and even though those Read more

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

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

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

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

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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Connect – The Power of Working Together – 7/11/23

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Herman Melville, the American writer/novelist, once said:  We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us.

One great characteristic of those working in customer service is the fact that we are living and working for others as much or more than for ourselves.  Melville talks about having connections with those others.  A good way for us to look at connecting with others is to see it both from an external connection as well as an internal connection.  

Externally, we could be talking about our customers, the parents of the children we serve, our clients, our season ticket holders, residents in our community.  How do we build relationships with them?

It helps to have common goals so that we know that we are working together towards something.  It helps to build trust – doing what we say we will do – and loyalty.  It helps to be solution-oriented when building relationships, so we can see positive outcomes from our actions together.

Internally, we could think about connecting in terms of collaboration – finding ways to work well with our co-workers and colleagues.  We do this by proactively sharing information – looking at information we have available and asking ourselves:  Who else would benefit from this information or knowledge?  We do it by providing ideas to our co-workers. We do it by offering our support in their efforts or the organization’s efforts to move toward goals.

There is power in connecting in customer service.  With those we serve outside the organization, the power comes through relationship-building, and it results in the building of mutual trust and loyalty as well as better outcomes.

Within an organization, the power comes in a greater sharing of knowledge, freer offering of ideas, and greater acknowledgement when we received those ideas.  It comes in more frequent and more expeditious achievement of organizational goals.

And all along the way, these positive outcomes, this loyalty, this trust, and the sharing of information results in a better place to work, a more cohesive culture, a more positive experience, and a more productive work life.

Intentionally connect with others to tap into the power of working together.

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